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New Collaborations in Academics Will Better Serve Students


JONESBORO – With the start of the upcoming academic year, Arkansas State University reorganized its colleges into six new administrative units, paring down from nine major academic areas.  To coincide with the changes for A-State’s colleges, the Office of the Provost and the Division of Academic Affairs is also restructuring to meet the needs of current and future students.

“One of our guiding principles over the past two years in the reorganization of the academic units was the opportunity to group together areas, breaking down barriers for greater collaboration and synergy,” Provost Lynita Cooksey said.  “That inspired me to look at the administration side of our office.  Working with our professional staff and with the input of various other constituencies, we have put like things together to streamline our tasks.”

Beginning with the fall 2016 semester, Humanities and Social Sciences, Media and Communication, and Fine Arts merge into one college while Engineering rejoins Agriculture and Technology.  The two new colleges are closer in size to Arkansas State’s other areas of Business, Education and Behavioral Science, Nursing and Health Professions, and Sciences and Mathematics.

“This alignment creates new areas for academic collaboration and gains some efficiency for the overall campus,” Cooksey said. 

Similarly, the new leadership positions are created from existing job lines and consolidation of duties and resources from a position eliminated within the Office of Academic Affairs.

Cooksey divided the academic structure into two major areas, one focusing on administrative and planning areas and the other on student-related support and curriculum matters.

A senior associate vice chancellor for academic affairs will manage several direct report areas previously assigned to the provost as well as managing work to maintain the ongoing tasks of accreditation, graduate school policies and human resources as it relates to academic positions.  The senior associate VC also manages A-State Online, the state’s largest online education program; Global Initiatives, including Study Abroad and international educational agreements; Ellis Library, Heritage Sites and the Military Science Department.

“This new set of job requirements has a great impact on our graduate students and upon my ability to plan for our university’s future and identify new opportunities,” Cooksey said.  “The senior associate VC will manage policy that relates to graduate studies overall, but by returning more of the day-to-day decisions to the colleges we are putting our graduate program back into the hands of those who are closer to our graduate students.  Over the past couple of years, we’ve tasked one person with both management of graduate programs and overseeing our research areas.  At the same time, it allows us to refocus staff on the increasingly important task of locating and securing grants and other funding for undergraduate and graduate research.”

The newly reformatted associate vice chancellor for research position will oversee the university’s Office of Research and Technology Transfer, the Arkansas Biosciences Institute, and the Catalyst Center.

The position of assistant vice chancellor for institutional effectiveness, formerly known as the director of institutional research, will report to the senior associate VC.

“The growing need for synthesis of data to support our strategic planning decisions and the widening usage of data-base-driven information for student retention, such as the Starfish program, and in recruitment led us to expand the role and scope of our research office,” Cooksey said.

The university is currently conducting nationwide searches for these two positions in the Academic Affairs area.

The student and curriculum division is overseen by the associate vice chancellor for teaching and learning, Dr. Gina Hogue.  Recently the interim dean of the College of Education and Behavioral Science as well as associate vice chancellor for academic services, Hogue manages undergraduate and graduate curricula, program review and accreditation, the university’s K-20 initiative, the Arkansas State University Digital Press, ITTC and faculty development, and admissions.

Reporting to Hogue is assistant vice chancellor for undergraduate studies, Dr. Jill Simons.  Formerly dean of University College, Simons continues to oversee the university’s retention initiatives, The Learning Commons, Wilson Advising Center, adult learning and degree completion programs, concurrent enrollment, and high impact initiatives for student engagement.  She also manages the nationally acclaimed First-Year Experience program and will supervise the Honors College and Scholar Development programs.

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