History, Mission, and Role of UA Little Rock – 113.0

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University of Arkansas at Little Rock
Policy Name: History, Mission, and Role of UA Little Rock
Policy Number: 113.0
Effective Date: October 21, 2009


The University of Arkansas at Little Rock was founded in 1927 as Little Rock Junior College under the supervision of the Little Rock Board of Education. The first semester there were eight instructors and about 100 students. By 1929, the college was accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, a status it has kept through changes in size and status.

Housed at first in public school buildings, the college moved in 1949 to its present location in southwest Little Rock on a beautifully wooded site donated by Raymond Rebsamen, a Little Rock businessman. By that time, the college was the sole beneficiary of a continuing trust established by former Governor George W. Donaghey.

The institution began a four‐year degree program in 1957. At that time, the university was independent and privately supported under a separate board of trustees and took the name Little Rock University.

In September 1969, after several years of discussion and study, Little Rock University merged with the University of Arkansas System to create the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. That was a major step in the creation of a multi‐campus system that now includes fifteen campuses. Within this structure, UA Little Rock is state supported, operationally separate, and specifically oriented toward serving the educational needs of Arkansas.

The University of Arkansas merger began a period of rapid growth, which saw UA Little Rock go from about 3,500 students and 75 full‐time faculty members in 1969 to about 12,000 students and 500 full‐time faculty members today. The university’s expanded offerings now include more than 100 undergraduate and graduate degrees, an extensive schedule of night, weekend, and off‐campus classes, and a wide range of community educational services. UA Little Rock began offering graduate and professional work in 1975 and the UA Little Rock Graduate School was created in 1977. Besides the juris doctor, UA Little Rock has ten doctoral programs and 39 graduate and professional programs, as well as joint programs with other campuses of the University of Arkansas System.

Presidents of the University of Arkansas System include the following:

  • R.C. Hall (1927‐1930)
  • John A. Larson (1930‐1950)
  • Granville Davis (1950‐1954)
  • E.Q. Brothers (acting president 1954‐1956)
  • Carey V. Stabler (1956‐1969)

Chancellors of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock include the following:

  • Carey V. Stabler (1969 ‐ 1972)
  • James H. Fribourgh (acting chancellor 1972 ‐ 1973, 1982)
  • G. Robert Ross (1973 ‐ 1982)
  • James H. Young (1982 ‐ 1992)
  • Joel E. Anderson (interim chancellor 1993)
  • Charles E. Hathaway (1993 ‐ 2002)
  • Joel E. Anderson (2003 ‐ 2016)
  • Andrew Rogerson (2016 – Present)

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About the Mission

Most universities today develop and publish statements explaining their purposes and describing their programs. Official boards that govern a campus or coordinate its activities in relation to other campuses also develop and publish such statements. For UA Little Rock there are mission statements and role and scope statements developed at three levels: the University of Arkansas System, the statewide coordinating board, and the campus. Although not identical, the statements are similar and consistent in content, each reflecting a different perspective from a different level of responsibility. The mission statement typically is brief, general, and philosophical. It states why the institution exists. It addresses fundamental purposes and permanent commitments. It distinguishes the university from other societal institutions such as a church, a factory, a political party, or an elementary school.

The role and scope statement is more concrete and specific than the mission statement. Elements of a role and scope statement have only relative permanence. The role and scope statement distinguishes one university from other universities. Each university campus has a role to play in a larger cast of actors. Thus role and scope statements tend to be of particular concern to officials responsible for governing or coordinating multiple university campuses.

The role and scope statement typically discloses the nature and range of the institution’s responsibilities and activities: geographical service area; disciplines in which programs are provided; levels of degree offerings, e.g., associate, baccalaureate, master’s, doctoral; dominant characteristics of the student clientele; other constituencies to be served; emphasis areas; and sometimes future directions.

Included in this chapter are the mission statement of the University of Arkansas System, the role and scope statement for UA Little Rock adopted by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, and the role and scope statement for UA Little Rock published by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and adopted by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board. They are followed by the current mission, objectives, and role and scope statements developed at UA Little Rock.

University of Arkansas System Mission

The University of Arkansas is a comprehensive, multi‐campus, publicly‐aided institution dedicated to the improvement of the mind and spirit through the development and dissemination of knowledge.

