Arkansas Community Colleges

Arkansas Community Colleges (ACC) is a nonprofit organization that supports public comprehensive community and technical colleges in the state. The mission and goals of the organization focus on facilitating collaboration among institutions and supporting efforts at individual campuses. The organization includes all twenty-two public two-year institutions in Arkansas.

Arkansas Community Colleges dates to 1989, when a number of faculty members at two-year institutions created a professional development group to discuss ideas to improve instruction and resources. Before these efforts, professional development was very localized within the state. The original name of the organization was the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges (it became Arkansas Community Colleges in 2014). The group held its first conference in Hot Springs (Garland County) in 1989 and made it an annual event, with most of the meetings held in Hot Springs.

In 1991, the Arkansas General Assembly passed Act 1244, known as the “Two-Year Postsecondary Education Reorganization Act of 1991.” This change allowed technical schools in the state to begin to offer college coursework alongside vocational and technical training. This expansion in course offerings allowed technical colleges to evolve into comprehensive community colleges, offering workforce development training along with classes that could be transferred to universities.

With this change, the presidents and chancellors of each institution in the state realized that the Arkansas Association of Two-Year Colleges could be utilized to support student success and faculty development efforts. It was formally incorporated as a nonprofit organization in 1996. Within several years, all the public two-year institutions in the state were members.

The organization operates using a variety of funds, including dues from member institutions and federal and state grants. The funds are spent with a focus on student success and workforce development. ACC works closely with other groups, including the Arkansas State Chamber of Commerce, the Arkansas Economic Development Commission, the Office of Skills Development, and the Arkansas Division of Higher Education. Staff of the organization also work with members of the Arkansas General Assembly on issues related to community colleges.

The board of the organization is composed of each president or chancellor of all public two-year institutions in the state. The daily operations of Arkansas Community Colleges are overseen by a director, with Ed Franklin serving as the first director, hired in 1996. Bill Stovall assumed the directorship in 2013, serving until 2018. Andrea Henderson became director in 2019.

The office of Arkansas Community Colleges is located in Little Rock (Pulaski County). In addition to the annual conference, the organization includes two centers to support education efforts. Founded in 1997, the Center for Workforce is a consortium of community colleges that works with businesses and economic development groups to create opportunities that lead to high-paying positions in industry. The Center for Student Success, founded in 2002, helps institutions with advising, teaching, and support services for students. The organization also sponsors the ACC Leadership Institute for community colleges leaders in the state and the ACC Student Leadership Academy for students.

For additional information:
Arkansas Community Colleges. (accessed February 18, 2023).

David Sesser
Southeastern Louisiana University


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