Q&A - September 6, 2015

Over the course of my career, I have worked at six different colleges in five different states, but I don’t believe I have ever worked at any college campus with such an identity crisis as OSUIT.

People have heard about OSUIT, but they really don’t know much about it, and more often than not, they use the wrong name when referring to OSUIT.

When I first came here, I asked a lot of questions and got a lot of conflicting answers about OSUIT. It actually took a long time to figure out just what type of college this is in Okmulgee. Eventually, I learned that OSUIT is not your typical college or university. It is not a community college. Nor is it a vocational school or a career tech. It is not a research university or a liberal arts college. It is an entirely unique institution that does not categorically fit into any conventional classification of schools. This is why we refer to OSUIT as Oklahoma’s only university of applied technology.

In many ways, OSUIT in Okmulgee is what higher education should be. Our associate degrees are weightier and more robust than those of a community college. Our technical programs reflect essential corporate requirements but still award college credit in accredited degrees. And our bachelor degrees are more technical and applied in nature than those of other universities. It is like OSUIT has one foot in the corporate world and another foot in the world of higher education, bridging the gap between the two with relevant technical training programs.

Names are really important and there has been a lot of confusion about ours in the past. So this week, allow me to address this question:

Q: Why does everyone call your school the Tech?

Though it is inaccurate and considered somewhat disrespectful, I take no serious offense when people call us “The Tech,” because I know it is used by many as a term of endearment. For many years, there was a huge sign on top of the campus water tower that said “TECH.” So of course many people are going to remember us this way.

There has been a lot of confusion about our name over the years because we have gone by several official and unofficial names. In 1946, the formal name was “School of Technical Training,” in 1985 the name was officially changed to “Oklahoma State University, Technical Branch – Okmulgee,” and in 1990, it was shortened to “Oklahoma State University – Okmulgee.” But since 2008, the official name of our institution has been “Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology – Okmulgee.” Because our name is so long, we often abbreviate it as “OSU Institute of Technology” or just “OSUIT.”

For some reason, people want to incorrectly hyphenate our abbreviation (OSU-IT) or try to insert an unnecessary space (OSU IT). The correct abbreviation is simply OSUIT, and we do like it when people get our name right.

I hope my response this week has helped clear up some of the common misconceptions about our name. Please continue to forward your questions to osuit-president@okstate.edu.