IT students to receive laptop, enhanced skills

Starting in the fall, UALR students who enroll in the Information Technology undergraduate minor won’t have to worry about the cost of textbooks; they will receive a Google Chromebook – for free!

chromebookAll incoming students enrolled in the undergraduate minor or the professional certificate program will receive the portable computers. Once the student completes the program, they will own the laptop outright, according to Information Technology Program Coordinator Thomas Wallace.

“It’s the perfect way to reinforce all the information the students will learn,” Wallace explained. “The Chromebooks will enrich their experience and provide a consistent platform for the variety of projects and activities assigned. It’s a great equalizer.”

Enhanced technical and communication skills are a prerequisite for 21st-century industries and businesses, according to Wallace, who said the goal is for all students to become equipped with well-rounded skill sets organizations say they value most.

“What we teach people is how to solve problems with technology, empowering them to move beyond just basic proficiency,” he said. “But we also integrate that knowledge with an essential set of soft skills that carry over into the corporate world.”

Wallace said that among the knowledge-based skills students learn are advanced topics in web-based publishing, cloud-based technology, as well as Microsoft Excel and Access. They also learn soft skills such as interview and time-management techniques and improved listening skills.

The cross-disciplinary program was created with input from central Arkansas companies, and includes multiple faculty members who collaborate and team-teach each class, according to Wallace.

“When you see someone make that transition and walk away with the perfect blend of tech savvy and business soft skills, it’s a heartening thing to watch,” Wallace concluded.

The IT program is part of the George W. Donaghey College of Engineering and Information Technology. For more information, email or call 501-569-8743.

Information can also be found at

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