Dr. Katricia Pierson views strong relationships as the key to strengthening current programs and developing new ones.
Those efforts have led to a successful run as assistant vice president for academic affairs at East Central University since 2011. Now, Pierson takes over as ECU’s provost and vice president for academic affairs, replacing the retiring Dr. Duane Anderson.
“Dr. Pierson has proven to be innovative and proactive in her duties in dealing with students and faculty as assistant vice president for academic affairs,” said ECU President John R. Hargrave. “These qualities, along with her four-year familiarity with the university, certainly enhanced her ability to acquire this position. We look forward to what she will bring to the table in coming years.”
Pierson has served as a resolver of conflicts.
“I research the situation, collect data about the problem and then speak to the individuals involved to determine a balanced outcome,” Pierson said. “Many times over the past few years, I’ve had students and faculty tell me they appreciated the resolution.”
In upholding ECU’s mission to educate students for life in a rapidly changing and culturally diverse society, Pierson has implemented changes such as the establishment of a retention office to work with faculty and students, automation of end-of-course surveys with more than 50 percent being completed online, use of MyECU for online enrollment and, most recently, the availability of a student’s degree audit being available in MyECU.
Pierson has continually reviewed data to determine if a process or policy needs revision. Her focus is on using new information and technologies to become more efficient, to streamline processes, to eliminate redundancies and to be fiscally responsible.
In supporting the university, she has been involved with federal and state agencies. For instance, she has served as ECU’s liaison for the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education (OSRHE) course equivalency project (CEP), which consists of communication with OSRHE staff about course changes and organizing faculty to attend the CEP each fall.
While attending OSRHE and Regional University of Oklahoma (RUSO) board meetings, Pierson is aware of what is going on in the state which is essential for guiding the university.
“As a peer reviewer for the Higher Learning Commission, I was aware of the changes that occur at the federal level that impacts the accreditation requirements for all colleges and universities,” Pierson said. “I was able to see how other institutions react to compliance and accreditation requirements and bring back best practices to ECU.”
Knowing the issues that lawmakers and accreditors contemplate enabled Pierson to communicate with faculty and staff in order to lead the institution rather than be led by the decisions of others.
In addition to her assistant vice president for academic affairs duties the past four years, she has served as professor of English and languages in ECU’s College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences.
Pierson earned both her doctorate (2004) and master’s degree (1998) in English from the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville and received her bachelor’s degree in English and Journalism Secondary Education from the University of Wyoming in 1988.
Prior to her arrival at ECU, Pierson was division chair for sciences and humanities at William Woods University (2010-2011) and was associate dean of academic assessment at that same institution (2008-2011). She also served as director of the University Honors Program at William Woods from 2007-2011.
She held teaching positions as associate professor of English at William Woods (2004-2010), assistant professor of English at Pikeville College in Kentucky (2001-2004) and graduate student instructor in the Department of English at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville (1996-2000).
Pierson has also garnered numerous grants and awards and has been selected to participate in various professional academic activities.