About the College
A comprehensive, public two-year college, North Arkansas College provides a variety of educational opportunities to the citizens of Boone, Carroll, Marion, Searcy, Newton, and Madison counties in northern Arkansas.
A conservative estimate of Northark’s return on investment for taxpayers in its service area is over $73.8 million.
Northark offers transfer and technical degree programs, one-year technical certificates, certificates of proficiency, customized business and industry training, adult basic education (GED) classes and non-credit community education courses. In addition, partnerships with area universities provide the opportunity to achieve a bachelor’s degree in Harrison.
While we pride ourselves in providing a successful academic experience to our students, we also like to have fun. Northark currently has many different student activity organizations, allowing our students to maximize learning experiences outside the classroom.
Pioneer athletics draw sports fans, student athletes and visitors to Pioneer Pavilion on the South campus each year. Northark currently fields teams in basketball, baseball, softball, rodeo and cheerleading. All teams play a competitive junior college schedule. Our student athletes believe in “Academics, then Athletics”. They strive for excellence in the classroom, as teammates on and off the field, and as student leaders.
North Arkansas College was the first institution in the state to be accepted as an AQIP institution. AQIP, the Academic Quality Improvement Program, is an alternative means of accreditation now offered by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. AQIP allows participating institutions to meet accreditation standards by developing and using processes which lead to continuous improvement.
In 2012 Northark became the first college in Arkansas to be accepted into the Continuous Quality Improvement Network (CQIN). The membership organization affords CEO’s of colleges and universities as well as corporation associated with higher education significant networking and learning opportunities to foster continuous improvement and achievement of performance excellence. The following year, Northark was recognized with a Governor’s Quality Award at the Commitment level.
A turning point in the College’s history was made in April 2014 when the Higher Learning Commission approved a proposal to expand delivery of 14 programs offered through distance education. With the approval, Northark offered two new 100% online Associate Degrees and became one of only 5 of the other 22 community colleges in Arkansas offering an online degree through online delivery. New programs offered in the Fall semester such as Criminal Justice and Pre-Engineering provide more educational opportunities to students.
Governor Mike Beebe presented the Achievement Level Governor’s Quality Award to Northark in September 2014. Northark is the third Arkansas College in history to earn this recognition.
2014 marks the 40th Anniversary of the College. Celebrations have occurred throughout the year with special historical presentations at Commencement and the annual Evening on the Plaza event. Through these celebrations, the community has reaffirmed the value and mission Northark provides as an economic engine, s source of cultural events and workforce training leader.
In 1973 a group of citizens met in Harrison to discuss the methods for establishing a community college. Due to the efforts of these founding fathers, in November of that year the voters of Boone County approved a millage to finance permanent facilities for North Arkansas Community College. The college opened its doors in 1974 with 225 students in the former Eagle Heights Elementary School, and one year later moved to what is now known as the South Campus.
After construction of Pioneer Pavilion, the Student Center, and additional classrooms in 1980, a Library and classroom construction project was completed in 1992. One year later, Northark was a partner in a “first” for Arkansas: North Arkansas Community College and Twin Lakes Technical College became the state’s first community college-technical college union. The facilities housing the former Twin Lakes Technical College became the North Campus of the college, which was renamed at the time North Arkansas Community/Technical College. On July 1, 1997, North Arkansas Community/Technical College was renamed North Arkansas College.
North Arkansas College is an acknowledged leader in forming community partnerships and providing health education in northern Arkansas. The college partnered with North Arkansas Regional Medical Center (NARMC) in 1996, creating the North Arkansas Partnership for Health Education (NAPHE), an organization dedicated to professional and community health education. Beginning as a local partnership, NAPHE has expanded to a regional coalition with over 60 participants, houses a thriving AmeriCorps VISTA program which has saved area residents over $5.2 million in prescription medication costs over five years. NAPHE has been recognized by the U.S. Department of Education and the U.S. Department of Agriculture and is a model for partnership programs across the nation.
In 2005, Northark purchased the former Regions Bank building located in the heart of downtown Harrison and it became the Center Campus. Administrative offices, community outreach programs and the L.E. “Gene” Durand Center are located on this campus.
The Carroll County Center opened in 2008 in Berryville, AR. A variety of classes allow students to begin their Northark academic careers close to their Carroll County homes. The facility makes the college’s programs and services more accessible to citizens of its second-leading feeder county.
Allied health students make up almost one-third of North Arkansas College graduates. The college offers career tracks for allied health students in licensed practical nursing (PN), registered nursing (RN), certified nursing assistant (CNA), radiologic technology, medical laboratory technology, surgical technology, and emergency medical technician-paramedic.
An 11,000-square-foot, $3 million Allied Health Addition opened in 2010 on the South Campus of North Arkansas College. The structure expanded the current building on its southwest side. The new area houses classrooms and labs for medical laboratory technology, surgical technology, and nursing, plus a computer lab for allied health students. Funding sources for the project include $2 million from Arkansas Higher Education Savings Bonds. The college also is using state general revenue monies, a federal earmark, and proceeds from local millage receipts to pay for the new facilities.
Just a few months later the Bradley Student Center was dedicated on the south campus. This marked the largest facility expansion and improvement in Northark history and spurred a marketing campaign named “New Spaces, New Faces.” The Bradley Student Center offered a “one-stop-shop” for student services, where students could go for testing, advising, registration, financial aid, payment of their tuition and fees, and other services. It also provides an updated, more comfortable student lounge, including the College Grill, as a place for students to relax between classes. The facility is named in memory of Dr. William and Cora Bradley, grandparents of William P. Stiritz, in recognition of a major gift for the project from Stiritz and his wife, Dr. Susan E. Stiritz.
Trustees and Science faculty members broke ground on a $3 million 15,000 square-foot two-story Science Building located next to the Library in January of 2014. Two labs and a 60-seat auditorium-style classroom is located on the first floor, and two labs and office spaces reside on the second floor. The Science Building was dedicated in October 2014.
Although North Arkansas College celebrates 40 years of excellence by looking at it past and celebrating its 40th Anniversary, its future is bright as it continually strives for fresh, innovative ways to serve and nurture its current students and provide new, inviting, and exciting environments to attract future ones.