OSUOklahoma State University


Criterion Five: Engagement and Service

As called for by its mission, the organization identifies its constituencies and serves them in ways both value.

As a land-grant university, OSU serves the common good through its commitment to broadly educate students and constituents, support worthwhile research, and disseminate useful information to the public. OSU serves its constituency in diverse ways, ranging from the multifaceted offerings of its fine and performing arts programming to innovative research that positively affects human health. Planning efforts are driven by its mission, core values, and a dedication to understanding changing social, demographic, economic, and technological factors that affect the university and its constituents.

Core Component 5a

The organization learns from the constituencies it serves and analyzes its capacity to serve their needs and expectations.

OSU's many entities continually evaluate their effectiveness in meeting their constituents' needs. When it is found that these needs are not being met in the most effective way, changes in existing programs and services are implemented, and innovative ideas for new programs are developed.

Mission and Resources

From its birth more than 100 years ago, OSU has been charged with and supported in its interaction with the state's citizens in a very broad context. Ownership by the people through tax support and private funding, along with the direction provided by the university's land-grant mission and responsibilities, ensure that all capital entrusted to the university provides direct support to the constituencies and communities of Oklahoma.

Identifying Constituencies

While it may be simplistic to say that OSU's constituency base is “everyone,” it does cross a wide and diverse spectrum. It includes, but is not limited to, enrolled students; the Oklahoma public; the larger public; nongovernmental agencies (NGO); local, regional, and international educational and business entities; alumni; donors; faculty; staff; Oklahoma youth; and future generations of all of these users. OSU's institutional mechanisms that connect with and draw on these groups reflect their diversity and OSU's commitment to engage and serve its constituents in meaningful ways.

Listening to Constituencies

OSU exhibits evidence of strong, meaningful relationships with its constituencies and an ongoing evaluation of its capacity to respond to their needs and expectations. Throughout the university, advisory committees and user groups provide input that is used to assure that the distinctive nature of OSU's land-grant mission is connected to the people, focused on learning, and future-oriented. A well-organized and effective assessment program provides a wealth of information to use in determining whether learning goals and objectives are being met. Faculty members engage in strategic planning, development, and revision of individual and unit mission and vision statements. Programs are maintained, updated, and created to respond to constituents' preferences and anticipated needs. In addition, faculty professional development and recruitment evolves as existing and future needs are identified. Donor recruitment and counsel also are integral to determining constituent needs.

Needs assessments have been conducted by OSU units in such diverse areas as community economic development, diabetes education and research, healthy living, estate planning, small business strategies, student enrichment, junior college faculty professional development, international programs development, art appreciation, social foundations, and public education programs and systems. Program advisory boards and assessment data are available to be used to improve outreach and extension programs, as well as to improve the relevance of undergraduate and graduate instruction and research. Many units periodically survey constituents, including graduates, alumni, employers, and users of OSU products in governmental and NGO agencies and organizations. Many faculty members also serve on public and NGO boards and planning committees.

The Office of the Vice President for Student Affairs5.1 provides an example of a unit that serves the needs of many different constituents. Student Affairs' primary constituent group is students, but the office also serves students' families, faculty, staff, and community members. The Student Affairs mission speaks to student development, which includes academic support and success, cultural enrichment, leadership development, and service to others. Its programs serve the specialized and unique needs of all students, including minority and underrepresented students, international students, off-campus students, students with disabilities, and others.

Student Affairs' arts, cultural, recreational, social, and other programs reach wide constituencies of the university and surrounding communities. Student Affairs also uses student advisory groups to help plan, organize, and facilitate meaningful events, such as “Orange Peel,”5.2 a student-run extravaganza featuring nationally known musicians and comedians that is held every year prior to the first home football game. “ShowDown,” a similar event started in 2005, is held during the spring. Both of these events are open to the public and draw huge crowds from around the state and beyond.

Oklahoma Cooperative Extension Service5.3 (OCES) is based in the Division of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources5.4 (DASNR) and the College of Human Environmental Sciences (CHES). OCES conducted public listening sessions in all 77 Oklahoma counties. Major issues identified by most counties include community and economic development, family and home issues, schools and education, infrastructure, and community services. This input, along with comments from county program advisory committees, has been shared with professional staff, faculty, and the state legislature. The input also has been analyzed and is the basis for a comprehensive review of OCES and DASNR, with focus on the current and future needs of Oklahomans across the state.

