I am currently the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Central Oklahoma (UCO) where I have worked for over 23 years since beginning my career at UCO as an assistant professor in 1995. Prior to being Provost, I served as the Dean of the UCO College of Mathematics and Science for seven years. Including my time as an assistant and an associate dean, I have spent over 14 years in administrative roles on the UCO campus. During that time, I have been motivated to create an inclusive, student-centered learning environment that promotes high-impact educational practices, including the early involvement of students in research, creative, and scholarly activities.
My formal interest in research developed when, as an undergraduate, I received a grant to fund my role in a research expedition to Central America (Costa Rica). I have now served 13 consecutive years as the PI of a National Science Foundation (NSF) grant that explores the role of the honey bee within its native environment in Eastern Europe (Greece) and nearby Anatolia (Republic of Turkey). This research includes outcomes that relate to Colony Collapse Disorder, a syndrome that threatens billions of dollars of crops annually in the United States. As part of the program, I work collaboratively with colleagues from across the country, including in Kansas, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and Puerto Rico as well as with scientists in Greece and Turkey. This unique collaborative framework creates the opportunity to integrate my long-standing interests in teaching, research, and administration.
As Provost, I have worked with my colleagues to institutionalize high-impact practices across disciplines. My commitment to a student-centered education is reflected in my role as a nationally elected representative (“Councilor”) for the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). I also serve on the Leadership Council of the NSF Biology Division’s Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) program, the premier federally funded undergraduate research program for STEM disciplines in the United States. My expertise in this area (including while working with CUR and the Higher Learning Commission) has allowed me to advise others about undergraduate-based research initiatives at private and public universities in Arizona, California, Illinois, Minnesota, Nebraska, New York, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.
Below, I provide links to examples of outcomes in each of these three areas of my career.