Conway, AR, United States
Conway, AR, United States

The University of Central Arkansas is a state-run institution located in the city of Conway, the seat of Faulkner County, north of Little Rock and is the fourth largest university by enrollment in the U.S. state of Arkansas, and the third largest college system in the state. The school is most respected for its programs in Education, Occupational Therapy, and Physical Therapy. It is also the home of the UCA Honors College as well as four Residential Colleges. Wikipedia.


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News Article | February 21, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

The Community for Accredited Online Schools, a leading resource provider for higher education information, has ranked the best schools with online programs in the state of Arkansas for 2017. Of the four-year schools ranked, 15 made the list; University of Arkansas, University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Arkansas State University, Harding University and University of Central Arkansas scored as the top five schools. The state’s top 16 two-year schools were also highlighted, with Arkansas State University Beebe, College of the Ouachitas, North Arkansas College, Phillips Community College and Arkansas Northeastern College taking the top five spots. AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org used more than a dozen data points to determine which online schools are the best in Arkansas. Schools on the list must meet several basic requirements to be included: they must be institutionally accredited, they must be a public or private not-for-profit institution. Each college was also scored based on additional criteria that includes employment resources and counseling, student/teacher ratio, graduation rate and financial aid availability. “Today, more and more students are able to access an online education, and students in Arkansas are no exception,” said Doug Jones, CEO and founder of AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org. “The schools on our list are best-in-class for providing online programs that suit the needs of students who prefer flexibility for their coursework.” For more details on where each school falls in the rankings and the data and methodology used to determine the lists, visit: Arkansas’ Best Online Four-Year Schools for 2017 include the following: Arkansas Baptist College Arkansas State University - Main Campus Arkansas Tech University Central Baptist College Ecclesia College Harding University Henderson State University John Brown University Southern Arkansas University Main Campus University of Arkansas University of Arkansas at Little Rock University of Arkansas at Monticello University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences University of Arkansas - Fort Smith University of Central Arkansas Arkansas’ Best Online Two-Year Schools for 2017 include the following: Arkansas Northeastern College Arkansas State University - Beebe Arkansas State University - Mountain Home College of the Ouachitas Cossatot Community College of the University of Arkansas East Arkansas Community College National Park College North Arkansas College NorthWest Arkansas Community College Ozarka College Phillips Community College South Arkansas Community College Southeast Arkansas College Southern Arkansas University Tech University of Arkansas Community College - Batesville University of Arkansas Hope - Texarkana ### About Us: AccreditedSchoolsOnline.org was founded in 2011 to provide students and parents with quality data and information about pursuing an affordable, quality education that has been certified by an accrediting agency. Our community resource materials and tools span topics such as college accreditation, financial aid, opportunities available to veterans, people with disabilities, as well as online learning resources. We feature higher education institutions that have developed online learning programs that include highly trained faculty, new technology and resources, and online support services to help students achieve educational success.


