Message from the President
Dear Friends and Family of UCA:
We are pleased to present this report for the 2011-12 academic year. It provides information about the many significant accomplishments of the University of Central Arkansas’ students and faculty. It also contains important statistical information about UCA and the capital projects and improvements made to the campus.
The University of Central Arkansas has many excellent programs and activities. UCA’s faculty, who are supported by a dedicated staff, engage in teaching, research and service to our students, the state of Arkansas and globally. Our students are very bright and engaged, and they come from all counties in Arkansas, and many other states and foreign countries.
Please take a few minutes to read this summary about the many good things happening at UCA. We believe you will be impressed by the quality of our students and faculty, the dedication of our staff, and the many programs and activities on our campus. We hope you will find this report helpful and informative. If you have any questions, please call us or visit our website at uca.edu.
UCA was selected among the first cohort of campuses to implement UTeach as part of STEM Works. STEM Works is an initiative of Gov. Mike Beebe’s Workforce Cabinet designed to overhaul the way Arkansas high school students receive STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) education and to increase the number of well-qualified STEM teachers. UCA was awarded $216,666 to implement the program. Dr. Stephen Addison, interim dean of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and Dr. Gary Bunn, an assistant professor in the College of Education, are co-directors of the program.
The College of Education was awarded a $2.3 million grant (Transition to Teaching) from the U.S. Department of Education to prepare math and science teachers for North Little Rock and Little Rock school districts. UCA was the only university in the state selected for the teacher training project for the 2011-12 academic year.
The start of the fall semester saw the inaugural class of the new Interdisciplinary Ph.D. in Leadership Studies, which prepares scholar leaders for academic positions and leadership roles in complex organizations found in education, government and non-profit settings.
More than 80 students from Arkansas four-year public and private colleges and universities gathered at the State Capitol Rotunda to present cutting-edge undergraduate research to state legislators during the first “Arkansas STEM Posters at the Capitol”. The event was organized by Dr. Patrick Desrochers, a professor in the Department of Chemistry.
The UCA STEM Institute received an $82,929 grant from the Arkansas Department of Education to help improve the education of students choosing careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics and to develop college and career preparation courses for high school juniors and seniors
The Professional Education Unit of the College of Education at UCA was granted continuing accreditation by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education. The university has maintained its accreditation since 1954.
The Mashburn Center for Learning was awarded $280,000 to improve academic outcomes for students at risk for school failure.
The Arkansas Department of Higher Education approved a Master of Fine Arts program in Creative Writing. The MFA degree in Creative Writing is considered a terminal degree in the discipline.
In November 2011, an official open house was held for EDGE Residential College. EDGE Residential College, formerly State Hall, is a living/learning community focused on liberal arts disciples and active global learning, civic engagement and study abroad.
A group of UCA students, faculty and Rwanda Presidential Scholars participated in a three-week study abroad trip to Rwanda. The group visited several genocide memorials, universities and museums. In addition, students and faculty spent a significant portion of their time in primary schools interacting with teachers and conducting science activities.
The College of Business maintained its prestigious business accreditation by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business International. The college received its first accreditation in 1984.
UCA was one of nine universities selected to participate in the Complete College America’s Completion Innovation Challenge, an initiative to boost the number of Arkansans completing their college degree.
The Department of Computer Science hosted its first Computer Science Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program in August 2011. The REU program encourages talented undergraduate students to pursue graduate study and research careers in computer science by providing them a competitive research experience. UCA was one of seven REU sites selected nationwide by the Computer Information & Information Science & Engineering (CISE) Directorate of the National Science Foundation. UCA is the only CISE REU site in Arkansas.
Two UCA Honors students, Brittany Edwardes and Kathy Hill, received a Fulbright U.S. Student Program scholarship. The scholarship will allow them to participate in an English Teaching Assistantship overseas.
The Willard and Pat Walker Charitable Foundation, Inc. gave $50,000 to endow a science education scholarship. The scholarship will aid the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics in recruiting and retaining students who wish to become science teachers.
