Oklahoma Scholar-Leadership Enrichment Program

The Oklahoma Scholar-Leadership Enrichment Program is an intercollegiate academic program sponsored by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education and administered for them by the University of Oklahoma.  The best students at Oklahoma's public and private four-year colleges and universities are eligible to participate in this program.

OSLEP History

In June 1975, the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education authorized the creation of a program "to emphasize scholarship and leadership among students at institutions in Oklahoma higher education.”   The first seminar in October 1975, was an interdisciplinary examination of the general theme, "The Future of Humanity in an Age of Uncertainty," led by Vance Packard and Buckminster Fuller.

That was the beginning of the Oklahoma Scholar‑Leadership Enrichment Program.   Since 1975 more than 4,000 students and 200 scholars have participated in OSLEP.  Thousands more Oklahomans have shared this wonderful adventure attending public lectures and forums, which are part of the scholar‑leadership experience.

Photos of students at the The Greater World Earthship Community during the 2016 seminar Landscape and Memory in the American Southwest
Photos of students at the The Greater World Earthship Community during the 2016 seminar Landscape and Memory in the American Southwest

About the Program

The program is interdisciplinary in nature and focuses on two kinds of events.  The seminar consists of 20‑25 students selected from various colleges and disciplines and a faculty member from one of the participating institutions who serves as facilitator.  The students spend five days interacting with and learning from the scholar‑leader and each other and completing assignments developed by the faculty facilitator designed to summarize and expand upon their experience.

In addition to the seminar, the scholar‑leader presents a public lecture to the community at large.  These always include a question & answer session, and often a reception follows so that people can meet the scholar.

The objectives of the program are:

to develop qualities of both scholarship and leadership in Oklahoma students;

to bring the best students throughout Oklahoma into contact with each other and with distinguished scholars and leaders in an environment that promotes the exchange of ideas;

to enrich the entire higher education community and the general public; and

to direct the energy of the program toward intellectual excitement and academic achievement.

In addition to the leadership skills and academic enrichment, OSLEP provides a vehicle for personal growth and enrichment.  Because of the intelligence and diversity of the students in a seminar, they have an unusual opportunity to learn about and with people of different backgrounds and beliefs, ages, and world views.  Students learn to be more accepting of these differences, learn that it's possible to accept differences without agreeing with or endorsing them.  And students learn that they can compete intellectually with the best students from other universities.

How to Apply

Students must apply to participate in OSLEP.  Students find out about the program from faculty, from students who have attended seminars, and from the coordinator on their campus.  The application includes a 300-400 word essay and must be supported by a reference from a faculty member familiar with their academic work, and a current transcript which indicates a cumulative 3.0 GPA.  Juniors, seniors, and graduate students are eligible to apply; exceptional sophomores and freshmen will be considered.  Applications are reviewed by the director and assistant director and students are selected on the basis of their academic and leadership qualifications, major area of study, and preference of scholar/topic.  Students are admitted eight weeks before the seminar.  The letter of acceptance is accompanied by the assignments and complete details.  Students may enroll for 3 hours of credit.  The courses are S/U graded with the understanding that "S" = "B" or better.
Photo of students in Bandolier National Monument for the seminar Landscape and Memory in the American Southwest. May 2016.
Photo of students in Bandolier National Monument for the seminar Landscape and Memory in the American Southwest. May 2016.

Program Requirements

Students have a minimum of 30 contact hours with the visiting scholar and the faculty resource person assigned to each seminar.  Students are expected to complete the assigned readings before the seminar begins.  The scholar selects the readings and often provides a reading guide; the faculty resource person (FRP) directs the student preparation, evaluates student performance (oral and written), and assigns grades.  Grades are based on the students' preparation and ability to handle the assigned readings; attendance and participation in the seminar activities; contribution to the discussions and intellectual content of the seminar; and performance in the assigned written work or special project. After the conclusion of the seminar, the students are generally required to write a 10-15 page paper.

OSLEP seminars are residential.  Students will spend four nights in dormitories on the campus.  Seminars usually run Wednesday morning through Sunday afternoon and students must miss their regular classes.  The scholar‑leadership program provides room and board, as well as books, at no charge to the students.  Students pay a flat fee (no non‑resident or graduate fees).



Andrea Benjamin

OSLEP Director
Photo of Karl Schmidt

Karl Schmidt

OSLEP Assistant Director

OSLEP Advisory Committee

Steve Benton, Ph.D., East Central University

Steve Benton, Ph.D.

East Central University

After getting a degree in English from TCU, Dr. Benton spent five years teaching English as a Second Language (ESL) in Madrid, Spain and then took the Trans-Siberian railroad to China, where he spent four more years teaching ESL and American Literature and Culture at Xiamen University. From China he went to the University of Chicago, where he got a master's degree in the humanities, and then across town to the Language, Literacy and Rhetoric program at the University of Illinois at Chicago, where he got his Ph.D. in the spring of 2008. That fall, he joined the English department at East Central. He became the director of the University Honors Program in 2012.

Kyle Gregory, Langston University

Kyle Gregory

Langston University

Kyle Gregory, a graduate of Langston University and Arkansas-Little Rock Bowen School of Law. He serves as the Honors Program Coordinator for Langston University. Kyle also recruits for Langston, bringing in three of the largest freshmen classes in the university's history. Kyle also serves as the quiz bowl coach for Langston. Kyle is from Del City and is married to Shasta and has a daughter named Amariana.

Roxie James, Ph.D., Northwestern Oklahoma State University

Roxie James, Ph.D.

Northwestern Oklahoma State University

Roxie James is an Associate Professor of English at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, OK. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and her research area is Victorian literature and culture with a focus on dirt and class theory. She is the chair of the English, Foreign Language, and Humanities department.

SEJanda photo

Sarah Eppler Janda, Ph.D.

Cameron University

Sarah Eppler Janda is a native of Oklahoma and is Professor of History at Cameron University in Lawton, Oklahoma where she has taught since 2001. She received a Ph.D. in history from the University of Oklahoma, where she focused on 20th Century Oklahoma and Native American women’s history. Janda was an OSLEP Scholar in the fall of 2021 and an OSLEP Faculty Resource Person (FRP) in the spring of 2022. She is now a member of the OSLEP Faculty Advisory Board. Janda is also serving on the Western Historical Quarterly Editorial Board and as a member of the Dale Society Board of Directors for the Western History Collections at the University of Oklahoma. Most recently, Janda was elected to a two-year term on the Faculty Advisory Council to the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education for 2023-2025.

Allyson Shortle, Ph.D., University of Oklahoma

Allyson Shortle, Ph.D.

University of Oklahoma

Dr. Shortle is an associate professor at the University of Oklahoma, where she studies group identity in the context of American political behavior. She also serves as a faculty member for Latinx Studies and Women and Gender Studies. She runs OU’s Community Engagement + Experiments Laboratory (CEEL), Oklahoma City’s Community Poll (Exit Poll), and OU’s Democracy Survey of OU freshmen. For fun, she lends research support to organizations seeking to increase civic engagement and improve physical and mental health of their communities.