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ASU Board Hears 2019 Legislative Session Preview, Approve School of Media and Journalism

Arkansas State University System

ASU System President Dr. Chuck Welch says the 2019 Legislative Session is not expected to have too many surprises for higher education.  Welch praised Governor Asa Hutchinson for his work on setting up money for higher education through a new funding model.  Originally, $10 million was set up for higher education. The money will go to colleges and universities based on their graduation rates, instead of the number of students enrolled. Welch says in the 2019 session, he expects Hutchinson to release an additional $800,000 for higher education.  Hutchinson says he appreciates the Governor’s support of higher education.

Another area of discussion that is anticipated during the session is campus carry.  There are expected to be several bills that will deal with the future of campus carry.  Currently, those who have concealed carry permits and specific training can carry concealed weapons on college and university campuses.  Welch expects there to be bills that would strip away campus carry, as well as bills that would broaden campus carry. 

Welch also says the ASU System will be looking at revenue reduction discussions that are expected out of the session, such as tax cuts. 

The ASU Board of Trustees approved a resolution that allowed for a change to the Early Retirement Benefits Policy.  The ASU System offers health benefits to system employees and extends those benefits to retired employees and eligible spouses until they reach Medicare eligibility.  The rising costs of retiree health coverage are affecting institutional financial conditions.  The ASU Board of Trustees approved a resolution that will apply for new employees of the ASU System starting January 1.  The resolution says that early retirement medical and life insurance benefits would be eliminated. 

The Board of Trustees also approved a change to the College of Liberal Arts and Communication as a new School of Media and Journalism will be created in the college starting July first.  The College of Media and Communication was dissolved as part of a college restructuring process in 2015.  Since then, there have been challenges trying to grow the program.  The new School of Media and Journalism would be structured with a Director that would answer to the dean.  The director would oversee Student Media as well as the multi-media journalism and creative media production programs.  The director would oversee how students are being utilized at all of the different media outlets, such as KASU, The Herald, Delta Digital News Service, A-State TV, and Red Wolf Radio. 

In other resolutions passed by the ASU Board of Trustees:

  • Sandy Teague replaces Annesa Thompson on the ASU-Newport Board of Visitors.  Thompson resigned due to moving out of state.   The term expires June 30, 2020.
  • Room 230 in the Lab Sciences West Building at Arkansas State University has been renamed the DENSO Mechanical Engineering Laboratory.
  • Room 130U in the Arkansas Biosciences Building at Arkansas State University has been renamed the Hytrol Materials Handling Laboratory.
  • The Tutoring Lab in the Computer Sciences and Mathematics Building at Arkansas State University has been renamed as the Katherine Overstreet Logan Mathematics and Learning Commons.
  • The City of Newport’s request for an easement from ASU-Newport to extend a city road across ASU-Newport property to allow access to an adjoining property.
  • ASU-Newport will offer a Technical Certificate in Criminal Justice and a Certificate of Proficiency in Criminal Justice.
  • ASU-Newport also will offer a Certificate of Proficiency in Aesthetics. Adding an additional resolution for the ASU-Jonesboro campus.
  • ASU Mid-South will offer a Certificate of Proficiency in Welding Fabrication/Fitter. 
  • Arkansas State University Jonesboro requests approval to apply for a grant from the Arkansas Department of Human Services to continue its participation in the Child and Adult Care Food Program.  The program provides food services to 600 children in the Arkansas Delta.  The Department of Childhood Services in the College of Education and Behavioral Sciences participates in the program.