TU’s School of Energy Economics, Policy and Commerce was created on July 1, 2014, with Professor Tim Coburn as the director of the school.
Headed under the Collins College of Business, this school comes seven years after the creation of the first energy-focused business degree.
This school hopes to give students a background in energy business principles and ethics in business as well as an understanding of energy markets and economics from a global and systems perspective.
Coburn wants to prepare undergraduate students for “business development in the upstream oil and gas sector, land administration, and finance and accounting in energy companies.”
The school will prepare graduate students for managerial and supervisory positions within energy companies, with a particular focus on project management, engineering and finance.
The School of Energy Economics, Policy and Commerce will conduct research such as “examining ways to better estimate remaining oil and gas resources” and studying the “evolution of global energy markets and their relationship to commodity practices.”
The school will oversee TU’s energy-focused business degree, including the Master’s in Energy Business, which has added around 150 students since 2012. According to Coburn, enrollment in the undergraduate major of energy management is stable.
Growth at the undergraduate level, he hopes, will occur in the energy minor which “gives students the opportunity to add an energy focus to a degree program they are already pursuing,” Coburn said.
Because TU has a “rich energy heritage and is world-renowned for its energy programs in technical disciplines,” Coburn believes TU is a good place for such studies.
“Many graduates eventually find themselves looking to understand more about the business aspects of the companies they work for in an effort to advance their careers,” Coburn said.
Tulsa itself is home to many companies and organizations focused on oil and gas exploration, production, transportation and processing, giving TU an edge over similar programs in other states.
Coburn hopes the school can “address all of the business, policy, economic, market and related issues pertaining to the (oil and gas) industry.”
TU has never had a similar program, and Coburn said no other Oklahoman university programs “exist on the same level.”
The new school allows TU to compete with peer universities like SMU and the University of Houston.
These universities also have “business-oriented energy institutes that address the more holistic issues facing companies across the global economy,” according to Coburn.
“Energy is a huge, multi-faceted industry that extends beyond the specialized fields of petroleum engineering or geology,” Coburn said.