SAU System Board Hears Positive Updates At Regular Meeting | New

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The Board of Directors of the SAU system met in ordinary session on October 28, 2021.

Achievements in academics, campus growth and a drastic reduction in positive COVID cases were highlighted by Dr. Trey Berry, president of Southern Arkansas University, in his report to the SAU system board on Thursday, October 28. . The board heard a variety of agenda items, including changes to university curricula and a resolution on social media policy.

Berry thanked the faculty and staff of the SAU for coming together in times of crisis to downplay the positive numbers of COVID. With a total campus population of 4,434 students, Berry said there were only three positive cases, all off campus. He did not report any positive cases among faculty and staff. Since the start of the pandemic in 2020, there have been no cases of positive transmission in UAS classrooms. “It has been nothing short of a miracle,” Berry said, again thanking the SAU and SAU Tech campuses for their efforts in dealing with the crisis.

Dr Trey Berry, left, and Monty Harrington

As for enrollment, the SAU saw a drop in undergraduate student numbers in the fall of 2021, which Berry noted has been seen in universities across the country. However, the SAU saw a significant 25 percent increase in its graduate programs and a two-student increase in total enrollment. “We are very fortunate,” said Berry, adding that the number of graduate enrollments in the spring is also showing positive signs of growth.

New academic programs are making a difference at SAU, including the new major in healthcare administration offered by Rankin College of Business. Berry said this major would be attractive to students. “We know there are jobs in this industry,” he told the board.

The new poultry education center is operational, having received its first batch of chickens in early September. “If you want to study poultry science, we’re one of two places in the state where you can do it,” Berry said. “We are delighted to bring this tradition back to SAU. “

He informed the administrators that the College of Education and Human Performance has been selected for a Forward Arkansas grant of $ 100,000. Of the 16 universities to apply for the grant, SAU was one of eight to receive the grant, which will improve or encourage people in the field of education. Berry also said that the university’s game design and animation, engineering and nursing programs are all doing well, providing attractive educational opportunities.

“All of our majors on campus are doing well,” Berry said. “It’s so good to see all of this life coming back to our academic programs.”

He enthusiastically told the board that the recently concluded Love & Loyalty campaign exceeded its goal of $ 22.275 million by 33%, raising an extraordinary $ 29.7 million in five years.

The campaign touched all areas of the campus, Berry said. Highlights include a $ 100,000 grant from the Roy and Christine Sturgis Charitable and Educational Trust of Arkadelphia which will provide the majority of the funding needed to purchase new uniforms for the growing Mulerider Band. Bussey Hall received a grant from the Arkansas Natural and Cultural Resources Council (ANCRC) to restore the historic building to its “1950s grandeur,” Berry said. And, Giving Day on September 16 set a record number of donations from generous donors.

SAU Athletics continues to shine, with Mulerider student-athletes giving back to the community in a variety of meaningful ways. And, Berry said, SAU helped with the hurricane recovery by delivering a trailer full of donated supplies to hard-hit Raceland, Louisiana.

Finally, Berry said the new indoor training facility, the Dawson Sports Complex, will soon open on the north side of the campus adjacent to the football field. “It will be a transformation for our students,” enthused Berry.

Dr Jason Morrison, Chancellor of SAU Tech, gave the board an update that included the addition of a second instructor for Tech’s new ultrasound program. “We’re very excited,” Morrison said of the program, which will be available in fall 2022. “This will be the only program like this south of Little Rock and the only one offered at a two-year college in the State The requests for information have already been enormous.

SAU Tech also received a $ 1 million grant to improve its WiFi capabilities and synchronize 31 classrooms, to increase distance learning.

Another grant received by Tech for $ 1.5 million will be used to provide workforce training to 600 new and current workers for all industries in the Ouachita County Industrial Park and surrounding six counties. “It’s a great opportunity,” said Morrison, noting that Tech receiving two of these grants in as little as six months is a significant achievement.

In other cases, the board approved academic program changes recommended by Dr David Lanoue, SAU Rector and Vice-President for Academic Affairs, and Dr Valerie Wilson, SAU Vice-Chancellor for Studies. and planning, as well as recruitment and planning of minorities 2020-21 Retention reports for both institutions. The board also approved a social media resolution / policy introduced by Roger Giles, vice president of administration, and a resolution authorizing the sale of real estate. After a brief executive session, the Board approved the staff changes.

The meeting was then adjourned.


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