DURANT, Okla. – Over the years, the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma and Southeastern Oklahoma State University have teamed up on numerous projects for the benefit of students and the community.
One of the partnership’s latest efforts – Choctaw U – was recently awarded the Exceptional Program Award (Credit) by the Association for Continuing Higher Education -- Great Plains Region. The award was presented last week at the Association’s Regional Conference at Kansas State University.
Attending the conference to accept the award from the Choctaw Nation were Tana Sanders, Director of Learning and Development, and Jack Hedrick, Curriculum Designer and Instructor. Dr. Aaron Adair, Assistant Dean of Distance and Adult Education, represented Southeastern.
This unique program offers students the opportunity to earn credit hours at Southeastern while completing Choctaw U courses that are focused on leadership, communication, and business.
“Teaming up with Southeastern to meet our goals for the leadership and education programs of our employees is a giant step in succession planning for the Choctaw Nation,’’ said Chief Gregory E. Pyle.
“Choctaw U is a great example of successful partnership and collaboration,’’ said Southeastern president Larry Minks. “The Nation and University have combined resources to produce a truly unique educational experience that will benefit the participants and community for many years.’’
The purpose of Choctaw U is to grow knowledge and skills of all associates by instilling a deeper understanding of their purpose within the organization. The five levels of training within Choctaw U mirror that of a standard university.
Participants receive professional development training, build knowledge, and improve their skills to be more efficient and productive leaders. Choctaw U includes two series for development, the Leadership Series and the Continuing Education Series.
The official launch of Choctaw U was Jan. 26, 2012, with more than 100 people making the first year-long commitment to the project. The participants attended the orientation at Choctaw Casino and Resort in Durant. During the meeting, participants learned how the program builds on Chief Pyle’s long-term vision of growing and sustaining the tribe. Choctaw U challenges this group of leaders to begin planning toward the next century of the Choctaw people.
In December 2012, 73 Choctaw Nation associates graduated from the program.