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Summer 2009 / Vol. 6, No. 6

For Alumni, Students and Friends of CLS

Worldwide classroom Students on one side of the globe learn from faculty on the other

The University of Oklahoma

College of Liberal Studies

For Alumni, Students and Friends of CLS


COLLEGE OF LIBERAL STUDIES McCarter Hall 1610 Asp Avenue Norman, OK 73072-6405

Contents Features

Vantage Point Summer 2009, Vol. 6, No. 6


James P. Pappas

Associate Dean Trent E. Gabert


Susan Grossman

Contributing Writers Christina Boland, Robert J. Dougherty, Susan Grossman, Christine Hughes, Jerry Jerman, Megan Sagowitz, Royce Young

Art Director

Joshua Gateley


University Printing Services

ON THE COVER Christina Boland, master’s degree student in museum studies, leaps in front of the Taj Mahal. Vantage Point is produced by: The University of Oklahoma College of Liberal Studies McCarter Hall • 1610 Asp Avenue Norman, OK 73072-6405 (405) 325-1061 • (800) 522-4389 fax (405) 325-7132 The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. Printed and distributed at no cost to Oklahoma taxpayers.


Home run

CLS most outstanding student swings for the fences in sport and education

By Royce Young


Justice for one

Pursuing the latest CLS degree

By Christine Hughes


Climate change


By Megan Sagowitz

8 11 12 13

14 16

CLS graduate student selected to present paper at annual Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Program conference

Best of both worlds Living in the U.S. and Italy, CLS graduate makes the most of her museum studies degree By Megan Sagowitz

Learning from a distance, military-spouse style By Christina Boland

Title track From Miss Tulsa to Miss America, pageant wins have kept Jennifer Berry Gooden on the road but not deterred from finishing her OU degree By Megan Sagowitz

Putting down roots CLS alum manages Missouri Botanical Garden By Royce Young

Worldwide classroom Teaching CLS students from Anchorage, Alaska By Christine Hughes

Grüß Gott! CLS students learn mathematics from professor based in Bavaria By Christine Hughes

Influence from abroad Kentucky native teaches for CLS while living in Brazil By Christine Hughes

Departments 2 18 22 24 26 28

The dean’s viewpoint Distance no longer a barrier to higher education

Staff profiles News Destination points Changing the way you think Taking the “distance” out of distance education

In memory

James P. Pappas, Ph.D. the dean’s viewpoint

Distance no longer a barrier to higher education


In 2010, the College of Liberal Studies will The mission of the College of celebrate its 50th anniversary. As we prepare to Liberal Studies is to provide the mark this exciting occasion I have begun to reflect highest quality interdisciplinary how much CLS has progressed during these last education to nontraditional five decades. In doing so, however, it struck me students. The college utilizes its that the foundation of the college has remained setting within a comprehensive the same. Our core mission was, and remains to research university to enhance this day, serving adult and nontraditional students student’s skills as lifelong learners, with interdisciplinary education. thereby enriching their lives at the College founders back in the day emphasized personal and professional levels and that “in a rapidly changing world, continuing encouraging them to participate in education is essential to meet the personal needs the work of active citizenship. of an individual as well as the needs of society.” It seems then, that the more things change, the more our mission stays the same. With the everchanging world of technology, we have adapted to continue our core mission. Originally, CLS students worked through correspondence, independent study and on-campus seminars to complete their degree. The CLS student population at that time was often rural and was looking for a degree completion option. A traditional, three-day-a-week, in-class schedule was just not feasible. The same holds true today and while we still have concentrated on-site seminars we have evolved to offer degrees 100 percent online. Many of our students are taking full advantage of this opportunity. CLS is the only college on campus that offers an entire degree program online and the majority of our current students are enrolled in this option. The college got its start with a pilot program of 75 students working toward a bachelor’s degree. By 1963, 200 students were enrolled. Currently, there are 1,100 bachelor’s degree students and 500 master’s degree candidates. This issue of Vantage Point focuses on “the distance in distance education” to underscore how technology has transformed our curriculum and the way we deliver it. We profile faculty who live in all parts of the world and teach our students in what one describes as a “worldwide classroom.” Meanwhile, students like Jennifer Berry Gooden, who was crowned Miss America 2006 and now lives in North Carolina, is completing her degree through CLS. A military spouse, Christina Boland, lives in the Netherlands and is working on a master’s degree in museum studies. She writes in her own words about living the experience of her degree program by visiting some of the world’s most renowned museums. They, along with others that we feature, are earning their degrees from our college located on the Norman campus of the University of Oklahoma. I hope you enjoy this issue of Vantage Point and will let us know what you think. Please share your news with us and look for upcoming information on our 50th anniversary celebration. Until next time.

James P. Pappas, Ph.D. Vice President for University Outreach and Dean of the College of Liberal Studies 2

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Home run CLS most outstanding senior swings for the stands in sport and education


Baseball player C.J. Blue’s path to the College of Liberal Studies wasn’t nearly as direct as one of his 90 mph pitches. “When I transferred to OU after junior college, other degree programs through the university would not accept more than half of my hours, making me ineligible to play baseball here,” said Blue, who was recently named the college’s Most Outstanding Senior by the OU Parents’ Association. “My advisor introduced me to the College of Liberal Studies and told me what they had to offer. They accepted all of my transferable hours and got me on a path to graduate on time. The courses the college has to offer not only give you a variety of learning experiences, but most of the courses you can apply to everyday life.” Weighing the demands of both baseball and schoolwork have been stressful for Blue – but in a good way. “The stress is a good stress,” he said. “Playing a sport at a major university is what all kids dream of growing up. Being a part of the OU baseball family has meant a lot to me. Without the stress of classwork and athletics, I would probably be lost. CLS professors work with you and understand that you have a life outside of class work and school. They are fantastic with helping and understanding situations that may have come up, and are really good with communicating and helping you understand assignments.” All of Blue’s classes are online, which helps him manage time between baseball and school. And clearly, he manages it pretty well. “Some of the classes are offered in classrooms, but with baseball and our schedule it is easier to work on assignments on your own time,” he said. “Before transferring to OU I played baseball at University of Louisiana, and also at Grayson County College, and I attended traditional classroom settings. There are advantages and disadvantages to the classroom setting and online classes. It is just what people’s preferences are.” Most days Blue is up before the sun, typically waking at 5:45 a.m. for conditioning and weight lifting with the baseball team’s strength coach. He then gets a bite to eat and tries to work on a few school assignments before hitting the pillow for a quick nap. After that, he heads back up to L. Dale Mitchell Field around 1:30 p.m. for treatment and practice, which ends at 5 p.m. After getting some dinner and a little relaxation, Blue finally gets started with school around 7 p.m. “In season is a little different because we have study hall in the hotels we are staying, so I get most of my work done

then,” he said. “Since we are gone a lot during the season, the liberal studies program is awesome because I can do my work anywhere without worrying about missing class, or missing notes.” Blue said being a student athlete has helped him build discipline not only on the field, but also with his school work. He said that throughout his life he was taught discipline and accountability in both areas of his life from coaches, because, he said, “If someone does not succeed in the classroom, not only does it hurt the individual, but also the team.” “My study habits are totally different from other guys on the team. When they are going to class, I am doing my assignments online. Sometimes it can be difficult because it is really easy to procrastinate and put things off. But playing a sport takes up a lot of time, so you really do not have much time to procrastinate.” As for the Most Outstanding Senior recognition, Blue said the award is a tremendous honor not only for him, but his family and “other” family – the baseball team. “The College of Liberal Studies Outstanding Senior award has meant a lot to me and my family. It was a great honor to receive, and without family support, OU athletic support and my teachers, it would have been very difficult to C.J. Blue achieve a goal such as this,” he said. The Most Outstanding Senior is chosen by a CLS Scholarship and Awards Committee. Students submit an application for consideration for the award. “C.J. was chosen because he is a student athlete, he has an excellent GPA and his application package was well executed,” CLS coordinator of undergraduate programs Frank Rodriquez said. Post graduation, Blue plans on pursuing professional baseball, but he said if that doesn’t work out he wants to come back and get a master’s degree and work as an intern in the OU Department of Athletics. But no matter what his future holds, he’s thankful for CLS. “The College of Liberal Studies has given me great opportunities to achieve my goal of graduating in May 2009,” he said. “Without this wonderful program, not only would it have been difficult to play baseball here, it would have taken longer to graduate, costing me and my family more money in the long run.” – Royce Young

