Entries - Entry Category: Education

Alco School

The Alco School, located on State Highway 66 at Alco (Stone County), is a one-story, fieldstone-clad building constructed in 1938 by the National Youth Administration (NYA), a Depression-era federal relief agency. It was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on September 4, 1992. Alco is located about fourteen miles west of the county seat, Mountain View (Stone County). A post office was established at Alco in 1878, and the unincorporated community had sufficient population to support a school. While no information about previous school buildings is available, local residents were able to get a new building in 1938 through the NYA, which provided jobs for young people during the Depression. The Alco School was one of about a …

Alexander, Henry McMillan

Henry McMillan Alexander brought the city manager plan to Arkansas and served as an adviser to many state agencies, cities, and counties. He was the founding chairman of the Department of Government at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County). Henry Alexander came from a Southern aristocratic background in Jackson, Mississippi, where he was born on September 10, 1905. He had five brothers and one sister. When Alexander was eight, his father, Charlton Henry Alexander, died of a heart attack, just after President Woodrow Wilson nominated him for associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court. He would have become the first Southerner appointed to the court after the Civil War. When Alexander graduated from high school in 1922, …

Amendment 33

Amendment 33 was the first of three constitutional amendments ratified by voters in the decade after the beginning of World War II to try to curb political interference with large government agencies and institutions. It prohibited the governor and the Arkansas General Assembly from diminishing the powers of state agencies and institutions, as well as from interfering with their governing boards by dismissing members before their terms expired or increasing or reducing the membership of the boards. The amendment, ratified in 1942, followed Governor Homer M. Adkins’s purging of the board of the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) in order to fire the university’s president J. William Fulbright, who was the son of a political foe of …

Anderson, Joel Edward

Joel Anderson was a major figure at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UA Little Rock) for over four decades at the end of the twentieth and beginning of the twenty-first centuries. Beginning as a member of the teaching faculty, he served in numerous administrative roles on his way to becoming chancellor, a post he held for thirteen years. In that time, he oversaw an impressive transformation of the campus and the school. Joel Edward Anderson Jr. was born on January 20, 1942, in Newport (Jackson County) to Joel E. Anderson Sr. and Norris Hall Anderson. He grew up on a farm east of Swifton (Jackson County). There, he received his early education while also playing on the basketball …

Arkadelphia Baptist Academy

The Arkadelphia Baptist Academy in Arkadelphia (Clark County) was one of many schools founded across the South by the American Baptist Home Mission Society, which was headquartered in New York. Beginning in 1865, the northern Baptists joined other denominations in the effort to educate the recently freed slaves across the South. In an article published in the New York Times in 1897, the society’s corresponding secretary, General Thomas J. Morgan, noted that, after the war, “the problem presented itself of the intellectual elevation of 4,000,000 human beings, just emerging from a degrading bondage.” During the thirty-two-year period between the end of the war and Morgan’s statements, the Home Mission Society had spent about $3 million, and its more than thirty institutions …

Arkadelphia Male and Female Institute

aka: Arkadelphia Institute
aka: Arkadelphia Female Seminary
aka: Arkadelphia Female College
aka: Arkadelphia Female Academy
Several educational institutions with variations of the name Arkadelphia Male and Female Institute operated in Arkadelphia (Clark County) during the nineteenth century. The first opened in 1850. Arkadelphia was the seat of Clark County, with a population of 248 in 1850. With a newspaper, several churches, and a saloon, the town was one of the larger settlements along the Ouachita River. Early efforts to open a school in the town began in 1843. That year, an election was held in Arkadelphia to select three trustees to create a school and sell part of the sixteenth section on the west side of the Ouachita. Three trustees were elected, but one died before taking office, and little progress was made toward opening …

Arkadelphia Presbyterian Academy

Arkadelphia Presbyterian Academy, located in Arkadelphia (Clark County), was a co-educational elementary and secondary school operated by the Presbyterian Board of Missions for Freedmen. This board was part of the “Northern” Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), which founded schools for African Americans across the South after the Civil War. The board began opening schools for freed slaves as early as the 1860s, but the movement arrived late in Arkansas. It was not until 1889, when a new presbytery was organized in the state and large numbers of blacks from the eastern states were settling in Arkansas, that the board felt confident to begin its work in the state. The academy in Arkadelphia had earlier roots, however. According to historian Inez Moore Parker, it was …

