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OU Appoints Interim Director of Polytechnic Institute

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October 24, 2022

OU Appoints Interim Director of Polytechnic Institute

Interim President James J. Sluss

TULSA, OKLA. – The University of Oklahoma has announced James J. Sluss Jr. will serve as the interim director of the OU Polytechnic Institute, pending OU Board of Regents’ approval. 

Sluss will continue to serve as interim president of OU-Tulsa as he takes on this additional role while a national search for the institute’s permanent director is underway. 

As interim director for the OU Polytechnic Institute, Sluss will lead the design of its academic programs, which will initially focus on six concentration areas: cybersecurity, data science, software engineering, advanced mobility, embedded systems and medical informatics; develop the hiring strategy for the institute’s first wave of faculty; engage with industry stakeholders on curriculum; and work with the OU Foundation to garner additional philanthropic support. 

“Jim Sluss’ leadership at OU-Tulsa has been instrumental at a time when we are aligning the university’s goals with the unique needs and opportunities of northeastern Oklahoma,” said OU President Joseph Harroz Jr. “His administrative experience and STEM background make him an obvious choice to help direct the launch of the OU Polytechnic Institute and ensure it is well-positioned to fuel Oklahoma’s economic prosperity.”

Prior to his current administrative roles, Sluss served as associate vice president for academic affairs and dean of the Tulsa Graduate College. He has held several positions of increasing responsibility within the OU system, notably serving as the systemwide director of the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering, leading the school through a period of historic growth. 

He is president emeritus of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Education Society, which recently honored him with its 2022 Distinguished Member Award for his long-term leadership, dedication and service. In 2015, he was awarded the International Engineering Educator Honoris Causa by the International Society for Engineering Education “for outstanding contributions in the field of engineering education.”

The OU Polytechnic Institute was approved earlier this year by the OU Board of Regents and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education. It will serve as a workforce solution to the increasing demand for credentialed workers in critical STEM fields, providing bachelor’s completion and graduate degree programs focused on innovation and advanced technology. The school’s curriculum will be developed with input from industry partners, quickly making the region a hub for growth and new jobs. 

Partners for the OU Polytechnic Institute include Tulsa Innovation Labs, OU’s Office of Innovation and Corporate Partnerships, the OU Ronnie K. Irani Center for the Creation of Economic Wealth and others, along with philanthropic partners such as the George Kaiser Family Foundation and Google.

For more on the OU Polytechnic Institute, click here.