Vantage Point, sUMMER 2009


Harry “Sande” Sanders



Justice for one Pursuing the latest degree available at CLS


A desire to teach and work with youth who have been in the criminal justice system motivated Harry “Sande” Sanders, 59, to return to college and enroll in the bachelor’s degree in criminal justice program. Sanders, who lives in Austin, Texas, recently completed his first semester pursuing the criminal justice degree completely online earning a 4.0 GPA. Sanders was able to transfer his prior college hours to the program and is on his way to achieving his dream through the University of Oklahoma. Sanders’ life has been an interesting journey, from growing up in the small, rural town of Indiahoma in southwestern Oklahoma to traveling the world over a 20-year career in the U.S. Air Force (including a tour in Vietnam), mostly as a crew chief on a fighter aircraft, and on to his current pursuit of an OU degree while holding a full-time job in the criminal justice field. Youth and community are at the heart of Sanders reasons for choosing OU to earn the criminal justice degree. In 1996, Sanders and his wife received an acclaimed community service award –Austin’s KVUE-TV Five Who Care – for their volunteer work with youth and community in central Texas. “My wife and I worked with firsttime offending youth for many years. I know from experience the rewards of even reaching just one. The successes far outweigh any negatives. Ultimately, I would like to work and teach youth who have been in the justice system,” Sanders said. This is Sanders’ first experience with online classes, which has proven to be a challenge. “I find online classes to be a great deal more difficult than sitting in a


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classroom,” Sanders said. “You can’t get a feel of what the professor is all about. You also can’t sit in your pajamas and smoke a cigar while taking classes in a classroom. It is a give and take. I

Ultimately, I would like to work and teach youth who have been in the justice system. I know from experience the rewards of even reaching just one. - Harry “Sande” Sanders have had to adapt my study habits to a new and very interesting environment. Online courses are a must, in my opinion, when it comes to finishing

Harry Sanders

one’s degree and balancing a job and the needs of the family.” CLS launched the bachelor’s degree in criminal justice program in fall 2008. The program is designed for professionals like Sanders who want to enhance their knowledge, professionalism and effectiveness of working in law enforcement, corrections, homeland security or juvenile justice, or for people preparing for a career in those areas. “I have a great deal of experience in the field and in life, but the criminal justice courses establish the foundation I have not had in the past, outside of experience. They provide the meat of what drives many institutional environments and positions,” Sanders said. -Christine Hughes


Climate change CLS graduate student selected to present paper at annual Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Program conference


increasingly Hispanic. The economy was declining, primarily Environmental issues have been an international hot topic for dependent on small family owned farms and ranches. Now years, but with new studies and growing concerns, it was timely the economy is booming and mega hog farms are largely the that the Association of Graduate Liberal Studies Programs’ reason for this. Environmentally, the whole area depends on 2008 annual conference was titled “Culture, Consciousness and the Ogallala Aquifer for water which provided for these needs Nature – A Context for Climate Change.” The conference abundantly.  The influx of hog farms, was held last October, hosted by Simon which use vast amounts of water, has Fraser University in Vancouver, British depleted the aquifer to the extent that it Columbia, Canada. is endangered.  Western Oklahoma which Gathering in Vancouver, mere steps had some of the cleanest air in the United from the historic Stanley Park – one of States now has a serious odor pollution the largest urban parks in the world – the problem from the waste lagoons that are environment was ideal for liberal studies part of the hog farms.” students, faculty and administrators to Stackable, a high school teacher at the explore the relationship between nature Tulsa School of Arts and Sciences, decided and culture. to pursue a Master of Arts degree in Liberal Featured speakers included Roderick Studies after researching several higher Nash, professor of History and the education degree programs in Oklahoma. Environmental Studies program, University The MALS program at OU provided a of California, Santa Barbara; Andrew broad scope of options, particularly in the Dobson, professor of Politics, Keele integrated studies track, Stackable said. University, United Kingdom; and Carolyn “The College of Liberal Studies has Merchant, professor of Environmental Ellen Stackable allowed me to build my own degree plan,” History, Philosophy and Ethics, University Stackable said. “Pursing this degree has of California, Berkeley. Pursing this degree has given given me a completely different outlook Presenters shared their papers me a completely different on how I work with my high school examining the relationship and responsibility humans have with the outlook on how I work with my students and the ways I approach their environment. Ellen Stackable, a student high school students and the lessons.” Stackable credits Julie Raadschelders, in the master’s degree program at the ways I approach their lessons. the CLS Master’s Program coordinator, University of Oklahoma College of with her connection to the AGLSP Liberal Studies, was selected to be a - Ellen Stackable conference. presenter. Stackable shared her research “I had never heard of the organization, on the massive hog farms in Oklahoma but when Julie saw my paper on Oklahoma’s hog farms, she and their impact on Oklahoma’s culture, environment and recommended I submit it for consideration at the conference,” natural resources. Stackable said. “I was thrilled to be selected. The college even Her topic – “The Cultural, Environmental and Economic helped with expenses so I could attend.” Impact of Mega Hog Farms in Western Oklahoma” – The 2009 annual AGLSP conference is scheduled for Oct. highlighted her research on the Oklahoma hog farms and 22-24 at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort in Lake Buena their impact on the state and its natural resources. Below is an Vista, Fla. The theme is “Imagination in an Age of Instant excerpt: Information.” Keynote speaker Billy Collins, U.S. poet laureate “Mega hog farms, known as CAFO (confined animal 2001-2003, will stimulate the discussion of imagination and feeding operations) hog farms, began in the 1990s in Western creativity at the epicenter of graduate liberal studies programs. Oklahoma. They have had a drastic effect on the Oklahoma For more information visit Panhandle.  Socially, the area went from being a sparsely – Megan Sagowitz populated, primarily white population to an area that is now much more heavily populated and whose population is Vantage Point, sUMMER 2009



Best of both worlds

Living in the U.S. and Italy, CLS graduate makes the most of her museum studies degree


When Laura Johnson graduated in 1989 with a Master of Arts in Art History from Northern Illinois University, she knew she wanted to further her education, but her choices were limited on second master’s degree options. At that time, there were not many continuing education programs in museum education. So, she became the director of education for the Rockford Art Museum in Illinois. Determined, Johnson immediately began researching her options for a second master’s degree. During that time, the University of Oklahoma was the one of the few colleges offering a Master of Liberal Studies degree in museum Laura Johnson education. The in Florence, Italy OU College of Liberal Studies was the only higher education institution offering the degree as a self-paced, distance learning option. “When I began working at the museum, I was always being questioned about my degrees,” Johnson said. “It was then that I decided to get a second master’s degree and the OU Liberal Studies program was perfect for my field and schedule.” Johnson describes her liberal studies degree as holistic. Not only did she learn about developing museum programs, she also learned how to conduct


Vantage Point, SUMMER 2009

her own research. Johnson says class discussions were always lively and a variety of topics were covered. “I use my MLS degree and what I learned from the professors and fellow students, whether teaching and lecturing in Russia, Italy or Spain and other countries,” Johnson said. “Though I have travelled all over the world, I will never forget my experience flying from Rockford, Ill., to Oklahoma City then taxiing to Norman to attend discussion classes. For months, I would fly to Oklahoma trying to finish my degree and then fly back to Illinois to go back to work.” Johnson said she loved coming to campus in Norman and being able to bring her work problems with her and then return to work the next week with solutions. She said it was hard to balance a job and the pursuit of a master’s degree, but in the end the dedication paid off. Johnson worked for the Rockford Art Museum from 1989 until 1998. She began when the museum was in a temporary location. She was ever-present during the entire renovation process of a 1950s Sears retail store building to a museumcultural park and arts center. During her tenure she developed

