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Oklahoma State University

America’s Brightest Educators

Josh Encina's Class


Download this Advocacy Brochure (PDF)

Oklahoma State University: As Oklahoma’s land-grant university, we want to do everything we can to attract, prepare, support and retain excellent educators for Oklahoma schools. We believe outstanding educators are the backbone of our society. Educators inspire and invest in our children and set the foundation for our children’s futures and for the social and economic growth of Oklahoma.


This is a challenging time for education. Oklahoma is in the midst of a significant teacher shortage, and is facing a shrinking budget. Superintendents and principals have been forced to eliminate course offerings, increase class sizes and hire underprepared and unqualified teachers.

  • The State Department of Education has issued more than 2,000 emergency certificates during the 2015-2016 and 2016-2017 school years. In addition, over 2,000 additional teaching positions have been eliminated over the last two years according to a survey of districts by the Oklahoma State School Board Association (OSSBA).

  • Oklahoma's public school enrollment continues to grow. Class sizes have increased and many course offerings that would afford better opportunity for children to be college and career ready have been eliminated.

  • University educator preparation programs across the country are experiencing a drop in enrollment. We hear from prospective students and their families who cite the low salary and overregulation as deterrents to pursuing a teaching career.

  • Many new graduates of Oklahoma university teacher preparation programs are accepting employment in neighboring states that offer starting salaries $5,000 to $15,000 higher than Oklahoma. The salary gap widens as years of experience build, and many veteran teachers are leaving Oklahoma classrooms for jobs in other states.


OSU is stepping forward with new programs and innovative opportunities, forming alliances with university programs, schools and the communities.

  • OSU recently introduced Oklahoma's first Master of Arts in Teaching program, designed for individuals with a bachelor's degree who would like to transition to a teaching career and pursue graduate work.

  • OSU offers an intensive Special Education cohort for career changers, quickly producing more well-prepared educators in this high-need area.

  • OSU collaborates with Stillwater Public Schools on the ExCEL (Excellence in Collaborative and Experiential Learning) Program, in which elementary education majors participate in year-long internships inside the classrooms of outstanding mentor educators with support from university faculty.

  • OSU partners with  Tulsa Public Schools to prepare teacher education students for urban classrooms.

  • OSU is home to OSUTeach, a program to attract and prepare bright mathematics and science students for careers in those high-need secondary teaching areas.


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  • Society's response to these challenges by providing “quick fix” pathways to teaching has been well-meaning but has produced unintended consequences. Lacking the rigorous university preparation and significant practical experience our professional education programs provide, these teachers with limited preparation leave the profession quickly.

  • Oklahoma's children deserve an exceptionally well-prepared teacher every year in every class. Ultimately, our state’s overall economic and social well-being suffers when our state neglects to recruit and retain fully qualified educators. OSU is stepping forward with new programs and innovative opportunities, forming alliances with university programs, schools and the communities.

We are working with excitement and energy to meet the challenge head on. We are committed to innovation and creativity and to forming partnerships that solve the challenges our schools face. Our programs rapidly adapt to the needs of society, schools and children.


Oklahoma State University’s Professional Education Unit (PEU) prepares and develops educators who facilitate life-long learning and enrich quality of life for people in public schools and other educational settings. The PEU is housed in the College of Education, Health and Aviation and includes educator preparation programs in the College of Arts and Sciences, the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources and the College of Human Sciences. 

Oklahoma State University has the largest professional education program in Oklahoma, and our education graduates are highly sought after by school leaders and hiring officials in Oklahoma and other states who recognize the high quality of OSU graduates.

OSU teacher candidates:

  • Have extensive and relevant practical experience along with pedagogical and subject area knowledge.

  • Understand how to manage a classroom and thrive in high-need settings.

  • Have worked hard and are exceptionally well-prepared for careers in education. Our teacher candidates perform an average of 136 hands-on clinical hours in urban, rural, and suburban partner schools before they begin full-time internships, which average 15 weeks.

  • OSU Professional Education faculty are accomplished teachers and researchers who previously worked as PK12 educators and continue to spend time in public schools every semester. Our faculty not only keep pace with best practices in education, they lead the way with research.