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Six-year grad rate reaches record high

FAYETTEVILLE -- The six-year graduation rate for students entering the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville increased to 68.5% for students who first enrolled in 2014, the university announced.

It was an increase from the 67.2% rate for the 2013 cohort of students and marked a record high for the university.

The latest graduation rate was calculated for 4,518 students who first enrolled at UA in 2014, while the previous rate was based on 4,300 students who enrolled in 2013.

The six-year rate is sometimes referred to as the federal graduation rate. Four-year colleges are required to disclose this rate under federal law.

UA Provost Charles Robinson said Wednesday in a faculty senate meeting that "none of this happens without a quality faculty."

"I really do think this is just kind of the beginning for us, that we're going to continue to move in a positive direction on these metrics and see even greater success moving forward," Robinson said.

Among similar schools in other states, the University of Missouri reported a six-year graduation rate of 73%.

A spokeswoman for the university said the rate was based on a cohort of 6,398 students.

Louisiana State University reported a six-year graduation rate of 65.7% for its students, not including those enrolled in what the university describes as pre-transfer preparatory programs.

A spokesman did not respond when asked for the cohort size.

Plans taking shape for commencement

FAYETTEVILLE -- Plans for the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville fall commencement include cleaning between what are tentatively scheduled to be multiple ceremonies per day at Bud Walton Arena and Barnhill Arena, a spokesman said.

Each ceremony is expected to last about an hour, "with cleaning taking 45-60 minutes afterwards," UA spokesman John Post said in an email.

A tentative schedule lists as many as three ceremonies per day at each site on Dec. 18-19.

Commencement ceremonies are also scheduled for Dec. 17.

The number of ceremonies will depend on the number of students participating, with spring, summer and fall graduates invited to take part.

Post said protocols for cleaning are being developed in coordination with the university's athletics department.

Other protocols will be in place because of the ongoing pandemic.

The commencement plans call for physical distancing between groups and ceremony participants, as well as mandatory face coverings.

"The arenas will be sanitized between each group within each ceremony, including the bowl and the floor where the students are sitting," Post said.

Post said a plan will be submitted in November to the state Department of Health after the university has a better estimate on ceremony attendance.

Danyelle McNeill, a spokeswoman for the Health Department, said a plan previously submitted by UA for its athletic venues has protocols related to those in attendance.

Fulbright scrutiny underway for panel

FAYETTEVILLE -- A committee formed in August to consider possible changes in how the university recognizes former U.S. Sen. J. William Fulbright has met six times and is accepting online feedback, UA spokeswoman Andra Parrish Liwag said Thursday.

Black student leaders critical of Fulbright this summer called for the removal of a bronze statue of him near the university's Old Main academic building.

The statue was dedicated in 2002.

The university's liberal arts college is also named after Fulbright.

Among the issues being examined is Fulbright's record on civil rights in the 1950s and 1960s, including his participation in what was known as the Southern Manifesto, an effort by Southern congressmen and senators to obstruct school integration that had been ordered by the U.S. Supreme Court.

Fulbright is perhaps best known for introducing legislation that created the international educational exchange program named after him.

The 21-person committee that includes faculty members, students and others will make a recommendation.

But Todd Shields, dean of UA's Fulbright College, has said any changes would require action from the university system's board of trustees.

Feedback about Fulbright can be given at forms.uark.edu/xfp/form/505.

Changes proposed for spring semester

FAYETTEVILLE -- Possible changes to the spring semester calendar at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville include eliminating the traditional weeklong spring break, UA Chancellor Joe Steinmetz said Thursday.

The university is "looking at several options, including perhaps delaying the start of the semester a week or so, if that appears to make sense, and distributing spring break days across the entire semester, rather than in a single week," Steinmetz said.

Some universities, citing the pandemic, have announced changes to their spring calendars.

UA's faculty senate in a meeting Wednesday took a nonbinding vote on options for spring break.

"This is just an opinion, to gauge the sentiment of the senate, to help administration make a decision about the spring semester," Stephen Caldwell, chairman of the faculty group and an associate professor in UA's Department of Music, said before the vote.

None of three options presented to faculty senate received a majority vote. Caldwell said 19 faculty senators voted to keep the calendar as written, which includes a weeklong spring break.

Another 18 senators voted to start the semester a week late and remove spring break.

Ten faculty senators voted to start the semester as scheduled and take small breaks throughout the semester, Caldwell said.

Print Headline: UA Notebook

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