1 UALR Fast Forward in Review Fall 2010 INTRODUCTION In 2003-2004, UALR engaged campus and external constituents in a comprehensive strategic planning process which articulated goals, objectives, and strategies to guide the university’s development and progress in the ensuing years. These goals, objectives, and strategies formed the core of UALR Fast Forward, UALR’s long-range plan. The report at hand provides an overarching review of achievements and continuing challenges against the backdrop of UALR Fast Forward as the institution begins the process leading to the next iteration of its strategic plan. ACADEMIC GROWTH AND CHANGE Growth in Enrollment and Degrees Awarded Fall enrollment at UALR has grown from 11,806 in 2004 to 13,176 in 2010. Two factors in particular have contributed to this growth: the increase in graduate student enrollment and the increase in concurrent enrollment partnerships with central Arkansas high schools. Graduate student enrollment has increased almost 20% over the past six years while the number of high school students participating in concurrent enrollment has grown from 49 in Fall 2004 to nearly 1100 in Fall 2010. The number of students graduating also has risen over the past eight years. In Spring 2010, the University awarded 2132 diplomas to 2036 students, the most ever for the institution. These included 1 certificate of proficiency, 205 associate degrees, 1,093 baccalaureate degrees, 90 graduate certificates, 574 graduate degrees, 8 specialist degrees, 31 doctoral degrees, and 130 law degrees. Applications to UALR’s William H. Bowen School of Law have increased 6 of the last 7 admission cycles. Since 2003, applications to the Bowen School have risen from 674 to 1674 in 2010—an increase of 157%. Since 2006, class size and student body diversity have increased as well. Entering class size is up 17%, from 135 in 2006 to 158 in 2010. Student body diversity has increased 54%—from 70 students of color and foreign nationals in 2006 to 108 in 2010. Accreditation Accreditation remains a vital part of the UALR academic landscape, for the peer evaluation nature of national accreditation processes validates the institution’s programs. In 2010, the UALR received affirmation of its accreditation status for the maximum ten years through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association. The site visit team noted the following in its final report: • The commitment of multiple units within the university to thoughtful engagement with the Little Rock community and other stakeholders is apparent as evidenced by the University District Initiative. • The support of distance learning is very good from planning through execution and the overall strength of the distance learning programming is very high. • The Academy for Teaching and Learning Excellence (ATLE) is exceptional. It is a faculty initiative with resource support that clearly signals UALR’s commitment to teaching. • There is a strong and clear commitment to assessment and to the use of assessment results 2 across campus. • The institution’s development of a transfer student center is a clear indication of the dedication UALR has to meeting the special needs of transfer students. • There is a focus on academic success in the developing housing and residential life programs. The UALR Fast Forward timeframe has also witnessed successful programmatic accreditation processes across the university. For example, the university’s education program completed its most recent accreditation visit by the Board of Examiners from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE) in Fall 2009. The year prior to the visit, all content areas and programs submitted extensive program reports to multiple Specialty Professional Associations for review. Not only were all programs that submitted reports nationally recognized, but also four – Educational Administration (ELCC), Reading (IRA), Science (NSTA) and Foreign Languages (ACTFL) – were cited as national models for others to follow. Additionally assessments used in Gifted Education (NAGC), Foreign Languages (ACTFL), Reading (IRA), Middle School (NMSA), and Mathematics (NCTM) were cited as exemplars on the NCATE website. The results detailed in the Board of Examiners accreditation visit report as confirmed by the NCATE Unit Accreditation Board were that every standard of the six unit standards was met with no areas for improvement. All six of the standards were met at the acceptable or target level for both initial and advanced programs. Of the 54 elements encompassed by the six standards, 30 were cited as target, the highest possible rating. Degree programs in audiology and speech pathology, computer science, construction management, engineering technology, information science, nursing, rehabilitation counseling, social work, systems engineering, and theatre have all been accredited or reaccredited by the relevant national accrediting agencies in the last six years. This list includes all undergraduate programs in the still relatively young Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology. In March 2010, the William H. Bowen School of Law completed its sabbatical accreditation visit by the American Bar Association, and initial, unofficial reports have been positive. Of course, other academic programs are accredited as well but did not undergo accreditation reviews during the UALR Fast Forward years. Finally, in 2009, the University received official notification of reaffirmation of certification from the NCAA Division I Committee on Athletics Certification, following a thorough self-study process and peer- review team site visit. While the steering committee which oversaw the self-study process identified areas for attention and improvement, the overall results were extremely affirming. The peer-review team specifically noted as highlights the Jack Stephens Center and the strong support of the faculty for athletics. Graduate Programs and Research UALR Fast Forward envisioned continued strengthening of graduate programming and an increasing emphasis on research in recognition of both the graduate program and research needs of the state of Arkansas and of UALR’s status as a doctoral research university. The institution has made progress in achieving these goals. In 2005, UALR expanded the position of Dean of the Graduate School to create the Vice Provost for Research and Dean of the Graduate School, a position vested with responsibility for expanding the graduate enterprise and raising the profile of and support for research. Infrastructural progress in the years since has included a strengthened Office of Research and Sponsored Programs, the creation of a two-person Research Compliance Office, a maturing Institutional Review Board, and more consistent graduate coordinator meetings focusing on centralizing and standardizing the administration of 3 graduate programs where possible. The university has also expanded its focus on research to include an emphasis on undergraduate research. One of UALR’s priorities in its pursuit of a higher research profile has been increasing the institution’s success in securing external funds through grants and contracts, and UALR has experienced progress in this regard. During the last five years, UALR has been the recipient of more than 1000 grants and contracts totaling more than $140 million; the annual dollar value of grants and contracts received increased by more than 15% in the same time period. These figures represent a wide variety of successful projects, including: • Consortial efforts such as Arkansas EPSCoR through which UALR is collaborating with other higher education institutions in the state and which will bring in over $30 million over a ten-year period. • Long-term, annually renewed programs such as the approximately $5 million MidSouth contract. • An increasing number of new grants secured from federal agencies such as the National Science Foundation, the Department of Defense, NASA, etc. In light of current state and national funding priorities, UALR anticipates that sponsored program growth in the coming years is likely to occur in such fields as materials (with a focus on nanomaterials), information quality and security, communication technology, clean electrical power generation and distribution, criminal justice, and STEM education. UALR has significantly broadened its graduate offerings in recent years. In addition to a number of new graduate certificate and masters degree programs, UALR has implemented six new doctoral programs – in audiology, communication sciences, bioinformatics, reading, criminal justice, and integrated computing – bringing the institution’s number of doctoral programs to nine. One area of both progress and challenge is that of graduate assistantships, which serve to enhance both research and graduate program efforts. Competitive graduate assistantships attract top graduate students who assist in both the teaching and research functions of the university. While there has been an increase in the number of graduate students with assistantships and in the size of graduate assistantship stipends in the last five years, the increases have been modest at best. Thus, the UALR Fast Forward goals of increasing the number of graduate assistantships and the level of assistantship stipends remain priorities. UALR has made progress in its support of the Ottenheimer Library, a primary research resource for faculty and students alike. The university has increased the Library’s materials budget substantially over recent years, bringing purchasing closer to the level of peer libraries and offsetting inflation in the cost of library materials. The Library has been able to purchase resources in all formats and has enhanced availability of electronic databases. The robust research profile to which UALR aspires will require strategic investments in research infrastructure in the coming years. In addition to increases in the number of graduate assistantships, graduate assistantship stipends, and support for the Ottenheimer Library, UALR will also need to increase support for additional reassigned time for research, equipment and technology, seed funding, and funding for equipment match opportunities. 