Southeast provost helps others ‘to get where they want to be’


by Jim North
Southeast Campus Editor

He’s a man of many hats: manages a small cattle ranch, pecan ranch and even officiates high school hockey games. Those in his spare time, he wears more during the day.

Life is anything but boring for Brett Campbell, vice-president of Workforce Development and provost of the Southeast Campus (SEC) of Tulsa Community College (TCC).

Campbell describes his position and function being provost as one of the best in the college, providing overall leadership for campus operations.

“You’re the chief academic officer of the campus. You get to work with faculty. You have to be intimately knowledgeable about the academic programs.”

He adds that student issues and opportunities find their way to his desk as well.

Provosts “juggle a lot of different balls,” which present unique, day-to-day challenges.

The academic structure of TCC is configured to where associate deans in each department report directly to the provost.

Campbell elaborates by saying, “It’s not so much one of those administrative positions where it’s very directive, telling people what to do all the time. You’re working with a lot of groups.”

Fundamentally, the position involves working relationships, which he has enjoyed for the last four years. Eight months ago, he assumed the new position overseeing Workforce Development, a directive from President Leigh Goodson.

Campbell grew up in Tulsa. He later worked in New England for a period of time before he and his wife returned to Tulsa.

His undergraduate work occurred at the University of Oklahoma, obtaining a
bachelor’s degree in history and political science. His master’s degree is from Oklahoma State University in curriculum and instruction.

“I wasn’t sure about where I was going to go in education, but knew that I was going to wind up in education,” Campbell said.

From a provost perspective, he wants students to be engaged. He attributes the strong inclination to his extensive student affairs background.

“What I hope for them is engagement outside the classroom.”

Another of his responsibilities is to ensure rigorous, high academic standards, and get consistent feedback from faculty. Teaching staff evaluate course materials and methods periodically with the goal of continuous improvement.

Besides classroom engagement, Campbell hopes students will take advantage of the service learning and community service opportunities available with local collaborating organizations.

There have been numerous physical changes to the SEC building complex under Campbell’s leadership.  He associates a positive experience for students with a positive setting or environment.

“When students are comfortable, when students are in a setting that elicits creativity, they’re creative. I put the two together.”

Physical improvements to the SEC facility include spaces for a testing center, a new writing center and expanded bookstore, all within the last year.

Campbell has been pleased with the team of people he gets to work with across the campus, from janitorial staff to faculty and student services. He values the positive culture.

“It’s a culture of teamwork. It’s a culture of collaboration. It’s a culture of mutual respect and I really like that,” he says.

Workforce Development is an arm of TCC that Campbell is eager to develop, from defining and expanding the program, to adding relationships, which strengthen the cause.

He provides a window of illustration to understand its purpose.

“If you put all of the academic offerings here on the table and they were in cups, you could cut that into groups of cups that lead to transfer for a baccalaureate program or groups of cups that lead to immediate employment.”

The program goal lies in developing strong, direct relationships with the local
business community.

TCC provides the training necessary to move people into the workforce or facilitate the upward growth for individuals already in the workforce.

Campbell is proud of TCC’s reputation and well-earned respect in the community.

“I’m really happy with what I do … I’m really excited about the workforce.”

As for what Campbell would like people to know about him, “I care about people. I’m deeply relational. I thrive on the people I know.”

He explains the shift in goals which occurred for him five to six years ago, from mostly personal and professional to helping people with their goals or moving them into positions.

“I want to help other people get to where they want to be.”

He adds that there are also times necessary for him to recognize when an individual may not be the best fit for a particular position.

Campbell concludes by saying how pleased he is with TCC’s status within the Tulsa community.

“The institution’s going to endure. What we do is going to grow and it’s going to be better.”

Viewing the glass half-full, Campbell credits TCC’s growth and future to its commitment to the core values—namely student success, excellence, stewardship, innovation and diversity.

Brett Campbell can be reached at (918) 595-7724 or