After a long, distinguished career in higher education, which included induction into the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame and a decade as president of Redlands Community College, Jack Bryant is announcing his retirement effective August 1.
“Serving our students, while working alongside talented faculty and staff, has been a true blessing in my life,” Bryant said. “Being asked to lead our Redlands family for the last decade has been one of the most rewarding, and at times, one of the most challenging, chapters of my career in education, but it has been a privilege and an honor.”
Spanning nearly 40 years, Bryant’s career in higher education has been diverse. He has implemented changes in workforce development, distance education and higher education leadership, but the majority of his career has been spent on community college campuses.
“Community colleges are a vital part of the higher education system, and it has always been my goal to preserve the mission of community colleges and to ensure that all Oklahomans have access to a quality education that will help them achieve their career goals,” Bryant said.
Under his leadership, Redlands formed several public and private partnerships that have expanded programs, enhanced learning opportunities and increased student services. Last Fall, Redlands entered into an innovative shared collaboration with the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma to increase administrative efficiencies in both schools, create enhanced opportunities for students to further their education, and ensure students graduate ready to meet today’s workforce needs.
Over the past decade, the college leveraged $23.3 million in federal grants and over $1 million in state grants to provide valuable support and services to first-generation, low-income and Native American students, as well as to veterans and high school students. In the past year, Bryant spearheaded the college’s efforts to acquire land surrounding the campus with the purpose of improving and expanding the Redlands’ athletics programs and facilities.
“President Bryant is a champion for Redlands and Oklahoma higher education. He has been a strong leader for the college and the most supportive cheerleader for our students,” said Janie Thompson, chair of the Redlands’ Board of Regents. “We are very appreciative of his service and wish him well in his much-deserved retirement.”
Bryant joined Redlands Community College in 1990 as an adjunct instructor, eventually serving as the interim Director of Cooperative Education, Coordinator of Student Development: Project GOALS and Coordinator of Off-Campus Programming and Special Projects. He developed and implemented workforce agreements with business and industry, implemented a grant-funded program in conjunction with the Oklahoma State Department of Human Services and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education, and coordinated the development of a facility incorporating distance learning interactive classrooms, a computer center, art gallery and an interactive lecture center.
Following his first stint at Redlands, Bryant spent time in Tucumcari, New Mexico, establishing and developing the Student Services Division at Mesa Technical College, before becoming the Student Activities Coordinator at the University of Tulsa. In March 1999, after serving as the Director of Continuing Education at Frank Phillips College in Borger, Texas, Bryant was named Associate Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at Oklahoma State University-Oklahoma City.
In 2001, he returned to Redlands as the Vice President for Contracted, Continuing and Online Education. He supervised numerous programs and managed the development of cooperative/articulation agreements with area technology centers and institutions of higher learning. He eventually became Vice President for Workforce & Economic Development, serving nearly 10 years in that capacity before being named acting President of Redlands Community College in 2013.
A strong supporter of the two-year community college honor society, Phi Theta Kappa, Bryant has served on the Phi Theta Kappa President’s Advisory Board since 1995. He is a member of the Oklahoma Heritage Society Hall of Fame and serves on the FCI Warden’s Community Relations Board. He has been a member of the Central Oklahoma Workforce Investment Board for nearly 20 years and has been serving on the Executive Committee.
Bryant began his postsecondary education at Connors State College, earning an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies in 1978, and then completing a Bachelor of Arts in Journalism at Northeastern Oklahoma State University. In 1992, he graduated with a Master of Education in Communications/Education from the University of Central Oklahoma.
Following his retirement, Bryant will be named president emeritus. The Redlands Community College Board of Regents has named Executive Vice President/Chief of Staff Jena Marr interim president effective April 1.