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Arkansas State University Trustees Hear Update On Wilson Hall Renovation, NYIT Medical School


WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. — Renovation of historic Wilson Hall on the Arkansas State University campus in Jonesboro is nearly complete and will serve a highly qualified first class of New York Institute of Technology College of Osteopathic Medicine students in August, Chancellor Tim Hudson reported to the ASU Board of Trustees at its meeting here Friday.

Hudson said a rededication event is scheduled June 2 to celebrate the opening.

“There was some doubt whether you could find qualified Arkansans in just two months,” Hudson said. “NYIT reached its 115-student capacity with a waiting list. Forty-seven of those are from Arkansas, and 17 are A-State graduates.”

He noted the medical school has been developed on an entrepreneurial basis without state funds and that NYIT will have nearly 50 faculty and staff when classes begin in August.

“From an economic development standpoint, this partnership has tremendous impact on our community,” Hudson said.

ASU System President Chuck Welch said the board will meet at 4 p.m. on June 1 at Arkansas State in Jonesboro to consider budget, tuition and fees requests for 2016-2017.

“One reason we’re not considering budget and tuitions today is that we didn’t know what appropriations would look like until a week ago,” Welch said. “All in all funding is flat, but we weren't cut. We had serious concerns about that up until the last day of the fiscal session.”

ASU Mid-South Chancellor Debra West described new partnerships with the Arkansas Department of Community Corrections and Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

Community Corrections is relocating a facility from Pine Bluff to former Crittenden County Memorial Hospital for low-level drug offenders. Mid-South will help train social workers and correction officers, and it will offer vocational training opportunities for facility residents.

“If you can get training and skills to them, they can turn their lives around,” West said.

Mid-South’s partnership with Arkansas Children’s Hospital will focus on building healthy families and target mothers with a grant from the Healthy Families American program. The campus will work to connect parents in the area with the Career Pathways program.

Valley View Adult Education, which serves Craighead County, will merge with ASU-Newport Adult Education effective July 1, Chancellor Sandra Massey told trustees. “We hope this will help increase participation and completion and create more pathways to college,” she added.

Massey said the Newport campus received approval earlier in the week for a pilot program through the Career Education Workforce Development Board. The campus will partner with four high schools for programs in welding, computer networking, diesel technology and nursing.

Chancellor Karla Fisher of ASU-Beebe said the nationally acclaimed John Deere mechanics-training program will add another instructor to meet growth demand. The program has also partnered with the city of Beebe to use John Deere equipment for community needs.

ASU-Beebe is launching a “Vanguard Academy” targeted at home school students to assist in career exploration and developing transcripts.

In other business, the Board:

  • Voted to confer Trustee Emeritus status to Charles Luter, who served on the board from 2011-2015.
  • Reaffirmed the System Weapons Policy, which disallows the carrying of a concealed handgun on university property. State law requires that the policy be readopted by the board each year if it continues.
  • Approved authority for A-State to dedicate additional rights of way for the University Loop Extension Project, which will allow for continued work on the Marion Berry Parkway span on the west side of campus.
  • Recognized its commitment to the Hemingway-Pfeiffer Museum and Educational Center as it seeks accreditation by the American Alliance of Museums.
  • Adopted a resolution renaming the A-State rugby facility Curt Huckaby Field in honor of his 14 years of service as the volunteer head coach of the rugby team, which is annually one of the top-ranked squads in the country.

    Following an executive session, the Board approved several academic and non-academic appointments.

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