History and Impact of the Tulsa Graduate College
OU’s Presence in Tulsa
OU’s presence in Tulsa began in 1957 through a partnership between OU and the Tulsa City County Library. OU later became part of a consortium of colleges and universities that offered programs in Tulsa at the Tulsa Graduate Center, which became UCT in 1982.
Although OU's presence in Tulsa has been longstanding, it changed dramatically in 1999 as a result of the generous gift from the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation which allowed OU to purchase 60 acres at the corner of 41st and Yale, previously the Amoco Research Center. Historically, the OU programs in Tulsa were located in a wide variety of sites, including the OSU-Tulsa campus. By the fall of 2002, all OU academic programs in Tulsa were located at the Schusterman Center, providing OU with a much stronger identity in Tulsa and allowing OU-Tulsa to better serve the community.
Creation and Growth of the Tulsa Graduate College
While Norman-based graduate programs were offered in Tulsa since 1957, in 1996, the Tulsa Graduate Office was established so administrative issues regarding graduate education could be handled locally. At this time, Dr. William Ray was named as Interim Dean on a part-time basis. In the spring of 1998 the position of Dean was made full-time, and the operation was reorganized as the Tulsa Graduate College. In 2004, Dr. Ray was given the additional title of Vice Provost for Norman Programs in Tulsa in recognition of expanded budgetary and planning responsibilities.
The consolidation of the graduate program locations to the Schusterman Center in 1999 is likely responsible for some of the growth of the Tulsa Graduate College. In 1994 there were 390 graduate students enrolled in Tulsa and three resident faculty. In the intervening ten years, more than 1,000 students earned their degrees in the programs offered through the Tulsa Graduate College. By the fall semester of 2005 there were 461 students in post-baccalaureate study, 24 resident faculty, and three doctoral programs. A decade later, in 2015, the Tulsa Graduate College included 594 students in Norman-based programs and 31 full-time faculty.
Leadership of the Tulsa Graduate College
Dr. William Ray founded the Tulsa Graduate Office in 1996 and the Tulsa Graduate College in 1998. At the end of August 2016, Dean William Ray stepped down from his position as Dean of the Tulsa Graduate College in order to take a sabbatical after 36 years of service with OU, more than two decades of which have been serving OU-Tulsa. His leadership and vision have helped shape the OU-Tulsa campus and the many programs offered by OU in Tulsa.
At the beginning of September 2016, Dr. James Sluss became the Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the Tulsa Graduate College. Prior to this, Dr. Sluss was the Senior Associate Dean in the OU Gallogly College of Engineering.