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OU Board of Regents Approves Facility Enhancements, New Degree Offerings, Administrative and Academic Appointments, and More

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OU Board of Regents Approves Facility Enhancements, New Degree Offerings, Administrative and Academic Appointments, and More

March 12, 2024

NORMAN, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents met today to approve facility enhancements, new degree programs, administrative and academic appointments, the restructure of University College and other items.

During the meeting, held on the Norman Campus, the Regents approved three new academic degrees to help address some of the state’s top workforce needs. The approved offerings include a new Bachelor of Science in Artificial Intelligence and a Bachelor of Science in Software Development and Integration, both of which will be offered at the OU Polytechnic Institute at OU-Tulsa. The institute will now offer three degree programs after a Bachelor of Science in Cybersecurity was approved in March 2023.

The OU Polytechnic Institute serves as the university’s workforce solution to the increasing demand for credentialed workers in critical STEM fields like cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.

“OU Polytechnic is a key option for our students in Tulsa interested in pursuing high-demand, advanced and applied technology-based degrees,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr.  “We are thrilled to expand our degree options. These additions further solidify our dedication to providing innovative solutions to the pressing workforce needs of our state.”

The Regents also approved a new professional pilot–helicopter track option for the Bachelor of Science in Professional Studies, strengthening OU’s offerings in aerospace and defense, one of Oklahoma’s largest and fastest-growing economic sectors. The new option aims to provide students with comprehensive flight training to develop the necessary skills and knowledge to become proficient helicopter pilots.

Also approved was the addition of a new Executive Master of Healthcare Administration degree program within the Hudson College of Public Health at OU Health Sciences. Designed to meet the evolving needs of the health care industry, the new degree will be the only online MHA program in Oklahoma offered by a Council on Education for Public Health accredited public health college and aligns with OU’s goal to increase enrollment in key health professions with the ultimate goal of improving health outcomes in Oklahoma.

The proposed degree offerings will now go before the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education for final approval.

The Board of Regents approved the reorganization of University College into a newly created Academic Success Center. The center will provide opportunities to enhance student success along their academic journey, a key focus of OU’s “Lead On, University” Strategic Plan.

Beginning fall 2024, incoming first-year students will directly enter the college of their declared majors rather than University College serving as their academic home, providing earlier access to mentorship, networking and engagement with faculty and peers with similar interests. Students who are still exploring majors will enter OU under a program managed by the Provost’s Office.

The Academic Success Center will be led by Lillian Miller, assistant dean of University College, who will serve as associate provost. Miller, who has devoted her career to working with new students, will work alongside Ken Peterson, interim dean of University College, to ensure a smooth transition. Miller will begin serving in her new role on July 1.

“With the creation of the Academic Success Center, we are poised to provide our students with unparalleled opportunities for success as soon as they step onto the OU campus,” Harroz said. “This will not only streamline the path to academic achievement but also foster a supportive environment where students can thrive both personally and professionally.”

The board approved the appointment of General (Ret) Robin “Baba” Rand as executive director of the Oklahoma Aerospace and Defense Innovation Institute at OU. Rand has served as interim executive director of the institute since Oct. 2023. The Oklahoma Aerospace and Defense Innovation Institute supports convergent research working to solve the nation’s most pressing aerospace and defense challenges.

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. As the state’s flagship university, OU serves the educational, cultural, economic and health care needs of the state, region and nation. OU was named the state’s highest-ranking university in U.S. News & World Report’s most recent Best Colleges list. For more information about the university, visit ou.edu.


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