Estes named director of UA Little Rock Community Connection Center

Sarah Beth Estes

A respected scholar in gender and family issues has been appointed the executive director of the Community Connection Center at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. 

Dr. Sarah Beth Estes, professor of sociology, has been leading the center as the interim director since October and was recently named the director.

Established in 2014, the Community Connection Center promotes and supports student-engaged learning with community, government, businesses, and nonprofit organizations through internships, service learning, community-based research, and career development services.  

“I am excited about being the executive director of the CCC,” Estes said. “This position provides the opportunity to link career development to experiential learning, which will benefit not just our students but through them, our state.”

The center gives students an edge in the workforce, Estes said.

“We know that career profiles are changing, that, increasingly to succeed, graduates need to be flexible and agile in the labor market,” she said. “The opportunity to engage with employers through unique professional experiences offers students the opportunity to practice knowledge transfer from the classroom to the community, from one learning environment to another, in an organic and meaningful way.”

Estes is a 1988 graduate of Hendrix College with a bachelor’s degree in sociology. She also holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Iowa. She was a faculty member at the University of Cincinnati and affiliate of the Kunz Center for Work and Family before arriving at UA Little Rock.

Estes began her UA Little Rock career in 2006 as the coordinator of the gender studies program and as a faculty member in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

She has held many leadership roles at the university, including associate dean for research, engagement, and interdisciplinary programs in the College of Social Sciences and Communication; associate dean of the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; and associate chair of the Department of Sociology and Anthropology.

Her scholarship has been cited in numerous books and articles. Much of Estes’ research has focused on how work-family policies are related to aspects of family life, including parenting behavior, children’s well-being, and the gendered division of household labor.

She was among the panelists invited in 2014 to address an audience at the Clinton School of Public Service about a report she co-authored for the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas on educational barriers that exist for girls and women in Arkansas.

Estes serves on the board of the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas, which promotes philanthropy among women and helps women and girls achieve their full potential. She was also the founding chair of the Green Dot Violence Prevention Program established at UA Little Rock in 2013 and was voted the Faculty Member of the Year by the Student Government Association in 2014.

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