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Freshman Orientation at Arkansas Tech 2015.

ARKANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY - BEEBE

ASU–Beebe was selected for the third time since 2011 to be included in the top 150 community colleges in the nation by the prestigious Aspen Institute. The university was chosen from among 1,123 community colleges nationwide to compete for the 2017 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. Awarded every two years, the award is the nation’s signature recognition of high achievement and performance among America’s community colleges, recognizing institutions for exceptional student outcomes.

ASU-Beebe offers unique programs in pharmacy technology and veterinary technology, as well as its Agricultural Equipment Technology (John Deere) program. This spring, the emergency medical technician/paramedic program received a donation of a training ambulance, which will provide students with the problem solving, ‘patient in motion’ training that is not easily simulated in a classroom environment. The Searcy campus offers the only paramedic program in the state with night classes. 

The university will begin classes this fall for the Vanguard Senior Academy for Home School Students. Participants of the Vanguard Academy cohort group will receive academic and career counseling, free tutoring, personal and professional development workshops, library usage, exposure to STEM majors and careers and mentoring and leadership development. Classes for the 2016 and 2017 academic year will include freshman English I and II, college algebra, principles of biology with a lab, as well as a college preparatory class. 

 

ARKANSAS STATE UNIVERSITY

Public-private partnerships are bringing new opportunities to Arkansas State University. The opening of New York Institute of Technology’s College of Osteopathic Medicine on the A-State campus is the first of several collaborations. NYITCOM at A-State welcomed its first class of 115 medical school students, nearly half of whom are from Arkansas, on Aug. 8. Historic Wilson Hall underwent a $12.6 million renovation to house the school, now offering laboratories and specialized teaching spaces such as the simulation emergency and operating rooms, clinical learning rooms and the gross anatomy lab. The space features energy-efficient lighting, fire sprinkler system, modernized, ADA-compliant restrooms and robust technology infrastructure throughout.

The global mission of A-State is on track thanks to a public-private partnership to open a campus in Queretaro, Mexico, next fall. The $75 million campus is the focal point of a 2,125-acre comprehensive community development there to also include commercial, residential and recreational components for up to 70,000 residents. Arkansas State will become the first comprehensive U.S. university in Mexico with an American-style campus and concepts such as a “living learning” community in a country where almost all students commute, thus opening professional exchanges for faculty, students and staff.

Responding to the desire to accelerate undergraduate completion, A-State’s “Degree in 3” program allows students to graduate in three calendar years in most degree programs.

 

ARKANSAS TECH UNIVERSITY

Arkansas Tech University established a new record for overall enrollment for a 17th consecutive year enrolling 12,054 students for the fall 2015 semester. This made Tech the third-largest institution of higher learning in Arkansas. Enrollment at Arkansas Tech has increased by 184 percent since 1997.

Notable awards included Arbor Day Foundation’s honored Tree Campus USA award, which recognizes colleges and universities for effective campus forest management and for engaging staff and students in conservation goals. Since the 2009-2010 academic year, 850 trees have been planted on the Arkansas Tech campus in Russellville.  

Dr. Robin E. Bowen, president, was one of 27 administrators nationally selected for the 2016 Giving Back Award from Insight Into Diversity magazine. Among Bowen’s initiatives are the Department of Diversity and Inclusion within the Office of Student Services and efforts for Arkansas Tech to engage the growing Hispanic population inside the state. 

Arkansas Tech University again won the Great American Conference (GAC) All-Sports Trophy for a fifth consecutive year. Tech, which claimed regular season GAC titles in volleyball, women’s basketball, women’s golf and softball last year, has won the All Sports title each year of the GAC’s existence.

 

JOHN BROWN UNIVERSITY

Ranked No. 2 among Southern regional colleges by U.S. News and World Report, John Brown University is a private Christian university that provides an excellent education in a way that fosters deep Christian commitment and dedicated service to others at a reasonable cost. JBU’s $125 million Campaign for the Next Century, ending on the university’s centennial in 2019, will help secure the university’s future with funding for endowed and annual scholarships, new facilities and renovations, endowment for academic excellence, and program and operating support. Over $80 million of the funds have been given or pledged. In February, JBU signed a memorandum of understanding with Handong Global University in South Korea that will open study abroad programs, research collaboration, and faculty and staff exchanges. JBU also received a $1 million gift to JBU’s Abila Archaeological Project. The gift will help fund the excavation, conservation and restoration of the archaeological site of Abila of the Decapolis in Northern Jordan as well as JBU’s Jordan Summer Studies Program, the Holy Lands Study Trip, and the biannual Abila Lecture in Biblical Archaeology.

