The Connected Organization
- Service Mission of UALR
- UALR Fast Forward
- UALR On the Move
- Partners for Progress: Shaping the Future of the University District
- Campus Compact
- Office of Community Engagement
- Student Involvement in Service
- Disconnect: Faculty Perception about Student Service
- Commitments to Constituencies
- Identified Need: Access to Higher Education
- Serving Students with Transfer Credit
- Serving Students with Military Credit
- Partnering with Two-Year Colleges
- Serving High School Students: Concurrent Enrollment
- K–12 Partnerships: The Central Education Renewal Zone
- Collaboration with Other Universities
- The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research
- Clinton School of Public Service
- Collaborative Doctoral Programs
- Regional and State Economic Development
- Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center
- Institute of Economic Advancement
- Institute of Government
- Community Advancement
- Water Use Studies
- Study of Public Transportation
- Centers and Programs for Outreach
- Annual Survey of Racial Attitudes in Pulaski County
- Regional Cooperation
- Community Advancement
- Community Outreach
- KUAR and KLRE
- Channel 62
- Speakers Series and Panel Discussions
- Winthrop Rockefeller Distinguished Lecture Series
- 75th Anniversary Lecture Series
- College and Department Events
- Meeting the Educational Needs of Working Professionals
- College of Professional Studies
- College of Education
- College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
- Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology
- College of Science and Mathematics
- Welcoming the Community on Campus
- Philanthropic Activities of Staff and Students
- Administration, Faculty, and Staff Community Involvement
- Service to Professional Organizations
- Upon Reflection
As called for by its mission, the organization identifies its constituencies and serves them in ways both value.
- 5a The organization learns from the constituencies it serves and analyzes its capacity to serve their needs and expectations.
- 5b The organization has the capacity and the commitment to engage with its identified constituencies and communities.
- 5c The organization demonstrates its responsiveness to those constituencies that depend on it for service.
- 5d Internal and external constituencies value the services the organization provides.
Since becoming a state-funded institution in 1969, UALR has been committed to sharing its intellectual resources to help solve community problems and advance the metropolitan community.
Dr. G. Robert Ross, UALR Chancellor from 1973 to 1982, was an early proponent of the concept of “urban mission” at UALR. Under his leadership, UALR began to organize outreach units, such as a new Center for Urban and Governmental Affairs, and to modify policies to make it easier for faculty to engage in public service beyond the borders of the campus.
Dr. Charles Hathaway, UALR Chancellor from 1993 to 2002, enhanced the University’s role in the metropolitan area and Central Arkansas region. Before coming to UALR, Dr. Hathaway helped organize the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities177 and played an important role in drafting the new organization’s declaration of purposes, which noted that “[t]he public service function is particularly important for publicly supported urban colleges and universities. These institutions are partners in the economic, cultural, and social lives of the cities.”
The current Chancellor of UALR, Dr. Joel Anderson, also believes that the well-being of the University and the larger community are intertwined: as one advances or declines, so does the other. At his investiture in 2003, Chancellor Anderson reminded UALR and the Little Rock metropolitan community that
[W]e stand ready to work with the community in solving the pressing problems of our day. And more often than not, when we address the issues in our own backyard, we will be addressing issues of national significance, issues found in metropolitan regions around the nation…. Many of the most vexing problems of civilization in the 21st century are found in our nation’s metropolitan communities.
The commitment of the University to its constituents and the community continues to be woven into both infrastructure and policies. As described in Chapter 2, “Distinctive Organization,” all mission statements highlight the unique role of UALR in Arkansas to partner with local and state governments, organizations, and businesses to address economic, social, educational, health, and other needs.
The most recent UA Board of Trustees’ Role and Scope Statement for UALR states in part:
Because of its metropolitan location, UALR assumes a special role in relation to the needs of urban areas in modern society in its instruction, research, and public service programs. UALR recognizes and accepts that in the 21st century universities are critical to regional and state economic development… UALR is strongly committed to research and public service. Faculty engage in applied and basic research appropriate to their academic disciplines and in response to economic development needs and other state and regional needs… UALR’s public service mission is reflected in numerous outreach activities by individual faculty members, academic units, and a number of specialized units established to provide assistance and expertise to organizations and groups in the community and across the state.
Partnerships are very important to UALR for they enable the University to extend its reach, increase its effectiveness, and leverage its resources… UALR gives and receives benefit from partnerships with businesses, schools, governmental offices, neighborhood groups, cultural organizations, and nonprofit organizations (2006).
The Role and Scope Statement adopted by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board for UALR in 2008 states:
As the state’s metropolitan university, UALR has the responsibility for serving seven distinct populations, including the following:
- employers across the state, particularly in the region, both public and private, seeking well-educated employees, technical assistance, and applied research
- economic development interests and entrepreneurs in the region and across the state
- the community and area by providing a broad range of academic and cultural activities and public events
Adopted by the UALR Faculty Senate in 1988 and revisited during the strategic planning process in 2003–2004, the mission of UALR explicitly addresses community involvement:
Within this broad mission are the responsibilities to use quality instruction to instill in students a life-long desire to learn; to use knowledge in ways that will contribute to society; and to apply the resources and research skills of the [u]niversity community to the service of the city, the state, the nation, and the world in ways that will benefit humanity. (Emphasis added)
In addition, mission objectives recognize the diversity of the University’s constituents:
- Service to Society: The University has a responsibility to serve society through the application of knowledge and research skills. This responsibility includes applying the University’s resources to local, state, national, and international needs in order to improve the human condition.
- Accessibility: The University has a responsibility to serve the needs of a heterogeneous student population and to make its resources accessible to the general public and to local, state, national, and international groups. This responsibility includes creating opportunities for access to the University’s academic and other resources. (Adopted by the Faculty Senate, 1988) (Emphasis added)
As discussed in the Introduction, during the early- to mid-2000’s, UALR participated in three major environmental scanning initiatives that resulted in comprehensive planning documents: UALR Fast Forward, UALR On the Move, and Partners for Progress: Shaping the Future of the University District. All of these evaluation and planning efforts included wide participation by internal and external constituencies, and all three planning documents outline how UALR will serve its constituencies.
Much of what the University has achieved since 2006 was driven by the information gathered during the strategic planning initiative led by Provost Belcher. The Provost organized a process for broad participation of campus and community representatives. It included a 32-member steering committee, nine expanded subcommittees, standing campus committees, standing external advisory councils, and some 20 focus groups of faculty, staff, and students. The use of electronic discussion technology further broadened participation.
The planning committee included representatives from local and regional businesses and nonprofits including Entergy, Aristotle, Delta Trust Investments, Moses and Tucker Real Estate, Arkansas Rehabilitation Services, and the Little Rock School District, as well as county judges in Pulaski and Saline counties. UALR’s priorities related to serving constituencies and meeting state and regional needs are apparent in three of the eight goals and five of the eight pledges in UALR Fast Forward.
- Goal 3. UALR will continue to expand its graduate offerings to address regional and state needs.
- Goal 4. UALR will expand its research capabilities to support UALR’s academic mission and to strengthen regional and state economic development plans.
- Goal 5. UALR will provide exceptional service through partnerships and outreach activities.
- Pledge Three. UALR pledges active support of regional and state strategies to speed economic development.
- Pledge Four. UALR pledges to work in partnership with governmental entities and community organizations and groups to solve community problems and advance the community in other ways.
- Pledge Five. UALR pledges to be a keeper of the flame on the subject of race.
- Pledge Six. UALR pledges to be a keeper of the flame on the need for regional cooperation in Central Arkansas.
- Pledge Seven. UALR pledges to work as an active partner in revitalizing the University District, the area of the city immediately around the University.
For a year, on- and off-campus constituencies were involved in collaborative planning. Throughout the process, the consultant team met regularly with the UALR Campus Master Plan Update Committee, the Chancellor, and the Board of Visitors. At every stage, the campus and larger community were involved through a variety of forums, including workshops, neighborhood meetings, and public open houses. Concurrent planning for the campus and University District allowed for the seamless integration of ideas. Over 150 people—residents from surrounding neighborhoods, business owners, nonprofit leaders, school officials, and local governmental officials—took part in the process.
The resulting master plan update offers a ten-year vision for the physical development of the UALR campus and outlines specific actions to make the plan a reality. In keeping with UALR’s mission as a metropolitan university, the plan forges clear connections with the surrounding community, strengthening the University’s role as a cultural and economic resource to the region. The Campus Master Plan is discussed in more detail in Chapter 5, “Future-Oriented Organization.”
Partners for Progress: Shaping the Future of the University District resulted from the work of the University District Partnership. The steering committee, consisting of a coalition of neighborhood business, community, and institutional leaders, as well as city, regional, and state department and agency representatives, engaged in a long-term planning process to address the continuing problems plaguing the University District—the area of Little Rock that is home to the University.
The planning and policy framework articulated in Partners for Progress (2007) consists of a revitalization plan that describes major physical development projects that will upgrade the basic public infrastructure of the area and a strategic plan that addresses socio-economic conditions of the area and describes partnerships for delivering programs and services.
The University’s dedication to the social and economic health of the University District is apparent in the goals articulated in Partners for Progress:
- Historic Character. Establish the University District as a destination of choice that attracts new families and businesses.
- Housing. Establish the University District as a place where every type of Little Rock household can find a suitable, affordable home.
- Public Safety. Establish the University District as a place where people feel safe in their homes and walking in their neighborhoods.
- Education. Raise academic achievement at every educational level within the University District population.
- Economic Development. Improve the economic well-being of families, individuals, and businesses within the University District.
- Environmental Quality. Improve the environmental quality of the University District.
- Cultural Identity. Establish the University District as a primary international business, arts, and cultural destination within the Central Arkansas metropolitan area.
- Human Services. Reduce dependency and improve living conditions for persons with special needs living in the University District.
- Technology. Establish the technology infrastructure in the University District so that residents and businesses can make full use of e-government and e-business services.
Current University District initiatives are discussed in more detail later in this chapter.
UALR is one of only two universities in Arkansas that maintain a membership in Campus Compact,178 a national coalition of 1,100 colleges and universities that are committed to fulfilling the civic purpose of higher education. As the only national higher education association dedicated solely to campus-based civic engagement, Campus Compact promotes public and community service that develops students’ citizenship skills, helps campuses forge effective community partnerships, and provides resources and training for faculty seeking to integrate civic and community-based learning into the curriculum.
In 2001, using a Community Outreach Partnership Center grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and state funds from the Arkansas General Assembly, UALR created the Office of Community Engagement (OCE)179 to heighten the University’s presence and outreach to the Central Arkansas area. Administered through the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Advancement, the OCE works collaboratively with the University District Partnership and has a two-fold purpose:
- to help the community access the knowledge and intellectual capital on the UALR campus
- to support outreach as a critical component of the academic culture at UALR
OCE projects include the following:
- First Year Experience. Students are required to complete at least 15 hours of service as part of this course. The OCE assists students in finding service opportunities.
- Service Fair. The OCE has coordinated a Service Fair every fall since 1999. The fair assists students, faculty, and staff in finding service opportunities in Central Arkansas. More than 40 community organizations participate each year.
- Friday Leadership Program (formerly the Friday Sturgis Leadership Program). The OCE facilitates the Friday Leadership Program, a scholarship for students interested in leadership and service. Through coursework and service experiences, students in the program address social issues.
- Service Clearinghouse. OCE fields requests from community agencies for volunteer placements and connects them with students, faculty, and staff seeking such opportunities.
In 2008, OCE began the Summer Service Learning Academy. One purpose of the academy, which utilizes research and resources available through Campus Compact, is to assist UALR professors as they integrate service-learning into their courses and/or upgrade their courses’ community-based content to a level of true service-learning. Although the content and approaches of individual courses differ, in order for a course to be designated as “service-learning,” it must include the following components:
- activities that provide meaningful service to the community
- an articulated connection between course objectives and service activities
- a structured reflection component
OCE also works to strengthen the capacity of neighborhood-based organizations and to empower residents to become advocates for and instruments of positive change in their neighborhoods and community. It partners with the City of Little Rock to provide the Neighborhood Leadership Academy (NLA), a ten-class certificate program. Offered twice a year, the NLA is designed to build the capacity of neighborhood leaders through interactive course work in the following topics:
- strategic planning
- association management
- working with City Hall
- conflict mediation
- crime prevention
- grant writing and fundraising
- youth programs
- desktop publishing
NLA significantly affects its participants. Three community members who participated in the NLA its first year applied for and received appointments to city boards and commissions. Two neighborhood associations were formed in the last year using NLA’s training manual as a guide to develop their incorporation papers, bylaws, and working documents. One student became involved in the Arkansas Homeless Coalition, the subject of a case study used in the NLA. One neighborhood started a crime watch program that was included in NLA materials. The Office of Community Engagement is an example of how UALR connects with the community in a way that benefits both.
The importance of service as an expectation of faculty at UALR is articulated in the newly adopted Faculty Roles and Rewards (2008) document, which states the following:
Particularly important to a university such as UALR is discipline-related service to the community. Such activity necessarily incorporates a wide variety of efforts but is defined by the application of the faculty member’s professional expertise to help the community at every level—local, state, regional, national, or international.
Thus, UALR has greater, and slightly different, expectations of its faculty in the area of service than many other universities. Because of this, faculty, staff, and a number of specific organizational units at UALR make contributions beyond the campus through activities variously identified as public service, outreach, professional service, community service, extension, and engagement.
