Arkansas Tech University, with its spacious 518-acre campus, is located on the northern edge of the city of Russellville. This growing community, with a population of approximately 24,000, is ideally situated between the mountains of the Ozark National Forest on the north and those of the Ouachita National Forest on the south. It is midway between the state's two largest population centers, Fort Smith, 85 miles to the west, and Little Rock, 75 miles to the east. Interstate Highway 40 passes just north of the campus and connects these two cities.
In addition, Russellville is the crossroads of activity for State Highways 7, 22, 64, and 124. The historic natural crossing of the Arkansas River at Dardanelle is four miles to the south. The navigable river forms a 36,600 acre lake with 315 miles of shoreline behind a lock and dam located just southwest of the city. The Missouri Pacific Railroad passes through the city and parallels the river between Little Rock and Fort Smith.
Russellville is the county seat of Pope County. Historic Dwight Mission, established by the American Board of Foreign Missions among the Cherokee Indians in 1821, was located a short distance west of the campus of Arkansas Tech University on Illinois Bayou, where that stream is now crossed by Highway 64. Descendants of Cephas Washburn, the intrepid missionary who founded the mission and named it for Timothy Dwight of Yale, live in Russellville at the present time.
Arkansas Tech University is in the center of an area experiencing vigorous industrial development as evidenced by the growth of local industry and the number of national concerns locating plants in the area. Nuclear One, the first nuclear power plant completed in the Southwest, and a second nuclear power unit have been constructed near Russellville by Entergy, thus assuring continued industrial growth. Headquarters for District 9 of the Arkansas Highway Department and for the Ozark-St. Francis National Forests are located in Russellville. The McClellan-Kerr Navigation Project is having a significant effect upon the development of the area. The impoundment of the Arkansas River has formed Lake Dardanelle which borders the west edge of the campus. Poultry, cattle, soybeans, cotton, and lumber are the principal money crops in the area served by Arkansas Tech University.
Arkansas Tech University was created by an act of the Arkansas General Assembly in 1909. Under the provisions of this Act, the state was divided into four Agricultural School Districts. Boards of Trustees were appointed by the Governor with the approval of the Senate, and appropriations were made for the erection of buildings and employment of a faculty for a district agricultural school in each of the four districts.
Twenty counties of northwestern Arkansas were designated as the Second District. Governor Donaghey appointed W. U. Balkman, J. R. Williams, H. S. Mobley, A. D. Shinn, and O. P. Nixon as a Board of Trustees for the Second District Agricultural School. Several towns made efforts to have the school located in their midst. After considering all proposals, the Board of Trustees decided to locate it at Russellville, which had made an offer of a tract of 400 acres of land adjoining the city limits and a cash bonus of several thousand dollars.
The school opened its doors for students in the fall of 1910. The first class to graduate from the school was the high school class of 1912. In 1921-22, a freshman year of college work was offered, in 1922-23 a second year, in 1923-24 a third year, and in 1924-25 a fourth year. The General Assembly in 1925 changed the name from the Second District Agricultural School to Arkansas Polytechnic College with power to grant degrees. The class of 1925 was graduated with the degree of bachelor of science, as was the class of 1926. The effort to maintain a four-year high school and a four-year college proved beyond the resources of the institution at that time, and it became a junior college in the fall of 1927. The four years of secondary work were dropped, one year at a time, and the last high school class was the class of 1929.
Changing and increased demands for college education in Arkansas caused the Board of Trustees in 1948 to convert the college from a junior college to a degree-granting institution. In 1948-49 the college offered the third year of college work, and in 1949-50 the fourth year, with the first baccalaureate degrees awarded at the end of the 1949-50 spring semester. A graduate program leading to the degree of master of education was established in 1976. Graduate courses were first offered by Arkansas Tech in the summer of 1975. A master of education degree embraces the fields of elementary education and five areas of specialization in secondary education; the master of science in education degree is offered in gifted education. A master of liberal arts offers major concentrations in communications, fine arts, and social sciences. Masters degrees are also offered in the fields of history, information technology, and fisheries and wildlife biology.
In accordance with an act of the Arkansas General Assembly and by the authority of the State of Arkansas Board of Higher Education, the name of Arkansas Polytechnic College was changed to Arkansas Tech University, effective July 9, 1976.
Arkansas Tech has consistently adjusted its scope to accommodate immediate and future needs. In 1985 the institution reorganized its programs into the Schools of Business, Education, Liberal and Fine Arts, Physical and Life Sciences, and Systems Science.
The Board of Trustees adopted the following Mission Statement on March 17, 1994:
Arkansas Tech University, founded in 1909, is a multi-purpose, state-supported institution of higher education dedicated to providing an opportunity for higher education to the people of Arkansas and to serving the intellectual and cultural needs of the region in which it is located. The University offers a variety of programs committed to excellence in undergraduate and graduate studies. These programs are designed to prepare students to meet the demands of an increasingly competitive and intellectually challenging future by providing opportunities for intellectual growth, skill development, and career preparation. The institution monitors student mastery of general education and specialized studies, retention and graduation rates, and quality of teaching and academic programs to verify and facilitate demonstrable improvements in student knowledge and skills between entrance and graduation.
The basis for the student's intellectual growth and scholarly skill development is the general education program, which provides the context for more advanced and specialized studies and the foundation for life-long learning. The general education curriculum is designed to provide university-level experiences that engender capabilities in communication, abstract inquiry, critical thinking, analysis of data, and logical reasoning; an understanding of scientific inquiry, global issues, historical perspectives, literary and philosophical ideas, and social and governmental processes; the development of ethical perspectives; and an appreciation for fine and performing arts.
