The University of Tulsa’s Collins College of Business announced the formation of the Center for Energy Studies during Wednesday’s Friends of Finance luncheon. Led by Eric Olson, associate professor of both finance and cyber studies, the center will offer an interdisciplinary study of public policy issues facing the energy industry.
In addition to the business school, faculty in the College Engineering & Natural Sciences (ENS), College of Law and Kendall College of Arts & Sciences will play key roles in the center. Collins College of Business Executive in Residence John Chandler, who served as chief financial officer at both Williams and Magellan Midstream Partners, led the design and formation of the center and will serve as a member of the center’s advisory board.
The center’s interdisciplinary lens expands on TU’s reputation as an international leader in petroleum engineering education. TU’s McDougall School of Petroleum Engineering offers research opportunities with 12 existing consortia and joint industry projects that are supported by some of the world’s top energy firms.
“TU has a unique opportunity to bring together our No. 3 ranked petroleum engineering program, our supportive energy community that spans companies and alumni globally and the academic freedom of our independent, liberal arts university that is committed to unbiased results,” Olson said.
The Center for Energy Studies will immediately address research in the study of issues such as local hydrogen hubs and carbon capture opportunities and the resulting economic impact; the structure needed for a carbon-credit market to efficiently incentivize innovation; and the impact that switching to high-cost energy sources may have on economic growth, income inequality and energy-generated poverty.
Beyond the important public policy analysis, the center will provide opportunities in the areas of education, outreach and student engagement. TU is perfectly positioned to provide executive education as well as training for new hires in the energy industry.
“Fostering collaborative efforts between our colleges has been a long-time goal of mine,” said ENS Dean James Sorem. “This center will facilitate cooperative work between the colleges bringing new approaches to opportunities in energy-related studies across campus.”
TU’s Collins College of Business offers a variety of undergraduate energy business courses as well as a master’s in energy business. These programs offer students a balanced perspective of the environmental impacts of energy, the economic significance of energy around the world, the geopolitical importance of energy, the uses and processing of traditional energy resources and the efforts currently underway to create new energy resources. Faculty such as Buford Pollet, the Genave King Rogers assistant professor of energy law and commerce, and former WPX executive Anne Grau, visiting assistant professor of practice in energy management, bridge the gap between classroom, research and practical application.
“The ability to meet the growing demand for global energy, and to do it in a cost-conscious and environmentally friendly manner, is one of this generation’s most important and ambitious goals,” said Kathy Taylor, dean of the Collins College of Business. “TU has already begun to develop the energy leaders of tomorrow who will meet this challenge head-on.”
According to the International Energy Agency as well as many analyst projections, traditional energy will be a meaningful part of the energy mix for decades to come. TU’s Center for Energy will partner with companies around the world to address the future of energy through the work of the faculty inspiring the next generation of energy leaders.
“Our strategic plan calls for The University of Tulsa to build upon our incredible strengths in fields such as energy and cyber to positively impact our community and our world,” said TU President Brad R. Carson. “The university has a storied history of excellence in combining STEM disciplines and liberal arts to prepare students to meet the needs of the world through visionary leadership.”