“[The McBride Honors Program] aspires to develop in engineers a better understanding of the world they live in, to give them a sense of what the real world they’re going to encounter is like,” said Dr. Ken Osgood, the newly named program director. Osgood was hired over the summer as part of the ongoing changes occurring in the McBride Honors Program and he intends to bring a fresh perspective and increased excellence to the program.
Osgood is a historian of US foreign policy, specializing in propaganda. He holds a doctorate in diplomatic history from the University of California Santa Barbara and has taught and researched at several institutions, most recently at Florida Atlantic University. In 2006 he published his book titled “Total Cold War: Eisenhower’s Secret Propaganda Battle at Home and Abroad,” discussing propaganda during the Eisenhower administration.
While at Florida Atlantic University, Osgood spent time organizing and supervising a history symposium, which led him to discover a passion for management and leadership. As Osgood said, it “gave me the taste for doing something a little different than most faculty members, and that is dabbling in administration and I learned there’s actually something really fun about having an idea and seeing it come to fruition.” This new, increased interest in leadership lead Osgood to apply for and eventually accept the McBride director position.
Osgood’s enthusiasm for implementing big ideas is reflected in his vision for the program. He said, “I have responsibility for the honors program at one of the best schools in the country. My attitude is that this honors program should be one of the best of its kind.” He wants McBride to be perceived by students, faculty, and the outside world as “a model of its kind” and to know that “innovative, exciting, rewarding things are taking place here.”
His first goal in re-energizing and improving the program is to decrease the number of students who leave the program during their stay at Mines. “That attrition rate, about fifty percent, is a marker that says that I need to do something here, because I want people to come into this program, love this program, and succeed in it.”
Osgood recognizes and welcomes the value of partnership with both former and current students. He explained that he has been extremely impressed by the amount of alumni correspondence already. “That tells me I actually have an awesome responsibility here. It’s kind of humbling, but it’s also energizing in the sense that I get a sense of the possibilities when I see how excited people are about what this program has been.” To invite input, Osgood has put a bulletin board by his office as a location for suggestions.