Arkansas Academy of Science

The Arkansas Academy of Science (AAS) aims for the promotion of knowledge in the fields of science, engineering, technology, and mathematics and the diffusion of that knowledge. The AAS is the Arkansas component of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The first meeting of the Arkansas Academy of Science occurred in 1917. The AAS was created by a group of Arkansas scientists who wanted to develop a vehicle for the promotion of science as well as dissemination of research by Arkansas scientists. This was achieved by organizing annual meetings and publishing a journal. The annual meetings include sessions in which fledgling scientists present their findings in areas of biological and physical science as well as engineering, mathematics, and …

Arkansas Aerospace Education Center (AEC)

aka: Aerospace Education Center
Located near Little Rock National Airport (Adams Field), the Arkansas Aerospace Education Center (AEC) provided the state with aerospace education through the Workforce Development Center of University of Arkansas-Pulaski Technical College. The center, which is owned by the Arkansas Aviation Historical Society, also housed the state’s only IMAX theater and a library that held the Jay Miller Aviation Collection of aerospace materials. When fundraising began, the center was intended to include a magnet school, a library of aerospace materials, a museum, and an IMAX movie theater. Before the center’s completion, however, the Little Rock School District decided not to build an aerospace magnet school at the center. Another feature, to be called the Arkansas High Technology Training Center, also was …

Arkansas Art Educators

Arkansas Art Educators (AAE) is a statewide organization of art teachers. The organization’s focus is to advocate for art education through supporting legislation and providing quality professional development for all art instructors in the state. AAE began as the art section of the Arkansas State Teachers Association (ASTA), which later became the Arkansas Education Association (AEA). The art group met as early as November 1922 for the ASTA fall conference. Classroom teachers from across the state gathered to discuss how to incorporate picture study and art history into the classroom curriculum. The group continued to meet yearly to hold elections and to discuss ways to further art education in the Arkansas school system. Members supported art education by writing articles …

Arkansas Baptist College

Arkansas Baptist College (ABC) in Little Rock (Pulaski County) is a four-year historically black liberal arts institution accredited by the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools and affiliated with the Consolidated Missionary Baptist State Convention of Arkansas. In its quest to be a voice for the underrepresented student, ABC provides a quality education without charging out-of-state tuition fees. The vision of Arkansas Baptist College is thus: “To see our community, state, and nation positively influenced through the integration of academic scholarship and Christian principles to address issues having a detrimental effect on society.” Arkansas Baptist College was founded in 1884 by the Colored Baptists of the State of Arkansas. The school opened in November …

Arkansas Boys State

aka: Boys State
With strong participation numbers and an impressive alumni list, Arkansas Boys State is arguably one of the most successful chapters of the American Legion–sponsored Boys State program. The national program began in 1935, with Hayes Kennedy and Harold Card of the Illinois American Legion—which was the first sponsoring organization—credited with the original idea. The Arkansas program was established in 1940. Its alumni body boasts some impressive names, including President Bill Clinton, whose efforts at the 1963 session earned him the selection as the Arkansas representative to Boys Nation—a national gathering of Boys State representatives from across the country—where he met President John F. Kennedy, a meeting captured in a now iconic photograph. Other Arkansas participants who have gone on to …

Arkansas Christadelphian Bible School

The Arkansas Christadelphian Bible School was founded in Martinville (Faulkner County) in 1923 as a two-week summer Bible school for Christadelphians. The organizers were Ben Scroggin and S. O. Jones of Biscoe (Prairie County), Oscar L. Dunaway and Charles Martin of Conway (Faulkner County), and J. S. Martin and J. R. Frazer of Little Rock (Pulaski County). The purpose of the school was Bible study for Christadelphians, their children, and interested friends, in tandem with recreation and fellowship. The school was established upon land donated by James Daniel Martin, a Christadelphian. In 1885, Martin erected a pavilion on his land at Cadron Cove (Faulkner County) for the purpose of holding Christadelphian gatherings. The community was renamed in 1887 for Martin …