Although these terms carry some different nuances, they all refer to professional activities of members of the university community aimed directly at solving community problems or otherwise assisting people, governments, groups, and organizations beyond the borders of the campus. All involve applying professional, discipline-specific expertise to issues and problems of external constituents.
The commitment of the faculty to the service mission of the University is expressed in the results of the most recent faculty survey conducted in 2007–2008 by the Higher Education Research Institute through the University of California at Los Angeles Graduate School of Education and Information. With a response rate of 33 percent, respondents appear to represent a cross section of the faculty in terms of rank:
- Professor, 22 percent
- Associate Professor, 29.2 percent
- Assistant Professor, 30.1 percent
- Instructor, 17.7 percent
Of these respondents, the following responses were gleaned:
- 75.9 percent agreed that “colleges should be actively involved in solving social problems” compared to 71 percent of a national sample of faculty at other public four-year institutions.
- 75.2 percent rated service as being personally “very important” or “essential” compared to 64.7 percent of a national sample of faculty at other public four-year institutions.
- 56.6 percent said that in the current term, they were spending one to four hours per week engaged in community or public service compared to 51.9 percent of a national sample of faculty at other public four-year institutions.
- 57.5 percent said they had used their scholarship to address local and community needs during the past two years compared to 53.2 percent of a national sample of faculty at other public four-year institutions.
- 71.7 percent said they had engaged in service/professional consulting without pay during the past two years compared to 61.6 percent of a national sample of faculty at other public four-year institutions.
- 67.9 percent believed creating and sustaining partnerships with surrounding communities was a high priority at UALR compared to 54.8 percent of a national sample of faculty at other public four-year institutions.
Faculty in virtually all academic units are involved in service projects that benefit the constituencies of UALR. This is evident in the diversity of faculty each year who receive college-level and university-level Faculty Excellence Awards in Public Service.180 Sponsored by different local organizations each year, the service award was created to “recognize, encourage, and reward” faculty whose achievements in serving the public interest have been particularly successful and recognized locally, regionally, or nationally.
The Faculty Excellence Award winners in the area of service have contributed in a myriad of ways to Arkansas—using their talents, expertise, experience, and unique position to contribute to the well-being of constituents and society as a whole.
- Dr. Juliana Flinn, 2009 winner of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences and the university-level service award. Dr. Flinn not only evinces a commitment to public service as director of the American Humanics Program at UALR, but also in the ways she devotes her own time and talents to model those behaviors for students and faculty. She was instrumental in developing and gaining internal and external approval for the first undergraduate certificate offered at UALR: the Service-Learning Scholars Certificate described below.
- Dr. Ashvin P. Vibhakar, 2007 winner of the College of Business and the university-level service award. Dr. Vibhakar was appointed by the Little Rock Mayor to head the economic development team in the planning effort of Vision Little Rock. He worked to produce a road map for the city’s future economic direction and was instrumental in forming the Metro Little Rock Alliance with 11 counties to promote economic growth of the area. Dr. Vibhakar also served on the Governor’s Economic Advisory Council and the Arkansas Promise Steering Committee to provide access to resources for young people to succeed. He served on the National Certified Financial Analysts Institute Board of Governors, was a member of the Board of Directors of Arvest Bank, and was past president of the Association of University Bureaus of Economic Research.
- Dr. Roby D. Robertson, 2005 winner of the College of Professional Studies and the university-level service award. He is the only person to have won the same university-level Faculty Excellence Award twice—in 1993, he won what was then known as the UALR Public Service Award. His contributions to the UALR Task Force on Water Resources in Central Arkansas culminated in the release of a year-long study that led to the merger of the Little Rock and North Little Rock water departments, which became Central Arkansas Water. He also served on the faculty task force that ended decades-old disputes involving Saline County water districts and produced a model for cooperation that other regions are using today. As a result, Dr. Robertson became a member of the Central Arkansas Water Commission and contributed his insight and negotiating skills to the governing body of the single largest water utility in the state. In this role, he shaped policy and made management decisions for a system that serves more than 350,000 customers.
These are only three examples of the many ways in which faculty at UALR are involved in service projects that benefit the metropolitan Little Rock area and the Central Arkansas region, as well as the national and global community.
Many courses, program requirements, and co-curricular activities present students with multiple opportunities to practice in the community or participate in public service, and a number of students take advantage of these opportunities. Data collected from a random sample of 691 UALR freshmen and seniors during 2008, using the National Survey of Student Engagement,181 indicates that 20 percent of freshmen respondents had participated in a service-learning or community-based project as part of a course. Most likely these students were involved in the First Year Experience course, which has a service-learning requirement. Over 33,000 hours of service by students have been conducted as part of First Year Experience courses at UALR since the OCE began keeping statistics in 2003. The course, which has been optional for a number of years, is planned to become a required course for all freshmen beginning Fall 2010.
In Fall 2008, 23 different junior- and senior-level internship or field experience courses were offered across 16 degree programs, and 12 graduate internship courses were offered or required in eight master’s programs. According to the 2008 National Survey of Student Engagement survey, 39 percent of seniors said they had participated in some form of practicum, internship, field experience, or clinical assignment as part of a course at UALR, and 53 percent said they had participated in community service or volunteer work.
Examples of how educational internships benefit community constituencies include the following:
- The Speech and Hearing Clinic operated through the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, a collaboration between UALR and the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS). Student clinicians under the supervision of department faculty provide speech, language, and hearing services at a reduced rate to members of the community with communication disorders. Each year there are over 5,000 patient visits to the clinic.
- Internships in the School of Social Work. By the time they graduate, Master of Social Work students have 1,200 hours of field experience and Bachelor of Social Work students have 400 hours of field experience. Given the average annual graduation of 80 Master of Social Work and 20 Bachelor of Social Work students, this results in an annual average of 104,000 internship hours for the school. Settings for internships include a variety of public, nonprofit, and for-profit human and community service organizations in areas such as health and mental health care, child welfare, education, aging services, hospice care, substance abuse services, services to people with disabilities, and public policy advocacy.
The OCE estimates there are 40 different undergraduate courses, often having multiple sections, that include a service-learning requirement. In addition to the more traditional types of internship experiences, a significant number of classes at UALR incorporate some type of service learning—whether it is a small, fast interaction with the public or an entire class devoted to helping and interacting with external communities. For example, in 2008, faculty in the Department of Speech Communication implemented a four-hour service requirement for all students in the required core course Speech 1300, a $100,000 in-kind donation to the greater Little Rock community.
In addition to the work done by the OCE, service-learning projects of all sorts are embedded ad hoc in individual classes throughout campus. Students and faculty also work together on research projects that directly serve society.
The Department of Information Science requires a two-semester capstone course project that requires students to work with community groups and businesses. Past projects have included the following:
- designing and creating an innovative online record-keeping system for St. Vincent Health System that hospital officials say will save them $100,000 in consulting services and several thousand dollars annually in overhead and operations
- creating an effective and user-friendly method of extracting, querying and reporting on log files for AR GIS, as well as figuring out how best to manage, store, and retain files
- creating an application that allowed a person without HTML programming skills to create a webpage on an Aristotle website hosting server. The application allowed the user to upload images to the webpage, select and display graphics from a pre-determined list, type in meta-tags, enter text for automatic display, preview the page, and edit the page overall. Complete documentation was included in the application.
The Construction Management Program’s capstone course requires students to design, develop, estimate, schedule, contract, and administer the works for the completion of a small commercial or light industrial project.
Students in Department of Rhetoric and Writing classes often do projects that incorporate work for the community. The grant writing class writes grants for local, student-selected nonprofits and has secured over $350,000 of funding. The document design class has created brochures, flyers, and handouts for groups such as Amigos, which helps Spanish-speaking children in public school classes. Nonfiction classes have documented oral histories of members of the Distinguished Flying Cross Society.
The Department of Economics and Finance works with Stephens, Inc., an investment firm headquartered in Little Rock, to offer finance majors the opportunity to manage the investments of the Ford Trust, an endowment to UALR. Each student in the course is paired with a research analyst from Stephens who guides the student in financial analysis of a chosen company.
Department of Speech Communication graduate students helped the Arkansas Department of Health assess state emergency responses to Hurricanes Katrina and Gustav. A small group communication class acted as consultants for nonprofit organizations and made public presentations on their results.
UALR also incorporates service-learning on a broader level into the curriculum. Several academic and scholarship programs at UALR focus on service:
- The Service-Learning Scholars Certificate combines service objectives with learning objectives with the intent that the activity changes both the recipient and the provider of the service. The goals of the program are to further support the service-learning community of UALR faculty conducting and/or interested in implementing service-learning in their courses and to support the University’s mission by strengthening connections among UALR students, the UALR campus, and communities in central Arkansas.
The program, which will be administered through the Office of Community Engagement, is designed be interdisciplinary. Students must take courses across at least three disciplines, and faculty from every college are involved in vetting courses for inclusion in the program. Examples of courses already approved include a Construction Management Service Learning course that requires students to participate in a construction-related labor experience on a community service project such as Habitat for Humanity.
In addition to the scholarly reflections required within each course in which students identify and discuss meaningful connections between their service-learning experiences and a variety of course content areas, students in the program will complete a final integrative reflective essay where they articulate why civic engagement is an inherent responsibility in a democracy as well as the importance of continued civic engagement after graduation.
- The Cooperative Education Program182 allows qualified students the opportunity to participate in work-integrated learning. Students earn academic credit by enrolling in a co-op course from their academic department. Throughout the semester, students and their supervisors participate in learning agreements, assessments, and site visits. At the conclusion of the semester, students present learning outcomes to the co-op coordinator and their faculty coordinator. On evaluations of the co-op experience, students indicate that it clarifies their understanding of classroom theory, it enhances classroom learning, and it gives them confidence in their choice of major and career. Currently, there are 55 co-op courses at UALR. Additionally, the Cooperative Education Program offers special workshops to its participants on resume writing and interviewing. In a new initiative, in Summer and Fall 2008, UALR sent the largest contingent of students, five in all, to the Washington Center for Internships and Academic Seminars internship program in Washington DC through the co-op program.
- The American Humanics Program183 educates, prepares, and certifies students to strengthen and lead nonprofit organizations. These students, committed to service by their very choice of the minor, complete 300 hours of internship in local nonprofit organizations, including the Red Cross, Big Brothers/Big Sisters, United Way, City Year, Boys and Girls Clubs, Habitat for Humanity, Arkansas Volunteer Lawyers for the Elderly, Partners for Pinnacle, Watershed, Share America, American Indian Science and Engineering Society, National Conference for Community and Justice, and Rape Crisis, in addition to a number of national and international organizations.
- The Friday Fellows Program184 (formerly the Friday Sturgis Leadership Program), was established in 1997 through the gifts of two civic-minded families. With the program, UALR strives to continue Mr. Friday’s professional and community leadership contributions and further the Sturgis’ goals to advance public education at all levels. In the Friday Fellows program, students combine leadership with service, working with all levels of a service organization.
- The Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management185 requires students to take 18 graduate level hours. There are two required courses—Nonprofit Organization Management and the Capstone Project—and four elective courses that may be selected from a group of classes.
- The EAST Lab, a cooperative effort between UALR and the EAST Initiative, provides challenging and rewarding opportunities for students who have completed at least one year in an EAST program in high school. Ten $10,000 scholarships are offered each year in conjunction with Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology (EIT). EAST Lab requires students to perform 1,200 hours of community service time during their four-year career at UALR. The amounts decrease each year from a high of 450 hours to a low of 150 hours when they reach their senior year. Service hours are performed either in a UALR computer lab, EAST lab and an EIT lab, or working with a community organization to assist them with technology issues. Projects in the past have included creating a website for the Pinnacle Mountain Rendezvous, assisting Helping Hands with a database project, volunteering at Children’s Hospital in the student artists program, and working with a North Little Rock school in playground design. Four-year retention rates in the program approach 70 percent.
The unique community setting of UALR not only gives students the opportunity to develop valuable skills that enhance their professional and personal lives, but it also allows the University to enrich the community. Academic experiences that integrate service into the curriculum increase civic engagement by students while in college and after.
While the Higher Education Research Institute faculty survey results discussed previously indicate the faculty who responded are committed to public and community service, the data also indicates striking differences between the faculty respondents’ perceptions of what they should and are doing in the area of service and their perceptions of what students should be encouraged to do or are doing. For example, of these respondents, the following information was gathered:
- Only 46 percent agreed “instilling in students a commitment to community service” was a “very important” or “essential” goal for undergraduates compared to 57.3 percent of a national sample of faculty at other public four-year institutions.
- Only 22.7 percent agreed “strongly” or “somewhat” that “most students are strongly committed to community service” compared to 38 percent of a national sample of faculty at other public four-year institutions.
- Only 33.6 percent believed “facilitating student involvement in community service” was a “high” or the “highest” institutional priority compared to 42.2 percent of a national sample of faculty at other public four-year institutions.
- Although 82.3 percent agreed “strongly” or “somewhat” that “colleges should encourage students to be involved in community service activities,” this was lower than the 87.8 percent average at other public four-year institutions
This disconnect between what faculty respondents perceive is their role in public service versus what they perceive is the role of students is surprising and disconcerting, especially given the history and mission of the University in the area of service to the community. Obviously, there is a need to educate faculty about the level of student involvement in service projects.
The pledges to external stakeholders articulated in Fast Forward reflect broad commitments in response to the strategic challenges of the state, the Central Arkansas region, and the greater Little Rock/North Little Rock metropolitan community. These pledges were driven by identified community needs, and all reflect the desire to align the resources of UALR with the needs and priorities of the state. These pledges and work on them are indicative of the connection the University has to its constituents and to the surrounding community.
