Oakland University is a doctoral research public university of more than 20,500 students that offers a diverse set of academic programs, from baccalaureate to doctoral levels. In all its activities, Oakland University strives to exemplify educational leadership. Anchored by a strong liberal arts program, the university is organized into the College of Arts and Sciences; schools of Business Administration, Education and Human Services, Engineering and Computer Science, Health Sciences and Nursing; The Honors College; and the Oakland University William Beaumont School of Medicine. All academic programs of the university are accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
The university’s full-time faculty, which numbers more than 550, has a distinguished record of research and scholarship. Faculty members have won some of the most prestigious awards made by government agencies and private foundations. Federal funding support for academic, student and university projects totals $18 million. The Fastening and Joining Research Institute, a collaboration between Oakland University, the U.S. Congress and the National Science Foundation, is the only facility of its kind in the world. Researchers explore fundamental and applied research to develop and disseminate new technology for the fastening and joining of metals, composites and polymers. Other noted research centers include the Center for Robotics and Advanced Automation, the Pawley Learning Institute and the Eye Research Institute, among others. The university takes pride in the many scholarly books and articles written by its faculty and in their contributions to pedagogy and the creative arts. Wherever possible, students are involved in research projects, and the results of research and scholarship are integrated into related courses of instruction.
Resources available to support the scholarly activities of students and faculty include both library and computing facilities. The central university library is the Kresge Library, which has additional specialized collections and services in performing arts and education. Computing resources include a distributed environment on a variety of operating system platforms, connected across campus by a high-speed fiber-optic network.
Complementing its academic programs, Oakland University collaborates actively with business and industry to foster economic development in Southeast Michigan and provide internships and research opportunities for students and faculty. The university provides major public service offerings with emphasis on the professional performing arts. Meadow Brook Hall, former home of the university’s benefactors, now serves as a conference and cultural center. Oakland University Art Gallery houses the university’s permanent collection of African art and presents a variety of special exhibits annually. Meadow Brook Theatre, a professional theatre, is located in Wilson Hall. Meadow Brook Music Festival brings a summer program of world-class entertainment to campus.
Oakland was created in 1957 when the late Alfred G. and Matilda R. Wilson donated their 1,500-acre estate and $2 million to Michigan State University to begin a new college in Oakland County. Named Michigan State University-Oakland, the new campus enrolled its first students in 1959. In 1963, its name was changed to Oakland University, and in 1970, the Michigan Legislature recognized the maturity and stature of the university by granting it autonomy. The governor appointed Oakland University’s first Board of Trustees in 1970.
From its beginning, the university has emphasized academic quality, concentrating on providing a dynamic, student-focused learning environment with integration of liberal and professional studies by a faculty of dedicated scholar-teachers.
Located in suburban Oakland County, Michigan, Oakland University is easily accessible to millions of Detroit metropolitan area residents. The natural beauty of the campus, much of it still wooded and undeveloped, is enhanced by comprehensive recreational facilities and modern buildings that house the university’s many academic and public service programs as well as more than 2,000 residential students. Adjacent to the campus is the Oakland Technology Park, a research park where private-sector companies work hand-in-hand with higher education. Student research and internship opportunities are also enhanced by the proximity of many Fortune 500 companies. The OU INCubator manages and operates the SmartZone Business incubation program, creating jobs, stimulating the economy, and playing an integral role in technology transfers and commercialization, leading to a better future for the state of Michigan.
The opening of the $62 million Human Health Building kicked off a number of transformative projects designed to improve the Oakland University college experience. In fall 2014, a new 127,000-square-foot, world-class engineering center was opened along with numerous student-centered construction projects, including a 1,240-space parking structure, a new outdoor recreation and athletic complex, a nearly $30 million student housing complex and a new headquarters for facility and grounds maintenance operations. Additionally, the university is constructing the 151-foot Elliott Carillon Tower, donated by longtime supporters Hugh and Nancy Elliott. The tower is designed to be a rallying point for student activities and will create a stunning visual centerpiece for Oakland’s campus.
The following role and mission statement for the university was adopted by the Oakland University Board of Trustees on July 21, 1982. It emphasizes four essential ingredients for the direction of the university: excellent and relevant instruction; high-quality basic and applied research and scholarship; responsive and effective public and community service; and a comprehensive schedule of student development activities.
