Workshops at ATU Serve K-12 Art Educators

Twenty-nine participants representing 26 schools at the elementary, middle school, junior high and high school levels attended the 2019 Windgate Summer Art Launch for Arkansas Educators June 10-13 at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville.

The art teachers received instruction in topics such as shibori dye techniques, handmade paper, papercut design, bookbinding, watercolor, sculpture, art entrepreneurship and Adobe Illustrator.

Program participants also created original works of art and presented them to their peers at the conclusion of the week.

Representatives from Atkins, Bentonville, Cedarville, Clarksville, Concord, Crossett, Cutter, Dover, Fayetteville, Fort Smith, Greenbrier, Jacksonville, Scranton, Siloam Springs, Warren and West Memphis traveled to ATU to participate in the workshops.

The professional development program, which was founded in 2018, is made possible through a grant from the Windgate Foundation.

“We are grateful for the support of the Windgate Foundation that made it possible for us to offer these workshops the last two years,” said Jessica Mongeon, assistant professor of art at ATU.

Learn more about the ATU Department of Art.

2019 Windgate Summer Art Launch | 6/11/19

Solar-Powered Benches Dedicated Near ATU

The corridor between Arkansas Tech University and Russellville Downtown has a new high-tech resource due to the philanthropy of Russellville Regional Leadership Academy Class 32.

Two new, solar-powered benches were dedicated during a ceremony attended by ATU President Dr. Robin E. Bowen, Russellville Mayor Richard Harris, representatives from Russellville Regional Leadership Academy Class 32 and members of the ATU community on Wednesday, June 5.

The benches, which are located at 404 N. El Paso Ave. and 1122 N. El Paso Ave., take power from the sun and convert it into energy that individuals may use to charge their mobile phones and other electronic devices. A wireless internet hotspot and lighting are also included in the units.

“The graduates from the 2017-2018 Russellville Regional Leadership Academy have achieved something special,” said Bowen. “By envisioning and executing their plan to install two solar-powered smart benches here along North El Paso Avenue, they have left a lasting legacy indicative of their commitment to improve our community. These graduates from Russellville Regional Leadership Academy have made this important corridor between our beautiful downtown and Arkansas Tech University better. My challenge to each of them, to each of you and to myself is this: keep pushing forward. Be courageous, be skillful and seize the opportunities to change our community for the better.”

Russellville Regional Leadership Academy participants who completed the program in 2018 envisioned the solar-powered benches project, organized the fund-raising effort to make them possible and saw the project through to its completion.

Heather Southard, program coordinator for the Winthrop Rockefeller Institute, spoke on behalf of her fellow academy participants during the dedication ceremony.

“I know my classmates agree that the Russellville Regional Leadership Academy helped us make connections we would not have otherwise made on our own,” said Southard. “Leadership Russellville Class 32 decided that we wanted to do a project that would help our community make more environmentally-friendly decisions.”

Southard explained that upon discovering the solar-powered benches, the group began actively searching for an appropriate location to make them available to the community.

“We noticed something we hadn’t seen in a long time, and that was a synergy between the City of Russellville and Arkansas Tech University…a bridging of the town and gown,” said Southard. “It became apparent to us that our benches would be the first step in a long process of creating the bridge between downtown Russellville and Arkansas Tech University that North El Paso Avenue will one day become.

“We believe that having a university located in our community is an incredible asset…an asset that will act as a magnet for diversity and talent, and the unique innovators that we wish to attract to Russellville,” continued Southard. “The El Paso project is a physical representation of our hope and desire to see Arkansas Tech University and the community of Russellville continue to cultivate a stronger relationship, not only to drive economic development, but to also elevate the level of both learning and living in our community. We can think of no better home for our solar-powered benches than Arkansas Tech University and North El Paso Avenue.”

Solar Benches Dedication | 6/5/19

Dedication for Solar Benches June 5

Arkansas Tech University will host a dedication ceremony for two solar-powered benches along North El Paso Avenue on Wednesday, June 5.

The event will begin at 11 a.m. at Jerry’s Eats, which is located at the corner of North El Paso Avenue and West L Street on the south side of the ATU campus in Russellville. The public is invited to attend.

The 2017-18 Russellville Regional Leadership Academy of the Russellville Area Chamber of Commerce envisioned and executed the plan to install the benches, including the fund-raising effort that made them possible.

ASBTDC Plans May, June Training Events

The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center regional office at Arkansas Tech University has announced training opportunities during May and June 2019.

The ATU ASBTDC regional office is designed to assist new, existing, and expanding businesses by offering a variety of services including free one-to-one confidential consulting, free market research and low-cost or free training.

For more information go to www.atu.edu/asbtdc or call (479) 356-2067.

Small Business Forum: Ask the Experts • Tuesday, May 7
The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center presents “Small Business Forum: Ask the Experts” from 10 a.m.-noon on Tuesday, May 7, at the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce. In celebration of National Small Business Week, experts in five different areas will come together to discuss topics concerning small business ownership, management and best practices. Participants will then have the opportunity to get answers from those experts: an attorney, a certified public accountant, a marketing specialist, a business consultant and a lender. Those new to business and existing businesses are encouraged to attend. There is no fee to attend thanks to Arvest Business Resource Center. Seating is limited with registration required no later than Monday, May 6, at (479) 356-2067 orasbtdc.org/russellville-events.

