The year 2017 has brought numerous changes to the SAU System’s two-year college, Southern Arkansas University Tech (SAU Tech), which is located in East Camden.
With the hiring of a new chancellor in January, the energy and focus of the college have shifted toward creating an environment for student success and growth. Dr. Jason Morrison entered the chancellor position with the mantra, “Be Great! Be Tech!”
“This is the basis for how we should do everything,” said Morrison. “If you are going to do something, do it the very best that you can.”
To demonstrate his commitment to excellence, Morrison created the Tech Scholars program. It is an honors program for students entering college that provides a cohesive learning environment and the opportunity for expanded academic experiences. Along with the Tech Scholars program, SAU Tech has hired a head basketball coach, Marty Levinson, who is already working to recruit both men’s and women’s competitive basketball teams. The teams will begin playing as the SAU Tech Rockets in fall 2018 under the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA).
To accompany the basketball program, SAU Tech is also adding cheer teams and a pep band to the lineup of new things to come in 2018. The inclusion of competitive athletics is the brainchild of Morrison as he believes that students at two-year colleges deserve to experience some of the same things that four-year college students experience.
With student housing, SAU Tech is able to offer students more activities than other two-year schools. A new student and community choir has already gotten underway this fall. Auditions took place over the summer and the new choir welcomed around 20 members. After performing master of ceremony duties at the college’s Tech Idol event in the spring, Morrison wanted a way to showcase local vocal talent in Camden. The Tech Choir performed for the first time at a local fundraising event and has plans for a full schedule of performances later this fall.
In the area of academics, SAU Tech has added a formal transfer agreement with SAU for the criminal justice degree focus in the general education degree program. SAU Tech has also worked out university transfer agreements with other schools for SAU Tech’s applied science degrees.
SAU Tech’s fall enrollment numbers have remained steady. Morrison says he is hopeful that the new activities and restructured recruitment and student retention services will increase enrollment in the 2018-19 academic year.