AR Higher Ed, A New Personality & Sharing the Next Go Round

August to September, September to October, October to November and wait now it is July 2012!  I went to visit my Word Press Blog, since I had some feedback on a post. I was horrified to see that it has been almost an entire year since I posted. Embarrassed is not nearly strong enough of a word to express the deep feeling that gripped me!

I could jump into a list of excuses as long as my arm, but we all know that excuses are like unmentionable body parts, we all have them.  So allow me to share with you some of what I have been up to. First of all I was nominated for, participated in and graduated from the AATYC Leadership Academy. My class marks 99 graduates. During this 9 month whirl wind, we had the privilege of traveling all over the state of Arkansas, visiting several colleges we might not have had the opportunity to visit otherwise.  I ate some great food, including three pounds of boiled Cajun-style crab in the Duck Capital of the World in southern Arkansas.


Our class worked their tails off. There were 24 of us from all across the state, many faculty and staff from the two-year colleges, as well as a couple of folks from Arkansas government and non-profits. We were broken into groups and worked diligently over the course of the academy on group projects wherein we researched and searched incessantly toward finding out the Facts about several hot-button topics that are integral to higher education in Arkansas.  Here is a little FYI information for your processing.

Cost Containment Efforts in Arkansas Higher Education – includes retooling HVAC controls, utilities cost cuts, reduced travel, reduced office and teaching supplies, revised computer replacement programs, more temporary and less full-time faculty, deferred salary increases, outsourcing food services, early retirement incentives, creating multi-school classes, increasing class sizes, and reduction of benefits.

Arkansas E-Link, ATOM and ARE-ON – is the process of connecting Arkansas’ computer networks as the result of a $102 million grant provided to the UAMS Center for Distance Health and by the federal government, expanding the Arkansas Telehealth Network (ATOM) and the Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network (ARE-ON), with Health Care, Higher Education, Public Safety, and Research as the four focus areas, increased applications and benefits at 470+ locations across Arkansas, and work will be completed in August 2013.

Developmental Education – is a hot topic among educators and legislators due to more than 75% of two-year college students being required to take at least one remedial course, no typical developmental education student, approximately $36.2 million of 56.84% of general revenue spent on remediation, and two promising practices – Achieving the Dream and Path to Accelerated Completion and Employment (PACE).

Arkansas Academic Challenge Scholarship – provides scholarships to Arkansas residents pursuing a higher education, funded in large part by the Arkansas Scholarship Lottery, the growing need for non-traditional student funding – 76% of applicants in 2010 were non-traditional students and 62% of applicants in 2011 were non-traditional students, 73% of non-traditional students who received funding renewed their scholarship and remained in higher education, where only 61% of traditional students did the same, and non-traditional students in Arkansas have a higher retention rate than traditional students but receive the least amount of funding.

Concurrent Credit Enrollment – is an accelerated learning option that provides high school students the opportunity to simultaneously earn credit in both high school and college classes, reduces the cost of college by enabling students to earn college credit and by shortening their time to complete a degree, increases the academic rigor of high school curriculum, increases high school graduation rates, college enrollment, college credit accumulation, college grade point averages and increases college persistence and retention, can save students and taxpayers money, and can help students to launch careers with less debt, some recommendations include: require departments of education, higher education, career education, and post-secondary institutions to collaborate in the design, collection, analysis and reporting of data that will provide evidence based research to help understand the effectiveness of all accelerated learning options on access and success for all students and require annual reporting from departments of education on how all accelerated options are funded, the among of investment for each option, the sources of funding and the number of students served by each option.

Adult Education and Higher Education: A Partnership for Student Success – is an initiative the recognizes that the United States is the only highly-developed democracy where young adults are less likely to have completed high school that the previous generation, over 1 million young adults drop out of high school each year, that is 7,000 per day, in Arkansas 63 students drop out of secondary education each school day, 14.2% of those without a high school diploma were unemployed compared with 8% of those with at least some college, by 2018 52% of Arkansas jobs will require a post-secondary education, earning a GED increases a students’ chances of entering college, however in Arkansas less than 10% of the GED diploma recipients entered post-secondary education, some recommendations include: revise federal adult education and workforce development policy to clarify that federal funds can be used for integrated adult education and post-secondary occupational programs, adapt financial aid policies to support the needs of lower-skilled adults that allow them to reduce work hours to a level at which educational success is possible, and create and enhance bridge programs that ease the transition to post-secondary education.

Is your head spinning? Mine has been. I knew that I loved Arkansas. I knew that I respected higher education. I knew that I had a driving need to help others and have tried to do what I can, where I can. But there is so much to process and so much history.  Living history is a growing organism. The more pieces that you can identify and at least gain a partial understanding of the greater the passion that will grip you. The passion has gripped me so strongly that I am no longer the same person.

Just prior to entering into the AATYC Leadership Academy I did a full Briggs and Meyers personality test and it was the same as it had been my entire life – ENFJ, which is boiled down as practical, realistic, matter-of-fact, quickly moves to implement decisions, organize projects and people to get things done, focus on getting results in the most efficient way possible, take care of routine details, have a clear set of logical standards, systematically follow them and want others to also, forceful in implementing plans.

In the last session of the AATYC Leadership Academy we analyzed the results of a brand new full Briggs and Myers personality test. I was shocked; my personality had shifted to far less extroverted, not judging but rather perceiving and not feeling as much as thinking – ENTP, which is boiled down as quick, ingenious, stimulation, alert, outspoken, resourceful in solving new and challenging problems, adept at generating conceptual possibilities and then analyzing them strategically, good at reading other people, bored by routine, will seldom do the same thing the same way, apt to turn to one new interest after another.

An old friend and I bumped into each other last week, while I was with a new friend.  My new friend asked my old friend if I had always been a trouble maker.  My old friend’s response was this: Annie is not, nor has she ever been a trouble maker, but she has always rocked the boat and challenged the status quo. I am still processing the last go round and I don’t know what the next one holds, but I sure would love to hear your feedback and I look forward to traveling the next go round with you!

Published by Ms. Annie Sells

Writer | Photographer | Paddler & Peddler | Gardener | Fur Baby Momma | Foodie | Coffee Lover | Believer in Magic | Trail Junkie | Homesteader

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