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Barnes & Noble College Picked for Bookstores

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Arkansas Tech University will enter into an agreement with vendor Barnes and Noble College to manage its on-campus bookstores in Russellville and Ozark following action by the Tech Board of Trustees on Thursday.

Under the terms of the agreement, Barnes and Noble College will guarantee to match the price offered by any outside source to Arkansas Tech students on textbooks and other instructional materials.

In addition, Barnes and Noble College will invest $250,000 over a span of three years in bookstore improvements at Arkansas Tech, it will provide $20,000 in scholarships to Arkansas Tech students on an annual basis and it will offer interviews to current Arkansas Tech bookstore staff members who wish to serve as employees under the new model.

A request for proposals was issued through the Arkansas Tech Office of Procurement and Risk Management during the fall 2016 semester in an effort to identify a vendor that would manage on-campus bookstores on behalf of the university.

Three respondents --- Barnes and Noble College, BBA Solutions and Follett --- were invited to make on-campus presentations during the month of November to a committee comprised of students, faculty and staff and representing the Russellville and Ozark campuses.

That committee recommended Barnes and Noble College to the Arkansas Tech executive council, which in turn forwarded the same recommendation to trustees.

Arkansas Tech is the only Southern Regional Education Board Four-Year Level III institution in the state that currently operates its own bookstore without management from an outside vendor.

As part of the same agenda item, trustees voted to transfer $1,005,000 from Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus auxiliary funds to retire bonds secured by bookstore revenues so that the bookstore in Ozark may hold the same debt-free status as the one on the Russellville campus.

Thursday’s meeting also included authorization from trustees to issue a contract in the amount of $3,552,522 to low bidder Cline Construction Group for the construction of a new multi-sports complex on the Arkansas Tech campus in Russellville. The structure will be located just beyond the left field fence at Tech Field, home of Wonder Boys baseball.

The new facility will provide an indoor practice space for the intercollegiate baseball, softball, tennis and golf programs at Tech. Locker room and office space for the baseball program, a training room and a conference room are also included in the project.

A memorandum from Bernadette Hinkle, vice president for administration and finance at Arkansas Tech, indicated that the facility “may be used by other athletic teams as well as instructional classes such as those conducted by the health and physical education department.”

Funding for the project will be provided by private donations and existing university reserves.

A related recommendation provided to and subsequently approved by the board on Thursday was that the “useful life” of the Stroupe Building would end once the baseball program relocates its offices and locker room to the new facility, and as a result, the Stroupe Building will be razed once it is unoccupied.

In the academic realm, trustees approved two letters of notification.

The College of Education and the Center for Leadership and Learning brought forth a proposal to offer the Master of Education degree in school counseling and leadership online effective summer 2017, while the College of Engineering and Applied Sciences, the Department of Electrical Engineering and the Department of Mechanical Engineering recommended splitting the Master of Engineering degree into two discipline-specific programs in electrical engineering and mechanical engineering effective August 2017.

In a personnel matter, Dr. Lisa Toms was selected during Thursday’s meeting as the next dean of the Arkansas Tech College of Business.

Toms currently serves as dean of the Rankin College of Business at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia. She will assume her new roles as dean and professor of marketing at Arkansas Tech on July 1, 2017.

In additional personnel matters, trustees hired the following new, full-time faculty members:

*Morgan Barrett, visiting instructor of mechanical engineering, effective Oct. 19, 2016; and Kimberly DuVall Renteria, visiting assistant professor of criminal justice, effective Nov. 1, 2016.

Dr. Linda Bean had the interim tag removed from her title as associate dean of the College of Education effective Jan. 1, 2017.

The board made the following full-time staff appointments:

*Debra Howard, interim bookstore manager, effective Nov. 21, 2016; and Bruce Trefney, interim manager of Lake Point Conference Center, effective Nov. 1, 2016.

Trustees accepted the resignations of the following full-time employees:

*Rachel Bullock, bookstore manager, effective Nov. 18, 2016; Phillip Harp, academic advisor, effective Nov. 2, 2016; Dr. Paul Hickerson, assistant professor of rehabilitation science, effective May 13, 2017; and Jessica Smith, assistant budget and special programs director, effective Nov. 15, 2016.

Clay Wyllia resigned from his position as an admissions officer so that he could accept the position of coordinator of alumni engagement effective Dec. 15, 2016.

The board accepted the retirements of the following employees effective May 13, 2017:

*Ty Brunson, associate professor of art and member of the Tech faculty since 1999; Dr. Annette Holeyfield, professor of health and physical education and member of the Tech faculty since 1985; and Dr. David Roach, professor of management and member of the Tech faculty since 1983.