Month: November 2012

Doug Terry Presentation

Doug spoke about learning about himself and his leadership potential at key points in his life. As the semester comes to a close, what have you learned about yourself during this past 14 weeks at UCO?

Jari Askins Presentation

Jari Askins spoke about her journey through life and the unexpected turns and opportunities she encountered along the way. She read the quote, “a bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to make the turn.” How does her story and this quote relate to what you have gone through? How can you apply it in your future career?

Into the semester’s final lap.


Good morning!

It is Sunday of Thanksgiving holiday.

By now you are likely uninterested in another turkey sandwich or leftover dressing. I hope your days away from your usual routine were at least a bit relaxing, and that you made new memories with family and friends. I know that many of you are deep into term projects and that final exams are only a few weeks away.

During this abbreviated week, we were fortunate to have had time with Jari Askins, Oklahoma’s former Lt. Governor and public service veteran who has held leadership posts in all three branches of Oklahoma government. She was the last Democratic nominee for Governor, and joined Mary Fallin in creating Oklahoma history as the only gubernatorial race between two women.

Jari’s lessons for us included adapting and adjusting to changes that she could not control. Each opportunity offered her choices, and her pathway is the result of those choices over a lifetime. She is a passionate advocate for education as a transformational process that affects you, your family, and community, now and in the future. Jari’s life and work offers us an example of the challenging yet fulfilling nature of service, in her case, highly successful and appreciated public service. Her story reminds us that the most meaningful gift we can offer other is often ourselves in ways that benefit others. In her current role at the OU Health Science Center, she is actively leading efforts to support the breakthrough cancer research underway there. I was delighted that she was able to join us.

Though it was Thanksgiving here in the USA, the global swirl of challenges and crises did not subside. There is some hope right now in the ceasefire involving Israel and Gaza that brought eight days of violence and loss of life, property and opportunity to an end. The role of Egypt in effecting this cessation is being applauded even as the Egyptian president Morsi curtailed the power of the Egyptian courts this week and provoked protests among his critics. The volatility of the region continues on multiple levels. All of it impacts the US and its interests in the area.

I believe that we have two more L in L guests this term, lawyer Doug Terry and Journal Record publisher Mary Melon. Both of them are eager to be with you and to make a connection with you. These will be substantive programs. Please know that you can contact our guests after their sessions. I think you will find them to be most responsive. They, like us, believe in the value of intentionally growing the next generation of leaders for our communities, state, and country.

Sometime today we will turn our attention back to the activities and demands before us as we move toward the conclusion of this fall semester. This is a time both of distraction and opportunity. Your diligent efforts over many weeks since August now become focused on closing the semester in a most successful and rewarding way. It is time to confirm the results of your work and study.

We are now officially in the extended holiday season. I look forward to seeing you at the many events at hosted at the university. The next three weeks will flash by all of us.

In the most of all these demands, remember that we believe in you, and in your unique abilities to make a difference and be the difference, individually and as team of learners, leaders and servers.

Take care,

Don Betz

“Tis the season”


Good Sunday morning,

It is the beginning of Thanksgiving week. It is but a brief two days of classes before the anticipated Thanksgiving holidays are here. Grocery shopping has noticeably increased and will continue apace here and across the country in the coming days. It is a time for family, friends, food and, for many, football. It also is the launch of the holiday season which stretches into the first hours of 2013. Sandwiched in the midst of all this are term projects, recitals, holiday programs, Winterglow, final exams and fall commencement. Life here at UCO will run at full throttle until the last graduate crosses the stage at Hamilton Fieldhouse at the last ceremony on December 15th.

But this week we will savor this American holiday tradition of giving thanks for our blessings, be they family, friends, mentors or opportunities. It is a time to reach out and include those who may be far from their homes, who may need a helping hand and heart just at this moment. This is a time when we should be particularly mindful of those in need. And they are all around us.

We are fortunate that our Lessons in Leadership speaker this week understands the importance of taking care of each other. Jari Askins has served this state with distinction as Lt. Governor and as a recognized leader across a spectrum of state issues. Her experience and insights are valuable to us as we continue to define the lessons in leadership offered by each of our special guests. We look forward to her Tuesday presentation.

Two final thoughts.

