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Mission Statement

The Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma Learning and Development family is committed to progressing and developing the skills of all associates. Learning and Development is where knowledge meets our 9 Core Values and creates unique learning opportunities, which continue to support the culture and tradition of Choctaw Nation.


Our Philosophy of Learning and Development

“An education which acknowledges the full intellectual and social meaning of a vocation would include instruction in the historic background of present conditions; training in science to give intelligence and initiative in dealing with material and agencies of production; and study of economics, civics, and politics, to bring the future worker into touch with the problems of the day and the various methods proposed for its improvement. Above all, it would train power of readaptation to changing conditions so that future workers would not become blindly subject to a fate imposed upon them.”

-Excerpt from John Dewey’s Democracy in Education (1916).

Choctaw University

The purpose of Choctaw University (Choctaw U) is to grow the knowledge and skills of supervisors, managers, and directors by instilling a deeper understanding of their purpose within our organization. Participants receive professional development training, build knowledge, and improve their skills to be more efficient and productive leaders. Choctaw U is comprised of a Leadership Series and a Continuing Education Series. The Leadership Series has four levels: Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior. The Continuing Education Series has five certificate programs: Introduction to Business, Administrative Professional, Self-Development, Choctaw Culture & Professional Development.

Choctaw U is designed to align with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma’s mission: to enhance the lives of all members through opportunities designed to develop healthy, successful, and productive lifestyles. Our associates provide critical information and resources to sustain the efforts of the Choctaw Nation. Choctaw U is an opportunity for leaders to build knowledge and skills while helping guide the future direction of our people.

Choctaw U classes are held at various locations throughout the 10½ counties of southeastern Oklahoma. In order for the class participants to learn more about the entire scope of the Choctaw Nation, classes are held at Casinos, Tushka Homma, Field Offices, CMDC, Wheelock, Health Services, and even a couple of the local businesses in the areas we serve. The goals of Choctaw U is to provide quality feedback for the 100-year vision, to assist with the development of a succession plan, and to develop a highly skilled, qualified employment pool from within the Choctaw Nation. Choctaw U programs are designed to provide theories and concepts as well as real-world application of best practices to enhance the skills of leaders throughout the Choctaw Nation.

Click here for a list of Upcoming Dates for Leadership and Continuing Education

 



Choctaw U Leadership Series

We are excited to share information about our Leadership Series with candidates who may be chosen to participate. It is our commitment to you to provide the tools, skills, and up-to-date knowledge necessary to make your position or future position as a leader within the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma as efficient, effective, and applicable as possible.

Over the course of the Leadership Series, you will receive high-level leadership curriculum through a variety of delivery methods including face-to-face sessions, video clips, blogs, films, webinars, and academic white papers.

The honor of being chosen as a potential leader in the organization requires a commitment to study the characteristics, the methods and historical significance of great companies, and individual leaders of our time. You must demonstrate commitment to apply these leadership theories and principles wherever you work within the organization. It is your duty to think beyond your current position and see the “big picture” for your department or even your division.

Below, you will find more detailed information about each Leadership level.

  • Freshman
  • Sophomore
  • Junior
  • Senior

Freshman Year
Instructor: Liz Kellam



3313 Choctaw Rd.
Durant, OK 74702
Office: (580) 924-8280 x2956
eMail: lkellam@choctawnation.com
- Supervisory Skills
- Fundamentals of Management
- Effective Communication
- Coaching Skills
- Performance Management I
- Managing People
- Generational Diversity in the Workplace
- Fundamentals of Time Management
- Developing Action Plans

The first level of the Leadership Series is designed for Supervisors. This development stage is designed to build supervisory skills through courses in communication, performance management, time management, and understanding characteristics of managers and leaders.

Evaluation (Available at Year end)

Sophomore Year
Instructor: James Essert Jr.



3313 Choctaw Rd.
Durant, OK 74702
Office: (580) 924-8280 x2896
eMail: jessert@choctawnation.com

- Foundations of Management
- Introduction to Leadership
- Managing Generational Diversity
- Problem Solving
- Conflict Management
- Decision Making
- Delegation Techniques
- Performance Management II
- Facilitating a Coaching Program
- Communication & Conducting Effective Meetings
- Developing a Strategic Plan

The Sophomore level of the Leadership Series is designed to enhance managerial skills. This level plays a crucial role in developing management and leadership skills through courses in problem solving, intermediate performance management, effective mentoring techniques, and conflict management.

Evaluation (Available at Year end)

Junior Year
Instructor: Leslie Rains



3313 Choctaw Rd.
Durant, OK 74702
Office: (580) 924-8280 x4218
eMail: lrains@choctawnation.com

- Transformational Leadership
- Goal Setting
- Performance Driven Teams
- Developing High Performance Teams
- Performance Management III
- Project Management
- Coaching & Mentoring Programs that Work!
- Project Prioritization & Time Management
- Creating SMARTER Goals
- Implementing Strategic Plans
- Creating Seamless Organizational Systems

The next level of the Leadership Series is designed for Directors and recommended Managers. This program is designed to foster existing practice and explore best practices by studying and researching theories of other organizations. Participants will experience courses in transformational leadership, advanced performance management, methodologies of developing high performance teams, and strategic planning.

Evaluation (Available at Year end)

Senior Year
Instructor: Becky Hicks



3313 Choctaw Rd.
Durant, OK 74702
Office: (580) 924-8280 x2544
eMail: beckyp@choctawnation.com

- Visionary Leadership
- Developing Core Values
- Finding Purpose
- Effective Mentoring
- Performance Management IV
- Advanced Project Management
- Managing Attention & Time
- Aligning Management & Leadership Goals
- Benchmarking Quality Performance
- Assessing Strategic Plans
- Evaluating Seamless Organizational Systems

The Senior level of the Leadership Series is designed for recommended Directors. The Senior Level exemplifies the effectiveness and characteristics of visionary leaders. Participants will complete courses in visionary leadership, core values, coaching programs, and advanced project management.

