Oklahoma State University Executive Serving as Interim President at OSUIT
(Okmulgee) – When Dr. David Bosserman first visited the campus of Oklahoma State University Institute of Technology (OSUIT) in 1990, he recognized that OSUIT has a unique and valuable place with the land-grant mission. “OSUIT more closely meets the land-grant charge of providing education to middle class families,” says Bosserman. “We open our doors wide for people who may be the first in their family to get a college education or need a college degree to get a job and become a productive member of the workforce.”
Bosserman, Oklahoma State University’s former vice president of administration and finance, plans to retire at the end of the current fiscal year in June 2011. Before then, he has one more assignment – to serve as the interim president of OSUIT until a replacement can be found for outgoing president, Dr. Bob Klabenes.
“I came from a middle class family and was a first generation college attendee needing an education,” said Bosserman. “I went to college out of high school, but after two years I didn’t have a clue about what I wanted to do. So, I went into the U.S. Army. It took nine years to get my bachelor’s degree – a lot of night school involved.”
“Then, things just fell into place. I earned a master’s degree at Kansas State in computer science and a doctorate in higher education administration at the University of Idaho. Getting that second chance and having access to an education is the real key to success for many people, and that’s what an institution such as OSUIT offers.”
Bosserman calls his third career, the second at the University of Idaho as associate controller and the first the U.S. Army, where he rose from private to a much decorated Lieutenant Colonel in the U.S. Army Field Artillery. He recalls living in the same type of wooden barracks that were OSUIT’s first classrooms.
“When I look at old photos of how it all started – converting a post-World War II U.S. Army hospital and acres of pine billets into an educational facility, I recognize what an excellent job Dr. Klabenes has done in getting this school to the shape it’s in today. The college campus looks great. The new Allied Health Sciences Center is first class – inside and out. The university’s grounds are beautiful, the buildings are modern; it’s an amazing transformation!”
Technical colleges such as OSUIT have a significant role to play in speeding economic recovery and reducing unemployment, says Bosserman. “Many of the currently unemployed may have worked at a high level of technology before they were laid off. But, once they’re out of the flow, the business world moves on to new technologies. So, workers need up-to-date marketable technical skills to help them become re-employed. We are here and uniquely qualified to provide the education they will need.”
“For example, look at our off-site campus in Pryor at the Mid-America Industrial Park – they do exactly that. When one of the industries at needed some new robotic technology, OSUIT was able to upgrade their existing workforce. The industry didn’t lose employees; they re-trained them with the help of OSUIT.”
Bosserman hopes to be a positive influence while he’s at OSUIT. “I’m excited to be here. I think I will learn a lot and I hope I can contribute much to the campus. I do keep in mind the old expression, ‘If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.’”
“Still, there are always things we can do better. We can start by getting rid of paper as much as possible. We will be looking at ways we can improve our commitment to a paperless environment. Achieving these efficiencies will help us live up to our name as a technical institute. That’s also how we sell ourselves to the people of Oklahoma to get them to send their children here.”
The search for a new president of OSUIT is moving ahead, but Bosserman said it is a difficult position to fill. “This is a unique institution – we’re one of only a few that does what we do. We offer technological programs taught in an applications-based, hands-on learning environment. We need someone who really understands how that works and who can be aggressive in getting high level industry involvement both in existing programs and emerging employment opportunities.”
While he’s at OSUIT, Bosserman hopes to advance technology usage in the nursing program with a proposal for outfitting students and faculty with iPads. He was a member of the team at Oklahoma State established by President Burns Hargis to implement a similar initiative at Stillwater, where three journalism sections and two college of business sections were supplied with the new technology devices. Use of these devices improved grades overall while cutting traditional learning time in half. Based on initial feedback, the pilot program was a huge success.
“I’d like to get an iPad-Nursing project firmed up for the fall semester and have asked Jana Martin, Division Chair Nursing and Allied Health Sciences, to provide me a proposal,” says Bosserman. “Nurses in hospitals are already using advanced technology – they carry around data gathering devices to record and access patient status. We’ve got to be training our students to work in that world. To do that we have to be ahead in the technology fields we are teaching – I will never be satisfied to be ‘equal to’ – we must be ahead in the preparation of our students.”