Founded in 1865 with the backing of the Baptist Church, Ottawa University in Ottawa, Kansas came to life due to a meeting with Baptists and Ottawa Indians. The Ottawas donated land for the school and were promised free education (to this day, they pay no tuition), thus establishing the first (and still main) campus for OU. From a single building, OU has grown to educate over 9000 students annually through several diversely located campuses and fantastic distance learning options.
Primarily a four year college, Ottawa offers Bachelor of Arts programs in 30 or so majors across 3 schools (Arts&Sciences, Business, and Education). There are also graduate programs, with four Master’s degree options (all of which are available online), as well as certifications and a Teacher Certification program at its Kansas and Arizona campuses designed to certify licenses teachers to educate in those states.
One of the glowing points of OU is their dedication to adult learning, a program that began in 1974 resulting in a campus expansion to reach working adults in nearby Kansas City, but then went on to create satellites in Arizona, Wisconsin, Indiana. Called “the New Plan for Education” when it began, OU has since been lauded with praised for its adult learning programs, offering evening and weekend classes at every location (though degree options are different at each), with a dedication to consistently enhance and grow.
In conjunction with their adult degree programs, OU is developing what it describes as a “burgeoning” online program, but it is actually relatively established and offers many options for not just Bachelor degree seekers, but Master’s and certificates to students of all ages regardless of work life. There are 16 different baccalaureate level online degrees offered at the school, all fully accredited and ranging from Accounting to Psychology. There is even an Individualized major that allows students to create Bachelor tracts with faculty, incorporating general education requirements and pulling courses from other majors to create a unique tract of learning (e.g. Christian Learning, Finance, Marketing Management). Master’s programs are also offered in four areas, with a Master of Arts online in Education, Professional Counseling, or Human Resources and a Master of Business Administration. Online programs run in 8-week sessions, with six total terms per year.
As some Bachelor programs online require some prior credit to work with (some require an Associate’s degree or equal credit), there are some certifications available for those who don’t have the prior education to pursue a four year degree online. For those already working in their field, OU has very generous guidelines for awarding credit for “a variety of learning experiences” ranging from skills acquired from work or the military to prior college. All courses are delivered through Blackboard and are available to adult learners and traditional students as well (there’s even a sample online class to orient first time distance learners to the course delivery system). Ottawa University provides library services, textbook purchasing, newsletters, and financial services to name a few of the many online tools for students.
Still maintaining their Baptist roots through the years, OU strives to create an all inclusive university offering a service and religious backed liberal arts education to as many students as can be brought in. Looking to integrate “faith and grace” with “learning and life”, Ottawa University stands committed to delivering their high academic standards to all, creating the leaders and world changers of tomorrow.