Editor’s note: This is the first in a periodic series of stories about Arkansas Tech-Ozark.
In the summer of 2003 a new campus, and a plethora of new programs, were added to Arkansas Tech University; Arkansas Valley Technical Institute in Ozark merged with Arkansas Tech, creating Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus.
According to Dr. Jack Hamm, vice president of academic affairs at the time, the addition of the Ozark school was to provide students in the region with a chance to obtain technical and career education. It was also an opportunity to provide students a better and easier path for achieving an associate’s degree and then transitioning to a bachelor’s degree, he explained.
Hamm recalled that there was a movement in the state at that time for technical schools and traditional colleges and universities to merge into one. Doing so would expand the offerings of both institutions.
The merger of AVTI and Tech, he said, “did very, very good things for both institutions.”
The campus has only grown since merging with Tech. Arkansas Tech-Ozark currently has more than 2,000 students, which is a growth of more than 500 percent compared to the enrollment at the time of the merger, which was around 300 students. It now offers more than 25 different programs, all varying in some type of technical or career focused education
The different programs include certificates of proficiency, technical certificates and associate of applied science degrees and an associate of general studies, all with different industry specific options and general education coursework.
Completion standards range from 15 hours to 60+ hours, depending on the program.
Arkansas Tech-Ozark also heads the Arkansas Tech Career Center (ATCC) in Russellville, the second largest secondary career and technical center in Arkansas and serves students in Pope, Johnson and Yell counties. ATCC is the area’s center for career and technical education for high school students who are interested in going into the workforce after high school or continuing their education at Arkansas Tech- Ozark. ATCC this year expanded its offerings to satellite locations in Clarksville and Paris, adding Logan County and now serving a combined total of 16 high schools within the region.
The campus also oversees adult education in Franklin, Logan and Johnson counties. The goal is to provide members of the community who are not high school graduates to earn their General Education Development (GED) credentials. The program is completely free to any student who would like to participate.
Additionally, the adult education centers teach English as a second language (ESL) and workplace classes, as well as basic skills reviews for those in need of upgrading skills to enter higher education, the military or workforce.
For more information visit: www.atu.edu/ozark/