Thursday, August 12, 2010

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When U.S. News and World Report announces its annual college rankings Tuesday, the NBC Today Show will feature a few, hand-picked, top schools, including one in Oklahoma – the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Where USAO or any school fares in this year’s rankings is a tightly guarded secret, say U.S. News editors, but USAO President John Feaver is preparing for the best.

“We have watched as the Mission Enhancement Plan, during its first five years, has transformed our enrollments, raised key quality indicators, and propelled USAO higher in the rankings,” Feaver said. “Already we’ve reached the top five goals in the 10-year MEP plan – rising in national rankings, the highest admission standards in Oklahoma, rising retention rates, a 16:1 student-faculty ratio, and membership in the Council of Public Liberal Arts Colleges. We are thrilled to see this initiative by the Oklahoma State Regents place Oklahoma’s public liberal arts college before another national audience.”

NBC Today Show producers called USAO for video footage, still photographs and details about USAO’s unique mission and profile for use on its program Aug. 17. Christina Shea, a researcher at U.S. News, said the Today Show story will salute top-ranked, select schools across America.

“We have a magnificent faculty at USAO,” said Dr. Dexter Marble, vice president for academic affairs at USAO. “It is wonderful for them and for all the staff and students at USAO to receive this special recognition of our remarkable academic enterprise.”

For nine years, USAO has been the highest-ranked college in Oklahoma in any category in U.S. News. For the last three years, USAO was named No. 1 on the exclusive “Great Schools, Great Prices” list among all baccalaureate colleges, public and private, in the western United States. USAO is ranked No. 1 on the “best buys” list for both academic quality and reasonable cost, according to the magazine’s website. Only 13 percent of all colleges and universities ranked by U.S. News are included on the “best buys” list.

Also this month, Oklahoma subscribers to five national magazines will see full-page ads on USAO. These include Time, Newsweek, U.S. News, Sports Illustrated, and The Week.

The annual U.S. News college rankings issue hits newsstands across America on Aug. 17. On the night before, editors will tell John Feaver and other college presidents across America – but not a moment sooner.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Coming Soon: Steven Pinker!

By Dr. Meagan Rodgers
USAO Assistant Professor of English
Writing Center Director

I'm looking forward to my first Emerson Weir Symposium-- Steven Pinker will be headlining. His talk ("The Stuff of Thought: Language as a Window into Human Nature") sounds like it will pick up on some of the themes he talked about in his fascinating TED presentation. We watched this video in my History of Composition class this term. I've been encouraging the students to consider what it means to "compose" (broadly defined), and Pinker's work fits right in. I'm very interested in learning more about the relationship between language and thought-- to what extent do words shape thought? To what extent do thoughts dictate words? All of this comes into play when writing, communicating, and otherwise "composing."

The other panelists also look interesting-- they'll be inviting us to consider the mind in terms of poetry, philosophy, and data mining/knowledge management.

Dr. Haj Ross is a linguistics professor from UNT. Dr. Justin Fisher is a philosopher at SMU. Dr. Amy McGovern is on the faculty of the School of Computer Science at OU.

The symposium happens on Thursday, April 8th. The panel is from 2-4; Pinker will speak at 7:30pm.

I feel smarter already!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Books for Tots 2009

Seeing children engrossed in good books, laughing, crying, learning new information, or just using their imagination is a wonderful feeling. Unfortunately there are children in your community who seldom experience the adventure of reading a book they can call “their own.” So, for the 14th year the Student National Education Association (SNEA) and Kappa Delta Pi (Education Honor Society) at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma are conducting a fund drive to provide "Books for Tots." During the last 13 years, through the generous support of local community members, businesses, public school children, and service organizations, we have been able to provide more than 47,500 new books at Christmas for needy children. Additionally, thousands of used books have been donated to such organizations as Children’s Hospital, the Ronald McDonald House, Grady Memorial Hospital, Santa’s Workshop, Southwest Youth and Family Services, Oklahoma Highway Patrol, Chickasha Police Department, and Department of Human Services. "Books for Tots" has been recognized at the national, state, and local levels as filling a vital need. It does more than provide books to needy children; it also demonstrates the caring, compassionate nature of people. Thus, the goals of the project are to promote reading, give children the joy of having a book of their own, teach and hopefully instill the value of altruism and community service in our children, and in short make a difference in the lives of children.

Our goal this year is to at least match last year's numbers. With a poor economy and recession, this goal will be difficult to meet. At a time like this less money is normally donated, and more children need our help. Catch 22! So your help is vital. We have been working all year to raise money, but the next few months are particularly important for us to bring in donations. We will distribute books at Christmas to children in need in your community identified by community organizations such as the Department of Human Services, churches, schools, Salvation Army, and Santa's Workshop. Note that the money raised in your community stays in your community to help your children. We invite you to consider asking members of your organization to bring a copy of their favorite children's book to your next meeting(s), to spread the word to other groups and churches with which they may be affiliated, and/or to make a monetary or new book donation themselves.

All cash donations are spent on the children. As the students and faculty at the university all work on a volunteer basis, with SNEA absorbing the printing costs, there are no administrative costs. A list of contributing organizations/businesses accompanies every book. A donation of any amount would be greatly appreciated for this worthy cause. Please make out checks to: USAO Foundation—Books for Tots. Mail to: Dr. Jeanne Mather, USAO Education Department, 1727 W. Alabama, Chickasha OK 73018. Donations of new and/or good used books are also welcome and may be dropped off at the business office on the second floor in Troutt Hall, or the Education Office in Room 106 of Gary Hall. If you are unable to bring the books, call us at (405) 574-1291, and we will be happy to pick them up. Through the efforts of all involved, we know this year will allow us to help many children.


Dr. Jeanne Mather
Advisor SNEA/KDP

Stephanie Conner
President SNEA

Kelly Shewmaker
President KDP

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Alumni Week

Okay, there isn't an official 'alumni week,' but next week two alums from the school come back to Chickasha -- one an author and the other an opera singer.

Shanna (Bartlett) Groves is in town on Monday, July 20, to sign her new novel "Lip Reader." She will be at Java Dave's from 6-9 p.m. Java Dave's is at 1724 South Fourth Street. Shanna has dealt with progressive hearing loss since she was 27.

In the book, a rural Oklahoma family faces hearing loss, deafness and communication challenges in the early 1980’s. Twelve-year-old Sapphie Traylor describes her relatives with vivid detail -- her mother who lives in a fantasy world, a grandmother born deaf, a stern preacher-grandfather, and an aunt fluent in sign language but lacking in social graces. It is up to Rea's young daughter, Sapphie, to solve the mystery of her mother's secret life while finding the courage to forgive.

On Tuesday, 1988 graduate David Settle returns for a recital in the Alumni Chapel at 7:30 p.m. The performance is free and will be a fun time. Dr. David will perform numbers by Johannes Brahms, Giacomo Puccini, Francis Poulenc, Cole Porter and Nicolas Slonimsky.

David is an instructor of voice at Sterling College in Sterling, Kans. He received a bachelor of arts degree in vocal performance from USAO. He earned a master's degree in opera performance from Oklahoma City University and received a doctor of musical arts degree in vocal performance from the University of Oklahoma.

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