4 The advent of an agreement for the development of a research park involving UALR, UAMS, and the City of Little Rock and located between UALR and UAMS offers a remarkable, long-term opportunity for the university as it pursues its research mission. UALR Nanotechnology Center The emergence of the UALR Nanotechnology Center has been among the most notable achievements at UALR in the last few years. The Center was established in March 2006 with receipt of $5.9 million in State of Arkansas General Improvement Funds. With this foundation, the Center has obtained $10.2 million in research and operations funds from the U.S. Department of Energy, U.S. Army, NSF, U.S. Small Business Administration, NASA, the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority, and private donations. The Center, through these projects, is engaged in cutting-edge research in nanomaterial fabrication, micro-nano thin film deposition, and nanomedicine. Innovations in these research areas represent potential solutions for alternative and renewable energy, electronics, surface coatings, tissue engineering, and cancer treatment. The Center’s cross-disciplinary team of researchers has grown from Dr. Alexandru Biris, its director, to include a total of eight other full-time researchers. An aggressive publications agenda has produced 145 journal publications. The Center initiated the Affiliate Scientist program to engage researchers at other Arkansas universities, providing them access to its instrumentation; the program now includes faculty at Arkansas State University, Arkansas Tech University, Henderson State University, Hendrix College, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, and the University of Central Arkansas. The Affiliate Scientist program includes a total of 48 collaborators in Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Missouri, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Brazil, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Romania and the United Kingdom. Intellectual property creation to date has produced four issued patents, 28 patent applications and 2 invention disclosures. The University of Arkansas System’s Board of Trustees in September 2009 approved the inclusion of $9 million for a new nanotechnology research facility as part of a campus bond issue. This facility, slated for completion in Fall 2011, will expand the Nanotechnology Center’s capacity for scientific collaboration and student training and will provide lab space designed specifically for the needs of the Center’s multidisciplinary research projects. Office of Innovation and Commercialization Established in June 2008, the UALR Office of Innovation and Commercialization (OIC) leads university efforts to advance and commercialize university research and inventions. The OIC provides expertise in intellectual property protection, licensing, investment funding, and business startup services. The goal is to create sustainable Arkansas jobs with a high likelihood of survival while training the next generation of entrepreneurs. Since 2007, UALR has been awarded 11 patents, and 46 additional patent applications have been filed. The OIC operates a business incubator, which currently hosts two information technology startup companies with 15 full-time employees. The OIC has also created or is advising 4 additional startup companies, employing 8 part-time individuals, in the fields of nanotechnology and related areas. Development in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math Disciplines UALR has responded to calls at the local, state, and national levels to increase the numbers of graduates from Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) programs. Specific progress within the context of UALR Fast Forward includes the following: 5 • The Fall 2010 opening of the new $35 million Engineering and Information Technology (EIT) building providing much needed teaching and research space for faculty and student s in EIT. • Renovation of the chemistry labs in Fribourgh Hall. • Expansion of engineering offerings to include tracks in electrical and mechanical engineering made possible by a $6 million endowment gift from the Trinity Foundation. • Implementation of the first information quality program in the world with a gift from the Acxiom Corporation and in partnership with MIT. UALR offers the M.S. in Information Quality and a new track in the Ph.D. program in Applied Science in Information Quality. • Implementation of several degree programs which are unique in Arkansas, including the Ph.D. in Integrated Computing, the M.S. in Systems Engineering, Ph.D. and M.S. programs in Bioinformatics (jointly offered with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS)), and a BS in Construction Engineering. • Introduction of the Graduate Certificate in Applied Statistics (Department of Mathematics and Statistics), a program designed to develop students for the knowledge economy and which is successfully placing interns at Acxiom and other high-tech companies in Central Arkansas. • Greatly increased enrollments in both EIT and CSAM. The number of EIT majors has grown from 382 when the college was founded in 1999 to 929 in Fall 2010, and the number of Ph.D. students in Applied Science grew from 15 in 1999 to 141 in Summer 2010. The number of science and mathematics majors increased from 590 in FY2005 to 839 in FY2010. • Particularly successful recruitment from the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts. • Creation in 2008 of the Arkansas-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (ARK-LSAMP) to foster success among underrepresented minorities in STEM disciplines. A consortium of eight colleges and universities led by UAPB secured the NSF funds for this program which provide a summer bridge-to-college program, mentoring throughout the academic year, and summer research internship opportunities. • Development of the UALR Science Scholar Program to enhance opportunities for qualified students with financial need who are interested in biology, chemistry, and earth sciences. Scholarship funds from the NSF’s Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) program enable students to attend UALR and afford special mentoring opportunities in areas of difficulty for young scholars. The program, now in its third year, has been highly successful as evidenced by strong retention and high GPA averages. • With funding from NSF, establishment of the first UALR high performance parallel computing cluster which will serve graduate programs in CSAM and EIT. • Active engagement of faculty and administrators with the STEM Coalition, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, and such central Arkansas businesses as Acxiom, Southwest Power Pool, L.M. Glasfiber, Welspun, and others. • Implementation of summer STEM programs in EIT to reach, engage, and recruit talented pre- college students. These programs include: o The Exxon Mobil program for middle school children which, in 2010, hosted 48 students on campus for two weeks. o The Engineering Scholars program which hosted 22 high school students on campus for two weeks to interact with engineering faculty and to learn about the various engineering disciplines. o The high school research program which engaged 17 students working in individual faculty labs for three weeks. 6 Health-Related Disciplines UALR’s commitment to meeting the needs of the community and state has resulted in significant attention to health-related disciplines as health care issues and needs have emerged as societal priorities. The Department of Nursing has experienced particularly dramatic growth in recent years, achieving its UALR Fast Forward goal of doubling the number of nurses graduated within five years. The department implemented a number of strategies to facilitate this success, including the introduction of an 18-month accelerated ASN program, and the building of a strong partnership with the St. Vincent Health System which provides scholarship support for students, additional teaching facilities, and clinical rotation opportunities for nursing students. In order to meet the need in central Arkansas for BSN- trained nurses, UALR’s Department of Nursing initiated a BSN completion program in Fall 2008 which is delivered online for practicing nurses. The Department of Nursing has received significant support of its mission from the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation which has established a $3 million endowed scholarship fund for nursing scholarships. With support from internal and external sources, including a grant from the U.S. Department of Education and support from the Cabe Foundation, the department has created a major simulation laboratory which includes two SimMan simulated patients, two Noelle labor simulators (each with a Baby Hal simulator), and several other simulators for teaching specific nursing protocols. Baptist Health Medical Center has recently initiated a relationship with the Department of Nursing to facilitate matriculation of its diploma graduates to the UALR BSN program. The Masters of Arts in Rehabilitation Counseling was the first totally online master’s degree program in the state. Initially designed to meet increased certification requirements of practitioners, this program has had a national reach since inception, drawing students from as many as twenty different states. The Department of Health Sciences has emerged as one of the largest programs at UALR in the last few years. The department implemented a Master of Science in Health Sciences in 2007. The department has a well-earned reputation for making a difference in the central Arkansas community and requires a service-learning experience of its students. The Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, a joint program of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS), has made impressive strides in recent years. The department launched two doctoral degree programs in 2006, a clinical doctorate in Audiology (Au.D.) and a Ph.D. in Communication Science. The Ph.D. program is a consortium program of UALR/UAMS, and the University of Central Arkansas; UALR/UAMS has the only audiology program in the state. Recent statistics confirm the quality of the department and its programs. For example, the national ranking of the department’s program in Speech Pathology has risen from 113 (out of 250 programs in the nation) to 72 in eight years. The department receives over 100 applications each year for 25 slots in the master’s program, many from out-of-state students. And the pass rate on the licensure exam is 100% compared to a national average of 79%. The department is also known for its commitment to the broader community through such outreach arms as the Speech and Hearing Clinic which provides over 6000 clinic visits each year to the residents of central Arkansas. Teacher Preparation UALR Fast Forward set a five-year goal of increasing by forty percent the number of licensed teachers that the university graduates. UALR achieved this overarching university-wide goal though a small number of individual programs did not. These latter will continue to be the focus of attention. Among 7 strategies which have assisted UALR in meeting this goal has been the strategic hiring of faculty champions of teacher education in the content disciplines. Another promising development is the recent implementation of a graduate certificate program for students who have an undergraduate degree in a content discipline and who want