The Opportunity

The board of trustees is seeking an experienced and dynamic leader to be the 19th president of Oklahoma City University. The search for a new president was launched in response to the decision by President Martha Burger to retire in June of 2021. This individual will have an exceptional opportunity to lead a university that has nationally recognized schools and programs within the context of a liberal arts and professional studies institution.

Established in 1904, Oklahoma City University (OCU) is a coeducational, urban private university located in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, in the Uptown 23 district. The university is affiliated with The United Methodist Church and offers a wide variety of degrees in liberal arts, performing arts, nursing, and business, with more than 60 undergraduate majors and 20 graduate degrees, as well as a J.D. degree through the Oklahoma City University School of Law. OCU enrolls more than 1,500 undergraduate students and 1,100 graduate students from 30 states and 43 countries. OCU is ranked #28 in the “Regional Universities West” category by U.S. News & World Report in its 2019 Best Colleges edition. OCU is also listed in Forbes magazine’s “Best Christian Colleges” and “100 Best College Buys.” The university has also been named a “Great College to Work For” by the Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Position

Role of the Oklahoma City University President

Appointed by, and reporting directly to, the board of trustees, the president is the chief executive officer of the university principally responsible for implementing the board’s policies and overseeing strategic planning, budget management, academic mission, student success, resource development, fundraising, and institutional operations.

The president oversees a $76 million institutional budget, an enrollment of 2,660 undergraduate and graduate students, 196 full time faculty, and 339 full and part-time staff. Students represent 30 states as well as 17 countries. The president will set the direction for integrated and collaborative operations and administrative structures across the institution and will foster the connection to The United Methodist Church.

Responsibilities of the president include the following:

  • Providing a clear strategic direction and vision for the university that is inspiring and compelling to all constituents while promoting the goals, mission, and values of the institution.
  • Identifying, understanding, and articulating OCU’s mission and values, both internally and externally, while celebrating the university as a welcoming and inclusive community in which to learn, work, and educate.
  • Creating partnerships with corporations, city and government entities, and non-profit and the greater Oklahoma City community organizations to enhance awareness of the educational, workforce development, program support, and cultural value offered by Oklahoma City University.
  • Fostering OCU’s value as a private institution that is innovative, inclusive, and student centered, as demonstrated by a relevant curriculum and innovative programs.
  • Working effectively with the board of trustees, facilitating the board’s commitment to the university through ethical management, fiduciary oversight, and responsible governance.
  • Understanding and affirming the importance of shared governance, striving to maintain the balance between faculty and staff participation in planning and decision-making processes and administrative accountability.
  • Maintaining and overseeing revenue growth and financial and institutional stability, with a particular focus on student enrollment, retention, and persistence.
  • Supporting the continued focus on student support and success, both inside and outside the classroom.
  • Leading the OCU community in making entrepreneurial and strategic decisions connected to budgetary priorities in a continued spirit of openness, collaboration, and transparency.
  • Supporting and implementing the policy decisions of the board of trustees, ensuring sound fiscal and facilities management, and overseeing the adequacy of legal and risk management policies and programs.

Recent History of the Presidential Position

Tom McDaniel served as the 16th president of Oklahoma City University. He graduated from the University of Oklahoma College of Law in 1960. He practiced law in Alva, Oklahoma for 15 years before becoming the Oklahoma administrative director of the courts. He worked for the Kerr-McGee Corporation as general counsel and then as the vice-chairman of the board. After retiring from Kerr-McGee, he served as president of Oklahoma City University for eight years from 2001-2010. Under McDaniel’s term the enhancement of university facilities included renovations to the Ann Lacy Visitor and Admissions Center, the Norick Art Center, the Tom and Brenda McDaniel University Center, and the Edith Kinney Gaylord Center, as well as new construction of the Wanda L. Bass School of Music, the Meinders School of Business, and the United Methodist Residence Hall.

Robert Henry became the university’s 17th president in 2010. Henry formerly served as the attorney general of Oklahoma from 1986 to 1991, before resigning early in his second term to become the dean of the Oklahoma City University School of Law, where he remained until 1994. Henry was then appointed as a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, a position he held until he resigned to return to Oklahoma City University as president. Under Henry’s leadership, the Oklahoma City University School of Law moved to its downtown location in 2015, connecting students more closely with internship and employment opportunities.

The current president, Martha Burger, became OCU’s 18th and first female president in 2018. Since becoming OCU president, the university has added a program in game design and animation and an Esports team. The School of Theatre was the first and only U.S. school to become a member of the World Theatre Education Alliance based in Beijing, China and OCU was named one of the Great Colleges to Work For in 2019. President Burger was named to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame’s Class of 2020.

Opportunities, Priorities and Measures of Success for the New President

Oklahoma City University is seeking an intentional, innovative leader as its next president. It is expected that the next president will be a prudent and incisive administrator and a strong and effective communicator who will understand the role and the current opportunities and challenges of a small, private, religiously-affiliated university. The president will model and encourage collaborative, interdisciplinary decision-making processes and demonstrate a strong commitment to institutional alignment and student success.

While a fixed leadership agenda has not been set for the new president, the University adopted a strategic plan in 2018 which provides guidance for the new president in formulating initiatives. There is consensus among stakeholders that the new president will need to address the following priorities, among others:

A Prudent Administrator of University Resources

The OCU president is responsible for the management of a $76 million budget. The University’s endowment is approximately $125 million and is managed by the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation.

The current president, Martha Burger, has reset the financial platform for the university through recapitalization of the institutional debt through bonds and increased cash flow. In addition, President Burger has revitalized and improved the university’s advancement operation, installing a dynamic team that is focused on cultivation of new and existing donors and increasing annual giving. The enhanced financial stability has set the platform for the next leader to lead the institution in achieving institutional goals. As a private institution of higher education, Oklahoma City University is largely tuition dependent. The new president will be expected to enhance enrollment beyond its current stable forecast and develop a robust budget model that strategically develops enhanced campus resources for continued growth.

