NORMAN, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents met today to approve new degree programs, leadership appointments, facility expansions and renovations, and other items.
During the meeting, held on the Norman campus, the Regents approved four new academic degrees, including a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity – the first degree program to be introduced specifically for the OU Polytechnic Institute. Anticipated to launch at OU-Tulsa in 2024, the institute will serve as a workforce solution to the increasing demand for credentialed workers in critical STEM fields like cybersecurity.
The Board of Regents also approved the appointment of Teri Reed to serve as the OU Polytechnic Institute’s inaugural director. An OU alumna and internationally recognized leader in the field of engineering education, Reed comes to OU from the University of Cincinnati, where she has served as assistant vice president of faculty research development, among other roles.
“Putting forth the first degree program for the OU Polytechnic Institute, as well as welcoming Teri Reed as its director, are two important milestones as we prepare for the institute’s launch next year,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “We are eager to contribute our academic and research excellence toward the region’s workforce needs and opportunities, and with Dr. Reed at the helm, the OU Polytechnic Institute will position our state, our graduates and all Oklahomans for a prosperous future.”
The Regents also approved three online master’s degree programs, including the addition of an online option to the Master of Public Health degree program, which will focus on population and community health. The new online option for the MPH degree aligns with OU’s goal to increase enrollment in key health professions with the ultimate goal of improving health outcomes in Oklahoma.
“From our earliest days, the University of Oklahoma has educated generations of health professionals, and one of our most important responsibilities is to continue this longstanding tradition of excellence,” Harroz said. “One of the ways we will achieve this is by placing a greater emphasis on the online delivery of certain academic programs, especially ones that support career advancement. That’s what this new online MPH option will do, while also preparing dedicated public health professionals focused on serving our state’s community health needs.”
Also approved were a Master of Science in Sustainable Architecture and a Master of Arts in Museum Studies, both of which will be offered online.
The proposed degree offerings will now go before the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education for final approval.
The Board of Regents approved the appointment of Dale Bratzler as dean of the Hudson College of Public Health. Bratzler had served as the college’s interim dean for the past year and is widely known for his role as OU’s Chief COVID Officer.
In addition, the board approved Janet Braun as director of the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History. Braun has devoted her career to the museum, where she has served in a variety of administrative and curatorial roles, including most recently as its interim director.
“Dr. Bratzler and Dr. Braun have each dedicated an incredible amount of time to the University of Oklahoma,” Harroz said. “Although their fields of expertise are vastly different, they both have pursued careers that ultimately benefit our state as a whole. We are grateful for their leadership and commitment to OU.”
The Regents approved several agenda items related to new and upgraded facilities, including the design renderings of the two residence halls that will replace Adams Center, which will be demolished starting in May. The two new residence halls built in its place will be completed in phases, opening in summer 2025 and 2026, respectively. Both will offer premium accommodations for first-year students, with features that include a convenience store, coffee shop, lounges, outdoor spaces and more. Storm shelters will also be constructed in both buildings.
“At OU, our students will always be our top priority, and providing an inviting on-campus living environment of the highest quality will enrich their experience at OU from the moment they arrive,” Harroz said. “It will be exciting to see this work begin later this spring, and we look forward to providing our students with best-in-class housing facilities in the near future.”
The Regents also authorized the university to negotiate a ground lease with Norman Public Schools for the construction of the Oklahoma Aviation Academy at Max Westheimer Airport. The academy is expected to serve approximately 600 high school students who are interested in exploring a future career in aviation, and is one of the ways OU is lending its aviation expertise and resources to enhance Oklahoma’s aviation workforce.
The board is set to next meet in June.
About the University of Oklahoma
Founded in 1890, the University of Oklahoma is a public research university located in Norman, Oklahoma. OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. For more information visit ou.edu.