Southeast Arkansas College (SEARK)
The mission of Southeast Arkansas College (SEARK College) in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) is to provide comprehensive community college education and services, with an emphasis on technical education and workforce development, for the citizens of Jefferson, Cleveland, Desha, Drew, Grant, and Lincoln counties.
The predecessor of Southeast Arkansas College was Arkansas Vocational-Technical School, which began offering postsecondary vocational-technical programs on September 21, 1959. Act 328 of 1957 set the stage for the establishment of the first vocational-technical school in Arkansas to meet the needs of industry and thus provide jobs and raise the standard of living for Arkansas citizens. The school’s first director was Leon Coker, who headed it from 1958 to 1974. The school’s name was later changed to Pines Vocational-Technical School.
Act 1244 of the Seventy-eighth Arkansas General Assembly, which was signed into law by Governor Bill Clinton on April 17, 1991, re-designated and redefined the mission of eleven existing postsecondary vocational-technical schools located throughout the state to technical colleges. Similarly, state authority for these institutions was transferred from the Arkansas Board of Vocational-Technical Education to the Arkansas Board of Higher Education, which serves as the state coordinating agency for all public universities, community colleges, and technical colleges in Arkansas. With the enactment of Act 1244 on July 1, 1991, all land, buildings, equipment, and personnel associated with Pines Vocational-Technical School were transferred to Pines Technical College. In October 1991, the governor appointed the charter members of the Pines Technical College Board of Trustees. The college’s first president, Dr. Terry J. Puckett (1992–2000), was appointed by the board effective December 1, 1992. To better reflect the college’s service area, it changed its name from Pines Technical College to Southeast Arkansas Technical College on July 1, 1996. The word “Technical” was removed from the college’s name on July 8, 1998.
Educational programs and services at SEARK College include technical career education, workforce development, university transfer education, general education, adult education, continuing education, and community services. SEARK College provides nursing and allied health, criminal justice, computer training, and academic transfer programs, among others. The college also partners with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to provide workforce training for the existing workforce and to provide basic skills and specialized training for the unemployed.
As of September 2014, its enrollment is 1,418 students.
For additional information:
Southeast Arkansas College. http://www.seark.edu/ (accessed June 15, 2014).
Dr. Kaleybra M. Morehead
Southeast Arkansas College
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