Tuition and fees for 2019 was $32,500 and room and board was $11,230 with 54 percent of students living on campus. The next president must have a firm grasp of enrollment strategy and the ability to lead the institution in the development of academic programs for enrollment and revenue growth and increased student degree completion. The total amount of gifts and bequests in 2019 was $13 million and of that the annual fund, a key support for institutional operating funds, was $1 million. The new president will need to have a strong level of fundraising experience that speaks to both major gift cultivation as well as alumni engagement. The university has hired a new CFO, who will begin in the position in early November.

An Ability to Build and Leverage Working Relationships for the Institution

There are several threads that are part of the Oklahoma City University fabric—the importance and prominence of the institution to Oklahoma City, the close knit nature of business and personal relationships in the region, and the institution’s active affiliation with The United Methodist Church.

The president will be expected to actively engage OCU’s donors and board of trustees in the energy and momentum of the university. It will be necessary for the new president to support the advancement unit in the generation of new philanthropic revenue streams that will be important in maintaining the uniqueness and quality of the university’s academic and co-curricular programs, the scope of its educational delivery expertise, and the desirability of its facilities. The president, in close partnership with the board and other key constituents, will need to focus on increasing and broadening donor support and strengthening relationships with alumni, individuals, corporations, and private foundations.

In 1904, Oklahoma City University was formed by the Methodist Church. The university has carried this history forward in creating a values centered community that embraces the core values of integrity, respect, diversity and inclusion, and collaboration. The new president will need to understand the support provided by the church and seek to build on collaborations that will continue to reinforce the interfaith spirit of the campus and underpin the institutional mission of scholarship and service.

Named a 2020 top destination city, Oklahoma City is intertwined with Oklahoma City University. The president serves as the institutional ambassador for OCU within the larger Oklahoma City community. From connecting with business leaders around internships for students or identifying emerging workforce needs, to working with Oklahoma City’s leadership on OCU’s commitment to the city’s economic development, to identifying the needs of the community and OCU’s mission to serve within that community the OCU president is in an important leader within Oklahoma City.

A Driver of Academic Excellence and Alignment

OCU, as a small private liberal arts institution has nationally ranked programs in the performing arts, an ABA accredited law school, an AACSB accredited business school, and a strong nursing undergraduate and graduate program including a new doctoral degree in physical therapy. The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission to award six baccalaureate degrees (64 majors), ten master’s degrees (26 programs), four doctoral degrees, and 14 certificates through its five schools and colleges. The current provost is an interim appointment and the search for a new provost will be a priority for the new president. The new president will be joining OCU following a recent academic program review that focused on alignment between enrollment, resources, and academic programs. Academic planning and design around curriculum offerings that meet articulated workforce needs and student interests will be a significant undertaking led by the provost, deans, and faculty with the new president providing an institutional framework for the direction of curriculum innovations. The new president must also galvanize campus units that support student success to design collaborations and systems that identify a pathway for students from first year to graduation.

A Strategic Builder of Organizations

Changes in presidential leadership offer colleges and universities a unique opportunity to review, assess, and invite conversations about the future direction of the institution. Oklahoma City University functions as a collection of units—schools, colleges, programs, recruitment, retention, persistence, etc. This provides an opportunity for the new president to help build an integrated student experience which is holistic and will allow for informed and collaborative decisions that will support and drive the success of the entire university. The new president must be able to be collaborative and provide transparency and cohesion around all aspects of the educational model with students at the core. Additionally, the president must embrace OCU’s focus on inter-disciplinary approaches to learning, the development of cultural competencies, and the power of the liberal arts.

An Advocate for Equity and Inclusion

Oklahoma City University attracts students nationally as well as internationally. The demographic makeup of OCU students closely mirrors that of Oklahoma City—a vibrant and expanding city with about 30 percent of the population identifying as diverse. OCU alumni have planted roots from Oklahoma to New York City and add to the richness that comprises the OCU community. The new president will need to foster and ensure a safe, inclusive and welcoming environment for all students, faculty, staff, and alumni as well as be adept at acknowledging, supporting, and cultivating diversity within Oklahoma City’s leadership communities. As OCU is Oklahoma City’s university, the new president must chart a strategic course to continue to represent the university’s values and mission based foundation as the institution moves forward in an ever evolving landscape. The president must be a consummate relationship builder who identifies and nurtures opportunities for mutual engagement—a visible and active participant in conversations that address issues of importance to all facets of the Oklahoma City community.

Measures of Success

At an appropriate interval after joining Oklahoma City University, the items listed below will initially define success for the new president:

  • The new president will have worked collaboratively with OCU constituents to continue to define OCU’s overarching brand and position for the institution internally and externally for the next century.
  • The new president will have demonstrated strong advocacy for diversity, equity and inclusion through the development of effective policy making, practices, and processes focused on equity and belonging.
  • The new president will have reviewed major processes, policies, and procedures involving key staff and faculty throughout the campus to look for efficiencies and opportunities to combine, collaborate, share, develop, or discard functions and practices that are antiquated, in an effort to streamline, automate, and use technology to make improvements that serve all constituents.
  • The new president will be working closely with the advancement office to examine the outcomes of the scholarship campaign, expand grant and foundation efforts, build business partnerships and corporate support, and engage alumni with a focus on continuing to raise funds and identify resources for the university.
  • The new president will be working closely with enrollment and academic affairs to align the curriculum and academic programs with the demands of employers and students for cutting-edge and emerging fields of study.
  • The new president will be working closely with the board of trustees in a manner that is open and engaging and uses all of the resources of the institution to inform the board of the work of the campus, faculty, and students.
  • The new president will be working in a way that engages OCU with all of the communities that OCU serves—alumni, donors, Oklahoma City, The United Methodist Church—and recognizes the diversity of the institution and its students.

