North Arkansas College postpones commencement; offers 100% Skills Guarantee

Wed Apr 1, 2020 at 12:04 PM

Officials at North Arkansas College (Northark) announced that a decision has been made to postpone the May commencement ceremony until the need for social distancing has diminished. The target date will be in August.  Northark will meet in July to assess the COVID-19 gathering recommendations before finalizing the August date. The College will issue credentials such as certificates and degrees as they are earned in May.  

The Health Professions Pinning ceremony will occur the week before commencement.  

"These are stressful times." said Dr. Rick Massengale, vice president of academics and student services. "We want to do our part to ease uncertainty when possible. We will celebrate our students but we want to do it responsibly and let students know they will graduate on time in May as planned. "

During a special meeting of the Northark Board of Trustees last week, College President, Dr. Randy Esters proposed a 100% Skills Guarantee to employers of 2020 technical graduates. Northark Trustees unanimously expressed support for the initiative via the teleconferenced meeting.   

Trustee Kevin Cheri said “I think this is a thoughtful and excellent idea, I compliment the College on putting this together for the employers and students.”  

The guarantee is intended to instill confidence to employers that students affected by the March 2020 shift in instruction have attained all the skills necessary for the completion of job duties.  A claim may be filed by either the employer in conjunction with a graduate or student who has completed a course of study if the individual is unable to perform one or more of the competencies described in a course syllabi or description of a course for which they were awarded a grade of “C” or better during the spring 2020 semester.

If the claim is verified, the student will be retrained in those skills for free and as soon as possible but no longer than six months after the claim is filed (extenuating circumstances considered).  In essence, if the student earns a grade of “C” or better in spring 2020 Northark will guarantee they have the skills described in the course syllabi or the college will retrain those skills for free.

"We may be delivering instruction differently but we are very confident in our faculty and students. This guarantee sends a message to employers and the world that we stand behind our promise to be a world-class institution, even as the instructional landscape is shifting every day." Dr. Esters commented. 

North Arkansas College is committed to providing an educational and work environment for its students, faculty, and staff that is free from sexual discrimination including sexual harassment, sexual assault, and sexual violence. No form of sexual discrimination will be tolerated. See the full North Arkansas College Title IX Policy and Procedures for the specific definitions of sexual harassment and sexual violence, including examples of such conduct.