Arkansas College

Arkansas College was founded in Fayetteville (Washington County) in late 1850 by pastor Robert Graham of the Disciples of Christ. On December 14, 1852, the Arkansas General Assembly approved an act allowing the college “to confer the degree of Doctor…and other academical degrees,” making it the first degree-conferring institution chartered by the state to open. Graham was born in Liverpool, England, on August 14, 1822, but later moved to the United States. He apprenticed as a carpenter in Allegheny, Pennsylvania, and after indenture went to Bethany, Virginia (now in West Virginia), to help construct buildings at Bethany College, a Disciples of Christ school that Graham then attended. Upon graduation, he accepted a mission from the college to travel among Disciples …

Arkansas Conference College (ACC)

Arkansas Conference College (ACC) was founded in Siloam Springs (Benton County) in 1899. Though short-lived, ACC provided an academically rigorous education, primarily for the benefit of Arkansans. As a school that emphasized classical studies along with practical skills (such as typing), ACC challenges stereotypes about early twentieth-century rural Arkansas. ACC was established by the Methodist Episcopal Church of Arkansas. Its founding president, Dr. Thomas Mason, had helped to found Philander Smith College (PSC) in Little Rock (Pulaski County) in the late 1870s. Like Fisk University in Tennessee, where Mason’s wife had taught, PSC was started in the post–Civil War era to help freed slaves and their children become part of mainstream society. By contrast, in some of ACC’s early promotional …

Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE)

The Arkansas Department of Higher Education (ADHE) is responsible for the regulation of the state’s public two-year and four-year institutions of higher education. In addition, ADHE oversees a number of financial aid programs. The first attempt to regulate higher education in the state came through the establishment of the Arkansas Committee on Higher Education in 1949, which consisted primarily of state legislators and the leaders of institutions of higher education. The commission’s report to the Arkansas General Assembly in 1951 recommended the creation of a control board to coordinate efforts regulating higher education. Prior to this, state institutions were fairly autonomous, and the legislature exercised oversight primarily through appropriations, which led to institutions competing with each other for state money. …

Arkansas Education Association

The Arkansas Education Association (AEA) is a group of teachers, administrators, and support staff who promote public education and the teaching profession. The association closely monitors the state legislature, the state Department of Education, and school boards, and it lobbies for policies decided on in its Representative Assembly. The association was organized on July 2, 1869, in Little Rock (Pulaski County) as the State Teachers Association. Thomas Smith, the first state superintendent of public instruction, founded the group and was its first president. Twenty-two people signed on as charter members. Smith wrote that the group’s purpose was “promoting the cause of popular education in the state and uniting the teachers and superintendents in closer and more intimate fraternal relations in …

Arkansas Girls State

aka: Girls State
Arkansas Girls State is a summer program of education that has been sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, Department of Arkansas since 1942. As of 2014, it has provided training for more than 55,000 Arkansas girls in the fundamental aspects of citizenship and practical government. The purpose of Arkansas Girls State is to educate young women of high school age in the duties, privileges, and responsibilities of American citizenship and to provide an opportunity for them to participate in the actual functioning of their government. The National American Legion Auxiliary, which had established a Boys State program in 1935, first sponsored Girls State in 1937–38, and as of 2014, fifty-one departments have such a program. More than 25,000 high school students …

Arkansas Governor’s School (AGS)

Arkansas Governor’s School (AGS) is a six-week summer residential program for gifted and talented students who are upcoming seniors in Arkansas public and private high schools. AGS is funded by the Arkansas state legislature as a portion of the biennial appropriation for gifted and talented programs in the budget of the state Department of Education. The state funds provide tuition, room, board, and instructional materials for each student at the school. A site selection team from the Department of Education reviews applications from Arkansas colleges and universities and awards a three-year contract to lease the site. Hendrix College was the host institution since the inception of AGS in 1980 until 2018, when the state Board of Education voted to transfer …

