OSU Institute of Technology will mark a milestone this summer with the first graduating class of the Bachelor of Technology in Applied Technical Leadership program.
Twelve students from the program's first cohort, which began in the fall of 2019, will walk across the stage in Covelle Hall on August 20 at 2 p.m. The remaining nine from the cohort are eligible to graduate in fall 2021.
The B.T. in Applied Technical Leadership, OSUIT's newest bachelor's degree, provides a postsecondary pathway for those who have previously completed an Associate in Applied Science (A.A.S) and may wish to pursue advancement opportunities within their organizations.
"OSUIT has a storied history of preparing Oklahoma's citizens for workforce-ready jobs while putting them in positions to incur very little debt," said Dr. Lisa Weis, dean of the School of Arts, Sciences and Health. "As Oklahoma's workforce continues to thrive and evolve, we believe there exists fertile ground for technical experts currently in the workforce to come back to OSUIT and receive additional, just-in-time training so that they can be effective leaders."
Bo Minor is graduating this summer from the Applied Technical Leadership program and liked that there was still the OSUIT hands-on approach to this online course.
"The B.T. in ATL was very well-constructed in allowing a theory section course followed by a hands-on project approach, allowing us to practice applying the skills learned," said Minor. "The program helps better expand upon a student's technical skills knowledge and develops the business theory and management approaches applied for companies to better thrive in a competitive market."
Developed in direct collaboration with OSUIT's industry partners, the degree program is uniquely designed to address the needs of professionals working in technical industries who wish to grow and nurture their leadership abilities. The skills and knowledge obtained through the degree program provide opportunities for graduates to advance more quickly within their organizations and industries.
Hunter Brown, a 2015 graduate from the OSUIT Natural Gas Compression program, was looking for a degree opportunity to develop his leadership and management skills when he heard about the Applied Technical Leadership program.
"I chose to enroll in the B.T. in ATL because I had already been blessed with an amazing position with Magellan but wanted the confidence and experience to apply for upper-level positions within the company," said Brown. "I strongly felt that obtaining a bachelor's degree would allow me to be more qualified and educated to excel in a leadership position."
Brown currently works in Houston, Texas, for Magellan Midstream Partners as an operations supervisor, which he credits to OSUIT's training.
The B.T. in ATL program offers students a seamless path to a bachelor's level degree using their existing A.A.S coursework and career experiences.
"I liked that this degree allowed me to use my automotive degree for credit towards a bachelor’s degree. Our automotive sciences degree is usually a terminal degree," said Bryan Gibble, a graduate of the MOPAR CAP program. "This degree opens several doors for me. I can go on to work with manufacturers, become an instructor or management roles at dealerships."
Dr. Weis said that through the course of this new degree, OSUIT has extended and formalized the prior learning credit offerings to give the working adult students more opportunities to earn credit toward the B.T. in ATL degree.
The B.T. in ATL is offered entirely online to reduce student barriers to undertaking and completing the program. It allows employers to develop leaders from within their organizations without compromising day-to-day contributions to operations and productivity.
"We know our prospective students for the B.T. in ATL program are often working adults with careers, families and lives to lead," said Dr. Weis. "We are offering them an accessible program that allows them to continue leading their lives while preparing them to become leaders in their companies."
The flexibility of the degree program is what made many of the graduates interested in the degree.
"I have been working long hours in Houston, as well as learning how to be a new father, and the ability to work on classes on my schedule was the only reason I was successful throughout this process," said Brown.
"I first heard about the B.T. in ATL program from a former instructor and thought it would be a perfect fit for me. I have been dreaming about getting my bachelor's degree, but my schedule has not allowed me to until now," said Corbin Shanklin, shift supervisor at Jackson Generation in Chicago. "This program gave me more tools for my toolbox and gave me an awesome foundation to continue my leadership career."
Dr. Weis encourages those interested in gaining leadership training in their technical role to apply for this program, as it is designed specifically for them.
"Everything from the highly valuable and unique course content to the instructors with industry experience, to the designs of the courses being online and half-semester, to the full offering and recognition of their already-accrued career experiences, was put in place to make students more successful," said Dr. Weis.
The program accepts students in the summer, fall and spring semesters. However, students can only begin B.T. in ATL coursework in the fall and spring semesters; in summer, students are advised to begin taking any remaining general education courses and are placed in the first sequence of B.T. in ATL courses in the following fall semester.
To learn more or to apply for the B.T. in ATL program, visit osuit.edu/atl.