The Voice: Fine Arts Get Needed Attention From BOT

The Oct. 9 Board of Trustees meeting followed a similar pattern of popular discussion among UCA administrative officials: expansion, expansion, expansion.
UCA wants to become a more prominent Arkansas university, and so far that has meant promoting growth in areas that will boost enrollment and make the campus more attractive.
For example, last week the BOT approved beach volleyball to expand the athletic program and attract more female athletes.
The Lewis Science Center expansion is also intended to amplify UCA’s renowned excellence and increase overall enrollment.
However, UCA has many other academic areas, such as the fine arts, that are producing equally exciting work in outdated facilities.
Director of Special University Projects and Community Affairs TJ Johnston and BOT member Joe Whisenhunt both acknowledged this during last week’s meeting. Fine arts at UCA don’t receive the attention they deserve, they said. The conversation was long overdue and refreshing to witness.
Johnston discussed the possibility of utilizing unused UCA property to construct a new fine arts performance center, and Whisenhunt agreed that “fine arts have taken the back seat long enough.”
The university will require expansion to increase enrollment. Discussing new attractions is essential. However, wholesome expansion can only occur collectively.
If UCA officials desire true growth, then they cannot forget to consider expansion in smaller departments and existing programs.
University officials should wholeheartedly acknowledge this idea and make true efforts to include the entire campus in its vision.
This article originally appeared in the Oct. 14, 2015 print edition of The Echo. 
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