OU Board of Regents Approves College of Nursing Renovations, Academic Appointments and More; Harroz Underscores Value and Impact of an OU Education

September 13, 2023

DUNCAN, Okla. – The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents met Wednesday, Sept. 13, 2023, to approve the next steps to renovate nursing student facilities and classrooms, academic appointments, the formation of a search committee and other items.

At the meeting, held on Cameron University’s Duncan campus, the Regents approved an agenda item related to enhancements at OU’s Fran and Earl Ziegler College of Nursing, which has significantly increased enrollment to meet workforce demands. The board authorized the selection of a construction management firm for the project, which will provide additional learning spaces, modernize existing classrooms and upgrade the college’s student success center.

OU is home to the largest nursing program in Oklahoma. For the last two fall semesters, the OU College of Nursing has admitted all qualified applicants to its Bachelor of Science in Nursing program, resulting in a 73% increase in enrollment, compared to fall 2020.

In his remarks at the meeting, OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. emphasized how this nursing growth strategy is yielding life-changing outcomes for people across Oklahoma.

“At OU, we recognize our pivotal role in fortifying the future of our great state, and nursing is one area we have channeled our excellence to make a profound impact on Oklahoma’s critical workforce needs,” Harroz said.

Harroz also noted how key partnerships, such as those with Duncan Regional Hospital, the University of Science & Arts of Oklahoma and Murray State College, are greatly increasing access to baccalaureate nursing education in rural Oklahoma. Key

“Collaborations are key to creating game-changing success, and by stewarding our collective resources – backed by over a century of OU Nursing excellence – we can sizably enhance health care access and quality across our state,” he said.

The Regents also approved the appointment of two interim deans: Melissa Medina, College of Pharmacy; and Jonathan Stalling, David L. Boren College of International Studies. The board also approved the formation of a search committee for the dean of the Gaylord College of Journalism and Mass Communication.

Additionally, the Regents approved the purchase of a vehicle and CT system to be used for mobile lung cancer screenings. The vehicle is part of the Oklahoma Mobile Lung Cancer Screening Action Network Project that was approved and funded by a grant from the Tobacco Settlement Endowment Trust, or TSET.

During his remarks, Harroz addressed how OU’s future-focused strategy remains rooted in providing students a top-tier education at the best possible value.

“At a time when many universities across the country are struggling, OU is flourishing,” he said.

As one example, Harroz pointed how this marks the third consecutive year for OU to have record-breaking freshman classes. The Class of 2027’s record-setting size represents an 11% increase in new students over last year – a sign of growth and momentum at OU. In addition, more than 26% of the nearly 5,200 students in this year’s class are first-generation college students – the highest percentage of any incoming class at OU.

“We are unequivocally committed to keeping the American dream alive and well at OU,” Harroz said. “OU has been a catalyst for opportunity and innovation since long before Oklahoma became a state. The ripple effects are endless: Generations of students have been transformed by their OU education, and our state and society have long benefited from our boundless determination to change lives.

“The lifeblood of the American dream is our public research universities,” Harroz said. “Through the combination of our ambitious strategy to reach new heights and our unwavering spirit, this will always be true at the University of Oklahoma.”

The board is set to next meet in November.

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