In addition, the following groups provide ongoing assistance in the OCES planning processes:

OCES's agriculture educators, area agronomists, and state specialists continue to deliver a variety of educational opportunities through extensive field demonstrations, field scouting, educational meetings, printed materials, grower meetings, websites, and other delivery techniques.

OSU's International Education and Outreach5.5 (IEO) unit also is mission-oriented. Its activities focus on engaging with state, national, and international communities to fulfill compelling educational needs and advance the development of the state. To further this goal, IEO's international bureaus work with state and federal governments and private partners to support the Oklahoma International Strategic Plan to promote international trade and investment, education, and global awareness. IEO also promotes study-abroad programs. OSU has reciprocal exchange agreements with 61 institutions in 29 countries. In addition, the university participates in the National Student Exchange, making it possible for OSU students to receive credit for studying at another U.S. institution for a semester or academic year.

College departments and units throughout the university identify constituents, determine their needs, and convert this information into appropriate unit or program objectives. After changes are made, they decide whether objectives satisfy constituent needs. As an example, the School of Chemical Engineering5.6 (CHENG) identified the constituents of its undergraduate programs as being students, alumni, employers, citizens, and faculty. CHENG constituents are engaged through the following means:

CHENG classifies needs according to who does (or should) have control and responsibility for implementing needed actions. Narrowly defined needs that can be addressed through textbook or class assignment changes are implemented by instructors. Broader needs that may have to be addressed through curriculum sequence changes and the learning objectives of core CHENG classes are addressed by CHENG faculty. The broadest needs that will affect issues such as program outcomes or school priorities are under the control of the entire constituency.

The College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) receives feedback from its constituents in several ways. CAS Associates (alumni and friends of the college) assist by providing recommendations concerning a variety of initiatives and activities. Advisory boards are used in numerous areas, such as the Star Schools HBL4U project, a five-year online educational venture involving selected CAS, College of Education (COE), and Spears School of Business (SSB) faculty members in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Education. CAS Outreach programs provide evaluation forms to participants to collect feedback, including recommendations for improving existing programs and new programming topics. The unit also periodically visits businesses and corporations throughout the state to gain input about their training and development needs.

OSU's distance education efforts began in the 1920s with the establishment of correspondence courses and extension radio programs. Now, each year, OSU offers 200 electronic distance education courses that generate 2,000 enrollments. Another 2,000 distance-learning students enroll in the print-based correspondence study courses. Eleven degrees are offered through distance education. More than 300 individuals have completed degrees delivered solely by distance-education technology. Many other students have used distance education credit courses to complete portions of their degree work or simply to gain knowledge in a certain area. On a daily basis, OSU staff members work with companies such as Halliburton, ConocoPhillips, OG&E, Goodyear, MerCruiser, Boeing Company, Seagate Technology, Southwestern Bell, Integris Health Center, Frontier Electric Systems, Kerr McGee Corporation, and Sun Microsystems to deliver distance-education degree programs. In addition to Oklahoma students, outreach staff deliver distance-education programs to students in Kansas, Texas, Missouri, New Mexico, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, New Hampshire, and Virginia, to name a few. Outside the United States, students in India, Japan, Canada, Thailand, United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom have enrolled in OSU courses.

Support Services Meet Constituent Needs

OSU's University Counseling Services5.7 (UCS) and Student Disabilities Services5.8 (SDS) meet the needs of a variety of constituents. The units design workshops and presentations based on the needs of constituents. The primary focus of UCS is to provide one-on-one counseling for students to assist them in areas that include the transition from home to college and identifying a purpose and direction in their lives. USC also provides crisis response teams and critical incident stress debriefing. SDS reviews and revises its computer-based resource list and its web page in order to meet user needs. In addition, SDS collaborates with other postsecondary institutions to share information and establish consistent standards of practice, and it partners with other disability organizations to address common issues.

The Student Conduct Office5.9 in compliance with the FERPA guidelines responds to requests from faculty and staff about the issue of student behavior, including academic dishonesty and disruptive student behavior in the classroom. Feedback from Student Conduct Committee members (faculty, staff, and students) about the training programs and the education committee members is positive. The office also responds to requests for discipline information about students who are applying for professional programs, study abroad programs, and employment with the federal government.

