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Higher Education

Arkansas State University System

Officials at Arkansas State University are narrowing down the list of potential candidates for the Jonesboro Campus chancellor position.

Dr. Lyn Bayless, who for 20 years was the "Voice of the Lady Indians" at Arkansas State University, passed away on Wednesday in Little Rock.

Bayless was retired Chairman of Speech Communications and Dramatic Arts at A-State, and he was a past president of the Rotary Club of Jonesboro.

Funeral services will be held Friday at 2 pm at Emerson Memorial Chapel in Jonesboro.  Bayless was 85.

POCAHONTAS, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas community college has been placed on probation after a regional accrediting agency said it didn't meet three criteria related mostly to assessing student learning and could fail another five.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/2nP9vUe) reports Black River Technical College must provide evidence to the Chicago-based Higher Learning Commission that it's worked on the criteria by July 1, 2018. The Pocahontas community college must also host an on-site visit no later than September 2018.

The Arkansas House of Representatives passed a bill Thursday allowing state universities to prohibit concealed carry license holders from bringing handguns into “collegiate athletic events.” SB724 would also allow the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences and the Arkansas State Hospital to prohibit firearms. The bill passed the House on a 71-20 vote.  A previous version already passed the Senate.

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas' governor says he has signed legislation expanding the locations where concealed handguns are allowed in the state to include colleges, some bars, government buildings and even the state Capitol.

A bill that expands where trained Arkansans can bring concealed firearms is now heading to Gov. Asa Hutchinson's desk after the Legislature gave its final approval on Wednesday.

JONESBORO — Isaac White, a student at Arkansas State University, has been selected as a recipient of a Presidential Management Fellowship (PMF) for 2017. He is the first online Master of Public Administration (MPA) student at Arkansas State to receive this honor.

Talk Business & Politics

A heated debate that has been stewing in Northeast Arkansas for months spilled over into a House panel on Tuesday (Feb. 28) after lawmakers backed a plan to merge Crowley’s Ridge Technical Institute of Forrest City into its next door neighbor, East Arkansas Community College (EACC).

A bill requiring public universities to allow faculty, staff and students 25 years or older to carry concealed firearms on campuses may be coming up for a vote Monday afternoon in the Arkansas Senate. HB1249 is on the calendar after being amended in recent weeks to include provisions requiring additional training and extending concealed carry privileges to some students.

Arkansas State University System

$100 million dollars from private investors have already been poured into the ASU-Queretaro Campus in Queretaro, Mexico.   ASU System President Dr. Charles Welch says over 4,000 students have inquired or applied for the open positions that are available for the first class that will be open in August.  

The new campus is actually a mixed-use design with the new campus as the anchor.  The total master plan community consists of over 2,000 acres…370 acres consist of the campus, with the rest a mix of residential and commercial properties. 

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

Arkansas State University System is having a board meeting Friday in Mountain Home.  Watch the board meeting to see what develops.

Read along with the agenda.

AState Carl R. Reng Center Student Union
Arkansas State University Jonesboro Website (astate.edu)

JONESBORO, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas State University has suspended all fraternity and sorority social events until April 1 after a student was accused of raping a woman at a fraternity party.

The letter was sent out Tuesday by the university's Greek Life officials. The suspension includes "all registered social events, drop-ins, formals, semi-formals, date nights" or any other social events.

The university says it will host mandatory "risk-reduction" training sessions in March for fraternity and sorority members.

Another concern is being raised about legislation that would require public universities and colleges in Arkansas to allow licensed faculty and staff to carry concealed handguns on campus.

John Pijanowski, chair of the campus faculty senate at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville, believes the campus carry bill could be in conflict with existing laws regarding guns in churches.

A bill that would defund sanctuary campuses – of which Arkansas has none – failed Tuesday in a legislative committee. In a voice vote, members shot down the bill by state Representative Brandt Smith of Jonesboro. Smith feared “rogue professors” would force Arkansas colleges to become safe havens for undocumented immigrants trying to escape federal immigration laws.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law a bill that links college and university funding to factors such as the number of students who complete their degrees.

Hutchinson on Wednesday signed the bill that requires the state to adopt a "performance-based" model for funding higher education rather than basing the money on enrollment.

Hutchinson has said he'll call for increasing higher education funding by $10 million in 2018 if the plan was approved.

Update:

A bill that would defund Arkansas universities, were they to shelter undocumented immigrant students from federal law enforcement in the course of a criminal investigation, failed on a voice vote before the House Education Committee Tuesday morning.

The Arkansas House of Representatives has voted in favor of a bill requiring public colleges and universities in Arkansas to allow firearms on their campuses.

A bill to restructure how Arkansas’s higher education funding is determined is advancing to the state Senate. The switch from enrollment-based funding to productivity-based funding comes at the direction of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s office. State Representative Mark Lowery, a Republican from Maumelle, carried the bill on the House floor Monday.

On January 17, 1969, Arkansas Governor Winthrop Rockerfeller signed a law granting Arkansas State College university status.  2017 is the 50th anniversary of the institution's status.  KASU's Johnathan Reaves was there live broadcasting the reception Facebook Live.

Arkansas State University

As the Arkansas General Assembly gets ready to go back into session Monday, a lot of eyes will be focused on what happens at the Capitol.  Arkansas State University’s System President Dr. Charles Welch says he will be looking at how state lawmakers will address the budget.  One of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s legislative priorities is for a $50 million dollar income tax cut.  Welch says some tax cuts can have a negative impact on the budget for higher education.  He says the Governor’s idea for a tax cut is a good one, as long as lawmakers don’t make major changes or deeper cuts.

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) — Rhodes College in Memphis has named Marjorie Hass as the school's 20th president.

Hass, who is currently president of Austin College in Sherman, Texas, will become the first female president in Rhodes' 168-year history. She succeeds current President William E. Troutt in July following his retirement after 18 years as Rhodes president.

Rhodes has an enrollment about 2,000 undergraduate students.

Brandon Tabor, KASU News

The Arkansas State University System President Dr. Charles Welch stated that the upcoming legislative session could be a “hectic” one, but he is optimistic that higher education will benefit from the session.  Welch told the ASU Board of Trustees in Beebe that institutions across the state could share in about 10 million dollars in new funding.  Governor Asa Hutchinson has introduced a funding model that will be expanded in more detail during the 2017 General Assembly. 

Arkansas State University

Encouraging young girls and women to pursue education and careers in the STEM disciplines is the goal of a new national movement in which Arkansas State University is taking a lead role.

Million Women Mentors (MWM) is being promoted in Arkansas by Walmart, STEMconnector® and Lt. Gov. Tim Griffin, who will be keynote speaker for the campus launch of the program Tuesday, Nov. 15.  MWM wants to engage a million mentors by the year 2019.

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Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he will commit $10 million in additional funding for higher education in fiscal year 2019 – the first across-the-board funding increase for the state’s colleges and universities since 1996 and the first increase of any kind in six years.