Dr. David Mitchell and Dr. Jennifer Wang, researchers at UCA, received a grant to investigate the effects of non-profit assistance on home rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina.
UCA joined 20 other colleges that offer the Criminal Justice Institute Higher Education program. The program is a collaboration between the College of Business and the Criminal Justice Institute.
The university expanded its partnerships with the business community by announcing PrivacyStar’s participation in the Entrepreneurship, Public Scholarship, Innovation, & Community Engagement (EPIC) Residential College program. Students from various disciplines including science and technology, business and the fine arts will collaboratively live, work and tackle real-world challenges that will have both commercial and community impact.
The Jeremy Duplessis UCA Police Department Student Assistance Fund was created in honor of former UCA police officer Jeremy Duplessis. The scholarship was started by his sister, Jeannine Hamilton. It was created to help officers, UCA Police Department employees and their children to further their education.
UCA received a $10,000 grant to recruit more women in the field of computer science. The grant was funded by the National Center for Women and Information Technology and Microsoft Research.
In April, the Toad Suck Review was named one of “the 10 best literary magazines launched in 2011″ by the Library Journal. The Toad Suck Review is published by the Department of Writing in the College of Fine Arts and Communication.
The university received national accreditation for its concurrent enrollment program in May. This accreditation validates the quality of the college courses offered in high schools.
The UCA student publications had a good showing at the Arkansas College Media Association award ceremony with the Echo and the Scroll receiving honorable mention in General Excellence in its categories and the Vortex earning the General Excellence Award for literary magazines.
Nine UCA films were featured in this year’s Little Rock Film Festival. Kim Risi, a recent graduate, won the Charles B. Pierce Best Arkansas Film Award for her Honors thesis film “The Man in the Moon.” UCA Professor Bruce Hutchinson also showcased his film “Europa,” the first known 3D narrative film to be produced in Arkansas.
UCA has an active community of nearly 200 student organizations and clubs ranging from academic to social and service groups. These organizations allow students to be engaged in the community and provide opportunities for learning, leadership, community building and volunteerism.
Nearly 1,000 students were involved in Greek organizations during the 2011-12 academic year. Two new groups joined the Greek community — Sigma Phi Lamda, an independent group that is a social sorority with a Christian emphasis, and Phi Gamma Delta, one of the largest and oldest international social fraternities. The Greek community volunteered 11,374 hours and its philanthropic monetary donations reached $21,923.22
The men of the Interfraternity Council collaborated with UCA Police Department, Division of University and Government Relations, Athletics Department and two Faulkner County women’s outreach organizations to host the first “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes.” About 200 participants – mostly fraternity men, athletes and coaches – walked in high heels around campus to help raise awareness of relevant women’s issues like domestic violence, sexual assault and gender equality. The event was a huge success and the men are planning to host the event in the spring of 2013.
Each spring, the UCA Panhellenic Council organizes a prom dress sale called Cinderella’s Closet. The project provides dresses to high school students in Conway and surrounding areas who otherwise might not be able to afford a prom dress. All dresses for the event are received by donation from the UCA sorority women and Conway community. Dresses are sold for $10 and all proceeds are donated to the Bethlehem House. On March 29, 2012, the night of Cinderella’s Closet, Panhellenic was named as Today’s THV “Hero Central.”
The UCA Honors College hosted a Craft Wisely event for Court Appointed Special Advocates for the 20th Judicial District in December 2011. The event raised funds for CASA, which helps abused and neglected children. Honors College students, along with other student volunteers, faculty, and people from around the country donated knitted items for the event. The students and volunteers made items for CASA clients as well.
UCA hosted its first stand-alone Relay for Life in Spring 2012. The relay was a part of the annual Greek Weekend. The event raised $6,473 for the American Cancer Society.
The Bear Den is UCA’s largest RSO. Its mission is to unify students by creating opportunities to promote school spirit and pride. The Bear Den’s motto: Purple Pride. Purple Power. The Bear Den had 578 members last year. It has 428 Bear Den members from recruitment efforts at the SOAR sessions this summer.
