Chancellor Holds Town Hall With Students to Discuss Campus Vision

Chancellor Joe Steinmetz, middle, takes questions during a chat with students.
University Relations

Chancellor Joe Steinmetz, middle, takes questions during a chat with students.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Chancellor Joe Steinmetz hosted his second "Chancellor Chat" with students Wednesday discussing his vision for the future of the University of Arkansas and discussing campus life issues like safety, facilities and academics.

"I want our students to know that when they look back on their experience here 20 years from now in whatever they are doing, that they are proud of this university," Steinmetz told the crowd. "That they are proud of where it is, proud of how it's grown and what it will become."

The chancellor opened the session with a brief overview of five of the major areas he hopes to focus on in the coming years: student success, enhancement of research and discovery, building stronger ties to the private sector, increasing the impact on our region and state and becoming a more agile, nimble and efficient university. The chancellor has outlined action items for these and other areas of need as a part of his 2020: Focus on the Future series.

Steinmetz told the crowd he wants to work on areas that will help distinguish the U of A from other universities. By growing research and partnerships with the numerous companies that are based in the Northwest Arkansas area, the value of each U of A degree increases. He went on to say the completion of the new Student Success Center, set to open in early 2022, will help achieve several goals by providing holistic support to individual students and increasing the emphasis on career planning.

Steinmetz also noted efforts to increase mental health resources across campus, from mentoring programs at the Student Success Center to additional counselors and wellness programs at Pat Walker Health Center.

After taking questions from Associated Student Government President Jared Pinkerton and Graduate Professional Student Congress President JD DiLoreto-Hill covering topics from the development of the Institute for Integrative and Innovative Research facility, as well as continuing support of the mental health of students and promotion of wellness, Chancellor Steinmetz, then, took questions from the audience.

Students asked about student success efforts, public safety across campus and the expansion of some medical programs. The chancellor noted that plans are being discussed that would create more of a partnership and collaboration with the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences as it expands in the Northwest Arkansas area.

"I thought the discussion was a great success and exemplified how student-centered Chancellor Steinmetz is and how fortunate we are as a student advocacy organization to have that support from his office," DiLoreto-Hill said. "I felt like the Chancellor addressed the questions we asked very honestly and thoroughly. In particular, I appreciated that he bluntly acknowledged that we aren't doing enough to address the mental health crisis across campus and it was refreshing to hear some of his plans to help enhance overall student wellness."

Chancellor Steinmetz also hosts small groups of students for coffee and casual conversations several times a year and meets regularly with undergraduate and graduate student government representatives.

Ideas about how to improve campus processes, policies or procedures can also be shared directly with the chancellor's office, just Share Your Idea.  

About the University of Arkansas: The University of Arkansas provides an internationally competitive education for undergraduate and graduate students in more than 200 academic programs. The university contributes new knowledge, economic development, basic and applied research, and creative activity while also providing service to academic and professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the University of Arkansas among fewer than 3 percent of colleges and universities in America that have the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the University of Arkansas among its top American public research universities. Founded in 1871, the University of Arkansas comprises 10 colleges and schools and maintains a low student-to-faculty ratio that promotes personal attention and close mentoring.

Contacts

John Thomas, manager of university communications
University Relations
479-871-7620, jfthomas@uark.edu

Mark Rushing, assistant vice chancellor
University Relations
479-575-5555, markr@uark.edu

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