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OSU Graduate

The ideal graduate

Emanating from the character commitments that constitute Cowboy Culture is a set of personal attributes: the “competencies” we aspire to in the ideal Oklahoma State graduate. In addition to the excellence delivered through degree attainment, we envision that our students will achieve success through certain specific capabilities developed through their learning experience, allowing them to impact their communities as servant-leaders. Our graduates will exhibit an understanding of their role in positively impacting the lives of others and will graduate with knowledge, skills, values, and abilities that enrich their lives. OSU intends to elevate the cultivation of such competencies – many of which are currently encouraged and enabled through particular colleges, schools and programs – to a University- and system-level priority. 

Imperative 4

Oklahoma State University commits to creating graduates who exhibit the four competencies of

1) Professional Preparedness

2) Engaged Citizenship

3) Ethical Leadership

4) Personal Responsibility

Objective 1: Create a unique student competency portfolio.

To drive development of the four competencies into the educational process for all OSU students, irrespective of which college or school they experience, OSU will provide the platform for a student portfolio for every graduate: an official, cloud-based, multimedia product that will be conferred at graduation and that can accompany a student’s resume or CV as they commence their career. 


Self-directed and self-reported – but following a clear, technologically-enabled rubric – completion of the portfolio will indicate each student’s successful engagement with a series of University-sanctioned activities and experiences arrayed to develop the Ideal Graduate competencies. OSU views this tool as sufficiently important to the standardization of the student experience— and to the prospects it carries to help students as they enter their careers – that it will require it as a condition to apply for graduation.


The four competencies we seek in our graduates will help them deal with real-world challenges and apply their technical training within a context of the “why” behind their discipline. They encompass learning from within the classroom and through co-curricular programs and experiences, including (but not limited to):

  • internships within their fields of study; 
  • substantive volunteerism; 
  • undergraduate research experience; and
  • opportunities that “stretch” the student, including exposure to high-quality visual and performing arts and study abroad experiences

Through a broad-based series of on- and off-campus workshops — and with the guiding hand of a strategy Working Group focused specifically on the topic —  the four competencies were further defined as:


Professional preparedness

  • Works effectively as a member of a team
  • Solves problems through critical thinking
  • Communicates effectively in writing and verbally
  • Gets things done through a diligent work ethic

Engaged citizenship

  • Welcomes and includes individuals of all backgrounds, cultures and creeds
  • Respects and esteems the value of diversity in community
  • Exercises service to the community
  • Maintains respectful citizen qualities in the digital sphere

Ethical leadership

  • Makes decisions with integrity
  • Exercises empathy
  • Embraces accountability
  • Demonstrates moral courage

Personal responsibility

  • Exhibits tenacity, adaptability and persistence
  • Demonstrates financial literacy
  • Carries a commitment to continuous learning
  • Handles ambiguity with dexterity and creativity

The competencies are ordered with career readiness in mind – developed through conversation and dialogue with industry partners - advantaging our students in their search for jobs and graduate programs. The adaptability of these competencies will position our students for lasting success in their personal, public and professional lives. Ultimately, all OSU students will have a better understanding of how their degree helps them advance into a career, and the state, nation and world will understand what a degree from Oklahoma State University means. In short, we want an OSU graduate to enter the workplace with common sense that can be applied for the common good with uncommon commitment.

Imperative Progress Updates


  • The Ideal Graduate Portfolio will launch in fall of 2024. A platform has been selected and learning outcomes have been developed to guide students through curricular and co-curricular experiences that culminate in an Ideal Graduate that exhibits the four competencies.  
View all progress updates


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