to pursue licensure at the graduate level. The Arts UALR has expanded arts programs and opportunities during the UALR Fast Forward years. For example, the Department of Art, with significant philanthropic support from the Windgate Foundation for state- of-the-art equipment, scholarships, student recruitment, a summer arts institute, and an artist in residence position, initiated the Applied Design program in Fall 2006, one of few such programs in the United States. The program consists of emphases in furniture design, metals, blacksmithing, and ceramics. The furniture design and metals programs are housed in 18,000 square feet of renovated space in the University Plaza facility. The Department of Music has built an opera program which stages two full operas each year, one of the most ambitious opera production schedules among Arkansas universities. Committed to reaching a broad audience, the program has regularly staged productions in various venues in the Little Rock area, including the Arkansas Repertory Theatre and Wildwood Park for the Arts, in addition to UALR’s Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall, whose complete renovation, made possible with support from the Stella Boyle Smith Trust and the Rebsamen Fund, makes this performance setting itself a highlight. In 2009, the Department of Theatre Arts and Dance inaugurated a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance degree program, the only professional dance degree in Arkansas. Dance enrollment has grown dramatically. William H. Bowen School of Law UALR’s William H. Bowen School of Law initiated the Public Service Externship Program in 2005 which provides exceptional learning experiences for selected students and service for the legal community. Through this externship program, students are placed in the offices of Arkansas Supreme Court Justices, members of the Arkansas General Assembly, and others to assist these public servants with a variety of legal issues. The program has been well-received by Law School students and externship partners alike. Recent national recognition for the Bowen School includes the following: • In 2003-2004, the Bowen School’s Journal of Appellate Practice and Process received the Eisenberg Prize for excellence in scholarship regarding appellate practice and procedure. The Journal was the first recipient of the award. • In 2009, the National Jurist Magazine listed the Bowen School of Law among the Top 50 law schools in clinical education. • In 2010, the Bowen School of Law’s legal writing program was ranked 22nd nationally. UALR Benton Center UALR continues to offer a variety of courses at its Benton Center. UALR students can take courses leading to the AA degree or to satisfy the non-clinical requirements for the ASN and BSN degrees. Since fiscal year 2004, an average of more than 800 UALR students has taken at least one course at the Benton Center each year. In addition, an average of more than 500 UALR students each year has received assistance with admissions, registration, financial aid, or other student services from the UALR Benton Center staff. 8 International Programs UALR created the Office of International Services (OIS) in 2005 under the aegis of the Provost’s Office in an effort to strengthen and broaden the scope of study abroad, international student services, and exchange programs. In the intervening years, the number of students studying abroad each year increased from 32 to 110, a 243.8% increase. These students come from majors across the university. The number of international students attending UALR increased from 262 to 512, a 196% increase over the five-year period. These students come from 74 countries. And the number of exchange programs with universities in other countries has also grown dramatically. In 2005, UALR students could take advantage of exchange programs with 5 universities in 4 countries, while today, students can choose from 23 foreign universities located around the globe in 15 different countries. The Evolution of Faculty Expectations and Related Policies UALR’s entry into the ranks of doctoral research institutions nearly a decade ago and the emergence of research as a major goal in UALR Fast Forward prompted several significant studies and documents in the last five years. In Fall 2005, then Faculty Senate President Fred Williams and Provost David Belcher appointed a faculty-led task force to draft and vet with university colleagues a Faculty Roles and Rewards statement which explores the roles and rewards of tenured and tenure-track faculty within the context of UALR’s evolving vision. The resulting document was adopted in 2007. In Fall 2007, then Faculty Senate President Richard Ford and Provost Belcher asked the Committee on Tenure to take on the charge of drafting university-wide promotion and tenure guidelines. This document in final form was adopted in 2010. In Fall 2008, then Faculty Senate President Ford and Provost Belcher appointed a faculty-led task force to draft and vet with university colleagues a second Faculty Roles and Rewards statement focused on the roles and rewards of full-time, non-tenure-track faculty and thus, a companion document to the initial Roles and Rewards study. The resulting document was adopted in 2010. The adoption of these documents has triggered a systematic review of college and departmental governance documents which will take place over the next few years. And this body of documents, taken as a whole, will guide UALR as it hires new faculty members in the coming years with an eye toward the emerging vision of the institution’s future. Academy of Teaching and Learning Excellence In the 2006-2007 academic year, a faculty-led task force undertook the task of creating what has become known as the Academy of Teaching and Learning Excellence (ATLE), a center designed to offer professional development opportunities for UALR faculty seeking to enhance and improve their effectiveness in the teaching and learning environment. The Academy is led by three UALR faculty members each of whom serves a three-year term as an ATLE director. ATLE activities have included peer teaching demonstrations and lectures, mentoring programs, book discussion sessions featuring writing on pedagogy, and campus visits and lectures by nationally known authorities in the teaching and learning field. Review of the Undergraduate Curriculum Prompted in part by the self-study process undertaken for reaccreditation by the North Central Association’s Higher Learning Commission, UALR has launched a full-scale process to review the university’s undergraduate curriculum. The overarching charge to the task force leading this review is to study the undergraduate curriculum within the parameters of UALR’s mission, existing law, policies of 9 the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, and current trends, and to consider appropriate revisions to the UALR undergraduate curriculum to ensure its relevance for the 21st century. Topics for review and possible revision include, but are not limited to the core curriculum (the number of hours required and courses included therein), the number of hours required for an undergraduate degree, the requirement of a minor, and the residency requirement. STUDENT SUCCESS Student success has emerged as UALR’s top priority. Certainly, the institution has been involved in student success initiatives for many years; however, state and national agendas, as well as UALR’s record of weak retention and graduation rates, necessitate focused attention on the success of our students. As a public institution dedicated to meeting the needs of our community, state, and nation, UALR is responding. Admissions In December 2006, UALR made a commitment to ensure student preparedness for academic success in rigorous postsecondary studies by adopting revised freshman admission standards. These admission standards require a cumulative high school GPA of at least a 2.5 and a 21 ACT composite or equivalent score. UALR admissions personnel undertake a thorough review of high school transcripts and college admission test scores of students who do not meet these admission standards. Students may be individually considered for admission on the basis of high school coursework attempted, high school coursework successfully completed, and overall demonstration of preparedness. Students who are not academically prepared are deferred admission and, after successful demonstration of postsecondary academic progress elsewhere, may be considered for future admission to UALR. The admission standards are a clear example that UALR recognizes that preparation is necessary for collegiate success. Continued assessment of the admission standards demonstrates that UALR is attracting better prepared students. The first-time freshman ACT average for UALR increased from a 19 ACT composite in Fall 2007, to a 20 ACT composite in Fall 2008, to a 21 ACT composite in Fall 2009, and to a 22 ACT composite in Fall 2010. In spring 2009, UALR adopted the Computerized Adaptive Placement, Assessment, and Support System (COMPASS) as an appropriate assessment tool for admission. This instrument is advantageous for UALR students, for, when a student completes COMPASS, diagnostic testing is available to identify areas of weakness, allowing a student to concentrate on the areas of identified deficiencies in order to build skills in preparation for a subsequent retest with COMPASS. Implementation of COMPASS has been a particular benefit for GED students. Retention and Graduation Rates Among the biggest challenges facing UALR are its retention and graduation rates, both of which are low. UALR’s full-time freshman-to-sophomore retention rate in Fall 2008 was 62%, placing UALR 13th among the 15 peer institutions identified in UALR Fast Forward. UALR’s six-year graduation rate for the 2002- 2008 cohort of first-time, full-time freshmen was 20.6%, the lowest among the four-year institutions in Arkansas and the lowest among the 15 peer institutions. While UALR does face some specific challenges in regard to retention and graduation rates because of its large number of nontraditional students who work and have families, the fact that UALR’s peer institutions, which have similar student clienteles, have stronger rates indicates that the institution can and must improve. In Fall 2007, Chancellor Joel Anderson asked Provost Belcher and Vice Chancellor Charles Donaldson to 10 review the findings of several UALR retention and student success studies conducted in recent years to identify retention strategies of particular promise for the University in its efforts to improve retention performance. In his December 2007 Retention Summit, Chancellor Anderson charged the university with implementing the six retention initiatives identified. The following is a status report of the implementation process. • Mandatory