Finalist for executive position visits campus

Phillip Bridgmon, Ph. D., professor and dean of the College of Liberal Arts for Northeastern State University, returned to UNA to present his ideas for the university as a candidate for Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost.

Bridgmon said he envisions academics when he thinks of excellent universities and Division I, and the move was not a decision based on athletics, but on the institution as a whole. 

“The teaching component at this university is already excellent,” Bridgmon said.  “It’s already Division I in my opinion, and you can build a great university around that.”

He said there must be a next level of excellence based on building quality relationships and academics, a shared vision for the future, an investment in ideas and a focus on student success.

Bridgmon said he recommends thinking on two levels: traditional and futuristic.

“You cannot separate the excellence of your people from the excellence of your institution,” he said.

Bridgmon said with excellence, enrollment “takes care of itself.”

He said when focusing on student success and graduation, UNA must understand why students come to UNA, why they leave and what their success means on a long-term scale.

Bridgmon said he wanted to continue to build community with diversity and inclusion.

“It’s not just understanding the special history, but also (how) diversity makes us stronger,” he said.

Bridgmon said there are several focuses on sustainability for UNA over the next 200 years with a focus on attainable education for nontraditional students, shorter degree completion time by determining what graduates should know and a contained cost for education.

Within the next 200 days, Bridgmon said he wants to understand the issues on campus to begin resolving them, be available and make connections and to arrive at UNA with questions, not answers, in order to learn.

Bridgmon said he attended UNA for two years as a transfer student, and it prepared him for graduate school.

He came back in 2004 as a graduate coordinator and chairperson, where the university prepared him for his current role as a professor and dean.