Arkansas Holiness College

Arkansas Holiness College (AHC), founded in 1904, was the focus for a body of Wesleyan holiness believers who congregated for nearly three decades in Vilonia (Faulkner County). The preaching of Methodist evangelists Beverly Carradine and H. C. Morrison at camp meetings held at Beebe (White County) in the 1890s spurred a holiness association in Vilonia composed of Methodists and Free Methodists. Members of the association formed a grammar school that opened in 1900 under the direction of Fannie Suddarth, a teacher (and later minister) from Kentucky. The school added grades and academic levels, including a Bible department in 1905, when the Reverend C. L. Hawkins came to head the school. The name Arkansas Holiness College was adopted at this time. …

Arkansas Library Association

The Arkansas Library Association (ArLA) is a statewide organization created to further the professional development of all library staff members; to foster communication and cooperation among librarians, trustees, and friends of libraries; to increase the visibility of libraries among the general public and funding agencies; and to serve as an advocate for librarians and libraries. Organized on January 26, 1911, in Little Rock (Pulaski County), the association was created as part of an effort to encourage the legislature to support increasing funding for public libraries. Led by the Little Rock Public Library and the Fort Smith Public Library, the new organization had additional members from Arkadelphia (Clark County), Conway (Faulkner County), Helena (Phillips County), and Waldron (Scott County). Early efforts …

Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN)

The Arkansas Model United Nations (AMUN) is a program located on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas (UCA) in Conway (Faulkner County). Each November, hundreds of high school students and teachers from the state of Arkansas and neighboring states attend the AMUN conference as representatives (delegates) of member-states of the United Nations (UN). The delegates participate in simulations of the UN General Assembly, Security Council, Economic and Social Council, International Court of Justice, and other UN bodies. The AMUN was formally established by Professor Simms McClintock and several students at UCA, then known as Arkansas State Teachers College (ASTC), in the fall of 1966. McClintock, who had served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, earned a …

Arkansas Normal College

Arkansas Normal College, located in Jamestown (Independence County), was founded in 1895 as a two-year coeducational college with a curriculum designed to prepare students to pass county teacher certification requirements. At one time, the college boasted a greater enrollment than Arkansas College (now Lyon College) in Batesville (Independence County). In 1890, through the efforts of Dr. M. C. Weaver, A. J. Craig, W. B. Pate, and G. C. Rutledge, a high school was founded in Jamestown. Approximately five years later, after the state approved the creation of county normal (teachers’ training) schools, the two-year Arkansas Normal College was founded. While the school was chiefly designed for teacher preparation, students could also pursue traditional degrees in medicine, law, and general education. …

Arkansas Northeastern College

Arkansas Northeastern College (ANC) is the largest two-year college in northeast Arkansas. ANC’s main campus is located in Blytheville (Mississippi County), with educational centers located in Burdette (Mississippi County), Leachville (Mississippi County), Paragould (Greene County), and Osceola (Mississippi County). The college offers a variety of associate degrees, technical certificates, and job-training programs. In 1974, the residents of Mississippi County voted for a tax increase to finance the initial construction of the new school. Mississippi County Community College (MCCC) gave the local community an opportunity to receive an inexpensive higher education. Harry Smith was selected as the first president of the college. In 1975, the college became accredited and attained membership in the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. In …

Arkansas Political Science Association

The Arkansas Political Science Association (ArkPSA) is a professional, membership-based organization of college and university professors and students in the subjects of political science, public administration, public policy, and related academic disciplines in the state of Arkansas. The membership of the ArkPSA has also included practitioners and other professionals with an interest in international, national, state, and local government and politics. The ArkPSA holds an annual two-day meeting during which scholars present the results of their research on topics related to government and politics. The annual meetings, which also include roundtable discussions on topics of interest to the membership, have been held at various college and university campuses and other locations around the state. The ArkPSA was formally established during …

Arkansas Scholarship Lottery

The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery is a system of games of chance, implemented to generate revenue to fund the state’s Academic Challenge Scholarship program for qualified high school graduates. The Arkansas Scholarship Lottery was made possible by the 2008 passage of Proposed Constitutional Amendment No. 3, which amended the state constitution to make a statewide lottery program legal. By fall 2016, more than 200,000 students had received an Academic Challenge Scholarship to attend a two-year or four-year institution of higher education in the state of Arkansas. Although it was not until 2008 that Arkansas voters passed a constitutional amendment to allow the creation of a lottery, the topic had been debated in the state for a number of years. In 1990, …

Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts

Arkansas School for Mathematics, Sciences and the Arts (ASMSA) in Hot Springs (Garland County) is the only public residential high school in the state and one of only fourteen state-supported residential math and science schools in the nation. Its mission is to educate gifted and talented eleventh and twelfth grade students in Arkansas who have an interest and aptitude in mathematics, sciences, or the fine and performing arts. In addition, the school is expected to develop curricula and materials to improve instruction of mathematics, sciences, and fine and performing arts for all students in the state. As of 2015, the school educates approximately 230 students on its residential campus and more than 3,000 students in 60 counties through its distance …

Arkansas School for the Blind (ASB)

The Arkansas School for the Blind (ASB) in Little Rock (Pulaski County) teaches blind and visually impaired students to become productive citizens. The enriched curriculum, covering birth through age three and pre-kindergarten through the twelfth grade also offers a home-like setting to meet all students’ needs. ASB was founded as the Institute for the Education of the Blind in 1859 by the Reverend Haucke, a blind Baptist minister. Otis Patten was the school’s first official superintendent. The campus was originally located in Arkadelphia (Clark County) but was moved to Little Rock in 1868, which made the school more accessible to students across the state. The first Little Rock campus was located at 1800 Center Street. The institute was renamed the …

Arkansas School for the Deaf (ASD)

The Arkansas School for the Deaf (ASD), located on Markham Street in Little Rock (Pulaski County), is a publicly funded state agency that provides academic and life skills education for Arkansas students from age three to twenty-one who are deaf or hard of hearing. The school offers both residential and day-school services and includes outreach services to families and public schools. In July 1867, the City of Little Rock opened a school for deaf children. The next year, the state government took over the struggling school, naming it “The Arkansas Deaf Mute Institute.” Ground was broken in August 1869 for a brick building, which was ready for occupancy in February 1870. By 1892, the State School for the Deaf, as …

Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches

Arkansas Sheriffs’ Boys Ranch, Inc., was founded in 1976 as an exclusively charitable and educational organization for “the prevention of cruelty to boys, by providing a home, ranch, and training school for underprivileged boys.” The organization was created to provide a non-governmental residential childcare program for boys from all Arkansas counties. Today, Arkansas Sheriffs’ Youth Ranches, Inc., provides residential and non-residential services to both boys and girls. The organization was incorporated on January 6, 1976, after two years of planning. In the early 1970s, a group of sheriffs asked the seventy-five-member Arkansas Sheriffs’ Association (ASA) to help develop a children’s home that would rely on the generosity of Arkansans. In the late 1960s and early 1970s, some of these sheriffs …

Arkansas State Teachers Association

The Arkansas State Teachers Association (ASTA) is a professional organization for education professionals that adheres to a non-union and non-partisan operation policy. Professional membership in ASTA is open to any employee of an educational entity—certified, non-certified, and classified. ASTA is unrelated to an earlier organization which went by the same name and later became the Arkansas Education Association (AEA). The roots of ASTA intertwine with its national organization, the Association of American Educators (AAE). AAE was established in 1994. In 2001, groundwork began for an AAE affiliate in Arkansas. ASTA was established in 2004. ASTA and AAE are licensed by the IRS as 501(c)(6) professional trade organizations. Like organizations it partners with in other states, ASTA works collaboratively with local …

Arkansas State University (ASU)

Arkansas State University (ASU) is the only four-year public university in northeast Arkansas. While grounded in a heritage of service to the region, the influence and impact of ASU’s teaching and research extend throughout the state and nation. Arkansas State University had a humble beginning. On April 1, 1909, Governor George W. Donaghey signed Act 100, creating four district agricultural schools, culminating an initiative inspired by the Arkansas Farmers Union. On March 28, 1910, the trustees of the First District Agricultural School selected a farm just east of Jonesboro (Craighead County) as its location. Recruiting a leader to translate legislative authorization into educational reality, the trustees hired Victor C. Kays to be the school’s first principal. Although only twenty-eight, Kays …

