What's New at Tech for Fall 2011?

Campus life at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville has a new focal point.  Baswell Techionery (photographed), a new 14,220-square foot student union, opened on Monday, Aug. 15. The $3.3 million facility includes dining opportunities, meeting spaces for student organizations and lounge areas for students to enjoy their free time. “There is no question that Baswell Techionery will become a popular gathering place on our campus for generations to come,” said Susie Nicholson, vice president for student services and university relations. “The large windows provide a beautiful view of campus, and the welcoming environment inside makes it the kind of place you want to spend time. I believe that our students will love it.” Baswell Techionery is just one aspect of what will be a banner year for student life at Arkansas Tech. A school-record 2,611 students will live in campus housing during the 2011-12 academic year. Arkansas Tech added 159 beds to its inventory over the summer by renovating Tucker Residence Hall and by leasing space at Vista Place Apartments, which are located less than a mile from the Tech campus. Demand for campus housing at Arkansas Tech has grown for more than a decade. The number of Tech students choosing to live on-campus has increased by 207 percent since 1995. “Our experience has taught us those students who live in university housing perform better academically than those who do not,” said Nicholson. “The educational and social programs offered by our Office of Residence Life enrich the college experience and give our students a sense of belonging.” More opportunities for living on campus at Arkansas Tech are on the way. A new five-story, 290-bed residence hall is on the drawing board and due to open in fall 2013. Another less tangible, but even more important change will take place at Arkansas Tech in the years to come. The university has made a significant investment in the resources necessary to increase its online course offerings. eTech, the digital campus at Arkansas Tech, will offer students greater flexibility in where, when and at what pace they learn. Arkansas Tech’s distance learning initiatives will also provide students with an affordable alternative to other online colleges and a chance to earn a degree from an accredited and well-known public university. The first major venture for eTech is the Accelerated Degree Program, which gives students who have accumulated 60 or more credit hours the opportunity to complete a Bachelor of Professional Studies degree in as short as 18 months.

Arkansas Tech had already received more than 1,200 inquiries from individuals interested in pursuing the Accelerated Degree Program as of early August.

All of this, combined with increases in enrollment among graduate and international students and the continued growth of Arkansas Tech-Ozark Campus, is evidence that Arkansas Tech University has become a comprehensive regional university of choice for those seeking a better life through higher education.

“This is an exciting time to be part of the Arkansas Tech community,” said Nicholson. “We continue to grow and we continue to make progress, but everything we do is pointed toward one goal — helping our students graduate. A college degree improves the life of the person who earns it and the lives of his or her family forever. We are proud that more people are realizing that life-changing experience at Arkansas Tech University.”