NORMAN — University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren today announced the renaming of the College of Liberal Studies to the College of Professional and Continuing Studies. This name change reflects the recent transition in the college, which now combines the academic and credit-related activities of University Outreach into a singular college unit. The new name aims to more appropriately represent the diverse group of lifelong learners within the college. The announcement was made at the June meeting of the OU Board of Regents.
“I appreciate the thoughtful consideration of this issue by the faculty and staff of the college,” Boren said. “The new name more accurately reflects the work of the college.”
The College of Professional and Continuing Studies is on the forefront of adult higher education, specializing in meeting the unique needs of adult learners and innovatively serving this population of students. The renaming of the college more effectively describes the focus, range and scope of its activities, while also reflecting on the naming associations commonly found in similar higher education programs. The term “professional” captures the predominant aspect of the college’s academic degree tracks, and the term “continuing studies” reflects its primary audience of working adults and nontraditional students.
The OU College of Liberal Studies was established in 1961 by OU professors and administrators who recognized the need for nontraditional students to continue their education while balancing work and family obligations. In a truly collaborative effort, faculty members from OU’s existing colleges developed the first interdisciplinary liberal studies degree program in the country.
For more than 50 years, the college has evolved to meet the academic and professional demands of its students and has become an internationally recognized leader in higher education for nontraditional and adult students. In 1998, the college introduced online courses, and in 2003, the college began offering OU’s first 100 percent online degree. Today, the college offers nine bachelor’s degrees, 12 master’s degrees, a doctorate degree in organizational leadership and certificate programs designed to accommodate students’ varied work schedules and lifestyles. Its programs are offered online through a highly interactive learning platform that connects exceptional faculty and curricula to students across the country and around the world, with some coursework also offered on-site in designated locations. The online programs extend and build upon the college’s founding purpose of preparing motivated students for leadership roles in today’s most critical fields.
The University of Oklahoma has been ranked among the top institutions in the nation, both public and private, for its online degree programs. U.S. News & World Report has recognized OU as No. 2 in the category of “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans,” which also includes programs for active duty soldiers. OU is ranked No. 3 in the overall category of “Best Online Bachelor’s Programs” and tied for No. 5 in the category of “Best Online Graduate Criminal Justice Programs.”
For more information about the College of Professional and Continuing Studies, visit cls.ou.edu.