In partnerships with external constituencies—educational organizations, governmental offices, nonprofit agencies, and businesses—UALR clearly identifies expectations of both the University and the partnering entity or entities through memoranda of understanding or agreement. When appropriate, contracts or other legal agreements are used to uphold the University’s integrity. Faculty who are paid for work involving external constituencies must first receive approval from their chair and dean with oversight provided by the Provost.
One of the most important needs in Arkansas is access to higher education. Less than 20 percent of Arkansas’s adult population has a college degree; Arkansas is 49th in the number of college graduates. According to the Council for Adult and Experimental Learning186 and the National Center for Higher Education Management Systems,187 over 400,000 working-age adult Arkansans have completed some college hours but have no degree. In order to address this need, UALR provides targeted services to create an environment that supports the mobility of the students.
As with many metropolitan universities, the students at UALR “swirl” in and out of various institutions, sometimes stopping out for a few semesters to save money or attend to family matters. In fact, since 2002, the ratio of first-time entering freshmen to first-time entering transfer students each year has changed from approximately 1:1 to almost 1:2. Almost 70 percent of undergraduate students have some transfer credit.
As a result, UALR has spent considerable time re-examining policies that hinder students’ ability to access higher education. One of the most important issues for students is transferring credits from other schools. Chancellor Anderson has placed UALR at the forefront of re-examining assumptions made about credit transfer. In a 2009 article entitled “Needed: A Transfer-of-Credit Paradigm Shift,” Chancellor Anderson stated
On each campus the disciplinary faculties—once the custodians of unique, local curricula—have each become de facto custodians and agents of the base of knowledge, curriculum, and notions of best practice of their respective national faculty communities. The reputation of our respective institutions will remain intact, and our graduates will be as well prepared for graduate school or a job, if our campuses readily accepted the credits that students earned from faculty at other accredited institutions… Located in cities—crossroads for a mobile national population—our urban/metropolitan universities attract and serve transfer students in very large numbers. Surely that reality obligates us to find new ways to speed their paths to graduation. (Coalition of Urban Metropolitan Universities Because Place Matters e-newsletter)188
His argument was based, in part, on the success of the Fast Track Transfer Project, a pilot study designed to ease access to higher education through a revision of UALR’s transfer credit policies. During the 2006–2007 academic year, Chancellor Anderson asked all interested faculty to join him in a discussion about transfer credit due to the changing characteristics of the student body at UALR. The Chancellor was interested in reviewing certain policies that tended to hamper rather than help the academic progress of students toward graduation. These policies spanned five areas: core or general education requirements, major requirements, minor requirements, the requirement for 45 upper-level hours, and the requirement for 30 hours in residence.
In Spring 2007, a transfer pilot program was initiated with four undergraduate degree programs participating: Criminal Justice, History, Biology, Nursing, and Construction Management. These programs were given leeway in making transfer articulation decisions in the five areas identified. Participating departments were asked to keep two broad criteria in mind when considering substitutions, waivers, and exceptions to the current policies: (1) Will the student be as ready for graduate study in the discipline? (2) Will the student be as employable in the discipline?
Preliminary evaluation data collected indicate that the accommodations granted through the pilot result in students graduating sooner than they would have otherwise. Additionally, faculty enjoy having the flexibility to address the unique needs of each transfer student rather than feeling constrained by policies largely created for students without transfer credit.
One unexpected finding related to the pilot was that some of the policies that create seemingly unnecessary roadblocks for transfer students also disadvantage students who matriculate only at UALR. As discussed in See Chapter Three: The Learning-Focused Organization initial planning to evaluate the structure and requirements of the University’s core curriculum has begun. As this process moves forward, the results of the pilot Fast Track Transfer Project can help inform ways of eliminating these roadblocks.
Driven in part by the success of the Fast Track Transfer Project and the changing demographics of the student body at UALR, steps were taken in 2008 to make higher education more accessible to another one of UALR’s student populations: military personnel. UALR is located near Little Rock Air Force Base and the National Guard’s Camp Robinson, the center of educational services for all 400,000+ Army National Guard soldiers nationwide. As a result, UALR has significant numbers of students with current or past military experience. In 2008, UALR began an initiative to become a military friendly university. Significant progress has been made.
- Changing the policy on how military education credits are evaluated as transfer credits. The new policy states: “… military education credit evaluated by the American Council on Education will be accepted as transfer credit at UALR.”
- Creating a task force to help plan a comprehensive, holistic approach to meeting the needs of active duty, National Guard, and retired military personnel who are interested in attending UALR either through online, hybrid, or traditional programs was created. Recommendations from this task force resulted in the appointment of a military ombudsman located in the Provost’s Office. UALR is now listed in the 2010 Guide to Military Friendly Schools.189
- Educating faculty and staff about “trauma informed” best practice models of support needed to help military veterans succeed on campus. For example, in February 2009, faculty and staff participated in the Academic Impressions Webinar Psychological Needs of Returning Veterans sponsored by Educational and Student Services.
As UALR faculty have been adjusting to the changing composition of the student body and examining internal policies and processes, external political factors also have been at play. The relationship between UALR and the closest two-year institution, Pulaski Technical College (PTC),190 based in North Little Rock, has not always been smooth. In the late 1990’s, due to the importance of both institutions to the Central Arkansas region, UALR and PTC received encouragement from the state legislature to strengthen the relationship. Discussions among academic affairs and student services administrators from both institutions led to a less adversarial relationship between the two schools. Once this was accomplished, an articulation guide was created that specifically outlined the courses PTC students needed to take in order to transfer as seamlessly as possible into any degree program at UALR.
In 2004, UALR and PTC further strengthened their partnership by establishing an advising office on the main campus of PTC for students interested in transferring to UALR. The liaison officer has advised and assisted hundreds of students. The liaison job entails serving as a resource for prospective UALR students and providing information about the admissions process, financial aid, transferring credit, and academic advising. The liaison also acts as a representative of UALR at recruitment fairs and PTC community activities.
Further, the institutions have formed two groups, one composed of academic administrators and the other of student support administrators, that meet twice a year to discuss ways in which the institutions can work more collaboratively. One result of these meetings was the creation of the Bachelor of Applied Technology in the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology, which was approved in 2006. This 2 + 2 program is specifically designed to allow students who have received an Associate of Applied Science in an information technology area to complete a baccalaureate degree by taking fewer additional lower-level hours. At this time, three additional departments are working on other 2 + 2 programs: Mass Communication in the College of Professional Studies, Management in the College of Business, and Health Sciences in the College of Science and Mathematics.
The experience of creating a collaborative relationship with PTC placed UALR in a unique position among the four-year institutions in the state as the Arkansas Legislature began to focus on transfer issues in higher education during the mid-2000’s. Discouraged by a lack of cooperation among state institutions regarding the transfer of core or general education credit, the legislature passed Act 672 in 2005, which established the Arkansas Core Transfer System.191 This system expands and at some point will replace the State Minimum Core Document. It includes “commonly taught” lower-level courses and ensures their transferability among state institutions toward general education requirements. It also identifies these courses as being “equivalent for prerequisite purposes,” thereby ensuring students cannot be required to retake the course at a four-year institution when applying it toward a major or minor.
Then, in 2009, the Arkansas State Legislature passed Act 182, also known as the Roger Phillips Act, to
create a system for fully transferable credit hours from degrees in Associate of Arts, Associate of Science, and Associate of Arts Teaching among public institutions of higher learning.
Although many of the provisions in this Act are still being defined and clarified, one of the requirements is that every four-year university must establish an articulation agreement with every two-year college within a 50-mile radius of it.
Building on the experience with PTC and keeping in mind the composition of the campus, UALR has seized the opportunity to be at the forefront in working collaboratively with other state institutions in regard to transfer credit and to providing a welcoming environment on campus for transfer students. The newly created Office of Transfer Student Services (discussed in Chapter 3, See Chapter Three: The Learning-Focused Organization) will help achieve both.
Originally identified as a need in the MGT of America, Inc. (discussed inSee Chapter Three: The Learning-Focused Organization), report, the idea of establishing an office focused on students with transfer credit also had been suggested by the retention task force to strengthen advising. One of the goals of this office is to cultivate more collegial relationships with two-year institutions across the state, and to develop full articulation agreements with the top five from which UALR receives students.
In addition to relationships with other institutions of higher learning, UALR has worked with K–12 schools to improve access to higher education. In 1998, UALR began a partnership with the Little Rock School District to establish a concurrent enrollment program, which allowed qualified students at Hall High School (the designated partner school) to enroll in UALR courses for university credit while simultaneously satisfying high school course requirements. Participating UALR academic departments provided an instructor who team-taught with a Hall faculty member.
By 2005, however, the number of students eligible for university credit at Hall had diminished drastically as a result of enrollment pattern changes in Little Rock School District high schools. The University made a decision to phase out the program due to instructional costs, the challenges of finding available UALR faculty, and the decreasing number of eligible students.
Then, in 2006, the Arkansas State Legislature directed the Arkansas Department of Higher Education to develop a governing policy for institutions of higher education choosing to offer concurrent credit to high school students. This policy, adopted in April 2007, permits students to enroll in university courses that are taught solely by a high school faculty member who meets the qualifications for teaching as determined by the University’s academic department in which the course is offered. Additionally, it allows for AP (advanced placement) courses to be merged with university courses, if agreement can be reached between the University and the AP teacher. It also allows for the students to be enrolled without tuition being assessed to the student. The University must, however, budget grant-in-aid equivalences to offset the cost of tuition.
This new arrangement changed drastically the opportunities for offering concurrent credit. As a result, UALR in 2007–2008 has partnerships with five schools in four counties and is offering credit in 27 courses in nine academic departments to over 600 students during the current academic year. Under the authority of the program guidelines modified by the Faculty Senate in 2006 to accommodate the new opportunities, oversight of the program is vested in a campus coordinator who reports to the Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.
UALR is actively participating in another concurrent enrollment program for students attending the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Science, and the Arts (ASMSA),192 the only high school in the UA System—an advanced placement residential school located in Hot Springs, Arkansas. UALR works with the faculty of the school to determine standards for concurrent enrollment classes, teaches some of those classes, and works with school faculty to assess the outcomes of the students enrolled in concurrent classes. This collaboration has been exceptionally fruitful, as significant numbers of ASMSA graduates have chosen to attend UALR after their high school graduation. For the last three years, UALR has been the top choice among the ASMSA graduates. Running a close second is the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville. ASMSA students are highly sought after by other institutions of higher education. The 100 members of the 2008 graduating class were offered over $1.3 million in scholarships from various institutions such as Brown, Case Western Reserve, Yale and, of course, UALR.
In response to the need for successful school-community partnerships, in 2003, the Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 106, which established Education Renewal Zones across the state to promote collaboration among public schools, education service cooperatives, and colleges and universities, as well as parents and community members. The Act states “that schools and [the] educators who serve them could benefit from a more focused and sustained collaboration with each other, the regional education service cooperatives, and the institutions of higher education engaged in teacher and school leadership preparation.”
Housed on the campus of UALR and administered through the Dean’s office in the College of Education, the Central Education Renewal Zone (CERZ) was established in 2005 and is comprised of partnerships among UALR, Little Rock School District, and Magnolia Public Schools. During the 2005–2006 year, a group of 19 original stakeholders was expanded to 53 members and was renamed the Central Education Renewal Zone Advisory Council.
This group met systematically throughout the 2005–2006 school year to refine the CERZ planning process. The CERZ director met with school superintendents, principals, faculty and staff members, UALR administrators, Deans Council, faculty and staff, and area business leaders and community groups in an ongoing process of networking.
After some initial set-backs, including the loss of the program director, in 2007, the Advisory Council finalized its strategic plan, which outlines how the CERZ will address and evaluate progress toward accomplishing the following eight legislative requirements articulated in Act 106:
- develop meaningful collaboration between and among the higher education institution partners, education service cooperatives, schools, and communities participating in the CERZ, including academic departments within the higher education institution partners
- develop a comprehensive program of professional development to assure the practical knowledge base of pre-service and in-service teachers with respect to pedagogical practice, content knowledge, and competent use of distance learning technology
- enhance and expand local school curricula offerings through the use of two-way interactive television to include advanced placement, dual credit, and advanced high school courses
- develop a means of sharing faculty for core course offerings when schools are unable to hire highly qualified teachers in core subject areas required for college entrance or teachers necessary to meet state accreditation standards
- develop a strategy to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers with particular focus on hard-to-staff schools
- develop a system for mentoring teachers with three or fewer years of professional service as well as career status teachers whose performance indicates the need for such help
- develop active participation of the community in the work of the school and parents in the academic work of the school
- outline short-term and long-term evaluation strategies, including a means of collecting data necessary to evaluate the progress of each participating public school and the CERZ in its entirety
According to the 2008 Annual Report
CERZ made a great deal of progress during the 2007–2008 school year. All legislative requirements achieved some level of success with the greatest growth in the areas of collaboration and professional development. All projects initiated during the year were successfully completed on schedule except for the High School Redesign, which did not progress as planned.