new-student orientation. Status: accomplished. The new-student orientation program has been expanded to include an online orientation program for those whose work and family schedules preclude participation in face-to-face sessions. • Required first-year experience course. Status: in progress. The Faculty Senate has passed legislation requiring that all first-time, full-time freshmen enroll in a first-year experience course beginning in Fall 2011. Appropriate first-year experience courses will be created and identified under the aegis of the Undergraduate Council during the 2010-2011 academic year. • Ensuring adequate seats to accommodate students needing developmental courses. Status: accomplished. Further, the university modified the developmental program to include intrusive advising and mentoring and learning community opportunities which incorporate PEAW 1300, a first-year experience course. Early comparisons demonstrate that students in this revised developmental program were retained from Fall 2009 to Spring 2010 at a rate higher than the retention rate for all first-time, full-time freshmen. Clearly this program is working. The developmental program operates under the supervision of the Academic Success Center. • Posting mid-term grades in all 1000- and 2000-level courses. Status: accomplished. The Faculty Senate passed legislation requiring all faculty teaching these courses to communicate mid-term grades to their students; thus, the legislation ensures some early warning of problems to students and course faculty. However, since posting grades in BANNER, the university’s data system, was not made a requirement, advisers may or may not have access to these data and therefore knowledge of a student’s academic problems. Without such knowledge, advisers do not know when a student needs extra support in order to successfully complete a course. Recording of these mid-term grades in BANNER needs to be required. • Strengthening advising and early declaration of a major (two retention initiatives being jointly implemented). Status: in progress. Because 70 percent of UALR students have transfer credit, the first step in implementing these two retention initiatives was to establish a transfer office to articulate transfer core credit effectively and consistently, a development which freed professional staff and faculty to focus on advising students on major requirements, and providing academic and professional mentoring. The Office of Transfer Student Services (OTSS) was established in April 2009 and, in its first year of operation, served 3039 students, a figure which includes articulating 5825 transfer adjustments for 1797 students. OTSS is also responsible for maintaining updated articulation agreements with Arkansas community colleges. Another priority for implementation of these two initiatives has been completing development of the Degree Audit, an electronic function which will facilitate the advisors’ work with students. Another improvement on the horizon is the implementation of a process by which departments will be able to approve students interested in their programs as pre-majors for advising purposes, thus facilitating earlier student contact with an advisor in the major department. Because many of these developments represent significant process changes, the task force leading implementation of these initiatives has created a training program for academic advisors to include information on using the Degree Audit, accessing advisor support systems, accessing student support services, and advising best practices. 11 In Summer 2010, Chancellor Anderson appointed a Retention Committee to propose an organizational structure that would result in an improved graduation rate. The Retention Committee recommended the creation of an Associate Vice Chancellor position designed to be the campus-wide champion for student success. While student success is everyone’s responsibility, the person in this position will lead the charge. The Associate Vice Chancellor for Student Success will report to the Provost. Campus Resources and Assistance UALR offers a variety of resources and continues to enhance a campus culture and environment designed to assist students as they pursue their educational goals. In response to the Chancellor’s six retention initiatives effort, the Faculty Senate granted authority to the Academic Success Center to overhaul the developmental program, beginning with developmental reading and writing. The Center established a contractual probation program that requires early completion of the developmental courses before proceeding into regular course work, intrusive advising, participation in learning communities, and completion of the First-Year Experience course. Early results show that the probationary contracts are successful in helping to retain students. This program has initially been limited to new students, but plans are currently underway to expand the program to students who go on academic probation. Intrusive advising and a prescriptive approach have shown great promise for the future. UALR also offers skills centers which assist students with specific challenges in mathematics, writing, and speech communication. The Department of Mathematics and Statistics has opened a second math lab in the last few years, allowing the two labs to concentrate on the distinct needs of specific groups of students. Mac I is a lab designed to help any student with math in any course, whether in the math department or not, and provides both computerized assistance and peer tutoring. The Mac II is a separate lab whose primary function is to work with developmental students as they navigate the ALEKS system, a self-paced computerized approach to developmental math. Students who complete the ALEKS system are successful in completing the developmental courses and college algebra. Another such center, the University Writing Center instructs its clients on basic computer literacy and collaborates with them on various writing projects. Finally the Communication Skill Center (CSC) works specifically to help students on campus to develop communication competence in a variety of areas, including active listening, impression management, presentation development, and assertive communication. Additionally, the CSC works closely with students who have high communication apprehension by providing them with personalized anxiety management strategies and training. Finally, the CSC serves as a tutor center for students enrolled in SPCH 1300, the university’s general education requirement for communication. The Division of Educational and Student Services has created and sponsors the African-American Male Initiative (AAMI), a student success program designed to empower, support, and assist African- American male students to increase retention and graduation rates among this, one of the most at-risk populations on our campus. High expectations, early interventions, and intrusive advising and interactions form the operational base of the program. The program mantra affirms "Failure is not an option!" The AAMI program design is multi-faceted. AAMI offers students the opportunity to participate in both professional and peer mentoring. AAMI student participants are assigned peer success advisors (PSAs), upperclassmen who have excelled academically and exemplified strong leadership skills. The PSAs work with their assigned students throughout their first year at the university. Further, student participants develop informal and formal mentoring relationships with professionals including faculty, staff and university alumni. AAMI designs and presents programs to 12 assist students with making the transition to college, understanding the institutional milieu, developing the necessary academic skills, and achieving success both inside the classroom and out. The Chancellor’s Leadership Corps (CLC) is a comprehensive program designed to develop and enhance the skills necessary to prepare each participant for assuming leadership positions on campus and beyond. CLC scholars receive $8,000 per year in scholarship aid, renewable up to $32,000 based on performance. UALR expanded the CLC program in Fall 2010 from 50 to 100 scholars and incoming scholars are required to live on campus. CLC scholars are required to complete 15 hours of service per semester during the fall and spring. In 2010, UALR began the development process for a new four-story building designed to bring the most often-used student services into one convenient location centrally located on campus and connected to the Donaghey Student Center by a pedestrian bridge. Student service offices in the Student Services One-Stop Building will include Veterans Affairs, Counseling and Career Planning Services, the Bursar’s Office, Admissions and Financial Aid, Records and Registration, Academic Advising, Cooperative Education, Transfer Student Services, and Testing and Student Life Research. By physically locating the services in one location, not only will students have convenient access to services, but also close proximity of the various services to one another will facilitate collaboration and partnership among the services themselves, further enhancing the student experience. Building Campus Community UALR Fast Forward clearly prioritizes the university’s commitment to a student-centered educational environment. A primary objective included strengthening the sense of community on campus, and the intervening years bear witness to the university’s efforts related to this objective. Several important examples follow. Additional student housing. One of the most significant contributions to building a campus community has been the construction of additional student housing. Historically a commuter institution, UALR opened its first residence hall in 1992. The university opened two apartment-style residence halls and a community building known as University Commons in Fall 2007. These private bedroom apartments have provided campus housing for an additional 320 residents. The residence halls have been at maximum capacity since Fall 2008, and there is a waiting list of students hoping to secure housing there. The Commons Building includes structured meeting space as well as several general socializing areas, and provides another programming venue. The growth in the number of campus residents has been accompanied by growth in leadership opportunities, student work options, and structured service activities which have facilitated a living/learning environment that has enriched the collegiate experience and enhanced the vitality of the campus life program. UALR is on track to add another 350 beds with the opening of two more residence halls in 2011. These pod-style units will emphasize community development among small groups of freshmen residents sharing lounges and study space. Designed