Northark gains $2.24M for Learning Resource Center, technology improvements

Mon Oct 2, 2017 at 09:58 AM

Senator Tom Cotton and Representative Steve Womack notified North Arkansas College last week that it would be awarded a $2.24 million Title III Strengthening Institutions grant by the U. S. Department of Education.

Only nine colleges in the nation received the award.

Northark applied for the grant to increase student success rates through enhanced systems and support.  Specifically, the college will reduce institutional barriers to persistence and completion through integrated data tracking and strengthened academic support services. Funds will be distributed over five years.

Grant funds will enable Northark to upgrade the antiquated student information management system (SIS) that is being retired and will no longer be supported by the technology industry. The SIS replacement is estimated to cost $1.2M of the award. Other grant-funded improvements include redesigning student intake procedures, student advising, student tracking, and creating a Learning Resource Center with a full-time director to coordinate increased academic support activities. The Learning Resource Center will house increased peer tutoring, improved study spaces for varied learning styles, and one-on-one faculty tutoring.

Throughout the five years, specific outcomes will revolve around increasing the graduation rate from 24 percent to 30 percent; increase the fall-to-spring retention rate from 74 percent to 77 percent (full and part-time); increase the fall-to-fall retention rate from 46 percent to 55 percent (full and part-time); increase the developmental course success rate from 53 percent to 63 percent; increase tuition and mandatory fee revenue per student FTE by 5 percent through increased retention; and reduce institutional expenditures per full-time-equivalent by taking advantage of the new information management system to work more efficiently.

”This is great news for the Northark family!” said Northark President, Dr. Randy Esters. “This funding affirms that our vision of serving students is on target. When we applied for the grant, we tried not to get our hopes too much, but I shouted out loud when I heard the news!”

The grant-writing team was led by Trish Villines, executive assistant to the president and included Dr. Randy Esters, Northark president, Dr. Donna Wood, vice president for academic and student affairs, Tavonda Brown, dean of student services, Rachel Nelson, career services coordinator, Katie Vaughn, director of institutional research, Dr. Laura Berry, dean of arts, sciences, business and information technology, Nell Bonds, dean of outreach and workforce development, Valerie Martin, department chair, math, science and agriculture, Sharla Hellen, Student Resource Coordinator, Rick Williams, director of information technology and Ryan Hoffman, information technology systems specialist.

Founded in 1974, North Arkansas College is located in Harrison, Arkansas. The college has three campuses in Harrison and a Carroll County Center in Berryville that provides access to residents of its second largest feeder county. The college offers a wide range of associate degree and certificate programs, as well as college transfer courses, career and occupational offerings, partnerships with four-year universities, specialized workforce training options and basic skills classes. High school students can earn college credit at the Northark Technical Center at no cost to them. Northark provides a high-quality education at an affordable price. Northark was recently named “One of the 50 Most Affordable Colleges in the Nation."

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.