Gov. Sanders names Dr. Ken Warden of UAFS to Higher Ed post

by Talk Business & Politics staff ([email protected]) 1,919 views 

Gov. Sarah Sanders announced Monday (May 1) she will name Dr. Ken Warden as the commissioner of the Arkansas Division of Higher Education. He replaces Dr. Maria Markham, who was dismissed from the post by Sanders in late March after serving in the position for more than six years.

Warden has worked for the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith for the past nine years, most recently as the associate vice chancellor for Compliance and Legislative Affairs. His salary in that role was $153,000. He previously served as the dean of the College of Applied Science and Technology for six years and as the associate vice chancellor for Workforce Development for one year.

He also spent 17 years working with Arkansas Tech University at Ozark. Over the course of his time there, he served as the department chair of Automotive Service Technology, Business and Industry Coordinator, and chief officer for Business and Community Outreach. His last day at UAFS is May 31.

“I am pleased to announce that Dr. Ken Warden will serve as the commissioner of the Arkansas Division of Higher Education,” Sanders said. “Dr. Warden’s extensive leadership experience in higher education makes him the clear choice to serve in this role as we usher in a bold new chapter in Arkansas education. Together, we will continue expanding access to quality education from grade school to higher education – preparing students to take on high-paying jobs in the workforce and unleashing a new era of opportunity for every Arkansan.”

Warden’s work in higher education includes having worked in adult education, two-year colleges, and university systems. He has experience in program design, project management, community partnerships, career pathways, grant implementation, and senior level academic leadership.

His research interests are focused on adult learners and non-traditional students, credit and non-credit workforce aligned programs, student retention, and sustainability initiatives on college campuses.

“I am humbled and honored to serve as the commissioner of the Arkansas Division of Higher Education,” Warden said. “I look forward to working closely with Governor Sanders and Secretary Oliva as we empower Arkansans with education – paving a path to prosperity for all Arkansans. Governor Sanders has made education reform the hallmark of her administration, and I am ready to get to work with her and the talented team at the Department of Education as we begin a new day in Arkansas education.”

Warden holds a doctorate in education in workforce development from the University of Arkansas, a master’s degree in educational leadership from Arkansas Tech University, a bachelor’s degree in vocational education from the University of Arkansas, and an associate’s degree in automotive service from Westark Community College, now UAFS.