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UCO to Host Teacher Advocacy Forum, Oct. 19

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Sept. 28, 2018

Media Contact: Sarah Neese, Communications and Marketing Coordinator, UCO University Communications, 405-974-2121,

UCO to Host Teacher Advocacy Forum, Oct. 19

The University of Central Oklahoma will host “Teachers and the Legislature: Advocacy and Issues Forum” from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. Oct. 19 in Nigh University Center, beginning in Constitution Hall, on Central’s campus.

During the forum, educators, issues experts and leaders in education from across Oklahoma will present on a range of K-12 topics, including the basics of statehouse advocacy, the initiation of K-12 policy measures and an overview of public policy issues that remain before the Oklahoma legislature.

“Last summer, teachers and legislators approached UCO to coordinate a nonpartisan forum on legislative advocacy processes and on the K-12 policy issues that remain in the public domain,” said UCO Vice President for Public Affairs Mark Kinders, Ed.D. “In response, we have constructed an agenda we believe will be helpful to teachers, administrators, legislators and members of the general public.”

According to Kinders, the forum will address details of best practices for successful advocacy, advice on how best to frame issues – particularly those that impact classroom education support, and insights into the complex nature of a range of political issues that are still being addressed by the legislature.

“Our many exceptional presenters will speak to these items in a nonpartisan manner that hopefully will help lead all of those involved in this issue, which is critical to the future of Oklahoma, to find common ground,” Kinders added.

The forum will open at 9:15 a.m. with a presentation from Oklahoma State School Boards Association Executive Director Shawn Hime, Ph.D., titled “Oklahoma’s Political Heritage and K-12 Education.” The presentation, moderated by UCO Dean of Education and Professional Studies James Machell, Ph.D., outlines Oklahoma’s current political climate, its origins and how it affects education efforts within the state. Following, at 9:45 a.m., Caroline Dennis, chief operating officer for the Oklahoma State Senate, and Jan Harrison, chief clerk of the Oklahoma House of Representatives, will present “How a Bill Becomes a Law,” an overview of the legislative process, moderated by Jarrett Jobe, Ph.D., Central’s assistant vice president of public affairs and leadership.

At 10:30 a.m., Lou Furmanksi, Ph.D., chair of the UCO Department of Political Science, will moderate a panel presentation titled, “Where do legislators get their policy proposal on K-12 education?” which explores the many stakeholders and influencers of the state’s education legislation and who among them is most influential. The panel will include Oklahoma Education Association President Alicia Priest; Cooperative Council for Oklahoma State Administrators Executive Director Pam Deering, Ph.D.; Hime; Oklahoma State Department of Education Deputy Superintendent Robyn Miller, Ed.D.; and Bryan Duke, past president of the Oklahoma Association for Colleges for Teacher Education.

The forum will continue with a presentation from Kinders and Pat Hall, principal for Majority Plus, an Oklahoma governmental relations firm with bipartisan ownership. Titled “Takeaways for Good Statehouse Outcomes” and moderated by Jim Dunlap, the co-principal of Majority Plus, the presentation will review the best practices for advocacy found in every statehouse and how to customize these practices to Oklahoma’s political environment.

The forum closes with a series of afternoon breakout sessions and closing thoughts from Machell.

The forum is free, and parking will be offered at a discounted rate of $1 for forum attendees. Lunch also will be available for purchase.

Sponsors for the event include the UCO College of Education and Professional Studies, the Cooperative Council for Oklahoma State Administrators and the Oklahoma State School Boards Association.

To register for the forum or for more information, including an agenda of events, visit