Office of the Dean
Jamie Byrne, Interim Dean
The College of Professional Studies has everything you’d expect to find at a top metropolitan university – associate, bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in six disciplines, faculty from around the world trained in leading research universities, and high-achieving students. But you’ll also find so much more – faculty, staff and students working collaboratively to solve pressing community problems, statewide offices providing health and social services, public radio stations reaching 75,000 Arkansans, an Institute of Government doing cutting-edge public policy research for state and local governments, and a Speech and Hearing Clinic offering some of the best services in the state to 2700 children and adults each year with speech, hearing, and literacy problems.
The College of Professional Studies is home to a wide array of disciplines and programs, including the departments of Audiology and Speech Pathology (a joint program with the College of Health Related Professions at UAMS), Criminal Justice, and Speech Communication, the Institute of Government (housing a training group for state leaders, a research group and a graduate program in Public Administration), the School of Social Work, and the School of Mass Communication. UALR Public Radio with its public affairs station KUAR and classical music station KLRE is also a part of the college. The College of Professional Studies in 2005 employed about 170 faculty and staff members serving over 1030 students, about 60% at the undergraduate level and 40% graduate students.
The Master’s in Social Work is one of the largest graduate programs on campus, serving almost 120 students per year. Alumni of the first and largest MSW program in the country occupy key roles in government agencies and private practice to improve mental health and the welfare of vulnerable populations in the state.
The College has particularly strong academic programs in communication. The School of Mass Communication has developed a new “convergent” curriculum to prepare students to work in a new media environment in which print media, new media, broadcast and film are becoming increasingly intertwined. Students gain experience producing programming for Cable Channel 62, in internships with UALR Public Radio, and in many internships in central Arkansas. The Department of Speech Communication prepares students in a variety of applied communication fields from intercultural communication to crisis communication. The Master’s in Interpersonal and Organizational Communication is a flexible graduate degree which prepares students for careers from sales to training and development. A new Health Communication track in the graduate program prepares students for work in health-related fields.
The College is also home to community outreach centers and units, most of them located within academic units. The Mid-South Center in the School of Social Work is funded by a federal grant to provide all child welfare training in the state of Arkansas through six regional offices around the state. Employees also provide training in substance abuse treatment, play therapy, and other mental health services. Each year the Mid-South Summer School attracts 1000 mental health professionals to campus. The Arkansas Public Administration Consortium (a joint program with UAF and ASU) offers training to state and local government leaders, non-profit leaders, and employment professionals through the Certified Public Manager, Certified Volunteer Manager, and Certified Employment manager programs. The Center for Public Conflict Solutions in the Institute of Government 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. It is home to a graduate certificate program in conflict mediation. The Center for Nonprofit Organizations promotes healthy leadership and growth for the important non-profit sector in the state and hosts a graduate certificate program in Nonprofit Organizations.
The Criminal Justice program, recognized as one of the top 25 programs in the nation by U.S. News and World Report, hosts three centers to serve the state. The Center for Environmental Criminology conducts research on the interaction of social/geographic factors and crime patterns with the goal of protecting the citizens of the state. The Center for Senior Justice promotes the safety of senior citizens through education programs and a hotline. The Center for Juvenile Justice has become a catalyst for the state in promoting programs to reduce juvenile crime and to develop stronger programs to rehabilitate juvenile offenders. The on-line undergraduate major in Criminal Justice is one of the fastest-growing programs in the university and will soon be joined by an on-line master’s program.
The Center for Stuttering Treatment and Research in the Department of Audiology and Speech Pathology is the only center of its kind in Arkansas and one of the few in this region . Dr. Brent Gregg oversees therapy for children and adults and guides students in research on best methods to address stuttering issues. The Beth Eaton Scottish Rite Child Development Center offers a pre-school setting for therapy for children with speech problems. Children with conditions from autism to language delays have made dramatic breakthroughs in the program. Costs are underwritten by generous support from the Scottish Rite Masons in the state. Other outreach programs in the Department of Audiology/Speech Pathology include a Speech and Hearing clinic, grant funded research, support groups for stroke victims recovering speech abilities, a literacy program evaluating phonological approaches to reading, close relationships with Arkansas Children’s Hospital, the VA Hospital and the Reynolds Center on Aging, and student internships to various areas of the state to assist in speech and hearing screenings. All these programs together reach over 2700 Arkansans a year.
We hope you will spend time exploring the college, and reading our ambitious strategic plan contained on this site. Whether you are a student or faculty member considering one of our programs, or a community member seeking resources, we know that you will be impressed by the wealth of resources in the college.