Arkansas State Board Approves Plan to Partner With NYIT for Osteopathic Medical School
JONESBORO, Ark. — The Arkansas State University System Board of Trustees today approved a resolution that enables A-State to partner with the New York Institute of Technology for development of an osteopathic medical school on campus.
"This project is important as part of our mission to serve the Delta and the State of Arkansas," said Dr. Charles L. Welch, president of the system. "A study by Tripp Umbach determined we are in one of most underserved regions in the U.S. for health care and that this would be ideal location for such a medical school. We have identified a partner to do this in a first-class way."
NYIT's College of Osteopathic Medicine operates the second-largest D.O. school in the country and would establish a branch campus in Jonesboro, with the first students enrolling in August 2016. The NYIT Board of Trustees will consider the partnership at its March 14 meeting, then the schools will take steps with state agencies and the national accrediting board to seek approval.
"I can't say enough good things about this project, the NYIT administration and the impact this medical school will have on transforming this institution and region," Welch said. "I appreciate the leadership of Chancellor Tim Hudson, Vice Chancellor Jason Penry and the rest of our team for their work on this."
The D.O. school is one of two major projects being undertaken by the flagship campus, Welch said, adding that the Feb. 20 groundbreaking ceremony for a campus in Queretaro, Mexico, was also historic for the system.
Members of the delegation who attended the event described their observations for the board, and a video presentation showed activities that included about 2,000 business and government leaders in Mexico.
"If anyone had doubts about the quality of this project, that video should alleviate any concerns," Welch said.
Trustee Ron Rhodes said he was struck that "these people in Mexico are not only serious, but appreciative of Arkansas State. It was a warm, inviting group of people. Chancellor Hudson gave his presentation in Spanish, and attendees were grateful."
A-State Faculty Senate President Julie Isaacson said it was "an enriching trip" and she had "never been such a proud representative of the faculty of Arkansas State. Thank you for letting me help bring Arkansas State to the world."
"It's a big deal and transformative for Arkansas State," Hudson said. "The Red Wolves will be the best known university brand in Mexico for sure. The opportunities ahead for our students and faculty are tremendous."
Hudson and board Chairman Dan Pierce said the Mexico and D.O. school projects are very significant developments for A-State. "This is a game changer," said Pierce, adding that it will further elevate the prestige of the university.
Hudson and Isaacson said the Higher Learning Commission's reaccreditation of the A-State campus for the next 10 years was another positive development. They thanked Dr. Lynita Cooksey, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs, for her leadership in the process.
The board conferred Trustee Emeritus status to A-State alumnus Mike Gibson of Osceola, who served on the board for 10 years and as chairman twice, and paid tribute to his 40 years of service to the university.
"Mike's service epitomizes a board member," trustee Howard Slinkard of Rogers said. "All of us witnessed and participated in his service. We have all benefited. His legacy is his dedication to Arkansas State through the years in many capacity."
The board noted that during Gibson's tenure on the board, the ASU System's enrollment grew by 30 percent and the system more than doubled the number of diplomas awarded.
In other business:
• ASU-Beebe Chancellor Eugene McKay said its agriculture department was recently honored among the top two-year college programs in the country. Also, John Deere & Company won a national award for its training partnerships with two-year colleges, including ASU-Beebe, which has 49 students in its program.
• ASU-Mountain Home Chancellor Robin Myers reported he was "very encouraged" by a recent accreditation team visit for the college's funeral science program. The board approved an off-campus technical center in Mountain Home that will serve training needs in the region.
• ASU-Newport Chancellor Sandra Massey introduced two new vice chancellors, Dr. Martha Shull for academic affairs and Jacqueline Faulkner for student affairs. Massey noted that the college's hospitality services program experienced an 83 percent retention rate this spring.
• The board agreed to offer an optional voluntary retirement program to employees 62 years old or older with at least 15 years of service. Welch said it was an opportunity "to reward some long-term faculty and staff members while producing long-term cost savings to the university."
• The board approved resolutions to adopt a Capital Construction Project Approval Policy and to revise the system's Travel Expense Reimbursement Policy.
The meeting was the first for the board's newest trustee, Dr. Tim Langford of Little Rock, who was appointed by Gov. Mike Beebe to succeed Gibson.