The Office of Multicultural Student Services provides multiple support services for minority students (African American, Hispanic/Latino American, Asian/Pacific Islander American and Native American/Alaskan Native). The office supports all students and campus community members by promoting multi-cultural programs and initiatives that educate, challenge and foster a sense of inclusion for the members of the UCA community.
Each spring, Multicultural Student Services honor minority freshmen who achieved a 3.0 grade point average or higher and upper class students who achieved a 3.5 grade point average or higher at the end of the fall semester. This year, 167 minority students were recognized for their academic achievement.
Multicultural Student Services hosted the inaugural Nia Rites graduation celebration to honor those who were graduating in May. Fifteen graduating seniors received a special graduation stole, certificates and words of encouragement from alumni and others.
UCA hosted the second Amigo Cup Soccer Challenge in October 2011. The event provides a festive state-wide event for Latinos, and showcases the city of Conway and UCA campus in an effort to recruit Latino students to the university. The first Amigo Cup challenge tournament took place in fall 2010 as part of the Mexican Bicentennial celebration. Six Latino teams from the Central Arkansas area participated in a one day event. It was expanded to a two day event in 2011 and included 12 Latino teams from around the state. More than 850 individuals attended the event.
Exciting activities and opportunities were evident across the UCA campus this past year. In August of 2011, U. S. Representative Tim Griffin visited the campus to learn about the STEM Residential College. Rep. Griffin also had a hands-on experience in one of the science laboratories.
By the end of August, our freshmen enrollment continued its positive climb by increasing 6.2 percent.
In September, UCA alumna Terri Jordan returned to campus to talk to students about her role as vice president of technology-retail stores for Microsoft and to inspire women in technology. Jordan established the Richard and Terri Harper Jordan Scholarship to assist a full-time female student seeking a degree in computer science.
U.S. News & World Report announced that UCA was ranked once again in the top 25 in the South.
UCA’s chapter of the national Student Speech Language Hearing Association achieved the Silver Chapter recognition from the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association – the only chapter from the state to receive this distinction.
Erin Brockovich opened the 2011-2012 season with her lecture at the Donald W. Reynolds Performance Hall.
In October, the university hosted the second annual UCA Amigo Soccer Cup challenge, a statewide soccer tournament designed to attract Latinos to campus and provide their families with an opportunity to learn more about the value of a college education.
The campus community had the opportunity to visit with Milton Pitts Crenshaw in November. Crenshaw is one of the original Tuskegee Airmen.
The 46th Annual Arkansas Model United Nations Conference was held at UCA, bringing in over 400 high school students and teachers to campus.
James Carville entertained and enlightened the UCA community with his political views during his visit to campus.
In November, UCA and the City of Conway emergency personnel participated in a table top exercise designed to generate discussion about the university’s response to a natural disaster.
The start of the restoration of Ida Waldran Auditorium began in December. Renovations were completed in time to celebrate its 75th anniversary in the spring of 2012.
Winter Commencement ceremonies saw 543 undergraduate and 180 graduate degrees conferred in the Farris Center.
The bitter cold could not deter the topping out ceremony of Bear Hall in January. Bear Hall is the newest resident hall that will be the home of the EPIC Residential College, the UCA Athletic Department offices and skyboxes that will overlook Estes Stadium.
In February, the UCA Board of Trustees approved the construction of the new student amphitheater, the future expansion of the HPER center, and a campus master plan. The amphitheater will be located between the Student Center and Ida Waldran Auditorium.
The university announced the results of an independent economic impact study that shows the value of a degree from UCA and the impact the university has on economic development and the quality of life for citizens in the university’s service area.
March and April were busy months for UCA with the award winning STOMP percussion sensation making a stop at Reynolds Performance Hall. Dan Abrams, a legal analyst with ABC’s Good Morning America, concluded the university’s Distinguished Lecture Series and the Oak Ridge Boys performed in front of a sold-out crowd.
More than 150 young men – representing Greek fraternities and Athletics – and women took part in the first “Walk A Mile in Her Shoes.” “Walk a Mile in Her Shoes” is an international program that raises awareness about sexual violence.