STUDENT PROFILE numerous museum/school programs, the docent recruitment and training program, and art classes with workshops and residency program for preschool age children to senior citizen age. At times she also served as acting curator and assistant to the curator and the executive director. In addition to her work at the museum, she lectured at numerous venues and was an adjunct professor at Rock Valley Community College in Rockford. Johnson organized several overseas seminars for the college. Her first trip in 1995 was for 62 participants to Russia to view the Hidden Treasures exhibition in St. Petersburg. Two other trips to Russia followed that first soldout trip. In 1999 Johnson moved to Europe. She maintains a home base in Chicago, but has dual citizenship in Italy and a residency in Florence. She has organized educational seminars to Barcelona and Bilbao, Spain, when the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao opened. By 2007 she was offering art teachers’ trips to Italy for the Illinois Art Education Association, with teacher salary credit through the Art Institute of Chicago’s education department. Last year she also worked with the dean of the history department at the University of Tulsa to offer a joint, second annual, alumni trip to Europe. The 16-day trip brought them from Rome to Sicily and Malta. Johnson has kept in contact with many of her classmates and professors, and has even handled all the arrangements for a marriage ceremony, reception and honeymoon for two TU alumni in Taormina, Sicily.

“No matter where I am, my Midwestern roots will always be with me, whether I am wearing my red cowboy boots or proudly displaying my OU T-shirt for all of Italy to see,” Johnson said. “It never ceases to amaze me the international attention OU receives. I am often stopped by fellow travelers that want to share their enthusiasm for Oklahoma.” Johnson is now a selfemployed, independently contracted art historian. She still leads travel studies and gives private lectures throughout the world. For Laura Johnson more than six years, Johnson has been the coordinator of the Elderhostel Programs in Florence. She directs and coordinates approximately five, seven-day sessions every year for Elderhostel Programs in Italy, Trinity College, Hartford, Conn. In addition, she provides classroom lectures for Elderhostel on the subjects of the history of Florence and Renaissance painting and provides all onsite lectures at the Uffizi, Palazzo Pitti and Accademia museums to adult students who are enrolled in the Florence City Highlights: Museums of Florence program. A new assignment finds Johnson preparing an intergeneration program for Elderhostel; grandparents and their grandchildren will take part in museum tours, special adult or child-based arts events and hands-on activities in Tuscany for 10 days starting in 2010. – Megan Sagowitz

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Christina Boland STUDENT PROFILE

Learning from a distance, military-spouse style Christina Boland

Editor’s note: Christina Boland is a College of Liberal Studies student pursuing a Master of Art degree in Museum Studies as a military spouse stationed in the Netherlands. She wrote this story about her experiences living and learning overseas.


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As a military spouse who is, sometimes alone, I’ve squared myself with the fact that physical distance will always separate me from one thing or another, but it is that separation that gives me a unique perspective to realize there are no barriers – to love, to learning, or the love of learning, military spouse style.

Christina Boland at the Berlin Wall

During the past seven years I’ve lived on three continents and in four countries and five cities. I’ve moved from Boca Raton, Florida to Chicago to Yong-in, South Korea to Heidelberg, Germany to The Netherlands. I married an Army officer. I married the military. And, here I am. Thirty-five. Expat. Non-traditional graduate student. Army wife. I had a degree in special education and a concentration in psychology and sociology from Youngstown State University, but I was burned out from teaching and the social work. I started shopping around for online graduate degree programs but nothing interested me - MBA? International business? Ugh! Not my pot of kimchi. I kept looking. We traveled. And my world view expanded. The Great Wall. The Terra Cotta Warriors in Xi’an, China. Changdeokgung Palace in Seoul. Chakri Mahaprasat Throne Hall in Bangkok. Then we found ourselves living in Heidelberg, Germany. The Rijksmuseum. The Altes Museum. Fort Breendonk. The Vatican. Now that I had a little life experience under my belt I firmly knew where my interests lay – in travel, in history, and in museums.

My turning point: we moved to the Netherlands and were sitting in our introductory Dutch language class at the military education center. During een tien minute pauze and for the zillionth time I checked out the graduate program brochures and came across one I had never seen before: The University of Oklahoma’s College of Liberal Studies (CLS) Museum Studies Program. I snatched it out of its holder and went

The CLS Museum Studies curriculum is challenging as it is comprehensive and allows each student to solve realworld problems from their own perspectives – even when those perspectives are viewed from across the Atlantic. - Christina Boland back to my seat. I set the crimson brochure down in front of my husband and said, “I’m doing this.” I hadn’t even looked inside, but I knew it was for me. I had walked through some of the world’s most spectacular archaeological sites and

museums, and at every one of them I wanted to know, “What in the world goes on behind the ‘staff only’ doors?” A month later, my husband was in Afghanistan. Deployment. And the black hole of being left alone in a foreign country. No family, but our “military family.” Two 15-minute phone calls a week – that is, if the lines weren’t disconnected while we talked. Unless you’ve been there, you can’t know that feeling of helplessness and frustration. “I love . . .,” click, the phone’s dead. Please, God, just let it be the phone. I applied to OU’s CLS Museum Studies Program. After four-and-a-half years of searching for a graduate degree, I started classes in September 2007. I’ll graduate this summer. At first I felt at a disadvantage because I live overseas and was sorely out of touch with American culture and society, but the further I got into the curriculum, the more I felt the opposite. Distance learning fit into my time schedule, not me into it, and even more, it’s personalized. For example, I read extensively about climbing, so for my World of a Museum class I created, staffed, and cut the budget for my imaginary Montana Mountaineering Museum (M3); and for the Museum Vantage Point, sUMMER 2009


Christina Boland STUDENT PROFILE Architecture class I designed the M3’s building to include a climbing wall (even though I relocated it to Denver). In a fantastic turn of assignmentmeets-reality, I actually came face to face with a far-flung reference I had cited – the International Mountain Museum in Pokhara, Nepal – this past December when my husband and I traveled through India and up into Nepal. Who knew? The CLS Museum Studies curriculum is challenging as it is comprehensive and allows each student to solve real-world problems from their own perspectives – even when those perspectives are viewed from across the Atlantic. But without a doubt, the most rewarding aspect of participating in the CLS’s Museum Studies program has been my involvement in the curriculum-bound Museum Project that I started last summer. My first hurdle was to find a local museum or historical society willing to work with me in my native language. After consulting with the local OU representative, I called the US-run Netherlands-American Cemetery and Memorial to see if they could use an indentured grad student, and as it happened, they could. Their parent organization, the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC) in Washington, DC, had required the 24 overseas ABMC sites to document all privately erected monuments and memorials dedicated to US service members since WWI for their internal database. I spent last summer – and will spend this summer thanks to Professor Gail Anderson taking me back as an Independent Study student – crisscrossing the Dutch countryside to finish documenting all 124 (at last count) privately erected WWII monuments and memorials in the Netherlands. I couldn’t do that from a classroom. – Christina Boland

Christina Boland in Khajuraho, India


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Jennifer Berry Gooden STUDENT PROFILE

Title track From Miss Tulsa to Miss America, pageant wins have kept Jennifer Berry Gooden on the road but not deterred from finishing her OU degree


The possibility of scholarship money for college motivated Jennifer Berry Gooden to enter the Miss Tulsa pageant in 2001. She never knew at age 17 that this decision would eventually lead her down the road to the Miss America crown. Originally from Tulsa, Gooden attended Jenks High School and graduated in 2001. With the scholarship money won from the Miss Tulsa pageant, she entered the University of Oklahoma and majored in elementary education, which is a five-year degree program. With one year left to finish she won the title of Miss Oklahoma 2005. That year would take her across the state on a school tour speaking to students in more than 85 schools. “I decided to take one year off from school and I planned to return the following year once my job as Miss Oklahoma was complete,” said Gooden. “I had no idea that in January 2006 I would be crowned Miss America!” The Miss America crown led to even more traveling, this time across the country. Gooden represented the Miss America Organization and the Children’s Miracle Network, and was a national spokesperson for Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Finally, after two years of crisscrossing the country, Gooden was ready to return to school and finish her degree. But returning to OU in Norman didn’t look like a possibility for Gooden as she had plans to move to North Carolina and start life with her soon-to-be husband, Nathan Gooden. In the spring of 2008, she began looking for a new way to finish her degree. “I absolutely love the University of Oklahoma and spent four wonderful years there,” said Gooden. “I truly wanted my diploma to be from OU.