News Article | March 2, 2017
Site: www.prweb.com

Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Chancellor Randy Pembrook has named Denise Cobb, PhD, as provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. The selection is pending Board of Trustees approval. Cobb served as the interim provost since October 2015. Prior to that appointment, she was assistant provost for academic innovation and effectiveness, and then associate provost for academic affairs since June 2012. “The search committee and Chancellor Pembrook have made the absolute right decision for the SIUE campus community, and I want to congratulate Dr. Cobb on being recommended to the SIU board of trustees for the provost’s position,” said SIU President Randy Dunn. “Denise has been a great steward during her interim service and this appointment will allow her to continue the positive steps she already has underway for the benefit of our students, faculty and academic staff.  I’ve enjoyed working with her this past year and look forward to doing so in the future.” “All of us, who have had a chance to interact with Dr. Cobb as part of the interview process or through interactions during her period as interim provost, recognize her many positive qualities such as institutional knowledge, decisiveness, building positive relationships with individuals at SIUE and in the community, thorough knowledge of our budget processes, and her dedication to SIUE,” Pembrook said. “I know Dr. Cobb will hit the ground running and will continue to offer great leadership in the academic arena.” “I am grateful for the opportunity to continue serving this University and community,” Cobb said. “I am humbled to be a part of this vibrant campus and to have this opportunity to lead and work collaboratively with faculty, staff and students. I sincerely appreciate the work of the search committee and everyone who participated in this process. I want to thank Chancellor Pembrook and the SIUE community for their support.” “Together, we will build on our excellent academic programs that meet the needs of current and future students, while serving the needs of the region, state and world.  I am excited to support the good work that we have already accomplished, and I will encourage the innovative possibilities that will drive our future. It is a great honor and responsibility to help nurture a campus climate that reflects our commitment to excellence, diversity, inclusion, and equity.” In the Office of the Provost, Cobb’s responsibilities and achievements have included: “During the evaluation of candidates, Dr. Cobb’s commitment to shared governance, and her willingness to mediate between those with differing opinions, soon emerged as a common thread among those participating in the feedback process,” said Anthony Cheeseboro, PhD, search committee chair and associate professor of historical studies in the SIUE College of Arts and Sciences. “It is clear that the faculty and staff at SIUE see Dr. Cobb as approachable, yet highly capable, and uniquely knowledgeable about the issues important to this University. Those factors, along with her commitment to diversity, made her an outstanding choice among a very strong field of candidates.” “As a first generation college graduate, I believe in the possibilities and power of higher education, and an SIUE education, in particular,” Cobb said. “I am confident in our ability to work collaboratively to achieve our goals, positively influence the region and ensure the success of our students.” Cobb joined the SIUE Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice Studies in 2003 as an assistant professor in sociology and was promoted to professor in 2015. As a faculty member committed to interdisciplinary scholarship, she has co-authored and co-presented with colleagues from a wide variety of disciplines on such topics as capstone experiences for college students and LGBT issues in criminal justice education. She has been integrally involved in numerous externally funded research projects with the SIUE Graduate School and is dedicated to broadening participation and success of under-represented student and faculty populations in STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) graduate programs. An Arkansas native, Cobb earned a bachelor’s in sociology from the University of Arkansas at Little Rock in 1993 where she was a Donaghey Scholar. She earned a master’s in 1995 from the University of Central Arkansas and a doctorate from Tulane University in 2003. Southern Illinois University Edwardsville provides students with a high quality, affordable education that prepares them for successful careers and lives of purpose. Built on the foundation of a broad-based liberal education, and enhanced by hands-on research and real-world experiences, the academic preparation SIUE students receive equips them to thrive in the global marketplace and make our communities better places to live. Situated on 2,660 acres of beautiful woodland atop the bluffs overlooking the natural beauty of the Mississippi River’s rich bottomland and only a short drive from downtown St. Louis, the SIUE campus is home to a diverse student body of more than 14,000.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Macromolec/Supramolec/Nano | Award Amount: 131.61K | Year: 2010

Professor Donald Perry of the University of Central Arkansas is supported by the Macromolecular, Supramolecular, Nanochemistry (MSN) Program in the Division of Chemistry to investigate the layer by layer growth of films of small organic molecules on silver and gold nanostructures. The metal will be evaporated on salt plates and films will be grown with the substrate at different incident angles to the metal evaporation source. The polar properties of the deposition solvents and other growth conditions will be judiciously varied to control the orientations, intermolecular interactions, and degree of ionization of the organic molecules within the molecular layers on the metal nanostructures. The resulting metal nanostructures will be characterized with surface analytical microscopic and spectroscopic techniques, and will be investigated for their enhancement of the spectra in surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and surface-enhanced infrared absorption (SEIRA).

The research will contribute to the knowledge base in metal nanoparticle interactions with organic matter, organisms and the environment, and will impact the fabrication of organic and biochemical layers of specific architectures on nanoscale silver and gold surfaces with applications in areas such as catalysis, drug delivery, and tissue engineering. The research will also impact the career of undergraduate students by introducing them to many aspects of nanomaterials that are not typically discussed within traditional class rooms. Furthermore, the involvement of undergraduates in research will motivate students to choose careers in scientific fields in Arkansas where only 18% of the population has a four-year college degree.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: ROBERT NOYCE SCHOLARSHIP PGM | Award Amount: 1.20M | Year: 2014

