ASU System Trustees Hear Upbeat Fall Enrollment Reports from Campuses

MOUNTAIN HOME — Enrollment gains are being reported on most Arkansas State University System campuses for the fall semester, System President Chuck Welch told the Board of Trustees today during its regular meeting on the ASU-Mountain Home campus.

“I’m really pleased with where we are,” Welch said, “especially in the middle of a major admissions software conversion. Most of our campuses haven’t reached census date yet. When we talk about enrollment advances, much of it is because of the creativity occurring on our campuses and adherence to the missions we have.”

Welch said Henderson State University has reported 11th-day enrollment and he was encouraged by the numbers.

“Considering all they have been through — including radical changes in curriculum — being up in first-time freshman students and graduate students is remarkable,” Welch said. “We expect Arkansas State to be up in first-time freshmen and overall, as well.”

He also noted the ongoing growth of technical programs at ASU System campuses and focus on workforce development. ASU-Mountain Home, for example, has grown from one technical program to seven since the arrival of Chancellor Robin Myers. ASU-Newport Chancellor Johnny Moore said his campus is certifying 40 new truck drivers monthly or 480 during the past year as the largest community college training program in the state.

Trustees welcomed Dr. Todd Shields to his first meeting as the new chancellor at Arkansas State. He shared a video highlighting the work of A-State students whose research project was recently launched by NASA to the International Space Station.

Henderson Chancellor Chuck Ambrose said faculty opened the fall semester with “incredible resolve” to serve students. He also acknowledged cooperative efforts of other ASU System campuses to partner for academic delivery and various shared services.

Welch said partnerships are a key element of the Reimagine Henderson initiative and there are other partnerships being discussed.

“It’s a multiyear project and this is year zero,” Welch added. “We do expect an increase in days of cash on hand for Henderson. The Higher Learning Commission recently informed Chancellor Ambrose that it was removing the fiscal distress designation for the campus.”

In other business, the board approved resolutions to:

• Allow the sale of 30 acres of undeveloped, university-owned property between Browns Lane and Race Street in Jonesboro. The property will be appraised and advertised for sale to the public in accordance with state law, with proceeds used for strategic university purposes. Trustee Jerry Morgan of Jonesboro recused from the vote because of a possible conflict of interest with his role as chair of the Jonesboro Advertising & Promotions Commission, which has expressed interest in purchasing the property for a multi-sports complex.

• Proceed with the Caddo Center renovation capital project at Henderson to create a “one-stop shop” for student services. The second phase is being funded with a $1.4 million grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Commission.

• Amend A-State’s 2017 agreement with Arkansas State University Campus Queretaro to base the payment structure on credit hours, require A-State approval of the annual budget, and enhance communications and processes between the campuses.

• Proceed with a 7,350-square-foot, $1.4 million technical center expansion capital project at ASU-Mountain Home.

• Name Room 224 in the Neil Griffin College of Business building at A-State the “FORVIS AIS Lab” in recognition of its contributions to the accounting information systems program.

• Name the dining hall at Henderson the Malachi Smith Dining Hall in recognition of Smith’s historic contributions and service to the university for more than 40 years until his retirement in 1947.

• Offer an Associate of Applied Science degree, a Technical Certificate and a Certificate of Proficiency in Boat Manufacturing, as well as a Certificate of Proficiency in Commercial Truck Driving, at ASU-Mountain Home. The campus received a $500,000 Regional Workforce Grant to establish the truck driving program.

• Revise the ASU System employee tuition discount policy to include certain online degree programs.

• Update board policies related to faculty emeritus status and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

• Approve the ASU Mid-South Strategic Plan for 2022-2025.

• Adopt Henderson’s revised mission statement and affirm its strategic positioning platform.

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