Qualifications and Characteristics

Oklahoma City University seeks an energetic, accomplished, and forward-thinking leader in the presidential role at a time of opportunity and challenge, building on an institutional legacy of values-based education in both liberal arts and professional studies, as Oklahoma City’s university. Minimum requirements include a master’s degree; significant experience in the administration of a multi-faceted complex organization; strong financial acumen and a track record of effectively managing human, fiscal, and capital resources; the ability to understand and advocate for the institutional mission; demonstrated experience in leading organizational change; a proven ability to build relationships and work effectively with a board; and a working knowledge of fundraising and advancement.

The ideal candidate will possess an earned doctorate and a record of successful executive-level experience within higher education, preferably at a private institution. The successful candidate will have demonstrated success in fundraising, possess a proficiency around the enrollment challenges of a tuition-dependent institution, and have extensive experience working with a governing board in a shared governance environment. It will be important for the new president to have a record of collaborative leadership and a confirmed ability to build and sustain a diverse and inclusive educational environment. It will also be important that the new president understands and appreciates the university’s affiliation with The United Methodist Church and embraces OCU’s core values of integrity, respect, diversity and inclusion, and collaboration.

Additional capabilities and attributes identified as important to Oklahoma City University stakeholders include the following:

  • a strategic planner and thinker who will be able to work collaboratively with all OCU constituents in implementing OCU’s strategic tactics framework;
  • a proven ability to develop collaborative, intentional strategies to support an institutional commitment to diversity, inclusion, and educational opportunity at all levels;
  • a visionary leader and administrator with a clear understanding of, and experience with, financial planning including budget management, forecasting, cost control, and resource allocation in a landscape of increasing institutional need;
  • a leader who understands the role of advancement/fundraising and its relationship to the operational and aspirational needs of a small, private institution in today’s environment;
  • a leader who understands the importance of enrollment management in a tuition-dependent institution with a comprehension of enrollment modeling and tuition pricing;
  • exceptional communication and listening skills will be imperative to the success of the new president, who will need to take some time to assimilate information about the culture and the work of the university against the backdrop of Oklahoma City;
  • an innovative spirit and a willingness to “push the envelope” for positive change;
  • demonstrated experience in creating and supporting high-performing leadership teams;
  • an ability to envision the future potential of OCU, balanced by an administrative skill set and the drive necessary to see ideas transformed into action with measurable results;
  • demonstrated self-confidence and sound judgment befitting an executive officer of a complex higher education enterprise;
  • an individual with an open, transparent, and highly collaborative leadership style;
  • an enthusiastic and effective ambassador for Oklahoma City University who will engage internal and external communities with clarity, sincerity, and sound consensus-building skills;
  • a leader who is able to articulate and appreciate the role of The United Methodist Church as it informs the institutional mission across the diverse community that encompasses OCU;
  • recognize excellence and the contributions of individuals throughout the university, celebrating success whenever possible;
  • work effectively with constituents of varied backgrounds and positions of responsibility, both internal to the university and externally across distinct constituent groups;
  • be politically savvy and respectful of institutional culture and varied stakeholder perspectives;
  • embrace the university’s mission and understand how the role of the board of trustees, the Oklahoma City community, and The United Methodist Church support OCU and its students;
  • be purposeful about innovation and student success and work on programs and partnerships that change the way the university operates in the education of students;
  • provide leadership for diverse, high-quality, and innovative academic and workforce development curriculums offered in multiple modalities;
  • have a deep understanding of shared governance and how shared governance supports an institution in planning, innovation, strategy, and vision.

Institution & Location

Overview of Oklahoma City University

Oklahoma City University offers a diverse, inclusive culture committed to producing graduates who think critically and communicate effectively. With an enrollment of 2,660 students, OCU provides a liberal arts education that prepares students for a life of leadership and service.

Accreditation

The university is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) to award six baccalaureate degrees (64 majors), ten master’s degrees (26 programs), four doctoral degrees, and 14 certificates. In addition, the nursing program is accredited by the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission, the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, and the Oklahoma Board of Nursing; the music program is accredited by the National Association of Schools of Music; the Business School is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business; and the law school is accredited by the American Bar Association and the Association of American Law Schools. The university’s most recent decennial reaffirmation of accreditation from HLC was completed in 2011-2012. The next decennial reaffirmation from HLC will be required in 2021-2022.

Mission Statement

“Oklahoma City University prepares all learners to Create, Lead, and Serve. We provide a diverse, inclusive culture committed to producing graduates who think critically and innovatively, communicate effectively, and use their knowledge and talents to make a local and global impact.”

Oklahoma City University is committed to an education that:

  • Provides students with the skills and confidence to adapt to, and excel in, a complex and dynamic world.
  • Invests continually in its students, staff, faculty, alumni, and programming to enrich academic and co-curricular offerings.
  • Fosters partnerships within, and beyond, the university to enrich lifelong learning.
  • Develops informed global citizens ready to engage with their communities and contribute to the world.
  • Develops graduates who are ethical, highly employable professionals.
  • Honors our United Methodist history and tradition of scholarship and service.

Vision Statement

Oklahoma City University will be an innovative academic institution with local impact and global reach and reputation. By providing a student-focused learning environment and an inclusive, values-centered culture that engages the community and the world, Oklahoma City University will be a university of choice for talented and high-potential students, faculty, and staff.

Values Statement

OCU Core Values

Integrity: We hold ourselves and each other accountable to do the right thing in all circumstances.

Respect: We honor the worth of all by treating ourselves and others with dignity and kindness.

Diversity and Inclusion: We strive to understand and embrace our differences. We take purposeful action to foster a welcoming and supportive environment for all.

Collaboration: We intentionally pursue our common goals with a genuine spirit of community.

United Methodist Affiliation

While the university is affiliated with The United Methodist Church, the university’s government and management are vested in its independent, self-perpetuating board of trustees. Pursuant to the university’s amended and restated certificate of incorporation dated October 25, 2017, the board of trustees must consist of no fewer than 25 and no more than 50 members, and a majority of the members of the board must be members of The United Methodist Church. The list of elected trustees must be approved by the Oklahoma Conference of the United Methodist Church. The university bylaws provide for an executive committee, the members of which include the chairperson and the vice chairperson of the board, the treasurer of the university, the resident Bishop for the Oklahoma Area of the United Methodist Church, and the chairs of each standing committee.