“Through the OU Education department, I was told to contact Dr. Gabert at the College of Liberal Studies (CLS). My advisor told me that CLS would provide a way for me to graduate from OU while living in North Carolina.” Gooden immediately contacted the college to get started and is now completing her last semester. She will graduate this spring with a bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies. Through her position as Miss America 2006, Gooden started her own company, Jennifer Berry Inc., where she continues to speak and represent companies across Oklahoma and America. She still travels often, which she says makes attending classes extremely difficult. “CLS has allowed me to complete my degree 100 percent online,” said Gooden. “I can choose how many courses to take at one time and I have so much control over the rest of my education. I can work on my courses no matter what city or state I am in, and I am able to make my own hours to study and complete my assignments within the allotted time. The college has given me the freedom to work while also completing my degree.” Gooden said the Miss America Organization, the largest scholarship program in the world for women, inspired her to complete her degree. “I am continually inspired by my opportunity to complete my degree, debt-free, grateful for the scholarship money I have earned throughout my years as a contestant and titleholder,” said Gooden. “I know that as I continue to work toward my college degree, I am inspiring other young women to know that they can do the same.” She went on to say she still finds inspiration from her dream to teach.

Jennifer Berry Gooden

“I have always wanted to become an elementary school teacher, and that dream keeps me going,” Gooden said. When Gooden is not studying, she can usually be found working on behalf of her company or spending time with friends at home. Gooden grew up as a ballet dancer and still enjoys dancing and working out a few times a week. She also enjoys traveling with her husband and spending time with their two dogs, Bogey and Bella. – Megan Sagowitz

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Putting down roots


CLS alum has the best of two worlds as a manager at Missouri Botanical Garden Charles Zidar has worked on digs in Cyprus and Greece, toured South American jungles and labored in Belize on an ancient Maya site. He’s traveled to more than 40 countries, been shot at in the middle of the jungle and nearly died of a tropical disease he caught in Columbia. But as glamorous as the life of a modern day Indiana Jones may sound, all that adventuring led to what is now his dream job in St. Louis, Mo. Zidar, a 2006 master’s graduate from the University of Oklahoma College of Liberal Studies, is manager of construction administration at the Missouri Botanical Garden. “My job is the best of both worlds,” Zidar said. “During the day I work using my undergraduate degree in landscape architecture I received from the Ohio State University. At night I am completing botanical research on the plants used by the ancient Maya; the graduate degree in liberal studies I received from the University of Oklahoma. This research is a continuation of the thesis work I completed for my OU degree.” The Missouri Botanical Garden was founded by Henry Shaw in 1859 and this year will mark its 150th anniversary. It is the oldest botanical garden in continual existence in the U.S. and at 79 acres is one of the largest in entire world. Forty-six doctoral researchers work in more than 36 countries around the world discovering and documenting new species and the herbarium recently dedicated its 6 millionth specimen.


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“I am very proud to be at the Missouri Botanical Garden,” he said. “I plan to honor that history and excellence with the completion of quality landscape projects during the day and innovative research at night.” At the garden, Zidar works with architects, landscape architects Charles Zidar and interior designers to ensure all the new projects at the garden are designed properly within budget while mindful of the 150-year history of the garden. Once projects are designed properly, he coordinates with general contractors to install the projects with care and exacting standards of the garden. Currently, Zidar is overseeing projects such as rebuilding the main entry roads and sidewalks, rebuilding parking lots, rebuilding the boxwood entrance to the garden with fancy, meticulous brickwork and two other projects in Gray Summit, Mo., involving the design and construction of a bathroom facility and maintenance complex, and reconstruction of the bathrooms in the Japanese garden, the largest of its kind in the U.S. “How many people can say that they need to engineer toilets to accommodate the Sumo wrestlers that arrive for the large Japanese festival that occurs each year?” he jokingly asked.   Zidar credits not only his education from OU for this opportunity, but also the great people he came into contact during his time at the university. Zidar said it was an incredible

pleasure working with OU botany professor Wayne Elisens, with whom he co-authored an article for an upcoming issue of the peer reviewed journal, Economic Botany. Elisens has also agreed to complete subsequent work on this subject which should include work on the interpretation of ancient Maya squash vessels and the interpretation of jade ear spools, ear ornaments worn by the ancient Maya elite, which are all of a floral motif. Although he’s been all around the world and even worked in paleontology and paleobotany at two natural history museums making dinosaur discoveries – a few which may be new to science – Zidar said he feels right at home in St. Louis and has some bigger plans. “Nowhere that I have visited nor lived in the U.S., has there been more to do with top-notch museums and quality parks,” he said. “Honoring that sense of history again, I plan to complete the restoration on one of the nicest historic homes in the garden’s surrounding neighborhood.” – Royce Young


Worldwide classroom Teaching CLS students from Anchorage, Alaska


Healthcare administrator Don Griffin began teaching at the University of Oklahoma Oklahoma City campus in person in 2000-2001, but shortly thereafter his profession took him to Saudi Arabia for three years, the United Arab Emirates near Dubai after that, then Shanghai, China, and now Anchorage, Alaska. The entire time he has continued to teach for the College of Liberal Studies. Many of his students have thought he lived in Norman. “The Web makes your location transparent,” he said. Recently, Griffin shared his views about distance education with Vantage Point writer, Christine Hughes: I began teaching for OU at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center, in the College of Public Health, Department of Healthcare Administration, in 2000, at what was then the new OU-Tulsa Schusterman Center. In conjunction with classroom teaching, I began to teach online for

the College of Liberal Studies. This has truly been a wonderful alternative to the in-classroom experience in that it allows usually more mature students to obtain degrees wherever they live and with whatever they are undertaking. I am currently enjoying teaching the What Are the Social Sciences class. Because the Internet is worldwide, I continued to teach for CLS as I moved to other parts of the world. My field of healthcare administration took me to Saudi Arabia for several years, then to be the CEO of a hospital in the United Arab Emirates and in Shanghai, China. I now reside in Anchorage, Alaska, as the CEO of two air medical transportation companies that merged. By the very nature of teaching online, classes and assignments are able to transparently be conducted in each of these locations. In fact, teaching never has to be interrupted. This is equally true of our students. I have a worldwide classroom with students in Iraq and Afghanistan, others in Hawaii or England, and many in Texas and Oklahoma. I feel particularly close to our students in that they are obtaining their degree in addition to juggling their jobs, families and outside activities, just as I did. Traditionally, most students attend in-person classes at a campus, sitting in a classroom for four years, only then joining the real world. With the strong advantage of the worldwide online campus, students are now free to work and live anywhere, and are free to participate in the early morning hours, late at night,

or any time during the weekend. For the most part, my advanced degrees – master’s degrees in environmental health, business administration, and healthcare administration, and a law degree – were earned in the same way: at night or on

The really passionate and hungry-for-knowledge students keep me inspired. - Don Griffin weekends while I worked full time and interacted with my family. I enjoy distance learning students because they demonstrate maturity, are experienced in many aspects of the work world and can relate these experiences to their class assignments. I learn much from our students who may be soldiers, police officers, telecommunications specialists and information technology professionals. The really passionate and hungry-for-knowledge students keep me inspired. In turn, I try to impart that this is not the final stop. Several of my CLS students have gone on to enter graduate or law school. Our online students and I know that we capture work moments here and there when we can. I have written two textbooks by grabbing moments, rather than sitting down a fixed number of hours daily. It’s wonderful to see what can be accomplished by correctly using time management instead of watching time go by and then wondering where it went.

