UA Little Rock Downtown operations have expanded with the addition of two new staff members: Ashley Clayborn, director, and Maha Ramzan, office administrator.
They are joined by Elizabeth Small, director of UA Little Rock’s Real Estate Program and newly appointed director of business networks, who will spend significant time at the Downtown facility.
Ashley Clayborn is now heading UA Little Rock Downtown. As the director, she focuses on curating the downtown space for educational and professional programming. The director serves as a university liaison through public relations, community engagement, and relationship management with internal campus stakeholders and external partners.
Clayborn earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Hendrix College and a master’s degree in communication from the University of Arkansas. She is currently pursuing a Doctorate of Education in Rural Education from the University of West Alabama.
Before joining UA Little Rock, Clayborn worked as executive assistant to the president at National Park College. She said it was her interest in public engagement through community spaces that led her to UA Little Rock Downtown.
“When I completed my master’s degree, I wrote a thesis on the ways we use public space to affect identity, whether that is looking at public history or creating spaces for public engagement,” Clayborn said. “I found a passion for public space. Then the pandemic hit and public spaces were no longer safe for my research, so I made a transition from traditional academia to an administrative role at National Park College. I loved the people, and it got me thinking about more applied work engaging with the public and community. This position is the perfect marriage of my professional goals and research interests.”
Clayborn also works with the Downtown Little Rock Partnership on the Second Friday Art Night Committee. She looks forward to restarting Friday Art Night celebrations at UA Little Rock Downtown and plans to start with an exhibit of artwork from the UA Little Rock Permanent Art Collection for the November event.
Maha Ramzan has joined UA Little Rock in a dual role as the office administrator for UA Little Rock Downtown and the Sequoyah National Research Center. This position is responsible for the coordination of administrative activities in both centers including day-to-day scheduling, internal communications, and financial management.
Before joining UA Little Rock, Ramzan worked as a patient guest representative at Baptist Health. Ramzan is a 2021 graduate of UA Little Rock with a Bachelor of Business Administration degree in Management. She also earned an Associate of Liberal Arts and Science from UA-Pulaski Technical College and is pursuing a Master of Business Administration from UA Little Rock.
Small is now based at UA Little Rock Downtown, where she teaches classes in the Real Estate program and works with central Arkansas businesses to explore ways to partner and engage with UA Little Rock.
“Our recent reorganization under CAHC allows us to pivot UA Little Rock Downtown toward a new focus on education, business, culture and the arts, and civic reflection,” Clayborn said. “We offer classes and educational events at UA Little Rock Downtown as well as work with the university community to connect the upcoming work force from the university with the local business industries.”
UA Little Rock Downtown is also the home of the Joe Jones mural, “The Struggle in the South,” since 2018. Completed in 1935 at Commonwealth College in Mena, the mural serves as an example of protest art made during the Great Depression.
“We want to showcase art exhibits, student creations, and archival materials from the Center for Arkansas History and Cultural to create conversations around the Joe Jones Mural,” Clayborn said. “Dr. Deborah Baldwin views UA Little Rock Downtown as a space for the community to come together and host seminars, workshops, lectures, exhibits, and educational programming. We want to start conversations that are directed toward increasing civic engagement.”
UA Little Rock Downtown is open for classes and events under the fourth phase of Covid restrictions. The center can host up to 60 people for a standing reception and 45 people for a lecture or other seated event.