Lighting the Path Ahead

 At OSUIT, we believe the opportunity to participate in education should be readily available and accessible to every person without regard to race, ethnic origin, religion, gender, handicap or level of income and that these factors should not be impediments to an individual’s academic and social growth and development. We believe learning is a lifelong process that helps individuals develop their potential and increase their capabilities for making reasoned choices. Differences among persons, particularly in goals, learning styles and attitudes, require a variety of means to satisfy the educational needs of individuals. 

The institutional environment should be responsive to varied needs of students and other constituencies the institution serves. To this end, OSUIT is committed to providing educational opportunities through close collaboration with other educational institutions, the private and public sector, government entities, and the various business and industry-based organizations that serve the residents of Oklahoma. 

Q: What role do industry advisory committees play at OSUIT?

A: As the oldest 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 feel a degree from OSUIT should not just lead to a piece of paper, but to a job that will launch a career. But we know this result cannot be achieved by OSUIT alone.

One of the reasons we are so successful at placing graduates directly into the workforce is our use of advisory committees. Every technical training program at OSUIT has a corresponding advisory committee that meets on campus at least once a year. These committees are made up of successful men and women from private industry who volunteer their time and wisdom to guide our programs of study. 

Advisory committee members review the content of every course we teach and make recommendations for improvements. They tell us what is relevant and what is no longer relevant within our curriculum. Many of them sponsor students and assist with tuition and other costs associated with going to college. They meet with students and explain the realities and expectations of their industry. They inspect our labs and frequently donate essential pieces of training equipment. Advisory committee members set up internships for students to supplement on-campus training with on-the-job training opportunities that often lead to full-time employment for students after graduation. 

OSUIT awards certificates and Associate in Science, Associate in Applied Science and Bachelor of Technology degrees, and every program offering is endorsed by a conscientious oversight committee of industry advisors. I’ve worked at many other colleges in my career but have never seen such a productive relationship between the public and private sectors. 

I hope my column over the past few weeks has given you a better understanding of the institution that operates right here in the college town of Okmulgee. Please send additional questions and comments to

Dr. Bill R. Path is president of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology and board member of Okmulgee Main Street Inc. 

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