Campus News

  • MALVERN, AR—In a Special Called Meeting Thursday, March 31, College of the Ouachitas Board of Trustees announced Dr. Steve Rook as the College’s new president.
    Dr. Rook will assume the office of President on June 1, 2016.  He succeeds Interim President Dr. Barry Ballard who has served in the position since January 2016.
    College of the Ouachitas Board of Trustees selected Dr. Rook after a nationwide search.  Rook was one of four candidates recommended to the Board for the position by a 11-member presidential search committee, which consisted of faculty, staff, student, and community representatives. The Board selected two finalists who were invited to the school for campus and community tours, meetings with faculty and staff members and students, and open forum receptions. 
    Mrs. Diana Reggans, chairman of the Board, said, “Dr. Steve Rook is the ideal person to lead College of the Ouachitas and is qualified with excellent credentials for the position.  Rook’s experience in two-year college administrative posts lends him the needed skills to provide executive leadership for the continued growth and development of the College.”
    Dr. Rook is the current Vice President for Academic and Student Affairs at Rich Mountain Community College in Mena, Arkansas.  He also served as Interim President of Rich Mountain from May 2011 – September 2011.
    Rook received his Doctorate of Education in Higher Education Administration from University of Arkansas at Little Rock, his Master of Science in Education, Guidance and Counseling/Student Personnel from Eastern Illinois University, and his Bachelor of Science in Marketing from University of Arkansas at Monticello.
    “I am extremely honored to be offered the position of President at College of the Ouachitas,” says Dr. Rook.  “It’s only once in a lifetime that a dream like this comes true.  I promise to work my hardest for the institution, the Board, and the community.”
    Dr. Rook, his wife, Connie, and their 16-year old son, Grayson, look forward to settling down in Malvern and becoming active members of the community.  They have two older sons, aged 23 and 27.

  •  

    New Study Shows Arkansas Program Is Doubling College Completion Rates

     

    Stunning Results from College Count$ Research
    Highlight the Success of the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative;

    Draw Praise from Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson;
    Serve as a National Model for Other Programs

     

    Download the College Count$ study at: CollegeCounts.US/Results

     

    Little Rock, AR – March 31, 2016 – Today, a new study titled College Count$ demonstrates that low-income students who have participated in the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative (CPI) earn associate degrees or technical certificates at more than double the rate of the general community college population in Arkansas. The findings are especially significant considering that students who participate in CPI must qualify for public assistance, live at 250 percent or less of the poverty level and support a family as a custodial parent.

    Today’s findings are the first phase of research from College Count$, a joint research project established in April of 2015 by the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation, Ford Foundation and Annie E. Casey Foundation to demonstrate the potential for CPI to break the cycle of poverty and provide a return on investment for participants, their families and the state. The College Count$ study was conducted by Metis Associates, a nationally recognized research firm. Research methods used in the study all comply with the U.S. Department of Education’s What Works Clearinghouse guidelines for evidence-based programs.

    Since its inception in 2006, CPI has worked with more than 30,000 students at 25 community college and university technical centers across the state. Fifty-two percent of students who participated in the CPI program from 2006 to 2013 have completed at least one associate degrees or technical certificate, compared to only 24 percent of general non-CPI community college students from across Arkansas enrolled in those same academic years, according to statistics from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE).

    Additionally, the College Count$ results show that CPI students outperform Community College students nationally. According to National Student Clearinghouse Research Center, 39 percent of students nationwide enrolled at a two-year public college in 2008 completed an associate degree or certificate by 2014. In comparison, 62 percent of CPI students who enrolled at an Arkansas community college in 2008 completed at least one degree or certificate by 2013 – a rate more than 50 percent higher than the national average for the community college student body.

    CPI’s unique approach provides students with extensive personalized support throughout their college experience – such as tutoring, mentoring, childcare assistance or gas cards – to address the specific barriers that could otherwise stand in the way of graduation. Students receive training for high demand jobs in their communities, which greatly increases their chances of employment. To maintain eligibility for CPI services, students must continue enrollment in job training activities and communicate regularly with CPI staff.