As a state-supported institution of higher education, Oakland University has a three-fold mission. It offers instructional programs of high quality that lead to degrees at the baccalaureate, master’s and doctoral levels, as well as programs in continuing education; it advances knowledge and promotes the arts through research, scholarship and creative activity; and it renders significant public service. In all its activities, the university strives to exemplify educational leadership.
Oakland University provides rigorous educational programs. A strong core of liberal arts is the basis on which undergraduates develop the skills, knowledge and attitudes essential for successful living and active, concerned citizenship. A variety of majors and specialized curricula prepare students for post-baccalaureate education, professional schools or careers directly after graduation. Each program provides a variety of courses and curricular experiences to ensure an enriched life along with superior career preparation or enhancement.
The university offers master’s programs that meet demonstrable needs of Michigan residents and maintain excellence. Innovative doctoral programs serve needs that are not adequately met elsewhere in the state.
Offerings in continuing education provide Michigan residents with high-quality coursework for professional development and personal enrichment.
Oakland University is selective in its admission standards and seeks both traditional and nontraditional students, ensuring equal opportunity to all who can profit from its offerings. While serving principally Michigan residents, it welcomes qualified applicants from other states and countries. A special effort is made to locate and admit disadvantaged students with strong potential for academic success and to provide the support conducive to the realization of that potential. The faculty and staff cooperate with nearby community colleges to ensure that their students who seek to transfer to Oakland University are well prepared for work at a senior college. In recruiting and admitting students, enrollments are not permitted to exceed numbers consistent with preserving the high quality of instruction.
The university strives to remain current and relevant through an adequate program of continuing faculty development and the exploration of innovative schedules, methods and curricular design in keeping with the various needs of its diverse students, many of whom commute, work or are older than the traditional college-age student.
Oakland University offers, and will continue to offer, only those programs for which adequate resources and well-prepared faculty are available and for which a demonstrable need is expressed through the attraction of qualified students.
Oakland University assumes an obligation to advance knowledge through the research and scholarship of its faculty and students. The university’s research and scholarship mission takes expression in a variety of forms ranging from basic studies on the nature of things to applied research directed at particular problems to contributions to literature and the arts. Within its means, the university provides internal financial support for research and scholarship. Simultaneously, it pursues with vigor external sources of support. Research institutes, financed primarily by outside grants, make an important contribution to this mission.
In addition to their intrinsic value, research and scholarship reinforce the instructional mission of the university. Wherever possible, students are involved in research projects, and the results of research and scholarship are integrated into related courses of instruction.
In carrying out its research and scholarship mission the university seeks especially to be responsive to the needs of Michigan, particularly of the populous southeastern sector. Application of research and scholarship to problems and concerns of the state’s business and industry and to its scientific, educational, governmental and health and human service agencies serves also to reinforce the public service role of the university.
Oakland University serves its constituents through a philosophy and program of public service that is consistent with its instructional and research missions. It cooperates with businesses, governmental units, community groups and other organizations on research, technical development and problem-solving enterprises in an attempt to apply the expertise of the university to the issues of society in general or the region in particular so as to further enhance the quality of life in the service areas of the university. It attempts to maintain the degree of flexibility necessary to respond to rapidly changing needs with innovative instruction, research and other services. It makes its facilities available for a multitude of activities of agencies and community groups whose purposes are compatible with the mission of the university. It provides access to its programs and campus, insofar as is consistent with the role and scope of the institution, for the recreational and physical enrichment of area citizens. Cultural enrichment is provided for the community through the Meadow Brook enterprises, on- and off-campus presentations by faculty and students and other campus events. The university aims to provide a model of socially responsible decision-making and ethical institutional behavior, recognizing that institutional strength derives from an effective interaction with the institution’s diverse external environs.
In direct support of its academic mission, Oakland University provides basic services and experiences that integrate cognitive learning with the personal growth of the individual student in the emotional, social, physical, cultural, ethical and interpersonal domains. In so doing, the university seeks to facilitate the development of those personal skills that will contribute to informed decision making and productive citizenship. This objective is accomplished through a variety of student enterprises, including campus organizations, athletics and other sponsored activities and events.
Key to its achievement is the provision of a governance system in which students play a meaningful role in the institutional decision-making processes.
The university takes particular cognizance of its considerable enrollment of older and nontraditional students and provides advising, counseling and other services of special value to such students in effecting career changes and developing additional personal competencies. Through the maintenance of complementary academic and extracurricular environments, Oakland University assists students in the realization that life is a continuum of growth, change and adaptation and provides them with the skills essential to the achievement of their fullest potential.