Dr. Norb Schedler, professor of philosophy and founder of the Honors College, and Dr. Joseph Anderson, former chair of the Department of Mass Communication and Theatre, received the designation of Distinguished Professor Emeritus.
In May, UCA conferred 1,066 degrees during the three ceremonies held at spring graduation. In addition, Raymond Simon was given an honorary Doctor of Public Service degree for his contributions to education.
The UCA Foundation held its second annual Night of Distinction and celebrated the accomplishments of alumni such as State Senator Stanley Russ, Karen Sullards and the late James Bridges.
Gov. Mike Beebe appointed Robert “Bunny” Adcock of Conway to the UCA Board of Trustees.
The Division of University & Government Relations launched two new video features on the university’s YouTube site. “Sound Off” allows students to express their views about the latest news, social issues, and pop culture. “3 Questions“ features one-on-one conversations with new faculty.
The University sponsored its first student video contest. Students were asked to submit a 30-second to one-minute video promoting the university.
Our student athletes had a great year competing in the Southland Conference and making postseason play in football and women’s basketball. We have made the transition to NCAA Division I and have exciting projects like the skyboxes overlooking the football field that will be open the fall of 2012.
The Division of Advancement continues to work with alumni, business leaders, foundations and government entities to secure resources for scholarship and facilities. Private fund raising will focus on the priorities outlined in the strategic plan and campus master plan. Over the past year, we have seen an increase in the number of donors and in the total amount raised for academic programs and scholarships. As a result, over $600,000 in private scholarships were awarded in the 2011-2012 academic year, the largest amount in UCA’s history.
Total new gifts for the 2011-12 fiscal year are $4,321,642 thanks to 4,814 donors, of whom 1,977 were new donors. The fundraising total surpassed the annual goal of $3.89 million by just over $432,000 – 11 percent over goal.
UCA Foundation assets now total over $45 million. The impressive number of new donors was due principally to the Legacy Walk Campaign, administered by Alumni Services, and an increase in donors from the phonathon.
As with the previous year, fundraising staff continued their focus on visiting prospects and placing written proposals. Staff completed trips to Arizona, Colorado, New York, Texas, and Washington State, with plans to add California and Georgia next year. While nearly 75 percent of alumni live in Arkansas, a disproportionate share of alumni who have the means to make commitments live out of state. Advancement staff will make every effort to build meaningful relationships with alumni and invite them to invest in their alma mater.
The 2011-12 was also the “Year of Data.” The University of Central Arkansas Foundation engaged The Hodge Group, nationally-respected advancement consulting firm, to study the Foundation and the Division of Advancement. The final report is expected in August and will provide invaluable guidance as UCA seeks to secure higher levels of private gift support.
To better understand the communications preferences of UCA Alumni and Friends, UCA Advancement recently conducted a communications survey. In both mailed and online formats, over 800 alumni and friends responded to the survey. Some of the findings include:
- 54% of respondents remembered receiving the UCA Magazine and nearly 1/3 reported reading most of its content.
- 38% preferred more specific communications e.g. departments or specialized areas. Only 30% preferred broader campus communications.
- E-mail was the preferred method of contact; telephone was the least preferred.
- 40% of respondents report using Facebook.
These results will factor into plans for how to leverage the resources previously dedicated to the production, printing and mailing of the UCA Magazine, into an integrated communications plan with multiple delivery methods.
To improve the accuracy of the data we maintain on alumni, we have subscribed to a new service to find the employers of constituents in our database. The service is meant to compliment matching gift programs but has added value for assessment of our academic programs. We also processed our alumni records to update and add email addresses, called Email Finder. A total of 7,880 e-mails were found out of 40,211 records submitted, with only 30 opt-outs—meaning that those identified desire to hear from UCA. Moreover, data enrichment and accuracy is an ongoing process which results in much improved effectiveness of our database for fundraising and constituent engagement.