    In addition to impressive academic achievements, CPI participants also experienced a boost in wages. According to Unemployment Insurance Wage data across all industries, the class of 2009 earned on average $2,562 more per year, the class of 2010 $2,700, and the class 2011 $3,112 more in wages in the first twelve months after exiting college than their matched comparison group from the TANF population who did not participate in CPI.

    “The Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative is a nonpartisan program that has generated real returns for our state’s economy. It trains Arkansans for in-demand jobs, and successfully moves individuals from welfare to work. Everyone wins with this highly effective program,” said Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson.

    “We have a tremendous success story in Arkansas: the Career Pathways Initiative has stimulated job and wage growth while helping some of the most disadvantaged students,” said Arkansas State Senator Keith Ingram. “If, as a state, we are serious about improving career prospects for low income families, we need more programs with proven results like the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative. This is the kind of research that legislators rely on, to prove what’s working."

    "Increasing prosperity, educational attainment and economic mobility for our most vulnerable fellow citizens is at the heart of the mission of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation,” said Sherece Y. West-Scantlebury, Ph.D., President and CEO of the Winthrop Rockefeller Foundation. “As a nation and as a people we must find ways to bridge the growing income gaps that have left so many of our people behind. These findings leave little doubt that the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative has helped tens of thousands of very low-income parents be successful in college and in finding good employment afterwards. This program is transforming lives."

    "I don't think I could have finished my degree without the financial and emotional support of the Career Pathways program,” said Amy Camero, a CPI participant and graduate of North Arkansas College. “It wasn't easy to be a wife, mom, and work a full-time job while also going to school. But my advisor always encouraged me to keep going. Now I have my bachelor's degree and my dream job, plus my husband and I just bought our first home."

    CPI, administered by the Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) and the state’s 22 community colleges and three university technical centers, has provided education and training to more than 30,000 low-income Arkansans since 2006, helping them acquire degrees and/or certificates to obtain and hold jobs in selected high-demand and high-wage industries. Funds for the program comes from the federal Temporary Assistance for Need Families (TANF) appropriations administered through the state Department of Workforce Services.

    College Count$ is currently seeking funding for the next phase of research to measure the return on investment (ROI) to the state generated as a result of expanded employment, increased tax revenues and a decline in the need for public assistance. Researchers also want to explore whether success in educational attainment contributes to improved economic mobility, and to further examine which case management or financial supports provided to CPI participants seem to be correlated to the greater educational success, particularly in relation to success in remedial courses at the community college. The findings may have significant impact on how community colleges can better improve completion rates and ensure academic success for of all students.

    ###

    About College Count$

    College Count$ is an external evaluation measuring what student success, social impacts, or economic benefits result to the individual and the state from an investment of federal Temporary Assistance for Need Families (TANF) dollars into the Arkansas Career Pathways Initiative (CPI). Using rigorous research techniques, the study compares income, education, and employment outcomes of CPI participants with non-participants – to determine whether the program is successfully lifting Arkansas families out of poverty and/or providing a return on investment to the state.

    About Metis Associates

    Metis Associates, a national research and consulting firm headquartered in New York City, brings over 35 years of experience in evaluation, information technology, and grant development to its work with a wide range of organizations committed to making a meaningful difference in the lives of children, families, and communities. We work closely with our clients, so that together we can strengthen their capacity to carry out their missions, make better decisions, and deliver more effective services. Metis Associates, an employee-owned corporation, is based in New York City with offices in Atlanta; Oakland, Calif.; and Philadelphia.

  • Everyone is invited to attend receptions to meet College of the Ouachitas Presidential Candidates: Dr. Steve Rook and Dr. Ricky Tompkins along with their spouses.

    The reception for Dr. Steve Rook will be held on Wednesday, March 30, at 1:15pm, in the COTO Great Room.

    The reception for Dr. Ricky Tompkins will be held on Thursday, March 31, at 1:15pm, in the COTO Great Room.