to complement the other residence halls, the addition of this new housing option will provide a strong balance of facilities encouraging retention on campus as students mature and progress through their academic programs. Bailey Alumni and Friends Center. Since opening in 2002, the Bailey Alumni and Friends Center has become a hub of activity for UALR’s community. The Bailey Center hosts over 200 events annually which includes a wide range of functions including departmental advisory board meetings, donor receptions, and student organization gatherings. Additionally, it serves as home to the UALR Alumni 13 Association, the Office of Community Engagement, and the University District Development Corporation. Thus, the Bailey Center is not only a catalyst for building the campus community, but also a facility which bridges the institution’s internal and external communities. UALR Athletics. With the opening of the 5,600-seat Jack Stephens Center in November 2005, UALR Basketball returned to campus for the first time in 30 years. Longtime Little Rock businessman and philanthropist Jackson T. Stephens donated $22.4 million to the construction of the facility. Measuring 149,000 square feet, the Jack Stephens Center features a full-court practice gym named after UALR alumnus Derek Fisher, an academic support center complete with 23 computer terminals, a first-class weight room, an athletic training room, locker rooms for basketball and volleyball, and a NIKE team store. In addition, the arena houses the offices for the men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball coaches, as well as the athletics administration and support staff. In addition to sporting events, the Jack Stephens Center also hosts numerous campus and community events, including UALR commencement exercises and several high school graduations, thus bringing families and potential students to campus. Like the Bailey Center, then, the Jack Stephens Center serves both as a key player in building campus community and as an outreach arm of the university to the external community. UALR will begin construction during the 2010-2011 year of a new Recreation and Sports Complex for track and field and soccer. The facility will provide a home for the seven UALR sports which currently train and play at off-campus facilities as far as a 25-mile round trip from campus. The new facility will also enhance intramural athletics opportunities. These new facilities are providing appropriate homes for UALR’s sports programs and their excellent student-athletes who achieve at a high level not only on the fields of play, but in the classroom as well. UALR has over 180 student-athletes that compete in fifteen sports. Collectively this group has a combined grade point average of 3.24 with 65 percent earning a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better. Currently UALR Athletics boasts an 89 percent freshman graduation rate for all full-time entering freshmen who remained at UALR and used four seasons of eligibility, a rate measured over a ten-year period. UALR’s teams and student-athletes have experienced impressive athletic success as well. Women’s basketball has quickly entered the national scene. In 2010 – only 11 years after the reinstatement of women’s basketball, Coach Joe Foley and the women’s basketball team made their debut in the NCAA Tournament and advanced to the second round after defeating Georgia Tech. Men’s basketball, under Coach Steve Shields, has won four conference division championships in the last seven years. UALR’s men’s cross country won the Sun Belt Conference championship in both 2007 and 2010. Women’s cross country won the conference championship in 2005. In 2007, student-athlete Whitney Kerth won the Sun Belt Conference individual championship in women’s cross country. In addition, Kerth received the prestigious Academic All-American award twice while playing at UALR. Men’s and women’s golf have produced two individual conference champions. In 2005, Patrick Sullivan represented the men’s program as the individual Sun Belt Conference champion. Mallory Fraiche followed in 2009 as the women’s individual conference champion. Finally, the indoor and outdoor track and field programs have seen numerous individual championships since 2004. Twenty-one UALR student-athletes have won conference championships in men’s and women’s competition. Among these is Chris Johnson who was honored as a two-time individual Sun 14 Belt Conference champion in 2005. Johnson went on to place sixth in the nation at the NCAA Championship in the 100-meter event. EXTERNAL ENGAGEMENT UALR’s commitment to the public it serves is one of the university’s defining characteristics. UALR was founded as Little Rock Junior College in 1927 to meet the educational needs of the community, and, in the intervening 83 years as the university has grown and evolved from junior college to doctoral research university, the breadth and scale of its public service agenda has grown and evolved as well. What follows are representative examples of noteworthy external engagement activities from the UALR Fast Forward years. University District Revitalization of the University District has emerged as a significant priority for UALR. Planning efforts with neighborhoods surrounding the university culminated in 2007 with the articulation of a revitalization plan, focused on physical improvements, and a strategic plan for the district which addresses nine key planning areas: historic character, housing, public safety, education, economic development, environmental quality, cultural identity, human services, and technology. A number of projects have focused on specific needs, including these. • Education. Public schools in the University District are among the lowest-performing in Little Rock. In an effort to improve educational opportunities for children in the University District, UALR established in 2009 the University District Educational Network (UDEN). Under the auspices of the UDEN, UALR led a team of partners, including Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the Central Arkansas Library System, the City of Little Rock, the Little Rock School District, and New Futures for Youth, in submitting a central Little Rock proposal to the U.S. Department of Education for participation in the Promise Neighborhoods Program, which is modeled on the successful Harlem Children’s Zone in New York. UALR received notification in early Fall 2010 that its proposal was one of 21 out of approximately 350 applications nationwide to be funded. University District schools will be a focus of this significant project. • Housing. The University District Development Corporation (UDDC) began operation in 2008 and has received approval from the City of Little Rock HOME Program for rehabilitation and/or construction of six units of affordable housing within the University District/Community Housing Development Organization (CHDO) area. When completed, each unit will be sold to first-time homebuyers. In addition, during 2010, the UDDC received funding through the Special Needs Assistance Program (SNAP) of the Federal Home Loan Bank Board to make repairs costing up to $5,000 to owner-occupied single family houses. SNAP funds are available to owner-occupants who are elderly or disabled and fall within the income guidelines of the program. • Little Rock Neighborhood Leadership Training. Originally known as the Neighborhood Leadership Academy, Little Rock Neighborhood Leadership Training has continued to thrive in recent years. A partnership program with the city of Little Rock, this program has presented classes on topics ranging from community gardens and neighborhood crime watch to community development and drug abuse prevention over the last ten years. Recently, the program has launched six-week neighborhood training programs focused on such topics as interpersonal communication, strategic planning, meeting management, working with City Hall, communications/working with media, public safety and crime prevention, and grant writing and fundraising. 15 Children International Established in 1994, the UALR Children International partnership celebrated its 15th anniversary in Spring 2010. Designed to provide educational enrichment, health and dental care, and family assistance for underserved kindergarten through high school students in the Little Rock School District, the UALR Children International program has served more than 35,000 students through after-school programs, summer business and leadership camps, and leadership training. Children International is a child sponsorship organization headquartered in Kansas City, Missouri, which provides benefits to over 335,000 children in eleven countries. Over the last sixteen years, Children International has donated more than $13 million in support of UALR Children International, the only U.S. affiliate. The growth and development of the UALR Children International’s Future Smiles Dental Program is one of the highlights of recent years. The program provides comprehensive dental services to thousands of children each year. The Future Smiles Dental Clinic is the only school-based dental clinic in Arkansas and has provided 5,722 patient visits since 2005. The clinic is the result of partnerships with Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the UAMS Department of Hygiene, Pulaski Technical College’s Dental Assistant Program, and 13 other public and private agencies. Since 2004, $1 million has been raised to support the dental program. Community/Academic Partnerships Academic programs at UALR have cultivated a wide variety of relationships with community partners over the years. The following examples offer a glimpse of significant developments on this front in recent years. UALR and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). These sister institutions in the UA System have a long relationship which has grown significantly within the context of UALR: Fast Forward. Faculty members from the two institutions are engaged in significant joint research projects, and the institutions are pursuing a Memorandum of Understanding to facilitate collaborative efforts involving intellectual property and patent protection. UALR and UAMS have inaugurated four new joint degree programs since 2004: the M.S. and Ph.D. in Bioinformatics, the Doctor of Audiology, and the Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders, a consortial degree which also includes the University of Central Arkansas. And, with support from the city of Little Rock, the two are pursuing the creation of the Central Arkansas Research and Technology Park which will strengthen the economic development agenda of attracting, supporting, and retaining business and industry in Little Rock. UALR and Pulaski Technical College (PTC) have worked to build a stronger relationship through several