Achievements noted include the following:
- the development of a comprehensive website and newsletter to strengthen communication among members and facilitate work group efforts
- the development of a catalog of professional development services specifically tailored to the needs of the partners
- the identification of specific strategies to recruit highly qualified teachers for hard-to-staff schools
- the implementation of a mentoring system, including Pathwise mentor training for cooperating teachers who work with teacher candidates in their field placements, Co-Teach training, the Middle School Summer Science Institute funded through the No Child Left Behind Math Science Partnership Grant, and the new Smart Start Part II Science Institute
In 2007, UALR became part of a three-campus consortium that received a $9 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The Experimental Program to Stimulate Competitive Research (EPSCoR) program, awarded by the Arkansas Science and Technology Authority,193 will create the Arkansas ASSET Initiative (Advancing and Supporting Science, Engineering, and Technology). This grant enables UALR, in partnership with the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville (UAF) and Arkansas State University (ASU), to create a new three-campus research initiative aimed at converting research discoveries into commercially viable products and dramatically advancing Arkansas’s knowledge- and technology-based economy. The grant will support two scientific research areas that have major economic development potential: wireless nano-bio-info-technology sensors and plant-based bioproduction.
One aspect of the grant will support the Wireless Nano-Bio-Info-Tech Sensor System and Center, which will create a collaborative infrastructure for the design of arrays of nanosensors that can be integrated with wireless systems and fabricated with a specialized, yet low-cost, nanofabrication technology. Examples of such sensors include
- monitoring levees so that problems can be corrected before levees collapse
- monitoring physiological functions (e.g., a diabetic’s blood sugar level)
- monitoring chemical and biological molecules for protection of emergency personnel
The second aspect of the grant will establish the EPSCoR Center for Plant-Powered Production. This center will build on Arkansas’s existing strengths in agriculture and the food industry and recent investments in research at the interface of agriculture, the environment, and medicine, to develop research infrastructure, resources, and cross-disciplinary, multi-institutional collaboration in plant-based bioproduction. The goal of this arm of the program is to advance discoveries in the fundamental biology of plant-based bioproduction to improve the nutritional value of food, develop sustainable biofuels, and develop new crop varieties that are resistant to drought and other environmental stresses.
The cooperation among the three universities will enhance Arkansas’s research competitiveness, create added research and training opportunities, attract top scholars, enable Arkansas to form new links with national and international programs, and create new economic opportunities for industry and entrepreneurship.
The William J. Clinton Presidential Library.
Working with UAF and UAMS, UALR was instrumental in the creation of the Clinton School of Public Service (the Clinton School),194 the nation’s first program to offer a Master’s in Public Service degree. The Clinton School, located on the campus of the William J. Clinton Presidential Center in Little Rock, offers curriculum on global leadership and civic engagement and promotes a vision of world leaders who are able to work effectively with individuals and organizations to build healthy, engaged, and vibrant communities, both in Arkansas and across the globe. The program is designed to help students gain knowledge and experience to further their careers in the areas of nonprofit, governmental, volunteer, or private sector service work, specifically in the area of global equity. Applicants are drawn from a variety of disciplines that are relevant to public service.
A number of UALR faculty members have been active in the planning and operation of the Clinton School:
- Dr. Deborah Baldwin, Dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; Dr. Margaret Scranton, professor of political science; and Dr. Angela Brenton, Dean of the College of Professional Studies, helped design and develop the Clinton School’s curriculum.
- Dr. David Sink, professor of public administration; Dean Angela Brenton; Dr. Sharon Wrobel, assistant professor in the Institute of Government; and Dr. Sandra Robertson, Chief of Staff and Director of the Budget, have served as faculty members at the school.
- Dr. Michael Hemphill, professor of communication at UALR, currently serves as the Clinton School’s Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.
UALR offers three collaborative doctoral programs:
- PhD in Bioinformatics. Offered through a collaboration between UALR and UAMS, the program is designed to train students to research, develop, and apply computational tools and approaches for analyzing and expanding the use of biological, medical, behavioral, and health data.
- Doctor of Audiology. Offered through the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology, a collaborative program between UALR and UAMS, this degree is designed to emphasize the sciences of hearing, speech, and language; the acquisition of knowledge about human communication disorders; and the study and practice of methods for evaluation and treatment of individuals with hearing loss and/or balance disorders.
- PhD in Communication Sciences and Disorders. Offered through a consortium that includes the Departments of Audiology and Speech Pathology at UALR, UAMS, and the University of Central Arkansas, the program is designed to prepare graduates to be faculty members and scientists at institutions of higher education.
Collaboration with other universities enables UALR students to be connected with other students from around the state and has a global impact.
Pledge Three. UALR pledges active support of regional and state strategies to speed economic development.
This pledge reflects an understanding that universities have become critical economic assets indeed, economic engines in a high-tech, knowledge-based economy. UALR will be a ready partner and a strong contributor to innovative entrepreneurship, research, and development activities in the region and in the state.
UALR has a well-earned reputation for helping facilitate economic growth in Central Arkansas. Many units, such as the Nanotechnology Center or the Virtual Reality Lab, conduct research that will ultimately develop into economic opportunities for the state. In addition, UALR has two outreach units specifically purposed to help innovate entrepreneurship in the state—the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center and the Institute of Economic Advancement. One other outreach unit—the Institute of Government—is purposed with helping governmental entities and nonprofit organizations maximize and improve their work.
The College of Business houses the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center (ASBTDC),195 funded approximately 50/50 by the University and the U.S. Small Business Administration. The ASBTDC was established in 1980 as the Arkansas Small Business Development Center and is the state’s only economic development entity that provides face-to-face assistance to Arkansas businesses in their local communities through a network of seven offices located around the state. It is one of only nine Small Business Administration offices in the country to qualify for the “T” designation, indicating they do significant work with technology.
In addition to face-to-face consulting, ASBTDC provides numerous classes and short courses on starting a business, cash flow, loan proposals, marketing, business planning, and government contracting. It has an outstanding record in guiding clients to financing for start-ups or expansions. An economic impact study in 2004 by a Mississippi State University researcher found an annual effect of $73 million in increased sales and $3.3 million in tax revenues for Arkansas.
Over the last decade, ASBTDC clients created 2.4 new jobs per day for a total of 8,575 new jobs, and its clients made $260,000 in new sales per day for a total of almost $1 billion in new sales. Clients also obtained more than $130,000 in financing per day for a total of more than $476.1 million in financing. Additionally, ASBTDC clients generated $42.3 million more in state and $23.8 million more in federal taxes than if they had performed like the average business in the state. Arkansas businesses assisted by the ASBTDC provided significantly more economic impact than the average Arkansas small business over the last decade. ASBTDC clients have an average sales growth that is 19 percent higher than the average Arkansas business and average employment growth that is 17 percent higher than the average Arkansas business.
The continued ability of ASBTDC to help clients produce results such as these will be hampered by current economic conditions, and how long they last. It is almost certain that the trend in growth, sales, and tax revenues experienced over the past few years will not be maintained; however, based on past performance, there is every reason to believe that the services and resources offered through the ASBTDC will result in positive outcomes for its clients.
The Institute of Economic Advancement and The Institute of Government
In 1990, then-Provost Joel Anderson presented a reorganization plan that involved outreach units that jointly or separately provided research and technical assistance to both state and local governments and to businesses. Two units were formed: the Institute of Economic Advancement and the Institute of Government.
The Institute of Economic Advancement (IEA)196 is an excellent example of how UALR economic and workforce development activities add value to the state. Located in the Donald W. Reynolds Center for Business and Economic Development, the IEA is a part of the College of Business. It is comprised of a unique collection of professional expertise divided into three basic functions: data collection, data analysis, and continuing education training. IEA is one the largest outreach units at UALR with a budget of $3 million and 48 employees.
In a single location, IEA provides specialized services that support the economic advancement of Arkansas and are available to businesses, governmental units, labor organizations, communities, and private individuals throughout the state. In particular, IEA is dedicated to supporting the economic-development community by serving as a source of sound and credible research and training. Covering a broad range of issues, IEA assists as a catalyst for the University’s contribution to providing effective state economic development strategies and increased vitality in business and industry. IEA is a multi-leveled organization, housing five distinct units, each of which in turn houses additional groups. The following list highlights just a few of the projects housed within the institute.
- The Center for Economic Development Education offers training, planning, and development services to economic developers and economic development organizations. The training complements career development courses available for professionals in economic development and prepares volunteer leaders for their participation in their communities’ economic development programs.
- The Census State Data Center’s main responsibility is one of dissemination. The center receives all the Arkansas census information and provides technical assistance in the understanding and application of the census information. Also housed in this unit are the Children’s Research Center and the Geographic Information Systems (GIS) Application Lab.
- The Children’s Research Center is a major source of information on the well-being of Arkansas children and their families. Data available through the center include demographics for each county as well as information on the safety and security of children. Other indicators of well-being include the health status, educational level, and economic status of Arkansas residents.
- The GIS Application Lab’s mission is to provide demographic, environmental, marketing and socio-economic data through the development of geopolitical databases and applications of geographic information and spatial analysis systems. This facility assists businesses, governmental agencies, and educational institutions throughout Arkansas with training, database resources, and problem resolution.
- The Workplace Skills Enhancement Program provides information, resources, and services to assist in providing the training necessary to equip workers to participate in today’s global economy. The program is structured to help working men and women to acquire the foundation skills and knowledge essential to perform effectively on the job and to achieve their occupational goals.
- The Management Education and Development Program partners with Arkansas businesses and organizations and specializes in management education and development programs for organizations in both the public and private sectors. The public programs are generic and cover relevant issues of the day. The private programs are customized, on-site workshops, tailored to the needs of Arkansas businesses or organizations. The program annually presents the Arkansas Executive Summit, bringing top business leaders together in a “share and learn” environment.
- The Economic Research and Forecasting Group operates a large-scale econometric model of the Arkansas economy in combination with U.S. macroeconomic forecast services provided by Global Insight, Inc. (formerly DRI-WEFA, Inc.), a leading national forecasting group. The state economic model includes economic and industry components for employment, wages, personal income, housing, and gross state product by sector.
- The Survey and Business Research Operation provides unbiased, comprehensive primary and secondary research efforts to serve a wide range of clients in the areas of industry, economic development, state/city/county governments and agencies, nonprofit organizations, educational institutions, and the public. The unit tracks relevant economic and business indicators through a statewide business conditions survey and a variety of related database efforts.
IEA also has worked closely with external partners. For almost seven years, IEA has worked with the Metro Little Rock Alliance (MLRA), which represents 11 Central Arkansas counties and includes the cities of Little Rock/North Little Rock, Pine Bluff, and Hot Springs. MLRA serves as the economic development marketing agency for this region, which encompasses nearly one million people. IEA assisted MLRA in its initial organization in 2002 and has conducted two major technical assistance projects.
The first of these projects involved working with a private consulting firm, Angelou Economics, in the development of the MLRA’s first strategic plan. IEA provided the entire “Community Assessment” portion of that plan and helped organize and host numerous focus groups and surveys of regional leaders. The resulting strategic plan has been implemented with considerable success. The regional group has received numerous inquiries from consultants and site selection experts, and several notable businesses have been attracted to the region.
The second project, which took place during 2006–2007, had the Census State Data Center group working with Aristotle, a local web development company, and MLRA to develop an online database and interactive mapping site for the 11-county region. The extensive database provides detailed information for all 11 counties that conform to a 21-table set of data standards recommended by the International Economic Development Council. The website and supporting database are the most important elements of the MLRA marketing effort and have been used extensively both by local developers and by consultants considering the region for new business investment.
The governmental counterpart to IEA is the Institute of Government (IOG),197 which is housed in the College of Professional Studies. The IOG helps improve the quality of government and nonprofit agency management in Arkansas through its major functions of education, research, technical assistance, and training. IOG has been an integral part of the College of Professional Studies through its Master of Public Administration program. It is the only outreach unit at UALR with a degree-granting program embedded.
IOG’s accredited Master of Public Administration198 program has six full-time faculty members and has graduated over 400 students who serve in key positions in state and local government and nonprofit agencies. Also available is an MPA/JD concurrent degree program with the UALR William H. Bowen School of Law, as well as graduate certificate programs in nonprofit management and conflict mediation.
Like IEA, the IOG is a multi-faceted organization that includes multiple outreach centers:
- The Survey Research Center199 has expertise in all aspects of survey development, execution, and analysis. It utilizes this knowledge to serve government and nonprofit agencies. The center conducts studies of the attitudes, perceptions, environment, and behavior of groups, organizations, and individuals for state and local government and nonprofit agencies. The center provides a full range of survey research services, including research design, sampling design, and weighting, data collection (by computer-assisted telephone interviewing and mailings), data analysis, report writing, and presentation of results. The Survey Research Center completes $700,000 in contracts annually for state agencies to study public health issues, state resource needs, and other state priorities. Recent clients have included the Arkansas Department of Health for surveys on cardiovascular health and the UALR Racial Attitudes Survey.
- The Center for Nonprofit Organizations200 has a mission to improve the capacity of the nonprofit sector through an interdisciplinary application of community and university resources, which include the flagship nonprofit academic programs, the minor in American Humanics, and the Graduate Certificate in Nonprofit Management. The center partners with the Arkansas Coalition for Excellence in providing a clearinghouse for university resources to support the success of nonprofit organizations. One of its first projects was assisting Lion’s World Services for the Blind in planning and development activities. Another example of its work is the 2008 report on the economic impact of nonprofit organizations in the State of Arkansas. The report is titled The Benefit of Doing Good: The Structure, Contribution, and Impact of Arkansas Nonprofits on the State’s Economy and is available as both a full report and an executive summary. The report finds that nonprofits employed almost 70,000 workers in 2005–2007 and paid their workers more than $2.2 billion during the same time period. In 2005–2006, nonprofits received approximately $247 million in grant funds with over 44 percent being funded by out-of-state grantors; they provide $8.3 billion in goods and services to the state.