OSU's Multicultural Student Center5.10 (MSC) responds to community needs with outreach programs, including diversity training and the supervision of student programming. Data gathered through internal and external surveys indicate that MSC's activities are well received.

Constituent needs also are the top concern for Career Services and the Career Resource Center. Career Services5.11 assesses career needs to develop new programs and services. The center responds to the expressed needs of constituents by providing individual services and outreach programs. Staff members participate in professional continuing education programs relevant to the services they provide. Career Services also collaborates with other colleges and universities through reciprocal career services agreements. The connection of Career Services staff to individual colleges is clear since the personnel are half-time at the university level and half-time at the college level. To help colleagues at other universities, Career Services negotiated internet subscription services that lowered the expenses for all Big 12 institutions. OSU Career Services also is the established leader in the state in reaching out to employers and providing them with a connection to OSU graduates. An example of this effort is the website, HireOSUGrads.com, and the OSU 1000 initiative.

The Career Resource Center5.12 organizes an annual open house to link faculty, advisors, and services to aid in the career development of students. In addition to current students, prospective students and alumni have free access to the Career Resource Center to explore possible majors and careers.

Student Union and Campus Life services and programs are evaluated through the National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE), focus groups, and website feedback. Also, two academic classes (Marketing 4373 and Agricultural Research 6223) are reviewing services and benefits offered through the OSU Volunteer Center. One of the Volunteer Center's projects was hosting a “Youth Listening Conference” aimed at junior and senior high students and their perceptions of crisis issues and how to best address them. The center worked with local youth services organizations and public school officials. Also, Student Union and Campus Life activities and recognition involve the following:

OSU's Campus Recreation unit5.13 reports that the desires and needs of its constituency determine the makeup and design of its facilities and the types of recreational equipment it provides. The constituency includes such diverse populations as young adults, mature adults, and seniors. OSU's recreational offerings range from high impact workouts to aquatic, competitive, and outdoor recreation. Needs for recreation are met through a wide variety of facilities and recreational fields both on- and off-campus. Additionally, external community needs are met through OSU's alumni eligibility program, special events, and the extension of outdoor recreation and education to Camp Redlands.5.14

OSU's Wes Watkins Center5.15 is a state-of-the-art conference facility that helps foster interaction between the OSU community and its various constituents for the enhancement of economic development, international trade and education, and extension/outreach programs and activities. The center can accommodate multiple events and is well-suited for events with combined needs, such as product demonstrations and exhibitions or other services planned in conjunction with conferences, meetings, workshops, or training seminars. The conference and meeting services staff is on site to assist in planning events and handling details that make for successful meetings. Annually, over 300 events involving more than 40,000 individuals are held in the facility.

University Health Services5.16 (UHS) peer educators and health educators actively participate in orientation and informational programs and cooperate with the Northern Oklahoma College Gateway program to insure that all members of the university community have the opportunity to become aware of health issues and services. UHS also has been a leader in the development of policies and procedures to comply with federal and state laws and regulations, including HIPAA and Oklahoma immunization requirements. In addition, UHS led campus preparations, and coordinated with county and state health departments, in preparation for a possible SARS outbreak.

Impact of State Funding Reduction

State-funded support of OCES and other outreach activities was reduced significantly in recent years. Units have made adjustments to continue the extension/outreach mission of the university. Fortunately, state support for OCES has been partially restored and most outreach units have become self-supporting.

A recent change is that faculty and staff involved with extension and outreach activities are now required to emphasize the generation of extramural funds. With that, the goals, objectives, and targeted audiences also will likely change. How that will change the future orientation of the university's outreach and extension efforts deserves community discussion that has not yet taken place.

Core Component 5b

The organization has the capacity and the commitment to engage with its identified constituencies and communities.

OSU serves its constituents through a philosophy of engagement, a two-way relationship in which the university is open to learning from those whom it serves. As a university with a well-established land-grant tradition, OSU has in place many systems that give it a unique capacity to identify, interact, and serve its many constituents.

Engagement and Service

The expectation that OSU will be closely engaged with people throughout the state is as firmly held as the expectation that its faculty members will be engaged with peer professionals in their disciplines. Part of OSU's heritage is the belief that constituent input and peer input are both vital as programs are designed and improved.