There is also a small annual appropriation that comes to the university from the church. Additionally, Saint Paul School of Theology, a seminary of The United Methodist Church, has a location on the OCU campus and the OCU School of religion offers one of only four United Methodist youth ministry programs in the U.S.

2018-2023 Strategic Plan Tactics

During the 2017-2018 academic year, the university’s strategic planning leadership team engaged in a collaborative and participatory strategic planning process to develop measurable tactics for each approved strategic focus area, with the goal of moving the university forward toward the year 2023. The 2018-2023 Strategic Plan Tactics were initially presented to the board of trustees in October of 2018 and are updated and presented for review at each quarterly meeting of the Development and Strategic Planning Committee of the board.

The 2018-2023 Strategic Plan Tactics provides four primary focus areas and related strategic initiatives as follows:

OCU will prepare students for lifelong success in career and service: in the classroom, in experiential learning opportunities that connect students to practitioners, in co-curricular experiences, and in development of professional relationships on-campus and off-campus.

  • Recruit and retain students who are demographically and financially diverse.
  • Develop educational opportunities for students with alumni, corporations, nonprofits, and government.
  • Develop new, fiscally responsible academic programs that enhance students’ lifelong success and meet community demand.
  • Develop and support an active career services function for each college, school and program.

OCU will be a vibrant and safe learning and living campus.

  • Develop and maintain functional and attractive student housing and recreational facilities with programming and spaces designed to encourage and support learning.
  • Develop and maintain the appearance, functionality and safety of the entire campus.
  • Enable innovative and effective educational delivery by providing leading edge technology services.

OCU will foster a culture that supports a diverse, collaborative, innovative, and creative faculty, staff and administrators who are strategic, pragmatic and fiscally responsible.

  • Attract and support skilled, talented and effective faculty and staff.
  • Develop and maintain a culture that encourages and supports creativity, innovation, collaboration, and diversity.
  • Develop and maintain an entrepreneurial culture that rewards strategic, pragmatic, and fiscally responsible processes and decisions.

As Oklahoma City’s university, OCU will serve its local communities and expand its national and global engagement.

  • Explore the role as an integral component of Oklahoma City, interwoven into the fabric of the city’s communities.
  • Improve the visibility of OCU’s presence in, service to, and positive impact on local, national and global communities.
  • Create an atmosphere where alumni can continually engage with OCU artistically, professionally and socially.

View the full Strategic Tactics Plan.

Leadership

President Martha A. Burger

Martha Burger is the 18th president of Oklahoma City University. She is a former executive in the energy industry and served as senior vice president – human and corporate resources at Chesapeake Energy Corporation. She also served the company as treasurer and corporate secretary. During her tenure at Chesapeake, the company grew from less than 100 employees to over 13,000 and was recognized by Fortune magazine as one of the 100 Best Companies to Work For® in the U.S. She was instrumental in creating and sustaining the company’s vibrant, unique and nationally recognized culture.

Burger is extremely active in civic and professional organizations as well as statewide initiatives. She has a long history with Oklahoma City University, earning her MBA from OCU in 1992 and joining the Meinders School of Business Oklahoma Commerce and Industry Hall of Honor in 2011. She served as a trustee and chair of the university’s Audit and Finance Committee. She also received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters in 2012.

The Board of Trustees

The president of Oklahoma City University reports to the board of trustees. OCU has a 46-member board led by chairman Paul McLaughlin. Board officers also include vice chairman Gary Homsey, secretary Jane Jayroe Gamble, treasurer Nicholas Harroz, III, chairman emeritus William F. Shdeed, chairman emeritus Ron Norick, and resident bishop of the Oklahoma Episcopal Area of the United Methodist Church, James “Jimmy” Nunn.

View a full list of university trustees

Institutional Administrative Officers

  • George Sims, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs
  • Kevan Buck, chief financial officer
  • Lynann Sterk-Brooks, vice president for university advancement
  • Kevin Windholz, vice president for enrollment management and university communication
  • Amy Ayres, vice president for student affairs
  • Joey Croslin, vice president for human resources
  • Casey Ross, general counsel
  • Talia Carroll, vice president for diversity and inclusion

George Sims, Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs

George Sims joined Oklahoma City University in July of 2019. Previously, Dr. Sims served as provost for Spring Hill College from 2007 through 2019, as vice president for academic affairs for Muskingum College from 2001 through 2005, and as interim provost for Belmont University from 1999 through 2001. From 1998 through 2000, he also served as an examiner for the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. During 1996-1997, Dr. Sims was an American Council on Education Fellow at Hendrix College. He served as a faculty member in the department of history at Belmont University (1986-1999) and Wayland Baptist University (1981-1986). Dr. Sims earned a B.A. in History from Samford University in 1976 and a Ph.D. in the History of the American South from Emory University in 1981.

Kevan Buck, Chief Financial Officer

Kevan Buck was appointed as the university’s new CFO in November of 2020. His primary responsibilities include providing leadership and oversight to the financial accounting services group, university financial management, and ensuring a sound and effective budgetary process. Prior to coming to OCU, Buck served as the executive vice president and treasurer of the University of Tulsa from 2000 to 2020. Preceding his time at the University of Tulsa, he served as vice president for business and finance at Wilmington College from 1993 to 2000 and as comptroller at Ashland University from 1985 to 1993. Buck holds a MBA from Wright State University and a B.S. degree from Michigan Technological University.

