Disability Resource Center (DRC)

At Your Fingertips: Disability Resource Center

Disability Resource Center

UA Little Rock’s Disability Resource works to ensure accessibility to all students.

 The UA Little Rock Disability Resource Center (DRC) collaborates with faculty and staff to ensure that physical, curricular, and web environments are accessible to as many students as possible.

“Say you have somebody who is blind or low visioned. If they can’t see the text, then it’s not accessible,” said Reed Claiborne, Director of the UA Little Rock DRC. “We try to focus on what the barriers are, versus what a student’s diagnoses are.”

Reed Claiborne DRC Director/ Photo Chris Bailey

Having been with the department for 12 years, Claiborne explains the focus of the department has shifted to reframing disability. Reframing in this context involves shifting the focus toward the design of the environment and the removal of barriers that prevent accessibility, according to Claiborne.

“By and large, the people that come to this office look like you and me; they just have hidden disabilities,” Claiborne said. “Whether a student is blind, low visioned, or temporarily having issues with vision, our job is to ensure the document is formatted properly for everyone with vision problems.”

Universal Design

In the DRC, the idea of reframing disability begins with the faculty.

“If an instructor has made sure materials are in an accessible format online, everyone will have access to the document regardless of their disability,” Claiborne said.

Many of the services offered in the DRC pertain to not only students but faculty members as well. The DRC will assist faculty members with captioning videos, braille materials, and converting books to audio or digital format.

All of the services and accommodations provided by the UA Little Rock DRC fall under the concept of “universal design.” Claiborne explains universal design as making sure preparation of curriculum, materials, and environments are accessible by not just a few, but all that need it. For example, automatic door openers benefit individuals using walkers and wheelchairs, as well as people carrying groceries or babies.

 DRC Looking Ahead

As UA Little Rock’s enrollment of people with disabilities increases, the DRC is dedicated to furthering the resources currently being offered.

“Some of the things we’ve started to do is broaden the assistive technology that is out there,” Claiborne said. “We are testing an audio note-taking program that may help people who struggle with taking notes or reading notes from a notetaker.”

The audio notetaking program has been in use for 3 semesters and has been beneficial for a lot of students, according to Claiborne.

For more information regarding the DRC or accommodations needed, please contact

501-569-3143 or email disability@ualr.edu.

Master of Social Work ranked among best, most affordable programs

The University of Arkansas Little Rock’s online Master of Social Work (MSW) program has been recognized among the best and most affordable of 2019.

Courtesy of SocialWorkDegree.org
Courtesy of SocialWorkDegree.org

Socialworkdegree.org ranked UA Little Rock No. 25 on its list of the Best Online Master’s in Social Work Degrees. The website, a product of SR Education Group, also ranked UA Little Rock No. 6 on its lists of Most Affordable Online Master’s in Social Work.

The website considers only CSWE Accredited programs in its rankings. “Best” programs are ranked by the reported salaries of the program’s alumni. For the “most affordable” designation, the website lists universities that offer an online master’s degree in social work and ranks them according to their tuition rates.

The mission of UA Little Rock’s School of Social Work graduate program is to prepare graduates for leadership roles in clinical practice and management and community practice within the welfare system. This nationally accredited program can be completed in two to three years, which includes the completion of both course work and field internships.

UA Little Rock online health program ranked among nation’s best

Courtesy of Online Schools Report

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock’s online public health program has been ranked among the best in the nation for 2019.

According to Online Schools Report, UA Little Rock ranked No. 8 on its list of the Best Online Bachelor’s in Public Health. To determine the best public health programs, Online Schools Report checks data such as median debt of graduates from the program, student satisfaction, how many degrees are offered within that program’s department, and the percentage of students that graduated from that department.

The Bachelor of Science in health education and promotion is designed to prepare students as health professionals in community health agencies, health maintenance organizations, as well as business and industry wellness programs. The 120-hour online degree program is also designed to assist the entry-level health educator in taking the National Health Education Credentialing examination.

Applied Communication

Degree Spotlight: Applied Communication

Degree Spotlight Applied Communication

Dr. Gerald Driskill provides an overview of the applied communications program.

The BA in applied communication is a versatile program that focuses on professional writing, organizational communication, and developing and analyzing messages. For Dr. Gerald Driskill, a professor in the Department of Applied Communication, it’s all about creating a better social world through learning positive communication.

“Fostering better social worlds through positive communication is a mission we carry across our programs,” Driskill said. “From every classroom to every syllabus, it’s all about creating better worlds.”