The university embraces and expands the historic trust inherent in the land‐grant philosophy by providing access to academic and professional education, by developing intellectual growth and cultural awareness in its students, and by applying knowledge and research skills to an ever‐changing human condition. (Adopted by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, 1989)


The mission of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock is to develop the intellect of students; to discover and disseminate knowledge; to serve and strengthen society by enhancing awareness in scientific, technical, and cultural arenas; and to promote humane sensitivities and understanding of interdependence. Within this broad mission are the responsibilities to use quality instruction to instill in students a lifelong desire to learn; to use knowledge in ways that will contribute to society; and to apply the resources and research skills of the university community to the service of the city, the state, the nation, and the world in ways that will benefit humanity. (Adopted by the UA Little Rock Faculty Senate, 1988)


The university, through its various programs, works toward six mission objectives:

  • Excellence in Instruction: The university has a responsibility to provide excellence in instruction to ensure high‐quality education for our students. This responsibility includes developing faculty teaching skills, awareness of the ways students learn, assessing student learning outcomes, and enhancement of resources to support effective instruction.
  • Scholarly Inquiry: The university has a responsibility to use scholarly inquiry to advance the discovery, preservation, and dissemination of knowledge. This responsibility includes the creation of a university environment that supports diverse research activities by faculty, staff, and students.
  • Service to Society: The university has a responsibility to serve society through the application of knowledge and research skills. This responsibility includes applying the university’s resources to local, state, national, and international needs in order to improve the human condition.
  • Community of Learning: The university has a responsibility to provide a community of learning through creation of an academic environment that stimulates students, faculty, and staff to become lifelong learners. This environment should heighten the intellectual, cultural, and humane sensitivities of students, faculty, and staff.
  • Accessibility: The university has a responsibility to serve the needs of a heterogeneous student population and to make its resources accessible to the general public and to local, state, national, and international groups. This responsibility includes creating opportunities for access to the university’s academic and other resources.
  • Responsiveness: The university has a responsibility to remain responsive to a changing environment and society. This responsibility includes a continuous assessment of the university’s strengths and weaknesses in planning for and meeting internal and external needs. It also includes developing the faculty, staff, and students’ desire and capacity in order to create an academic community that is open to change and ready to meet the demands of a dynamic environment and student body.

(Adopted by the UA Little Rock Faculty Senate, 1988)

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UA Little Rock Role and Scope Developed by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees
The University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) is a Carnegie “Doctoral/Research University” offering a comprehensive range of undergraduate, master’s, and doctoral programs, and a first professional degree in law. Due to its location in the state’s capital city and largest, most complex metropolitan area, the demand for UA Little Rock to offer graduate, professional, and doctoral education continues to increase, and, thus, post‐baccalaureate offerings will become a larger part of the institution’s instructional program. Because of its metropolitan location, UA Little Rock assumes a special role in relation to the needs of urban areas in modern society in its instruction, research, and public service programs. UA Little Rock recognizes and accepts that in the 21st Century universities are critical to regional and state economic development.

UA Little Rock serves a diverse student body. While it serves traditional students as do most other universities, UA Little Rock also serves large numbers of nontraditional students who enroll part‐time, commute to campus, have job and family responsibilities, and may be older. The university also enrolls international students from more than 50 countries. Honors courses and a nationally recognized undergraduate scholars program respond to the needs of superior students while students with developmental needs are afforded organized assistance in meeting their educational goals. UA Little Rock emphasizes excellence in teaching by all faculty. Developing technological competence in students receives particular attention.

UA Little Rock is strongly committed to research and public service. Faculty engage in applied and basic research appropriate to their academic disciplines and in response to economic development needs and other state and regional needs. The university is committed to supporting research and development, often in cooperative relationships, leading to intellectual property and commercialization. UA Little Rock’s public service mission is reflected in numerous outreach activities by individual faculty members, academic units, and a number of specialized units established to provide assistance and expertise to organizations and groups in the community and across the state.

Partnerships are very important to UA Little Rock for they enable the university to extend its reach, increase its effectiveness, and leverage its resources. UA Little Rock works with other institutions of higher education particularly the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, the University of Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service, the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service, and Pulaski Technical College to coordinate instructional programs. UA Little Rock partners with and complements the research activities of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. UA Little Rock gives and receives benefit from partnerships with businesses, schools, governmental offices, neighborhood groups, cultural organizations, and nonprofit organizations.

