The rising popularity of gaming has made a tremendous impact on Southern Arkansas University which has met the demand by adding a Game Animation Design major, eSports teams, and a new Gaming Hub to its offerings. Now SAU will offer a Game Design minor to provide a more well-rounded education.
Approval of this item was among the actions taken by SAU’s Board of Trustees on Friday, December 13, 2019. The board also heard presentations from Dr. Trey Berry, SAU President, and Dr. Jason Morrison, SAU Tech Chancellor.
Berry reported that the Love and Loyalty Campaign publically launched on Saturday, December 7, with a celebration on the Campus Mall. During the leadership phase of the campaign, which began in November 2016, more than $18 million was raised toward the goal of $22 million over five years.
Love and Loyalty will benefit many areas including student enrichment, athletics, faculty and staff support, academic programs, and the SAU Foundation, which endows many scholarships and professorships.
“You can expect to hear more great things about Love and Loyalty in the months ahead,” said Berry.
He also shared that this year’s Celebration of Lights was a wonderful success that brought about 1,000 people to campus to enjoy the lighting of the Christmas tree and other holiday activities.
“Many of these visitors don’t get to come to our campus often,” Berry said. “It is always one of the best days of the year for SAU.”
Continuing, Berry told trustees that several acres of bottomland on Laney Farm have been set aside for scientific study by the SAU Biology Department. The area contains landscapes and ecosystems that will yield valuable research. “Our biology professors are very excited,” Berry said.
He also informed the board that the new Farmers Bank & Trust Trapshooting Facility has officially opened on Laney Farm. Demonstrations were held by the newly-formed trapshooting team as part of the two-day launch of Love and Loyalty. Steve Crowell serves as the coach.
Berry praised the performance of Little Women by the SAU Theatre Department as well as recent publications by Dr. Ed Kardas, Honor Professor, and Dr. Ben Johnson, professor of history. He also updated the board on the new Mulerider baseball practice facility, expected to be ready by the start of the season.
In his presentation, Dr. Morrison spoke of the many good things happening at SAU Tech, including the campus’ third time being listed among the Top 150 community colleges in the nation by the Aspen Institute College Excellence Program. “This was our second consecutive year to be listed,” Morrison said. SAU Tech is now eligible to compete for the $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence. “There are some heavy hitters in that list,” Morrison said.
He noted that SAU Tech is consistently ranked among the top community colleges in Arkansas and congratulated faculty and staff on their recognition.
Morrison shared that SAU Tech has hosted numerous events in the past month, celebrating area special needs students as well as partnerships with local businesses and industries. He directed the board’s attention to the recent donation from Aerojet of $5,000 toward robotics equipment. This contribution will help SAU Tech update its robotics lab.
Next, Dr. David Lanoue, provost and vice president for academic affairs at SAU, requested changes to academic programs, including the addition of the Game Design minor, modifying the BFA Emphasis in Art Therapy, and the addition of a graduate certificate in College Counseling and Student Affairs.
He explained that gaming at SAU is “growing by leaps and bounds,” and that other majors might want to acquire some expertise in the field. Students from any major can use the new minor to apply their knowledge to game development and simulation.
“This minor will allow other majors to understand what the folks in the trenches are doing,” Lanoue said.
The board unanimously adopted all requested changes.
Dr. Valerie Wilson, vice chancellor for academics and planning at SAU Tech, requested program changes including revisions to the Associate of Applied Science in Computer Information Systems Technology; addition of Certificates of Proficiency in Web Development and Computer Programming; revisions to the Associate of Applied Science in Office Management and associated technical certificate and certificate of proficiency to enhance students’ keyboarding skills, and changes to the Associate of Applied Science in Medical Office Administration to enhance keyboard skills. All requested changes were approved by trustees.
The board also approved the 2017-18 Legislative Audit as presented by Shawana Reed, vice president for finance. After approving personnel changes made in executive session, David Nelson, board president, adjourned the meeting.