The university maintains a connection with the people of Oklahoma as individuals, but also as communities, governmental units, nongovernmental organizations of various types and interests, and workers and managers of units providing goods and services to the state. For example, all of the colleges can point to an array of programs for people in state and county government who deliver services. These include elected officials, county clerks and appraisers, and local government technology managers. Colleges have degrees and outreach programs which respond to the direct needs of these constituencies, for example telecommunications management, fire and emergency services management, health care, telemedicine delivery, food technology, new product development, and manufacturing extension services. Outreach partnerships often exist between OSU and the public through faculty members who are doing applied research involving community members, internship programs, and newly hired graduates who help transfer new knowledge into the workplace. In addition, there is an impressive list of endowed chairs and professorships generated as a result of donors understanding the advantages of ongoing linkage with the expertise of college faculty and staff members.

Nearly every campus unit surveyed reports having one, and in many cases, multiple advisory boards involving alumni, industry experts, and others from whom the unit seeks input on strategies, new directions, and other issues that will shape the programs it offers.

Key aspects of OSU's philosophy are collaboration with and recognition of the value of a variety of partnerships in strengthening its engagement with internal and external constituencies. One example of OSU's engagement is provided by the School of International Studies. It plays a leadership role in negotiating and designing numerous reciprocal programs with other countries, including educational and environmental programs in Italy, educational programs in Mexico, and small business programs in Brazil. The programs are delivered by OSU's colleges.

Specific examples of service through engagement include the following:

Another striking example of engagement and collaboration can be found at the OSU Library. Library staff members in the Electronic Publishing Center5.17 (EPC) have offered their expertise to organizations such as the Oklahoma Academy of Sciences and the Oklahoma Historical Society to electronically publish and make available, at no cost to the public, volumes of material. These materials include the full text of the Proceedings of the Oklahoma Academy of Sciences and the forthcoming Encyclopedia of Oklahoma, an official project of the Oklahoma Centennial Commission. In addition, the OSU Library serves a wide constituency with its Patent and Trademark Library, the only U.S. Patent and Trademark Depository Library in the state. The OSU Library also houses the Digitized Indian Affairs Laws and Treaties data file, which is the primary source of U.S. treaties, laws, and executive orders pertaining to Native American tribes. This freely available online source, created by the EPC, is used by Native American tribes, as well as by lawyers, journalists, and scholars around the world.

OSU engages with its constituents through many forms of communication within its community. Examples of highly effective communication abound at OSU:

Core Component 5c

The organization demonstrates its responsiveness to those constituencies that depend on it for service.

OSU continually develops and improves its capacity and commitment to respond to the needs of its constituency. University faculty and staff members understand that as a land-grant university, OSU serves the needs of citizens of all economic levels and many diverse personal circumstances and interests.

A Culture of Service

OSU creates and supports a culture of service. Many clubs and organizations, including Greek Life,5.18 require community service as a fundamental element of their organizations. This service is monitored and recorded on the students' activity transcripts.

Across the university, faculty members are expected to serve on boards from the local to international level and to become involved in other service-oriented endeavors. Creative collaborative relationships that match faculty expertise with identified community needs also are supported. Faculty involvement with public entities, such as the SSB faculty's work with the Governor's International Team and District Export Council, lends scholarly expertise to these groups and brings the groups to the campus. This interaction increases opportunities for discovery of new areas of mutual interest that often lead to new partnerships in service and research.

Other examples include the following:

The Student Government Association (SGA) serves the local community by offering two major service days in addition to the hundreds of hours students normally spend involved in community service. These two programs are “The Big Event” and “Into the Streets.” Hundreds of letters express praise and thanks for student service in the community. Approximately 2,000 students, faculty, and community members participate in these annual projects. OSU also participates in civic engagement through such organizations as “Vocal Oklahomans in Civic Engagement” (VOICE) and “Campus Compact.” Service learning opportunities also are provided in every college. In addition, Student Affairs is launching service opportunities dealing with local and area disaster response, and division representatives regularly meet with neighborhood associations, police, and city council members to discuss various issues and concerns.

Responding to Constituent Needs

The essence of successful planning for outreach and service is the anticipation of and innovation in meeting constituents' future needs. This requires looking ahead not only to the next program or presentation, but to the completion of the current operational cycle and beyond to future-oriented analyses of trends and alternative scenarios.