Arkansas State University Mid-South

aka: Mid-South Community College
Arkansas State University Mid-South (ASU Mid-South), formerly Mid-South Community College (MSCC), is a two-year public institution located in West Memphis (Crittenden County) and serving Crittenden County and the surrounding area. ASU Mid-South focuses upon developing the workforce necessary to attract new business and industry to the east Arkansas Delta area. ASU Mid-South offers a variety of programs including an associate of arts degree in general education, an associate of arts in teaching, an associate of applied science in business technology, an associate of applied science in information system technology, and an associate of applied sciences in aviation maintenance technology. In late 1978, at the request of state representative Lloyd McCuiston and state senator W. K. (Bill) Ingram, a delegation of local legislators …

Arkansas State University–Beebe (ASU–Beebe)

aka: ASU–Beebe
Arkansas State University–Beebe (ASU–Beebe) is the oldest two-year institution of higher learning in the state. Located in east-central Arkansas along Highway 67/167 in Beebe (White County), it serves students from the Delta, the Ozark foothills, and the Little Rock (Pulaski County) metropolitan area. ASU–Beebe’s chief mission is to provide recent high school graduates and non-traditional students opportunities to obtain skills and training useful for immediate employment, and to take advanced coursework leading to an associate’s degree or transfer credit to a four-year institution. It was one of the first two-year schools to become a branch within a state university system. Except for Arkansas State University–Newport (ASU-Newport), ASU–Beebe remains the only two-year institution in Arkansas with a faculty that is afforded …

Arkansas State University–Mountain Home (ASUMH)

Arkansas State University–Mountain Home (ASUMH) is a two-year community college serving predominately the residents of Baxter and Marion counties, as well as neighboring counties in Missouri. ASUMH continues the long tradition of education in Mountain Home dating back to the Male and Female Academy of the 1850s. The origins of ASUMH can be traced back to several evening classes offered by North Arkansas Community College (NACC)—now North Arkansas College—at the Mountain Home (Baxter County) high school in 1974. These classes were offered in the wake of the defeat of a five-mill tax for the construction of a community college in Mountain Home in 1973. By 1976, NACC expanded the classes to include an Adult Basic Education program. As enrollment grew, …

Arkansas State University–Newport (ASU–Newport)

Arkansas State University–Newport (ASUN) is a comprehensive, two-year accredited college providing college transfer and career and technical education to students throughout northeast Arkansas. ASUN’s mission is to “provide integrity of programs and services; affordable life-long learning; and enhanced quality of life in the diverse community we serve.” Funded by Act 227 of 1973, ASUN was originally named White River Vocational-Technical School and was established to provide technical training and educational opportunities to the residents of Jackson County and surrounding areas. In 1991, the legislature passed Act 1244, converting vocational-technical schools into two-year colleges. White River Vocational-Technical School therefore became White River Technical College. The following year, it became a satellite of Arkansas State University–Beebe and renamed ASU Beebe/Newport. In 1997, …

Arkansas Synodical College

The Arkansas Synodical College, chartered shortly before the Civil War, was one of several abortive attempts by Arkansas Presbyterians to establish an institution of higher learning. At a meeting of the Synod of Arkansas in October 1859, those attending decided to locate the proposed Arkansas Synodical College in Arkadelphia (Clark County). Trustees had already been appointed, and some funds had been raised to support the effort. A committee was named to procure a charter from the state. This charter was granted by the state legislature on December 31, 1860. The college was to be under the care of the Old School Presbyterian Church of the United States and was to be under the direct supervision of the Synod of Arkansas. …

Arkansas Teachers Association (ATA)

The Arkansas Teachers Association (ATA) was an organization that strove for racial equality in education for young African Americans. From 1898 to 1969, it was instrumental in equalizing salaries for black teachers across the state, integrating schools during the desegregation era, and fighting teacher displacement. In 1898, a group of fewer than a dozen teachers in Pine Bluff (Jefferson County) created the State Teachers Association of Arkansas, which later became the Arkansas Teachers Association. The teachers—including the association’s first president, Joseph Carter Corbin—wanted to increase the value of black children’s education, ensure better health for the black community, improve school buildings and equipment, and provide better preparation for teachers. No written records are available on the association until the 1928 …

