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Chancellor's Bus Tour makes inaugural Hot Springs stop

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A group of around 40 University of Arkansas faculty members, led by Chancellor Joe Steinmetz, that is traveling throughout central and southern Arkansas this week made its inaugural stop in Hot Springs on Tuesday.

Along with his wife, Sandy, Provost Jim Coleman and Deacue Fields, the dean of Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, Steinmetz is using this year's Chancellor's Bus Tour to introduce new faculty members and department heads to their new home state by visiting partner organizations and alumni.

Their bus arrived at the Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences, and the Arts around midday Tuesday, and they toured Garvan Woodland Gardens, which is part of the Fay Jones School of Architecture and Design at the university, in the early afternoon.

"We really have two goals and one of them is to make sure that -- these are all faculty and a lot of them, this is their first year at the University of Arkansas -- it's a way for them to really get to see what's out in the state, where their students come from and really, how beautiful the state is," Steinmetz said. "This is probably their opportunity to do any traveling around the state.

"Then the other thing is to make sure that where we go, people understand the expertise that's at the university and that we're actually here as a land-grant institution to help when we can. It's outreach for us, as well."

Steinmetz said the bus tour has taken slightly different routes each of the three years, and this is the first year the tour has stopped in Hot Springs.

"We picked an area of the state that's kind of central and south; last year we were up in the northern part of the state," he said. "We're going to Monticello and Pine Bluff, McGehee, Dumas, Clarksville, Little Rock and probably two or three other places, as well."

Amy Schlesing, director of strategic communication for the university, said the tour does not always focus on partners of the university, but a presentation given by administrators and faculty of ASMSA did serve as an opportunity for the university to see what the high school does.

"Last year we went to several high schools and we're going to go to several high schools over the next two days," she said. "We'll talk about the needs of high school students and how we can help improve access to higher education, what we can do to help prepare students for higher education -- kind of a back and forth of what some of these schools are seeing from us and what we're seeing from them, and how we can better work together to improve access."

At Garvan Woodland Gardens, Schlesing said the group learned about new programs offered and toured the botanical garden.

"Also we're having some alumni joining us for lunch while we're in town, so it's kind of a meet and greet of alumni," she said.

Coleman said the presentation at ASMSA was interesting and helpful in understanding ways to recruit similar students to those who attend the school. Coleman asked the panel questions regarding feedback they have received from ASMSA graduates who have attended the university.

"They talked a lot about how some of their students in some senses have a challenge for being in such small classes (at ASMSA), then coming to University of Arkansas initially in some of the bigger classes that may not have first appeared as challenging, but once they get into their sophomore and junior years they thrive," he said.

"I think I will certainly discuss with our admissions office the things I have heard about, things that we might be able to do, which is really about what they suggested ... connecting students from the beginning to post-graduation and the kind of opportunities we can pipeline them into in northwest Arkansas."

Local on 05/16/2018

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