Moore, Hendren, Rosenbaum Take TGT Prize

Musical trio Danielle Moore, Grace Hendren and Christian Rosenbaum is the fall 2017 Tech’s Got Talent champion at Arkansas Tech University.

They were voted as the top act among six finalists at Witherspoon Auditorium on Friday, Oct. 20. Moore, Hendren and Rosenbaum earned $300 as the Tech’s Got Talent winner.

Noah Davis collected $200 as the runner-up, and Shawnette Stewart won $100 for her third-place finish.

Yasmine Baccam, Bailey Hughes and Double E Trickery also reached the final stage of the competition.

Tech’s Got Talent is presented by ATU Student Activities Board.

2017 Homecoming: Tech's Got Talent: Finals | 10/20/17

Play Unified Brings People Together at ATU

No score was kept. No post-game reports were filed.

And yet, it was obvious to anyone watching that everyone participating in the kickball, flag football and other games on the Hindsman Tower lawn at Arkansas Tech University on Thursday, Oct. 19, was a winner.

The annual Play Unified event at ATU has become a Homecoming tradition that provides Tech students with an opportunity to volunteer their time to play alongside athletes from Special Olympics Arkansas.

“Coming out to Tech means a lot to our Special Olympians,” said Darla Jones of Russellville, Special Olympics of Arkansas Area 17 Director. “Just being on the campus makes them feel important. I love the way Tech students come out and support it…it’s just an awesome feeling. These Tech students could be anywhere else, but they want to come out here. Apparently they like it because it just keeps getting bigger and bigger every year. To be a part of the Homecoming week…that is what makes it so great for us.”

According to Special Olympics, the Play Unified movement is “dedicated to promoting social inclusion through shared sports training and competition experiences.” Individuals with and without intellectual disabilities play together on the same team in an effort to build friendship and understanding.

Baggo and bocce were among the other activities that took place during the 2017 Play Unified event at ATU. This marked the fourth consecutive year in which Play Unified was part of the Homecoming week schedule at Arkansas Tech.

Graycen Russell, a junior rehabilitation science major from Lonoke, was among the ATU students who helped plan the 2017 event.

“I hope (the Special Olympians) have fun and learn that college students really do care about them and their community,” said Russell. “We want to make a diffference in the community and an impact. It gives me hope for our future that my fellow Tech students care about these Olympians who are here today.”

Megan Bryant is an ATU senior from Rogers. She is active in registered student organization Delta Sigma Omicron, which serves as an advocate for people with disabilities on and off campus.

“We want to make people aware that (Special Olympians) are just like us,” said Bryant, who is majoring in rehabilitation science and psychology. “They have interests, and they have hobbies, so why not support them just like everyone else? The athletes we have interacted with have been awesome, and they’ve helped us learn bocce. I’ve never played that before, so it was great to learn a new game and hang out with them.”

For Russell, the pay off for all the hard work and planning was simple.

“Joy would be the biggest thing for me,” said Russell. “Seeing their faces light up and watching them have fun…they’re really just like anyone else is.”

Board Approves ATU Campus Master Plan

Trustees at Arkansas Tech University approved a campus master plan on Thursday that aligns with the institution’s strategic plan and establishes both short-term priority projects and long-term facility aspirations for all ATU campuses and properties over the next 10-to-20 years.

The action was taken during the ATU Board of Trustees’ regularly scheduled meeting at Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center.

“Priorities are specific to ATU and have been developed based on a knowledge of the campus needs, current and potential enrollment and financial conditions,” wrote Perkins+Will, campus master planning consultants, in the report presented to trustees on Thursday. “The master plan acknowledges that prioritization is not the same as implementation. A priority may still take several years to achieve if the funding required is substantial.”

Priority projects for ATU in Russellville established through the campus master plan include a new entrance to campus, a new student union and recreation center, a new performing arts center, a new academic center for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) programs and student housing.

On the Ozark campus of Arkansas Tech, priority projects include the construction of a new academic and conference facility and the relocation of the shop area currently located near the Technology and Academic Support Building.

“The master plan is a critical tool that moves from strategic planning to on the ground actions that secure the future success of the institution,” wrote Perkins+Will in the conclusion of its report to trustees. “This collective vision will ‘put the tech back in Tech’ and has gone a long way to aligning all participants under the ‘ATU: One University’ banner of the strategic plan.”

Additional information about the campus master plan will be posted at www.atu.edu/masterplanning in the days to come.

Trustees also voted on Thursday to authorize the purchase of a vacant 84-acre tract property in the 1600 block of North Phoenix Avenue in Russellville.

The property, which is adjacent to land owned by ATU, was previously a sod farm. Cost of purchase will be the appraised value of $252,000, $3,000 per acre or another negotiated purchase price that is mutually agreed upon.

