Rose State College and the University of Oklahoma have been awarded an $800,000 Advanced Technological Education grant from the National Science Foundation for the development of Unmanned Aerial Systems curriculum. Through this collaboration, the two institutions will work to develop an experiential learning based educational program at Rose State College that will train future workforce employees in the design, maintenance and use of UAS, more commonly known as “drones.”
“This is a very exciting and important initiative for Oklahoma,” noted Kelvin K. Droegemeier, Secretary of Science and Technology and Vice President for Research for the OU Norman campus. “Unmanned systems represent a key strategic area for economic development in Oklahoma, in both the civilian and military sectors, and ensuring the ready availability of a skilled workforce is critical to our competitiveness in this rapidly evolving industry.”
While traditionally associated with military operations, the versatility of UAS platforms has drawn the attention of private industry, with many companies investing considerable resources into the research and development of practical business applications. The state of Oklahoma is a leader in this trend, as companies in agriculture, energy generation, and oil and natural gas utilize drones to improve service quality and reduce operational costs. Due to the increase in these applications, the demand for individuals able to design, maintain and safely operate a drone is growing. “We’ve just begun to scratch the surface,” said Steven Fowler, professor of engineering at Rose State College. “For now, our goal is to take real-life UAS applications and bring those into the classroom.”
It is estimated that there are only 80,000 operators involved globally in UAS design, production, operation and management. The collaboration between Rose State College and OU will provide the State of Oklahoma with access to qualified personnel and cutting-edge technology.
About Rose State College
Rose State College is a two-year community college in Midwest City, Oklahoma. Founded in 1970 to serve the students of the Midwest City and Del City, Rose State welcomes more than 13,000 students each year from across the State of Oklahoma. Rose State offers more than 60 different degree programs, class sizes with a 20:1 student-to-faculty ratio, on-campus student housing, and among the lowest cost of tuition in the State of Oklahoma.
About the University of Oklahoma
Created by the Oklahoma Territorial Legislature in 1890, OU is a doctoral degree-granting research university serving the educational, cultural, economic and health-care needs of the state, region and nation. OU has conducted flight training at the OU owned and operated Max Westheimer Airport for the last 75 years. The aviation program provides education for aviation professionals for careers in all aspects of aviation professions. The Norman campus serves as home to all of the university’s academic programs except health-related fields. The OU Health Sciences Center, which is located in Oklahoma City, is one of the most comprehensive academic health centers in the nation with seven professional colleges. Both the Norman and Health Sciences Center colleges offer programs at the Schusterman Center, the site of OU-Tulsa. OU enrolls more than 30,000 students, has more than 2,800 full-time faculty members, and has 21 colleges offering 171 majors at the baccalaureate level, 152 majors at the master’s level, 79 majors at the doctoral level, 32 majors at the doctoral professional level and 35 graduate certificates.