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College Graduate Preparation  

Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities are continually creating innovative ways to ensure graduates are ready to enter the workforce.

Institutions often use alumni and senior surveys to help improve degree programs by using the perspectives of individuals who have graduated and are in the job market. Professional portfolio development and reviews are also common among institutions. This allows students to begin thinking about resume building and looking forward to life after graduation. Institutions use other assessment methods such as employer surveys and employment rates to determine how well students perform after graduation.

Performance on professional licensure examinations is a strong indicator of college graduates’ readiness for life and work in Oklahoma. Licensure exams directly measure students’ employability in their chosen fields and provide a useful comparison to other states. According to Measuring Up 2008, Oklahoma is more than 28 percentage points above the national benchmark in workforce preparation as reflected in professional licensure examinations. Thirty-five percent more Oklahoma graduates take these examinations than do graduates on average nationwide, and their pass rates match the national average. (graph 7A)

The Endowed Chairs and Distinguished Professorship program provides opportunities for universities and colleges to attract and retain some of the brightest faculty nationally in a wide variety of disciplines. This unique and highly successful program involves a public-private partnership and enhances the overall academic, cultural, scientific and economic development of the institution’s local region and the state of Oklahoma as a whole. Students, the community and the state benefit greatly from the presence of these faculty positions as existing academic programs are enhanced and tremendous energy and innovation emerges from these centers of excellence. Since inception of the program in 1988, the state has matched 601 total accounts at 24 of our institutions. As of June 30, 2008, the institutions had private donations on hand, awaiting state matching funds, in the amount of $364.9 million. This amount represents 902 new accounts or additional private donations to existing accounts. (graph 7B)

The Oklahoma Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) funds several initiatives that support undergraduate student development by involving students in the greater science community. Students become immersed in the scientific community through research experiences, workshops and training opportunities, industry internships and attendance at professional scientific meetings with travel funding from EPSCoR.

OSUIT student
Photo courtesy of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology.