Misty Rhodes’ New Hat

Misty Rhodes, new Executive Director of Operations for OU Outreach

Misty Rhodes, new executive director of operations for OU Outreach

Misty Rhodes has worn many different Outreach hats since she started in 2007. Since 2011, she served as director and personnel administrator for the National Center for Employment Development. In that role, she administered OU and Outreach’s largest contract, managing up to 150 employees and instructors responsible for training more than 60,000 postal employees annually.  Prior to that, Misty served as director for Community and International Programs in the Continuing Education Academic Programs division.  And as of December 1, Misty can add one more hat to her collection: she has become the new executive director of operations (EDO) for OU Outreach.

Below is an interview with Misty to learn more about what she has been working on and what she is looking forward to in this exciting new role.


What has been happening recently at the Postal Training Center?

Our support staff and instructors are currently closing in on a two year project to convert all training courses to e-learning, online, or a hybrid of both. USPS management is driving the project and December 2015 is the target date for completion. We are getting ready to re-bid that contract, which is a really big deal. We are in the final year of the five-year contract, which ends December 2015. We will be in a solicitation, working with April Millway to get that contract bid. That’s a really exciting thing for us at NCED and Outreach as a whole because we’ve had that contract for a long time and it’s been a good partnership.

I understand you will be doing both jobs, director of NCED and EDO. How do you plan to balance both roles?

Most important, make myself available to customers, management and staff. In this role, I feel flexibility is key. We have a lot of things going on at NCED. We just developed a new time-keeping database and we’re doing some role changing. In the transition period, I anticipate NCED as a one- or-two- day-a-week responsibility as we get these things lined up. The other three days will be at main campus working with the support services team and Dr. Pappas. I’m just glad that I have a traveling laptop so I can do both jobs from either location. I can be reached from anywhere!

In your eyes, what are the roles of the EDO position?

I would say providing good support to our service functions and providing good customer service to our end users, which happens to be a lot of different people, not just internal to Outreach, but to external customers, too. And of course to be good support for Dr. Pappas, as well as for special projects and facility management, construction, or any new undertakings. (Like all the updates that have happened in the Forum.) I’m sure my responsibilities will be ever-evolving and changing.

What most excites you about this new position? And what are your goals?

I’m excited about the opportunity to be more involved. I’ve been on the academic side, the program unit side, and the contract side. Now I’m on the operations side. I’m really excited about how those all work together. My main goal is to work with Support Services departments to see what we are doing really well and what we could do better. From an Outreach-wide view, I want to see what we can do to take our organization even further. Things keep changing in terms of what continuing education does and what the expectations are. And, of course, I will be engaged in whatever goals Dr. Pappas sets.

What kind of personal enrichment are you hoping to gain from this new job?

I’m a people person. I really like people; it’s the best part of my job. I get the most satisfaction out of being around people and working collaboratively with them. At Outreach, we do that really well. We put together great programs and bring people together, but I get the most satisfaction doing something that helps others. It’s never really about me personally; it’s always about what someone else is getting from their experience. I enjoy seeing other people getting involved and getting the opportunity to do things like earn their degree, learn a new skill, or understand something they didn’t know about before.  I enjoy watching others succeed. Also, for me, personal enrichment comes when I get the opportunity to do something different or learn something new.  If we don’t keep evolving, changing, and learning, we stop growing, both personally and professionally. I want to grow!

I agree…helping others is very fulfilling and Dr. Pappas has often said that this is what Outreach does: help other people.

It’s my goal…to help people go forward. I’ve had the opportunity to do a lot of different things. So, I’m excited to take on this new role and help Outreach advance in any way, shape, and form.

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