As previously noted, OSU's extension and outreach units regularly plan, implement, and evaluate programs with direct and frequent consultation between those who use those services and those who develop them. Continual objective, research-based evaluation of needs, along with projections by those involved with the university's research and education mission, ensures that programs will serve as foundations for future learning and will improve and adapt as the social and economic environment changes.

Faculty and administrative professionals routinely assess their units' and the system's capacity to respond to current and long-term needs. Professional development, reorganization, faculty and staff recruitment, and budget requests are based on these assessments. Strengths and weaknesses vary by unit and program. Cooperation, communication, and dedication among faculty and staff members reduce the adverse effects of short-term uncertainty as changes are made to address weaknesses and to respond to high priority challenges.

One of OSU's most distinctive commitments is its ongoing connection to the state's rural and non-metropolitan populations even in an increasingly urbanized society. Evidence of this commitment is provided by OCES's implementation of the “Initiative for the Future of Rural Oklahoma,”5.19 which provides leadership and skill-building training in selected communities. This outreach effort is aimed at developing community-level and county-level leadership training programs in rural communities. The goals of the program are to enhance the effectiveness of community leaders and extension educators in addressing critical issues in the community and county, especially issues relating to leadership and community economic development, and to demonstrate the full range of assistance available from OCES. The program also provides a long-term commitment to selected communities in order to help implement development efforts, thoroughly evaluate the impact of pilot projects, and set the stage for ongoing programs.

DASNR, CHES, and other colleges also develop educational programs in-house for requesting businesses, corporations, and entrepreneurs, as well as industry-focused programs. Most OSU colleges have partnered with international institutions to develop and deliver programs to support international trade, education, and development, as well as international awareness. In addition, DASNR has partnered with the Local Government Technology Council (LGTC) to provide initial and continuing training to local and county officials.

OSU responds to constituents' needs by making curriculum changes in response to information gained from those constituents. For example, many DASNR departments, such as Forestry and Agricultural Economics have reshaped programs and curricula as a result of input from alumni, businesses served by these units, and employers of graduates. Many units have capstone courses that help students integrate their knowledge and apply it to a “real world” problem. The environmental science capstone is one example. Student teams have worked with the city of Tulsa on air quality standards and with farmers and communities on waste management issues. Community leaders and farm and business managers who have received the results of these efforts have high praise for the students and the insights or resolutions the students provide.

CHES also works to address community issues. Examples include the video tape mentioned earlier, “Initiative for the Future of Rural Oklahoma,” and collaboration with other education sectors through its “21st Century” and other after-school programs.

As part of its responsive approach, OSU recognizes that workforce development education can exist alongside classical general education. For example, in addition to traditional academic classes, CEAT provides outreach programs in industrial management and manufacturing, and CHES supports advanced research in nutrition (often working with members of the community) and the latest in textiles designed to protect emergency workers and military personnel. In addition, the SSB supports the budding inventor or innovator who is trying to bring a new product or service to the marketplace. These types of services make OSU unique and distinctive.

Globalization and diversity are important to OSU's many constituents. The majority of the university's units respond to these issues through a general acknowledgment of their importance and through very specific components of courses and programs. While OSU's master's degree program in international studies is one of the most intensive and obvious components of the global focus, there are many other contributions. Examples include the development of a database known as OKSource5.20 for international businesses; multiple college-organized credit courses and foreign experiences in international education; nationally recognized speakers brought to campus to speak about current international topics; and formal cooperative relationships and exchanges with universities in other nations.

Extension and outreach activities are integral to OSU's ability to respond quickly and effectively to constituent needs. The units that provide these services strive to educate everyone who wants to learn and to provide options for those who learn best through innovative approaches. Their students often are at very different stages in life than the traditional college student, and they may be located in another area and/or have little time to learn. Their reasons for wanting to learn and exchange ideas also may differ. While large numbers of traditional programs are presented annually by the OCES and college outreach divisions, these programs are fine-tuned and improved by constant evaluation and feedback from constituents. Resulting innovations help ensure a learning-focused attitude. One example is the OSU Library's projects mentioned earlier, to bring the latest in digital services to the people of Oklahoma, as well as to the OSU community. These projects address the special interests of diverse groups, such as the Native American population. The library received the prestigious John Cotton Dana Award from the American Library Association, the only U.S. academic library to be so honored in 1997 and 2004, for its outstanding efforts to promote its collections and physical resources to the university and the larger statewide community.

