UCA brought the third of the four presidential finalists, Dr. Darrell Parker, to campus Oct. 25-26.
He spent his time on campus attending talk sessions and interviews for faculty and staff as he introduced himself to the campus.
One of the events Parker made an appearance at was a campus address at 2:30 p.m.on Wednesday, Oct. 26 in the McCastlain Ballroom.
Parker is currently the Dean and Professor of Economics at West Carolina University for the College of Business. A native of Western North Carolina, he received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and economics at the University of North Carolina before earning a master’s and doctoral degree in economics from Purdue University.
The lecture featured an open address to the UCA students and faculty followed by questions from the crowd. Parker spoke of his time working for Western Carolina and also Georgia Southern University as director of school economics. He was able to partner with Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and Harrah’s for graduation programs on his campus for students.
Parker addressed the need for community engagement on campus. He said that being an interest for students and also faculty is important because it can help to form connections that have potential to make the university outside income. He hopes to facilitate more for students at UCA academically so that they are empowered early on to focus on their careers once graduating from UCA.
He went on to explain his interest in the university. He said he sincerely wants to see the bright future for the university as well as its students.
“I would make sure it is an intention to make our college as diverse as possible. I’d like to help recognize the success the faculty and students are having in their academic education here,” Parker said.
His hope is that the University of Central Arkansas will soon have an in-state tuition that is comparable to other states’ tuitions—for both in and out-of-state students—hoping it will bring more interest from prospective students who are deciding on which colleges they can afford.
Kevin Browne, associate professor and academic director of theater, was pleased with the search committee’s job with the candidates.
“I got a chance to see every candidate and I thought they were very good, he said. “He [Parker] had some creative ideas I thought were very fascinating and inspiring.”