Lynann Sterk-Brooks, Vice President for University Advancement

Lynann Sterk-Brooks has served as the vice president for university advancement at the university since 2018. She previously served as director of the Center for Graduate Student Success at the University of Oklahoma’s Price College of Business, where she was named the first-ever director for the professional MBA program, helping to manage the transformative move and fundraising efforts to expand the Gene Rainbolt Graduate School of Business in Oklahoma City and establish the Center for Graduate Student Success. She also previously served as associate director for development at Price College. Prior to her work at the University of Oklahoma, Sterk-Brooks was the director of institutional advancement for the Casady School, associate vice president and executive director of leadership gifts at Austin College in Texas, and a student congress advisor and leadership director at Norman High School. She also taught English and journalism at Cascia Hall Preparatory School in Tulsa. Sterk-Brooks holds a B.A. degree from Oklahoma Baptist University.

Kevin Windholz, Vice President for Enrollment Management and University Communications

Kevin Windholz was named vice president for enrollment management and university communications at the university in 2012. He oversees undergraduate, graduate, and international admissions; student financial services; and university communications. He previously served as associate director of admissions for Saint Louis University and worked in admissions at Washburn University. He holds a B.A. degree from Fort Hays State University in Kansas and an M.A. degree with an emphasis in higher education research from Washburn University.

Amy Ayres, Vice President for Student Affairs  

Dr. Amy Ayres joined the university in July of 2015 as vice president for student affairs and dean of students. In this role, she has oversight of counseling services, career services, the dean of students office, housing and residence life, student engagement, inclusion and multicultural programs, student conduct, behavioral intervention team, fraternity and sorority life, and the student government association. Dr. Ayres previously served as senior director for involvement and engagement at the University of Texas at Arlington, where she supervised the leadership center, fraternity and sorority life, student activities and organizations, and university events. She also served the University of North Texas community for 15 years, much of that time as associate dean of students. She holds a B.A. degree in journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. degree in higher education from the University of North Texas. She obtained a doctoral degree in higher education from the University of North Texas in 2007.

Joey Croslin, Vice President for Human Resources

Joey Croslin currently serves as the vice president for human resources and possesses over eleven years of higher education human resources experience. She earned her undergraduate degree in human resources management from Park University and her master of human relations degree from the University of Oklahoma. Joey has a passion for higher education human resources and aligning OCU’s human resources strategies with the mission and strategic initiatives of the institution. In addition to serving as vice president for human resources, Croslin also serves as OCU’s Title IX coordinator. She has a strong background in talent acquisition, employee relations, and organizational development and frequently facilitates team building, department planning, and leadership retreats for the university. Croslin is a past president of Oklahoma CUPA-HR and served in various roles on the board from 2010-2015. Prior to her career in higher education human resources, Croslin served as an active duty member of the United States Air Force. Stationed at Tinker AFB, Oklahoma, she served as an avionics technician performing intermediate maintenance for the E-3 AWACS program.

Casey Ross, University General Counsel

Casey Ross was named university general counsel in 2015. The general counsel’s office manages all litigation on behalf of the university and serves as liaison to the board of trustees. Ross received her J.D./M.B.A. from Oklahoma City University in 2003. She also received her B.S. in business administration from Oklahoma City University in 2000. Ross also serves as director of the American Indian Law and Sovereignty Center at the university’s school of law and as a clinical professor of law. Her scholarship focuses on American Indian land and property issues in Oklahoma. She has published works in the areas of Indian child welfare, domestic violence, and taxation in tribal communities. She has also lectured nationally and internationally on Indian law topics and presents frequently at related events. Prior to joining the faculty at the university’s school of law, Ross served as the senior legislative officer for the Cherokee Nation in its Washington, D.C., office. Ross is a citizen of the Cherokee Nation.

Talia Carroll, Vice President for Diversity and Inclusion

Dr. Talia Carroll was named the inaugural vice president for diversity and inclusion following the creation of the campus office of Diversity and Inclusion. She has served in this role since June of 2020. Dr. Carroll has had previous leadership experience at The Pennsylvania State University and University of Northern Colorado where she held positions in residence life, summer programs, and equity and inclusion. The common thread throughout her career is her commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. She has also served as an adjunct faculty member, teaching courses in leadership and student development theory. Dr. Carroll holds a B.A. in English and a M.Ed. in adult and higher education from the University of Oklahoma, and a Ph.D. in higher education from The Pennsylvania State University.

Faculty and Staff

Faculty

The university has a full-time faculty of 196 members as of the fall of 2019. The following is a summary of faculty data for academic years 2015 through 2019.

2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Number of full-time faculty 191 191 193 201 196
Number of part-time faculty 141 139 133 139 133
Tenure rate 46% 48% 47% 45% 44%
Percent holding terminal degrees(1) 71% 71% 69% 68% 68%
Student/Faculty ratio 11:1 11:1 11:1 10:1 10:1

____________
(1)Applies to tenure-track faculty

Staff

To complement the university’s faculty, there are 339 full-time and part-time staff positions (non-faculty). The university staff is focused on supporting the educational endeavors of the institution in an employee-friendly environment.

Advancement and Alumni

Summary of gifts and bequests for the past five fiscal years:

Total Amount of

Fiscal Year      Gifts and Bequests

 

2015                $11,096,565

2016                $5,458,806

2017                $8,762,024

2018                $5,061,246

2019                $13,251,856

The university has not held a major campaign in ten years; however, the board of trustees is currently reviewing the feasibility of a small campaign that would be focused on enhancing scholarship endowment.

The university has 45,000 alumni who are reachable via email, with 20 percent of OCU alumni living or working within ten miles of the main campus.

