HSU offers degree programs at NPCC

By Wayne Bryan Originally Published August 15, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated August 14, 2013 at 12:17 p.m.
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Lewis Shepard, left, vice president of student and external affairs at Henderson State University, and Sally Carder, president of National Park Community College, signed an agreement in 2011 between the two schools at the offices of the Greater Hot Springs Chamber of Commerce. Under the agreement, Henderson now offers degrees in education and three business degrees, including a Master of Business Administration degree.

HOT SPRINGS — Officials from Henderson State University in Arkadelphia entered an agreement two years ago with National Park Community College in Hot Springs to provide upper-level courses for degrees from HSU in cooperation with the college.

Beginning in the fall semester, Garland County residents will be able to earn degrees from Henderson’s School of Business with classes offered at NPCC.

“Each year we graduate 2,000 students who are eligible to go to Henderson,” Sally Carder, president of NPCC, said in 2011. “This agreement will help young working mothers and fathers in Hot Springs to further their educations and get their degrees.”

Brenda Ponsford, dean of the School of Business, said the programs being offered through the community college are designed to help students complete their degrees efficiently.

“Once the students begin the junior-level courses, they may finish in as little as four semesters,” she said in an announcement of the new programs. “An MBA student who starts with all foundation courses may finish in as little as two years, which includes summer school.”

The original 2011 agreement between the two schools was part of a larger pact signed between the Garland County Economic

Development Corp. and the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance to promote job growth and attract new businesses to the region.

Ponsford said the HSU business program has the highest business accreditation possible.

The School of Business is accredited by the Association to

Advance Collegiate Schools of Business, and she said some employers only hire students who have graduated from business programs accredited by that organization.

“We are pleased to be serve the greater Hot Springs area with these new programs and look forward to meeting with interested students,” Ponsford said. “We are here to help you be successful.”

Henderson does not require students to have an associate degree to enroll in the Hot Springs program, but Ponsford said students will need to have earned at least 45 credit hours of course work that is available through NPCC. Prerequisite courses for the upper-division business courses also are required.

In addition, HSU allows students who have completed an associate degree, like those given by NPCC, or who have at least 60 credits with a grade-point average of 2.0 may be exempt from taking the ACT or SAT college-entrance exams. Students who have earned at least 45 credits may apply for the bachelor’s degree program.

Ponsford said students interested in applying for the Master of Business Administration program must submit the transcripts from their bachelor’s degree and the scores from their Graduate Management Admission Test. If a student has a 3.5 GPA or higher, he is exempt from taking the GMAT. Also at Henderson, students may take two graduate-level classes before they take the GMAT.

“We have a lot of adults who want to finish their degrees or are considering pursuing their MBA,” Ponsford said. “We want to serve those students.”

Carder said the classes at NPCC will meet a real demand in the community.

“We are asked all the time by members of the community looking to complete their business degree here at home,” she said. “We are excited to expand our partnership with Henderson.”

Carder herself is a graduate of HSU.

After the 2011 agreement, the Teachers College at Henderson began offering classes at NPCC and online, leading to the Bachelor of Science in Education degree. Students already could complete a two-year program for an Associate of Arts degree in teaching at the community college in Hot Springs.

Ponsford said applicants can receive advice about beginning the program by calling the School of Business at (870) 230-5377 or visiting www.hsu.edu/hotsprings.

Staff writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at (501) 244-4460 or at wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

Tri-Lakes Edition Writer Wayne Bryan can be reached at 501-244-4460 or wbryan@arkansasonline.com.

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