Arkansas State University to focus on transfer students; former university president passes away

by George Jared ([email protected]) 497 views 

Arkansas State University System campuses have simplified opportunities for students to complete or add degrees with a focus on transfer students through on-campus and online classes. System President Chuck Welch told members of the Board of Trustees on Friday (Sept. 21) that Arkansas State University Chancellor Kelly Damphousse has prioritized relationships not only with the system’s two-year institutions, but with colleges throughout the state.

“We greatly value two-year associate degrees and understand these are sufficient for many good-paying jobs,” Welch said. “But for those who want to continue their education at a university or want to return to complete a bachelor’s degree, we are committed to make the process as easy as possible. We will support students no matter how they want to approach higher education – through a two-year campus, a research university or with online classes and degree programs.”

Welch said a systemwide task force has been reviewing processes within the system and developing articulation agreements with community colleges throughout Arkansas and the Mid-South.

ASU has reached 68 new articulation agreements and closer overall ties for transfer students with its four sister institutions in the ASU System. Along with the chancellors of ASU-Beebe, ASU-Newport, ASU Mid-South and ASU-Mountain Home, Damphousse signed proclamations acknowledging new articulation agreements and a renewed commitment to transfers.

“As many of you know, I started my academic journey at the community college near my hometown,” Damphousse said. “As a first-generation college student, I know what that process is like, and when I was told that we needed to revamp and renew our transfer agreements, I asked our campus leadership to determine how we could make the process better.”

Damphousse gave credit for the changes to a campus transfer task force, headed by Senior Associate Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Karen Wheeler.

“I want to let everyone in the state and everyone across the upper Delta region know that Arkansas State is here for you,” Damphousse said. “We have reached out to every two-year institution in the state of Arkansas to create similar enhanced pathways. We’ve also spoken to other institutions in Missouri and Tennessee. This does not end with just the ASU System, and you will hear more about additional agreements in the coming weeks.”

In additional changes to enhance the transfer process, ASU has revamped its transfer website page information and has created a new series of student experience opportunities for system members. The university is renaming its degree centers as “Transfer Hubs” at the system schools to help serve as single points of contact for transfer students.

Starting next month, students at the system colleges will be able to attend on-campus cultural events like lectures, student concerts or theatre productions. System students will be able to attend many athletic events by requesting student tickets through the campus recruiting office. Later this fall, ASU System students will be able to access materials at the Dean B. Ellis Library.

“We have always served transfer students and provided bachelor’s degree opportunities through degree centers on some of our campuses,” Welch said. “We just recognized that we could improve our efforts, and our team has made tremendous progress.”

ASU has appointed a new vice rector for its academic campus in Queretaro, Mexico. Dr. David Ray joins the A-State Campus Queretaro administration. Ray steps in at the start of the spring 2019 semester as Brad Rawlins, the inaugural vice rector for Campus Queretaro, is returning to Jonesboro. Ray begins transitioning into the role Nov. 15, then becomes vice rector Jan. 1.

A graduate of Yale with his Ph.D. from Stanford, Ray most recently served as the dean of the Joe C. and Carole Kerr McClendon Honors College at the University of Oklahoma. Retiring from OU in 2017, Ray is currently a resident of Mexico.

ASU’s eighth president Dr. Eugene Smith died on Sunday (Sept. 23). He was 88, according to the school. He was appointed president of the university in 1984, and served in that post for eight years.

“As an A-State alumnus, Eugene W. Smith brought passion and dedication to whatever role he fulfilled during his long career at Arkansas State University, especially his term as the institution’s eighth president,” Damphousse said. “He will be long remembered for his leadership in establishing the university’s first doctoral degree program, and his work toward enlarging the library to support advanced graduate studies. While serving as a professor, dean of graduate studies, vice president, and president, he constantly exhibited the highest standards of integrity and professionalism. The university family extends our sympathy to Ann and to Lucinda McDaniel and Brad Smith in this time of loss of her wonderful husband and their devoted father.”