     

  • Malvern, AR--College of the Ouachitas (COTO) is one step closer to finding a person to replace Dr. Stephen Schoonmaker as the College’s president. Dr. Schoonmaker served as COTO’s president from 2012 until his resignation effective December 2015, and also Dr. Barry Ballard, Interim-President, who was the College’s president for 11 years prior.  Dr. Ballard has been the CEO and has advised the COTO Presidential Search Committee since January in its work to find top community college administrators for consideration by the Board of Trustees.
    The College announced this week that it has selected two candidates as finalists for the president’s position after the Board of Trustees met in special session on Thursday evening. The candidates will each be invited to Malvern and the COTO campus for tours of the campus and the community, a public reception, a formal presentation by the candidate and a formal interview with the Board of Trustees.
    According to Mr. David Martin, Executive Vice President of The Pace Group, the Board of Trustees’ search consultant, each application was rated using a rubric form that was based on the presidential profile adopted by the Board. The Search Committee received the applicant documents and the consultant’s ratings on March 1, then began to deliberate on the candidates.  The Search Committee then conducted interviews of six candidates and checked references before recommending semi-finalists to the Board. After receiving the Search Committee recommendations the Board went into executive session to deliberate on the candidates.  The Board reconvened in regular open session and took action to name the finalists.
    The two finalists and their interview dates are:
         • March 30 – Dr. Steve Rook, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs, Rich Mountain Community College, Mena, Arkansas
         • March 31 – Dr. Ricky Tompkins, Vice President for Learning, Northwest Arkansas Community College, Bentonville, Arkansas
    During their individual visits to Malvern, the candidates will be very active. They will each tour the campus visiting all major divisions and departments, attend an informal lunch with COTO students, and enjoy a driving tour of the community.
    In the afternoon, the candidates will visit with COTO Staff and Faculty Councils, and beginning at 3:30 p.m., the general public, faculty and staff of the College are invited to a reception in the COTO Great Room. At 4:00 p.m., each candidate will make a 15-20 minute formal presentation to those assembled during the reception followed by an open question and answer session. The Board of Trustees invites all students, faculty and staff, and the general public to meet these candidates during the tours and/or during the reception, hear their formal presentations, and ask questions of them during a Q & A session after their respective presentations. Each candidate will then meet with the Board of Trustees in Executive Session in the Ballard Conference Room.
    The Board feels that these two candidates are qualified, have the right credentials, have had successful experiences in significant two-year college administrative posts and have great potential to provide executive leadership for the continued growth and development of the College. The Board also recognizes that there is a certain culture in the five-county service area, in the Malvern community and in the College itself. The Board wants to select the person who is the perfect fit for this particular situation and job to maximize the potential for success.
    The Board of Trustees anticipates finalizing the appointment of a new COTO President by March 31 so as to give the new person and family adequate time to transition to the College and the Malvern community before July 1.

  • On Saturday, March 19th from 10:00am to 2:00pm, SGA will be sponsoring Spring Fling; FREE fun for the whole family! There will be an egg hunt, food, games, jump houses, and more!  This event is open to the community and will be held outside.

  • Refund checks will be available on February 12, 2016, beginning at 9:00am until 4:30pm, in the COTO Business Office.

    Students MUST have and present a student ID and a government issued ID (such as a driver's license) in order to receive checks. 

  • College of the Ouachitas recently announced the President’s and Dean’s List for the Fall 2015 semester.  Students on the President’s List have earned 12 or more credit hours in college level courses and achieved a 4.0 grade point average for the semester.  Those named to the President’s List include Hot Spring County residents: Robert Aulds, Heather Best, Sabrina Cranford, Erin Dyer, Eric Gaither, Seana Granger, Payton Kehner, Cassi Rogers, Mary Whitney, and David Williams;  Grant County residents: Kalena Ellis, Emily Hope, Caleb Knighten, and Caitlyn Mozingo; Clark County residents: Sydney McCauley, Kayla Smith, and Jo Wright; Saline County resident: Jeneille Hampel; Garland County resident: Tiwana Dockett; White County resident: Jade McCoy; Cleveland County resident: Cory McMahon; and Pulaski County resident: Randolph Nace.