Other examples of responsive and learning-focused innovations include an array of leadership programs for both OSU staff and community members. Life experiences, exchanges with professionals, and travel all enhance the traditional descriptive and analytical teaching processes for these adult learners. Integrative experiences, perhaps best exemplified by the senior-level “capstone” course required in many majors, also have influenced outreach and service programs. Enriching experiences, such as national and international travel, internships, and knowledge gained by faculty members who have taken sabbaticals, all reinforce OSU's goal of providing multiple methods of learning for diverse audiences.

All areas of OSU are responsive and accountable to their constituents. For example, representatives from the Departments of Art, Music, and Theatre, which receive funding from the Student Activity Fee, meet annually with a student committee to justify their programs and present future budgets. The committee decides to continue, decrease, or increase funding for the following year. The committee also provides feedback and recommendations on constituency representation and, occasionally, on programming.

In 1997, OSU's administration decided to institute a university transit system to meet constituent needs. The university now provides bus transportation around the OSU-Stillwater campus and the Stillwater community and a shuttle service to the OSU-Tulsa campus and to locations in Oklahoma City. Transit usage has increased tremendously since the service began and schedules and routes have been adjusted to address constituent needs. The Parking and Transit Services website5.21 provides full information about parking and transit, including bus schedules, parking lot maps, and purchase of parking permits.

The OSU Child Development Laboratory5.22 (CDL) has a rich tradition of excellence in early childhood education. The CDL was established in 1924, and the present $2-million facility opened in 1983. Today, the CDL is accredited by the National Association for the Education of Young Children5.23 and is rated as a three-star facility by the Oklahoma Department of Human Services. The CDL exemplifies OSU's mission of instruction, research, and service, by training students and facilitating faculty research in early childhood education, human growth and development, social interaction, language development, cognitive development, and early childhood curriculum. In addition, the CDL offers community service in the form of quality child care, parenting programs, and in-service teacher education.

OSU's Ethics Center,5.24 sponsored and operated by the OSU Philosophy Department, is the only college or university ethics institute or center in the state. It does not seek to dictate values, but is committed to promoting moral reflection and deliberation in personal, professional, community, and civic life. The Ethics Center attempts to facilitate discussion of ethical questions facing society by organizing and promoting workshops, symposia, conferences, and other forums where professional ethicists, faculty, students, and the general public can study and discuss relevant topics. The Ethics Center is committed to building a bridge between the academy and the general public and to providing a valuable service to constituents.

OSU's Fire Service Training and Fire Service Publications have long provided training for the fire service profession, as well as public fire-safety education. In the wake of 9-11, these entities play an even more critical role in training first responders. OSU's fire service publications and training professionals are in demand worldwide. In addition, the Federal Emergency Management Agency recently funded OSU's development of two new public fire safety programs for the most at-risk segments of the population — people with disabilities and children three to five years of age. The project will involve faculty from OSU's School of Fire Protection and Safety Technology and ABLE Tech, an OSU Seretean Wellness Center program that provides assistive technologies information and services to disabled Oklahomans statewide.

OSU's sensor and sensor-related research and technology transfer also have received wide recognition in regard to homeland security efforts. OSU plans to build on its reputation and establish a national and international presence in sensor and sensor-related research by expanding research efforts beyond the university. Through these efforts, OSU plans to stimulate economic development, encourage innovation, and create jobs. OSU also plans to grow a knowledge-based economy through the creation of sensor and sensor-related technology companies in the state and to support the state's EDGE economic development initiative to create the “Research Capital of the Plains.”

According to Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics, OSU is the safest campus in the Big 12 Conference, thanks to the efforts of OSU's Police Department.5.25 OSU's police force is one of the best in the nation and was the first police force in the state to receive accreditation from the Oklahoma Association of Chiefs of Police. OSU's “Blue Light Emergency Phone System,” which instantly connects someone needing immediate assistance to a 911 operator, has served as a model for systems at universities across the country. The department is always ready to respond with a full range of police resources, which include area patrols, criminal investigations, crime prevention, facilities security analysis, and event planning as well as parking management and enforcement. In addition, members of the department serve on university and community committees, provide training and specialized presentations to campus organizations and living groups, participate in the design and installation of safety and traffic control devices, and act as special advisors to all campus departments and administration. OSU police officers also provide protection, lake patrol, and water rescue operations at OSU's Lake Carl Blackwell and surrounding recreational areas.

