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Revenue Outlook for Higher Education ‘Pessimistic,' Welch Tells ASU Board


SEARCY, Ark. — Arkansas State University System campuses are not likely to receive any new state funding and could lose substantial funding based on pending legislation before the Arkansas General Assembly, System President Charles L. Welch told members of the Board of Trustees at its meeting on the ASU-Searcy campus today.

“I remain pessimistic that we will get any of that new money," Welch said of Gov. Mike Beebe's recommendation of a $10 million increase for higher education. "The next few weeks will be critical for higher education.”

”Any diversion or cuts in general revenue would be highly problematic for us because it would shift more of the financial burden to our students and their parents,” Welch said.

Trustee Ron Rhodes of Cherokee Village encouraged administrators to develop a grassroots effort to oppose harmful legislation. 

“It seems to me we need a call to action from the higher education community — all the constituents who make up our customers," Rhodes said. "If we think it doesn't make a difference, we would be wrong.”

In other business:

• The Board approved resolutions for the Jonesboro campus to provide a utility easement to Jonesboro City Water and Light; to amend the Faculty Handbook of Policies and Procedures; to redirect one-time student library fee revenues; and to revise its list of programs of study designated as not eligible for tuition discount.

• The Board approved resolutions for ASU-Beebe to increase its meal plan rate for the first time since 2009 and to offer an emphasis in culinary within the Associate of Applied Science in Hospitality Administration.

Following an executive session, the Board approved several academic and non-academic appointments, including the following leadership positions on the Jonesboro campus: 

• Andy Sustich, vice provost for research and graduate studies.

• Gina Hogue, associate vice chancellor for academic services.

• John Pratte, dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics. 

• Anne Grippo, associate dean of the College of Sciences and Mathematics.

• Bryan Harsin, head football coach. 

• Kathryn Buckley, assistant dean of students.

• Carter Ford, assistant director of athletics and director of the Red Wolves Foundation.

Christopher Lee was appointed chief information technology officer at ASU-Beebe, and Candace Gross was appointed director of admissions at ASU-Newport. 
 Additional information about the resolutions and appointments may be found on the system website at www.asusystem.edu.