Don Griffin

Vantage Point, sUMMER 2009


Joseph Skorupski FACULTY PROFILE

Grüß Gott! CLS students learn mathematics from professor based in Bavaria


Joseph Skorupski is a native of Spokane, Wash., and has taught for the College of Liberal Studies for three years. Currently, he is teaching from Grafenwoehr, a small town in Bavaria, Germany. He has a doctorate in organizational leadership, a master’s degree in psychology and a bachelor’s degree of science in mathematics and psychology. Teaching online from Germany works well for Skorupski, whose student’s access a CLS-customized Web site for their courses. His students also use e-mail and the discussion board at to chat with each other. Assignments are submitted in a drop box and there is a seven-hour time lag for those students in Oklahoma. Several of his students are scattered around the world. Students also have online access to the OU library and many helpful CLS resources. Skorupski teaches mathematics in liberal studies, a course that is designed to enhance the students’ ability to utilize mathematical tools in their daily lives. “My approach to teaching mathematics is that I focus almost entirely on the practical application of the concepts,” Skorupski said. “I want to nurture the habits of mind needed for students to be creative problem solvers and independent learners, and to help students get past the acquisition of knowledge and skills and onto the practical application of knowledge and skills. I ask the students to look into what the mathematical concepts are good for rather than the computational aspect of the concepts. I think this way of teaching helps build motivation for the student.”  Self-motivation is at the top of the list of learning attributes online teachers like to see in their students. “To be a good distance learner requires students to take responsibility for their 14

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learning. A student must be willing to put in the time it takes to study and form understanding of the concepts.  It takes a certain level of maturity and discipline to succeed at distance learning,” Skorupski said.

Students choose distance education because they like the independence distance learning gives them. - Joseph Skorupski A growing segment of the college’s student population of online learners are military personnel who are stationed throughout the world. These students have unique requirements that the distance learning model is able to meet.

“I have learned to be more flexible teaching with distance learning. The students taking distance learning classes seem to have so much more going on in their lives. Sometimes due dates become a target to shoot for rather than written in stone,” Skorupski said. Skorupski works to constantly improve his classes for the online students. “I have learned how to communicate ideas and concepts more succinctly. I regularly ask my students for feedback regarding the course and its structure. I listen to their feedback and try to adjust my teaching strategies to their suggestions,” he said.  “What keeps me inspired as a teacher is the joy students express as understanding develops from hard work and perseverance,” Skorupski said.   -Christine Hughes

Joseph Skorupski

Development and Planned Giving With the College of Liberal Studies now in its fifth decade of providing innovative educational programs for adult learners, we look to our alumni and friends as partners in this time of growth and change. Working together, we can literally transform people’s lives through our array of degree options. As loyal partners in our academic community, you form a vital link that enables us to effectively serve adult students whose schedules and responsibilities prevent them from participating in traditional academic programs. Your generosity helps us develop new delivery and content options and create scholarship opportunities for students who are seeking a degree of difference. Plain and simple, giving to the College of Liberal Studies changes lives.

Thank you for your continuing support.

Your gift can help CLS. Gifts and grants help us meet important one-time and extraordinary expenses that cannot be covered by our course fees. Current fundraising priorities include: The Dean’s Fund: Unrestricted contributions help meet the college’s most urgent current needs.

Adult and Part-time Students Scholarships: Many scholarships are simply not available to adult and part-time students. Your gifts will help us supplement our existing scholarship programs and establish new scholarships to aid lifelong learners.

Electronic Course Development: We are proud of our leadership in developing innovative programs for adult learners and of our commitment to our students who have asked for more online program options. Funds are needed to help us remain on the cutting edge of technologically enhanced education.

Faculty Development Fund: Contributions can help us provide consistent, ongoing faculty development programs, in which we bring together national experts and our faculty to develop strategies and tactics for improved delivery of interdisciplinary courses and programs. For more information on how you can help the College of Liberal Studies, call Jerry Jerman, director of development, at (405) 325 -1254 or e-mail Vantage Point, sUMMER 2009


Elizabeth Freeland FACULTY PROFILE

Inf luence from abroad Kentucky native teaches for CLS while living in Brazil


Elizabeth Freeland, a Louisville, Ky., native, began teaching totally online courses for the College of Liberal Studies (CLS) in 2008 from Germany as she was preparing to move to Brazil. Freeland earned her bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Kentucky, a master’s degree in sport psychology from the University of North Carolina and a doctoral degree in organizational leadership from the University of Oklahoma’s Advanced Programs while living in Germany. Recently, she shared her views on distance education with Vantage Point writer, Christine Hughes: In 2005 my husband and I married, and the following year he joined the German Foreign Service in Berlin. Last year we were sent to Brasilia as our first post. We have two children – our son will be 3 years old in May, and our daughter was born in Brasilia in August 2008. Living abroad as the spouse of


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a diplomat makes it difficult for me to have a full-time career, so teaching for CLS is a terrific opportunity for me to continue in a professional way and use my educational background. I truly enjoy teaching for CLS and having the opportunity to interact with and get to know students, even from a

I like that I am helping nontraditional students continue their education using the Internet when physically attending the university might be inconvenient or even impossible for them. Many are getting an opportunity they would not otherwise have. - Elizabeth Freeland distance. Living in Brazil is definitely an interesting experience, and my family

and I are lucky to be here, but I have to remind people that living abroad has its pros and cons. With every luxury we might have because of our location – for example, the opportunity to travel and see new places – there is often a challenge to go with it – learning and practicing a new language, adjusting to cultural differences, and so on. Personally, I need something to keep me grounded and help me feel connected with the world I am most familiar with. One of these things is teaching for CLS. I taught my first course, Ethics in Social Sciences, for the college’s bachelor’s degree program a year ago. Since then I have taught Challenges in a Changing World (BA) and Interdisciplinary Foundations for the master’s program. I hope to teach research methods and some of the leadership courses some day, as I have expertise in those areas as well. Successful distance students need to be determined, adaptable and resourceful. Determination is important because this quality enables students to push themselves through the program without the motivation of seeing other students in the classroom. Adaptability is important because we are using technology in a different way with distance education and that comes with its own challenges – for example, it is quite an achievement for older students to go back to school in the classroom but even more so for them to do it online using technology and resources with which their children are apt to be more fluent. Finally, distance students need to be quite resourceful since many do not have access to the on-site resources the university offers. They have to do their research in different

Elizabeth Freeland

ways and be quite adept at combing the Internet for competent, academic resources. I like getting to know the intellectual personae of my students. As an instructor I try to make myself available to students and let them know who I am. Part of my motive is to help them feel comfortable enough for a rapport to begin. I think this is important in order to keep distance learning from remaining too distant, so to speak. My students continue to remind me of the dedication they have to completing their education. They work hard for their employers, they fight in wars for our protection, they take their children to baseball practice, they care for ailing parents, they endure emergencies that affect their loved ones or themselves, and they still manage to dedicate themselves to

their studies. I find that inspirational. And of course, they have a lot of insight to offer on the various course topics. Comparing distance learning to in-classroom teaching is like comparing apples to oranges. Both are very nutritious but in different ways. However, you don’t just eat apples or just eat oranges you eat fruit. Students should focus on educating themselves with everything they do and making the most out of every opportunity rather than whether one method of learning is better than another. Improving knowledge is what is important. Adult students bring knowledge and insight to their assignments. It makes reading their papers that much more enjoyable and rewarding. They have a different motivation than the typical university student.

I see myself as a facilitator who leads my students down the proper path. Most students make my job easy because they are already on the right path. I like to think that due to my world travels and experiences, I can offer something special to my students beyond my educational background – at the very least a new lens with which to view the course material. I have had the opportunity to see many places and be exposed to new cultures. This can be very humbling. It helps keep me in check and inspires me to keep learning myself. I think that if I stay motivated to learn, then I will be able to continue motivating my students. What we tend to forget is to pursue knowledge for the sake of knowledge, rather than be influenced solely by pressure from others such as parents, peers or employers.

