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AHECB MEETS AND HEARS REPORTS
LITTLE ROCK - The Arkansas Department of Higher Education Coordinating Board met for the regularly scheduled meeting at the office of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education on Friday, January 26.
The Nominating Committee of the board introduced the new officers. Serving for 2018 is Chair Dr. Charles Allen, Little Rock; Vice Chair Dr. Jim Carr, Searcy; Secretary Sam Sicard, Fort Smith; Academic Committee Chair Dr. Carr and Finance Committee Chair Al Brodell, Jonesboro.
Director Maria Markham presented the policy for the new Arkansas Workforce Challenge Scholarship. The scholarship is available to Arkansas residents who are enrolled in an associate or certificate program in one of the following high demand fields: Industry, Health Care, or Information Technology. The money for the scholarship will come from the excess funds of Arkansas Challenge Scholarship. The scholarship is funded at the lesser of $800 a semester or the cost the program of study, such as tuition, fees, textbooks, and equipment or other course materials. Students may not receive scholarships from both Arkansas Challenge and Arkansas Workforce Challenge simultaneously.
“Arkansas Workforce Challenge is another way we are making college obtainable for students in the state,” said Markham. “The proper coordination of college education, including career and technical programs, is essential for creating a successful economic climate in Arkansas. The goal is to prepare students by educating and training thereby building a skilled and employment-ready workforce.”
Associate Director of Research and Analytics, Sonia Hazelwood presented the Fall 2017 enrollment numbers for Arkansas Higher Education Institutions. Overall, the total enrollment for the 2017 Fall term in all sectors of Arkansas higher education (public universities, public colleges, as well as independent colleges and universities and nursing schools) was 163,352 students; representing a 1-year decrease of 2 percent. In the public universities, there was an 816 student one-year decline, public 2-year colleges a 1,964 student drop, and in private colleges and universities a 510 student decline.
Historically, colleges and universities have enrolled students into fall, spring, and summer terms. However, with many institutions attempting to be more customer service oriented and because of increased competition for students from other institutions of higher education (including out-of-state online programs), many institutions are offering enrollments in terms that do not coincide with the traditional fall, spring, and summer terms. A common arrangement is three terms per semester and some may even cross over the traditional terms, such as an 8-week term starting between traditional semesters. This trend is expected to continue and its use will most likely increase. This will have the effect of blurring term comparisons making annual comparisons more useful than term comparisons.
The board also approved the pursuit of new programs, presented by Lillian Williams, Academic Program Specialist. New Program: Arkansas Tech University- Bachelor of Arts in Criminal Justice and Criminology, Master of Education (M.Ed.) in K-12 Literacy; Ozarka College- Certificate of Proficiency in Stick Welding (SMAW), Certificate of Proficiency in MIG Welding (GMAW), Certificate of Proficiency in TIG Welding (GTAW), Technical Certificate and Associate of Applied Science in Welding Technology; Southern Arkansas University Tech- Associate of Applied Science in Forest Harvesting Technician; University of Arkansas at Monticello- Certificate of Proficiency and Technical Certificate in Heating, Ventilation, Air Conditioning, and Refrigeration (HVAC/R) Technology; University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences- Nurse Anesthesia Option in the Doctor of Nursing Practice.
The board also approved the Economic Feasibility of Loan Issues for Arkansas State University at Jonesboro and for Arkansas State University Mid-South. The Arkansas State University Board of Trustees approved pursuing both loans with proceeds used for educational and general (E&G) purposes on December 8, 2017.
The next regularly scheduled board meeting is April 20, 2018 at the first floor conference room of ADHE.