Hot Springs Region Offers Abundant Options at Collegiate Level

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Mar. 26, 2012 12:00 am  

Ouachita Baptist University

The Hot Springs metro region is home to top-notch public schools that offers unique educational opportunities for students. The National Park Technical Center offers career training opportunities for juniors and seniors in Garland County. It is home to the Arkansas School for Math, Science and the Arts, one of thirteen public, residential schools in the country, for gifted and talented students in mathematics and science.

In the fall of 2010, came the “Arkadelphia Promise. “ The scholarship program “promises” to pay tuition and fees at Arkansas public colleges and universities and assist student who want to attend private or out-of-state schools. The program was developed by the Clark County Strategic Plan, a planning initiative designed to address the development of the area in the next 10 years. The Arkadelphia Promise Scholarship program is sponsored by the Ross Foundation and Southern Bancorp, both based in Arkadelphia.

Higher education opportunities are rich in the metro region. Two four-year universities and a pair of two-year community colleges are helping to meet workforce needs. Known as the “Athens of Arkansas,” Arkadelphia is home to Ouachita Baptist University and Henderson State University, which afford residents a vibrant college-town atmosphere with a multitude of sporting and cultural events.

Ouachita Baptist University

Ouachita Baptist University, founded in 1886, celebrated its 125th anniversary as a leading liberal arts university in a faith-centered learning community.

OBU is ranked nationally among “Best National Liberals Arts Colleges” by U.S. News & World Report and among “America’s Top Colleges” by Forbes magazine. U.S. News ranks OBU among the top colleges and universities with the least student debt and is the only national liberal arts college in Arkansas recognized as an “A+ School for B Students.”

OBU offers majors in business, Christian studies, education, fine arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. Students also can study in a variety of international settings, including Ouachita’s newest partnership with Liverpool Hope University in England.

With a 10 percent enrollment growth over the past two years, OBU is impacting the lives of almost 1,600 students from more than 30 states and 40 nations. Recent campus growth projects totaling approximately $35 million include the Student Village and Westside residence halls.

With 16 NCAA Division II athletic programs OBU competes in the new Great American Conference and earned the GAC’s first conference football championship in 2011.

Henderson State University

Since Henderson State’s inception in 1890, the university has been proud to be part of the Arkadelphia community.

HSU, which offers the only university-level aviation program in Arkansas, handles Arkadelphia Municipal Airport’s fixed base operation under a contract with the city. Many community members attend performances, events and seminars in facilities like Arkansas Hall, Garrison Center and Studio Theatre.

HSU is part of Arkadelphia’s plan to give children every educational advantage. Children ages 3–4½ are eligible for a preschool program at the university’s Child Service Center.

HSU is also working to make higher learning a goal for motivated high school students through the Arkadelphia College Preparatory Academy. The program utilizes specialized testing to identify students who have a desire to pursue college, but may need additional education to succeed.

In 1974, OBU and HSU formed The Joint Educational Consortium through funding and developmental assistance from the Arkadelphia-based Ross Foundation. The partnership between Arkadelphia’s intense athletic rivals allows students to take classes at each university at no additional charge.

National Park Community College

National Park Community College in Hot Springs offers 21 associate programs, 22 technical certifications, an Adult Education center, and continuing education and workforce development. It is the fourth-largest community college in the state and averages about 3,800 students per semester on the credit side, over 425 in the National Park Technical C benter and about 350 students in the adult education program. Some 2,727 students and 97 businesses are served in workforce and continuing education.

National Park Community College and Henderson State are collaborating to provide baccalaureate and master’s degree programs in Hot Springs. The partnership is part of an agreement between Hot Springs Metro Partnership and the Arkadelphia Regional Economic Development Alliance.

College of the Ouachitas

College of the Ouachitas, in Malvern, provides professional workforce training in Hot Spring, Clark, Dallas, Saline and Grant Counties.

Key indicators of the curriculum involve: leadership, technology (MicroSoft Suite), teamwork, quality practices, manufacturing skills (PLC, CNC, blueprint reading) and customer support training.

The College of the Ouachitas will work with any business or industry to establish credit bearing classes. Local leaders agree the college provides the up-to-date workforce training needed for current and future businesses.

The College currently partners with Sykes, General Cable, Primeline Inc., CoorsTek, Flakeboard, Kohler, and Pactiv to provide training opportunities for current and future employees.



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