Houston Davis Promises 2 Percent Enrollment Growth

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The UCA Board of Trustees met Oct. 6 to divulge the pending purchase of 204 South Donaghey Avenue for staff housing expansion, the loss of 0.845 acres of the student and faculty’s Stone Dam Creek trail to the city and a new budget transferring $17,000 in scholarships and waivers to increased salary and wages.

UCA President Houston Davis reported the Bridges- Larson Foundation’s $500,000 donation to student internships and the $500,000 from Governor Hutchinson for cybersecurity.

He also said that first-time enrollers have moved to an average ACT of 24.3 from 23.2 in 2012.

He made a pledge to the board of trustees to aim for 2 percent enrollment growth per year while citing the recent
dip and the flat average growth.

Higher student enrollment is essential for more funding and sponsorships, which correlate into better education,
conditions and resources for faculty and students.

Former chair of the board of Trustees and current board member Kay Hinkle has been a driving force on the board for increasing student enrollment since 2014.

Hinkle was part of several votes to increase the enrollment standard each year and affirmed that Davis’s enrollment projection was realistic.

“We can grow to 13,500 without any additional infrastructure and without adding a lot of faculty and staff,”
Hinkle said. “I think it’s very possible. I think it’s going to take a lot of effort. As we help our ACT scores, good students are going to want to come here and see that, and want to be a part of that.”

The agenda also included a cut to the university’s Stone Dam Creek trail for the city to build a pedestrian pass.

“Students are excited about the pedestrian bridge,” SGA president Hershilla Lallu said.

The other commenters — Taine Duncan Faculty Senate President and Staff Senate President Erica Ruble — shared the praise.

All agenda items were passed by the Board with unanimous “ayes,” including the transfer of 0.06 percent,
or $17,000, of scholarship and waiver cash to Education and General Expenses.

After roll call and introduction, Davis gave his report to the board, presenting UCA’s Army ROTC Bayonet
Battalion and the President’s Leadership Fellows.

The Bayonet Battalion is a leadership program that commissions UCA ROTC for 2nd Lieutenant posts in U.S.
Army divisions. It has succeeded in commissioning 500 officers.

The current cadets introduced themselves in formation.

The PLF is another high-profile program.

Started this year, it admits only top students and student organization leaders who represent the President’s office and create their own influence in the community.

In August’s meeting of the board, the UCA administration had succeeded in winning the board’s approval of a five year contract with Educational Computer Systems, Inc., a solutions company that provides the services of the
loan programs offered at UCA, including the Perkins Loan.

In a victory for modernization, they had passed a renovation fund for Carmichael Hall, Conway
Hall, Hughes Hall, State Hall, and other UCA Housing facilities.

They approved the new Master of Science Program in Athletic Training.

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