U of A, UA System Division of Agriculture Sign Special Agreement

The special agreement between the U of A and the UADA will provide new collaboration opportunities for both entities.
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The special agreement between the U of A and the UADA will provide new collaboration opportunities for both entities.

The University of Arkansas and the UA System Division of Agriculture (UADA) have signed a special agreement to guide the ongoing cooperation and fundamental interactions between the two entities. 

“The agreement reflects a new spirit of collaboration for the mutual benefit of the University of Arkansas, the Division of Agriculture and the state of Arkansas,” said Ed Fryar, UA System Board of Trustees member and chair of the agriculture committee. “I’m thankful to all those who are working together with the best interests of Arkansans in mind to strengthen the collective impact of both entities.” 

“This is an important step forward, not only in the formal codification of the specific details in the agreement, but also in reinforcing the benefits of the mutual association between the U of A and the Division of Agriculture moving forward,” said UA System President Donald Bobbitt.

In 1959, the Board of Trustees created the Division of Agriculture to focus land grant research and outreach efforts in Arkansas. Many of its faculty have joint appointments within the Division of Agriculture and the U of A and the two have overlapping properties. As the two entities have their own administration and policies, the agreement is meant to ensure fluid operations between the Division of Agriculture and the U of A. 

The agreement includes operations for the remainder of the current fiscal year and fiscal year 2023, or until completion of a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) to take effect no later than the beginning of fiscal year 2024. 

Appropriate leadership and other representatives from the U of A and UADA will continue to convene to finalize the terms of the MOA. The MOA will include, but is not limited to, terms and procedures related to finance and human capital operations, services, benefits, facilities and space allocation, and management of joint appointments. 

“We have long partnered successfully with the Division of Agriculture,” said Interim Chancellor Charles Robinson. “And this initiative to evaluate and align our shared resources will play an important role in strengthening that partnership for the future as we seek to produce innovative research and provide meaningful outreach in service of our land-grant mission.”

“This is a new agreement for a new time, and I could not be more supportive,” said Interim Vice President of Agriculture Chuck Culver. “I want to thank former Vice President for Agriculture Mark Cochran for starting this process, the Division of Agriculture leadership team for their vision and cooperative spirit and Chancellor Robinson for his desire to strengthen the relationship between our two institutions.” 

“In addition to its many other benefits, this special agreement lays an important foundation for expanding the ways that we support our wonderful and hardworking staff and faculty,” said Deacue Fields, Bumpers College dean and vice president of agriculture designee. “I am delighted by that progress and look forward to helping facilitate the development of an MOA that positions both Bumpers College and the division for future success.” 

Fields assumes his new role as vice president of agriculture for the UA System July 1, when J.F. Meullenet will begin his role as interim dean for the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences. Meullenet will also continue to serve as UADA’s senior associate vice president for agriculture research and director of the Agricultural Experiment Station. 

“This agreement reinforces our already strong ties to the U of A and ensures that faculty have the tools and resources they need to conduct research and make discoveries,” Meullenet said. “We look forward to further collaboration with the U of A to finalize the MOA and advance our shared goals.”

“This collaborative agreement extends beyond Northwest Arkansas and into each county in the state,” said Bob Scott, senior associate vice president-agriculture-extension for the Division of Agriculture. “The Little Rock State Office and all 75 county offices are a part of the Division of Agriculture. I am pleased with the environment of collaboration and cooperation that Chancellor Robinson has cultivated during his tenure as interim.”

While the MOA is being developed, the special agreement provides specific guidance in the following areas:

Financial Terms

Until such time as the MOA is adopted, UADA AES-generated indirect costs related to sponsored research will be allocated according to the following structure:

  • U of A – 50 percent
  • UADA AES (including allocations to Bumpers College departments) – 50 percent

Administrative Services Fees

No administrative services fees shall be charged by the U of A to UADA during the period of the special agreement. 

Promotion & Tenure 

Faculty hired in FY22 or FY23 with a minimum 20 percent U of A appointment will be eligible for a tenured or tenure-track position with the minimum 20 percent assignment for the U of A-budgeted appointment, to be in either teaching or research. 

Benefits

  • Current UADA employees on campus or at the Milo J. Shult Research & Extension Center will have access to the current benefits and discounts applicable to U of A employees. 
  • Retired UADA employees who held joint appointments between the U of A and UADA will receive benefits and discounts customarily awarded to retirees who worked on campus. The U of A will maintain these customary benefits and discounts as long as they are also being provided to retired employees with 100 percent U of A appointment and as long as the UADA retirees otherwise meet the U of A’s guidelines for retiree benefit eligibility. 

The two entities will also begin working together soon on a comprehensive spend analysis to inform the development of a jointly agreed upon cost-share model for implementation of the new MOA. 

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

About the Division of Agriculture: The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture's mission is to strengthen agriculture, communities, and families by connecting trusted research to the adoption of best practices. Through the Agricultural Experiment Station and the Cooperative Extension Service, the Division of Agriculture conducts research and extension work within the nation's historic land grant education system. The Division of Agriculture is one of 20 entities within the University of Arkansas System. It has offices in all 75 counties in Arkansas and faculty on five system campuses. The University of Arkansas System Division of Agriculture offers all its Extension and Research programs and services without regard to race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.

Contacts

Mary Hightower, chief communications officer
U of A System Division of Agriculture
501-671-2006, mhightower@uada.edu

Robby Edwards, director of communications
Bumpers College
479-575-4625, robbye@uark.edu

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