 

LYON COLLEGE 

Lyon College will introduce its new Celtic Studies minor this fall, adding a broad range of courses to its curriculum and further augmenting its Scottish Heritage Program. Courses will include the Scottish Enlightenment, Scottish clubs and societies, Irish film, the British Empire and introductions to Scottish, Irish and British history. The minor is the first of its kind in the south central United States.

This year also marks the second year of the college’s band program, a comprehensive, student-oriented program that encourages participation from all disciplines and academic majors. The program consists of three primary ensembles: marching band, symphonic winds band and jazz band. Band members have the opportunity to travel and perform in world-class venues across the country as well as earn academic credit and scholarships.

In the spring, the campus will be filled with the sound of bagpipes when Lyon hosts the 38th annual Arkansas Scottish Festival. The festival includes amateur and professional solo piping competitions, solo drumming contests and Highland dancing. Vendors sell Scottish and other Celtic goods and services, including traditional Scottish cuisine. Performers play Celtic music in the entertainment tent throughout the festival. 

 

NATIONAL PARK COLLEGE

National Park College’s (NPC) Innovative Technologies Center (ITC) was awarded a Regional Workforce Implementation Grant for $894,181 from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE). The Governor’s Workforce Cabinet selected grant recipients based on a rigorous application process that included program need, planning, community partnerships and budgeting.

The ultimate goal of the project is to align workforce development and academic programs with regional economic development strategies to meet the needs of local and regional employers. The ITC will provide training in additive and subtractive manufacturing (3D printing and computer-controlled machining), sensors and instrumentation, computer aided design and automation (programmable controllers and robotics). The Center’s outreach goals include industry training programs that develop advanced workforce skills needed in local companies. Creation of the ITC will also include a space for flexible, on-demand training for local industry and business partners such as short-term seminars and workshops.

NPC unveiled a new website, www.np.edu in May. The site consists of 881 unique pages of content and 77 individual department sites. Aside from the new look and feel, the new site includes a simplified menu, a fully responsive design that resizes to fit any device screen, is compatible with all modern web browsers and includes upgraded calendar features and news feeds.

 

OZARKA COLLEGE

Ozarka College has been approved for instrument training by the Federal Aviation Administration to offer an instrument rating course as part of its 14 CFR Part 141 flight school. Instrument rating allows pilots to fly aircraft under instrument rules when weather conditions compromise visibility to the point the pilot must rely on instrumentation. The new course will allow pilots to earn an instrument rating with less flight experience, which in turns allows students to more affordably take the next step in training after achieving their private pilot certification.

A new scholarship is now available through Ozarka College. The College-Now scholarship covers tuition and fees for a student’s first semester at the college following high school. To be eligible, students must have completed at least four Ozarka College courses during high school, maintained a 2.75 or higher GPA and received their high school diploma. Full details are available at the college’s website, www.ozarka.edu.

 

PHILANDER SMITH COLLEGE

Philander Smith College has tapped a former first-round NBA Draft pick and the Arkansas Razorbacks’ all-time leading scorer Todd Day to lead its men’s basketball program.  A four-year letterman at the University of Arkansas from 1989-1992, Day was an All-American, led the Razorbacks to an SEC title and an NCAA Final Four appearance. He is the U of A’s all-time leading scorer. Following an NBA career that saw him drafted in the first round, the Memphis native has been coaching at various levels since 2007. Philander Smith is a member of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference of the NAIA.

Philander Smith’s Seneza Gatson was one of 30 HBCU college students selected by Apple to receive a one year scholarship and internship program at Apple’s headquarters. The award includes a $25,000 scholarship, a summer internship and year-round program to help prepare participants for post-graduation careers by pairing them with an Apple mentor. 

This summer, Philander Smith College received a grant of $599,519 to establish the Philander Forward Theological Institute, part of Lilly Endowment Inc.’s High School Youth Theology Institutes initiative, which seeks to encourage young people to explore theological traditions, ask questions about the moral dimensions of contemporary issues and examine how their faith calls them to lives of service. The Philander Forward Theological Institute, which is open to all high school students, will offer a spectrum of activities and experiences designed to shape and contribute to the spiritual growth and development of high school students, encouraging them to explore how theological and religious traditions and cultural competence inform and shape their life decisions in a changing world. Philander Smith College is one of 92 schools participating in the initiative. The schools are located in 30 states and the District of Columbia and cut across a spectrum of religious traditions.

