Oklahoma Higher Education Campus E-Clips sponsored by the Communicators Council

May-June-July 2017

Dr. Katricia Pierson Named East Central University's Ninth President

ECU President Katricia Pierson.

Dr. Katricia G. Pierson is East Central University's ninth president and the first woman to hold that office.

Dr. Katricia Pierson was named East Central University’s ninth president on February 19, 2017 and assumed the duties on March 1, in place of the retiring John R. Hargrave. Pierson had served as provost and vice president for Academic Affairs at ECU since 2015, after joining the university as assistant vice president for Academic Affairs in 2011.

“I am honored to be ECU’s next president,” Pierson said. “We are in challenging times, particularly as we balance budget cuts with ensuring a high-quality, affordable education. But, I have seen firsthand the resiliency and innovation of ECU’s faculty and staff. I am excited to lead this remarkable group to create an even stronger and more vibrant university.”

Connie Reilly, RUSO regent and chair of the ECU presidential search committee, said the search was a thorough process. It included a national search, with considerations to proven leaders in both academia and private business.

“We wanted to ensure that we selected the best person with proven leadership and commitment to academic excellence,” Reilly explained. “We are confident that we have found that leader in Dr. Pierson.”

With experience in both independent and public universities, Pierson has served as a fulltime faculty member for 15 years and has held administrative positions for 10 years. Her administrative work also included serving as the associate dean and division chair of science and humanities at William Woods University.

Pierson’s beliefs have clearly lined up with the mission of ECU in being student-centered. She has implanted changes to connect with students and faculty to resources that help faculty teach and students succeed.

She has established a retention office which grew into a student success center, automated end-of-course surveys with 100 percent being completed online, moved a paper-based enrollment process to an online process, and most recently, implemented an online degree audit.

Pierson has experience working with international universities and has developed articulation agreements for a variety of programs. She is actively involved with federal and state agencies. Pierson serves on the Council for Instruction of the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) as well as on the
OSRHE two standing committees, admission and retention, and assessment. She also served as ECU’s liaison for the OSRHE Course Equivalency Project.

Additionally, Pierson has served on the steering committee of the Missouri Department of Higher Education’s curriculum alignment and assessment initiative and she co-chaired the English Discipline Subcommittee for the Curriculum Alignment Initiative.

In addition to the state-level work she has completed, Pierson is a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission and has chairs one or two site visits per year.

Pierson earned both her doctorate and master’s degrees in English from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and received her bachelor’s degree in English, journalism and secondary education from the University of Wyoming.

She has participated in several professional development programs, including the Development of Department and Division Chairs Workshop and the Chief Academic Officers and Chief Financial Officers Institute sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges. She most recently completed the Becoming a Provost Academy with the American Association of State Colleges and Universities.

Pierson, a proud member of the Choctaw Nation, is married to Michael Pierson and they have one daughter, Mera. Katricia Pierson has two sons, Zacharye and Gabriel, and a daughter-in-law, Robin, of Fayetteville, Arkansas.

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