cooperative ventures. UALR has placed a full-time advisor on the PTC campus to advise students wishing to matriculate to UALR. The Office of Recruitment hosts special recruitment programs for PTC students. Senior academic and educational and student services leaders from the two campuses regularly meet to ensure good communication about new programs, policy development, and other related topics. The Department of Engineering Technology developed a Bachelor of Applied Technology degree to offer A.A.S. students in specific tracks at PTC a path to a four-year degree. And individual UALR departments have built programmatic relationships with the corresponding PTC departments to facilitate communication. PTC is UALR’s largest feeder institution. UALR and the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. UALR, the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, and UAMS have served as the three parent institutions for the Clinton School of Public Service in its start-up years. UALR has played a particularly important role, assisting the Clinton School with information technology, financial aid, and other infrastructural issues. UALR faculty has regularly 16 taught courses in the Clinton School curriculum, and the Clinton School hired long-time UALR professor, Dr. Mike Hemphill, to serve as its first permanent associate dean. UALR annually hosts the entering class of Clinton School students for orientation to UALR services and to UALR faculty with whom they may wish to study in their elective coursework. The UALR Bowen School of Law, in cooperation with the Clinton School, established the joint JD/Master of Public Service degree, a unique program which has proved to be a popular educational option for Clinton School students. UALR and Concurrent Enrollment. UALR has developed a concurrent enrollment program within state guidelines which provides high school students the opportunity to enroll in university courses that are taught solely by a high school faculty member who meets the qualifications for teaching as determined by the university’s academic department in which the course is offered. UALR has developed a significant concurrent enrollment program, partnering with 13 high schools in five counties and offering credit in 38 courses in 12 academic departments to approximately 1100 students. UALR and the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts. UALR has developed a unique concurrent enrollment program for students attending the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts (ASMSA), the only high school in the UA System—an advanced placement residential school located in Hot Springs, Arkansas. UALR works with the faculty of the school to determine standards for concurrent enrollment classes, teaches some of those classes, and works with school faculty to assess the outcomes of the students enrolled in the concurrent classes. This collaboration has resulted in the matriculation of a significant number of ASMSA graduates to UALR after their high school graduation. Indeed, for most of the last several years, UALR has enrolled more ASMSA graduates than any other institution of higher education. UALR and the Central Arkansas Library System: Arkansas Studies Institute. UALR has partnered with the Central Arkansas Library System (CALS) to create a joint collection of manuscripts, archival materials, and books related to Arkansas history, culture, and politics at the Arkansas Studies Institute (ASI) in the River Market area of downtown Little Rock. As part of this venture, UALR has relocated its archives to the ASI and assigned responsibility for leadership of UALR’s participation in ASI activities to Dr. Deborah Baldwin, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences who now also serves as Associate Provost for the ASI. Long-range goals of UALR’s partnership with CALS via the ASI include developing and implementing an active and appropriate collections program to enhance combined historical Arkansas holdings, timely processing of holdings to provide hardcopy and electronic access, and designing, in collaboration with our CALS colleagues, a series of lectures, seminars, conferences, and exhibits appropriate to the purposes of the ASI. UALR and the Sequoyah National Research Center. The Sequoyah National Research Center (SNRC) has grown into a much more comprehensive research facility because of its progress in cataloging its archives collections and its increased ability to serve its patrons in the last five years. One of the most significant recent developments has been the relocation of the SNRC to renovated space in the University Plaza, a move which has greatly expanded work space for staff, researchers, interns, students, and volunteers, and provided additional space for documents storage. In addition, the new space is home to the J. W. Wiggins Gallery, a showcase for the Dr. J. W. Wiggins Collection of Native American Art which became a part of the Center in 2004, thanks to the generosity of Dr. Wiggins. The Center now hosts classes and seminars and maintains programs that include an annual symposium, summer internships for Native undergraduate students, expanded undergraduate research, and development of databases and other research tools that provide access to the content of the Center’s archives, the largest collection of Native thought and expression in the world. In 2009, the word “National” was 17 added to the Center’s name, more accurately describing how the Sequoyah National Research Center is viewed by scholars and Indian communities throughout the nation. UALR, the U.S. Geological Survey/Arkansas Water Science Center (USGS), and Central Arkansas Water (CAW) signed a memorandum of understanding on June 30, 2008, which established the Central Arkansas Watershed Center of Excellence (CAWCE). The purpose of CAWCE is to provide a location and facility for university faculty and students, primary and secondary educators and students, interested federal, state, and local natural resource agencies and the general public to conduct research and educational programs that promote public awareness of central Arkansas ecosystems, water resources and source water protection. The four primary CAWCE programs are: 1) The Limnology Program, a science-based monitoring, research, and information gathering program that will provide long-term observations of water quality and management strategies for lake, reservoir, and stream protection in central Arkansas; 2) The Water Science and Engineering Program, a research program that encompasses the scientific investigation of water quality/quantity issues as they relate to source security of drinking, agricultural and industrial water supplies, and the engineering processes that can be developed to enhance security; 3) The Watershed Stewardship Program, a community-based program designed primarily to educate the public about conservation, preservation, and stewardship issues of particular water bodies and ecosystems within the central Arkansas region; and 4) The Research and Educational Outreach Program, a program that will develop research and outreach opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students in limnology, hydrogeology, and watershed science and that will communicate stewardship goals and research results to the community by working with local teachers and citizens on science education workshops and citizen-based watershed projects. UALR Theatre Arts and Dance Department and the Arkansas Repertory Theatre. The Theatre Arts and Dance Department maintains a partnership with the Arkansas Repertory Theatre (the Rep), the only professional, not-for-profit League of Resident Theatres (LORT) theatre in Arkansas. This relationship provides UALR students the opportunity to see and participate in professional theatre and to develop an understanding of the regional theatre movement’s place in the cultural concerns of the country. Activities extend from attendance at workshops to working alongside the Rep’s creative and administrative staff. Students provide assistance in the operation of the theatre and receive hands-on experience in return. UALR and Outreach Centers. UALR has a wide-variety of outreach programs which have made significant contributions to our city and state for many years. Among these are four outreach centers which have had particular impact: • The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC) is a University- based economic development program which provides assistance to entrepreneurs and small businesses throughout Arkansas via a statewide network of seven offices. UALR hosts the lead ASBTDC office. As the state's premier business assistance program, the ASBTDC is dedicated to helping small businesses achieve success and to promoting economic development throughout the state. Economic impact studies for the most recent five-year period indicate significant success, including increased sales of over $500 million, 5,564 new jobs, and 3,465 jobs retained in businesses assisted by the ASBTDC. ASBTDC clients obtained over $240 million in financing for their businesses during the same five-year period. • The Institute for Economic Advancement (IEA) was founded in 1955 as the research and support arm of the Arkansas Economic Development Commission and has been a part of UALR since 1982. Current IEA initiatives include the Disaster Recovery and Response Plan for the State 18 of Arkansas, which focuses on community support of business and industry operations; a statewide Innovation Clusters plan and analysis; a labor analysis for southeast Arkansas; a tax structure study for Texarkana; and a Little Rock-North Little Rock-County Metropolitan Statistical Area Regional Strategies effort. • MidSouth (established in 1973) is the School of Social Work’s outreach unit that provides statewide training and professional services. In the last five years, 632,635 participant training hours were provided for professionals who work in such areas as child welfare, mental health, substance abuse, health, law enforcement, and education, and for non-professionals such as foster and adoptive parents. During this period, MidSouth conducted 1,660 foster home studies and trained 5,901 potential foster and adoptive parents. • Formally established in 1990, the Institute of Government (IOG) seeks to improve the quality of public service and public management throughout the state of Arkansas through education, applied research, and training. Significant IOG developments and accomplishments in recent years include: o The addition of graduate certificate programs in Nonprofit Management and Conflict Resolution. o The IOG survey unit’s implementation of the annual racial attitudes survey, since its inception in 2004, and the accompanying conference during which the survey results are released and discussed. o The creation of the Center