In considering applications for the property, trustees discussed that one possible outcome would be to utilize it for the needs of the ATU Department of Agriculture.

In other business on Thursday, the ATU Board of Trustees approved:

*refinancing 13 auxiliary bond issues with expected savings of more than $6 million gross and $3.5 million net present value over the life of the bonds;

*renewal of 2018 employee benefits with a 7.93 percent increase for health insurance premiums through Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield, 0 percent increases for dental and vision insurance premiums through Arkansas Blue Cross and Blue Shield and 0 percent increases for life and disability insurance plans through USAble;

*establishment of provisional positions for the 2017-18 fiscal year for the federally-funded Veterans Upward Bound program;

*a program proposal for a new Master of Education degree in K-12 literacy effective summer 2018;

*a program proposal for a new Bachelor of Arts degree in criminal justice and criminology effective summer 2018;

*reconfiguration of the existing Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering degree computer engineering option such that the option becomes a stand-alone Bachelor of Science in Computer Engineering degree effective summer 2018;

*and a letter of notification that would allow ATU-Ozark Campus to provide its Associate of Applied Science degree in paramedic/emergency medical services at an off-site location, Fort Smith Emergency Medical Services.

In personnel matters, the ATU Board of Trustees approved hiring the following full-time faculty members for the 2017-18 academic year:

*Dr. Lacie Cupani, visiting instructor of chemistry; Wenyi Li, visiting instructor of mathematics; and Dr. Haiyan Wang, assistant professor of agriculture.

The following staff appointments were approved by the board:

*Corey Adaire, ATU STEM Institute science specialist, effective Aug. 31, 2017; Silas Clark, computer programmer/analyst, effective Sept. 27, 2017; Nathan Craft, Banner systems analyst, effective Nov. 1, 2017; Nikki Earles, counselor in the ATU Health and Wellness Center, effective Sept. 11, 2017; Tracey Hale, project/program specialist in the Office of Financial Aid, effective Oct. 3, 2017; Robin Koontz, advanced practice nurse in the ATU Health and Wellness Center, effective Sept. 5, 2017; and Angela Lasiter, director of corporate and foundation relations, effective Oct. 23, 2017.

Dr. Carl E. Greco, professor of electrical engineering, was appointed interim head of the ATU Department of Electrical Engineering for the 2017-18 academic year.

Kerri Threlkeld was named interim associate director of admissions operations effective Sept. 1, 2017.

Trustees accepted resignations from the following ATU employees:

*Paul Battles, chemistry laboratory/stockroom manager and safety officer, effective Sept. 28, 2017; Emily Billings-Bull, business manager for special programs, effective Nov. 3, 2017; and Vic Dreier, director of the ATU Stem Institute, effective Oct. 13, 2017.

The following ATU employees submitted letters of retirement:

*Dr. Merlin Mann, associate professor of journalism and member of the ATU faculty since 2012, effective May 12, 2018; Dr. Vrege Amirkhanian, associate professor of mathematics and member of the ATU faculty since 1989, effective May 12, 2018; and Dr. Scott Kirkconnell, professor of biology and member of the ATU faculty since 1981, effective Dec. 31, 2017.

Wonder Boys to Host NWOSU on Homecoming

Among the faces in the crowd when Arkansas Tech University celebrates its 2017 Homecoming by hosting Northwestern Oklahoma State University on Saturday will be some of the men who helped the Wonder Boys accumulate their 18 football conference championships.

Raymond Monica, head coach at ATU, is reminding his team of that fact this week as the Wonder Boys continue their efforts to bring home the 2017 Great American Conference title.

“The big thing our players have to understand is this game…guys who played here are more likely to come back and watch the Homecoming game,” said Monica. “I tell them down the road…it might be next year, it might be 20 years from now…this is the game you’re going to come to and see how the Wonder Boys are playing. Those former players and our alumni are coming to cheer us on, and they want to see us win.”

Kickoff for Arkansas Tech (5-2 overall, 5-2 GAC) and Northwestern Oklahoma State (3-4, 3-4) is set for 2 p.m. Saturday at Thone Stadium at Buerkle Field in Russellville.

Party at the Plaza, the pre-game tailgating celebration outside the stadium on Centennial Plaza, will begin at 11 a.m. The ceremony to crown the Homecoming queen will begin at 1:30 p.m. inside the stadium. Game tickets ($10 adults/$5 students and senior citizens) will be available at the stadium ticket office on Saturday. Those with a valid ATU identification card will be admitted free of charge.

Last Saturday, ATU went to Southwestern Oklahoma State University and defeated the Bulldogs 38-21. That same afternoon saw Henderson State University take down previously undefeated Southeastern Oklahoma State University 21-20.