Developing more, highly qualified science and mathematics teachers is a national priority. Through funding from the National Science Foundations Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program, this grant will respond to the increased need for outstandingly prepared teachers of mathematics and science at a time when the State of Arkansas is increasing expectations for teaching and learning in STEM disciplines at the secondary level. Forty rising sophomores and juniors will participate in an internship program designed to provide participants with the opportunity to experience teaching in tutoring and mentoring situations. These students will serve as the primary pool of juniors and seniors who will be selected to receive the thirty Noyce Scholarships available through this project. The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) Noyce Scholars will graduate with Bachelor of Science degrees in their respective STEM disciplines and will have experiences working in a laboratory and developing the critical inquiry skills necessary to effectively teach todays STEM content. This project seeks to tap into the passions and inquisitiveness that are innate in STEM majors and support them in translating this into powerful teaching pedagogies which capture and motivate middle and high school students in excelling in science and mathematics. Partner school districts, from the urban North Little Rock School District to the suburban Conway School District to the rural Vilonia and Mayflower School Districts, will benefit from the UCA Noyce Scholars, while providing these nascent teachers diverse experiences.

Noyce Interns will have the opportunity to participate in summer research projects with Master Teachers so they can enjoy the rewards of teaching while strengthening teaching skills in the context of extracurricular presentations to the Boys and Girls Club and Upward Bound Program. The recipients will also work with more than 1,000 students in STEM university classes through learning assistants and tutoring programs. The internship program will serve as a primary recruitment vehicle for Noyce Scholars. The Noyce Scholars will complete the UCA STEMteach preparation program which is a replication of the UTeach program from the University of Texas-Austin. This program provides mathematics and science majors the opportunity to earn an Arkansas teaching license by completing a 26 credit-hour minor that focuses on developing pedagogical skills within the context of the students major program of academic study in mathematics, chemistry, physics, or biology. One of the hallmarks of the program is the strong collaboration between the College of Education, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, and partner school districts. The program centers on the belief that the preparation of teachers excels when students have both a contextual and a theoretical understanding interacting in accord. For this reason, the UCA STEMteach program begins with field experience, an approach that differs from most other teacher education programs. The UCA Noyce program will provide robust support for Scholars after graduation during the earliest years of their teaching careers through classroom visits, collaboration with other UCA Noyce Scholars Program alumni, and strong connections with the UCA Institute for STEM Professional Development and Education Research (UCA STEM Institute) that will continue past the initial two years of teaching. Ultimately, this UCA Noyce project intends to triple the current output of secondary STEM teachers to approximately thirty annually, while at the same time recruiting, preparing, and retaining an increasingly diverse set of outstanding secondary STEM teachers armed with deep content, research experience, and pedagogical content skills. While the fundamental indicator of success of the UCA Noyce program will be the production of thirty outstanding STEM majors with teacher certification, the project will use the UTeach Progress Evaluation and Reporting System data collection system for storing data and will also assess the extent to which the project has been successful in recruiting teacher candidates who are traditionally underrepresented in STEM disciplines, has provided students with a content rich introduction to research based pedagogy to promote teaching as a career choice, and has improved sustained connections with Noyce Scholars during the first two years in the classroom.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 325.00K | Year: 2011

This award provides funding for a new Research Experiences for Undergraduates (REU) site at the University of Central Arkansas. Each year, ten undergraduate students will work on projects that integrate fundamental research in computer science with applications in health information technology (HIT), aimed at improving the overall quality, safety and efficiency of the health care delivery system. The interdisciplinary nature of this REU program offers opportunities to the participating students to perceive the importance of computer science and continue their education in this field. A series of training seminars will equip them with knowledge specific to the various research projects as well as general skills required in graduate school. The research environment offers them the opportunity to interact with computer scientists, medical physicists and industry personnel. Broader impacts result from the fact that this project provides opportunities for a diverse pool of undergraduate students, primarily from the south-central region, to gain research experience in both fundamental computer science and HIT areas, which would otherwise be unavailable to them. Overall, this REU site has the potential to produce new computer science graduate students and faculty members and to advance discovery and understanding while promoting learning at the K-12, undergraduate and graduate levels.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: Macromolec/Supramolec/Nano | Award Amount: 95.00K | Year: 2013