UCA hosted the second annual Night of Distinction awards gala on Saturday, May 12. Five hundred special guests were treated to memorable entertainment by Hall of Fame Songwriter Wayland Holyfield, Broadway Baritone Lawrence Hamilton, acclaimed soprano Suzanne Banister, and a pair of selections by the Central Arkansas Children’s Choir. The elegant evening honored 2012 Distinguished Alumni Sen. Stanley Russ and the late James Bridges along with Alumni Service Award recipient Karen Sullards. The evening’s proceeds, $36,790 plus a $150,000 grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council, will help with the ongoing restoration of the Ida Waldran Auditorium, now in its 75th year.
The university launched Night of Distinction in 2011 and intends for it to serve as an annual celebration of the relationship the campus enjoys with its alumni and friends, a time to recognize alumni and their significant accomplishments, and as a fundraiser for a top campus priority. Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the event. You can be proud of the results as we reminded everyone of the broader impact of UCA.
The Alumni Association and Alumni Services staff conducted planning retreats and developed new three- to five-year strategic plans. They are reviewing the mission, roles and relationship to UCA and the UCA Foundation.
As mentioned earlier, Alumni Services administered the Legacy Walk Campaign and worked with the Student Government Association to bring about a new amphitheater, expected to be completed by the start of fall classes. The campaign provided graduates an opportunity to leave a lasting mark on campus while helping to build endowments that fund scholarships and faculty research. Over 1,500 bricks were purchased by UCA graduates representing class years 1915 – 2012. A total of over 1,900 bricks will be installed for the opening of the amphitheater. Brick sales will continue year-round.
- University of Central Arkansas
- Conway, AR
- Arkansas State Normal School (1907 to 1924)
- Arkansas State Teachers College (1925 to 1966)
- State College of Arkansas (1967 to 1975)
- University of Central Arkansas (1975 to present)
- 350 total campus acreage
- 118 campus buildings and facilities
- 3,007,295 building square feet maintained
- Division 1, Southland conference with 7 men’s sports and 8 women’s sports
- Arkansas – 9,784
- Out of State – 754
- International – 625
Student to Faculty Ratio:
- 17 to 1
Total degrees offered – 136
- 80 Undergraduate
- 14 Graduate Certificate
- 31 Master’s
- 6 Specialist
- 5 Doctoral
- 1,886 Associate
- 1,499 Bachelor’s
- 542 Master’s
- 58 Doctoral
Average ACT score (Fall 2011):
- 23.2 (Arkansas average – 19.9)
As the University of Central Arkansas looks to the future, we are optimistic that we are moving in the right direction on many fronts. Over a year ago, the university community completed a strategic plan process that involved faculty, staff, students, alumni and representatives from the local community. The plan focuses on the university’s core values, mission, vision and institutional distinctiveness. Now approved by the UCA Board of Trustees, the strategic plan is in place to help drive the future direction of UCA and to manage the resources to meet the campus needs based on goals and objectives.
Faculty, staff and students worked together over the past year to prepare a report on strategic planning for the Higher Learning Commission, UCA’s institutional accreditor. The report was submitted in April and has been accepted by the Commission.
From this process came the university’s new mission, vision and core values. The campus community agreed that in its core, UCA is dedicated to academic vitality, integrity and diversity.
The recently approved Campus Master Plan will guide the university as it grows. The master plan reflects academic space needs, student housing needs, athletic space, as well as transportation routes and green space.
In the past year, the university approved a new official seal that will go into effect the fall of 2012.
In late June 2012, the university’s home page was updated to make it easier to obtain information about academic programs and to navigate to points of interests. Additional content has been added to the university’s social media sites (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter) to help keep students, faculty, staff , and alumni connected.
We are excited about what is in store for UCA and the future. We welcome you to our campus anytime and look forward to improving the lives of our students, community and citizens of the state of Arkansas.
The new official university seal was approved by the UCA Board of Trustees on February 24, 2012.
Current Construction Projects
Bear Hall is scheduled to open the fall of 2012. The 122,200 square-foot facility includes 362 beds, office space, and skyboxes.
Attached to the Pepsi Americas Center, the strength and conditioning facility is now open to all student-athletes.
As an expansion of the UCA Legacy Walk, the 200-seat amphitheater will be located between the Student Center and Ida Waldran Auditorium.