Q&A - January 22, 2016

Before coming to OSUIT, I spent twenty-six years working at comprehensive public community colleges in different parts of the country. I really thought I had seen everything related to career and technical education, but nothing prepared me for what I found when I arrived at OSUIT. This institution is like a community college on steroids. Let me explain what I mean by that statement, as I respond to the following question:

Q: Why does OSUIT call itself Oklahoma’s Only Institute of Applied Technology?

Very good question, but let me start by correcting the questioner. OSUIT does not call itself Oklahoma’s Only Institute of Applied Technology. The tagline we use is “Oklahoma’s Only University of Applied Technology.” The State of Oklahoma actually has many institutes of applied technology. The Career Tech System in Oklahoma, in my opinion, is one of the finest examples of applied technical training anywhere in the country. Each of the Career Tech campuses throughout the state are considered institutes of applied technology, including Green Country Technology Center located next door to OSUIT in Okmulgee. Most of the Career Tech campuses around the state serve as feeder schools to OSUIT, and each year, we receive lots of well-prepared career tech graduates who are ready to take their education to the next level.

OSUIT is the only university of applied technology in the state. We are college credit-granting and part of a university system. But what really sets us apart from the rest of the higher education world is that we focus on applied (hands on) learning rather than theoretical (book) learning. Allow me to clarify.

When you walk on our campus, you will find a dramatically different learning environment than that of any other college or university around the state. First, you will see degree programs listed in our catalog that actually correspond to real jobs that are currently available in the regional job market. You will find student class schedules that run throughout the entire calendar year, just like workforce expectations do. All across campus, you will discover customized labs filled with industry specific technology that closely emulates real life work settings. You will meet college instructors who have industry-related work experience in their backgrounds and actual employers who sponsor many of our training programs as well as many of our students. But most importantly, you will find students on our campus who are learning through the practical use of tools and technology, not just from the pages of a textbook.

At OSUIT, our goal is not simply to help our students gain a diploma but to gain a job. In consultation with our hundreds of corporate partners, we are convinced that the best way to prepare our students for the workforce is through skills-based training methodology that relies on work-related teaching environments and hands-on instruction rather than through the traditional instructional models that rely almost exclusively on textbooks and lectures.

Yes, we are really that different. But don’t just take my word for it; come visit our campus to see for yourself. Please continue to send your great questions to osuit-president@okstate.edu.