 

PULASKI TECHNICAL COLLEGE

Pulaski Technical College has been awarded two Title III grants totaling $5.25 million from the U.S. Department of Education. Both grants are five-year awards that will support student programs at PTC.

A $2.2 million award, which is part of the Strengthening Institutions Program authorized under the Higher Education Act of 1965, will focus on improving support services to students, improving student retention and increasing student completion through a new enhanced Enterprise Resource Planning and Student Information System. 

A second grant of $2.9 million will be used for a five-year “STEM Success” program to promote subjects/careers in the STEM disciplines - science, technology, engineering and math. The goal is to help male and female minority students reach their goals in high-demand, high-opportunity fields and to increase representation of black professionals in STEM and K-12 education.

This spring, Pulaski Technical College entered into a formal partnership with the University of Arkansas System. The agreement will help Pulaski Tech realize cost savings and value-added opportunities in areas of information technology and human resources. Leadership teams from Pulaski Tech and the U of A system have begun the process of establishing priorities and a timeline for addressing various educational and operational priorities.

 

SOUTHERN ARKANSAS UNIVERSITY

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SAU Game Development students use a high-tech game design lab to bring their creativity to life.

SAU’s sports programs were riding high last year, led by the Lady Muleriders softball team, which won the Great American Conference and Central Region Championships en route to a fourth-place finish in the NCAA Division II Women’s College World Series in Denver. At 53-11, the team also set a single-season wins record, and a host of individual and coaching honors. 

Several new fields of study have also been established, including a welding engineering technology program that is one-of-a-kind in Arkansas and only one of a few in the country. An innovative privacy and cyber security option in SAU’s popular computer science program has also been added. In addition, the school now offers a social entrepreneurship emphasis through its MBA program. 

SAU has experienced three consecutive years of record enrollment, thanks in part to awards that include 2015’s rankings  “Most Affordable” and “Highest Return on Investment” among all Arkansas schools by the U.S. Dept. of Education. The school was ranked the fastest-growing university in the state by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education as well. And, bestvaluesschools.com ranked the school the #6 Most Affordable Small College in the U.S. 

 

UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS-COSSATOT

UA Cossatot offers an expanded roster of club and intercollegiate sports, providing for a wider array of interests and activities.

The Colts Rodeo team competes in the Ozark Region NIRA Collegiate Rodeo spring circuit. During the year team members compete for a spot in the NIRA College National Finals Rodeo. A new academic program, Physical Therapy Assisting, is slated to begin in the 2017 fall semester. 

 

UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS–FORT SMITH

One of the newer members of the university system, UAFS observes its 15th anniversary this year, and it has put that time to good use with continued innovation and enrichment of curriculum. The university recently added a new bachelor’s degree in geoscience, a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering technology, an associate degree in engineering and certificates of proficiency in early childhood education. 

Special study opportunities include regular Maymester courses for students, which are intensive weeklong courses held at locations across the U.S. and the world that complement the learning in the classroom. UAFS also stacks up well against peer institutions, named the college with the second-best value for a criminal justice degree in the United States by Best Value Schools and third-best affordable school for the RN to BSN program in the United States by Great Value Colleges. Notably, UAFS was the only large school in the state to have a year-over-year decrease in net price in the 2014-2015 school year. 

 

UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS-FAYETTEVILLE

U.S. News & World Report has ranked the Walton College in the top 30 among the nation’s public undergraduate business schools for 12 years running. The school is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business – AACSB International – and has been since 1931.

This year marks the 140th anniversary of the first graduation ceremony at the University of Arkansas, a school that continues to provide innovation and deliver excellence. Two Arkansas students were named Goldwater Scholars; two more students were named Truman Scholars; two students and a recent graduate earned Fulbright Scholarships; nine U of A students earned Gilman Scholarships, sponsored by the U.S. Department of State; and eight students were named National Science Research Graduate Fellows. 

Additionally, Lucas Delezene, assistant professor of anthropology in Fulbright College at the University of Arkansas, is part of a team that identified a new human ancestor, Homo naledi.  Alumnus Joe Weishaar was selected from an international field to design the nation’s World War I Memorial in Washington, D.C.

Sports teams were equally competitive; Arkansas women’s track and field team won their second straight NCAA Division 1 Outdoor Track and Field Championship in 2016 and the Razorback football team won the 2016 Liberty Bowl.

 

UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS-LITTLE ROCK

Heading into its 90th year, UALR enjoys several distinctions across many disciplines, among them being named #2 Best Online College in Arkansas, its MBA program as one of 50 most affordable programs in U.S. and ranked #41 on U.S. News & World Report’s list of best undergraduate engineering programs. 

