Lighting the Path Ahead

New Bachelor Degree at OSUIT

 

Imagine you earned a two-year degree from a technical college like OSUIT, you were hired right away in your field, and you were very good at your job. That’s the perfect scenario, right? But what if your boss said to you, “We want to promote you into management, but corporate policy requires you to have a bachelor’s degree.” You call the nearest four-year college, right? But what if that college told you, “We don’t accept technical courses in transfer, so you’ll have to start all over again if you want to earn a bachelor’s degree.” You would either have to forget about the promotion or figure out some way to go back to college for at least four years, right? Wrong! Very soon, there will be a much better alternative. 

Q: When will the new bachelor’s degree be available at OSUIT?

A: OSUIT has received approval from the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to award a new Bachelor of Technology (BT) in Applied Technical Leadership, which means we may now finalize the curriculum and begin offering this long anticipated degree. We should be ready to enroll our first group of students by Fall 2019.  

Over the years, I’ve become increasingly aware of a serious dilemma faced by graduates of two-year technical programs. The Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree is designed to provide students with marketable skills and to assist them in finding employment soon after graduation, but it does not follow the traditional academic model. The AAS degree is considered a “terminal degree” within higher education and does not transfer well if the student chooses to pursue a higher level degree. Most four-year colleges don’t accept AAS graduates as transfer students because they took applied/technical courses for two years rather than the typical freshmen and sophomore curriculum of academic offerings.  

I’ve always wanted to develop a bachelor’s degree specifically for this type of student. A degree that would allow them to continue their college career where they left off by accepting their technical courses and not requiring them to quit their jobs to go back to college fulltime. The new BT in Applied Technical Leadership will be such a degree. It will create a viable transfer option for almost all AAS graduates at OSUIT as well as from other two-year colleges. It’s being customized for the needs of technical graduates and for the employers who employ them. As it’s envisioned, it will:

•Prepare students for leadership opportunities within their industry;

•Be delivered by faculty with industry experience;

•Incorporate coursework and projects directly related to industry;

•Recognize credit for previously earned technical courses;

•Provide credit for prior learning experiences;

•Be available on campus or fully online;  

•Be offered in an accelerated format; and

•Be transferable toward a master’s degree at OSU-Stillwater.

This new degree will be a game-changer for most technical two-year graduates. It represents the next phase in their professional development and the next step on their academic pathway, and it took a unique college like OSUIT to create it.

I appreciate your questions about OSUIT. If you have more, please send them to osuit-president@okstate.edu

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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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