Arkansas Higher Ed Coordinating Board approves new building projects, academic programs

The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved funding for two Arkansas State University campuses’ building projects at their regular board meeting Friday at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.

The first is a $2 million loan for Arkansas State University-Newport, which will construct a classroom building in Jonesboro for its hospitality management program. The Jonesboro campus will issue a bond for $19.64 million to build five residence halls to house Greek sororities, a new honors dormitory and install a new HVAC system in Kays Hall.

In other business, the board approved the following new academic programs:

· Certificate of Proficiency and Technical Certificate in Power Sports Engine Technology, ASU-Beebe on the Searcy campus

· Associate of Applied Science in Occupational Therapy Assisting, Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas

· Bachelor of Science in Biomedical Engineering, University of Arkansas at Fayetteville

· Associate of Applied Science in Nursing, Arkansas Tech University at the ATU-Ozark campus

The board also approved 15 new degree certifications from four universities through its Institutional Certification Advisory Committee, which evaluates and monitors degree programs offered to Arkansans by out-of-state institutions. A number of other programs with requested changes or deletions were also approved. A complete list is available at

New officers for 2012 were elected Thursday afternoon as part of a special meeting. Dr. Olin Cook of Russellville will serve as chairman, Dr. Charles Allen of Little Rock as vice-chairman and Sarah Argue of Little Rock as secretary.

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education is responsible for carrying out the policy directives of the AHECB, approving and reviewing college and university academic programs and developing funding recommendations for the state’s 11 public universities and 22 public two-year colleges as well as several other post-secondary entities.

In addition, the agency is responsible for distributing approximately $170 million annually from state revenues and lottery funds intended to ease the financial burden of students seeking an education beyond high school. For more information, visit