The third stop on our Independent Colleges of Indiana (ICI) tour was tiny Oakland City University in Oakland City, Indiana. Located just north of Evansville, OCU has set their sights on becoming a leading faith-based institution of higher education in the U.S. and are doing so while still being the least expensive of the four-year ICI member schools.
From a curricular standpoint, OCU has a strong mix of liberal arts and professional programs, with many recently having received new accreditations – including the business program, teacher education, the principal program, physical education, religion, and health sciences. The university is also starting a new forensic science minor that will tie in with either the biology or criminal justice programs. Music and art tie together nicely for students with interests in the worship arts and the school also has a proud athletic tradition and plays in Division II despite its small size. (They also boast the highest four-year graduation rate of all Division II schools in the nation!)
The largest program on campus – and truly, the heart of what OCU is known for – is the education program and it’s clear that the faculty members at the university lead by example. Since not a single instructor is tenured (the way many of the large colleges and universities structure their faculty), it’s notable that faculty members stay at OCU anyway because they are fulfilled in their jobs and are measured by the strength of their teaching, not by publications or research. For students who graduate from the OCU education program, then, the “lead by example” mindset has produced over 30 percent of the teachers and administrators currently working in the state of Indiana!
The campus is compact and quaint. The buildings aren’t flashy in the way that they are on some campuses, but everything is well-maintained and gives a cozy feel – a feeling that everyone must share because even OCU’s presidential residence is located on the main campus within close proximity to academic buildings and the student residence halls!
For equestrians, OCU doesn’t field any equestrian teams or host an on-campus club, but the area is rural and affords ample horse boarding opportunities for those who would bring their equine companions to college with them. The location is also midway between St. Louis and Louisville, both of which host several large equestrian events each year.
Could Oakland City University be that right-fit school for you? Contact me and we’ll find out!