- The Center for Public Collaboration201 assists Arkansas leaders, citizens, and organizations with inclusive discourse and effective collaborations on public issues. The center offers training, consulting and facilitation. Serving as the Arkansas clearinghouse for information on collaborative governance, the center is a member of the national University Network for Collaborative Governance. The center has been established to promote collaborative solutions to pressing public problems such as transportation, environmental and water disputes, and to promote participative involvement of citizens in governmental processes. The center supports a life of learning through the Public Dialog Project, non-adversarial deliberative forums where potentially divisive public issues can be explored constructively. It is home to a graduate certificate program in conflict mediation.
- The Arkansas Public Administration Consortium, a collaborative effort with the Master of Public Administration programs at UAF and ASU, administers various management certificate programs for government and volunteer administrators across the state. The consortium trains hundreds of county and state employees yearly through its Certified Public Manager® Program. Its nonprofit training includes the Certified Volunteer Manager Program, which teaches administrators and managers of volunteer programs how to effectively manage their volunteer staff by providing them with leadership and management training designed specifically for the needs of the volunteer professional.
Pledge Four. UALR pledges to work in partnership with governmental entities and community organizations and groups to solve community problems and advance the community in other ways.
This pledge reflects the outward orientation of a metropolitan university. It means that UALR will share and leverage its resources through partnerships in active efforts to solve problems and otherwise advance the metropolitan community.
As Chancellor Anderson noted during the first regionalism conference discussed later in this chapter, there are some things that UALR can do more easily, and better, than other groups in the area. Community leaders recognize and value the ability of UALR to conduct research, provide good information, and facilitate discussion and debate in a neutral setting. As a result, the Little Rock metropolitan community has repeatedly approached UALR for assistance in addressing a number of challenges.
In 2000, the mayors and water commission chairs of North Little Rock and Little Rock approached UALR about helping to resolve the decades-old controversy over water issues between the two cities. Commissioned by then-Chancellor Hathaway and chaired by then-Provost Anderson, an interdisciplinary team of six UALR faculty members worked to understand the complexities and history of the two cities, and to find common ground for each city. They ultimately issued a report entitled Water for Our Future: Overcoming Regional Paralysis.202 The report led to a regional approach to water and a formal merger of the two water utilities under a regional umbrella, Central Arkansas Water, which is still in operation today.
The successful outcome of the North Little Rock/Little Rock water study led to UALR’s being asked to conduct a second water study, Water for Saline County: A Tale of Two Futures,203 in 2002 by the county judge and other community leaders in Saline County, perhaps the most litigious county in the state in regard to water issues. Again, an interdisciplinary team of seven faculty members and one graduate student studied and helped resolve decades of controversy among 14 different water purveyors in Saline County (many of whom were suing each other) with recommendations that they jointly establish a Saline Watershed Regional Water Distribution District, a plan which was adopted, approved by the court, and is in place today.
Dean Angela Brenton presents Water for Saline County: A Tale of Two Futures.
A study of the public transportation system, Central Arkansas Transit Authority, co-chaired by faculty from the College of Professional Studies and the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology, led to significant changes in the infrastructure of the greater Little Rock metropolitan area. In 2003, an interdisciplinary team of nine faculty members and one graduate student conducted a study of Central Arkansas transit issues at the request of the Pulaski County Judge and the mayors of the five municipalities that constituted Metroplan, the regional planning agency. The report, A Call for Regional Leadership: Public Transit in Central Arkansas,204 included benchmarking and evaluation that has produced a better understanding of the needs and the quality of service of the Central Arkansas Transit Authority, the joint public transit agency. The team also provided recommendations for an expanded, better-funded transit system.
And most recently, in 2006, Breaking the Crime Chain: Making Pulaski County Safe205 was completed by a task force of UALR faculty and staff. After a quarter-cent tax increase was rejected by voters despite increasing trends in crime that included a record number of homicides, community leaders asked UALR to examine public safety issues. Chancellor Anderson asked Chancellor Emeritus Hathaway to create a task force of university experts in public finance, law, accounting, criminal justice, communications, and public history to evaluate the needs of the Pulaski County Regional Detention Facility and the sheriff’s office and to scrutinize county financial practices.
To aid in the process, UALR hosted a conference in Fall 2006 to bring national experts in the field of prevention, intervention, and treatment to the county for discussion with local leaders. After nine months of work, the task force made 16 recommendations. In 2008, after lauding county officials and members of the Quorum Court for their willingness to cooperate with the suggestions made in the report, Chancellor Emeritus Hathaway made a number of suggestions for further improvement.
The recommendations included a requirement that all members of the Quorum Court undergo training on reading and understanding fiscal reports (training that UALR would provide for free); an annual audit of county finances by an outside firm; and evaluation of the prevention, intervention, and treatment programs utilized by the county by a “nationally recognized external entity” as to their financial soundness and effectiveness.
In addition to addressing community, regional, and statewide problems through ad hoc committees and task forces, the University dedicates its resources to serving constituencies through numerous outreach centers and programs. Within these, faculty use their research, teaching, and service expertise to involve students in programs that benefit constituencies. Examples include the following:
Located in the College of Education, the mission of the Center for Literacy206 is increasing literacy achievement in Arkansas. Current initiatives include
- promoting services to the community, schools, and state to address literacy-related issues through annual conferences, literacy academies, and summer institutes
- providing intellectual resources for supporting literacy efforts within public schools
- building partnerships at the national and professional levels in order to advocate for effective literacy practices, early intervention services for struggling readers, and reading specialists in all schools
Located in the Department of Criminal Justice, the mission of the Juvenile Justice Center207 is to achieve statewide excellence in juvenile justice through research, policy analysis, and education/training. Current programs include the following:
- The Serious and Violent Offender Reentry Initiative
- Juvenile Crime Analysis
- Juvenile Court Improvement
Located in the Department of Criminal Justice, the mission of the Senior Justice Center208 is to address elder crime at the grass-roots level and to address policy issues affecting the elderly. Current programs include
- community seminars on such topics as nursing home abuse, identity theft, sexual abuse of the elderly, fraud, and insurance scams
- a senior abuse hotline
- online training program for Adult Protective Services
- a collaboration with the Arkansas Medicare/Medicaid Fraud Patrol
- a collaboration with the Graduate Certificate in Gerontology Program offered through the School of Social Work
Located in the Bowen School of Law, the Arkansas Special Education Mediation Project209 is funded through a grant from the Special Education Unit of the Arkansas Department of Education. Through the project, professionally trained mediators working with law students accomplish:
- mediate disputes between public school districts and parents or other caregivers of children with disabilities who believe the district is not fulfilling its obligations under Public Law 94-142, the Education of All Handicapped Children Act of 1975
- educate teachers, parents, and school districts on ways to create or modify students’ individualized educational plan in a way that provides a reasonable accommodation for the child
These outreach centers and programs represent the metropolitan university at its finest—a university with significant resources, working hand and hand with other local organizations to enhance the well-being of its community. This same commitment to promoting social, educational, and economic justice in Central Arkansas is evident in the University’s leadership in the area of race relations.
Pledge Five. UALR pledges to be a keeper of the flame on the subject of race.
This pledge reflects recognition that race remains a foremost barrier to social and economic progress. Since it is an issue that communities large and small find difficult to confront and therefore often ignore, the University will provide leadership by focusing attention on the issue through an annual survey of racial attitudes and through related activities.
In his inaugural address, Chancellor Anderson said, “Race, particularly white-Black race relations, has been a major problem, indeed the major problem, the biggest obstacle to progress, in our state since it was founded in 1836.” Race relations remain a central issue in Little Rock, where the integration of Central High School in 1957, the use of federal troops to control hostile crowds, and the closing of the Little Rock public school system in 1958–1959 polarized and tore apart the city. The effects of this event are still felt in the Central Arkansas region today.
Shortly after taking office, Chancellor Anderson initiated the Annual Survey of Racial Attitudes in Pulaski County.210 Commissioned by the Chancellor, the survey is conducted by the Institute of Government Survey Research Center. Below is a list of the focus of each study by year.
- 2004. Focus questions the first year of the survey dealt with general perceptions of interracial relationships, equality, and interracial experiences. The questions asked the first year have been included in all subsequent surveys.
- 2005. Focus questions were added on experiences with local government; racial profiling; and workplace, social, and other relationships.
- 2006. Focus questions were added on community experiences, trust, and satisfaction in the areas of housing, education, family life, financial situation, personal health, and safety from physical harm and violence.
- 2007. Focus questions were added on personal experiences of K–12 education; perceptions of equal access to education, fairness, and trust in the schools; and perception of higher education.
- 2008. Focus questions were added on health and health care.
- 2009. Focus questions were added on economic wealth, housing, and financial well-being.
In 2007, when the focus of the survey was on education, the University decided to conduct two surveys: the regular annual survey of Pulaski County residents and an additional survey of students at UALR. The purpose of the second survey was to assess students’ perceptions of race relations on campus and to identify areas for improvement. The student survey was not limited to Black and white respondents.
The results of the campus survey overall were encouraging:
- 93 percent of all student respondents, regardless of race, agreed or strongly agreed that they were satisfied with their experiences as a student at UALR.
- 90 percent of white and Black respondents agreed that UALR students are respectful of others whose race/ethnicity is different from their own.
- Almost 90 percent of respondents indicated that they have made friends with people of different racial or ethnic backgrounds than themselves.
- 89 percent of respondents agreed that UALR faculty members are fair to all students regardless of race or ethnic backgrounds.
There were several results, however, that indicated areas of concern:
- Between 16 percent and 19 percent of minority and international students reported negative racial or ethnic remarks by faculty or staff.
- 25 percent of respondents, regardless of race, agreed that they had been treated unfairly by university personnel at one time or another.
- Respondents who were Black or Hispanic were twice as likely as whites to attribute the unfair treatment to race or ethnic prejudice.
These results led to the formation of the Chancellor’s Committee on Race. Working with the Chancellor and in consultation with various student groups, this committee is charged with bringing the discussion of race on campus to the forefront. This is in keeping with Chancellor Anderson’s stance on fighting racism that “if you don’t face it, you can’t fix it.”
During the 2008–2009 academic year, the committee accomplished one of its first goals—to bring a live campus discussion board dedicated to issues about race.211 The discussion board is moderated by members of the committee, and its discussion threads can be viewed by anyone who accesses the website. However, to participate one must have an active UALR email account (which includes all UALR students and employees). Since its debut on January 30, 2009, the board has posted such questions as the following:
How should President Obama deal with the issue of race during his presidency? Should he attempt to ignore the issue or address it directly (please explain why you think this is the case)?
Many students say UALR courses have challenged their views about race. If a course has challenged or changed your views about race, how did this happen? What beliefs were challenged? What information was offered? What views did you change, if any? (This question references findings from the campus survey.)
Committee members are encouraged by the thoughtfulness of the discussions to date and have plans for advertising it more extensively across campus during the 2009–2010 academic year.
Due to his leadership in Central Arkansas in addressing the issue of race relations, in 2008 Chancellor Anderson received the Humanitarian Award from Just Communities of Central Arkansas (JCCA).212 Since 1963, JCCA annually has presented Humanitarian Awards to honor individuals who have demonstrated a commitment to the promotion of respect and understanding among people of diverse racial, ethnic, and religious backgrounds. These honorees have promoted justice and inclusion through their work and community service.
Pledge Six. UALR pledges to be a keeper of the flame on the need for regional cooperation in Central Arkansas.
This pledge reflects a recognition of new realities. In today’s highly competitive global economy, regional cooperation in economic development is a prerequisite of achieving a higher standard of living across the Central Arkansas region. But more than economic development is at stake. In a state with limited resources, communities—whether large or small—that are able to work together can save money and at the same time improve services and amenities for their citizens.
In the highly competitive global economy of the 21st century, the competitiveness of businesses and the standards of living of communities everywhere are at risk. For business and other leaders in the 11 counties included in the Metro Little Rock Alliance of Central Arkansas, UALR holds an Annual Conference on Regionalism. The purpose of the conference is to set aside old rivalries in order to promote collaboration among regional business interests.
In his opening statement at the first summit, “Solutions Big Enough to Fit the Size of the Problems” in 2004, Chancellor Anderson quoted from his inaugural address to explain his belief in the reason for and the importance of such a conference:
Beginning next fall, UALR will convene an annual conference on regionalism in Central Arkansas as a means of achieving stronger communities and a better life for everyone in the region… There is a growing list of problems that no longer lend themselves to solution in a single community, and a number, perhaps most, of them affect local economic competitiveness….
A quick list would include workforce quality, transportation, water quality and availability, air quality, waste disposal, law enforcement, cultural institutions and opportunities, public health, and libraries. In a number of communities these challenges exceed local capacity. . . .
We need a regular forum that will increase the likelihood that leaders throughout the region will become acquainted, will see opportunities to solve problems together, and will develop the desire and capability to work together. We need to develop solutions big enough to fit the size of the problems. I fear that if we as a region do not pull together, then the tide of global competition is going to push our region into the backwaters of the world economy. . . .
There are some things [that UALR] can do, perhaps more easily and better than others. When we have the resources, we should assist the community—broadly defined—in solving its significant problems… The University can call people to the table as a neutral convener. We can provide good information and analyses. We can provide experts. We can shine light on possible paths to a better future. We can facilitate conversations. When desired, we can facilitate decision-making. But county and municipal officials, along with business and civic leaders and concerned citizens across the region, are the ones who must decide whether, when, and how to join together for mutual advantage….