Professor Donald Perry of the University of Central Arkansas is supported by the Macromolecular, Supramolecular, Nanochemistry (MSN) Program in the Division of Chemistry to investigate the catalytic and thin film growth properties of small organic and biological molecules on elongated metal nanostructures (EMNs) formed by oblique angle deposition (OAD). The long term goals of the project are to develop transformative methodologies of growing EMNs using OAD over a range of metals for applications in surface-enhanced vibrational spectroscopies, and to demonstrate the versatility of EMNs by exploring their catalytic properties and characterizing how an array of EMNs composed of different metals can alter the intermolecular forces in thin organic/biological films.

The research will provide new methodologies for growing metal nanostructures and will influence a range of applications in chemistry, biochemistry, physics, and engineering where the interactions of metal nanoparticles with organic and biological molecules are important. Undergraduate students will also be impacted by exposing them to new developments in nanotechnology and the possibilities of a research oriented career in a Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) field. Involvement of undergraduates in research will also motivate students to choose careers in Arkansas where only 20% of the population has a four-year college degree.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 320.55K | Year: 2013

Understanding how brains become organized into specialized regions (touch, motor, vision, etc.) is essential to understanding how brains develop, as well as how they might be impacted and potentially repaired following developmental disorders or injuries. An effective strategy for acquiring a better understanding of brain organization involves examining mammals that possess unique body structures and behaviors. The goal of these studies is to characterize the organization and function of brain regions in the nine-banded armadillo (Dasypus novemcinctus), utilizing anatomical and electrophysiological recording methods. This project will reveal how mammalian nervous systems process specialized sensory inputs. Armadillos are covered in bony plates and are highly dependent upon their sense of hearing. These traits are expected to impact the brain regions responsible for touch, movement and hearing; understanding this relationship will shed light on analogous systems in other mammals such as humans. In addition to possessing sensory specializations, armadillos also uniquely give birth to identical quadruplets (basically clones), setting the stage for related neurodevelopmental studies with identical littermates for comparison, an ideal experimental situation unattainable with any other mammalian developmental model.

These studies will take place at the University of Central Arkansas and involve training undergraduate and masters students, many of whom are first generation college students, in cutting edge neurobiology research methods. Participating students will engage in the scientific process in a comprehensive hands-on manner, and gain research experience that will prepare them to pursue careers in neurobiology or other related STEM fields. The intense interest this work has generated in the pilot stages indicates that the incorporated educational outreach programs will help address a serious need for science education, particularly among Arkansas grade school students, where approximately 40% of those assessed perform below basic achievement levels (2011 Nations Report Card, National Assessment of Educational Programs, U.S. Department of Education).


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Continuing grant | Program: | Phase: INFO INTEGRATION & INFORMATICS | Award Amount: 355.63K | Year: 2011

Machine learning currently offers one of the most cost-effective approaches to building predictive models (e.g., classifiers for categorizing the millions of messages, news articles, and blogs that are generated every day). However, the effective use of machine learning methods in such settings is limited by the availability of a training corpus (i.e., a representative set of instances that have been labeled with the correponding categories). In domains where labeled data are scarce or expensive to acquire, there is an urgent need for cost-effective approaches to selectively acquiring labels for data samples used to train predictive models using machine learning.

This project explores novel techniques that take advantage of the low cost of micro-outsourcing using systems such as Amazons mechanical Turk, to engage a large number of workers from around the world for acquiring the labels of instances to be used to construct the training corpus. There is currently little understanding of how to utilize the multiple noisy labels obtained using micro-outsourcing. There is a need for advanced techniques for taking advantage of the low cost of micro-outsourcing in order to improve data quality and the quality of models built from the available data. It explores novel approaches for utilizing multiple labels given to an instance by different labelers. It also extends active learning techniques for active selection of samples to be labeled to take into account the multi-sets of labels that have been already obtained from a pool of labelers.