Evaluation (Available at Year end)

Applications are no longer being accepted for the 2018 Choctaw U Leadership Series. The application process will re-open next October for the 2019 Series.




Choctaw U Continuing Education Series

The purpose of Choctaw University's Continuing Education series is to provide all Choctaw Nation Associates opportunities to grow personally and professionally. Our goal is to grow a highly skilled, qualified pool of candidates within the Choctaw Nation to serve as a pipeline for the next 100-years’ employment.

The Continuing Education program offers a variety of certificate programs that are geared to specific skills set. The six certificates available are:

  • Administrative Professional Certificate
  • Choctaw Culture Certificate
  • Introduction to Business Certificate
  • Professional Development Certificate
  • Self-Development Certificate
  • Technology Education Certificate

The classes for these certificate programs meet once a month in various places throughout the 10½ counties of the Choctaw Nation. The classes are delivered by several different methods including, face-to-face and webinars. The classes are very hands-on with activities, icebreakers, case studies, roleplaying, classwork and homework to emphasize and reinforce the curriculum taught.

Below, you will find more detailed information about each Continuing Education program.


  • Admin. Professional
  • Choctaw Culture
  • Intro to Business
  • Professional Development
  • Self-Development
  • Technology Education

Administrative Professional Certificate
Instructor: Shawn Young



3313 Choctaw Rd.
Durant, OK 74702
Office: (580) 924-8280 x2481
eMail: syoung@choctawnation.com

The Administrative Professional Certificate focuses on the support staff of the Choctaw Nation. The classes in this certificate program teach the fundamental skills needed to work in a professional workplace. The classes cover subjects such as maintaining a professional image, effective business writing, communication essentials, time and process management, and many more.
Please see the attached plan of study for a list of classes offered.

Administrative Professional Individual Development Plan

Choctaw Culture Certificate
Advisor: James Essert Jr.



3313 Choctaw Rd.
Durant, OK 74702
Office: (580) 924-8280 x2896
eMail: jessert@choctawnation.com

This course was created for the Choctaw University Continuing Education department for the purpose of improving the Choctaw cultural knowledge of the employees of the Choctaw Nation. The Choctaw Cultural Certificate series learning objectives are divided into six general sections beginning with the Choctaw Creation Story.

1 Choctaw Creation Story
2 General History of the Choctaw People.
3 Choctaw Cultural Identity - The Foundation of Being Choctaw
   • Choctaw Language
   • Family Dynamics
   • Region
   • Clothing
   • Agriculture and the Traditional Choctaw diet
   • Warrior Society
   • Stickball
   • Pottery and Basket Weaving
4 Choctaw Ceremonies and Traditions
5 The Choctaw account and experiences of the Trail of Tears
6 Acculturation of the Choctaw people.

Who should partake in this certificate?
Anyone who is interested in improving their knowledge and understanding of the Choctaw Culture.

Choctaw Culture Individual Development Plan

Introduction to Business Certificate
Advisor: Chad Caveny



3313 Choctaw Rd.
Durant, OK 74702
Office: (580) 924-8280 x4222
eMail: ccaveny@choctawnation.com

The Introduction to Business Certificate explores all aspects of business development and their implications with the Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma. Students will learn about various topics from subject matter experts (SME’s) from the different divisions of business from which the tribe operates. These topics range from Human Resources to Tribal Law. We like to think of this certificate program as a “mini Choctaw MBA”!

Please see the attached plan of study for a list of classes offered.

Introduction to Business Individual Development Plan

Professional Development Certificate
Advisor: Shawn Young



3313 Choctaw Rd.
Durant, OK 74702
Office: (580) 924-8280 x2481
eMail: syoung@choctawnation.com

The Professional Development Certificate exists to accommodate the personal and professional growth of Choctaw Nation associates. This certificate program works ideal for those who 1) may not have a typical work schedule, 2) have travel restrictions, 3) or those whose managers are wanting to build his/her associate's specific skill sets. Participants will work with his/her manager to develop a certificate which fits his/her development needs. Participants will need to complete 15 training courses (points) in one year, to complete the certificate.

Please see the attached plan of study for a list of classes offered.

Professional Development Individual Development Plan

Self-Development Certificate
Instructor: Shawn Young



3313 Choctaw Rd.
Durant, OK 74702
Office: (580) 924-8280 x2481
eMail: syoung@choctawnation.com

The Self-Development Certificate focuses on developing personal and interpersonal skills to produce a more successful and fulfilling life. Participants of this certificate program will discuss such subjects as emotional intelligence, how to communicate more effectively, improving professional writing skills, setting and managing goals while building and maintaining their professional portfolio.

Please see the attached plan of study for a list of classes offered.

Self-Development Plan of Study

Technology Education Certificate
Instructor: Chad Caveny



3313 Choctaw Rd.
Durant, OK 74702
Office: (580) 924-8280 x4222
eMail: ccaveny@choctawnation.com

The Technology Education Certificate provides beginner, intermediate, and advance training of Microsoft Office including Excel, Word, Outlook, and PowerPoint. Upon learning the functions, students will be able to learn integration skills to utilize multiple Office programs. In addition to these programs, students will be able to learn functions of Microsoft Windows and various applications of the Internet including social medias, cloud based programs, and much more.

Please see the attached plan of study for a list of classes offered.

Technology Education Plan of Study - Durant
Technology Education Plan of Study - McAlester



Registration for the 2018 Choctaw U Certificate program has ended. Registration will resume in November for the 2019 program.