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Aaron Jones


Recruitment coordinator grows with CLS programs Aaron Jones, recruitment coordinator for the College of Liberal Studies, spends much of his work day answering questions and organizing recruitment efforts for CLS. As the college adds new programs, the recruiting area continues to grow as well. “Adding the new bachelor of science degree in criminal justice has really made my job more hectic,” Jones said. “The college’s focus this year has been getting the new degree up and running.” The recruitment team at CLS travels throughout the United States looking for opportunities to reach out to students. Although the vast majority of recruitment occurs in the state, Jones also has traveled to several national conferences to find students who are a good fit for CLS degree programs. “We are trying to reach out to specific audiences that we can help to get their degree,” Jones said. Before he came to CLS in early 2006, Jones said his life could best be described

as that of a professional student. He earned his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Oklahoma and then went on to earn his master’s degree in International Studies, also from OU. “During graduate school, my wife and I both did internships in Washington, D.C.,” Jones said. “After that I decided to change my career focus. The city had changed since my undergraduate internship and overall it just didn’t feel like the right place for me. I then came back to Oklahoma and started working at CLS.” He didn’t have a lot of specific direction at the time; many of his daily tasks started from scratch, Jones said. “When I first started, CLS was really taking off and expanding; there wasn’t enough staff to handle the workload,” he said. “I was originally hired as the statistician where I collected numbers and processed course evaluations. I

would also answer the phones when the recruiter was out of the office. “We quickly noticed we needed more staff devoted to prospective student services. My position has evolved several times in the past two and a half years. Now we have three full-time recruiting staff members and one part-time member in Tulsa.” Jones said he hopes to see the college continue to grow as more programs are added. “CLS has set a goal for 10 percent annual growth in enrollment and we also want to increase our military student population,” he said. “It really is a balancing act to cover all aspects of prospective student services. Our number one goal is customer service. Education is important, but CLS is also a business. Our students expect us to be prompt and accurate, and we always shoot for 100 percent satisfaction.” – Megan Sagowitz

Aaron Jones


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Kelly Collyar CLS recruitment specialist puts best face forward


While working toward his master’s, the Kelly Collyar came to the College recruitment specialist position at CLS of Liberal Studies in the fall 2007 as opened. an external recruiter. He spends 60 “One of the things I was passionate percent to 70 percent of his work week about and highly acclaimed at while outside of the office traveling in and working at the Gap was recruitment,” out of Oklahoma meeting with junior Collyar said. “Around the time I was colleges, corporations, military bases finishing up my comprehensive final and chambers of commerce. Collyar exams, my advisor, Mary Aldridge, sent describes his role as “the outside face” me a link to the job announcement for representing CLS recruitment. a CLS recruiter. In 1999, Collyar started working “I was at a crossroads at that time. at clothing retailer Old Navy as an I had an opportunity to move to San overnight merchandise stocker. “I Francisco and continue working for worked from 9 p.m. until 2 or 3 in the the Gap or I could apply for the CLS morning,” Collyar said. “I was able to position and stay in Oklahoma.” work my way through the company, Collyar applied for the CLS position eventually becoming a supervisor at the and quickly started his role as the Gap. I literally worked my way through newest prospective the entire Gap Inc. company from Old Working at CLS has given student staff member. Now he Navy to Baby Gap, me my life back. ... I is even teaching I worked at all of love what I do because I for the college the them.” believe in the University of undergraduateIn 2003, Collyar Oklahoma. level class, was managing a Leadership in Gap in Oklahoma - Kelly Collyar Organizations. City. He had “Working at completed five CLS has given me my life back; it has years of college but never received his given me a quality of life,” Collyar said. bachelor’s degree. Collyar said, “I was a “I love what I do because I believe in typical liberal studies student. the University of Oklahoma. I am very “I was 30 years old and I knew I proud of this institution.” would be 33 before I finished my Outside of work, Collyar enjoys degree. A good friend of mine, who spending time with his wife and two happened to teach at OU, told me daughters, ages 8 and 3. He is an avid about CLS and how they could help me golfer and self-described “almost crazy, finish my degree. He asked me one day, psycho workout” person. Collyar also ‘You might be 33 when you finish your takes pleasure in exercising his mind. degree, but how old would you be if “I try to live the CLS example in my you don’t finish?’ own life,” Collyar said. “I believe in “My friend talked me into calling creating a student-friendly environment. CLS. I enrolled in classes and finished Attitude is everything in a customer my bachelor’s degree in two years. As service field. I think it is important for they say, the rest is history.” us to treat our students in the same After completing his undergraduate manner that we, ourselves, want to be degree, Collyar decided to continue treated.” his education and he enrolled in the – Megan Sagowitz master’s program in human resources.

Kelly Collyar Vantage Point, sUMMER 2009



Sandy Gannon Managerial associate


Sandy Gannon

What I do:


I began my employment with the University of Oklahoma and the College of Liberal Studies in November 1988. I can’t believe it, but I’m into my 20th year at OU! My official title is Managerial Associate I in the College of Liberal Studies, which means I am the assistant to the associate dean; office manager; financial, payroll and personnel manager; and I supervise three staff. I also assist with planning and working special events such as convocation, Brock International Prize in Education announcement and award dinners, Feaver-MacMinn public lectures, and faculty and/or staff development workshops.

I graduated with a Bachelor of Liberal Studies degree in May 1995 and I am a first-generation college graduate. Accomplishing this goal was incredibly fulfilling and satisfying. When I traveled to England, France, Switzerland, Germany and Belgium in 1994, it was exciting to recognize artists and architectural styles due to my studies in the humanities. One of my first responsibilities at CLS was answering the telephone and talking to prospective students. I believe that my enthusiasm for my studies enabled me to encourage a few of them to enroll in CLS because I then met them later at an on-campus seminar. While attending the seminars each year, I made several lifelong friends.

My back story: I was born in Wellington, Kan., and grew up in small farming communities in southern Kansas and northern Oklahoma. When I say “small,” I mean really small. My senior class at Hillsdale High School consisted of seven students. I moved to Norman from the Enid area where I worked in two banks that both failed – the first in 1984 and then the bank that purchased it failed in 1986. Due to the poor job market in that area, I spread my wings and flew south to Norman. I am the third child in a family of six. I have one son and three grandchildren. All of my family lives in the Enid area – Kremlin, Ames, and Carmen. 20

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What I’ve learned: – to be flexible and more patient with frequent interruptions. – growth is wonderful but challenging. – I can’t get along without my right hand person, Lura Hindman. – to almost like PeopleSoft – NOT!

Why I like working for CLS: It is very rewarding to work in a college that focuses on helping adults complete their education. May and December convocations are my favorite events each year. As the graduates walk across the stage to receive their diploma covers from the dean, their families are clapping and yelling in excitement. This

past May, as her father was exiting the stage, a small girl in the balcony right above me leaned over and called out during a moment of complete silence, “I love you, Daddy!” We have the finest staff in CLS! For the most part, we have the benefit of cooperation and team work, excitement and some fun each day.

What I do when I am not working: I enjoy spending time with my family and friends, reading, traveling and playing Scrabble with my mother. Our “tournaments” are quite competitive. My husband and I take several casino gambling trips each year to Topeka, Kan., or Bosier City, La. Honestly, I stay in the room and read while he gambles. I don’t know why people don’t believe that.

