University of Central Oklahoma’s President Don Betz began the school year with his Report to the Community 2013 as he shared the university’s mission, plans and current initiatives by outlining the strategic plan, Vision 2020, to strengthen the university’s capacities to meet the needs of the region.
Betz said since the founding as the Territorial Normal School of Oklahoma in 1890, Central has been passionate about learning, leading and serving, and about cultivating generations of ethical and engaged citizens and leaders.
“Education matters to the future of our families, communities and state,” Betz said. “We are and have been of this place for 125 years. This place matters.”
Vince Tinto, a speaker at UCO’s March Transformative Learning Conference, said, “You never help a student by expecting less than what they can do. No one rises to low expectations.”
The president, faculty and staff are offering transformative educational experiences so that students may be productive, creative, ethical and engaged citizens and leaders serving the global community.
“UCO contributes to the intellectual, cultural, economic and social advancement of the communities and individuals it serves,” Betz said.
The way students definitively learn is changing and that is being re-imagined to creative transformative learning and high impact learning opportunities for students of all ages, Betz said.
“We envision an Oklahoma comprised of an abundance of citizens with enhanced critical thinking, communication and collaboration capacities to imagine, create, innovate and solve problems. In this way, Oklahoma will prosper in this knowledge-driven global era.
“This report emphasizes our pathway to helping students learn and communications thrive.”
Vision 2020 has two key goals, and last year the initial phase of Vision 2020 was completed.
“The first is ensuring our students are competent within their disciplines with skills augmented through experiences in leadership, research, civic and international activities and personal health and wellness,” Betz said.
Secondly, UCO is committed to serving Oklahoma City’s seven-county region as the area’s metropolitan university.
“To accomplish this Central will continue to grow intentional partnerships with businesses, industry, government, nonprofits and educational institutions,” Betz added.
Oklahoma’s third largest higher education institution is an accredited, four-year public institution serving more than 17,000 students in Edmond.
Central’s commitment to excellence has been acknowledged by leading educational authorities including the U.S. News & World Report naming Central to its 2012 Best Colleges List. Forbes honored UCO as one of its best 650 undergraduate institutions. For the fourth time in five years, The Chronicles of Higher Education named UCO as one of the “2012 Great Colleges to Work For.”
The campus offers more than 200 student organizations offering internship opportunities and the enhanced entertainment and cultural opportunities of a metropolitan area.
“Central is deemed an investment for success, preparing future leaders in an opportunity-rich environment whose students find the tools they need to succeed,” Betz said.
Three new degree programs were created including new master’s degrees in Forensic Psychology, Public Administration and Nursing.