Interim Chancellor Robinson Delivers Annual State of the University Address
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Interim Chancellor Charles Robinson delivered the annual state of the university address on Tuesday, Oct. 12, noting successes of the last year, giving a call to mission for future goals of the campus and gratitude to the community for helping navigate the past 20 months through COVID-19.
“Today, we stand in the breach between yesterday and tomorrow, and we have an obligation to roll up our sleeves and do the work that will make future success possible,” Robinson said. “We must remember that we are a land-grant institution founded for the express purpose of serving the people of the great state of Arkansas in their quest to access and attain higher education.”
Robinson highlighted the university’s achievements in enrollment, student success, scholarship and research. Student retention is at a record high of 87%, and the six-year graduation rate is up to 69.7%. And enrollment broke 29,000 students for the first time in school history.
Noting the record enrollment with growth in both Arkansas and out-of-state students, Robinson recognized enrollment services, the graduate and law schools, Global Campus, and the university’s recruiters for their efforts.
“Just so you know that I am dedicated to the people of Arkansas,” Robinson said, “I am pledging that I will take a portion of the [financial] growth from [out-of-state students] and commit it to supporting first-generation Arkansans and low-income Arkansans for the next academic year.”
The U of A saw growth in research activity and funding as well, with an all-time high of $204.3 million in research expenditures — up from $168 million last year.
Robinson looked ahead at the university’s future and prompted everyone to ask themselves the same questions: “What do we want to achieve? Why do we want to achieve it and how will we do it?”
While the university celebrates its 150th anniversary this year, Robinson added that “we must start shaping the next 150 years,” and he offered some critical areas for consideration:
- Improve access and outcomes for students
- Enhance compensation for faculty, staff and graduate students.
- Continue making improvements to our campus infrastructure.
- Continue producing scholarship, research and service
- Enhance the sense of belonging.
The Student Success Center opening in January 2022 will be a key element in helping reach many of those goals, building access and supporting students to help them achieve their goals before and after graduation.
Robinson gave the campus a “call to mission,” to remember who we are as a land-grant institution and believe in who we are and what we do as Razorbacks together.
“And …, beside remembering who we are, in order to have principled planning, we must muster the energy and the courage to believe again. …I need you to believe because when Razorbacks believe, we release the prodigious power of our collective determination to solve any problem, to overcome any obstacle, to achieve any and every goal. When Razorbacks believe, no diggity, no doubt, when we believe, we will achieve because when Razorbacks believe, we remember who we are and we believe it together.”
About the University of Arkansas: As Arkansas' flagship institution, the U of A provides an internationally competitive education in more than 200 academic programs. Founded in 1871, the U of A contributes more than $2.2 billion to Arkansas’ economy through the teaching of new knowledge and skills, entrepreneurship and job development, discovery through research and creative activity while also providing training for professional disciplines. The Carnegie Foundation classifies the U of A among the top 3% of U.S. colleges and universities with the highest level of research activity. U.S. News & World Report ranks the U of A among the top public universities in the nation. See how the U of A works to build a better world at Arkansas Research News.
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Before Arkansas and UAPB face off on the football field for the first time Oct. 23, fans, alumni, friends and representaives from both schools will unite in central Arkansas.
Megan Brazle, who majored in German, international relations and European studies, is now a German teacher at Springdale High and will be honored with the 2021 Checkpoint Charlie Foundation Award.
Honors College Fellow Jimmy Donlon, a marketing and management major from Memphis, Tennessee, will have the opportunity to serve as chancellor for the day on Monday.