Dr. Gerald Driskill, Program Coordinator/ Photo Christopher Bailey


The concept of co-creation is central to the applied communication program. Driskill explained that co-creation is more than teaching content knowledge or preparing students for exams; co-creation is a collaboration of students and instructors.

“When we say co-creation, we’re asking students what forms of communication will make your organization better or your family better,” Driskill said.

Driskill makes it clear: co-creation is not solving problems or fixing problems; co-creation is about listening and understanding what the problems are, and then identifying ways to move forward with communication.


A key aspect of co-creation is mentoring and building a relationship with the student.

“One of the practices we take into our online program is we make sure students have individual contact the first week or two with their instructor. It is a requirement,” Driskill said.

Nigel Spears, Communication Skill Center assistant director and former student of Driskill, credits the applied communication department for much of his academic success.

“It wasn’t until I met this department that I began to understand that what I learned in the classroom can apply to my everyday life,” Spears said.

Driskill further noted, mentoring is not offered directly to students, but the mentoring that develops with a student comes with being an instructor in that department.

“It’s mentoring, but it runs deeper than that,” Driskill said. “It’s how we want our classes set up, how we want our relationships set up, so those wanting help can get it.”

Students that need extra help can reach out to the Communication Skill Center — an on-campus resource designed to help students overcome difficulties associated with public speaking. Online students who are having trouble may receive help through video chats via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. To receive help students must book an appointment first.

Courses Offered

The applied communication program has courses that are geared for today’s job market, such as ACOM 3316 Interviewing. This course develops the student’s ability to effectively prepare for and participate in a variety of interview situations. Another course, ACOM 3330 Professional Communication, focuses on building positive relationships in organizations.

Students can complete the applied communication degree online or on campus. Courses are available in 16-week and 7-week (accelerated) formats.

For more information call 501.569.3158

Communication Skill Center (CSC)

At Your Fingertips: Communication Skill Center

Communication Skill Center Communications Skills Center

Spotlighting the UALR Communication Skills Center

 If you struggle with communicating clearly and effectively, the Communication Skill Center (CSC) may be just what you need. The CSC is a free student resource aimed at helping students through the speech creation process.

“We understand that a lot of people struggle with public speaking and anxiety,” said Nigel Spears, CSC assistant director. “We just want to help people manage their anxiety and stress when it comes to communication.”

Spears goes on to say the CSC can also help students with outlining, PowerPoint, conducting research, and brainstorming topics.

CSC Assistant Director Nigel Spears/ Photo by Chris Bailey

Online Students

The CSC is not just a resource for on-campus students. Their services also extend to online students. “Everything the CSC offers face to face, we can also do online,” Spears said. Online services are provided through video chats via Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. Video chats are booked by appointment only. Students can request help or schedule a video chat by emailing the CSC at communication.skill.center@gmail.com.

Looking Toward the Future

According to Spears, the CSC is looking at various ways to improve the services provided to online students. “For a lot of online students, it is hard for them to grasp information when they can’t ask a question right away and get a response,” he said. “We are currently looking at ways to improve on that delay time.”

For more information on the Communication Skill Center, call (501) 569-3158. You can also reach the center by email at communication.skill.center@gmail.com

Staying organized is key to online success

Tips for online success

Dr. Timothy Edwards gives his tips for online student success.

There are a lot of benefits to an online education, but according to at least one professor, students need to have good organizational skills to be successful in an online environment. Dr. Timothy Edwards, interim director of the School of Mass Communication, shared some tips on how students can stay organized in their online courses. 

Edwards explains being organized is more than just keeping up with your assignments. 

“The most important thing is keeping up with the schedule,” Edwards said. This can be a major issue for online students if they’re not careful, according to Edwards. Edwards explained it is important that online students “keep up with the schedule in your syllabus.” 

While it is important to keep up with scheduling, Edwards said it is also important for students to know what is expected of them. 

“You must know the expectations of the professor,” Edwards said. “If the professor says check in every week at a certain time, you make sure you check in every week at a certain time.”

Edwards added that if you are an online student who’s struggling with adjusting to classes online or you are feeling alone in your struggles, a simple email could be the answer to your problem.

“If you are having issues, you must communicate with your professor regularly to stay ahead,” said Edwards. “That’s what your instructors are there for; use them.” 

UA Little Rock currently offers more than 400 courses online. For more information on fully online degree programs call (501) 569-3003.