Advances in techniques for active selection of data instances to be labeled in a micro-outsourcing setting can significantly improve the quality of data used to build predictive models in a broad range of applications, including gene annotation, image annotation, text classification, sentiment analysis, and recommender systems, where unlabeled data are plentiful yet labeled data are sparse. The project will provide research opportunities for students at University of Central Arkansas, a primarily undergraduate institution and help expand the STEM pipeline. Additional information about the project can be found at: http://sun0.cs.uca.edu/~ssheng/.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 45.75K | Year: 2013

This collaborative project is a research-based effort to make calculus conceptually accessible to more students while simultaneously increasing the coherence, rigor, and applicability of the content students are learning. Its intellectual merit rests on an ongoing program of research from which the principal investigators have conceptualized a framework for learning and teaching calculus that builds on students intuitive reasoning about approximations and error analyses. Combining this framework with a constructivist approach, the project team is refining and disseminating lab activities that address the content of a standard course sequence in differential, integral, and multivariable calculus with supporting materials and interactive technology for students. The project is exercising broader impact through its efforts to help develop a community of practice around these ideas through a set of efforts that includes: conducting summer workshops, holding weekly video-conferences, and making available classroom video and instructor notes to support faculty professional development for implementation of the labs. Finally, a research and evaluation component is assessing the impact of the lab activities on student conceptual development of the central ideas in calculus through the use of two quantitative measures: i) a Calculus Concept Assessment (CCA) to measure shifts in students understanding of the central concepts of calculus and ii) a Limit Models Assessment (LMA) to measure shifts in the cognitive models employed by students while reasoning with these calculus concepts. The project is further adding to the knowledge base of STEM education by studying the effectiveness of its faculty development efforts through an analysis of pilot instructors exams using an Exam Characterization Framework (ECF) and the continuous collection of detailed feedback on all components of the project.


Grant
Agency: NSF | Branch: Standard Grant | Program: | Phase: | Award Amount: 193.60K | Year: 2010

With National Science Foundation support, Drs. Karen Steelman and Kyle Felling of the University of Central Arkansas and Dr. Jerry King of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville will investigate the use of supercritical fluids to remove organic contamination from archaeological artifacts. This will further develop non-destructive radiocarbon dating methods. The research conducted will bring together faculty and undergraduate students from diverse areas of chemistry and chemical engineering, as well as strengthening collaboration with archaeologists across the globe.

When an archaeological artifact is radiocarbon dated, it typically undergoes three separate steps: (1) chemical pre-treatment to remove contamination or isolation of sample-specific chemical compounds; (2) conversion of the carbon to a measurable form; and (3) measurement of 14C to determine age. The most widely used methods for steps 1 and 2 are acid-base-acid treatments (ABA) followed by combustion of the sample, both of which are destructive. Plasma oxidation provides the ability to collect microscopic amounts of carbon from an artifact surface non-destructively. A need for an equally non-intrusive pre-treatment method to remove organic contamination is also essential.

Supercritical fluid extraction, specifically with the use of carbon dioxide (scCO2), has advantages over a traditional solvent extraction in that it is clean, has a lack of surface tension effects which minimizes distortion of treated samples, and diffuses rapidly through materials. Through manipulation of pressure and temperature, the solvating strength of the fluid can be adjusted to preferentially dissolve different contaminants both on the artifact surface and those that are absorbed throughout the material.

The combined use of scCO2 extraction and plasma oxidation has the potential to resolve one of the major problems facing archaeologists working with rare, unique, or sacred objects - the need to place artifacts in a secure chronological context is often offset by a reluctance to destroy even the small part that must be removed for combustion using current dating methods. Furthermore, by exploring non-traditional chemical pre-treatments for radiocarbon dating, a deeper understanding of separations of organic matter from a variety of matrices will be achieved. The initial project outlined in this proposal will give a knowledge base upon which to apply to future studies, such as the conservation or cleaning of artifacts and removal of pesticides from Native American items for repatriation.

Undergraduate students in the researchers laboratories will benefit from exposure to these advanced technologies and research. Promoting science and archaeology within the state of Arkansas is crucial to developing trained professionals in these fields, especially at a university where ~18% of students come from counties in the lowest quartile of per capita income and from the historically depressed Mississippi Delta region of the state. More scientists with interests in applying chemical knowledge to archaeological and cultural applications are needed.

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