Arkansas State University Three Rivers officially has a new strategic plan after the Arkansas State University System board of trustees approved it during a recent meeting.
The 2024-28 plan prioritizes five goals: access, learning, effectiveness, stewardship and partnerships.
ASU Three Rivers will demonstrate a strong commitment to mitigating access barriers for all students, provide high-quality educational opportunities, foster a culture of planning and assessment for maximum effectiveness, promote or develop a culture of accountability and innovation, and support partnerships that benefit students, educational entities and employers in the communities served by the college, according to the plan.
This strategic planning initiative dates back to 2021, with the formation of a Strategic Planning Work Group, followed by strategic planning sessions with faculty, staff, students and community members who identified the institution's strengths and weaknesses, as well as opportunities for growth and future attention.
In March, the vision was circulated to employees, students, and the community for feedback and review, input which was incorporated by the work group into the final plan, which will provide strategic direction for the next five years, according to ASU Three Rivers. The 2019-23 Strategic Plan led to notable actions by ASU Three Rivers, including aligning with the ASU System, a name change, and rebranding.
Earlier this month, ASU Three Rivers reported increased fall enrollment of 2,109 students, due in part to its partnership with the Saline County Career and Technical Campus in Benton, the second-straight year of significant attendance gains. Last fall, ASU Three Rivers enrollment was up nearly 17% from the prior fall, 1,843 students compared with 1,578.
ASU Three Rivers offers more than 50 programs of study in academic, career and technical disciplines to approximately 3,500 credit, non-credit, adult education, and workforce students at three sites in Hot Spring, Clark, and Grant Counties and serves primarily individuals in Hot Spring, Saline, Clark, Grant, and Dallas counties, according to the college.
Its history dates back to 1969, when the state Board of Education authorized Ouachita Vocational Technical School to serve the vocational training needs of a five-county area surrounding Malvern and Hot Spring County; the college has adjusted its name and mission through the decades, most recently becoming ASU Three Rivers on Jan. 1, 2020, after joining the ASU System in 2019.
During the trustees' meeting Sept. 15 in Jonesboro, the board approved a request from Henderson State University to increase fees for the university's aviation program for the first time since 2016.
The increases will take effect for the spring semester.
This is the state's only university program for training pilots, according to the ASU System.
The per-hour Maule aircraft rental fee will increase from $123.25 to $155, the per-hour Piper Arrow aircraft rental fee from $145.25 to $180, the per-hour Citabria aircraft rental fee from $97.25 to $125, the per-hour Piper Twin Comanche aircraft rental fee from $228 to $275, the per-hour Redbird flight simulator rental fee from $45.25 to $90.50, and the per-hour Tecnam P2006T Rental Fee from $0 to $530; the per-hour certified flight instructor fee will remain at $45.25, while the per-engine-hour aircraft rental fuel surcharge will decrease from $12.56 to zero.
"We have not increased [these] fees for quite some time, but capital needs for the right equipment and state-of-the-art instruction" require doing so, then-Chancellor Chuck Ambrose -- whose resignation took effect Sept. 15 -- explained last month. Even with the increases, Henderson State's fees remain "in line" with similar aviation programs at peer institutions.
In addition, trustees approved renaming the Arkansas State University-Mountain Home Technical Center Building the Czeschin-Newth Workforce Development Center in recognition of Calvin and Sissy Czeschin and Kenny and Laura Newth for their contributions to the campus.
Calvin and Sissy Czeschin, "both personally, and through their affiliated companies, have provided numerous contributions to ASU-Mountain Home of a magnitude worthy of special gratitude and lasting recognition, most recently evidenced with a significant gift to enable the purchase of" the technical center, according to the resolution. Kenny and Laura Newth "have made a significant contribution to ASU-Mountain Home of a magnitude worthy of special gratitude and lasting recognition, which is to be used for the purchase of the technical center," the resolution read.
Trustees approved Arkansas State University-Newport's granting a utility easement to City Water and Light of Jonesboro.
This easement, of more than 9,000 square feet, supports an existing Arkansas Department of Transportation project along Martin Luther King Drive in Jonesboro, according to the ASU System. City Water and Light will pay ASU-Newport $22,597.50 for the easement.
ASU-Newport operates a campus in Jonesboro in the heart of the Jonesboro Industrial Park, according to ASU-Newport. The site features the Advanced Manufacturing, Welding, Hospitality Services, Practical Nursing, and Industrial Maintenance programs.