       54,721 Alumni in the database
       45,111 Alumni who (to our knowledge) are living
       31,188 Alumni with a valid US mailing address
       17,174 Alumni with a valid Oklahoma mailing address (including current employees)
       15,796 Alumni within 60 miles of OCU’s main campus
       13,393 Alumni living in the OKC metropolitan area
         9,094 Alumni living within ten miles of OCU’s main campus

 

         1,953 Alumni living within 30 miles of the DFW airport (Dallas-Fort Worth Texas area)
         1,650 Alumni living within 30 miles of Tulsa, OK
            559 Alumni living within 30 miles of New York City, NY
            449 Alumni living within 30 miles of Los Angeles, CA
            431 Alumni living within 30 miles of Washington, DC
            338 Alumni living within 30 miles of Denver, CO
            238 Alumni living within 30 miles of Chicago, IL
            232 Alumni living within 30 miles of Kansas City, MO
            110 Alumni living within 30 miles of Orlando, FL

Enrollment and University Communications

Admissions

The fall 2019 class, by the enrollment breakdown:

Undergraduate

Performing Arts: 718

Arts and Sciences: 467

Nursing: 229

Business: 170

Graduate: 483

Doctorate: 133

Law: 462

Total: 2,662

The 2019 entering undergraduate first-year class had an ACT average score of 25.63 and an average GPA of 3.82. Admission data for first-year students for the past five years:

Fall Applications Applications Percent Applicants Percent
Received Accepted Accepted Enrolled Enrolled  
           
2015    1,414   1,013   72%  303  30%
2016    1,504   1,111   73  312  28
2017    1,456   1,095   75  288  26
2018    1,658   1,282   77  365  28
2019    1,637   1,232   75  332  27

In the fall of 2018, students applied from 51 states and U.S. territories and enrolled from 30 states; and international students applied from 60 countries and the university enrolled 36 new international students representing 17 countries.

The university continues to recruit internationally and hired a new director of international admissions in March of 2019, with a focus on expanding recruitment outside of the traditional markets. The admissions office also partners with the office of international education and with faculty and staff who are engaged in programs and research overseas.

The university has partnered with Collegis Education to review the alignment of academic programs with market demand, as well as support the increasing the number of transfer students. Additionally, this year admissions went to a test optional application process.

Financial Aid

Institutional Financial Aid FY 2019:  $31,926,395

Federal Financial Aid FY 2019:        $36,603,984

University financial aid, in the form of tuition discounts, has been strategically managed by the institution. OCU’s 2019 discount rate overall was 39 percent and for undergraduate students was 45 percent. The board of trustees has directed that such discounts be reduced by one percent overall over the next five years. To ensure that enrollment is not negatively impacted by a reduction in discounts, the university has identified programs for which a reduction is anticipated to have a neutral impact. Those programs include student government association officer discount and athletics. The reduction in discounts is applied to new undergraduate students so as not to impact returning students. Additionally, as new programs are considered, the university will evaluate the potential program need for discounts and expects to prioritize adding those programs that require the least amount of discounts.

Communications

The university’s marketing strategy has been strengthened with several initiatives that seek to synergize the strength of the academic programs with the institution’s student support programs. Advertising has moved to digital platforms, increasing the breadth of distribution and allowing real-time tracking of views. Advertising has been strategically aligned for specific recruitment initiatives (first year, business, graduate recruitment, nursing, and the new physical therapy program) to prioritize efforts for the areas with the most potential for increased headcount and revenues. The university is developing more video advertising through a new partnership with a firm that designs, shoots, distributes, and houses video pieces that will showcase the university’s niche programs.

Academic Affairs

The division of Academic Affairs encompasses all schools and colleges of Oklahoma City University and several academic support offices, including the registrar, international education, institutional research, assessment, and the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning.

Grounded in a core curriculum focused on academic excellence and servant leadership, the university offers bachelors, masters and doctoral degrees, with more than 60 majors and 25 minors throughout its schools and colleges. Undergraduate majors include accounting, art, biochemistry, biology, business administration, computer science, dance, education, exercise sports science, film production, finance, mathematics, music, nursing, political science, religion, and theatre. Graduate programs include nursing, business, education, nonprofit leadership, music, a physician’s assistant program, a physical therapy program, and law.

Schools and Colleges

  • Kramer School of Nursing
  • Margaret E. Petree College of Performing Arts
    • Ann Lacy School of Dance and Entertainment
    • School of Theatre
    • Wanda L. Bass School of Music
  • Meinders School of Business
  • Petree College of Arts & Sciences
    • School of Liberal Arts & Sciences
    • School of Visual Arts
    • Wimberly School of Religion
  • School of Law

Study abroad is an integral part the University’s initiative on global learning and leadership education. The university offers numerous semester-long study abroad opportunities in 14 countries, including Austria, Germany, Japan, Morocco, Spain, and the United Kingdom. In addition, the university offers faculty-led programs abroad, ranging from ten days to six weeks. Such faculty-led programs for 2019 included the art of chamber music in Madrid, Spain; British media in London; LGBTQ advocacy and leadership in Greece; and Spanish language and literature in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Oklahoma City University has national performing arts programs. The Ann Lacy School of American Dance and Entertainment was named the #1 Bachelor of Fine Arts dance program in the United States for the 2017-2018 academic year by Onstage, a national media outlet covering performing arts. The School of Theatre alumni have been cast most recently in Broadway productions of Hello, Dolly!, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, and Wicked. Notable alumni of the Wanda Bass School of Music include Kristin Chenoweth and Kelli O’Hara, both of whom are accomplished actresses and singers, have starred in numerous Broadway shows, and have received numerous Tony Awards and nominations.

The Oklahoma City University School of Law is one of the longest-existing programs of legal education offered in the state. The program enrolled 462 students in the fall of 2019. The law school is home to the Oklahoma Innocence Project, which works to exonerate the wrongfully-convicted; the Murrah Homeland Security Law and Policy Center, which works to protect against acts of terrorism; and the American Indian Law and Sovereignty Center, which works to provide legal training for future lawyers who plan to serve Oklahoma’s many tribal communities. The university’s law school graduates who were first-time takers of the Oklahoma bar exam in 2017, 2018 and 2019 achieved a pass rate of 77 percent, 77 percent, and 69 percent, respectively.

Finance

The university’s unrestricted operating budget for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2020 (FY 2020), is approximately $60 million, and a total budget that also includes donor-restricted funds is $76 million. In 2019, OCU recapitalized its debt structure and added assets, including the university’s law school building and a 200-unit student housing complex to the balance sheet, as well as financed certain deferred maintenance projects and facility improvements.

