Archives for August 2011

Career Center to host open house Sept. 8


To celebrate the newest addition to the Arkansas Tech University family, an open house will be held at the Arkansas Tech Career Center from 1:30-3 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8.

Located at 2201 S. Knoxville Ave. in Russellville, the Career Center merged with Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus on July 1. It is one of the largest secondary career and technical centers in Arkansas, offering programs in 10 career and technical fields to more than 500 students from 11 area high schools in Pope, Yell and Johnson counties.

Because of the partnership between ATCC and Arkansas Tech-Ozark, participating high school students can receive concurrent college credit for classes taken.

Arkansas Tech-Ozark Chancellor Jo Alice Blondin said, “The goals of this merger were to increase the technical education attainment of students in our region and to add to the program offerings at ATCC to ensure responsiveness to area industry needs.

“ATCC will offer Ozark Campus courses in the evening, so that the facility is not just a place for high school students to learn, but a resource for the entire community.”

Speakers for the open house, which is open to the public, include Blondin, Bruce Sikes, chief academic officer for Arkansas Tech-Ozark, and ATCC Director Pat Edmunds. Both instructors and students will be on hand to explain the programs.

Edmunds said, “The Career Center has always strived to offer excellent programs of study with literacy and numeracy integrated into those programs. With our merger with Arkansas Tech-Ozark, we can now offer those classes to our students as college level courses.”

High schools that partner with ATCC include Russellville, Dover, Pottsville, Hector, Atkins, Dardanelle, Danville, Two Rivers, Western Yell County, Lamar and Clarksville.

Programs include automotive technology, computer engineering, construction technology, cosmetology, criminal justice, drafting technology, horticulture, culinary arts, medical professions and metal fabrication.

“We are delighted to be welcomed to the Ozark Campus family,” Edmunds said, “and together we will be able to benefit our students, community, state and economic growth.”

Arkansas Tech Enrolls 10,000th Student

Little did Luke Roberson know on the morning of Wednesday, Aug. 24, that he was making Arkansas Tech University history.

That was when the Arkansas Tech Academic Advising Office officially enrolled Roberson in classes for the fall 2011 semester.

He was the 10,000th student enrolled at Arkansas Tech this fall, pushing the university to a significant enrollment milestone.

The fall 2011 semester will mark the first time that Arkansas Tech enrollment has ever surpassed 10,000 students. The growth represents an enrollment increase of more than 135 percent since 1997.

“This is a special moment in the life of Arkansas Tech University,” said Dr. Robert C. Brown, Arkansas Tech president since 1993. “A university is known primarily by the reputation of its faculty. The excellence demonstrated by our faculty colleagues over a span of many years is the primary reason we have reached 10,000 students. The quantity of our students is impressive, but the quality of our academic programs made this milestone possible.”

Roberson (photographed, right, with Dr. Brown) is from Van Buren. He first enrolled at Arkansas Tech in fall 2009, and he returned to school this fall after sitting out the 2010-11 academic year.

In recognition of his distinction as “Mr. 10,000,” Roberson will receive a Second Century Scholars award from Arkansas Tech.

“I never get lucky like this,” said Roberson upon hearing the news. “My parents will be very excited.”

Arkansas Tech will achieve its 13th consecutive school record enrollment this fall, a record that is unmatched by any public university in the state. Enrollment figures will become official after Sept. 8, the 11th day of classes for the fall semester.

The path to 10,000 students began in 1995, when Arkansas Tech embarked upon a new era of deliberate and participatory strategic planning.

Moderately selective admissions standards were instituted, and by 1999 the process began to bear fruit. A then school-record total of 4,840 students enrolled at Arkansas Tech that fall.

The Arkansas Tech enrollment record has been surpassed in every year since then. Tech went over 5,000 students in 2000, 6,000 students in 2003, 7,000 students in 2006, 8,000 students in 2009 and 9,000 students in 2010.

Now, as Arkansas Tech tops 10,000 students for the first time in its 102-year history, it has arrived by any measure as one of the top institutions of higher learning in Arkansas.

“We are a university of choice for many of the best and brightest our state has to offer,” said Brown. “Arkansas Tech has shed the small college label and become a leader for higher education in Arkansas. We are committed to offering high-caliber programs in fields of study critical to the future of our state.

“But above all of this, we are what we have always been — a place of opportunity for the people of Arkansas,” continued Brown. “Regardless of our growth, we will remain focused on the idea that our No. 1 priority is to provide each student with the opportunity to persist to graduation and realize the life-changing benefits of a college degree.”

ASBTDC Annouces September Training Schedule


Area small businesses will have the opportunity to attend several training sessions on business operations throughout the month of September.

The sessions are hosted by the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center, and the seminars will cover many topics including business strategies and how to market a business in a tough economy.

