Longtime OSU-Tulsa adviser steps into new role as director of academic advising
Beverly Morris has been named Oklahoma State University-Tulsa’s director of academic advising.
“I think in some ways I've been a leader on the team,” said Morris, an OSU-Tulsa adviser for the past 20 years. “I have just been here for a while and learned a lot. Now I’m trying to find a way to take that experience and do what we do better.”
Morris is an Okie and a Cowboy through and through. She grew up in small-town Waukomis, Oklahoma, and attended OSU-Stillwater for her bachelor’s degree. After graduation, she worked on the Stillwater campus for a while before making the move to OSU-Tulsa.
Now she is the mother of her own Cowboy family, with her daughter wrapping up her junior year at OSU and her son signed up for new student orientation in the fall.
As her children work toward an OSU education, Morris is putting in the hours, too. She has returned to the classroom to earn a Master’s of Science in Interdisciplinary Studies, set to earn her degree in May.
“I think of myself as an ‘OSU 360,’” Morris said. “I’m an alumna, a student again, a mom and an employee – OSU through and through.”
At the end of the semester, Morris will have completed a graduate degree she designed herself. Like its undergraduate counterpart, university studies, the strength of the interdisciplinary studies degree program lies in its flexibility. Under the guidance of a graduate committee, this path allows students to tailor their studies to their career goals with a selection of classes or a stack of graduate certificates to form the degree.
“It was a perfect path for me. I knew what kind of coursework could best help me be a better employee and was given the freedom to pursue it.”
Finding New Ways to Help Students
For her capstone project, Morris designed and implemented a pilot program that matches students with professionals in their field as mentors.
“I first had the idea in my Human Resources Talent Development class,” Morris said. “The mentors are a great resource for students – not just for learning about their field outside of a classroom setting, but for networking and forming relationships that can last long after the program is over.”
The mentor program is more than just introducing students to Tulsa professionals. The year-long project involves meetings between paired students and mentors, and regular check-ins with advising to ensure students are satisfied.
Over the course of the academic year, students and mentors devise their own schedules to meet and learn at a capacity that works for them.
“Our students are so busy, they don’t always want to take on another task,” Morris said. “But with the relatively unstructured nature of the mentor program, where students and mentors can work together in a way that’s most helpful for them, I think the program is rich with opportunity.”
The pilot started last September and is currently limited to business students on the OSU-Tulsa campus. Morris and OSU-Tulsa leadership are exploring options to expand the program in the future.
A Challenging Transition
As director, Morris has stepped up to the helm at a challenging time for students, staff and faculty as the COVID-19 pandemic impacts the way the world lives, works and studies.
“Much like everyone is experiencing now, we miss our students and seeing people,” she said. “But in some ways virtual advising is just what we’ve always done, in a different format. We are adapting.”
As a long-time adviser, Morris is attuned to what OSU-Tulsa students are struggling with. An adviser’s mission is to help students find solutions or point them to resources they need. While that is as important as ever, the current environment invariably adds a new series of obstacles that everyone must face.
“It has been a balancing act,” Morris said. Between computer reboots and Wi-Fi issues, working and studying from home has been an adventure for the whole family. “This is not at all what I expected from the first two months as director, but I know our students face similar issues and remain resilient. That makes me proud to be a Cowboy.”
If you are ready to begin your college experience, or are a current student who just wants to check in, contact OSU-Tulsa’s Academic Advising Center. Morris and her team of advisers can answer questions via virtual appointment, email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by the phone at 918-594-8271.
Media Contact: Aaron Campbell | 918-594-8046 | email@example.com