Board Approves New Degree Options

Students on the Russellville and Ozark campuses of Arkansas Tech University could soon have new educational opportunities following action by the institution’s Board of Trustees during its meeting at the Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center on Thursday.

Trustees approved two letters of notification brought forth by the Arkansas Tech College of Engineering and Applied Sciences.

One of the letters concerns the creation of a biomedical option within the existing Bachelor of Science degree in electrical engineering. Graduates completing the option would be prepared to apply the concepts and principles of engineering to careers in a variety of health care disciplines.

The other letter of notification pertaining to the Russellville campus would allow for a teacher licensure program in computer science as part of a collaborative effort between the Arkansas Tech Department of Computer and Information Science and the Arkansas Tech College of Education.

“This licensure is in response to (Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s) K-12 computer science initiative, which will create the need for licensed teachers in the computer science discipline,” wrote Dr. AJ Anglin, interim vice president for academic affairs, in a memorandum provided to trustees.

Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus also received approval from the board on two letters of notification Thursday.

The letters state that Arkansas Tech-Ozark wishes to offer its Associate of Applied Science degree in business technology and its Associate of Applied Science degree in general technology with an option in law enforcement through online learning.

As part of the proposed new distance learning offerings, Arkansas Tech-Ozark students would have the opportunity to focus their online business technology studies in areas such as banking, human resources and supply chain management.

Students would also have opportunities to complete course work necessary to earn certificates of proficiency and technical certificates in the areas of business technology and law enforcement per provisions in the letters of notification.

All four of the letters of notification approved by the Arkansas Tech Board of Trustees on Thursday will be forwarded to the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board for its review.

Arkansas Tech-Ozark intends to begin making its new online learning options available during summer 2016, while the biomedical option in electrical engineering and the teacher licensure program in computer science through the Russellville campus are scheduled for launch in fall 2016.

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

*selection of MAHG, Inc. as project architect for a proposed renovation of Witherspoon Hall and a transfer of $195,000 from unappropriated educational and general funds to pay for architectural services;

*a request to utilize auxiliary funds to assist with operational costs for food service operations at Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus, not to exceed $10,000 per fiscal year;

*financial statements for the university as of the end of the 2014-15 fiscal year;

*certification of appropriation and fund balance for the remainder of the 2015-16 fiscal year;

*and the State of Arkansas audit report on Arkansas Tech for the period ending June 30, 2016, a report that includes no exceptions from the Arkansas Division of Legislative Audit.

In personnel matters, trustees approved the following full-time faculty appointments for the spring 2016 semester:

*Dr. Benjamin Davis, visiting assistant professor of physics; Dr. Fatima Ferguson, assistant professor of curriculum and instruction; and John Riggins, visiting instructor of management and marketing/entrepreneur in residence.

Trustees approved the following full-time faculty appointments for the spring 2016 semester through Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus:

*Julie Auterson, workforce education faculty in cosmetology; Dillin Hill, visiting workforce education faculty in metal fabrication at Arkansas Tech Career Center; and Heather Nelson, workforce education faculty and program chair in logistics management.

The board approved the following full-time staff appointments:

*Brandie Griffin, associate director of undergraduate recruitment, effective Nov. 2, 2015; Theresa Johnson, interim director of the Arkansas Tech Museum, effective Jan. 1, 2016; Sarah Beth Phillips, academic advisor for the Bachelor of Professional Studies program, effective Nov. 2, 2015; and Julie Schmalz, career support services facilitator at Arkansas Tech-Ozark, effective Nov. 2, 2015.

Dr. Ed Bashaw received a change in assignment effective June 30, 2016. He will step down as dean of the College of Business and assume full-time teaching duties by continuing in his role as professor of marketing.

Debra Fithen received a change in employment status for her function in the Arkansas Tech Office of Development. She will continue in her role as director of corporate and foundation relations, which was changed from a three-quarter-time appointment to a full-time appointment as of Jan. 1, 2016.

Trustees accepted the following resignations:

*Dr. Ashley McKeever, assistant professor of English, effective Dec. 31, 2015; Dr. Rajendra Shrestha, assistant professor of physics, effective Jan. 4, 2016; Angela Teague, workforce education faculty in health science technology at Arkansas Tech-Ozark, effective May 30, 2016; and Rachel Whitman, assistant manager of fiscal affairs at Arkansas Tech-Ozark, effective Nov. 13, 2015.

The board accepted the retirements of:

*Dr. Cathy Baker, professor of geology and member of the Tech faculty since 1998, effective May 31, 2016; Dr. Gary Barrow, professor of music and member of the Tech faculty since 1981, effective May 7, 2016; Dana Moseley, director of gift planning and Tech travel, effective June 30, 2016; and David Moseley, senior vice president for administration and finance, effective June 30, 2016.