(Adopted by the University of Arkansas Board of Trustees, 1978; revised 1982, 1989, 1991, 2006)

UA Little Rock Role and Scope Developed by the Arkansas State Board of Higher Education


As the state’s metropolitan university, the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) has the responsibility for serving:

  • Residents of Arkansas and the Little Rock metropolitan area who have completed a high school education and are seeking either a college degree or continuing professional education. As a metropolitan university, the institution serves adult, part‐time students in particular.
  • Employers across the state, particularly in the region, both public and private, seeking well‐educated employees, technical assistance and applied research.
  • Economic development interests and entrepreneurs in the region and across the state.
  • The research community.
  • The community and area by providing a broad range of academic and cultural activities and public events.
  • Area K‐12 schools seeking college general education courses for advanced students.
  • Two‐year college transfer students.

Array of Programs and Services

UA Little Rock serves these audiences by providing:

  • Baccalaureate programs in arts and humanities, the natural sciences, and social sciences appropriate to a teaching institution with a predominantly undergraduate student body.
  • Associate, baccalaureate, and masters programs in the professional fields of particular importance in the region, including journalism and communications, public administration and community services, computer and information science, nursing, human services (including social work and criminal justice), education, engineering, and business.
  • Doctoral programs most needed by regional and state employers, most importantly programs in education and applied science.
  • Services specifically designed to meet the needs of statewide and regional economic development–continuing professional education, technical and professional services, support of small businesses and entrepreneurs, and technology transfer.

Special Features

  • Institute for Economic Advancement
  • Nanotechnology Center
  • UA Little Rock‐UAMS joint academic and research programs

(Adopted by the Arkansas State Board of Higher Education, 1989; amended 1992, 2008)

UA Little Rock Role and Scope Developed by the UA Little Rock Faculty Senate

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock offers certificates and degree programs at the associate, baccalaureate, master’s, specialist, and doctoral levels. Disciplines in which degrees are offered include applied science, the arts; business, health, and public administration; communication; education; engineering technology; the humanities; law; social, physical, and life sciences; and social work. The institution emphasizes the liberal education of undergraduate students and offers more focused professional study, particularly at graduate levels.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock, taking advantage of its metropolitan location, offers programs and services that respond to the special needs and interests of individuals, organizations, institutions, businesses, and governmental units. Academic programs, student services, research activities, public service projects, and institutional policies reflect the university’s commitment to a diverse student body composed of recent high school graduates, students returning to school after other experiences, retirees, international students, disabled students, and professionals seeking career change or enrichment. A significant percentage of these students attend school part‐time and work full‐ or part‐time. As a result, many UA Little Rock students bring experience and a high level of motivation into the classroom.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock strives to make higher education accessible to all those who can benefit. The institution’s academic courses are offered in flexible and varied time periods and learning formats, at off‐campus locations as well as in traditional classrooms, and by radio, telecommunication, and newspaper. In all of these forms the quality of instruction is of paramount importance. The university has a nationally recognized scholars program and curriculum, honors courses, and other programs for superior students. Specialized programs and assistance are offered to educationally disadvantaged students. The university is committed to international education, supporting programs and courses that attract international students and offer opportunities for all students to explore and experience other cultures.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock recognizes its responsibility to contribute to bodies of knowledge through research as well as to disseminate ideas through instruction. The university fosters both basic and applied research appropriate to its programs and faculty.

The university supports grant applications and other attempts to gain sponsorship for research. Many research activities address the problems of Arkansas as it interacts with an increasingly complex and interdependent world.

The University of Arkansas at Little Rock shares its resources with the larger community through public service. Activities include noncredit educational offerings ranging from college preparatory classes to courses for personal enrichment and awareness; special programs for pre-collegiate students; programs for professional advancement; and institutes and centers to focus research and study on such areas as teaching and learning, technology, government, management, and urban affairs. The university serves the State of Arkansas in economic development through assistance from businesses, seminars for managers and workers, and support for entrepreneurial ventures. The university provides leadership in cultural enrichment and makes its resources available to the community. Relationships with local, state, and national governments and with business and industry strengthen the curriculum and provide students and faculty opportunities to apply theory and research.

The university anticipates continued growth in the number of students and in the number and size of academic programs. The primary aim of the university in all of its varied activities will continue to be maintaining and improving the quality of education for all its students.

(Adopted by the UA Little Rock Faculty Senate, 1988)

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Source: UA Little Rock Undergraduate Catalog 2009
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