Dr. Deborah C. Blue, Oklahoma Baptist University's senior vice president for academic affairs since August 2006, moved to the new post of senior vice president for academic services effective Jan. 1, OBU President David W. Whitlock announced on Friday.
Blue, who has served in OBU faculty or administrative roles since 1980, will "spearhead strategic initiatives related to enhancing our academic programs and strengthening student retention," Dr. Whitlock said.
"Through work with our student success consulting firm, Noel-Levitz, we have developed several key initiatives related to the programs and services we provide to OBU students," Whitlock said.
"We know, based on the accomplishments of our graduates, that OBU provides a highly effective educational product," said the president. "It is critical to have a person leading this implementation who has a clear understanding of our mission. Dr. Blue has that understanding as well as a deep knowledge of our institutional history. She can provide focused leadership to strengthen student success, maintaining the key elements which have contributed to OBU's national reputation for quality."
"OBU needs a person with Dr. Blue's leadership level and institutional experience to direct completion of key initiatives," said OBU Provost Stan Norman. "Her academic background, her commitment to OBU, and her experience with regional and national academic organizations make her uniquely qualified for this role."
In the new position Blue also will assume responsibility as OBU's institutional research officer. She will be responsible for ensuring the university's compliance with regional and national accrediting standards, and will direct assessment initiatives. Additionally, she will oversee OBU study abroad and international studies programs.
With the transition, Blue will no longer directly supervise OBU's academic deans. That responsibility moves to Dr. Norman, who joined the university administration in March 2009 as chief academic officer.
"This new role allows me to focus very specifically on areas where we can enhance student success," Blue said. "A passion for helping students is what launched me into a career in education, and I see this as an opportunity to focus on ways we can build on a program which is already recognized for quality."
Before becoming senior vice president for academic affairs, Blue was dean of OBU's College of Arts and Sciences from 1997-2006. She previously served as chair of the division of natural sciences and mathematics from 1991-97. She joined the faculty in 1980 as an instructor of mathematics and currently holds the academic rank of professor of mathematics.
A Shawnee native, Blue graduated from OBU in 1972 with a bachelor of science degree in mathematics. She completed a master of science degree in mathematics from the University of Tulsa in 1975. She earned a doctor of education degree in curriculum and instruction from Oklahoma State University in 1991.
Blue has served in various leadership roles during her OBU career. She chaired the university's "vision team," which worked in early 2005 to assess the institution's core curriculum. From that work, OBU implemented several curriculum changes in what university officials characterized as a move to strengthen an already respected liberal arts program.
"In the past year, as we developed a new strategic plan for OBU's next decade, we drew heavily from the strong work of Dr. Blue and the vision team," Whitlock said. "That effort and her long tenure of academic leadership clearly demonstrate Dr. Blue's grasp of OBU's mission and her dedication to strengthening our effectiveness."
Blue currently serves on the Oklahoma State Board of Education, having been appointed to the board by Gov. Frank Keating in 1998, and reappointed by Gov. Brad Henry in 2004. She also is a member of the State Board of Career and Technology Education. She is vice chair of the Oklahoma Commission for Teacher Preparation and chairs that organization's assessment committee, which oversees the state's teacher certification examinations.