The University provides a range of specialized studies to prepare students to enter career fields or to continue their education at the post-graduate level. Specialized studies are offered within several areas of emphasis: business, professional education, liberal and fine arts, physical and life sciences, information technology, engineering, and applied sciences. Graduate work leading to the master's degree in selected disciplines provides advanced, specialized education which strengthens the academic and professional competence of students and enhances their capacities for scholarly inquiry and research.
The primary function of the University is teaching. Scholarly research and other professional activities of the faculty, continuing education, and community service are encouraged, promoted, and supported. In keeping with its focus on teaching, the University seeks to recruit, develop, and retain faculty who are dedicated to quality teaching and providing dynamic classroom learning experiences that integrate theory and practice. The institution values academic freedom and the concept of shared governance. Faculty and student organizations such as the Faculty Senate, Graduate Council, and the Student Government Association participate in university governance by making policy recommendations. Leadership and management of the University is the responsibility of the President. Governance of the institution is the responsibility of the Board of Trustees.
Programs of Study
In carrying out its mission, the University offers programs of study leading to baccalaureate degrees in the areas listed below. Programs of study leading to a master's degree are offered in the liberal arts, history, information technology, fisheries and wildlife biology, educational leadership, elementary education, gifted education, instructional improvement, and secondary education with specialization in English, instructional technology, mathematics, physical education, and social studies. (Please refer to graduate catalog for additional information.)
School of Business
Business EducationEconomics and Finance
Management and Marketing
School of Community Education and Professional Development
Early Childhood Education (Associate of Science Degree)
Emergency Administration and Management (Bachelor of Science)
Industrial Plant Maintenance (Associate of Applied Science Degree and Certificate of Proficiency)
Industrial Electronic Technology (Associate of Applied Science Degree and Certificate of Proficiency)
Industrial Systems (Associate of Applied Science Degree)
School of Education
Early Childhood Education
Health and Physical Education
Middle Level Education
School of Liberal and Fine Arts
History and Political Science
School of Physical and Life Sciences
Fisheries and Wildlife Biology
Health Information Science
Medical Assistant (Associate Degree only)
School of Systems Science
Hospitality Administration (formerly Hotel and Restraurant Management)
Nuclear Technology (Associate Degree only)
Recreation and Park Administration
The physical plant of Arkansas Tech University includes sixty-one buildings located on a tract of 518 acres near the northern boundary of the city of Russellville. Acreage provides space for varsity and intramural recreational activities, drill fields, and the University farm. Additionally, the University has approximately 130 acres, which front on Lake Dardanelle, leased from the Corps of Engineers. The McClellan-Kerr Arkansas River Navigation System provides a freshwater lake which borders on the west edge of the campus.
All instructional programs are taught in buildings which have been specifically designed or modified to complement the projected instructional tasks. The Corley Building, completed in 1988, provides instructional space and state of the art laboratories for engineering, business, computer science, accounting and mathematics. The Center for Energy Studies, completed in the spring of 1994, supports courses and research in neutron science, nuclear engineering, materials science, and other areas related to energy and the environment. During the spring of 1993, Dean Hall renovation was completed to provide modern facilities for the instructional programs in agriculture, nursing, foreign languages, and graduate studies.
Arkansas Tech University has several resources which lend themselves to serving the cultural and recreational needs of the University and surrounding community. The John E. Tucker Coliseum complements the instructional program by providing a modern setting for concerts, conventions, and sporting events. The Hull Physical Education building has an Olympic-style swimming pool which is used for physical education classes; for recreational swimming for students, faculty, and staff; and by the community swim club. The Witherspoon Arts and Humanities Building has a modern auditorium with a seating capacity of 742. The L.L "Doc" Bryan Student Services Center and the Student Activities Building constitute the main facilities for student services, student government, publications, and indoor recreational activities. The Museum of Prehistory and History, located in Tucker Hall, contains exhibits on archeology and early history of western Arkansas; museum lectures and events address cultural needs on the campus and in the community, and offer opportunities for students in the Parks, Recreation and Hospitality Department to become involved in interpretive activities.
The Ross Pendergraft Library and Technology Center houses more than 1,050,000 items for use. Included in this number are 140,000 volumes; 800,000 microforms; 80,000 government documents; 40,000 ANO/NRC materials; and 1,240 periodical subscriptions. Among these holdings are extensive backfiles of journals and newspapers. Copiers and microform reader-printers are available using the Vend-a-card system. The library is a member of AMIGOS/OCLC, a regional broker of international bibliographic data and information services. Librarian-mediated online searches are provided through OCLC's FirstSearch, the Internet, and DIALOG. Over seventy electronic databases covering most subjects are accessible from the library and over the Internet and through the Tech homepage at http://library.atu.edu. Assistance in the retrieval and use of materials is provided by six professional librarians, six paraprofessional staff, and a number of part-time employees. Materials not available in the Library may be requested through our interlibrary loan system, normally at no extra charge. The Library is the publisher of the retrospective Arkansas Gazette Index.
The Pendergraft Library is open approximately 90 hours per week during fall and spring semesters. The state-of-the-art facility includes two open computer labs, two instructional computer labs, one special purpose lab, two distance learning classrooms, a large conference room, five breakout/meeting rooms, twelve group study rooms, satellite downlink, cable TV connections, 109 publicly accessible computers, 58 lab computers, and about 400 data drops for laptop computers.