While many college graduates struggle to find meaningful work with their degrees, Capitol Tech provides a launch pad to a better life. It’s because the university is laser-focused on STEM careers and gives students the hands-on, real-world experience they need to enter today’s tech job market.
It becomes possible with the vision of its President, Dr. Bradford Sims, who is a highly accomplished and dedicated leader with a strong background in both technology and education. His journey from studying building construction management to earning a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction and eventually becoming the university’s 8th president inspires many.
Technology-obsessed Dr. Bradford Sims was introduced to the world of computer programming at a young age when he received the Commodore 64 as a birthday gift. After going on to study and receive a bachelor’s degree in building construction management from Purdue University, Dr. Sims spent a period of time working in project management for industrial construction companies.
His technological knowledge afforded him the opportunity to not only oversee projects but also to be involved in managing the computer systems at each company he worked for. Later, Dr. Sims returned to school to obtain a Master of Science in Building Construction from the University of Florida, followed by a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction from Purdue.
These studies fostered his interest in academia and led him to his first position in the higher education industry as an assistant professor at the University of Florida. In the years following, Dr. Sims worked a variety of positions in higher education before arriving at Capitol to be appointed the university’s 8th president in 2017. Since becoming president, Dr. Sims has worked to blend his expertise in the areas of both construction and technology by launching the prestigious Critical Infrastructure program of study.
Pioneer in Technological Education
Capitol Technology University was founded in Washington, D.C., as the Capitol Radio Engineering Institute (CREI) in 1927 by Navy veteran Eugene H. Rietzke. In its early days, Capitol served to educate radio and electronics technicians and later expanded to offer other areas of study related to engineering and technology as its popularity rose. As the school evolved, it underwent several name and location changes before moving to Laurel, MD.
With the help of its strong leadership, Capitol Tech has grown to become an MHEC-accredited, globally recognized academic community that offers degrees at both undergraduate and graduate levels. Today, it offers programs in subject areas such as Cybersecurity, Engineering, Aviation, Cyberpsychology, AI and Data Science, Technology Management, Occupational Safety and Health, etc.
Staying Abreast of Current Industry
Dr. Sims collaborates with numerous industry leaders in order to secure partnerships and ongoing relationships that benefit both the university and the partnering organization.
Capitol Tech has partnerships with organizations such as the NSA, D.O.D., NASA, the US Space Command, and many others that help keep the school’s offerings abreast of current industry and educational trends. Additionally, Dr. Sims also regularly attends relevant conferences and seminars on topics related to education and technology, one of the most recent being the 2023 International Cybersecurity Forum North America.
Capitol Tech prides itself in offering hands-on, extremely relevant coursework in all classes. Its educators are passionate about the topics that they teach, and they incorporate the same work that students would be doing in the industry into their classes. This hands-on work ensures that students are engaged with the concepts they are learning, and the highly interactive class structure keeps students motivated and interested in the material.
The Covid-19 pandemic made it difficult for many colleges and universities to operate in-person, leading to a decline in enrollment and financial hardships. Capitol was well-positioned to handle an event such as the pandemic because the university already had a robust online learning infrastructure in place.
While it missed the lively on-campus presence of undergraduate students during 2020, the university was able to successfully continue operations virtually and maintain the same level of quality and excellence that the community expects. Making it through the pandemic with minimal disruption to enrollment, staffing, and overall university operations is a significant achievement for Dr. Sims. Capitol was able to pivot and move to fully online learning at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the community brilliantly adapted to this new method of learning due to its familiarity.
Capitol Tech values diversity and inclusion in all areas of academic and personal development. Capitol has relationships with diversity-focused organizations such as Black Girls Hack, Blacks in Cybersecurity, the National Society of Black Engineers, and others. Capitol Tech also recently established the Center for Women in Cyber (CWC), a female-led institutional organization that supports and encourages female students to pursue cybersecurity studies.
A STEM-focused Institution
Capitol Tech’s official vision statement is as follows:
In 2025, in accordance with the Mission Statement, Capitol Technology University will be seen by its constituents and by the public as:
- A STEM-focused institution of higher education, providing undergraduate and graduate degrees in engineering, information sciences, and technology leadership that has flexibility and opportunities to grow and that adapts offerings to emerging workforce needs.
