Sikes to retire as ATU-Ozark campus chancellor

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 751 views 

Bruce Sikes will retire June 30 as the Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus chancellor, ending almost 10 years in the job and wrapping up 16 years with Russellville-based Arkansas Tech University.

Sikes began his career as a teacher, coach and administrator in K-12 education. He joined ATU-Ozark as chief academic officer in 2007 and was promoted to chancellor in 2013. He succeeded Dr. Jo Alice Blondin, who resigned after seven years as chancellor at ATU-Ozark to accept the presidency at Clark State Community College in Springfield, Ohio.

During Sikes’ 16 years in senior leadership at ATU-Ozark, the campus has conferred 13,493 degrees and credentials and headcount enrollment increased by 200 percent from 570 students in fall 2007 to 1,709 students in fall 2022.

ATU-Ozark has added academic programming in automation technology, banking services, cardiac sonography, construction technology, health information technology, health sciences, human services, law enforcement, logistics management, machinist operations, medical assisting, occupational therapy assistant, physical therapist assistant and registered nursing under Sikes’ leadership.

According to ATU, Sikes has been at the forefront of the Ready for Life pilot program that provides career coaching to middle school, junior high and high school students in regional school districts under the auspices of the Arkansas Tech Institute, a non-formula entity of ATU.

Sikes provided oversight for the planning, construction and opening of the ATU-Ozark Health Sciences and Wellness Building and he was an integral figure in the enhancement of the walking trail that encircles ATU-Ozark Campus. Arkansas Tech Career Center (ATCC) became part of the ATU-Ozark organizational structure during Sikes’ tenure with the campus and his efforts through ATCC have helped expand workforce development in the region.

Bruce Sikes, ATU-Ozark chancellor

Through its location in Russellville and its satellite locations in the region, ATCC provides educational opportunities for students from 19 school districts. ATCC students earned 4,680 concurrent credit college hours toward certificates of proficiency and career readiness during the 2021-22 academic year.

Sikes has also been a proponent for adult education during his time at ATU-Ozark, which provides those services in Booneville, Charleston, Clarksville, Ozark and Paris. Sikes received the 2021 Arkansas Association for Adult and Continuing Education Outstanding Supporter Award.

ATU-Ozark earned national recognition under Sikes’ leadership when the campus and its industry partner, Green Bay Packaging (Arkansas Kraft Division), received the 2020 National Council of Workforce Education (NCWE) Noncredit Exemplary Program Award. The NCWE honor was in recognition of a decade-long collaboration that has provided more than 1,000 employees from more than 60 Arkansas companies with relevant electrical, mechanical and instrumentation skills through a facility in Morrilton.

Sikes has contributed to the establishment and development of approximately 300 industry partnerships for the benefit of ATU-Ozark students and economic development in the Arkansas River Valley.

A native of Waldron, Sikes earned a bachelor’s degree in education and master’s degree in education from the University of Central Arkansas.