for Public Collaboration which engages in statewide efforts to improve public dialogue and deliberation on such topics as racial reconciliation, immigration issues, and water resource policy. o The creation of the Center for Nonprofit Management which supports a variety of outreach efforts to support the nonprofit community and which published the Economic Impact of the Nonprofit Sector report. In addition, IOG continues to host the Arkansas Public Administration Consortium (APAC), a multi-university program for state, local, and nonprofit leadership training, providing specialized certificates in public, volunteer, and local government management to over 1000 participants per year. University Report for the Community: Breaking the Crime Chain – making Pulaski County safe Because of concern over public safety in Pulaski County, numerous persons approached UALR Chancellor Joel Anderson requesting that the university study the situation and offer recommendations. Chancellor Anderson appointed the Public Safety Task Force, choosing experts from a variety of disciplines and asking Chancellor Emeritus Charles E. Hathaway to chair the Task Force. Dr. Anderson charged the Task Force to review the current situation, how it came to pass, and, if possible, to create a report with recommendations which would helpfully lead to a lasting solution. The resulting document, Breaking the Crime Chain – making Pulaski County safe, released in 2006, detailed 16 recommendations which have guided county leaders in taking appropriate actions to improve the manner in which they conduct the business of the county and assure public safety in Pulaski County. The Quorum Court has consistently operated in a more open and business-like manner and has invested regularly in public safety, particularly in the county jail. Facing Issues of Race and Ethnicity UALR has made significant strides in keeping its UALR Fast Forward pledge “…to be a keeper of the flame on the subject of race.” This pledge grows out of the point of intersection between the university’s location in the city where the 1957 Central High School desegregation crisis occurred and UALR’s commitment to be a leader in addressing community issues and challenges. 19 UALR’s annual racial attitudes survey has emerged as one of the most important vehicles in fulfillment of the institution’s pledge on race. Since 2003, the survey unit of the Institute of Government has conducted extensive surveys of black and white residents in Pulaski County, probing views of government, law enforcement, interpersonal relations, education, discrimination, economic opportunity, and crime within the framing context of race. Each spring the university hosts a conference for community and campus leaders to unveil the results of the annual survey and to generate related discussion. UALR is establishing an Institute on Race and Ethnicity which will assist the greater Little Rock community and the state in addressing issues of race through research, teaching, and activities that facilitate dialogue and the development of effective strategies to improve race relations. This Institute is the outgrowth of a great deal of work by the Chancellor’s Committee on Race and Ethnicity which has spent several years discussing the institution’s role in addressing issues of race and ethnicity. A strength of the Institute will be the faculty “Associates” affiliated with it from departments across the campus along with undergraduate and graduate students who will have opportunity for involvement in research projects and other Institute activities. The Donaghey Foundation has awarded UALR a three-year grant of $200,000 to help in launching the Institute. Office of Community Engagement The Office of Community Engagement is a nucleus of activity for a number of community service activities on campus. The following represent some important recent developments. • In 2009, the university received an Americorps Grant from the National Service Commission, a grant which funds 36 positions for UALR students to work on projects in the community, with particular focus on the university’s Children International and the University District programs. In the first year of the program, students engaged in a variety of activities including tutoring, mentoring, conducting research on community issues, and conducting needs assessments. Program funding was renewed for a second year in 2010. • The UALR Service Learning Scholars Certificate Program was developed to recognize students who are committed to service-learning throughout their college careers. This program provides a structured way of providing UALR students with quality service-learning opportunities that involve scholarly reflection. The program encourages students to take advantage of existing service-learning opportunities and encourages UALR programs to develop additional service- learning opportunities for students. The program received final approval in Spring 2009 becoming the first undergraduate certificate program at UALR. • In Summer 2008, the Office of Community Engagement established an annual Service-Learning Academy which has engaged 33 faculty from 18 different departments in the Academy’s three- year history. The Academy awards participants a stipend for completing the Academy and submitting a service-learning syllabus, and a second stipend for implementing the service- learning component in a course. Annual Community/University Book Discussion The Provost’s Office annually sponsors a book discussion opportunity designed to bring together faculty, professional staff, and community leaders to discuss books which have significant potential applications for universities and communities who seek partnerships to address contemporary challenges. Books discussed in recent years include: The Rise of the Creative Class, The Flight of the Creative Class, and The Great Reset by Richard Florida; The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell; The World is Flat and Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman; Edward Gordon’s The 2010 Meltdown: Solving the Impending Jobs 20 Crisis, and Making Reform Work: The Case for Transforming American Higher Education by Robert Zemsky. UALR Media Outlets UALR has enhanced two important media outlets in recent years. UALR Public Radio stations KUAR and KLRE moved into renovated facilities in the University Plaza in 2005, a move which afforded the stations with much larger, more appropriate, and more professional accommodations easily accessible to the general public. In July 2008, UALR announced a partnership with commercial broadcaster KATV and landowner Deltic Timber that would provide free tower space for UALR Public Radio on KATV’s new tower on Shinall Mountain. The value of the donation is estimated at $2.8 million over a 25-year period. Moving UALR Public Radio’s facilities to the new KATV site will provide several benefits including improved signal, energy savings, use of state-of-the-art transmitting facilities, access to a stand-by generator, and cost savings. In addition, UALR Public Radio has enhanced its staffing and continued to emphasize local programming to ensure sustained quality for the pubic it serves. UALR University Television (UTV) began operating with a full-time director and videographer in January 2008, and in the past two years has produced more than 350 local programs, including Inside Art, Center Stage, On Campus (a lecture series featuring UALR faculty and guest speakers invited to campus), UALR Shorts (five-minute videos showcasing UALR programs and events), and Home Fry-ed Movies, a monthly film appreciation program. UTV has brought music, art, dance, and lectures to the people of central Arkansas and provides a window for the community to learn more about the educational offerings at UALR. INFRASTRUCTURE The face of UALR has changed dramatically in the UALR Fast Forward years. From facilities, grounds, and technology to alumni programs, public relations, and external funding, UALR has undergone an impressive transformation which will form a strong foundation for future growth and development. Campus Physical Plant Change in UALR’s infrastructure is perhaps most notable in its facilities and grounds. The last six years have witnessed the following: • Purchase of the University Plaza Shopping Center (2004) and the accompanying 900-space parking lot. Much of this shopping center itself has been renovated to house such programs as the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, UALR Public Radio stations KUAR and KLRE, Applied Design, facilities for the Department of Construction Management, the Sequoyah National Research Center, TRIO Programs, and Public Safety. In addition, UALR renovated one of the property’s buildings located near Asher Avenue to create a Welcome Center for the university. • Construction of additional on-campus student housing. The two residence halls which opened in Fall 2007 doubled the number of beds available. An additional residence hall is currently under construction with the anticipated occupancy date scheduled for Fall 2011. • Construction of the Jack Stephens Center (2005), home to UALR Athletics and its basketball and volleyball programs. • Construction of the new building for the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (2010). 