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UA trustees OK academic changes

Clinton School to offer new graduate certificate using current curriculum by Ryan Anderson | January 27, 2023 at 3:19 a.m.
Skip Rutherford, then the dean of the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service in Little Rock, teaches his class with a megaphone in an area outside the school in this Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020 file photo. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette/Staton Breidenthal)

The board of trustees for the University of Arkansas System approved a raft of new academic offerings and alterations at several campuses during a meeting Thursday.

They include a Graduate Certificate in Program Planning and Evaluation for Social Change at the University of Arkansas Clinton School of Public Service. This new certificate uses existing courses, so no new resources are required.

Victoria Defrancesco Soto, dean of the Clinton School, told UA trustees she is focused on increasing enrollment, awareness and impact over the next few years. That includes trying to provide more scholarship assistance to students who want to enroll but have financial challenges, she told the trustees, who met at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock.

The Clinton School, which typically enrolls 40-45 students per entering class each fall, was the first school in the country to offer a Master's of Public Service, and a third of the curriculum is field service, she said. That's "a big deal for us," as field service also creates more job opportunities for graduates.

"We train thinkers and doers," and "we are action-oriented," she said. "Arkansas is our classroom and laboratory," but students also spend time serving abroad.

Clinton School students have logged more than 450,000 hours of field service and had an effect in more than 90 nations, she said. In the state, students have completed more than 500 projects and totaled more than 225,000 hours of field service.

Phillips Community College

The trustees approved a request from Phillips Community College of the University of Arkansas to an occupational therapy assistant program.

The Associate of Applied Science program will prepare students to become certified occupational therapy assistants. Employment in this field is projected to grow 25% over the next decade, according to the college. It also meets "a regional need in eastern Arkansas." The college plans to begin offering this field of study in the fall.

The college expects roughly three dozen students in the program's first three years, with another two dozen in years four and five. The first three years of the program will be funded through a U.S. Department of Education grant awarded to the college last fall.

UA-Fort Smith

The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith is adding a Certificate of Proficiency in Content Creation, Editing, and Publishing, a Certificate of Proficiency in Grant and Non-Profit Writing, a Certificate of Proficiency in Pre-Law Studies, and a Certificate of Proficiency in User Experience.

The legal profession was one of only two sectors in the Fort Smith community that actually added jobs during the pandemic, said Shadow JQ Robinson, provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs.

Other certificates help define skill sets students can bring to the marketplace, among other benefits.


A pair of certificates at UALR -- a Certificate of Proficiency in Information Technology and a Certificate of Proficiency in Middle Eastern Studies -- are being added using existing courses, so no new resources are required.

UALR is also permitted to deliver the following existing programs in an online format: Graduate Certificate in Business, Graduate Certificate in Business Information Systems, Master of Science in Business Information Systems and Analytics, and Master of Business Administration.


Students of all majors at the University of Arkansas at Monticello will be able to earn a minor in accounting to increase their marketability to employers, following approval by the trustees.

UA-Monticello is also reconfiguring its Bachelor of Arts in K-6 Elementary Education to offer an Associate of Science, Technical Certificate, and Certificate of Proficiency in Education, so students can earn credentials as they progress through the Teacher Residency Model, which was developed and endorsed by the Arkansas Division of Elementary and Secondary Education.

This model allows individuals to increase pay and responsibilities as they progress through each credentialing point. UA-Monticello will use existing courses, so no new resources will be required.


The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton will offer a new Certificate of Proficiency in Medication Assistant and a Technical Certificate in Cybersecurity Fundamentals. Both use existing courses, so no new resources are required.

Print Headline: UA trustees OK academic changes


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