OSU's Center for Science Literacy (CSL) is helping public school students by educating teachers across the state in the best methods for teaching science. CSL is Oklahoma's leader in implementing systemic reform in science and math teaching by using inquiry-based methodology. CSL also sponsors professional development for K-12 science teachers and development of cutting edge, web-based resources for classroom teachers. CSL strives to serve the public by helping provide a meaningful science experience for all students, regardless of age and geographic location.

The Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers,5.26 headquartered at OSU-Tulsa, was established to recognize one of our country's richest resources, its extended community of internationally known writers. The center also is dedicated to providing opportunities for aspiring writers. The center hosts the Celebration of Books, which brings nationally known writers, artists, and musicians to the OSU-Tulsa campus and provides an outstanding cultural experience for the OSU community and the citizens of the state. To encourage literary efforts, the center also presents awards to authors and sponsors the Oklahoma Writers Hall of Fame. In addition, the center maintains a literary archive of original manuscripts by Oklahoma authors. The executive director, Teresa Miller, also hosts a weekly television show, “Writing Out Loud,” on Oklahoma's public television affiliate. The show features interviews with nationally recognized writers such as Amy Tan, Tony Hillerman, and David McCullough. It also is rebroadcast through the Oklahoma State Department of Education.

OSU has developed several programs in response to the fact that Native Americans are underrepresented in certain fields. One example is the Native Americans into Biological Sciences (NABS) program in the Department of Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, which has funding of $2 million. The program will strive to interest students early in their careers in pursuing graduate studies and research. To entice students, new courses are being developed in scientific communication, bioethics, and scientific writing. Another example is the American Indians into Psychology program, designed to train students to deliver psychological services in their communities.

Another recent example of responsiveness to constituency needs was the formation of the OSU Parent's Association,5.27 initiated by OSU First Lady Janet Schmidly in 2003-04. Faculty, staff, administration, students, and students' parents all participate in the program. One of the services is free checkups for students' automobiles prior to breaks when students take to the roads.

Responding to Diverse Needs

OSU's mission is unambiguous in regard to diversity. It clearly states that the university must be accountable, self-reflective, and committed to improvement in meeting the needs of diverse constituents. The ways some OSU entities are addressing diversity issues follow:

The renovation of campus recreation facilities and development of diverse recreational and educational programs is in direct response to surveys completed by the Campus Recreation (CR) unit's constituents and CR's desire to meet its constituents' needs. The recreational facilities are a “melting pot” for diverse university and external community members. Bridges of understanding are built through shared recreational, leadership, and educational experiences.

As these examples clearly indicate, OSU responds to the needs of its constituents and continually initiates new programs and courses to address those needs.

Cultural Events, Programs, and Opportunities

OSU provides, sponsors, or encourages many activities, performances, and events that enrich the lives of students, faculty, and staff. For example, the popular and well-supported Allied Arts brings a variety of performers to the OSU campus. Performances have been presented by such well known groups as “The Capitol Steps,” and “The U.S. Army Field Band.” The OSU Speaker's Series has brought a wide spectrum of celebrities including Actor/Comedian Bill Cosby and former First Lady Barbara Bush. The Unseen Cinema series, sponsored by CAS, the School of International Studies, and the Department of English, brings international films, rarely seen in Oklahoma, to the OSU campus.

During the Christmas season, Madrigal Dinners held in the Student Union Ballroom feature the talents of many OSU students. Other OSU cultural events include the Theatre and Music Departments' performances and special showings of various types of art and architecture in the Gardiner Art Gallery and the School of Architecture Gallery. In addition, international student organizations sponsor international fairs and cultural nights to give students a greater awareness of other cultures. The Student Union Activities Board also offers a range of performances and events, and a performance series is presented at the Stillwater Community Center.

KOSU, the university's public radio station, is well supported and offers award-winning local, regional, and national news, special programming, and classical music. However, budgetary considerations and expansion plans, some believe, have lessened the intellectual quality of offerings over recent years.

Core Component 5d

Internal and external constituencies value the services the organization provides.

OSU is committed to providing all its constituents with services they find valuable. This commitment spans OSU's academic and support units and benefits not only OSU's external constituencies, but also its students, faculty, and staff members.