Tony McCoy

Tony McCoy



CLS admission specialist After high school I became interested in editing video on my home computer. It was becoming more affordable with advances in technology, so I decided to finance a video camera and computer with some video production software. I taught myself how to shoot, edit and even do some special effects. I made simple, short movies with my friends and family. I eventually headed out to California to attend film school at the University of Southern California. It was only for one summer, but I learned a lot. When I returned to Norman I tried to get any work I could find. My mother used to work at a prison and told me that a documentary crew was going to be doing some work there and that I could tag along. The producer was a great guy and I ended up running one of the cameras and getting paid. I used that experience to get a job at KWTV-9 in Oklahoma City where I worked for a year. Then I got a dream job working for SoonerVision, the OU Athletic Department’s in-house production studio in Norman. From 2000 to 2007 I actually got paid to travel with the OU football and basketball teams. I have been to bowl games, Big 12 championship games and a tournament in Hawaii. I also was able to shoot for the NBA Hornets the two years the basketball team was hosted in Oklahoma City. The two things I remember most about that were the size of star player Yao Ming’s shoes and when Allen Iverson ran me over on the base line and afterward gave me a pat on the back to ask if I was OK. One of the best things about that business is the access you get to unusual places – being in the locker room after a big win, or being part of a personal tour of Pearl Harbor. As a Norman native I knew already that football is king and the players and coaches are a very fun group to be

around. But I would have to say that women’s basketball holds a special place in my heart. It is a much smaller group of people to travel with, more like a second family. My academic journey to finish a bachelor’s degree has been long with many turns and is still ongoing. I have been to the University of Southern California, Oklahoma City Community College, schools in the Army and a few different majors here at OU including my current online Liberal Studies degree. I think that is why I fit into my position at CLS so well. I am working fulltime and pursuing a degree, so I understand the difficulties of trying to finish school while balancing family and work obligations. My job at CLS is to answer questions from prospective students and guide them through the application process. I do that over the phone, in written letters, e-mails, Facebook, MySpace, office visits, education fairs or any other way someone needs to contact me. Most

of the people who contact me have had some previous college. If they are able to provide me with a copy of their transcript(s) I can do an evaluation for them using one of our degree sheets. I think this is one of the most valuable services I provide and it’s 100 percent free. My favorite part of this job is finding a solution to a person’s educational needs. Maybe they have never been to college and just want general information like what’s the difference between a master’s and bachelor’s degree. Then my job is to demystify that for them. Or maybe a student had previously tried college and made really bad grades. My job is to let them know they always have options and I’m here to let them know what their options are. Hearing the sound of a voice change over the phone from despair to hopefulness after I let them know that they can absolutely fulfill their dream of getting a degree is easily the most rewarding part of my day.

Tony McCoy Vantage Point, sUMMER 2009



Opportunity Nontraditional students earn scholarships from Bernard Osher Foundation


During the past academic year, the College of Liberal Studies awarded 29 students more than $41,000 in scholarships as part of the Osher Reentry Student Scholarship Program. Students who experienced an interruption in their education of five or more years and who were working toward their Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Studies degrees were eligible. The scholarships were made possible by a $50,000 grant from The Bernard Osher Foundation, San Francisco, Calif. With more than $8,000 remaining in the grant, the scholarships have been extended to CLS students enrolled in the summer session as well. The Osher Reentry Scholarships were awarded to students, ranging in age from 24 to 70, who enrolled in the college’s on-site or hybrid classes offered at OU-Norman, Oklahoma City Community College, Rose State College and OU-Tulsa. Those awarded Osher Reentry Scholarships received tuition waivers credited to their OU bursar’s account. In May, the college submitted its annual report to The Bernard Osher Foundation and requested a renewal for a second year of scholarship funding ($50,000), for 2009-2010. After three years of funding, institutions may apply for a $1 million endowment to establish the scholarships permanently on their campuses. As one Osher scholar said, the scholarship gave her “the opportunity to become a better person. Without this scholarship I may have not stepped out and taken some of the chances that I did…. The requirements for the scholarship helped keep me focused on finishing school and not cutting back.” For more information about the Osher Reentry Student Scholarship Program, contact Christine Yeo, events and scholarships coordinator, at (405) 325-1061 or visit CLS prepares students to be lifelong learners, equipping them personally and professionally for active citizenship.


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Laureate Lawrence Lezotte wins 2009 Brock International Prize in Education


Lawrence W. Lezotte, Ph.D, recipient of the 2009 Brock International Prize in Education, has devoted his career to helping schools educate all students. He is the chief executive officer and national education consultant for Effective Schools Products, Ltd., and is known as the preeminent spokesperson for continuous school improvement based on effective schools research. “Lezotte’s research on effective schools proves that we can do things much better than we used to,” said Sue Cleveland, Ed.D., superintendent for the Rio Rancho Public School District in New Mexico and member of the Brock Prize jury who nominated Lezotte. “He has helped educators at all levels to think differently about school reform and he has changed the entire landscape of what we mean by continuous school improvement.” Lezotte earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Western Michigan University and a doctorate degree from Michigan State University. The Brock International Prize in Education honors Oklahoma native John A. Brock, chairman of the board for Brighton Energy,

LLC. The prize recognizes an individual who has made a specific innovation or contribution to the science and art of education, resulting in a significant impact on the practice or understanding of the field of education. The recipient receives $40,000, a certificate and a sculpted bust of Sequoyah. Lezotte is the eighth recipient of the prize. The prize is administered by an executive committee that includes representatives from Oklahoma State University, the University of Oklahoma, the University of Tulsa, and the Brock Family Community Foundation.

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Destination points Share your latest achievement, publication, promotion or other life-changing news with Vantage Point. Write an e-mail to or send a note to Susan Grossman, 1700 Asp Avenue, Room 229, Norman, OK 73072-6400 Tom Wing received a master’s degree from the College of Liberal Studies in 2001. In May 2008, Wing was awarded a $1.9 million preservation grant from the Arkansas Department of Heritage for the Drennen-Scott Project, which involves restoration and preservation of a nationally significant National Register property. The grant completes funding for the project, totaling $5.2 million. Currently, Wing is employed by the National Park Service and has a full-time teaching position at the University of Arkansas. He is also working on his doctorate at Stephen F. Austin University in Texas.

David Lynx was awarded the 2008 Award of Exhibit Excellence from the Washington Museum Association. Lynx curated the exhibit “In Memory Of: Expressions of Mourning in Victorian America.” Lynx is a 1997 CLS graduate and currently lives in Yakima, Wash. Harriet Susan Hill is an office specialist in the city manager’s office in Ponca City, Okla. Part of her job entails writing a newsletter for the city’s employees, and after four years of writing the publication, Hill said it has been a big hit, often requiring additional printings to meet community demand. “I just have to give OU’s College of Liberal Studies the credit for my success,” she said. Mary Ellen Rioux is a 2003 CLS graduate and a sculptor who 24

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recently received the Award of Merit for Sculpture at the annual Dimension XXXVI art exhibit. The award gives Rioux five wins in a row at the Art Center of Corpus Christi. Her work has also appeared at the Fred Jones Jr. Museum in Norman.

Charles A. Beckett received a master’s degree from the College of Liberal Studies in 1973. Following retirement from a senior supervisory management position, his master’s degree in liberal studies enabled him to enjoy a second career teaching management and financial courses at a junior college. Beckett then continued his education and received a doctorate in financial management. After his second career and completion of his education, Beckett became a full-time author, publishing a novel, Push the Rain Away, plus various short stories, articles and essays. He has recently completed the manuscript for his second novel, Twilight Manor, a romantic comedy. “I am grateful to the University of Oklahoma for helping me open so many doors in my life,” Beckett said.

Peter Aradi received a bachelor’s degree from the College of Liberal Studies in 1989, earning the Jesse E. Burkett Award. He also earned his master’s degree from CLS in 1991, and the MLS Academic Achievement Award. He then earned a master’s degree in history from the University of Tulsa in 1993. He served 25 years in various management and

Congratulations! technical positions with American Airlines and accepted an early retirement in 1993. Following retirement, he served as an adjunct professor at Tulsa Community College, Rogers State University in Claremore, Okla., the University of Oklahoma, Phillips University in Enid, Okla., and the University of Tulsa. At Rogers State, Aradi earned the Adjunct Instructor of the Year Award in the social justice division. He has had multiple articles, papers and presentations published over the last two decades including Literati: The material culture of the Chinese and Japanese Elite, Monks and Stones: Zen Buddhism, Japanese Aesthetics and Suiseki, and Contemporary Stone Appreciation, published in both Chinese and English. In 2005, Aradi was inducted into the Oklahoma Soccer Association’s Hall of Fame for 30 years of service as a referee, instructor and assessor at the professional, collegiate and amateur levels.

