As many people know, the University of Central Arkansas community is made up of strong, steadfast individuals who are dedicated to their education, to this university, and to making a difference in Arkansas and beyond. In recent months, however, I have seen the resilience of our students, faculty, staff, and supporters go far beyond what could have been imagined.
This issue of UCA Magazine takes a closer look at how our Bears have shown resilience in the face of a global pandemic and adapted to new challenges and opportunities presented.
In the following pages, you will learn more about how our Center for Excellence in Teaching and Academic Leadership worked to train faculty on alternative learning platforms and ease the transition to an online academic environment. You will also read about how our College of Education, with its strong focus on technology, continues to help graduates adjust to the call for online teaching in the K-12 classroom.
This issue highlights the UCA Student Emergency Fund, which assisted students with expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to COVID-19. At this writing, the fund has awarded more than $380,000 to help students pay for food, housing, course materials, laptops and technology, and other expenses. The program was funded through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and through the generous support of our donors.
Another feature speaks not only to the resilience of our 113-year-old university, but also to the significant economic impact it makes on the state. We are pleased to share the details of a recent economic impact study that showed a $1.01 billion impact on the Arkansas economy and support for 19,506 jobs statewide (one out of every 85). UCA is an economic engine for the state of Arkansas. Our high-quality academic programs are truly vital to the economy, the future earning potential of our students, and the long-term success of Arkansans.
Finally, you will get a glimpse of UCA’s bright future. In early October, we broke ground on the Windgate Center for Fine and Performing Arts — made possible by a $20 million gift from Windgate Foundation — and announced an additional $3 million gift from the Alice L. Walton Foundation. We know you will share in our excitement and will be eager to see the 100,000-square-foot building take shape in the coming months and open in fall 2022.
Those are just the beginning of the highlights in this issue of UCA Magazine. It is packed with even more compelling stories about individuals, programs, and projects that demonstrate the resilient spirit of our UCA Bears. We hope you enjoy reading this issue as much as we enjoyed putting it together. We wish you health and joy this holiday season, and we look forward to seeing you again in 2021.
Dr. Houston D. Davis