Eastern names new vice president as longtime educator retires


WILBURTON (June 29, 2015) – After a national search, Eastern Oklahoma State College has named Dr. Janet Wansick of McAlester as vice president of Academic Affairs. Wansick will succeed Dr. Karen Harrison, who is retiring after 17 years of service at Eastern.

Wansick, who currently serves as Eastern’s associate vice president of Academic Affairs and Institutional Research, will begin her new duties on July 1.

“Dr. Wansick demonstrated that she has the academic experience, leadership skills and accreditation credentials necessary to serve Eastern well into the future,” said Eastern President Dr. Stephen E. Smith. “After a thorough search process, we are delighted that someone within our institution brings those qualities to this important leadership position.”

Wansick, who joined Eastern in 2011, previously served as dean of the college’s McAlester campus. Her career in education began in 1992 as a math instructor at McAlester Public Schools. In 2002, she began teaching math at Northern Oklahoma College while working on her doctoral degree at Oklahoma State University. Later she served as the chair of the math department at East Central University for four years.

“I am deeply honored to be chosen for this position,” Wansick said. “I am excited for the opportunity to lead the academic divisions and look forward to working with the entire college community as we guide Eastern to the next level of academic excellence.”

The vice president for Academic Affairs serves as the chief academic officer of the college and is responsible for all aspects of educational policy and academic programs, as well as oversight of the college’s registrar and library. Harrison has served in this role at Eastern for the past eight years.

Smith said Harrison’s impressive career will stand as an exemplary model for all educators.

“Under Dr. Harrison’s leadership, Eastern has introduced new academic programs, strengthened the quality and rigor of our curriculum and hired top-quality instructors,” Smith said. “Although she has served Eastern as an effective administrator, her main focus has always been student success and high academic standards. She has truly been a guiding force for this college and her vision and commitment to our students and faculty have advanced Eastern’s academic distinction.”

Harrison began her career at Eastern in August of 1998 as a science instructor. She became the Honors Program coordinator in 2003 and the Science and Mathematics Division chair in 2006. She transitioned into her role as vice president in 2007, increasing the oversight and communication between Eastern’s four teaching sites and becoming a member of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Assessment Academy.

Harrison started her educational career at McAlester Public Schools where she taught advanced placement and honors science classes. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degree from Miami University in Oxford, Ohio and her doctoral degree from the University of Oklahoma.

Harrison said she has many fond memories of her time at Eastern.

“Eastern has an amazing group of faculty and staff that care about their students,” Harrison said. “That’s what made it a special place for me.”

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