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July 25, 2007 :: State Regents Announce Staff Appointments

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At its June 28 meeting, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education announced appointments to some key positions. At the recommendation of Chancellor Glen D. Johnson, the State Regents approved the appointment of Dr. Houston Davis as vice chancellor for academic affairs, the reassignment of Dr. Debra Stuart as vice chancellor for educational partnerships and the selection of Armando Peña as assistant vice chancellor for GEAR UP (Gaining Early Awareness and Readiness for Undergraduate Programs).

Picture of Dr. Houston Davis.For the last two years, Davis has served as associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at the Tennessee Board of Regents, where he led planning, policy and research initiatives for the Division of Academic Affairs. He helped coordinate quality assessment, statewide planning initiatives and accreditation reporting. He was also the project director and principal investigator for the National Educational Needs Index Project, a 50-state study of economic, educational and population pressures that influence educational policy and planning on local, regional and state levels.

Before working for the Tennessee Board of Regents, Davis was associate vice president for academic affairs and an assistant professor at Austin Peay State University. He has a doctorate in education and human development with a concentration on higher education and policy studies from Vanderbilt University. He replaces Dr. Phil Moss, who retired in June.

“Dr. Davis will fill a vital role at the State Regents. His understanding of higher education and his previous career experiences will contribute greatly to our continued success.” Johnson said.

Picture of Dr. Debra Stuart.Stuart has a long history with the State Regents, beginning in 1995 when she was appointed assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs. She conducted research projects and wrote reports for the academic affairs division. She became the first executive director of state system research and developed a data warehouse, designed research and studies for data-driven decision making and participated in national accountability projects. Most recently, she served as the vice chancellor for administration and provided operational oversight of the chancellor’s office, supervised human resources, payroll and business services, and assisted the chancellor with various initiatives.

Stuart rejoined the academic affairs division to continue initiatives with which she has been involved, including accountability, enrollment management and community engagement. She will work closely with state, regional and national organizations, such as the State Department of Education, CareerTech and higher education associations. She has a doctorate from Iowa State University with concentrations in research, administration and counseling psychology.

“Dr. Stuart’s work in the areas of enrollment management and accountability has been an invaluable asset to the State Regents Office. We look forward to continued progress in these areas.” Johnson said.

Picture of Armando Peña.Peña has also served the State Regents since 1995. He began his career as the director of the Minority Teacher Recruitment Center, where he implemented a statewide program for teacher recruitment and training. He went on to become state coordinator of GEAR UP, a federally funded program designed to better prepare middle and high school students for college through academic preparation programs and scholarships for students, professional development activities for educators, and college access information for students and parents.

As assistant vice chancellor of GEAR UP, Peña will advance the Oklahoma State System of Higher Education through K-16 partnerships with common education, external business and community entities, and national policy organizations. He graduated from Texas Tech University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in art education and earned his Master of Liberal Studies in administrative leadership from the University of Oklahoma.

“Armando has a long and distinguished career with the State Regents,” said Johnson, “His knowledge of higher education and dedication to the GEAR UP program will continue to benefit our students and prepare them for success in college.”