As a result, the Southeastern Oklahoma State (6-1, 6-1) lead over Arkansas Tech, Ouachita Baptist University (5-2, 5-2) and Southern Arkansas University (5-2, 5-2) for first place in the GAC standings is down to one game with four weeks remaining in the regular season.

The Wonder Boys’ football conference championship seasons came in 1931, 1935, 1939, 1945, 1946, 1947, 1948, 1949, 1954, 1958, 1960, 1961, 1964, 1968, 1970, 1971, 1994 and 1999. There have been numerous other achievements in the 18 years since that 18th conference title, including appearances in the second round of the NCAA Division II Playoffs in 2004 and 2009 and a win in the C.H.A.M.P.S. Heart of Texas Bowl in 2015, but Tech hasn’t celebrated a league championship since defeating SAU 20-17 in overtime on Nov. 13, 1999, to clinch the Gulf South Conference title.

“Our players understand there’s a lot of football left,” said Monica. “We can control our own destiny, but the bottom line is I want to get better today than we were yesterday.”

Northwestern Oklahoma State is just a handful of plays away from being a factor in the GAC title chase. Three of the Rangers’ four losses have come by three points or less.

NWOSU’s good play in 2017 has come in spite of the fact that quarterback Reid Miller, the leading passer in the Great American Conference a year ago, completed his eligibility at the end of the 2016 season.

“Going into the year, I was wondering what (NWOSU) was going to be like offensively,” said Monica. “They are totally different…the whole football team. They’re very balanced offensively.”

The Rangers ranked 11th in the conference in rushing (127.5 yards per game) last season. In 2017, Northwestern Oklahoma State is among the top five rushing teams in the GAC at 199.7 yards per game.

Another strength of the 2017 Rangers is pass defense. They rank second in the GAC against the pass (181.4 yards allowed per game), and their opponents have completed just 52.8 percent of their pass attempts this season.

“To me, it looks like (NWOSU) has a lot better athletes making plays,” said Monica when asked about the Rangers’ defense. “They haven’t given up a lot of big plays. They’re just playing more solid defense.”

One area in which Arkansas Tech’s offense might have an advantage over the Northwestern Oklahoma State defense is running the football. The Wonder Boys are averaging 224 rushing yards per game, second-most in the GAC, while the Rangers are No. 10 out of 12 GAC teams in rush defense (228.6 yards allowed per game).

Radio station KCJC 102.3 FM and www.arkansastechsports.com will have live coverage of Saturday’s ATU-NWOSU game.

Early Registration for Spring 2018 Semester

The Office of the Registrar has announced the schedule by which current students may register for winter intermission and spring 2018 classes at Arkansas Tech University.

Students must consult with their advisor before registering in classes. Appointment schedules will be posted near advisors’ offices. Distance learners and night students should contact their advisor to discuss the process for registration. Students will either be registered in classes by their advisor or the advisor may elect to provide a student registration code allowing the student to register in classes using the OneTech portal.

Registration instructions, registration and academic calendars, and other helpful information such as graduation information and end of course exam schedule are available at www.atu.edu/registrar.

Students currently enrolled for the fall semester may begin registering for winter intermission and spring 2018 classes according to the following schedule:

  • Monday, Oct. 23: Graduate students and undergraduates with 60 or more earned hours
  • Monday, Oct. 30: 59 – 32 earned hours
  • Thursday, Nov. 2: 31 – 21 earned hours
  • Thursday, Nov. 9: 20 – 12 earned hours
  • Thursday, Nov. 16: 11 – 3 earned hours
  • Tuesday, Nov. 28: 2 or fewer earned hours

Act 852 of 2015 requires each four-year state-supported institution of higher education and each two-year state-supported institution of higher education to provide each student with electronic access to the following information annually before the student registers for classes:

  • The top 25 percent of certificates and degrees reported by the institution in terms of the highest full-time job placement and highest average annual earnings in the year after certificate or degree completion.
  • The bottom 10 percent of certificates and degrees reported by the institution in terms of the lowest full-time job placement and lowest average annual earnings in the year after certificate or degree completion.

Arkansas Tech University’s summary can be found here: https://www.atu.edu/ucounsel/documents/Act%20852%20of%202015%20-%20Employment%20and%20Earnings%20Outcomes%20for%20Degrees%20and%20Certificates%20earned%20at%20Arkansas%20Tech%20University.pdf

This report does not include ATU graduates who are employed by the federal government or military, who are self-employed or who are employed outside of the State of Arkansas. As such, this report should not be used to calculate or assume unemployment rates.

For the full report from the Arkansas Department of Workforce Services, visit: https://www.dws.arkansas.gov/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/Act-852-Economic-Security-Report.pdf