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August 9, 2000

RSU Receives Accreditation as Four-Year University

Rogers State University is officially Oklahoma's newest four-year university.

RSU has received official accreditation as a four-year bachelor's degree-granting university by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (NCA).

The NCA Commission on Institutions of Higher Education recently announced its approval of RSU's accreditation as a four-year university. The NCA is the accrediting agency for colleges and universities in the north central region of the U.S.

The accreditation will allow RSU to offer bachelor's degrees beginning this fall. The fall semester begins on August 21.

"This is a major advancement in providing higher education opportunities to the residents of Oklahoma," said RSU President Dr. Joe Wiley. "For too many years, the residents of Tulsa and Northeast Oklahoma have had too few options for public higher education. Today marks the beginning of a new four-year university serving Claremore, Tulsa and all of Northeast Oklahoma."

The transition of RSU to a regional, four-year university is part of the Oklahoma Legislature's plan to expand higher education offerings in Northeast Oklahoma, and part of an initiative by the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education to increase the number of Oklahoma residents who hold bachelor's degrees.

"RSU's accreditation as a baccalaureate degree-granting institution is a milestone in the state's efforts to create a highly educated citizenry and growing high-technology economy," said Hans Brisch, Chancellor of Higher Education for the State of Oklahoma.

This fall, RSU will offer four new bachelor's degrees in Business Information Technology, Applied Technology, Liberal Arts, and Social Science. RSU decided to offer these four degrees based on the needs of prospective students as well as business and industry in Tulsa and Northeast Oklahoma, and plans to add more bachelor's degrees in the coming years, Wiley said. In developing the new degree programs, RSU avoided duplicating programs at other institutions in the state, he added.

"RSU is now the only public university in the Tulsa metropolitan area offering four-year bachelor's degrees in a seamless manner," said Sen. Stratton Taylor, President Pro Tem of the Oklahoma Senate. "For the first time, Tulsa-area students can earn a bachelor's degree without having to transfer from one institution to another."

In addition, RSU will be the first public university in Oklahoma to offer bachelor's degrees entirely via the Internet. This fall, RSU will offer three of its new bachelor's degrees entirely online, including Business Information Technology, Applied Technology, and Liberal Arts.

"For the first time in Oklahoma, students may earn their bachelor's degrees entirely online from a public institution," Wiley said. "This establishes RSU as the leader in distance education in the state and a national pioneer in online learning."

RSU also was the first public institution in Oklahoma to offer two-year associate's degrees entirely via the Internet. Students from across Oklahoma and around the nation are enrolled in courses through the RSU Online program. RSU offers four two-year degrees entirely online, including Business Administration, Computer Science, Liberal Arts, and Applied Technology.

RSU's four-year accreditation marks the first time that a public two-year institution has made the transition to a four-year university in Oklahoma since 1973 when Cameron University in Lawton made a similar transition. Both RSU and Cameron are governed by the University of Oklahoma Board of Regents.

"This is a major step toward increasing the number of Oklahomans who hold bachelor's degrees," said C.S. Lewis III, Chairman of the OU Board of Regents. "We are proud of the university's accomplishments as a two-year institution, and are looking forward to a bright future for RSU as a four-year university."

RSU's mission was expanded to offer baccalaureate degree programs by the Oklahoma Legislature during its session in 1998.

RSU will continue to offer two-year associate's degrees in a wide variety of disciplines, Wiley said.

"In addition to our role as a new four-year university, we will remain committed to our two-year mission by continuing to offer high-quality associate's degree programs," Wiley said.

RSU offers associate of arts, associate of science, and associate of applied science degrees in areas such as Art, Business, Broadcasting, Computer Science, Criminal Justice, Education, Nursing, Paramedic Technology, Police Science, and Liberal Arts, among others.

RSU's bachelor's and associate's degree programs are offered through its three new schools: the School of Liberal Arts, the School of Business and Technology, and the School of Mathematics, Science, and Health Sciences.

RSU anticipates enrollment growth during the next several years as it offers new bachelor's degree programs and expands on-campus housing opportunities for students, Wiley added. This year, the university plans to build a new student residence complex and a new classroom building on its main campus in Claremore. In addition, RSU plans to expand the educational facilities and programs at its branch campuses in Bartlesville and Pryor.

Over the past year, RSU has hired 27 faculty members with doctoral degrees and has reduced the number of part-time instructors as part of the transition to a four-year institution. Several key administrative and staff positions have either been added or reconfigured to aid in the transition.

In addition, the university has substantially increased its library holdings to meet the demands of the new four-year programs.

RSU will continue to contract with the University of Oklahoma and Northeastern State University to offer other bachelor's and master's degrees on its campuses.

RSU also offers classes via compressed video at its branch campuses, and offers telecourses to students across the state on RSU-TV, its public television station.

RSU is the only university in Oklahoma to operate a full-power television station, which can be seen on cable systems across the state, including Channel 12 on Cox Cable in Tulsa and Claremore.

For more information on RSU's academic programs, or to enroll in classes, call (918) 343-7777 or 1-800-256-7511, or visit www.rsu.edu.