ASU Board Hears Campus Updates on Enrollment Trends, Job Training Programs
MOUNTAIN HOME, Ark. — The Arkansas State University System Board of Trustees today heard updates on campus enrollment trends and projects related to job training growth at its two-year colleges.
Dr. Charles L. Welch, president of the system, said long-term strategic planning work is under way on all campuses and he expects to report on those plans soon.
Welch also said the new ASU System office in Little Rock should be completed by Dec. 1. The sixth floor of the 501 Building across from the State Capitol is being renovated for office and conference space.
Arkansas State Chancellor Tim Hudson reported that the campus enrollment mix has changed positively since the board took steps to raise academic standards. Average ACT score is a record 24, he said, and a record number of students are enrolled in the Honors College with an ACT average of 29.
"Over the last five years, 2,700 students were not admitted who would have previously qualified," Hudson said. "But our remediation rate has been cut in half, and our retention rate is much higher. The intention to move the campus to a different mix is working, and we have the largest freshman class in history since we changed the standards."
Trustees attended the dedication of the new ASU-Mountain Home Technical Center and toured the facility, which will enhance training opportunities for students in areas such as welding, auto mechanics, electronics and air conditioning technology. ASUMH Chancellor Robin Myers said the college renovated a former auto dealership facility and equipped it in part using state funding secured by state Rep. Karen Hopper, R-Mountain Home.
ASU-Beebe Chancellor Eugene McKay reported on the expansion of the John Deere mechanics training program and expressed appreciation for the company's continued support. "We have over $1 million of equipment on campus at any time for the students to work on," he said.
ASU-Newport Chancellor Sandra Massey said she was pleased with 22 percent enrollment growth this fall. She noted strong growth in concurrent enrollment, which is important for the campus to transition students into technical education and careers.
In other business, the Board:
• Approved the sale of 2.93 acres on McClellan Drive in Jonesboro to Centerline LLC for $126,846 in a transaction related to a previous bid.
• Authorized a $1.8 million chilled water plant project on the Jonesboro campus to provide energy and operational savings, provide building growth on the northeast campus quadrant and eliminate smaller, inefficient chillers.
• Approved revisions to the system's early retirement benefits policy.
• Approved a $50 application fee for the Study Abroad Program at A-State to cover the costs of the application process.
• Agreed to a contract with Arkansas State University CQ, A.C. that reflects a name change in the foundation that is developing the Queretaro campus. There were no changes in the terms of the agreement, Welch said, and the university looks forward to the 2016 opening.
# # #