- A provider of hands-on, career-relevant learning that is conducted in an interdisciplinary and interactive environment where faculty and staff support student achievement and success.
- A university that delivers programs of similarly outstanding quality through face-to-face and virtual classrooms and other forms and mixtures of teaching methods that align with the learning needs of the students.
- An organization with faculty and leadership who stimulate and implement new curricula, research, and entrepreneurial activities for the professions it serves and that benefit a diverse community of learners.
- An organization that is closely linked to its constituency of local, regional, and national partners in business, government, non-profits, and professions that provide influence for future technology development and policies.
- An organization that engages the global community through educating international students, coordinating with educators, and supporting multinational professional associations.
- A university that develops graduates with communications, analysis, and critical thinking skills that allow them to be successful in a global environment and pursue lifelong learning as technical professionals, leaders, and innovators.
- A university that prepares graduates for jobs and careers and that serves the broader purpose of education to address national needs-based policies through scientific consideration.
- An organization appropriately sized for quality education and financial viability, with sustainable assets for faculty and staff to provide a best-value STEM education.
Offering a Plethora of Resources
Because of Capitol’s long history of offering both virtual and in-person education, it has a sophisticated and thriving online education structure to meet the needs of both in-person and virtual learners.
All students are able to access the MyCapitol online portal, which contains a plethora of resources from instructors, career services professionals, and other key staff members. Its vast library has a great selection of titles on-campus, as well as many more available exclusively online. The institution also offers tutoring services across a wide range of course subjects to ensure students receive academic support when needed.
Pinnacle of the Industry
Capitol has received numerous awards. Some of its achievements are:
- Capitol was named on the list of 10 Prominent Colleges in the USA by the publication CIO Views in 2022.
- Capitol was featured in Georgetown University’s prestigious 2022 ROI rankings list, which ranks over 4,000 colleges and universities based on their return on investment.
- Capitol was named one of the Most Military-Supportive Colleges in the VA Northeast District by MilitarySupportiveColleges.com for its educational benefits provided to military students and their families, as well as for its partnership with the Yellow Ribbon Program.
- Capitol Tech was designated by MilitaryFriendly.com as a Gold Level Military Friendly institution for several consecutive years for its services to military students and their families.
- Capitol Tech was recognized for having some of the best online master’s degree programs by OnlineMastersDegrees.org based on qualifiers such as counseling services, career guidance, student/faculty ratio, tuition cost, and more.
- Capitol Tech was named as one of the top NCAE- C Public and Private Four-Year Institutions for Cyber Bachelor’s Graduates from 2010 to 2020 by the Center for Security and Emerging Technology (CSET).
- Capitol Tech was named within the top eight percent of universities in America in 2023 by Forbes.
Innovative Thought Leader in the Technological Realm
Capitol Tech plans to continue expanding its course offerings with the evolution of the industry. As Capitol approaches its 100-year anniversary in 2027, it hopes to remain one of the nation’s leading STEM institutions and position itself as an innovative thought leader in tech. Plus, Capitol is currently in the process of updating and renovating its state-of-the-art laboratories on campus to enhance students’ learning further.
Capitol’s commitment to helping students find careers immediately upon graduation is one of the ways it sets itself apart from other institutions. It makes sure to hire faculty members who not only have brilliant minds and a passion for teaching but who have worked in the industry and can show students exactly what future employers look for.
Capitol’s Chargers Assistance Program and Capitol Commitment financial aid programs are testaments to its confidence that each student will graduate and enter a lucrative technology career in their desired field. Additionally, Capitol’s programs are developed based on the current STEM career industry, and each subject area was designed to meet the specific needs of the world’s job market. From the moment that students arrive at Capitol as freshmen, they are already in training for their dream careers.
Dr. Sims believes that when students become employed, they should take time to learn what each person in their team does for their position and understand the larger scope of organizational operations so they can understand how the efforts of their team support the success of the organization. He further suggests, “Lead by example and be willing to jump in and do anyone’s job or support them if they are overloaded so that both the organization is successful and those that you are leading are willing to do what is necessary and can appreciate your level of dedication and support as a leader.”