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Friday, November 20, 2020

UACCM Readies Construction Technology Program for Spring Semester

man holding a clipboard in front of a construction site
Construction technology classes will begin in the spring semester. Registration is ongoing.

The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton has launched a new program of study: construction technology. An expansion in UACCM’s technical studies division, the new program will be offered beginning the spring 2021 semester.

The construction technology program is a comprehensive program that provides students with a knowledge in construction fundamentals, carpentry, drywall, and masonry. Students train in a setting that emphasizes hands-on learning, the centerpiece of UACCM’s technical education, with the goal of directly entering the workforce after graduation.

The driving goal is to inject more skilled labor into the construction industry with knowledge about specific crafts, equipment, and safety standards. Students have the option to explore a 15-credit-hour certificate of proficiency or a 30-credit-hour technical certificate. Students who study construction technology can find jobs in a variety of construction-related positions ranging from a brick and stone mason to concrete finisher to a general contractor.

For students pursuing the technical certificate, students will take more courses on technical writing, business classes, and advanced carpentry. An internship in the field will also be available, enhancing the experience a student will gain upon graduation.

Introducing students to these higher concepts will lend to more opportunities on the job site—holding an in-depth knowledge of heavy equipment used in construction, understanding the application and distinction of construction materials, and being knowledgeable in highway construction. Technical certificate students will also take business classes aimed at professional development and supervisory management in UACCM’s business department.

The instruction of this program comes as UACCM has expanded its offerings in technical education and career-specific programs. In the fall 2020 semester, UACCM launched the dietary management program, the education required to be a certified dietary manager, and has reopened the collision repair and refinishing program, an education of repairing automotive vehicles after a significant accident. UACCM Workforce Development and Community Education has also introduced the heavy equipment operator training non-credit program—training students on how to operate anything from a backhoe to a bulldozer to an excavator.

For more information about construction technology program, visit uaccm.edu or contact Robert Keeton, dean of technical studies, at keeton@uaccm.edu.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

UACCM Among Top Two-Year Colleges in AMP Best of 2020

Best of 2020 and UACCM logos on top of Workforce Training Center aerial photograph

The University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton is one of the best two-year colleges in the state, according to readers of Arkansas Money & Politics.

The selection was part of the magazine’s “Best of 2020” feature that highlights prominent companies and institutions in Arkansas. Readers nominated UACCM as one of the best in the community colleges category.

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, UACCM’s fall 2020 enrollment grew due to enhanced interest in the college’s transfer degrees. The pandemic’s effect on the economy also contributed to enrollment in technical education programs, as many individuals have been dislocated from their jobs or decided to gain more skills to enhance their income mobility.

When the public health care crisis began, UACCM created flexibility in scheduling various modes of instructional delivery. First, the college had to quickly adapt to online instruction in March with less than two weeks’ notice. For the fall 2020 semester, students could choose a number of attendance methods, including in-person, online, synchronous (live virtual delivery), and a hybrid blend. Many students enjoyed the ability to select which type of class to attend on a weekly basis.

In recent years, UACCM has also opened the Workforce Training Center, a 54,000 square-foot facility that houses air conditioning, heating, and refrigeration technology; automotive service technology; industrial mechanics and maintenance technology; and welding technology.

Lean more about the college at UACCM.edu.

To explore the digital issue of Arkansas Money & Politics, go here.

Friday, November 13, 2020

UACCM Dedicates Tree to Beloved Colleague

two photos, the first of a woman, and the second of a tree
Sommers served the college for 21 years, most recently as coordinator of student records.

Members of the University of Arkansas Community College at Morrilton dedicated a tree and plaque on campus to Sheila Sommers, a longtime staff member who passed away last fall.

The tree, provided by the Arkansas Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (ArkACRO), is placed below Sommer’s former office window at the University Center. Sommers was a 21-year employee at the college and most recently served as the coordinator of student records at the Registrar’s Office.

“Sheila Sommers spent over 20 years in the UACCM Registrar’s Office and was always active with ArkACRAO,” said Linda Holland, UACCM registrar. “I’m so happy they chose to honor her in this way, and it was only fitting the tree be placed in the courtyard below the office where she loved gazing out on the spring and fall foliage.”

A morning ceremony, coinciding with the one-year anniversary of Sommers’ death, included a dedication of the tree with a plaque. Her former colleagues wrote messages on plastic leaves to fill the young tree’s branches. Attendees included members of the Sommers family and UACCM staff and faculty, some of whom worked with her throughout her entire 21 years of service at the college.

“A testament to the impact Sheila made in the lives of so many is evidenced by this beautiful red bud tree dedication, a memorial gift presented to Sheila’s family who was gracious enough to share with UACCM allowing us to plant it on campus to serve as a lasting memory of Sheila,” said Lisa Willenberg, UACCM chancellor.

Sommers, a UACCM alumnus as well as a former employee, earned both her Associate of Arts and Associate of Applied Science degrees from UACCM prior to completing her bachelor and master’s degrees at UA-Fayetteville. Her co-workers knew her for her fun-loving, adventurous spirit, her grit and determination, and her commitment and service to thousands of students throughout the years.

“Sheila Sommers was a dedicated and very involved member of ArkACRAO,” said Brandi Tripp, an ArkACRO member and associate registrar at Arkansas Tech University who also attended the ceremony. “Our members wanted to recognize her years of service to our organization by dedicating a tree on the UACCM campus.”

“The tree and plaque will serve a reminder of all of the lives she touched,” Holland said.

Friday, November 6, 2020

Dietary Management Students Gain Certifications in Food Safety

women standing with framed certificates

Dietary Management students (L to R) Sarah Jones, Sierra Chancellor, Deasarae Bell, Casey Waterson

As part of UACCM's new dietary management program, cohorts are taking food safety and sanitation during the fall 2020 semester. Recently, they completed a 10-hour training course and sat for the ServSafe exam offered by the National Restaurant Association. These students made excellent passing scores, completing this first step to becoming certified dietary managers.

ServSafe offers training and certification helps individual meet the standards in food safety with the most up-to-date and relevant information. It brings together the current best practices to meet the industry's changing needs.

According to the Center of Disease Control, 1 in 6 Americans (or 48 million people) gets sick, 128,000 are hospitalized, and 3,000 die of foodborne diseases. Reducing foodborne illness by just 10% would keep 5 million Americans from getting sick each year and save millions of dollars in health care costs. It is the work of certified dietary managers that prevent these illnesses from occurring.

This new program is a transformational opportunity for those who are passionate about nutrition and public health. A certified dietary manager is critical in the planning, storage, and preparation of meals. They assist in planning menus and inspect food to ensure proper dietary standards are met. Often these specialists counsel individuals on proper eating habits to lose weight or manage a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease. By becoming a certified dietary manager, examples of potential workplaces include government agencies that provide services on nutrition or health care settings such as hospitals and long-term care facilities.

"I've met several people who are very passionate about nutrition, food service, and healthcare but don't feel they are able to sacrifice 6 years of full-time college to become a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN),” said Erin Aylor, a UACCM nutrition instructor. “After just one year, successful students of our program will be eligible to take their credentialing exam to become a certified dietary manager and get out into the workforce.”

The 3-semester (16 credit hour) certificate program is accepting new students for spring 2021. All classes are on Monday nights for the convenience of working students. Contact Aylor for more information at 501-354-7579 or aylor@uaccm.edu