MSE defeated by narrow margin
Monday, January 28, 2008
By Alison Roberts
Oklahoma Christian University students returned to campus to begin the
spring semester with an uncertainty regarding their post-graduate
The students, members of the university’s School of Engineering, were
forced to reconsider the university at which they would pursue their
Masters of Science in Engineering after a proposal to implement such a
degree at Oklahoma Christian was defeated in November.
“I originally planned to pursue my Masters Degree here,” senior Steven Swanson said.
After the proposal failed, Swanson said he will postpone his
graduate plans and seek out a job in the Oklahoma City area and earn
his Masters Degree at a later time.
Senior Marshall Warren said he looked forward to completing his MSE
at Oklahoma Christian because of the Christ-centered environment he has
enjoyed throughout his undergraduate education.
“I wanted to keep my funding going through Oklahoma Christian to
support Christian education,” Warren said. “I will probably have to go
to a local university instead.”
The MSE proposal began as an idea when Robert Mitchell joined the
university as the Associate Dean of the College of Professional
He said the addition of the graduate program would complete an already strong degree program.
“Every other university I had been with offered graduate programs in
engineering,” Mitchell said. “The MSE has become the professional
degree in engineering.”
To keep up with the ever changing nature of technology,
undergraduate engineering programs nation-wide and at Oklahoma
Christian required a five-year commitment of students according to
The importance of graduate level programs has risen in an attempt to reduce time required to complete an undergraduate degree.
Mitchell presented the proposal to the Graduate Council, a campus
organization comprised of graduate faculty members and representatives
from each of the undergraduate colleges.
“The graduate council considered the program from an academic
standpoint and passed it on to the full faculty for a vote,” Vice
President for Academic Affairs Allison Garrett said.
Before the November vote, the faculty was given three opportunities
to familiarize themselves with the proposed program according to
Formal presentations were made at faculty meetings in September and
November. An informal question-and-answer session was held in October.
“Information was posted online and links were circulated so that faculty could read the lengthy proposal,” Garrett said.
The vote was conducted between Nov. 28 and Nov. 30 via a confidential
Blackboard survey. Of the 101 eligible faculty members, 90 participated
in the voting process. The proposal was overturned by a narrow margin
of 48 against the proposal and 42 in support of the proposal.
“There are a few faculty members who think that if we don’t offer
the new program, we can reduce the costs in Engineering by cutting
faculty,” Mitchell said. “In my opinion, a good way to improve our
university is to offer the new program that leads to a better
reputation, a better school, to more students and to more resources for
Mitchell said the program would simply be a more efficient use of existing resources.
“Courses would be taken from the Bachelor of Science degree and moved
to the MSE,” Mitchell said. “We have the faculty to teach the program
and many unfilled classes.”
Crossover classes for undergraduate seniors and MSE students would
also be an option in order to fill empty seats in pre-existing courses.
Surveys of current students and alumni indicated that interest in the
program would provide a base from which the first classes would be
“Thirty-three students signed a petition stating that they would
seriously consider attending the program full time,” Mitchell said. “An
internet survey indicated that 150 alumni showed an interest in either
part-time or full-time involvement in a MSE program offered by Oklahoma
Despite the defeat, Mitchell said he will continue to pursue the implementation of his proposal.
“It is my top priority,” Mitchell said. “I’m going to encourage the faculty to help.”
Even though they may not benefit from the implementation of the MSE
program, students say they are eager to see the proposal accepted by
“I still think the program is a good idea for future graduates,”
Swanson said. “I think that once the faculty has had adequate time to
gain a thorough understanding of the proposal, the majority will vote
for its acceptance.”