East Arkansas Community College was named the recipient of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education’s 2018 Closing the Gap Award for Increased Student Completion. The award recognition was announced during the Arkansas Department of Higher Education Coordinating Board meeting held on Friday, October 26th.
The Closing the Gap Award for Increased Student Completion was awarded to EACC for the implementation of EACC’s first Concurrent Credit Convocation event. The event contributed to achieving the Closing the Gap 2020 goals of increasing the number of postsecondary credentials, improving college affordability, and raising attainment rates of underserved student groups.
The Concurrent Credit Convocation was designed to honor concurrent students in EACC’s service area. The event recognized students and celebrated their hard work, while also involving and recognizing the Nimocks family and Circle N Markets for their longtime, generous contributions to the program. EACC’s President, Dr. Cathie Cline, honored the students and the Nimocks during the event. The students received words of encouragement from Dr. Cline, the Nimocks, and former concurrent credit students, who recorded special video testimonials of their successes since high school.
The event also showcased all of EACC’s programs, including the new programs incorporated since the recent merger, and EACC faculty and staff were available to answer questions from students and provide additional information about the many programs.
“It is an honor to receive this award recognition for our Concurrent Credit Convocation event,” said Dr. Cathie Cline. “Given that several of the high schools we serve have a student body that is majority minority, low income, and first generation, we feel the Concurrent Credit Convocation event was important to reach underserved populations,” said Cline. “We also believe our convocation will inspire more students to earn more concurrent credit, thus beginning their postsecondary education a step ahead, and subsequently, they will become productive Arkansans earning good wages earlier in life and making our communities even stronger,” she added.
“This event illustrated how strong local businesses, community colleges, and high schools can be when we work together,” said Dr. Cline. “As an added bonus, it fit nicely with the theme of our merger: Stronger Together,” she added.
Dr. Maria Markham, Director of ADHE, announced the 2018 Closing the Gap Awards during the ADHE Coordinating Board meeting. Part of the implementation of Governor Asa Hutchinson’s Closing the GAP 2020: A Master Plan for Higher Education in Arkansas, complied and approved in 2015, is developing best practices consortia. The objective of these consortia is for higher education institutions to share ideas about successful programs that can be implemented on a broader scale and to generate innovative strategies which respond to the goals and objectives of the plan. As an effort to bring these best practices to the forefront, Presidents and Chancellors were invited to submit their campus’s best efforts for tackling the measures.
“East Arkansas Community College has undergone several transitions in the last several years and emerged with a renewed vow to student success,” said ADHE Director Maria Markham. “Their commitment to increasing the value of higher education by bridging high school, higher education, and community partners sets an example across the state.”
ADHE received over 75 submissions in the categories of: Increased Student Completion, Support for Adult Learners, Increased Institutional Efficiencies, and Support for Underserved Minority Students. Entries were judged on innovative implementation, creative solutions, increased outcomes, and delivering value to stakeholders. Of the 75 submissions, 4 colleges throughout Arkansas were recognized. In addition to EACC’s recognition, Northwest Arkansas Community College received the award for Supporting Underserved Minority Students, Arkansas Tech University received the award for Support of Adult Learners, and the University of Arkansas Cossatot received the award for Improving Institutional Efficiencies.
Forrest City High School Concurrent Credit students with the Nimocks, FCHS Principal Osceola Hicks, Concurrent Credit coordinator Dana Crisp, EACC Foundation Director Niki Jones, and Assistant Principal Heather Allison with students holding the FCHS Mustang logo made by EACC welding and auto body students.
Student using the welding simulator during the Concurrent Credit Convocation event.
EACC President Dr. Cathie Cline; Carla and Mallory Nimocks; auto body instructor Richard Moore; and an EACC auto body student with the Circle N logo cut by welding students and painted by auto body students. The logo was presented to the Nimocks during the event.