The regional office of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center is housed at Arkansas Tech, and it is designed to assist new, existing and expanding businesses by offering a variety of services including consulting, training and market research.

The following seminars will be offered in September:

  • Truth About Loans, Grants and Other Financing Options – Tuesday, Sept. 6, 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (lunch is provided), United Federal Credit Union, Cost is $40. Presenter Pat Walker of the Small Business Administration.
  • Introduction to QuickBooks (Hands On) – Wednesday, Sept. 7, 2-5 p.m., Arkansas Tech University Rothwell Hall, Room 133, Cost is $65. Presenter is Brandon Morris of Barons’ Inc.
  • Five Social Media Strategies for Business – Tuesday, Sept. 13, 9 a.m.-noon, Van Buren Chamber of Commerce; Cost is $30. Presenter is Cass Capen-Housely of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center.
  • Brown Bag Lunch and Learn Five Social Media Strategies for Business – Wednesday, Sept. 14, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Arkansas Tech University Rothwell Hall, Room 133, Cost is $20. Presenter is Cass Capen-Housely of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center.
  • Email Marketing Techniques and Tips – Thursday, Sept. 22, 9-11 a.m., Clarksville Chamber of Commerce; Cost is $35. Presenter is Cass Capen-Housely of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center.
  • Intermediate QuickBooks (Hands On) – Thursday, Sept. 23, 1-4 p.m., Beall & Barclay Company, PLC in Fort Smith. Cost is $65. Presenters are Larissa Miller and Liz Yakley of Beall Barclay & Company PLC.
  • Facebook ABC’s for Business (Hands On) – Friday, Sept. 24, 1-4 p.m., Arkansas Tech University Rothwell Hall, Room 133, Cost is $40. Presenter is Cass Capen-Housely of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center.
  • QuickBooks Payroll (Hands On) – Tuesday, Sept. 27, 1-4 p.m., Beall & Barclay Company, PLC in Fort Smith. Cost is $65. Presenters are Larissa Miller and Liz Yakley of Beall Barclay & Company PLC.
  • Brown Bag Lunch and Learn Starting a Business in Arkansas – Wednesday, Sept. 28, 11 a.m.-2 p.m., Arkansas Tech University Rothwell Hall, Room 133, Cost is $30. Presenter is Cass Capen-Housely of the Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center.

Those wishing to attend a seminar can register by calling the ASBTDC at 479-356-2077 or register online.

Outdoor Connection Provides Free Equipment for Students


Students looking to have fun outdoors during the holiday weekend should look no further than the Arkansas Tech Outdoor Connection.

Located in the Office of Intramurals and Recreational Sports in the University Commons Clubhouse, Outdoor Connection offers kayaks, mountain bikes and tents free for students to rent.

Last year, more than 400 students took advantage of the free equipment rentals, but Coordinator of Intramurals and Outdoor Connection Grant Watts says he expects to see an increase this year as there are more students on campus.

The office is open from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. To check out any equipment, students must present a valid Tech I.D. card.

Mountain bikes checked out on Monday or Tuesday are due back Friday, and those checked out Wednesday through Friday they are due back Monday.

A 48 hour advance request for rental is required for kayaks. Those checked out Monday through Wednesday are due back Thursday, and kayaks checked out Thursday or Friday are due back Monday.

Camping tents also require a 48 hour advance request for rental. Those checked out Monday through Wednesday are due back Thursday, and tents checked out Thursday or Friday are due back Monday.

Click here for more information.

Football Season Preview: Tougher in 2011

If head coach Steve Mullins could draw up an ideal formula for the 2011 Arkansas Tech football season, it would probably look something like this: more toughness + fewer turnovers = Great American Conference champions.

With a new offensive philosophy, an adjusted attitude and the pain of a rare losing season fresh on their minds, the Wonder Boys will set out to reaffirm their identity as the top NCAA Division II football program in Arkansas during the 2011 season.

For Mullins, that means a turn away from the pass-oriented attack employed by the Arkansas Tech offense in recent years and a return to the hard-nosed style of play that accounts for most of his school-record 89 wins as Tech head coach.

“I thought at the end of last year we were too soft, not only physically, but mentally too,” said Mullins. “There’s absolutely nothing wrong with finesse, but at times finesse just isn’t going to get it done. As we went through our weight lifting program last winter and spring practice, we tried to emphasize being physically and mentally tougher. I feel like we’ve made great strides. I’ve really liked our team’s attitude as we’ve fought through preseason camp.”

The Wonder Boys hope their toughness will be reflected in a very tangible and important way — fewer turnovers.

Arkansas Tech committed 39 turnovers in 2010, tied for most among all 151 NCAA Division II football-playing members.