Why will the University involve itself in regionalism? Because so much is at stake for our region that the University ought to try to make a difference. This is our region, this is our place. If the region prospers, we prosper. If the region suffers, we suffer.213
The 2008 conference,214 co-sponsored by the Arkansas Business Publishing Group and KUAR radio, explored the looming crisis of labor shortages in the United States and discussed implications for Central Arkansas. Featured speakers at the conference included Ed Gordon, author of The 2010 Meltdown; Jim Clinton, executive director of the Southern Growth Policies Board; and Mike Cassidy, president and CEO of the Georgia Research Alliance. At a lunch panel, Central Arkansas government, education, and business leaders discussed the implications of labor shortages in Arkansas and what can be done to address them. The conference also engaged participants in interactive workshops in the afternoon to discuss strategies for developing, attracting, retaining, and nurturing human resources in the state.
Pledge Seven. UALR pledges to work as an active partner in revitalizing the University District, the area of the city immediately around the University.
This pledge embodies UALR’s desire to be a part of, not apart from, the city. The University accepts responsibility to join with city government, area businesses, churches, neighborhood organizations, and others to strengthen an area in the urban community that has been in slow decline.
Like many urban/metropolitan campuses, over the past few decades, the area adjacent to the campus has been undergoing changes. As growth has moved westward in the city (and beyond the city limits), the area around the campus has experienced the issues many urban campuses face, such as declining housing stock, marginal commercial and retail businesses, short-term rental expansion, the loss of home ownership, and increases in crime rates. However, the University has been very conscious of its “footprint” in the community, not only as community member, but also with the understanding that a declining area can discourage students, faculty, staff, and the larger community from wanting to associate with the campus.
Currently, the University District215 is home to approximately 10,000 residents, roughly 6 percent of Little Rock’s overall population. In general, the University District residents are less affluent and more diverse than those in many parts of the city. The dominant characteristics of the larger University District are its traditional people-scaled neighborhoods that are interspersed by active and resource parks, the Coleman and Rock Creek waterways, local schools, houses of worship, and the UALR campus. Unfortunately, many in the metropolitan region view the University District as a pass-through corridor lined with unsafe and obsolete shopping center “strip malls” with large areas of bleak, un-landscaped asphalt parking areas.
The University District Partnership preceded and informed UALR’s 2004 strategic planning and campus master planning efforts. The steering committee, consisting of a coalition of neighborhood business, community, and institutional leaders, as well as city, regional, and state department and agency representatives, engaged in a long-term planning process to address the continuing problems common to the larger community of which the University is a part. The planning and policy framework for the University District Partnership consists of a revitalization plan that describes major physical development projects that will upgrade the basic public infrastructure of the area and a strategic plan that addresses socio-economic conditions of the area and describes partnerships for delivering programs and services. Both plans were completed in mid-2007, and although published separately, contain complementary information and recommendations.
The revitalization plan, prepared by an urban planning firm, Wallace Roberts Todd, with public involvement in three community workshops, identifies the needs of the area surrounding the University: revitalization of obsolete commercial and light industrial areas; preservation of heritage natural resources; strengthening of residential neighborhoods, schools and community institutions; creation of livable, safe, and people-focused district centers; and enhancement of opportunities for racial and economic diversity in the district.
A series of recommendations addresses the reuse and revitalization of the district for residential, natural resources, commercial, and institutional uses with comprehensive circulation improvements that would create a multi-modal, people-focused movement network. The long-term revitalization plan is to place in and around campus a variety of university-linked programming, community-based programming, and community-based businesses that reflect a University District area.
The strategic plan, created by members of the steering committee, outlines long-term strategies for accomplishing the nine goals identified by the University District Partnership:
- Historic Character. Establish the University District as a destination of choice that attracts new families and businesses.
- Housing. Establish the University District as a place where every type of Little Rock household can find a suitable, affordable home.
- Public Safety. Establish the University District as a place where people feel safe in their homes and walking in their neighborhoods.
- Education. Raise academic achievement at every educational level within the University District population.
- Economic Development. Improve the economic well-being of families, individuals, and businesses within the University District
- Environmental Quality. Improve the environmental quality of the University District.
- Cultural Identity. Establish the University District as a primary international business, arts, and cultural destination within the Central Arkansas metropolitan area.
- Human Services. Reduce dependency and improve living conditions for persons with special needs living in the University District.
- Technology. Establish the technology infrastructure in the University District so that residents and businesses can make full use of e-government and e-business services.
When released in 2007, there was reason to be optimistic that the recommendations articulated in the revitalization plan and strategies outlined in the strategic plan could and would be achieved at a pace consistent with the plan’s design. Indeed, some of the features of the plan are being worked on as is detailed below. However, the economic down-turn experienced nationwide over the past 18 months jeopardizes the ability of the city, the state, and the University and its partners to continue to implement the plan as envisioned. Nonetheless, the necessity of continued progress on the plan ensures that it will remain a high priority for UALR.
The University District Partnership initiative is an outgrowth of previous work in the area with the Oak Forest Initiative, a precursor to the University District Plan. In 1994, UALR started the Oak Forest Initiative in the neighborhood immediately east and north of the campus with funding assistance from both the federal level and the City of Little Rock. Work in this area continues today.
The centerpiece of the neighborhood initiative has been UALR Children International.
UALR Children International216 (previously UALR Share America), is made possible by grant funding from Kansas City-based Children International, better known for its humanitarian programs for children and families in poverty outside the United States. The grant funding over the last decade has totaled over $5 million. Approximately 1,800 children in Little Rock are served each year by UALR Children International programs.
UALR Children International works side-by-side with schools, parents, and partners to offer programs for both students and parents. Programs include distribution of school supplies, after-school programs, various outreach groups, emergency situation assistance, and health care outreach, including dental work.
In addition to its partnership with Children International, the multi-faceted Oak Forest Initiative has included the after-school Neighborhood Homework Center with tutoring and summer camps for neighborhood children. Fourteen UALR academic units have participated in the initiative, with academic departments often developing service-learning opportunities for their students. Examples include the following:
- Construction management faculty and students have built two playgrounds and renovated the UALR Children International director’s office.
- After-school programs at three sites include educational enrichment programs taught by certified teachers and UALR students with a focus on mathematics and literacy. Last year’s assessment indicated the performance of participants improved 72 percent from pre-test to post-test.
- Faculty and students from the Department of Audiology and Speech have provided hearing screenings.
- The Labor Education Program has offered neighborhood parents computer training and job-readiness programs. Since 2000, 91 parents have completed the program, resulting in 22 percent gaining employment and 66 percent receiving job promotions.
- In partnership with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the city, and Habitat for Humanity, faculty and students have rehabilitated five existing houses and built ten new houses. These ten are the first new additions to housing stock in this area in several decades.
- The UALR Department of Athletics, with major private donations, has renovated the dilapidated baseball field in Curran Conway Park, a city park. This is now one of the best baseball facilities in the Sunbelt Conference.
Many of the departments do significant service-learning activities at Children International, providing a benefit to both the students and the children. Nursing courses, for example, offer multiple services to Children International. They do physicals on all of the students who are in Children International. Each semester, six clinicals, two days a week, working in Franklin, Wakefield, and Bale Elementary schools in the Little Rock School District are offered. This is done twice each semester, for a total of 12 days. Approximately 300–500 physicals are completed each year. In the course Nursing 2520, Pediatrics, Body Mass Index (BMI) assessments for both Little Rock and Pulaski County School Districts have been done. In 2008, eye and hearing screenings for Pulaski County were included. Such community service is organized by the course coordinator.
The scope and success of the Children International programs have been possible only because 31 organizations, both public and private, have joined as Partners in Service.
Objective 6. The University will expand its cultural programs to contribute to the quality of life in Central Arkansas.
As a community member and a metropolitan university, UALR is not isolated from the community or its neighbors. There is a steady stream of visitors to campus to attend events such as the annual conference focused on the results of the racial attitudes survey discussed earlier, various cultural events presented through Artspree,217 and continuing education and training events. Visitors also use university facilities for a wide variety of reasons.
One of the ways UALR reaches out to the community and contributes to the cultural life of Central Arkansas is through its two public radio stations218 administered through the College of Professional Studies. KLRE-FM 90.5 is a 40,000-watt station broadcasting classical music 24 hours a day. KUAR-FM 89.1 is a 100,000-watt station affiliated with National Public Radio that focuses on news and information.
The stations, which have won numerous awards, are commercial-free and reach 70,000 listeners each week. They inform, enrich, and entertain, and they provide hands-on experience to students from UALR, other area colleges, and Central Arkansas high schools who are interested in careers in broadcasting.
In addition to providing listeners access to national music, information, and news programs, the two stations offer numerous locally produced programs on Arkansas events, people, politics, culture, history, and the arts. Often produced in conjunction with community groups or organizations, these programs work to inform and educate the community:
- Arkansas Business Report. A weekly summary of Arkansas business news from Chris Harkins of Delta Trust & Bank
- Arts Scene. A program that examines latest news about the visual and performing arts, produced in cooperation with the UALR College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences
- At the Symphony. A preview of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s upcoming Masterworks concerts
- Biography Arkansas. A one-minute program featuring brief biographies of well-known Arkansas natives
- Here’s To Your Health. Reports on health and medical news produced by UAMS and hosted by Dr. T. Glenn Pait
- Izzy Investigates. A look at the many aspects of classical music with Conway Symphony music director Israel Getzoff
- Library Report. Book reviews from Bill Jones, courtesy of the Central Arkansas Library System
- Notes on Music. Brief vignettes about musical history, written and produced by a retired UALR music professor
- Once Upon a Book. Reviews on children’s literature by Dr. Toran Isom of the UALR Department of Rhetoric and Writing
- Picture This. A series of audio essays that explores various art issues, from architecture to photography, hosted by UALR Department of Art gallery director, Brad Cushman
- Science Café. A monthly interview show about a science topic, produced in cooperation with UAMS
- Stories of the Community. One-minute vignettes that feature the history and culture of Little Rock’s African American community and are produced in conjunction with the Mosaic Templars Cultural Center, an agency of the Department of Arkansas Heritage
- Tales from the Trail of Tears. One-minute historical features about the Trail of Tears, produced with the UALR Sequoyah National Research Center
- Weekend Arts Update. A weekly listing of performances and exhibits scheduled around Arkansas for the weekend, hosted by Ann Nicholson
Recently, UALR signed an agreement with a local television station that will allow the radio stations to share antenna space on the TV station’s new tower at a nominal cost. This in-kind gift, valued at $2.7 million over a 25-year-period, will improve the stations’ signals, allowing both to reach a larger audience.
In 2007, Chancellor Anderson dedicated approximately $190,000 in annual funding toward upgrading the university cable television station, Channel 62 University Television.219 UALR hired a station manager and a videographer and upgraded equipment. The station now airs videos of campus speakers and cultural events, documentaries on faculty and student research, videos of speakers at the Clinton School, and many other programs sponsored by the University.
The UALR campus maintains an active schedule of speakers, panel discussions, and cultural events that enrich the educational experience of students and the local community. Departments from every college feature special events throughout the year, and the Office of Campus Life sponsors dozens of additional events, many of which are suggested by students themselves.
The Winthrop Rockefeller Distinguished Lecture Series is one of the most popular campus-wide events at UALR. Generously underwritten by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, the series brings nationally known speakers to the Little Rock community. Recent speakers have included anthropologist Dr. Richard Leakey (2008) and civil rights leader Julian Bond (2007).
These lectures are free to the public and are often at standing-room capacity. The series is coordinated from within the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, although representatives from across the University offer assistance, suggestions, and support. In connection with the lecture, the University offers related events such as classes and exhibits, to connect the speaker and the subject pedagogically for the students and the campus.
In 2002, to celebrate 75 years of existence,220 UALR hosted a lecture series that brought national and international figures to the community. Events were underwritten by various groups and departments on campus. They included the following:
Danny Glover, actor and advocate for literacy. Glover received a Lifetime Achievement Award from Amnesty International, served as the first Goodwill Ambassador to the United Nations Development Programme, and was honored with the first Kunstler Racial Justice Award for his work on a variety of social issues.
Edward James Olmos, actor and executive director of the Lives In Hazard Educational Project, a national gang-prevention program funded by the U.S. Department of Justice. Olmos’ lecture was sponsored by the Hispanic Heritage Month Planning Committee.
Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan. Now deceased, Bhutto was the first woman elected to lead a modern Islamic nation. She overcame government persecution and a lack of political experience to rise to the top of the Pakistani government. Her lecture was sponsored in part by the Arkansas Humanities Council, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the UALR Middle Eastern Studies Program.
Ben Stein, attorney, economist, syndicated columnist, former speechwriter for Presidents Nixon and Ford, screenwriter, and author. Stein has written and published 16 books and taught as an adjunct professor at American University, the University of California at Santa Cruz, and Pepperdine University.
Spike Lee, producer, director, actor, and writer. Lee has established himself as one of Hollywood’s most important and influential filmmakers. Critically acclaimed and often controversial, Lee’s films have earned him Academy Award nominations, Chicago Film Festival Critics and L.A. Film Critics Association awards, and the Cannes Film Festival’s Best New Director award.
Juan Williams, one of America’s leading journalists and news analyst for National Public Radio, appearing regularly on the newsmagazines Morning Edition and Day to Day. Williams previously hosted public radio’s national call-in show Talk of the Nation and was an editorial writer, op-ed columnist, and White House reporter during a 21-year career at The Washington Post. He is author of the critically acclaimed biography, Thurgood Marshall—American Revolutionary, as well as the nonfiction best-seller Eyes on the Prize: America’s Civil Rights Years, 1954–1965.
