Leaders of two Arkansas community colleges and Henderson State University on Wednesday announced a partnership intended to increase the number of students completing degrees.
The Southern Arkansas Regional Alliance will allow the administrations of National Park College in Hot Springs and the College of the Ouachitas in Malvern to share resources with Henderson State to allow students to transition between the campuses to attain their certificates, bachelor's, or associate's degrees .
Glen Jones, president of Henderson State University said the partnership could also assist the institutions in producing more graduates entering high-need career fields.
“The primary areas right now are healthcare and the needs of business and industry,” he said at a State Capitol press conference alongside Gov. Asa Hutchinson and Arkansas Department of High Education Director Maria Markham.
“Our approach is really to listen,” Jones said. “We don’t want to create a bunch of initiatives and tell the community, ‘here’s what you need.’ A good example of this, is recently we had a meeting with Sun Paper that’s coming to Arkadelphia. And they have significant needs that Henderson cannot meet alone.”
John Hogan, president of National Park College, said the alliance allows a student to more easily transfer between the 2-year colleges and the 4-year programs at Henderson State.
“We’re trying to tighten that window and make sure that that student leaves our colleges and starts at Henderson with the same privileges as a Henderson student would. So [there’ll be] no extra credit, no lost time. So [we’ll have] a lot of communication and collaboration among the faculty so those degrees are completed on time,” he said.
Hogan said students at the three institutions would be able to pursue “open source” degrees. A press release states the open source degrees “will enable multiple entry and exit points between collaborating campuses.”
To read the memorandum of understanding between the three institutions, click here.