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Welcome the new OU-Tulsa DEI Director

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January 25, 2023

OU-Tulsa Welcomes New DEI Director

Shawna Lynch Watkins

OU-Tulsa welcomes Shawna Watkins as the new director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion.

“I am happy to welcome Shawna to the OU-Tulsa campus,” says Dr. Jim Sluss, OU-Tulsa interim president. “Diversity, equity and inclusion work is crucial and influences every aspect of our campus environment, and I know Shawna is uniquely qualified to lead in this role and support our OU-Tulsa community in this essential way. We are very excited to have her here.” 

Watkins comes to OU-Tulsa most recently from Texarkana College in Texarkana, TX where she served as the Director of Workforce Education. She also has experience as the city planner for Texarkana and worked with economic development at the city level. 

In her community engagement pursuits, Watkins serves as an executive officer of the Northeast Texas Alliance of Black School Educators and has served the Bowie County planning and zoning commissions and chamber of commerce, the Bowie County Literacy Council, and the Texarkana College Faculty Association as president. She holds an undergraduate degree in criminal justice from the University of Central Oklahoma and a Master of Public Administration from Arkansas State University. 

“It is important that the ideals of diversity, equity and inclusion for all run throughout every effort we make at the University of Oklahoma,” says Dr. Belinda Higgs-Hyppolite, OU vice president of diversity, equity  and inclusion. “And having champions for this important work on each campus is vital. We are very excited Shawna has decided to join this effort and further the DEI work in Tulsa.” 

 “I am so excited that Shawna has joined the University of Oklahoma, says Dr. LaKaija Johnson, assistant vice president for regional connections for diversity, equity and inclusion . “Her expertise and passion for people will surely enhance our collective capacity to advance our institutions commitment to ensuring all students, faculty, and staff feel a sense of belonging at OU-Tulsa.”