Arkansas Tech University

Arkansas Tech University is a public, coeducational, regional university located in Russellville (Pope County). The university offers programs at both baccalaureate and graduate levels. The institution that became Arkansas Tech University had its origins in an early twentieth-century program known as the Country Life Movement. Designed to reverse the decline in rural life in America, the movement was part of the larger Progressive movement. The driving force for the establishment of agricultural schools in the state was the Farmers Educational and Cooperative Union, a more moderate heir to the Populists and associated agrarian organizations of the late nineteenth century. Spurred on by the Farmers’ Union, the Arkansas legislature in 1909 passed Act 100 to establish a “State Agricultural School” in …

Arkansas Tech University-Ozark Campus

Arkansas Tech University–Ozark Campus is a two-year college in Ozark (Franklin County) that serves as a satellite location of Arkansas Tech University in Russellville (Pope County). The institution was established in 1965 as Arkansas Valley Vocational Technical School. Regional vocational and technical schools were established across the state in the 1960s to offer alternative educational programs to those offered by public universities. In 1975, the school became the first in the state to receive state accreditation from the Arkansas State Board of Education/Vocational Education. The name of the institution was changed in 1991 to Arkansas Valley Technical Institute in order to better separate the institute from secondary schools offering similar programs. On July 1, 2003, the institute merged with Arkansas Tech …

Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities

Arkansas’ Independent Colleges and Universities (AICU) represents the state’s eleven accredited private institutions of higher education. The organization operates from offices in North Little Rock (Pulaski County), specializing in governmental and public relations for private higher education. As of 2019, the members of AICU are Arkansas Baptist College in Little Rock (Pulaski County), Arkansas Colleges of Health Education in Fort Smith (Sebastian County), Central Baptist College in Conway (Faulkner County), Crowley’s Ridge College in Paragould (Greene County), Harding University in Searcy (White County), Hendrix College in Conway, John Brown University (JBU) in Siloam Springs (Benton County), Lyon College in Batesville (Independence County), Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in Arkadelphia (Clark County), Philander Smith College in Little Rock, the University of the …

Atkinson, James Harris (J. H.)

James Harris (J. H.) Atkinson was an educator, author, and historian who, through his leadership in state and local historical organizations, significantly advanced the preservation and awareness of Arkansas’s history, earning him the nickname “Mr. Arkansas History.” He helped organize and subsequently served as president of both the Arkansas Historical Association (AHA) and the Pulaski County Historical Society (PCHS), wrote numerous articles for each of their publications, served as chairman of the Arkansas History Commission (now called the Arkansas State Archives), and co-authored Historic Arkansas, a text for teaching Arkansas history. J. H. Atkinson was born on June 7, 1888, in a farmhouse near the community of College Hill in northern Columbia County, the son of Gracie Ella Finley and …

Baby of Arts Degree

After World War II ended, large numbers of veterans were headed to college on the GI Bill, officially known as the Servicemen’s Readjustment Act of 1944. The GI Bill provided economic assistance to veterans so they could receive a college education or vocational training. Enrollment at colleges and universities had dropped dramatically during the war, as high school graduates put college education on hold for four or five years so they could serve in World War II. Arkansas State Teachers College (ASTC), now the University of Central Arkansas (UCA), had an enrollment of 764 students for the 1940–41 school year. But by the 1943–44 school year, enrollment had dropped to 289 students. After the war was over, the student enrollment …

Baerg, William J.