Beki McReynolds, full-time University of Oklahoma employee and mother, was recently awarded two OU scholarships to help her complete her bachelor’s degree with the College of Liberal Studies. McReynolds was awarded the Olga Thresa Brioli Scholarship through the College of Liberal Studies. The scholarship, worth $500, is offered to single mothers with a 3.0 GPA or better. She also was awarded a $2,500 scholarship through the OU Women’s Studies program. The Betty Baum and Norman Hirschfield Scholarship is awarded to single mothers who are going to school full-time and have a 3.0 GPA or better. In addition, McReynolds was on the President’s Honor Roll for the fall 2008 semester. After she completes her bachelor’s degree in Liberal Studies, McReynolds would like to work on a master’s degree in human relations.

Gina Wekke is the assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. She currently works with academic policy and Campus Compact, a higher education member organization that fosters service and civic responsibility in college students, and is a 2002 graduate of the College of Liberal Studies.


George Schroeder is the new president of the Football Writers Association of America. A 2006 CLS graduate, Schroeder is a columnist for the Register Guard in Eugene, Ore. He previously covered OU football for The Oklahoman newspaper. Karolyn Spangler Nova will graduate from medical school in May and begin residency in emergency medicine. She earned a bachelor’s degree from CLS in 1999 and wrote that even as the mother of five children, anything is possible when students follow their dreams. Karin Teresa Fain, a 1985 CLS graduate, recently had a painting published in a book called Opera Unveiled, by Desiree Mays. The book, published by Art Forms, Inc., features sections on the upcoming Santa Fe Opera season. Fain’s painting depicts the central figure in “The Letter.”

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A long journey


Taking the “distance” out of distance education


when what I call the “modern Internet” The faculty and staff of the College emerged. The Internet now allows us of Liberal Studies at the University of to communicate instantaneously from Oklahoma have always been proud anywhere in the world to anywhere else of the quality degrees we provide to in the world. It also allows us to access students at a distance ever since we were information just as though we were at founded almost 50 years ago. We are the OU Library or at the Smithsonian also proud to say that as the first liberal Institution. Now, we can even take studies program of its kind in the United three-dimensional tours of museums via States, many other universities have a virtual walk-through. followed our model for distance degrees. For faculty and staff who have For the college’s first 40 years, course invested decades of service work was completed to educating working though a combination of adults and distance self-paced independent students, the Internet study and concentrated offered some unique on-site seminars. This opportunities as well. It model produced highoffered us the opportunity quality graduates that went to develop online courses on to future successes using select components throughout Oklahoma, the of the Internet that could nation and the world. facilitate the teaching and The original method Robert J. Dougherty learning process. At first of delivering education we started out with our through a combination of blended model with some courses being seminars and distance courses is still with taken online and some in concentrated us today and continues to produce many seminars. Eventually, we were able to top-notch graduates. When this was get to where we are now. A student can our only delivery method, however, it get a bachelor’s or master’s degree 100 did have some limitations. For example, percent online. before the Internet, in order to complete We are really proud of our online a successful self-paced independent courses here at CLS. Early on we study course, a student needed to be made an academic decision to build a within a reasonable driving distance of customized Web site for each course. an “OU-type” academic library. You We felt this was the best approach can’t do an in-depth research paper from in maximizing the student learning a couple of textbooks. For many people experience while taking maximum who lived in rural areas, accessing such a advantage of all the things that the library meant a significant drive. Often, Internet offers — audio, video, working adults who wanted to continue interactivity, etc. I’m proud to say that their education saw this as just too big I’ve gone to many online education of an obstacle and simply chose not to conferences over the years and I’ve yet pursue a degree. to find any other university that focuses Then by the mid-1990’s something on the details of online courses like we amazing happened that offered a whole do. new range of opportunities for distance students. That was the time period

At first there was some concern that online courses would take away from the 18-to-22-year-old population on main college campuses. Instead, something else happened. Suddenly, working adults who thought they would never be able to get a college degree were now able to do so. Since we’ve started our online courses we’ve found a significant increase in enrollments from rural areas and small towns. Finally, we were able to serve those people who were a three-hour drive from a major library. But it doesn’t stop there. Other groups of people who now had access to an OU degree included single parents, firefighters, police officers, military personnel and older students who felt uncomfortable in a main campus environment with their much younger counterparts. Twenty years ago, if you were a distance student, the university experience was completely different from that of a main campus student. While differences still do exist, there are many ways in which the Internet has closed the gap: areas like applications, enrollment, paying bursar bills, add/ drop, library research and OU’s course interactions such as chat, discussion, e-mail and syllabus access. All of these things are the same for the online student as they are for the main campus student. Distance education has always been a great place to be, but in many ways the field is now more fulfilling than ever. We get to work on the leading edge of technology and communications and we get to work with the best students in the world. In many ways we have truly taken the “distance” out of distance education. — Robert J. Dougherty, Director of Information Technology, College of Liberal Studies Vantage Point, sUMMER 2009


In memory Former CLS Dean Roy Troutt dies at age 87 Roy Troutt Former Dean College of Liberal Studies Jan. 27, 1921-Dec. 2008


Roy Troutt, former dean of the College of Liberal Studies at the University of Oklahoma, was remembered as a great Oklahoma leader and a proud public servant. Troutt died in December 2008 at Norman Regional Hospital after a brief illness. He was 87. Troutt was born on Jan. 27, 1921, in Durant, Okla., and died on Friday, Dec. 26, 2008, in Norman. A native Oklahoman, he attended Durant Public Schools, received his bachelor’s degree at Southeastern Oklahoma State University and master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Oklahoma. From his position as CLS dean, which he held from 1970 to 1975, Troutt went on to serve as president of the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma. Retiring from USAO in 2000, Troutt’s 60-year career in Oklahoma education spanned seven decades, 11 U.S. presidents and 13 Oklahoma governors. His presidential colleagues from other institutions dubbed him the “dean of college presidents.” When the Oklahoma Higher Education Hall of Fame was created in 1994, Troutt was named among the first inductees. Earlier that year, he received the Distinguished Alumnus Award at Southeastern Oklahoma State University. In 2000, the Ardmore Public School


Vantage Point, SUMMER 2009

Foundation named Troutt among the first inductees to its new hall of fame. His higher education leadership in Oklahoma became a resource to other colleges across America because he served as a consultant-evaluator for the North Central Association Commission on Institutions of Higher Education. He visited many college campuses across the country helping them to achieve accreditation. Troutt was a life member of the National Education Association and the Oklahoma Education Association. He is a former chairman of the Council of Presidents of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. He was a member of the Phi Delta Kappa Commission on Lifelong Learning, the Commission on Institutions of Higher Education of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, and for several years as the Oklahoma representative for the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Memorials may be made to the USAO Foundation’s Roy & Ruth Troutt Fund, created to honor outstanding students through scholarships and public service awards. The Foundation’s address is 1727 West Alabama, Chickasha, OK 73018-5322.

For Alumni, Students and Friends of CLS


COLLEGE OF LIBERAL STUDIES McCarter Hall 1610 Asp Avenue Norman, OK 73072-6405

Non-Profit Organization U.S. Postage


University of Oklahoma

The University of Oklahoma College of Liberal Studies McCarter Hall 1610 Asp Avenue Norman, OK 73072-6405

The University of Oklahoma is an equal opportunity institution. Printed and distributed at no cost to Oklahoma taxpayers.

Call for alumni news Keep in touch with your fellow Liberal Studies classmates. Life is full of changes and new directions. Share your latest achievement, publication, promotion, or other life-changing news with your CLS family. News and photos can be sent to:

Susan Grossman, editor

Vantage Point College of Liberal Studies 1700 Asp, Room 229 Norman, OK 73072-6405 e-mail

Vantage Point - Summer 2009  

VP-Summer 2009

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