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First Legislative Forum of 2017 Held: Redlands Community College hosted Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education Chancellor Glen D. Johnson for a Legislative Forum on Jan. 5. The Forum brought together Administrators and Regents from Redlands, Southwestern Oklahoma State University and the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma to meet with Senator Lonnie Paxton and Representatives Rhonda Baker and David Perryman to discuss the needs of higher education before the Oklahoma Legislature enters its session in February.
Higher education agenda items for the upcoming legislative session include a request to fund the concurrent enrollment program at 100 percent, a request to keep weapons off state campuses and a request to restore the more-than 15 percent budget cut mandated by the legislature during the 2017 fiscal year – a cut which left funding levels for higher education at a 20-year low.
“The impact of the budget cuts on higher education goes far beyond the day-to-day operations of our colleges and universities; it impacts the future of the workforce in Oklahoma,” said Redlands President Jack Bryant.
State officials continue to work to attract business and industry, but higher education administrators and regents are concerned that without adequate resources, colleges and universities will not be able to prepare a workforce that will be in desperate need of Associate and/or Bachelor’s degrees or technical certificates for most jobs in the near future. In addition, speakers at the forum maintained that in order to meet the state’s goals for the Complete College America program and the newly formed Launch Oklahoma campaign, funding for Oklahoma colleges and universities should be viewed as a priority among legislators.
“Open dialogue between legislative leaders and higher education professionals will hopefully help us move our state forward in these challenging times,” Bryant said.
All Redlands Regents attended the briefing, along with Regent Susan Winchester and Regent Lake Carpenter from the Regional University System of Oklahoma Board. USAO President John Feaver and SWOSU President Randy Beutler also attended along with several of their staff members. Professor and Faculty Senate President Mike Tabor and student Sydney Prince represented Redlands.
Chancellor Johnson, Vice Chancellor for Budget and Finance Amanda Paliotta and Vice Chancellor for Government Relations Todd Pauley attended from the OSRHE office.
Livestock Judging Team Champions: The Redlands Community College Livestock Judging Team competed in Denver this month at the 2017 National Western Stock Show, winning Champion Team Overall at the Junior College Carload Contest and 7th Overall Team in Livestock Judging. Student Mathew Owings won 3rd overall and student Colton Pratz won 6th overall. Coach Brandon Callis and Assistant Coach Matt Walta will now take the team to compete next at the Fort Worth Stock Show and Rodeo in February.
Academic Team Headed to Nationals: This month, the Redlands Community College Academic Team won the Regional Academic Quiz Tournament for the sixth year in a row and is now headed to Nationals in Minneapolis in February. Thirteen teams vied for the Regional title. In addition, Redlands Student Marco Salas, a Redlands team captain, won first place in the individual rankings. Salas, a sophomore majoring in Sociology, is a first-generation college student from Guymon, Oklahoma. Redlands Political Science Professors Cherry Rain and Tom Taylor serve as coaches for the team.
Former ITT Tech Nursing Students Find a Home at Redlands: When the doors to ITT Technical Institute were locked nationwide on Sept. 6, 2016, Dean Rose Marie Smith went to work to see if Redlands could help any of the nursing students in Oklahoma left without their degrees. Dean Smith’s nursing faculty met quickly to discuss any possible alignment of the Redlands nursing degree with the ITT nursing degree. Following those discussions, Redlands held student information sessions for the former ITT nursing students. During each session, Dean Smith reviewed the admission criteria, degree plan, general enrollment information and financial aid options for the ITT students.
After receiving and evaluating 33 student transcripts, the students were informed that they would need to apply for transfer to the Redlands Community College Nursing Program; each one would then need to meet the same admission criteria as any nursing student applicant.
Eight nursing students were eligible to transfer into the second year of the nursing program, Class of 2017; seven nursing students were eligible to transfer into the first year of the nursing program, Class of 2018.
Many of the other displaced ITT students are enrolled in coursework to meet admission requirements, mainly completion of General Chemistry, and will be eligible to apply for the Class of 2019. Redlands Science faculty have also worked diligently to coordinate lab and course offerings for the former ITT students.
In addition, Redlands housing was made available to displaced ITT students at a special one-semester contract, as many of the students who applied for and were granted transfer into the Redlands nursing program live in the Tulsa metro area.
Students Present Honors Presentations; Prepare for Regional Conference: Six Redlands students completed Honors coursework in various disciplines including Agriculture, Science, and English Composition during the Fall 2016 semester. Four of the students presented their work at the Fall 2016 Honors Symposium held at Redlands Community College.
Two Zoology students, Taylor Howard and Caley Ellington, completed a poster and oral presentation regarding their experiences at BioBlitz 2016, held at the University of Oklahoma biological field station at Lake Texoma. English student Lacey Wilczek presented her research in equine therapy, and Chemistry student Tyler Reavis presented his work in Dual slit experimentation.
The completion of the Honors projects and symposium were made successful due to the diligent work by our Redlands students as well as the commitment to academic excellence by faculty mentors. The students who presented at the Symposium will now have their work submitted for peer review and possible inclusion in the 2017 Great Plains Honors Council Conference in April 2017 at Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas.
Redlands Gallery Hosts Local Guild Show: The Redlands Community College Art Gallery is now hosting the photographic works of the Chapel Hill United Methodist Church Photography Guild through Feb. 10. “Oklahoma Eyes” includes matted and/or framed and matted images featuring wildlife, landscapes, people and urban scenes from around the world and around the corner. Photographers include: Larry Clements, Megan Clements, Richard Clements, Cyndy Janssen, Sue Kruger, Michele Pitt, Wilson Roberts, Christy Taylor, Justin Waits, George Williams, Kay Williams and Ed Zweiacher. The Chapel Hill Photo Guild is an open group whose members include professionals and amateurs.
The gallery is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. The next exhibition, featuring the paintings of Darla Zook, will open on Feb. 13.