    Students named to the Dean’s List have earned 12 or more credit hours in college level courses and achieved a 3.50 grade point average for the semester.  Those named to the Dean’s List include Hot Spring County residents: John Bennett, Hollie Boles, Austin Clayton, Molly Cunningham, Whitney Earnest, Jeremy Freeman, John Jeffries, Kayla Kirksey, Adam Landreth, Shavonna Malone, Magan McDougal, Daniel McElhannon, Heather McJunkin, Jennifer Morrow, Kayla Overton, Amanda Porterfield, Brittany Ramey, Raimy Rink, Cassi Rogers, Breanna Sanders, Corey Stanley, Jared Stanley, Maranda Sulton, Sam Tucker, Loni Williams, and Thorin Wright; Grant County residents: Levi Boudra, Jerry Crowe, Brittany Freeman, Evelyn Green, Jeri Matthews, and Bryan Wilfong; Clark County residents: Sharon Bell, Chelsea McKay, Krystal McLane, Paralee Taylor, Yvonne Wilson, and Erin Wingfield; Saline County residents: Jennifer Adamson, Tatiana Buskirk, Elizabeth Crumpler, Kathy Dewberry, Andrew Hardwick, Timothy Huskey, Jackie Lanham, and Aleas Ramsey; Garland County residents: Lisa Barker, Arianna Floyd, and Tristan Garner; Pulaski County resident: Shalon Davis, and Dallas County resident: Tennia Clark.
     

  • New students (First semester at COTO) who were not able to attend Orientation prior to the beginning of classes will need to attend one of the following make-up sessions: Wednesday, January 20th OR Thursday, January 21st from 12:15-1:00 p.m. in the Great Room.

  • MALVERN, AR— At a special called meeting Thursday evening, College of the Ouachitas Board of Trustees announced Dr. J. Barry Ballard, a veteran community college administrator, as the College’s Interim President.
    Dr. Ballard began his new position as Interim President Friday, January 15.  He succeeds Dr. Stephen Schoonmaker who announced his resignation in June 2015.

    Dr. Ballard previously served as the College’s President from 2000 to 2011.  At the end of the special called meeting, Dr. Ballard addressed the Board and the crowd of COTO employees.  He stated that he was excited for the opportunity to help the College with its search for a president.  Dr. Ballard demonstrated a clear vision and plan for filling the position.  He indicated the importance the College employees will have in the process, as well as the students, community representatives, and representatives from business and industry. 

    Dr. Ballard’s strong passion and sincerity for College of the Ouachitas was evident as he shared with the Board and audience how serving as the President at the College for eleven years was the best and most satisfying job he had ever had.  He also shared that he had never worked with a better group of dedicated, competent professionals as those at COTO.

    Ballard’s contract will be for a maximum of 6 months.  Ballard will address College faculty and staff at 10:00 a.m. Friday morning during the College’s Spring Gathering.

  • Did you get the text/call/email?? College of the Ouachitas sent out a TEST of the Emergency Notification System between 12:30-1:00 today, January 13.  If you DID NOT, sign up NOW by following this link:  http://www.coto.edu/pages/blackboard_connect_information_students
    As a reminder, in the event of an emergency closing College of the Ouachitas will send emergency notifications in the following formats:  text, phone call, email, and postings on Facebook, Twitter, and COTO.edu.  Notifications will also be sent to the Little Rock television stations and local radio stations of the emergency status. If there is no announcement, individuals should assume the College is open. The decision will be made AS EARLY AS POSSIBLE in each case.
    Should a closing be weather related, keep in mind that College of the Ouachitas is a commuter campus and areas potentially affected by the weather could vary.     While it may be unsafe to travel in certain areas, it may be perfectly fine in others.  In cases where the college remains open, individuals should assess weather conditions in their own areas and plan accordingly.

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