College selects Bridges as new Academic Affairs vice president

OCCC’s search for a new Vice President of Academic Affairs came to a halt Feb. 24 with the selection of Dean of Health Professions Vincent Bridges. 

The Vice President of Academic Affairs serves as the chief academic officer of the college and is responsible for educational policy and academics programs.

 “To be a part of the wonderful changes happening at OCCC is so moving,” Bridges said in a media release sent to the Pioneer. 

“I am so grateful to work with our faculty on a daily basis, and am humbled to represent them as their Chief Academic Officer.”

Bridges was selected from six candidates including Dean of Science, Engineering and Math Max Simmons and Interim Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Makenna Green Garrison, both of OCCC. Other candidates included Gregory South, of Clovis Community College in New Mexico, Fabian Vega from Hudson Valley Community College in New York, and Carl Bridges from Midwestern Career College in Illinois.

All candidates had doctorate degrees.

Bridges will take his new position March 8. At that time Interim Vice President Kim Jameson, who did not apply for the vice president’s post, will step away from the position. She will serve in an advisory role until June 30 and has announced her retirement from OCCC.

 Neither Jameson nor Green Garrison, who serves as the associate vice president of Academic Affairs, have yet responded to requests for comment.

Simmons showed support for his fellow dean taking the post. “I believe Dr. Bridges will be an outstanding Vice-President of Academic Affairs. He cares deeply about students, faculty, and staff and I am excited for the future.”

 In a media release, interim President Jeremy Thomas praised Bridges for his work at OCCC. “Dr. Bridges has served with distinction here,” Thomas said. 

“I look forward to working with him as we chart the future of OCCC together.”

 Many faculty who worked with him in Health Professions said Bridges was an excellent choice.

 “Having worked with Dr. Vincent Bridges for the last couple of years in the Health Professions Division, I am 100% confident that he will continue to provide the same level of leadership, respect, and professionalism in his role as Vice-President of Academic Affairs,” Sarah Baker, professor of Speech, Language, Pathologist Assistant program and program director said. 

“Dr. Bridges is one of the most sincere persons I have had the pleasure of working with. He is genuinely kind and New VP is known as well-appreciated dean compassionate, always putting students, faculty and staff first. I cannot wait to see what OCCC can accomplish with Dr. Bridges in this new role.” 

Bridges was hired as dean of Health Professions, Aug. 1, 2018, replacing Deborah Myers who also expressed her congratulations on social media. 

One faculty member who seemed most pleased was Cindy Milam, Health Professions Simulation/Lab director. She said she was pleased that the college was gaining a great new vice president, but her division would miss Bridges.

 “I am very excited that Dr. Bridges was selected as the new VPAA but at the same time we are losing a fantastic dean in Health Profession and his leadership style will be missed in our division,” she said.

 “Dr. Bridges is a strong leader that is approachable and willing to listen to others. He believes that individuals should not be micro managed but be valued and respected.” 

Bridges has been a leader since 1984. He earned his doctorate in Organizational Leadership & Management from Argosy University, a master’s in Healthcare Administration from Oklahoma State University, and a master’s in Adult Education and a bachelor’s in Health Science from the University of Central Oklahoma.