Higher Education Leadership Seeks President for Southeastern Oklahoma State University

November 21, 2019 – The Regional University System of Oklahoma (RUSO) Board of Regents has selected Anniston, AL-based Higher Education Leadership Search to find a new president for Southeastern Oklahoma State University. Sean Burrage recently stepped down. Consultants Bill Meehan and Alan Medders are leading the assignment.

“We are seeking someone who understands the diverse and dynamic academic environment and connects with our multiple stakeholders,” said Susan Winchester, RUSO regent chair.

RUSO has named an 18-member screening committee to assist in the search for a new president. The committee is composed of regents, faculty, staff, student representative, administrators and community leaders. The projected timeline for filling the vacancy is by May 1, 2020.

As the institution’s chief executive officer, the president provides strategic leadership, leading the overall operations and administration of the university, reporting to the RUSO regents, and performing all duties required by law, policies, rules, regulations and directives from the board. The individual will spearhead the development, communication and implementation of effective growth strategies and processes through shared governance.

RUSO wants someone with the ability to establish and nurture relationships with and connections to community and state leaders to maximize opportunities for partnerships and support to the university, said Higher Education Leadership Search. The next president of Southeastern Oklahoma State University should have the “ability to promote a shared vision to address challenges and create opportunities, especially in the areas of student recruitment through graduation, employee excellence and finances with ongoing attention to facilities and technology in support of student success,” the firm said. “They should be able to articulate opportunities and needs to external audiences, sharing the value of supporting the university”


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Witt/ Kieffer was recognized as one of the leading academic search specialists on Hunt Scanlon Media’s “Top 50 Non-Profit/Higher Education Search Firms” list. It is the first-ever roundup of leading recruiters across both sectors. Check out these top 50 trailblazers.

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Founded in 1909, Southeastern Oklahoma State University is a nationally recognized public institution whose mission is to provide an environment of academic excellence that enables students to reach their highest potential. Located on a 269-acre main campus in Durant, OK, it offers its 5,087 students 38 bachelor’s degree programs and 14 master’s degree programs, including a unique master’s degree in Native American leadership, as well as an online MBA. It is nationally known for fields of study including aviation, business, elementary education and occupational safety and health.

New Model of Higher Education Search

Higher Education Leadership offers what it describes as a new model of higher education search: matching talented candidates with distinguished positions in the most cost-effective, streamlined and efficient manner. With search consultants from a variety of academic and administrative positions, the firm offers universities and candidates a variety of services: profile development, position advertising, candidate support and recruiting, facilitation of the interview process, as well as complete internet and social-media vetting.

Related: Why Universities Have Stepped Up Efforts to Involve Search Firms

Dr. Meehan served as president of Jacksonville State University (JSU) in Alabama from 1999 to 2015. After completing his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at JSU, he joined the faculty as a full-time biology instructor. Dr. Meehan served in several roles for JSU before becoming president, including coordinator of medical technology, director of academic advisement, assistant to the vice president for academic affairs, acting vice president for academic affairs, associate vice president for academic and student affairs, and acting vice president for institutional advancement.

Dr. Medders was previously president of Myers McRae Executive Search, serving as consultant on over 30 public and private institutional searches for academic affairs, advancement and business and finance vice presidents, advancement officers, academic deans and directors, state and national executive directors, nursing and cybersecurity faculty. During his academic career, Dr. Medders served as vice president for advancement at Columbus State University (CSU) and executive director of the CSU Foundation, vice president for university advancement at the University of North Alabama (UNA) and executive director of the UNA Foundation, and vice president of development at Campbellsville University in Kentucky.

Related: Academic Search Places President at St. Mary’s University

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; and Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor  – Hunt Scanlon Media

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