The Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education invite applications and nominations for the appointment of Chancellor, who serves as the chief executive officer overseeing Oklahoma’s coordinated system of 25 public colleges and universities. The Chancellor will be an innovative, dynamic, and strategic leader who will promote comprehensive academic, research, and public service initiatives that positively impact the state of Oklahoma. This position offers the opportunity to play a defining role in shaping the future of higher education in Oklahoma.
Oklahoma State System of Higher Education
The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education was created in 1941 by a vote of the people that amended the state's constitution to provide for such a legal structure to coordinate public education at the collegiate level. The Oklahoma State System of Higher Education is comprised of 25 colleges and universities – including two research universities, 10 regional universities, one public liberal arts university and 12 community colleges – and 11 constituent agencies and two university centers. Independent colleges and universities may affiliate with the State System.
The State System is coordinated by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (State Regents), which consists of 9 members appointed by the Governor and approved by the State Senate. The State Regents prescribe academic standards for higher education, determine functions and courses of studies at state colleges and universities, grant degrees, recommend to the state legislature the budget needs of each institution, approve institutional budgets, allocate funds to institutions, and set fees and tuition within limits established by the Legislature. While the State Regents comprise the coordinating board of control for all institutions in the State System of Higher Education, governing boards of regents and boards of trustees are responsible for the operation and management of each State System institution or higher education program.
The State Regents also manage an endowment in excess of $848 million, 23 scholarships and special programs, as well as the Oklahoma College Assistance Program, which provides college access, aid awareness, financial literacy and student loan management programs and services for students and parents. In addition, the State Regents operate OneNet, the state’s information and telecommunications network for education and government. According to a 2019 report sponsored by the Oklahoma State Chamber Research Foundation, Oklahoma’s higher education system supports over $8.2 billion in total economic output annually.
- For every dollar of state appropriation invested, the Oklahoma state system of higher education generates $9.40 in economic output.
- More than 87% of Oklahoma residents who graduate with a bachelor’s degree remain in the state and are employed in the state one year after graduation.
- The number of STEM degrees and certificates conferred by state system institutions has increased 54% over the last nine years.
- S. News and World Report ranks Oklahoma tuition and fees as 12th lowest in the nation.
Reporting to the State Regents, the Chancellor is the chief executive officer for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education. The Chancellor serves as the chief spokesperson and advocate for higher education across the state and ensures the State System serves as a vital resource to the communities in Oklahoma.
- Provides leadership on matters relating to standards for Oklahoma higher education, courses and programs of study, budget allocations for institutions, fees and tuition, and strategic planning.
- Responsible for an annual higher education budget in excess of $1.9 billion as well as the state endowment fund, with a market value over $848 million. Serves as an effective steward of funds through efficient administration of the budgeting process and allocations.
- Provides oversight of OneNet, which is Oklahoma’s most advanced technology network designed to provide the infrastructure to support high-speed broadband services, as well as the Oklahoma College Assistance Program, which has guaranteed more than one million student loans exceeding $2.5 billion in insured debt.
- Leads implementation of strategic initiatives identified by the State Regents (e.g., system-wide approaches to online education, increased college degree completion, development of micro-credentials, identification of cost-savings and efficiencies, adult degree completion efforts, etc.).
- Directs 20 statewide scholarship programs including the Oklahoma's Promise Scholarship program and statewide GEAR UP efforts.
- Serves a key agency spokesperson on behalf of Oklahoma’s State System of Higher Education, including advocating for the needs of higher education with external stakeholders.
- Chancellor establishes and maintains productive relationships on behalf of the University with state government, the Oklahoma congressional delegation and federal agencies.
- Collaborates with the Council of College and University Presidents on a regular basis.
- Develops constructive relationships and partnerships with traditional external stakeholders, such as K-12 education, CareerTech, Oklahoma Department of Commerce, etc.
- Prepares and presents the agenda for all State Regents’ board meetings after consultation with the State Regents’ Chair.
- Facilitates and coordinates the execution of all State Regents’ policies and procedures.
- Leads and manages professional staff of the State Regents and creates an inclusive and supportive work environment.
- Recommends hiring, firing, advancement, promotion, or other changes in assigned employee status in accordance with State Regents’ policy.
Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
The Chancellor is expected to provide visionary leadership and execute strategic initiatives to enhance the standing of the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education and to provide advocacy and support for the generation of new knowledge including a focus on student success and growing talent production through increased enrollment and graduation rates. Among the most important characteristics desired for the Chancellor are:
- Exceptional, consistent leadership and decision-making skills and abilities, including the ability to resolve complex issues, use facts and data in decision-making, and manage crises.
- Commitment to quality, excellence and integrity.
- Exceptional skills in communications and interpersonal relations.
- Ability and willingness to delegate effectively and to hold direct reports accountable.
- Ability and commitment to be transparent in decision-making and management.
- Ability to work with cross-functional teams and to foster teamwork.
- Excellent oral, written and presentation skills.
- Ability to innovate and foster positive changes.
- Knowledge of national and international trends in higher education, K-12 education, career technology education, and workforce/economic development that have implications for Oklahoma.
- Ability to work well with diverse groups of internal and external constitutions, including the Legislature, Governor, and other key stakeholders.
- Knowledge of applicable federal and state laws and regulations related to higher education.
- An understanding of the diverse missions of Oklahoma’s colleges and universities.
- The ability to work collaboratively with the college and university presidents for the advancement of higher education in the state.
- An appreciation of Oklahoma’s history and culture.
Desired Characteristics and Traits
The Chancellor will exhibit qualities of emotional maturity, unquestioned integrity and trustworthiness, genuineness, self-confidence, common sense, judgment, fairness, creativity, discretion, decisiveness, listening, political savvy, diplomacy, tact, resiliency, adaptability, courage of convictions and tolerance for ambiguity.
Candidates should have an earned advanced degree and at least 10 years’ experience in higher education administration or comparable executive experience. Candidates should have significant experience and demonstrable skills in leading and managing change in a large, complex organization. The individual should have a thorough knowledge and understanding of higher education and excellent verbal, writing, and analytical abilities. The individual must demonstrate leadership with the ability to work effectively with internal and external constituencies. In and out‐of‐state travel required.
For optimal consideration, application materials should be received by June 30, 2021, at which time the search committee will begin reviewing applications. Candidates should submit a current curriculum vitae/resume and a cover letter describing their interest in, and qualifications for, the position.
Applications, nominations, and inquiries of interest may be sent in confidence to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education’s executive recruitment consultant:
Martin M. Baker
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