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UA joins effort to add college grads

FAYETTEVILLE — The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville plans to be among 100 public universities taking part in an initiative to boost the number of college graduates nationally, a UA spokesman said.

The Association of Public and Land-grant Universities on Wednesday announced the creation of a national Center for Public University Transformation.

Participating schools will work in clusters of eight to 10 institutions on innovative teaching, advising or financial aid strategies. UA Chancellor Joe Steinmetz in November was named to the 27-member board for the land-grant university association.

Mark Rushing, a UA spokesman, said in an email that details of UA’s involvement “are still being worked out.”

The initiative will work to “produce several hundred thousand more four-year degrees by 2025,” among other goals, according to a statement from the land-grant university association.

In a statement, the association’s president, Peter McPherson, said the association is “very pleased” that UA is participating. He praised Steinmetz, stating that “in visiting the University of Arkansas campus, I’ve witnessed his longstanding commitment to advancing degree completion.”

Bids sought to lift merchandise sales

FAYETTEVILLE — A request for proposals has been published by the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville seeking help in boosting revenue from the sale of licensed merchandise at athletic events and online.

The request for proposals, or RFP, was published Feb. 12.

“The goals of the RFP process include substantial merchandise revenue growth for the University,” the bid request document states.

Proposal documents list $1.21 million in 2016-17 sales for retail shops at athletic venues, including the campus football stadium. Net online sales totaled $899,939 for the same year and refer to sales made via a link from the main UA athletics web page.

UA now receives a 25 percent commission on net sales, with a royalty guarantee of $250,000 yearly, according to proposal documents.

Each bidder is asked to provide a fee structure through which the university would be paid and a royalty percentage of gross sales. If selected, bidders would be granted rights to sell licensed merchandise as specified and would have certain obligations, such as training staff members and workers.

The request for proposals mentions a planned new 2,200-square-foot retail location in the north end zone of Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium, which is undergoing a $160 million renovation.

UA finance exec

Schook to retire

FAYETTEVILLE — A University of Arkansas, Fayetteville finance official — whose report on “many fraud risk factors” was featured prominently in a deficit inquiry — will retire from her position March 31, the university announced.

Jean Schook in 2007 became UA’s associate vice chancellor for finance and administration and treasurer. Earlier, she worked as part of the state Division of Legislative Audit.

Schook, in a 2012 report to UA’s top finance officer at the time, Donald Pederson, told of risk factors relating to money management within UA’s Advancement Division, the school’s main fundraising unit.

Despite the report, neither Pederson nor Schook disclosed problems to state auditors in a routine conference.

The deficit, ultimately found to be $4.2 million as of June 30, 2012, became public later that year. Audits and acrimonious hearings before lawmakers followed.

No criminal charges were filed. State auditors, as well as Schook in an internal report, found that the fundraising division hired too many people when there was not enough money to pay their salaries.

Schook, age 59 according to voter records, earns an annual salary of $182,802, according to an email from Amy Schlesing, UA’s director of strategic communications.

Michael White, associate controller in UA’s Office of Financial Affairs, will take over for Schook and, beginning April 1, will earn a salary of $165,000.

Print Headline: UA notebook

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