Constituencies Value Interaction with OSU

OSU's constituents demonstrate that they value OSU's services in many ways. They do this by continuing to attend classes, sending their children to OSU, maintaining contact with OSU as alumni, and availing themselves of lifelong learning and cultural opportunities provided by OSU. They also support the university financially. Whether through sold-out theatre, musical, or athletic performances or full classes and requests for specialized training, the university's constituents demonstrate that they value OSU's offerings.

OCES administrators regularly receive communication from extension users about particular programs they value, and each year, more than 200 community leaders visit the Oklahoma State Capitol to talk with legislators about the importance of OCES programs. In addition, nearly 75 4-H program participants hold an annual 4-H Day at the State Capitol to visit with their legislators about the value of the 4-H program.

As previously mentioned, OSU's students regularly provide volunteer services to the community, and community leaders praise their work. OSU's faculty and staff members also regularly donate their time and expertise to countless projects and organizations. While the recipients of these services are grateful, OSU's volunteers report that they receive much satisfaction and enjoyment from their volunteer work.

OSU's external constituents have said that they want educational programs delivered via the latest technologies. OSU has responded by implementing these technologies and providing training for faculty users. As previously noted, in the distance learning arena for business managers, the SSB and CEAT deliver course lectures through CD-distribution and asynchronous learning. The COE delivers programs directly to clustered sites of educational institutions. CAS works closely with K-12 school systems to bring music, art, and speech students directly to the OSU campus. OCES county extension educators are located throughout the state in proximity to its primary constituents to provide on-site assistance in agricultural production areas, health, family and child development, and other areas. Such services are available either individually and/or through seminar and workshop delivery. Constituents demonstrate that they value these innovations by using these services and by often asking for additional services.

Other off-campus services that constituents value include the SSB's Business Speaker Series, which includes the Executive Management Briefings in Oklahoma City and the Tulsa Business Forums, which attract more than 7,500 participants annually.

The OSU Department of Intercollegiate Athletics sponsors 18 teams that many members of the community, state, and region enjoy supporting. Strong evidence exists that constituents value these sports experiences. Financial gifts to support athletics have increased 300% over the past five years and the number of donors who contribute $10,000 or more annually has increased by more than 300 during the last three years. A major football stadium improvement initiative has generated gifts, pledges, premium seating amenities, and dedicated student fees of more than $84 million. Football season tickets sales have increased by 28% in the last three years and in each of the past two seasons OSU set all-time season ticket sales records. Men's basketball continues to have sell-out crowds (13,811) with nearly 13,000 season tickets sold annually. The OSU Posse Club, one of the largest athletic booster organizations in the Big 12, boasts nearly 7,000 members who contribute more than $5 million annually in donations, donor seating, and auctions proceeds.

Criterion Five Conclusion


  1. OSU's commitment to engagement and service is broad-based, involving many entities and a wide range of external constituents. When needs are not being met, changes in existing programs and services are implemented and/or new programs developed.
  2. Engagement involves open discussion between the university and those whom the university serves. Nearly every campus unit has one or more advisory boards composed of alumni, industry experts, and others from whom the unit seeks input.
  3. OSU creates and supports a culture of service. Through new programs, courses and services, the university continuously develops and enhances its capacity and commitment to respond to the diverse needs of its constituency.

Challenges: Actions for Going Forward

  1. Evaluate the social and economic impact of service to external constituencies, enhance the impact and efficiency of service and engagement activities, and assess service-oriented endeavors of students and student organizations through information feedback.
    ACTION:Develop and implement a more systematic approach to assessment for measuring and evaluating these activities.
  2. Identify collaborative relationships that match faculty expertise with changing and increasingly diverse needs of the community and external constituencies.
    ACTION:Develop additional strategies to recognize and track specific needs and utilize disciplinary approaches to effectively meet the diverse needs of OSU's constituencies.
  3. Engage undergraduates in opportunities to incorporate service-learning and civic leadership.
    ACTION:Incorporate to an even greater extent undergraduate student involvement in the university's service and engagement efforts and activities.


Criterion Five

Table of Contents

Criterion Five: Engagement and Service


Search accreditation.okstate.edu

Oklahoma State University - Stillwater | Stillwater, OK 74078 | 405.744.HLC2 (4522)
brenda.masters@okstate.edu | Copyright © 2005 | Oklahoma State University | All rights reserved

HLC Site Visit
Sept. 26-28, 2005