The Middle East, already in turmoil via the momentous changes collectively known as the Arab Awakening and via the 18 month long civil war in Syria, shook once again as serious violence erupted between Israel and the Palestinians in Gaza. The possibility of further escalation of the fighting and possible spillover effects on other parts of the region are real. Beyond the hourly reports of rocket attacks and bombings are the intense diplomatic efforts underway to bring the overt conflict of a close and to restore the tense calm that had prevailed prior to this eruption. This is a multi-layered conflict still seeking permanent resolution.

If you enjoy films as the unique entertainment, teaching, learning medium that they can be, I recommend that you see “Lincoln” currently playing in the Metro. This production focuses on the last four months of the 14th US President’s life and the political processes that led to the passage of the 13th Amendment to the US Constitution which ended slavery in the USA. There are multiple lessons in leadership to be extracted from this stirring interpretation of those events. This Steven Spielberg film draws extensively from “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin, a compelling tale of that momentous era in US history. In times of challenge, there is no substitute for effective leadership.

See you on Tuesday for L in L. My best wishes to you your friends and family for a peaceful and relaxing Thanksgiving holiday.

Don Betz

The week after elections, HLC visits UCO, and Oklahoma is a state of creativity

Hello to all of you,

Today is Sunday, and a chilly one given the balmy temperatures we have enjoyed for weeks. Importantly, it is Veterans Day. Earlier today in Washington DC, the President laid a wreath in Arlington Cemetery saluting all those in our country’s history who served and sacrificed for our nation, its values and its survival. Wars have been an integral part of US history, from the battle for independence to more recent conflicts in the Middle East and Central Asia. Each time, American men and women have left their lives and families to serve most often far from home. On November 11th, originally remembered as Armistice Day at the close,of World War I, we now rightfully honor all who have served in our country’s armed forces.

This national holiday occurred this year right after the national, state and local elections held across America. The speculation about a possible dichotomy between the presidential popular vote and the Electoral College results did not materialize. President Obama will serve a second term facing immediate and long term challenges. The partisan division that has been a factor in our lives most over the past two years now needs to be set aside to fashion the collaborative plan for charting our future.

Last week I mentioned that one of the under appreciated aspects of our political system for over two centuries is the primacy of the constitution and the passage of executive power from one president and party to another in an orderly fashion. Democracies create non violent ways of resolving conflicts at the ballot box with a fervent belief, here in the USA, in our Constitution and in the rule of law. Federal power and authority was purposely parceled to three independent branches of government, separate institutions sharing power. This governing framework has withstood challenge and the test of time. Those precious documents and our belief in their vision and values have become the bedrock of our political and social systems.

Now President Obama and the Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress must move out of campaign mode and fervently connect to find and secure common ground. The American people elected leadership to lead which does and will involve compromise to secure consensus. The next several weeks are uncharacteristically crucial as America’s leaders seek a way to obviate the impact of the “fiscal cliff”, a series of triggers to end tax reductions which could press the country back toward recession. It is now days after November 6th, Election Day, time to build consensus and lead.

We at UCO have special guests arriving today who will spent part of this week reviewing our request for re-accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission, our accrediting agency. UCO was last reviewed ten years ago.

If you read this tonight or tomorrow, I again urge you to attend the open session with the HLC team scheduled for Monday afternoon. You may meet one of the nine team members informally as they visit with many people across the campus. I urge you to welcome them, relate what it is like for you to be a UCO student, and respond to other issues they may raise. Check out the framed posters on the wall in each university building listing the mission, vision and the Central Six experiences of Transformative Learning here at UCO. If you have any questions, please contact Jarrod tonight or tomorrow.

Finally, some of you will participate in the Oklahoma State of Creativity Forum at the Cox Center on Tuesday. This is a unique learning opportunity for all who participate. Over the past five years, Oklahoma has become a national and global actor and leader in encouraging imagination, creativity and innovation. UCO is pleased to be among the major active participants in this empowering and important initiative. For more information, check the Oklahoma Creativity website at

It is almost mid- November. Thanksgiving is in sight. Keep your focus to finish the semester in a most successful way.

My best wishes to each of you,

Don Betz

shave become

Election Week 2012

The United States has now elected it’s President for the next four years. Yet in the immediate aftermath the nation continues to be divided across party lines. Is there hope for our political process as we move forward? In your opinion, what must our political leaders do to tackle the issues at hand?