Oklahoma State University has unveiled a visionary new strategy to become the nation’s preeminent land-grant institution.
The plan was finalized after an inclusive process with months of input sessions with stakeholders including students, faculty, staff and alumni, donors, industry representatives, tribal partners and state leaders. The result is a tailored plan with specific goals, strategies and tactics united to better meet the needs of students and parents, as well as Oklahoma’s workforce. It covers a wide range of topics and initiatives which have been carefully identified and developed to enhance career placement and career readiness, reimagine general education and improve higher education access by reducing student debt and setting new records for student scholarships.
With Oklahoma producing college graduates at a stark 25% behind the national average, the dearth of college-prepared graduates threatens the state’s current workforce vitality and jeopardizes future economic prospects. OSU intends to meet this critical state need by increasing overall student enrollment and leveraging all of its degree-granting institutions in Stillwater, Oklahoma City, Tulsa and Okmulgee.
Included in the plan are eight policy imperatives:
- Enroll a minimum of 5,000 new first-year students by the fall of 2026 at the Stillwater campus
- Increase six-year graduation rate 10% by 2027 through a comprehensive retention strategy
- Compete with integrity and excellence
- Commit to creating graduates who exhibit the four competencies of 1) professional preparedness, 2) engaged citizenship, 3) ethical leadership and 4) personal responsibility
- Align curriculum and programming to support the generation of ideal graduates and to advance the land-grant mission
- Leverage R1 status to advance research that impacts society
- Elevate and amplify Extension
- Create an effective and efficient OSU system
Those policy imperatives include specific targets for increasing student retention scholarships to record levels, increasing the percentage of students graduating from OSU debt-free to 60% and reducing the average student debt of graduates with OSU debt to no more than $3,000 per year of attendance. While working to reduce student debt, OSU also will design a new tool to help graduates compete in the job market — a unique student competency portfolio which will serve to highlight each student’s competencies and interdisciplinary skill set.
In keeping with OSU’s land-grant mission, the strategy enumerates how OSU research will be used to address society’s most pressing challenges in four priority areas:
1) Innovating to nourish the world
2) Leading in aerospace innovation and application
3) Enhancing human and animal health (OneHealth)
4) Powering a growing world population sustainably and responsibly
The four priority areas are interdisciplinary intersections of institutional capacity and societal need and are not limited to particular academic areas or divisions. They will involve faculty, students and research professionals from across the university, driving professional preparedness to meet workforce demands of each area, advancing new knowledge with research specific to each sector and creating economic opportunity through close coordination with industry. Advances created by these areas will serve to enhance the quality of life, economic prospects and health outcomes for Oklahomans — with implications for worldwide application.