In 2019 tuition and fees were $32,594 and room and board was $11,236, for a total of $43,830.

The university had not raised its tuition rate for several years prior to 2018. While the university competes for students in some of its programs on a national level, the bulk of market competition for students is with other educational institutions located in the state of Oklahoma. The university monitors tuition rates of primary competitor institutions to assess potential effects of increases on student enrollment. When implementing a tuition increase, the university also formulates changes to the institutional discount structure in an effort to curb reductions in enrollment caused by a tuition increases.

The annual budget process at the university is a collaborative and consultative process. The president and chief financial officer (CFO), in consultation with members of the president’s cabinet, establish the basic parameters of the budget. The CFO provides the deans with three years prior budget and actual data, and meets individually with each dean and director. Each budget owner submits its own operating, capital, position, and salary requests. Once a final draft budget is completed, it is submitted to the university’s budget committee for review and comment. Once the university budget committee completes its review, it will vote to make a recommendation to the president. The president then reviews the budget, and, once this process has been completed, the president seeks approval of the budget from the board of trustees, which normally occurs at the April board meeting. As a matter of procedure, the university monitors its operating activities through budget controls, with a goal of maintaining a moderate operating surplus. The board of trustees expects the university to attain balanced operating results on an annual basis.

The university’s endowment fund was $125 million in 2019. Both the Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation (OUMF) and Oklahoma City Community Foundation, Inc. (OCCF), hold assets in trust for the benefit of the university. The board of trustees vests authority in the Investment Committee to oversee the investment of the endowment fund. Oklahoma United Methodist Foundation is the investment consultant selected by the Investment Committee.

Student Affairs

The division of student affairs has a collaborative synergy that allows for broad strategic conversations regarding student engagement and development. The division of student affairs creates an environment and opportunity for all students to become engaged, be involved in projects across the campus, and lead campus initiatives.

Mission Statement

The Division of Student Affairs is committed to serving students by creating intentional experiences that engage and develop students while enhancing their OCU journey.

To achieve this mission, the division of student affairs:

  • creates a caring, safe and healthy environment that supports student learning;
  • provides innovative opportunities for student learning, especially in the areas of self-awareness, critical thinking, leadership, civic engagement, and social responsibility;
  • promotes individual student achievement and excellence in academic pursuits and beyond;
  • encourages individual and collective discovery through relationships, partnerships, and collaborations with students, faculty, staff, parents, and other members of the community;
  • challenges students to understand, embrace, and act in accordance with their responsibilities as members of a diverse, global community.

Shared Values

Promoting these shared values is integral to OCU’s success in helping students become engaged and supported at Oklahoma City University:

Active Learning

As educators, the division of student affairs staff is committed to providing active learning opportunities and experiences that encourage student responsibility, accountability, citizenship, personal growth, and development.

Community Involvement and University Pride

The student affairs staff is committed to finding and creating opportunities for students to interact with their university and community according to interests, activities, and curiosities, with the intent of building a connectedness to OCU and the local community.

Responsibility and Civility

The division of student affairs provides opportunities for students to work together toward high goals, hold each other accountable, and have difficult conversations while maintaining a respectful and civil community.

Collaboration and Support

The division of student affairs demonstrates a consistent commitment to collaboration by supporting and partnering with other university departments, faculty, student organizations, and community entities.

The Student Body

In fall 2019, the ethnic diversity of all students was 61.6 percent White, 6.3 percent African-American, 3.6 percent Asian, 10.1 percent Hispanic, 6 percent international, 3.5 percent American Indian/Alaska Native, and 8.9 percent other and unknown. In the fall of 2019 approximately 51 percent of all undergraduate students at the university were residents of the state of Oklahoma.

The 2019 percentage of first-year students who graduated within four years (the class of 2015) was 53 percent, and in six years (the class of 2013) was 64 percent. The percentage of entering first-year students who returned for their sophomore year for the past five years is as follows: 2014—84 percent; 2015—80 percent; 2016—81 percent; 2017—80 percent; 2018—83 percent.

A significant number of students at the university are actively involved in university life outside the classroom. There are currently 91 registered student organizations through the OCU Involved Center, serving a variety of purposes such as cultural, social, philanthropic, academic, religious, and special interest. The university also has a strong fraternity and sorority community, with four sororities making up the Panhellenic Council: Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Phi, Gamma Phi Beta, and Phi Mu. Two fraternities compose the Interfraternity Council: Kappa Sigma and Lambda Chi Alpha. The university also shares a charter with the University of Central Oklahoma for the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. Alpha Phi Alpha is a member of the National Pan-Hellenic Council.

Oklahoma City University is home to more than 1,000 students who live on campus. University housing options include four residence halls and the Cokesbury Court apartment complex, located on the west side of campus. Students under the age of 21 are required to live on campus unless they live with their parents in close proximity to campus.

  • Methodist Hall is a campus residence hall reserved for upper class students.
  • Banning Hall is a three-story building, home to 65 freshman residents, including many of the university’s Honor’s students.
  • Draper Hall accommodates 72 students.
  • Walker Hall is a seven-story freshmen residence hall, which accommodates 245 residents. Walker Hall has undergone renovations on the top three floors, with further renovations scheduled for future years.
  • The Cokesbury Apartment complex is located on campus and has primarily served as housing for upperclassmen and graduate students. The Complex was constructed by a third-party partner, and OCU provided residential life services to the complex. OCU will acquire the complex outright and terminate the existing management agreement, operating the facility more in line with traditional student housing standards. The complex is features 60 efficiency apartments, 96 two-bedroom apartments, and 44 four bedroom apartments.

Athletics

Oklahoma City University competed in NCAA Division I athletics until 1984. At that time, OCU joined the National Association of Inter-Collegiate Athletics (NAIA), an organization that is comprised primarily of smaller private institutions. OCU supports 350 student athletes and is the preeminent athletic program in the NAIA, having won the past three director’s cup trophies that are presented annually to the most competitively successful athletic department in the country. OCU has amassed 68 national championships and has won at least one team national championship in each of the past 26 consecutive years.

