College of the Ouachitas Board Votes to Join ASU System

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Wednesday, Feb. 6, 2019 4:28 pm   2 min read

The College of the Ouachitas Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday to join the Arkansas State University System.

Subject to approval of the ASU Board of Trustees and the Higher Learning Commission, COTO would become the sixth member institution in the ASU System.

Located in Malvern, the college has an annual enrollment of nearly 1,700 students and 110 full-time faculty and staff members with an annual operating budget of more than $12 million.

Chuck Welch, president of the ASU System, said in a news release that he would work with Steve Rook, president of COTO, to develop a merger agreement. He anticipates a joint board meeting sometime in March and hopes COTO can officially become part of the ASU System in January, following the commission’s review process.

The COTO board announced in November that it would pursue alignment with one of three university systems. Rook said in the release that he began gathering information on the systems to assist in selecting the one that best fits with the college's mission and vision.

COTO is among 20 two-year institutions that currently have transfer articulation agreements with Arkansas State University in Jonesboro for students who choose to continue their education beyond an associate degree. The 18 agreements with COTO include programs in business, computer science, humanities and communication.

In addition, COTO offers more than 60 programs of study in academic, career and technical disciplines to approximately 3,500 credit, non-credit, adult education and workforce students, while serving the populations in the its five-county service area of Hot Spring, Saline, Clark, Grant and Dallas counties.

COTO also partners with high schools Arkansas Christian Academy, Avilla Christian Academy, Benton, Bismarck, Glen Rose, Magnet Cove, Malvern, Poyen, Ouachita and Sheridan to offer concurrent core courses.

It plans to staff the new 120,000-SF Saline County Career & Technical Center that will be funded by a recently approved county sales tax and open by 2021 to serve some 500 students.

 

 

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