“We can’t lead the nation in turnovers again,” said Mullins. “You just cannot have the success you want to have doing that. Hopefully we’ll do a good job of protecting the football and understanding how precious it is.”

Those 39 turnovers were the No. 1 reason why the Wonder Boys finished with an overall record of 4-7. It was their first losing season since 2003.

There is a parallel between then and now.

Tech changed offensive philosophies following that 2003 campaign and bounced back in 2004 with a 10-2 overall record and a berth in the NCAA Division II Playoffs. It was the beginning of a string of six consecutive non-losing seasons for the Wonder Boys, who made a return trip to the NCAA Division II postseason in 2009.

This time around, the change in philosophy will be orchestrated by new offensive coordinator Dean Norsworthy. The Wonder Boys will still operate from a one-back set as their base formation, but the tight end will be re-introduced to the Tech offense and there will be a greater emphasis on the running game.

“There are some similarities and some differences in our passing game, but I think to the average fan it is going to look very similar,” said Mullins when asked to compare the Wonder Boys’ new offensive schemes to their old ones. “We will try to do a little more two-back stuff and more power stuff in our running game. The rushing attack is going to be very different.”

Among the differences in the ground game will be the addition of junior running back Trayshun King. King amassed 810 all-purpose yards and scored 10 touchdowns during his sophomore season at East Mississippi Community College. He recorded three 100-yard rushing games along the way.

King carried five times for 80 yards and two touchdowns in the Wonder Boys’ Green and Gold scrimmage on Aug. 23.

Top returners for the Arkansas Tech offense include junior running back Tavin Davis, who rushed for 237 yards in 2010; junior wide receiver Roger Jackson, who made 50 receptions for 644 yards and eight touchdowns last year; and junior left tackle Daryl Ward, who is back for his third season as a regular contributor and second season as a starter on the Tech offensive line.

Three different quarterbacks — senior James Landry, sophomore Cody Jones and freshman Preston Conder — competed for the starting job late into preseason camp. It remains unclear which one of them will begin the season as the Arkansas Tech starting quarterback.

The Wonder Boys lose nine starters from a defense that was best in the Gulf South Conference against the run under defensive coordinator Jeff Byrd in 2010, allowing just 86.4 rushing yards per game.

But what Arkansas Tech lost in experience on defense might be overcome by an infusion of talent, including new starting middle linebacker Chris Strong.

A transfer from the University of Mississippi, Strong was named Mr. Football in Mississippi by the Clarion-Ledger newspaper and the No. 1 recruit in the state of Mississippi by following his senior season in 2006. He helped South Panola High School accumulate four Mississippi Class 5A state championships and a 60-0 overall record during his four seasons of prep football.

The Wonder Boys’ top returnees on defense include senior linebacker Brandon Keaton, who made 38 tackles in 2010; senior cornerback Joe Means, who notched 27 tackles and two interceptions a year ago; and senior cornerback Joe Bryant, who broke up seven passes for Tech in 2009.

“We lost a ton of experience, and every college coach in America frets the loss of actual game experience,” said Mullins when asked about his defense. “We had a heck of a defensive line a year ago, and not only did we have good defensive linemen, we had depth on the defensive line. As I look at our defense going into this year, that’s a big concern. Our secondary has a chance to be very athletic, but again depth is a concern. We’re going to have some youngsters back there, and mistakes will be made. Hopefully we can minimize that and protect ourselves with the way we call our defense.”

Arkansas Tech is picked by league head coaches to finish tied for third in the Great American Conference in 2011. This will be the inaugural season for the NCAA Division II league, which was created by Tech and eight other charter members as a means of limiting missed class time and travel expenses.

The University of Arkansas at Monticello, East Central University, Harding University, Henderson State University, Ouachita Baptist University, Southeastern Oklahoma State University, Southern Arkansas University and Southwestern Oklahoma State University are the other charter members of the GAC.

“It’s very exciting, not only for the sport of football, but for our athletic department in general,” said Mullins of the GAC. “We have a transition year in football. By agreeing with the Gulf South Conference to provide some games for their football-playing schools, we were able to break off clean in the other sports. The jumbled up football schedule is well worth accommodating the other sports. We’re looking forward to the conference and developing relationships with our neighbors in Oklahoma. I don’t see anything but it getting better and better as time goes on.”

Arkansas Tech will begin its 2011 season with a GAC contest against the Arkansas-Monticello Boll Weevils on Saturday, Sept. 3. Kickoff at Convoy Leslie Cotton Boll Stadium in Monticello is set for 6 p.m.

Radio station KWKK 100.9 FM will broadcast the game in the Arkansas River Valley.

Click here to access an Internet stream of the broadcast.

Click here to learn more about Arkansas Tech football.