All activities were free and open to the public, and all were well attended. Many of the speakers met with students and spoke to classes, allowing them to interact with some of the most prominent activists and leaders of the 20th century.
On an ongoing basis, colleges and departments sponsor a wide range of lectures and public speaking events that draw from experts in many areas of expertise. These events, often produced in conjunction with community groups and organizations draw the attention of members of the local community. Such events help support the mission of bringing educational opportunities to Arkansas and promoting the common good.
The College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences has a rich palette of cultural events to offer the area. Arkansas citizens have the opportunity to consider philosophical and ethical questions, listen to a variety of musical events, attend lectures on significant historical events, and view a wide variety of theatrical offerings:
- The Department of Philosophy and Liberal Studies has partnered with the Arkansas Humanities Council since Fall 2000 in sponsoring and promoting public lectures by prominent scholars on ethical issues facing contemporary society. Some of the topics presented include “The Ethics of the Death Penalty,” “Citizen Choice and Urban Sprawl,” “Ethics and the Use of Animals in Medical Experimentation,” “Just War? Jihad and Terrorism,” and “Sexual Orientation and Discrimination.”
- The Department of Art maintains three galleries in the Fine Arts building that showcase varied works from visiting artists, traveling exhibitions, competitions, faculty work, and student work. Exhibits in 2008–2009 included the following:
- Captain America: Operation Zero Point, Marvel Comics, Mitch Breitweiser, Illustrator; Elizabeth Breitweiser, Digital Colorist
- Comic Vernacular = Artwork inspired by cartoon animation and comic books
Exhibits by visiting artists often are accompanied by a lecture or discussion by the artist.
- The Department of Music sponsors concerts that include UALR students, faculty, and ensemble groups. Each year, the department offers free and low-cost concerts to the general public. In 2009, in Stella Boyle Smith Concert Hall, there were 52 university-sponsored music events and four events sponsored by external constituents. Of those, seven were concerts/recitals given by UALR faculty, and nine concerts/recitals were given by guest performers. Ensembles that perform at these concerts include the following:
- UALR Community Orchestra
- UALR Percussion Ensemble and Trojan Pep Band
- Student Music Recital
- UALR Wind Ensemble
- UALR Gospel Chorale
- UALR Guitar Ensemble
- UALR Opera Theatre performance of La Tragedie de Carmen with orchestra
- UALR Community Chorus performance of Carmina Burana, with orchestra
- UALR Concert Choir
- The Department of Theater Arts and Dance similarly offers a wide variety of events. Performances in the 2008–2009 season included Lear’s Daughters; Fringe Festival; Endgame; and the Dance Concert.
- The Evenings with History series, sponsored by the University History Institute, presents UALR faculty members sharing their current historical research. Although the presentations are aimed at a general audience, each offers insight into historical scholarship. The nationally recognized series covers a variety of eras, areas, and subjects.
- The Department of Psychology offers the Marie Wilson Howells Speakers Series. In 2008, Dr. Alice Dreger, professor of clinical medical humanities and bioethics and Guggenheim Fellow, presented “Sex and Social Justice: Three Cases Involving Children.” Dr. Dreger is an expert in the area of problems faced by children who are intersex and is involved in developing new standards that will be used in the treatment of a variety of problems related to sex and gender.
- The Cooper Lecture Series, organized by the William G. Cooper, Jr., Honors Program in English, a community outreach program, enhances the educational experience for both students and faculty. The program usually hosts six to eight speakers per academic year. In general, speakers give a formal lecture or reading, meet with particular classes, and conduct question-and-answer sessions with interested students and faculty. The Cooper committee’s goal is to create a coherent and stimulating lecture series that ideally includes both critics and creative writers. Past lecturers include Dr. Julia Bolton Holloway, medievalist and curator of the English Cemetery in Florence, who presented her lecture “Iron Chain, Golden Ring: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Florence’s English Cemetery, and Freedom from Slavery.” Betty Booth Donahue presented “An American Indian Reads Captivity Narratives: Just Whose Story Is This?”
Through its lectures, the College of Business does much to promote economic and business advancement throughout Central Arkansas. The Business Forum, in operation since 1979, has traditionally presented five prominent speakers who address major state, national, and international issues. The Forum has recently switched its structure to present one national expert per year speaking on a topic of importance.
- A panel of national experts examined the banking crisis.
- Dr. Ed Gordon addressed the issues contained in his most recent book, The 2010 Meltdown.
- Mr. Dennis Avery discussed Unstoppable Global Warming: Every 1500 Years, which he co-authored.
- Dr. Paul Fiorelli, director of Cintas Institute for Business Ethics at Xavier University, spoke on “Moral Meltdown: The Ethics Behind the Bailout.”
Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology and the College of Science and Mathematics
The Colloquium Seminar Series in Applied Science is a weekly lecture series sponsored jointly by the Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology and the College of Science and Mathematics. Scientists from all over the world have come to talk on topics of interest to engineers and scientists. Below is a partial list of the Spring 2009 speakers:
- Dr. Rajender S. Varma of the National Risk Management Research Laboratory gave a talk entitled “Sustainable Synthesis of Organics and Nanomaterials Using Microwave Irradiation.”
- Dr. Harold S. Park of the University of Colorado gave a talk entitled “Surface Effects on the Mechanical Behavior and Properties of Nanomaterials.”
- Dr. Paul Timmers of the General Information Society & Media European Commission gave a talk entitled “Citizen Rights and Opportunities for Information Technology Innovation.”
- Dr. Taner Akkin of the University of Minnesota gave a talk entitled “Imaging Tissue Microstructure and Function with Optical Coherence Tomography.”
- Dr. Mun Choi of the University of Connecticut gave a talk entitled “Sooting Behavior in Microgravity Droplet Combustion.”
- Dr. Krishnaiyan Thulasiraman of the University of Oklahoma gave a talk entitled “Duality in Graphs and Networks.”
- Dr. Yusuf Ozturk of San Diego State University gave a talk entitled “Spatially Adaptive Mobile Ad-Hoc Networks.”
The Bowen School of Law created the Arnold Lecture Series, a lecture series that brings noted legal minds to the school. The lecture series honors the late Honorable Richard S. Arnold, former Eighth Circuit Judge, Chief Judge, and Senior Judge; and his brother, Eighth Circuit Judge Morris S. Arnold. The Arnolds served together on the Court for more than 12 years. Justice Antonin Scalia, who was a classmate of Judge Richard Arnold at Harvard Law School, praised the late judge as “a jurist of brilliant intellect and man of greater compassion.” In his address, Justice Scalia argued for his preference that decisions of moral consequence be resolved by the people through their elected legislatures rather than by judges. In 2007, Justice Clarence Thomas delivered the second Arnold Lecture before a standing-room-only crowd in the Friday Courtroom.
UALR Alumnus Derek Fisher.
Athletic events also bring the community to campus. The Jack Stephens Center (Stephens Center), created through a matching grant and a $22.4 million gift from long-time supporter Jackson T. Stephens, features a full-court practice gym named after UALR alumnus Derek Fisher, a team member of the Los Angeles Lakers; an academic support center for students athletes complete with 23 computer terminals; a first-class weight room; an athletic training room; locker rooms for basketball and volleyball; and a NIKE team store. In addition, the arena houses the offices for the men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball coaches, as well as the athletic administration and support staff.
In addition to being the home court for the UALR Trojan basketball teams, the Stephens Center provides the first on-campus site for December and May UALR graduation ceremonies. Area high schools also use it for graduation as well as for other events such as the state basketball play-offs. The center is the northern anchor of the campus and offers a high-profile venue for community events.
UALR maintains exhibits, archives, and other resources that are open to the public. These include two significant archives:
Dr. Bill Wiggins displays pieces from the collection of Native American Art, one of the SNRC’s major features.
- Sequoyah National Research Center.221 The Sequoyah National Research Center serves tribal communities and the general public by developing and maintaining the means to access the contents of one of the largest repositories of Native American materials in the world and by providing educational resources through various media and public programming. The center documents all aspects of Indian life from the Indian perspective. In addition, it maintains the largest collection of Native newspapers and periodicals in the world in hard copy and film, including press histories from 1828 to present.
The center also collects and disseminates the literary works of Native writers past and present through the Digital Library, Chapbook series, and the most comprehensive online bibliography of Native writing in the world. The center highlights the work of Indian artists through the preservation and display of one of Native America’s finest art collections. It also collects the publications of, and other information on Indian organizations, including business and professional groups as well as advocacy agencies.
To foster communication and understanding, the center sponsors the Sequoyah National Research Center Annual Symposium, a conference of Native people. Every year, between 175 and 250 attendees from across the nation and from many tribes come to Little Rock to discuss issues of common interest.
- Arkansas Studies Institute.222 Built through a collaborative effort between UALR and the Central Arkansas Library System, this facility in downtown Little Rock houses materials that are historically significant to Arkansas and the surrounding region, including the trans-Mississippi Valley. Included are the papers of former Arkansas governors Dale Bumpers, Winthrop Rockefeller, Jim Guy Tucker, and Frank White. Additionally, Ottenheimer Library, the main library in the library system, is the state’s only depository of European Union documents and is a depository for Arkansas state documents. The library archives are available to scholars and the general public alike.
UALR commits significant physical, financial, and human resources to meeting the educational needs of both licensed and unlicensed professionals in the community. To that end, UALR offers continuing education programs that provide credit- and non-credit-granting courses for post-secondary learning programs and continuing education units. Aimed at professionals working in the field, post-secondary learners, and adult learners, these programs are designed to provide quality education for workforce training and personal enrichment. These programs are intended to encourage individuals to expand their knowledge base and stay up-to-date on current trends in their field.
The only unit on campus devoted entirely to professional training and continuing education is the MidSOUTH Center for Leadership and Training (MidSOUTH),223 a community service unit of the School of Social Work. MidSOUTH provides leadership, training, and support in the areas of addiction, child welfare, technology, distance learning, and organizational development. MidSOUTH has five training locations across the state and offers many training opportunities for a wide variety of Arkansas professionals. Programs include the following:
- The MidSOUTH Summer School (MSSS®) on Alcohol and Other Drug Abuse Programs is in its third decade as the main substance abuse training conference in the State of Arkansas and its surrounding region. Since its inception in 1973, the conference has reached over 46,000 people across the United States through a variety of education delivery methods. The conference offers quality continuing education for treatment and prevention professionals.
The purpose of MSSS is to provide a forum for cost-effective and relevant workshops dealing with the unique challenges faced by individuals delivering treatment services, prevention programs, and related alcohol and other drug education. One of the unique characteristics of MSSS is that representatives from a broad range of prevention, education, self-help, law enforcement, child welfare, mental health, corrections, and treatment groups serve as a constituent coalition for the funding, development, and direction of the conference.
- The MidSOUTH Training Academy provides training for the child welfare services workforce in Arkansas. New staff training is provided for staff of the Arkansas Division of Children and Family Services. The continuing education program offers training on a broad range of child welfare topics to both staff, foster parents, adoptive parents, and individuals and organizations serving children and families in the community.
- The MidSOUTH Prevention Institute is a workforce development initiative that strives to assist prevention professionals in their efforts to plan, implement, and evaluate science-based programming around the prevention of substance abuse, violence, and other high-risk behaviors. Institute resources include training, technical assistance, and a resource library housed on the UALR campus.
- The MidSOUTH Addictions Training Network is a workforce development program with a primary focus on the competencies required of substance abuse treatment counselors. The network provides training for people seeking to become Certified Alcohol Drug Counselors and people seeking recertification as counselors. The network also serves other professionals in need of substance abuse treatment training to fulfill their certification/licensure requirements and members of the general public with an interest in substance abuse treatment.
- The MidSOUTH Arkansas Substance Abuse Certification Board develops, tests, and certifies counselors and supervisors in the field of substance abuse. MidSOUTH provides administrative support to the board.
The School of Mass Communication offers professional development opportunities for high school media teachers during the Little Rock School District’s in-service conference days. This is in direct response to a request made by high school media advisors during the annual High School Journalism Symposium. Teachers complained that their required in-service meeting time was wasted because nothing was available specifically for media advisors. In response, the School of Mass Communication has begun offering web design sessions and advanced media sessions taught by faculty and designed particularly for high school media teachers.
Since 2008, with the assistance of the Office of Justice and the Office of Victims of Crime, the Department of Criminal Justice has offered the Arkansas Victim Assistance Academy, a 40-hour, one-week academy designed to provide victim service providers with intensive training tailored to the needs of Arkansas victim service providers. Participants learn about the following:
- the history of victim advocacy
- dynamics of the criminal and juvenile justice systems from arrest through post-sentencing
- victim points of contact with the legal system
- victim mental health needs
- legal issues for victim advocates
- working with the Victim Information and Notification Everyday system, which provides crime and release data on all prison inmates
- domestic violence and orders of protection
- child victimization
- sexual assault victims
- cyber crime
- working with rural victims
- substance abuse and victimization
- vicarious victimization
Upon successful completion, academy graduates are certified as victim service providers. Graduates also earn three college credits transferable to any accredited institution of higher education. This is the only program of this nature in the state, and UALR is proud to be able to provide this service to the community.