QuickBooks Desktop Basics and Beyond • Wednesday, May 22
The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center presents “QuickBooks Desktop Basics and Beyond” from 8:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. on Wednesday, May 22, at Landmark CPAs in Fort Smith. This interactive workshop is for those using or planning to use QuickBooks Desktop (Pro, Premier, or Enterprise) software. Topics build from navigation and company set up to reconciling accounts, handling revenue, accounts receivable, accounts payable, bank feeds, inventory, customizing reports and more. A computer and a take-home workbook are provided. Cost to attend is $130. Seating is limited with registration required no later than Tuesday, May 21, at (479) 356-2067 orasbtdc.org/russellville-events.

QuickBooks Online Basics & Beyond • Thursday, June 13
The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center presents “QuickBooks Online Basics & Beyond” from 9 a.m.-4 p.m. on Thursday, June 13, at Landmark CPAs in Fort Smith. This interactive workshop is for those using or planning to use the cloud-based version of QuickBooks (Simple Start, Essentials, or Online Plus). Topics build from navigation and company set up to reconciling accounts, handling revenue, accounts receivable, accounts payable, bank feeds, inventory, customizing reports and more. A computer and a take-home workbook are provided. Cost to attend is $130. Seating is limited with registration required no later than Wednesday, June 12, at (479) 356-2067 or asbtdc.org/russellville-events.

Reach Customers Online with Google • Tuesday, June 18
The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center and Google present “Reach Customers Online with Google” from 10 a.m.-noon on Tuesday, June 18, at the Fort Smith Regional Chamber of Commerce. In this workshop, you’ll learn how customers find your business online and how to promote your online presence. Topics include best practices for creating a free Google My Business listing, improving your website’s visibility in Google’s organic search results on all devices, advertising your business on Google and more. Led by Pamela Starr, one of Google’s professional national trainers, this is a can’t miss event for every small business owner. There is no fee to attend, thanks to Arvest Business Resource Center. Seating is limited with registration required no later than Monday, June 17, at (479) 356-2067 or asbtdc.org/russellville-events.

Free webinars for small businesses are now offered on a wide range of topics. The live sessions are led by ASBTDC staff and subject matter experts. Go to asbtdc.org/training/webinars for a list of seminars and registration information.

The Arkansas Small Business and Technology Development Center regional office at Arkansas Tech is funded in part through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Small Business Administration through a partnership with the University of Arkansas at Little Rock and the Arkansas Tech University College of Business.

All ASBTDC programs are extended to the public on a nondiscriminatory basis. Reasonable accommodation for persons with disabilities and individuals with limited English proficiency (LEP) will be made if requested at least two weeks in advance. Contact Ronda Hawkins at (479) 356-2067.

Students Craft Social Media Plan for Denali

A national environmental sustainability company headquartered in Russellville has a new plan for its social media communications due to the efforts of six Arkansas Tech University students.

Denali Water Solutions tasked the students with developing goals, researching the company’s current and potential social media audience, establishing metrics for success, analyzing competitors’ social media presences and curating engaging content for Denali social media presences.

On Thursday, April 25, ATU seniors Shelby Baugh and Drew Curtis of Harrison along with seniors Josie Dixon and Victoria Teague of Russellville and sophomores Austin Espejo of Springdale and Peyton Golden of Russellville presented their ideas.

The audience in Rothwell Hall included Andy McNeill, president and chief executive officer of Denali Water Solutions, and Teresa Gallegos, project manager for Denali.

The students were selected to work on the problem through their participation in an Independent Project Based Learning (IPBL) course taught by Dr. Julie Mikles-Schluterman, associate professor of sociology and director of the ATU Center for Community Engagement and Academic Outreach.

“These students were so motivated and so passionate about this project,” said Mikles-Schluterman. “I just sat back and guided them through the process. They are exceptional students and I am very proud of what they achieved this semester.”

Accomplishments by the students included creation of strategic content calendars for Denali social media postings, development of content for the company’s social media accounts and a 35 percent increase in the number of people following the Denali Facebook page.

The ATU students also reported that indirect referrals, sales retention and enhancing a positive public image are among the anticipated outcomes of Denali maintaining a vibrant social media presence.

“Our first class was so awkward,” said Baugh. “Then Dr. Mikles asked us to talk about our strengths and weaknesses, and we grew to become friends because we are so different. We could not have done this on our own. The mentorship that we received was so important. Dr. Mikles was always there for us. She was the heart of our project.”

The IPBL class also received consultations from ATU faculty members Dr. John Narcum, assistant professor of marketing, and John Riggins, visiting instructor of management and marketing as well as entrepreneur in residence in the ATU College of Business.

Students in the interdisciplinary class came from majors as diverse as accounting (Golden), cultural and geospatial studies (Teague), digital marketing (Dixon), electrical engineering (Espejo), political science (Curtis) and psychology (Baugh).

“I see a lot of the same faces in my major, and I love my fellow cultural and geospatial studies majors, but working with this group was a great experience,” said Teague. “We worked very well together, and I gained accounting knowledge from Peyton and digital marketing knowledge from Josie that I can apply in the future.”

Visit www.atu.edu/ipbl to learn more about Interdisciplinary Project Based Learning at ATU.

Photographed (back row, left-to-right): John Riggins, visiting instructor of management and marketing/entrepreneur in residence in the ATU College of Business; Andy McNeill, president and chief executive officer of Denali Water Solutions; and Dr. Julie Mikles-Schluterman, associate professor of sociology and director of the ATU Center for Community Engagement and Academic Outreach; (front row, left-to-right) ATU students Shelby Baugh, Victoria Teague, Drew Curtis, Peyton Golden, Austin Espejo and Josie Dixon.