UALR’s Bowen Law School is ranked among top 20 legal writing programs, a top six law school for public service careers and a Best Value School. The graduate program in social work at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock was ranked 10th in the nation by an educational research group, SR Education Group, and ranked the third best teacher education program in Arkansas, according to the online teaching portal, ToBecomeATeacher.org.

Outside the classroom, the college boasts a number of elite sports programs. Little Rock’s Trojan men’s basketball team won the Sun Belt Conference regular-season and tournament championships and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Div. I Tournament. In baseball, Ryan Scott won the NCAA Div. I batting title in 2016 and earned six different all-American honors en route to being drafted by the Boston Red Sox.

 

UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS–MONTICELLO

Home to the state’s only school of forestry, UAM School of Forestry and Natural Resources offers two baccalaureate programs in land surveying and natural resource management, with options in forestry, wildlife management and conservation, geospatial sciences, communications in natural resources and environmental science. Over the past few years, UAM has also added master’s degrees in jazz studies and creative writing as well as a new technical certificate program in diesel technology.

In extracurricular activities, the UAM debate team captured the 2016 International Public Debate Association National Championship in April, defeating 10 other schools from across the country, including large state institutions and the U.S. Military Academy. 

The school’s baseball team posted a record 40 wins, topped the Great American Conference and reached the finals of the NCAA Division II Regionals in Mankato, Minnesota. Right fielder Corey Wood was named the NCAA Division II National Player of the Year as well as the GAC Player of the Year. 

UAM was ranked among the “50 Most Affordable Small Colleges” for a Master’s of Education degree (M.Ed.) in a recent ranking by topeducationdegrees.com.

 

UNIVERSITY OF ARKANSAS-PINE BLUFF

This summer the university cut the ribbon on the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Fish Health Inspection Laboratory. Located in Lonoke, the lab is one of 11 facilities nationwide approved by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service to conduct diagnostic testing to enable producers to obtain health certification for the export of aquaculture species. Aquaculture is a $160 million industry and Arkansas produces 80 percent of the U.S. baitfish. The Fish Health Inspection Laboratory is an affirmation of the university’s commitment to supporting Arkansas fish growers and bringing their products to market.

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff was among the institutions to receive a micro-grant for $50,000 to establish an office within the Student Success Center (SSC) to assist graduating seniors with the completion of their degrees. This office will market the completion program, identify and enroll eligible seniors for assistance and establish the process for enrolling, engaging and tracking seniors to graduation. The grant is for two years and funded by the Great Lakes Higher Education Guaranty Corporation and Lumina Foundation.  

Applications for fall 2016 admission have increased by more than 30 percent over the same time period in 2015. The Office of Admissions had received more than 5,200 applications as of February 29, 2016, three months earlier than the 5,200-plus applications it had received by June 2015. During the month of February, there were 31 percent more applications received compared to February 2015. Applicants represent 39 states including nearly 1,898 applicants from Arkansas and 23 countries.
UAPB has entered into partnership with Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Scholars Teacher Academy Resident System (STEM STARS). The first grant of its kind in Arkansas, the goal of the project is to address the challenge of preparing 120 high quality science, technology, engineering and mathematics teachers for all students in high-need school districts throughout the ArkLaMiss region.

 

UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL ARKANSAS

In August, UCA celebrated the grand opening of Greek Village. Greek Village is home to the Panhellenic Council sororities—Alpha Sigma Alpha, Delta Zeta, Sigma Kappa, Alpha Sigma Tau and Sigma Sigma Sigma. Each sorority has a two-story, 10,400-square-foot sorority house. Chapter rooms for the four National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) sororities—Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc. and Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Inc.—are also included in Greek Village.

In November, the University of Central Arkansas launched an initiative called the “Greek 100” to commemorate a century of Greek life on the campus and to continue engagement with UCA alumni. Profiles of Greek alumni who were initiated through university chapters of the fraternities and sororities in the Interfraternity Council, Independent Greek Council, Panhellenic Council and National Pan-Hellenic Council are featured at uca.edu/greek100.

The College of Business maintained its accreditation from the AACSB International. AACSB Accreditation is the hallmark of excellence in business education and has been earned by less than 5 percent of the more than 16,000 schools worldwide granting business degrees.

UCA was the only higher education institution to receive a $3 million gift from the Arkansas Commercial Truck Safety and Education Program, enabling the university to endow a chaired faculty position in the College of Business to support and expand the supply chain logistics management program.

 

 
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