BY MELANIE BUCK –
Effective February 1, 2017, Rich Mountain Community College is an official member of the University of Arkansas System, according to Chancellor Phillip Wilson, Ed.D.,
and will now be titled the University of Arkansas Community College at Rich Mountain. The College will also be known as the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain and UA Rich Mountain.
The process leading to final approval for the merger began in April 2016 with the Rich Mountain Community College Board of Trustees’ approval to request joining the UA System. The University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees approved the request for merger at the May 25-26th UA System board meeting and formal approval for the merger was granted by the Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board on July 29th, with approval for the change of governance by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association following and becoming effective February 1, 2017.
“At the University of Arkansas Rich Mountain, we will continue to provide the highest quality of instruction, services, and resources to our students and community. The merger provides greater flexibility and transferability to serve our constituents. Our ability to serve our institutional mission has never been greater. This merger would not have been possible without the tremendous support of the Rich Mountain Board of Trustees, the faculty, and the staff,” stated Wilson.
The merger will offer expanded program options through transfer and articulation agreements with University of Arkansas four-year institutions. The UA System merger will also include collaborating to provide a network for professional development resources for faculty and staff, educational delivery processes and resources, and an employee health insurance cost-sharing network.
“I am extremely pleased that the distinguished Board of Rich Mountain Community College, and the institution’s faculty, staff and students decided to associate with the University of Arkansas System. This institution has a long history of exceptional service to the communities it serves and I am pleased that the UA System is now positioned to work with the institution to continue that legacy. Plans are in place to involve University of Arkansas Community College at Rich Mountain faculty in discussions to expand transfer and other educational opportunities in the UA System to their students, and we look forward to learning from their faculty and administration in developing new approaches to assist the entire system as it seeks to grow both in size and quality in the years ahead,” said Donald R. Bobbitt, Ph.D., president of the University of Arkansas System.
Wilson said the look of UA Rich Mountain will change slowly with Razorback red, black, and gray being the new school colors. He also explained that their staff will remain in place and the Rich Mountain Community College Foundation will remain locally maintained.
Expanding their degree programs is an advantage of the merge that local educators and students are looking forward to. Wilson said they will continue to look for and offer degree programs that work best for the community’s needs.
“It has taken us almost a year to complete the merge and I believe we are better today than we were yesterday,” said Wilson. “We are still here to serve the needs of our local community.”