Faculty senators consider Greenbrier degree option

The Greenbrier School District is seeking a new partnership with UCA on an associate degree program, a move that would bring the school district back to previous ties with the university.

Provost Steve Runge made the announcement Feb. 11 during a UCA Faculty Senate meeting.

The school district has expressed interest in allowing students to receive concurrent credit through UCA, giving high school students the ability to obtain the hours required to earn an associate degree. Greenbrier is in a concurrent credit partnership with the University of Arkansas — Little Rock.

Greenbrier students are able to take a variety of history, mathematics, science, English, Spanish, business, health and music classes that add up to 60 university hours available for UALR credit, according to the district’s website.

A 60 credit hour minimum is in place for UCA students to receive an associate degree in general education. Students must also have a 2.0 cumulative GPA.

Changes to the course schedule structure and teaching guidelines would be part of the proposed UCA partnership.

“We are now collecting information from [Greenbrier] and we will be distributing requests for concurrent class partnerships to the academic departments for review,” Runge said.

Runge also said this type of program is becoming more and more popular across the country. “The first school in the area to do this was the Academic Plus Charter School in Maumelle,” he said.

Runge said the degree will have the same level of difficulty as the degree earned by the students at UCA. According to stage rules and regulations, the courses must be taught by someone with a master’s degree and 18 hours within the discipline.

Senators expressed concerns about UCA’s benefit in this partnership. The price of concurrent credit hours is $10 per hour, cheaper than UCA’s tuition costs.

“On its face, it is a money loser for us, but if we recruit more people with this, we would recuperate some of those costs,” Runge said. “Many of those students are now going to UALR because they have credit hours there.”

The Greenbrier School District wants to implement this program in the next few months, with a fall 2014 start date.

During the 12:45 p.m. meeting in Wingo Hall 315, President Tom Courtway also talked about the Lewis Science Center renovation project.

“The [UCA Board of Trustees] knows the need exists, there is no question about it,” Courtway said.

Proposed renovation plans include a three-story, 50,000 square foot building that will sit as an expansion, residing in the parking lot east of the current building.

Faculty senators debated an increase in facility fees by $3.50 per credit hour, which would increase the fee from $9.00 to $12.50. This action is designed to help with the costs of paying for the Lewis Science Center project.

After the completion of the new building, a three-phase renovation of the current Lewis Science Center building would be put into action. Courtway stressed the renovation’s importance.

“What I do not want to do is go through with the expansion of Lewis Science Center and not renovate the rest of it” Courtway said.

The plan is going before the board this month and, if authorized, the prospective move-in date for the building would be January 2017.

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