Inside OSUIT: Valuing Technology

Inside OSUIT: Valuing Technology

Dr. Bill R. Path
Inside OSUIT: Valuing Technology

In facilities that served as a veteran’s hospital during World War II, OSU Institute of Technology opened its doors in 1946 to alleviate over-crowding on the OSU-Stillwater campus due to the post-war enrollment boom. Sponsored by the Veterans Administration, the first class of 500 veterans enrolled to learn agricultural and mechanical trades. With no state or local revenue support, the college served only veterans and other agency-sponsored students for several years, and plans were to close the campus when the veterans’ demand for training had subsided. By 1956, however, the college in Okmulgee had developed a sound reputation for quality technical education and became a permanent part of Oklahoma’s higher education system. After several name changes, in 2007, the modern name was adopted and “Technology” was properly added to our name.

As the oldest technical branch campus in the OSU System, OSUIT enjoys a statewide mission. This is why we receive students and serve workforce training needs from across the entire state and beyond. Our year-round academic calendar, well-equipped labs, and highly skilled faculty ensure delivery of only the highest caliber of technical training. OSUIT prides itself on offering a unique portfolio of majors that has evolved alongside the workforce needs of various technical enterprises.

We see the same scenario play out hundreds of times every year—a student who was underperforming or disengaged in high school is advised by someone to come to OSUIT. That floundering student is enrolled in a technical program of study and introduced to the tools and emerging technology of an industry and something quite extraordinary happens. The same student who struggled throughout high school, incredibly begins to excel in college. His or her confidence builds. Grades improve, and he or she is engaged in the learning process like never before. The primary difference is the applied use of technology.

At OSUIT “technology” is what we teach not just how we teach. Instructional technology in the classroom is fine, but smart boards and tablets are no substitute for simulators and corporate trainers when it comes to workforce preparation. Our labs are filled with the technology of industry—supplied by industry. In many cases, students at OSUIT are learning how to use the exact same tools and equipment currently being used in the field and most of it is being supplied by the generosity of our corporate partners. 

With the technology used in industry, OSUIT is addressing the critical workforce needs of several technical enterprises where many of their experienced employees are reaching retirement age in the midst of new corporate growth and expansion. These employers want and need employees who can hit the ground running from day one—someone who is already familiar with their industry’s standards, procedures, and equipment. This requires more than theoretical learning, it requires an applied education with relevant hands-on learning—a specialty OSUIT along with our corporate partners have perfected over many years.

People, Technology, Jobs, and Learning