UACCB board hears presentations on growth, strategic planning on campus

Featured image: From left, UACCB Chancellor Deborah Frazier and UACCB board of visitor members Stacy Gunderman, Stan Fretwell, Jesse Freiert, Mike Arnold, Michael Hester, Maggie Williams, Phil Baldwin, and Ted Hall.
Article by Hannah Keller Flanery, UACCCB communications and marketing coordinator

The University of Arkansas Community College at Batesville board of visitors heard presentations concerning the growth and strategic planning happening on campus at its quarterly meeting Jan. 16 in Independence Hall.

Dr. Deltha Sharp, director of institutional research, presented the college’s five-year strategic plan along with strategic planning committee chairs Amy Bullard, Susan Tripp, Meagan Akins, Cheyenne Diaz, and Deanna Tillery. The initiatives encompassed by the five-year plan are represented in the acronym REACH, which stands for respond, engage, access, communicate, and help/support.

Through the response initiative, Dr. Sharp said the college plans to focus on its industry and local school partners.

“We want to strengthen what we are already doing and make sure that we are delivering what our industry and high school partners need,” Sharp said.

The engagement portion of the plan will focus not only on increasing student engagement, but also that of employees and the community. Sharp said the access initiative contained elements that would impact the college’s productivity funding including continuing to remove barriers that prevent students from completing a degree and expanding diversity and cultural awareness. Through the communication initiative, the campus will enhance internal and external communications through telling the college’s story as well as improving operations through training and expanding career services.

Finally, Sharp said the college will focus on strengthening support for students through the help initiative, giving particular focus to tracking student services to ensure they are making a positive impact on students’ educational experiences.

Chancellor Deborah Frazier said the strategic planning process began Oct. 18, 2019, with internal stakeholders meeting with consultants, Dr. Barbara Jones and Dr. Stephanie Tully-Dartez.

Jones and Tully-Dartez led the participants in a discussion utilizing the results of a survey from both internal and external stakeholders, including board members, employees, students, and business and industry partners. The group identified college pride points, discussed gaps in service and the vision for the college’s future. She said the next steps would be to establish key performance indicators, identify 2020 priorities, link those priorities to campus budget items and create an action plan.

Board member Phil Baldwin thanked the strategic planning committee members and moved that the board draft a formal resolution thanking those involved in the planning process for their efforts.

“This is the future of the college, and we thank you for all your hard work,” Baldwin told the committee chairs. Board member Michael Hester commended the group for the plan being developed as a grassroots effort that involved so many members from across campus.

The board also heard an update on the new workforce training center which is nearing completion. Gayle Cooper, vice chancellor for finance and administration, invited board members to the open house for the center scheduled from April 2 from 3 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. The new center, located on the northeast corner of campus, is a 15,000-square-foot facility that will house UACCB’s industrial technology programs plus a maker’s space that will allow community members and students to collaborate on the development of new ideas and innovations.

Greg Thornburg, vice chancellor for student affairs, presented a spring enrollment snapshot to the board. As of the sixth day of classes, the spring 2020 headcount was 1,302, the highest spring enrollment the college has seen in almost 10 years, Thornburg said. Thornburg attributed the increase to a cross-campus effort including the Guided Pathways movement launched in 2018 designed to help students select a degree path and complete a degree in a timely manner; increases in both traditional and nontraditional student populations; and new teaching strategies.

“It’s not just one element that has created our success. It really is a campus-wide effort,” Thornburg said.

In other business, the board:

• Heard an update on the UACCB Foundation from Kim Whitten, director of advancement. Whitten said the foundation would be awarding approximately $15,000 in spring scholarships so far this semester. She said some applications were still being accepted. She added that at the January foundation board meeting, board members adopted a mission statement and added two new members, Jan Smith and Carter Ford. Whitten reported that the foundation’s Giving Tuesday fundraising campaign was a success and raised approximately $1,400, including matching funds from Centennial Bank. She concluded with reporting the Woody Castleberry Memorial Scholarship was officially endowed with the fund receiving $21,345. She said the scholarship would be awarded to a student with financial need that planned to transfer to the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville.

• Heard introductions of new employees including Dr. Deltha Sharp, director of institutional research; Candy Davis, payroll support specialist; Elliott Brown, maintenance assistant; and Dakota West, maintenance assistant. Phyllis Gardner transitioned from her position as an administrative assistant in financial aid to the financial aid specialist position.

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