William J. Baerg was a naturalist, entomologist, and teacher who served as head of the Department of Entomology at the University of Arkansas (UA) in Fayetteville (Washington County) for thirty-one years. His research on black widow spiders, tarantulas, scorpions, and other arthropods led to descriptions of their behavior, biology, and natural history that had previously been largely ignored by biologists and entomologists. William Baerg was born in Hillsboro, Kansas, to Johann and Magaretha (Hildebrand) Baerg on September 24, 1885. His parents, who had left Russia in 1874, worked as field hands on a Kansas wheat farm. The family later acquired a small piece of land for their own. Baerg was the sixth of seven children. Baerg began school at age seven. At …

Bales, James David

aka: J. D. Bales
From 1944 to 1980, James David Bales was a professor of Bible and theology at Harding University (formerly Harding College) in Searcy (White County). Both in public and in print, Bales earned a national reputation as a fearsome debater of theological issues and political ideologies, becoming especially well known for his anti-communism stance. J. D. Bales was born on November 5, 1915, in Tacoma, Washington, the fifth of eight children. Soon after his birth, the family moved to Albany, Georgia. Bales was eleven when a train struck and killed his parents. Bales went to live with his paternal grandparents in Fitzgerald, Georgia, until 1930 when he enrolled in the Georgia Military Academy (now Woodward Academy) in College Park, Georgia, where …

Banks, James Albert

James Albert Banks is an educator who has been called the “father of multicultural education,” a discipline that seeks to develop awareness and skills in teachers and students for living in a culturally diverse United States and world. Growing up as an African-American youth in the Arkansas Delta during the Jim Crow years, Banks developed a commitment to social justice. Banks became the first black professor in the College of Education at the University of Washington (UW) in Seattle and is also founding director of UW’s Center for Multicultural Education. James Banks was born on September 24, 1941, near Marianna (Lee County) to Matthew Banks and Lula Holt Banks, both farmers. His formal education began at the McCullough Union School, …

Baptist Health College Little Rock

Baptist Health College Little Rock (BHCLR), a part of Baptist Health Medical Center–Little Rock, focuses on healthcare education as guided by the workforce needs in the central Arkansas region. BHCLR offers a Christian campus environment and a long history of medical training that goes back to the earliest days of the Baptist Health system. Established in 1920 in Little Rock (Pulaski County), what was then the Arkansas Baptist Hospital School of Nursing was based in the Baptist State Hospital, which itself was founded that year when the Arkansas Baptist State Convention purchased the old Battle Creek Sanatorium for $58,350. In 1921, the Arkansas Baptist Hospital School of Nursing graduated five students. There were no graduates in 1922, but in 1923 …

Bartell, Fred Wallace

Frederick Wallace Bartell was a Siloam Springs (Benton County) merchant, church leader, and Circuit Chautauqua manager. He organized Associated Chautauquas, which was among the first “tent” or “traveling” Chautauqua circuits. Fred W. Bartell was born in Milford, Kansas, on October 12, 1872, to immigrant parents. His father, Edward Charles Bartell, was from Germany; his mother, Louesa (or Louise), Edward’s second wife, was from France. He was the fourth of their five children. There also were six children from Edward’s first marriage to Catharine Branscom, who died in 1860. Louesa died in 1878. Edward Bartell and other family members migrated to Siloam Springs sometime before May 1892, when Fred Bartell arrived. Bartell said of his arrival, “I came with the flood,” …

Barton, Dorothy Yarnell

Dorothy Yarnell Barton was a dedicated educator who taught at the secondary level and later as a professor at schools in Arkansas and Louisiana. She was also a prolific writer and wrote on subjects such as education theory, family history, and travel. Dorothy Atwood Yarnell was born on May 6, 1900, in Searcy (White County) to local salesman James S. Yarnell and his wife, Margaret Yarnell. She had one sibling, a brother named James who was born in 1903. She was also first cousin once removed to Ray Yarnell (1896–1974), who began the Yarnell Ice Cream Company in 1933. Dorothy Yarnell spent her childhood and young adult life in Searcy and attended Galloway Women’s College, graduating with a BA in …

Bates School House

The Bates School House is located in the unincorporated community of Bates (Scott County). The schoolhouse was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on February 21, 2006. On May 1, 1915, James and Rosa Haywood donated 5.3 acres to the Bates and Gipson Special School District to build the schoolhouse. The building is estimated to have been constructed between 1916 and 1917 by the Bates community. The school initially provided educational instruction for students from first grade through high school. First- through sixth-grade classes were located on the first floor, while seventh- through twelfth-grade classes were located on the second. In the 1950s, Scott County began consolidating school districts, which in turn led to the closure of the …