Chancellor Andrew Rogerson paid a visit to the SGA, touching base on a number of issues from new features for students to relations with eStem.
Rogerson did not spend much time on issues related to eStem, citing a lack of good data. While he acknowledged that there is tension on campus with the high school population, the Chancellor said that he hears about this mostly through anecdotes rather than consistent student complaints.
“It’s a problem for this campus, but I’m not hearing anyone really complain about it. I think that students are very good at just making do and avoiding and going somewhere else,” Rogerson said.
Instead, the focus of his speech was improving the quality of education for students, through the introduction of skills-based certificates and “signature experiences,” as well as the creation of a broad-based liberal education.
The certificates, to be introduced in Fall 2018, will involve short training programs in areas such as data-handling and social media for the workplace, for a low cost. According to Rogerson, these are not meant as credit or as part of any degree plan, but rather as a way to help give graduates a leg-up in the job field.
Signature experiences are not quite as novel; the Chancellor said that this is a new term for the existing projects, internships and research opportunities that many departments already offer, as well as studies abroad.
“We put out a call to all faculty, across all departments, to invite them to apply to do a project with an undergraduate student,” Rogerson said. “We’re trying to have these available to every one of our undergraduates, should they want to do one before they graduate.”
The Chancellor’s intention with bringing a broad-based education to UA Little Rock is to provide students with the”soft skills” that employers value. The University is examining the current curriculum and streamlining programs to make this possible.
Rogerson also mentioned the addition of a “one-stop-advising stop,” which would be a single, central office where all students go for advising until they have declared a major.
The University has begun a capital campaign to help fund all these changes, and has already raised $50 million. Chancellor Rogerson says that an exact end goal of the campaign is not yet clear, but that it could potentially yield up to $250 million.
Ultimately, the goal is to retain current students and increase enrollment. Though UA Little Rock has planned to bring in and keep in 15,000 students in 5 years–its so called “15 in 5” campaign–Rogerson said that he would be happy to have even 13,000.
“Really, if you want to grow enrollment, it’s not about bringing new students in the door, it’s keeping the ones that you have and making them successful and getting them graduated.”
- The senate approved several changes to the SGA constitution, by-laws, and election code, under recommendation from the Judicial Oversight Committee. Some of these include: changing the number of seats per college to four; increasing the number of senator-at-large seats to eight; informing senators of removal via email rather than in-person hearings.