21 • Renovations of Stabler Hall, Department of Chemistry laboratories, the Communications Building, Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall, and the HVAC systems for Ottenheimer Library and the Bowen School of Law. • Purchases of 15 different properties within the approved acquisition area. • Demolitions of University Plaza buildings in the flood plain east of Campus Drive. These buildings have been replaced by the Trail of Tears Park (corner of Asher Avenue and Campus Drive on the south, a location actually bordering the Trail of Tears), anticipated to be substantially complete by Spring 2011. Trail of Tears Park is the first of a string of three park-like settings which will eventually stretch from Asher Avenue on the south to 20th Street on the north and which will be collectively known as the Coleman Creek Greenway. In 2005, UALR unveiled its Campus Master Plan, a document designed to guide the institution toward optimal use and development of campus facilities and grounds in alignment with the institution’s mission and goals. Public Safety While statistics have long revealed UALR to be one of the safest campuses in Arkansas, the February 2008 non-fatal shooting of a UALR student and similar incidents at institutions around the country prompted ongoing, campus-wide attention to issues of public safety. Chancellor Anderson appointed the Chancellor’s Special Committee on Campus Safety to assess the institution’s response to the incident, to undertake a broader review of campus policies and practices related to campus safety, and to make recommendations to enhance campus safety based on the information gathered in their assessment. The committee consisted of the Vice Chair of the UALR Board of Visitors, the Director of Community Health for Baptist Health, the Special Agent in Charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Little Rock Field Office, the Little Rock Police Chief, the Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Criminal Justice at UALR, and the Chair of the Department of Speech Communication – a well-qualified group to evaluate and make recommendations regarding campus safety. The committee’s final report concluded that the University’s response to the shooting was professional and well-managed at all levels. The shooting was recognized as an isolated incident and the campus was deemed to be a safe environment. However, the committee made recommendations to enhance the safety of the campus that included physical changes to the campus, staffing, communication, planning, and an emphasis on the University District. The physical changes, staffing, and communication issues have been implemented and included installation of gates in parking lots 12 and 15 and on the south end of Campus Drive, implementation of an outdoor notification system to warn the campus community about emergency situations, implementation of text-message and telephone alert systems for emergency situations, and addition of Public Safety and Facilities Management personnel. The planning and University District recommendations are in progress. In Fall 2006, UALR eliminated reserved parking in all gated lots, except those associated with student housing, and implemented a practice of allowing any person with a valid UALR identification card to use the card to access any gated parking lot after 4:00 p.m., an action which has been instrumental in enhancing the safety and convenience of students, faculty, and other patrons engaged in night classes and other evening activities. Technology 22 UALR has made great strides in developing its technological infrastructure during the UALR Fast Forward years. Among the most significant steps forward has been UALR’s connection to the Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network (ARE-ON), a network which links Arkansas’s 11 public 4-year universities to a national system which is empowering research faculty through advanced cyber infrastructure and teaching faculty with significant increases in bandwidth. UALR’s linkage with ARE-ON provides a 10Gb connection to Internet2. Two critical infrastructure investments made the ARE-ON connection possible: the campus fiber upgrade, which brought new single-mode fiber to most buildings on campus replacing the 25-year-old multi-mode fiber plant, and the core network equipment refresh, which allowed the campus to achieve 20Gb speeds to most UALR buildings and provided much needed device and link redundancy. Other technology advances in recent years include the following: • The upgrade of Banner to version 8.x. • The design and implementation of an online admissions application. • Implementation of electronic personnel action forms. • Development of management information dashboards for student services, financial aid, and human resources. • Implementation of a campus master calendar. • The outsourcing of e-mail to Google. • Initiation of a project management office. • Enhancement of the Curriculum Advising and Program Planning (CAPP) process to improve student advising. • The upgrading of Learning Management System from WebCT to Blackboard 8. • Creation of an automated new student orientation registration process for newly admitted students. • Creation of a new process for students to be pre-admitted into majors to enable earlier connections with faculty and peers in students’ chosen fields of study. • Improvement of the campus datacenter with reorganization of hardware and increased redundancy by installing a generator, new UPS, and failover network. Public Relations and Marketing UALR has strengthened its advertising campaign in recent years in order to raise awareness of the educational opportunities and programs it offers. The Choose the Difference campaigns of 2003-2004 focused on reasons for attending UALR, including outstanding faculty, outstanding programs, and financial aid. In 2006, the university increased its attention to television advertising, producing a series of 15-second Ripple Effect advertisements which illustrated the long-range, positive impacts UALR has in the lives of students, citizens, and the economy. In 2007, the university launched the Wow Campaign to highlight academic programs, study abroad opportunities, and campus life activities. Only at UALR – Only in Little Rock is the latest and current campaign and emphasizes the one-of-a-kind opportunities that UALR students can experience because of our location in the state’s capital. Since 2007, the advertising campaigns have created a consistent television presence for UALR, and a strong media relations program has created even more awareness of the institution through increased news coverage. UALR Alumni Association 23 The UALR Alumni Association has experienced notable growth in the past five years thanks to renewed emphasis given to the cornerstone of its mission - assisting students. Dedicated to giving students a leg- up and its graduates a foot in the door, the Association works to promote UALR and serve its alumni. Association membership has doubled (from around 1,200 to over 2,500) from 2005-2010 and aims to reach a goal of 3,000 members by June 30, 2011. Scholarship dollars raised through the Association have increased by over 1000% - from less than $5,000 in 2006 to over $50,000 in 2010. The growth in membership has led to increased attendance at signature events like Taste of New Orleans and new program offerings like Burgers at Bailey hosted at the Bailey Alumni and Friends Center early each fall semester. These opportunities and the newly formed Washington, D.C. Alumni Chapter, the Sun Belt Basketball Tournament Alumni Champagne Brunch, and other travel packages to venues where the University is involved like the 2010 NCAA Tournament in Oklahoma City, OK, offer personal and professional networking, advance a culture of giving and support, and wherever possible involve students in our quest to educate them about the importance of lifelong engagement with their alma mater. The growth of the Alumni Association is a credit to donors, dedicated volunteers and the Alumni Board of Directors who have brought the Alumni Association’s scholarship endowment halfway toward reaching an important $500,000 milestone. Once that goal is reached, the Association will award 26 scholarships to UALR students on an annual basis. External Funding Federal and State Assistance. UALR has realized significant growth in funding for critical initiatives and research from federal and state sources since 2003. In addition to the university’s regular appropriation, UALR has received over $7.5 million from the state for the UALR Nanotechnology Center, and Governor Mike Beebe allocated $5.5 million toward the construction of the EIT building. At the federal level, UALR has received over $17 million in earmarks since 2003 for UALR research programs and departmental initiatives. Programs across the campus have received critical funding for research around areas of national and state needs including energy, earthquake monitoring, juvenile justice, information quality, cyber security, nursing, small business, and transportation. Development. A 2005 campaign feasibility study resulted in the recommendations to proceed with a comprehensive campaign and to build the needed infrastructure to staff such a campaign. The consultant firm Benz, Whaley and Flessner recommended a $75 million campaign seeking student, program, faculty, and facility support. The university began immediately to build the necessary infrastructure (planning, software, databases, staff, volunteers, training, research, case statement, priority needs and policies) while simultaneously launching the campaign. UALR reached the campaign goal in 5 ½ of its planned 7-year window. The UALR Office of Development has processed 78,752 gifts and pledges from 16,014 distinct donors. Campaign giving highlights are numerous and include these 7-figure commitments: • A special $5 million EIT building commitment from the Donaghey Foundation. • $6 million from the Trinity Foundation to support the inclusion of mechanical and electrical engineering options in the B.S. in Systems Engineering. • $2.8 million from KATV supporting UALR Public Radio. • $3 million from the Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation supporting nursing scholarships. 24 • $6.8 million in continuing support from Children International. • $1 million from Bill and Connie Bowen for an unrestricted endowment for use by the Dean of the William H. Bowen School of Law. • $1 million from the Sturgis Foundation funding a chair for the Nanotechnology Chief Scientist. • $1 million from the Schueck Family Foundation endowing the EIT Dean Chair. • $1.9 million from PepsiAmericas providing unrestricted staff and student support. In addition, UALR’s Campus Campaign ranks as one of the best such programs in the country with faculty and staff participation at or near 50% annually. UALR also now has a robust planned giving program with $6.5 million in new expectancies, and UALR has just completed its first full year of annual giving activity. Endowed scholarship accounts have grown from 163 to 275 in just 5 years with annual awards approaching $1 million. In addition, UALR has grown a large and successful portfolio of annual fundraising events including SpectacUALR (athletics), Finale (Arts), Blue Jeans and Birkenstocks (Social Work), the annual Taste Of event (alumni), Jazz and Juleps (Audiology and Speech Pathology), Distinguished Alumni Events (William H. Bowen School of Law and the College of Business), and the James H. Fribourgh Award event (the College of Science and Mathematics). Other recent and successful one-time events include The Gathering (Ottenheimer Library), an Evening with Diane Rehm (UALR Public Radio), and the 10th Anniversary of the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology. In light of the early achievement of its comprehensive campaign goal, UALR, with the advice of UALR’s campaign consultants, Bentz Whaley Flessner, and from the Comprehensive Campaign Steering Committee, has extended its campaign goal to $100 million. CONCLUSION The University of Arkansas at Little Rock has made remarkable strides within the context of UALR Fast Forward. Of course, challenges remain, and new priorities are emerging. These will form the foci for the next iteration of the university’s strategic plan.
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