The College of Education hosts several reading recovery and comprehensive literacy trainings for teachers from all over the state, hosting more than 500 teachers and administrators each time. They also hosted the Arkansas Professors of Educational Administration meeting for the state administrator training faculty in 2008–2009, which is designed to meet the needs of professors of educational administration.
Through the College of Education’s Center for Gifted Education,224 more than 500 teachers a year receive training in teaching advanced placement courses at the Arkansas Advanced Placement Professional Development Center, a division of the Center for Gifted Education. The center also organizes UALR’s Advanced Placement (AP) Summer Institute at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Science, and the Arts in Hot Springs. The College Board-endorsed Summer Institute provides pre-AP and AP instruction in English, mathematics, social studies, science, art, and foreign languages.
The Mid-America Regional Interpreter Education Center (MARIE)225 is a collaborative effort between UALR and the University of Northern Colorado in Denver. Funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the MARIE Center serves as an interpreter educational center for 11 states: Arkansas, Colorado, Louisiana, Montana, New Mexico, North Dakota, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, and Wyoming.
The new MARIE Center is part of an innovative and coordinated national effort to improve interpreting skills and to provide training opportunities to interpreters across the United States. The MARIE Center is one of six regional/national centers that form the National Consortium of Interpreter Education Centers.
The objectives of the consortium are:
- identifying the current state of interpreting
- fostering effective practices in interpreting and interpreter education
- increasing the number, diversity, and readiness of interpreters in the field
- maximizing regional resources and expertise through information sharing and elimination of duplicate efforts
- promoting consumer self-advocacy and effective utilization of interpreters
- creating a national network of local interpreter education partners
For the past four years, the Department of History has worked with the Little Rock School District through a federal Teaching American History grant of $2 million. The grant has involved using UALR faculty in various teaching situations designed to upgrade the skills of junior high and high school teachers. Teachers received in-service credit for participating in this project.
Through a No Child Left Behind grant, the department conduct monthly professional development seminars on campus for approximately 25 area foreign language teachers each year. The seminars focus on how teachers can incorporate the national foreign language standards into their teaching and assessment of student learning.
With support from the federal government, UALR partially underwrites the Little Rock Writing Project,226 a network of area K–college teachers who have successfully completed intensive preparation in the pedagogy of writing. The core work of the project is carried out by Teacher-Consultants:
- the Summer Invitational Institute for Teachers, which provides summer study in writing theory and practice and qualifies teachers to be a part of the project network
- continuity programs, which support the Teacher-Consultants
- professional development programs for all teachers
The project requires significant outreach and collaboration with local public schools, improves the writing done in schools, and creates good relationships with local educators. In addition, the project often serves as a gateway for students into the master’s program.
The Information Technology CyberTeacher Program227 is a four-week, 12-credit-course that prepares “teacher leaders” to instruct colleagues and students in technology. Each fall, these teachers return to the classroom equipped with the information technology skills necessary to be a 21st century teacher. Summer 2008 marked the eighth year of this partnership between the Little Rock School District and UALR. Twelve teachers participated in four weeks of intensive technology training. The school district purchased laptop computers and paid the tuition for participants.
The Information Technology Certificate228 is designed for working professionals to increase their value in today’s business market. This hands-on program teaches information management techniques and provides innovative solutions to information-related problems. Participants learn the gateway technologies from Microsoft, including data management, spreadsheet applications, graphical presentations, web design, business concepts, and communication skills.
In 2005, the department hosted a retreat at Winthrop Rockefeller Institute for mathematics teachers from area middle schools, high schools, community colleges, and universities. The purpose of the retreat was to develop relationships among mathematics teachers and to create recommendations on ways to improve students’ performance as they transition to higher level mathematics courses.
Arkansas STRIVE229 provides professional development to secondary science, math, and computer teachers and provides summer research experience and training in teaching with inquiry and problem-solving approaches. Held at UALR, this statewide program is sponsored by the State of Arkansas, a grant from the No Child Left Behind program, and donations from local industries, businesses, and other universities.
Annually, this program places up to 40 teachers in eight-week research positions in universities, businesses, nonprofit organizations, and government agencies. The program was developed by a consortium that is comprised of UALR and
- Arkansas Departments of Education and Higher Education
- Arkansas Environmental Federation
- National Center for Toxicological Research
- University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences
- University of Arkansas at Fayetteville
In keeping with the metropolitan mission of UALR that recognizes a university is a public investment, the University makes its facilities available to the community in order to promote discussion, learning, and community involvement. Over the past ten years, UALR has hosted a wide array of conferences:
- The Juvenile Justice Reform Task Force is a day-long meeting of 50 individuals discussing the future of juvenile justice in the state. As part of that meeting, Advocates for Children and Families held a press conference to release their report on juvenile justice in the state.
- The District 7 History Day competition brings to the campus several hundred junior high and high school students on one Saturday in March. In 2009, History Day used the large conference rooms (Ledbetter rooms) in the Donaghey Student Center as well as four or five classrooms and the Dickinson Hall auditorium.
- The Engineering Scholars Program was a two-week summer program in 2008 that provided hands-on training in electrical, mechanical, telecommunications, computers, and robotics to 17 high school students in engineering laboratories. The students were accommodated in UALR dorms.
- The School of Mass Communication has hosted several conferences/meetings over the past few years:
- Investigative Reporters and Editors’ Regional Conference in March 2005
- The National Broadcasting Society National Executive Board and National Advisory Council in 2003 and 2004
- The Girl Scouts of the USA Arkansas Council Realignment Committee PR and IT Sub-committee meetings in 2008
- Associated Press correspondent Bob Reid lecture in 2006, sponsored by the school, the Associated Press, and the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette in November 2006.
- The Arkansas Academy of Science Conference was held on campus a number of years ago and will return to UALR in 2010.
- The Arkansas Woodworkers Association, a group of individuals who practice wood craft, meet in the Applied Design Facility in Plaza 300. Professor Mia Hall typically serves as hostess.
- Winners of the Arkansas Times’ Academic All-Star Competition,230 the only comprehensive effort in Arkansas to recognize academic achievement, are honored at a ceremony at UALR, where they receive plaques and cash awards.
- The Department of Music hosts each year several competitions and auditions, as follows:
- Four all-day piano competitions for the Little Rock Music Teachers Association and the local Piano Teachers Association
- The UALR Piano Competition for pre-college students
- Metropolitan Opera Regional Competition (UALR hosted the competition recently and will return to that role next year)
- The Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s late spring and early fall auditions for new musicians in the orchestra, as part of its partnership with the symphony orchestra. In turn, the UALR Community Orchestra rehearses off-campus at Byrne Hall.
- The Arkansas Dolphin Lasar Swim Team, a year-round competitive swim program serving swimmers in Little Rock and surrounding communities, holds both its practices and home competitions in the Donaghey Student Center Natatorium.
- The Engineering Olympics for middle and high school students are hosted each year in the Stephens Center by the College of Engineering and Information Technology. Eight schools participated.
The Staff Senate, the Student Government Association, and organized student groups are active in philanthropic activities.
The Staff Senate organizes the following service projects each year:
- Helping Hands Project, which collects and distributes non-perishable items to UALR families that submit an application to receive a food basket and a Kroger gift card towards the purchase of a meat item during the Christmas holiday season.
- Staff Open House, which provides to the campus a chance to meet and greet other employees whom they may not otherwise get a chance to meet. This event also kicks off the Helping Hands Project, with the Teacup auction.
- Book Scholarships, which grant two scholarships for books to UALR staff: the Jerry Crittendon and PepsiAmerica’s scholarships. The employee submits an application to be chosen for the scholarships.
- Staff Achievement Awards, which recognize UALR employees for three types of service: the Community Service award, Personal Growth award, or Service to UALR award. The employee who wins in his/her nominated category receives a $1,000 scholarship.
- Red Cross Blood Drive, which occurs four times a year for the UALR campus
Registered student organizations at UALR have been involved in a variety of community service and/or philanthropic activities over the years. UALR usually has 80 to 100 registered student organizations on campus at any point, and many of those are involved in community service. The events below are those directly related to the Student Government Association,231 the Panhellenic Council (council of sororities), and Interfraternity Council (council of fraternities),232 as well as various other registered student organizations.233
- In 2003–2004, the National Panhellenic Council and the Interfraternity Council partnered with the UALR baseball team to collect food for the Arkansas Rice Depot. Over 1,000 food items were collected by 60 students. In 2004–2005, these groups raised over $3,000 for Arkansas Children’s Hospital during the Greek Week Phone Phrenzy and in 2005–2006 exceeded that amount by $1,000.
- For the past several years, various student organizations have participated in the King Academy, which includes day-long service at one of several organizations in the metropolitan area and culminates on the annual holiday in participation in Marade (Dr. Martin Lurther King Day parade), which includes a luncheon featuring a speaker who reminds participants of Dr. King’s ideals about equality and service. Organizations that have been served by these students include the following:
- March of Dimes
- Arkansas Rice Depot
- The Watershed Project
- Helping Hands
- Easter Seals Rehabilitation Center
- Our House Shelter
- Senior Citizens Activities Today, Inc.
- The Pulaski County Juvenile Detention Center
- UALR Children International
- St. Francis House
In 2006, the Student Government Association began recognizing student service with the Community Service Award. In 2006–2007, the Student Government Association and the Global Issues Group, another student organization on campus, co-sponsored the Poverty Awareness Convention. Nonprofit organizations came to campus, presented information, and advertised volunteer opportunities. Approximately 300 students attended and participated in a food drive.
Other recognized student groups, such as the Anthropology Club, the Alliance, the School of Law Bowen Athletic Department and Bowen Lambda often hold fund-raisers or volunteer their time for local organizations. For example, in 2009, the Alliance performed an all-volunteer version of The Vagina Monologues.
Administration, faculty, and staff at UALR serve or have membership in a variety of state and national organizations. UALR is a member of the Little Rock Chamber of Commerce, with Chancellor Anderson representing UALR at meetings. The Chamber
boasts over 1,800 members with approximately 150,000 employees throughout Central Arkansas; many of these members provide UALR with feedback in one way or another (both negative and positive) about the direction of the University. As a result of Chancellor Anderson’s leadership in the Chamber of Commerce, the new Bachelor of Arts in Dance received letters of support not only from cultural organizations in Little Rock but also from Chamber business owners who recognized the value of culture how it enhances the economy.
Other faculty and administrators serve with groups such as the Board of the Arkansas Symphony Orchestra, National Association of Social Work, the Women’s Project, and Heifer Project International. This participation allows the University to identify areas of need and growth.
As professionals, UALR faculty members serve in significant roles throughout their academic professions in many ways as board members, administrators, and editors or reviewers:
- Dr. Roslyn Knutson, a Shakespearian scholar, was invited to England to lecture on her research at the Globe Playhouse in London where Shakespeare’s plays were performed 400 years ago. Dr. Knutson had previously been invited to give a series of lectures at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington.
- Dean Wanda Dole was elected the secretary-treasurer of the American Library Association’s Statistics and Evaluation Standing Committee.
- Dr. Susan Hoffpauir served on the Board of Directors for the Arkansas Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers from 2001 to 2009, most recently as president.
- Dr. Charles Anderson is the executive editor of the journal Literature and Medicine, co-published by UALR and UAMS.
Faculty service extends to the local and national community; at UALR faculty are encouraged to use their expertise in all areas. Following are some examples of service:
- Dr. Carolyn Turturro has assisted advocacy groups for the homeless by conducting the Survey of the Homeless in Central Arkansas since 2001 to achieve a better estimate of the number of people who are homeless in the Little Rock/North Little Rock area and to increase the understanding of service providers about their needs. Since the project began, undergraduate and graduate social work students have assisted in the research by collecting data.
- Dr. Victor Ellsworth, former chairman of the Department of Music, has organized the UALR Community Orchestra that provides the rare opportunity to rehearse and play in an orchestra to music lovers who otherwise would never have the experience. Among other participants young and old, one octogenarian has been able to continue her life-long love of playing the violin by participating in the community orchestra.
- Dr. Margaret (Beth) McMillan used her expertise in geographic information systems to assist first responders in Mississippi following Hurricane Katrina. She volunteered to help develop maps that detailed road conditions, power outages, and facilities with hazardous materials information used by the Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Her work was noted on CNN Radio.
- Dr. Bevan Keating directs the UALR Community Chorus, which is comprised of nearly 90 members drawn from UALR students, faculty, and staff, as well as the greater Little Rock community. The choir is open to singers at all levels of musical ability who wish to participate in choral masterpieces accompanied by full orchestra. No formal audition is required. The Community Chorus performs jointly with the UALR Concert Choir, an auditioned ensemble, in two major concerts each year. In March 2009, the Community Chorus celebrated its fifth anniversary with a performance of Carl Orff’s Carmina Burana at Second Presbyterian Church in west Little Rock.
- Dr. Lars Powell, Whitbeck-Beyer Chair of Insurance and Financial Services, testified before a congressional subcommittee investigating the availability and affordability of insurance in May 2008.
- Prof. Win Bruhl, chairman of the Department of Art, was selected as a single representative of the United States in an International Linocut Symposium in Klenova, Czech Republic, in October 2006.
- Dr. Mark Funk, chairman of the Department of Economics and Finance in the College of Business, has an ongoing television spot devoted to economic issues on KHTV Today’s Channel 11.
- UALR dedicates its resources to advance economic prosperity, social and physical well-being, educational development, and cultural vitality in Central Arkansas in ways valued by external constituencies.
- UALR faculty and students are involved actively in service.
- The multiple ways in which UALR faculty, staff, and students are involved in service needs to communicated more effectively to the University community.