OCU athletics prides itself on its ability to balance the rigors of athletic competition with the academic requirements on campus. For the past 17 consecutive years, OCU student athletes have maintained a cumulative GPA in excess of 3.0. OCU annually recognizes Academic All-Americans, and began the first chapter of Chi Alpha Sigma, a national student athlete honor society, in 2007. OCU frequently hosts conference and national competitions on campus and in the Oklahoma City community, creating a significant economic impact through tourism dollars each year.

Five current OCU head coaches are members of the NAIA Coaching Hall of Fame. OCU softball coach, Phil McSpadden, has 1,727 wins as OCU’s softball coach, more than any collegiate softball coach in history. OCU athletic programs include men’s baseball, basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, track and field, and wrestling, and women’s basketball, cross-country, golf, soccer, softball, stunt, track and field, volleyball, and wrestling.

Athletics facilities include the Freede Wellness Center, which houses the 3,360-seat Abe Lemons Arena, the Jim Wade Stadium for baseball, the Ann Lacy Stadium for softball, and Brian Harvey field for soccer.

Campus Facilities

The university’s main campus is situated in the heart of Oklahoma City in the historic and vibrant uptown 23rd District. Known for its dedication to the arts, the area surrounding the university features many performance halls, including the Civic Center Music Hall and the Lyric Theatre of Oklahoma- often hosting nationally-acclaimed performers with OCU roots, including alumna Kristin Chenoweth.

The Oklahoma City University main campus sits on 104 acres, with beautiful park-like grounds. Campus buildings include academic buildings, the library, fitness and health centers, the chapel, residence halls, athletic fields and facilities, a campus police department, and a student center which houses common areas, the dining hall, the bookstore, and a fast food franchise. Red brick buildings with gothic architectural adornments create a grand campus-wide aesthetic, with beautiful landscaping, grass, and trees that offset the busy surrounding urban area.

Wilson House is the President’s residence and is located on the east side of campus. The four-bedroom, three-bathroom house was built in 1975 by architect George Seminoff. Florence Wilson, alumna and former trustee, donated the funding to build the house. The house has undergone minimal renovations, most recently getting new paint and carpet. The house offers a small kitchen, two living room areas, a formal dining area, and a study.

The OCU law school is located 2.5 miles southeast of the main campus, in downtown Oklahoma City. The law school is within walking distance of federal and state courthouses, law firms, and state and federal agencies. The building served as Oklahoma City’s high school building beginning in 1910 and was designed by Solomon Layton, the well-known designer of the Oklahoma State Capitol Building. The building is listed on the National Register of Historic Buildings.

Oklahoma City

Oklahoma City was officially founded in 1898, and today it has a population of more than 580,000 in the city proper and a ten-county population of more than 1.3 million people. Public and private partnerships during the last ten years have dramatically transformed the face of the city, staking a claim for the future as a pre-eminent American city. With the development of Bricktown, the arrival of a professional basketball team – the Oklahoma City Thunder – and extensive downtown renovation, the city has a fresh metro-urban texture.

Oklahoma City offers all amenities found in a modern metropolitan community including a vibrant arts community, quality health care, excellence in education, and many recreational activities. The cost of living is low compared to similar cities in other locations. The weather offers four distinct seasons with the annual average temperature of 60 degrees.

Oklahoma City is a family-friendly city with walking, running, biking, and skating trails; three large lakes, world class canoeing and kayaking and several farmers markets that offer fresh, locally grown produce. With one of the nation’s leading heart transplant teams, one of the country’s most complete medical research center, and one of the medical profession’s most respected eye institutes, Oklahoma City is positioned to provide excellent care for everyone.

Benefits Overview

  • The president’s house—living on is a requirement
  • Retirement – up to five percent of base pay with employee contribution of five percent
  • Health, dental and vision insurance
  • University pays 70 percent of employee premium and 52 percent of total family coverage
  • Flex spending medical debit card offered
  • Up to 14.5 paid holidays per year
  • Paid sick leave
  • Paid vacation leave
  • University-paid life and disability insurance
  • Shared leave for extended catastrophic illnesses
  • Discounted meals
  • Strong support for continuing education
  • Tuition remission – 100 percent at the undergraduate level
  • Flex schedule allowing class attendance during the work day
  • Opportunities for dependents of employees to attend OCU or 660 other private universities tuition-free

Campus Culture

  • Community events
  • Speaker series
  • Work-life balance
  • Free entrance to athletic events
  • Low-cost admission to dance, theatre and music productions
  • Domestic partners benefit eligibility
  • Employee Athletic Club
  • United Way Campaign

Professional Development

Health and Wellness

  • Free membership to wellness center for employee and low-cost membership for employee family members
  • Free and discounted wellness and exercise programs
  • Free and discounted health screenings
  • Free and low cost nursing services
  • On-site Campus Health Clinic

Application & Nomination

Oklahoma City University has retained Spelman Johnson to assist with this search. Review of applications will continue until the position is filled; however, complete applications received by January 7, 2021 will be assured full consideration. To apply for this position please click on the Apply button, complete the brief application process, and upload your resume and position-specific cover letter. Confidential inquiries and nominations should be directed to Ellen Heffernan at eth@spelmanjohnson.com or Jim Norfleet at OCUPres@spelmanjohnson.com. Applicants needing reasonable accommodation to participate in the application process should contact Spelman Johnson at 413-529-2895.

Visit the Oklahoma City University website at www.okcu.edu/

Oklahoma City University pledges to recruit, select, and promote diversity by providing equality of opportunity in higher education for all current and prospective students, faculty, and staff with respect to hiring, continuation, promotion and tenure, and applications for admission or employment, without discrimination or segregation based on sex (gender), race, age, ancestry, color, disability, genetic history, national origin, marital status, medical condition, religious creed, sexual orientation, gender identity/expression, pregnancy, parenting status, status as a veteran, or the perception that a person has one or more of these characteristics.