OREGON INSTITUTE OF TECH (visited 7/17/13)
“We’re not semi-remote. We’re remote,” said one of the admissions reps. To bring the outside world here, they bring in speakers, offer a lot of intercollegiate athletics (they’re part of NAIA – and the current Miss Oregon is a volleyball player at OIT), have over 80 on-campus clubs and student groups (Monsters Bash and the campus-wide glow-in-the-dark capture-the-flag games are a couple of the favorite campus events), and they utilize the town (the theater is well-used) and the natural beauty around campus (they’re only an hour from Crater Lake National Park). The outdoors program is vibrant; trips are offered every weekend, and students enjoy getting outside. The 300 days of sunshine a year with hot summers and cold winters lets students enjoy a variety of activities. However, the location also allows students to concentrate on studies – and for the days when they see snow, the school has provided geothermally heated sidewalks to help students get to class safely and quickly.
The students here are “focused, they get a lot done, and they have fun.”OIT, the only Polytechnic University in the Pacific Northwest, gives students the training they need to go right to work after graduation. They get the theory for the application proposed, but then they apply it. One of the professors said that students “survive the lecture and learn in the lab.” “Embrace failure: do it, learn from it, get better. Expect to fail and expect to learn.”
One of the areas that they showed off to us when we toured campus was the Medical Imaging program. The can focus on a variety of specialties including vascular, ultrasound, nuclear-medical tech, ecocardiology, and radiology. Each of these areas will limit their numbers of admitted students because they don’t want to saturate the market and because they’re dedicated to getting the kids through the process, so realistically, students need a 3.3 to be competitive for entrance. OIT has an articulation agreement with many community colleges and 4-year schools in OR, CA, and WA which allows students can complete the Intro to Medical Imaging program (basically freshman year) at any of these places before entering OIT to do the last 3 years. The senior year is spent off campus at a full year externship. It can be anywhere in the US; students are placed by lottery. They can submit their names in to be placed at their preferred location and names are essentially drawn out of a hat. All students take the National Boards at the end resulting in about a 95% pass rate. Radiology has a 100% pass rate over 5 years. Students can sit for 2 National Registry exams.
The second area they showed to us was their Civil Engineering program. This department is comprehensive with lab space dedicated to geotech, traffic, pavement, mechanics, hydraulics, traffic, and more. I had never thought of traffic as falling under the umbrella of Civil Engineering, but of course that makes a lot of sense. The traffic lab that they took us into allows students to study traffic patterns, roads, traffic lights, light rail, and pedestrians. They can see models of the flow of traffic under all sorts of variables. All Engineering students complete a Freshmen Project Experience which gives them hands on work so they know where they’re headed. Engineering at OIT focuses on the practical rather than the theoretical. If a student wants the theoretical, they should look to a place like MIT rather than OIT. Applying the known is seen through the smaller lectures and intensive labs where the lecture professors are also the lab teachers. Students compete every year in both a Steel Bridge and a Concrete Canoe building/racing competition. The Civil Engineering program is in the process of starting a 5 year Masters program because, realistically, the students need the extra training to be nationally certified. Currently, the department is 15-20% female. The school as a whole is closer to 50-50 because of some other departments like dental hygiene which is more heavily female.
The high-tech industries come back again and again to hire OIT graduates because the students are ready to work from day one. The university has Industry Advisory Groups for almost every major which constantly assess what employers and grad schools want. Because of this, students often get job offers before they’ve even graduated, and they’re ranked 58th in the nation for starting salaries. The rigor also gets them into some of the best grad programs.
As long as applicants have the minimum GPA and the required high school coursework, they’re admissible to the university, but each department may set their own requirements since they might be more competitive than others. Applicants do have to submit test scores, but they’re used for placement and scholarships, not for admissions. Students coming from WUE states will get WUE tuition automatically except for students in dental hygiene or medical imaging technology.