Dec 3, 2018
Goodwell, Okla. — After serving eight months as the Interim Dean of the College of Agriculture, Science, and Nursing at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, Shawna Tucker is taking the reins as the Dean of the College of Agriculture, Science, and Nursing (COASN).
Tucker was selected from a strong group of three finalists following a national search. She will be the first female Dean to lead the Agriculture program.
“I couldn’t be more pleased that our search committee has chosen Shawna Tucker,” Panhandle State’s President Dr. Tim Faltyn said. “Panhandle’s Agriculture program is a legend in itself and Tucker is the right fit to take the entire COASN to the next level.”
Tucker commented, “I have grown up with deep roots in agriculture tracing back five generations; both my parents’ families have farming and ranching backgrounds. My dad, Herb Hale (PAMC class of 1970), was a farmer and rancher in the mid70s-80s, owned and managed livestock auctions in the 90s, then worked at Hitch Enterprises until retirement in 2016.”
Prior to her Interim appointment in July of 2018, Tucker taught Mathematics at Panhandle State for 20 years and has served as the Department Chair of Mathematics and Physics for the last eight years. Raised in Texhoma, Okla., she earned a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and a Master’s of Education degree with a Specialization in Mathematics from Southwestern Oklahoma State University.
This past fall, Panhandle State consolidated its then five academic schools into three which brought about the College of Ag, Science, and Nursing. While Tucker obviously has experience in the previous School of Math, Science, and Nursing, she is no stranger to the world of Agriculture and its rich tradition at Panhandle State.
Tucker’s husband Jim raises wheat, milo, and corn and farms in Elkhart, Kan. He also has four greenhouses, where he grows mainly hydroponic tomatoes of all varieties. He has also grown poinsettias, cucumbers, green beans, etc. The couple recently begun exploring agritourism by offering a Pumpkin Patch that is open during October.
Tucker commented on the new role. “I am very honored to be named Dean of the COASN. We are currently in a very good place, and that will only get better. We already have very strong “centers of excellence” in Ag, Science, and Nursing. We have superb faculty members who keep students at the center of all we do as well as good facilities and great leadership, both within the college and at the executive level.”
She added, “I am ready to lead this exceptional group to be the best we can. We are going to do great things!”
Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Dr. Julie Dinger said, “Ms. Tucker has the vision and a plan to usher in a new chapter of excellence and success in Agriculture, Science, and Nursing at Panhandle State. She will empower her people and our students to do great things.”
As the COASN Dean, Tucker plans to focus on not only strengthening existing professional partnerships but also forming new ones. In addition, she would also like to see an increase in undergraduate student research experiences.
“At OPSU, our focus is on the student and their academic experience, and we believe there is no better way to learn than by hands-on activities and labs. We already do this and do it well! By utilizing a research-focused approach, coupled with real-world experiences, we can better prepare students for careers in their chosen field or graduate-level work.”
She and Jim have four kids, Emily, Macy, Evyn, and Max. Tucker enjoys reading and going to the kids’ activities.
Tucker said, “The panhandle is home to me. I love this area because the people are salt of the earth, genuine, hard-working, and the pioneering spirit lives on in what we do and how we do things out here.”
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