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HIGHER EDUCATION NOTEBOOK: ASU professor joins leadership program | Operations job filled at teaching center | Pedestrian bridge to span UCA creek

by The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | March 7, 2021 at 8:21 a.m.

ASU professor joins leadership program

Cherisse Jones-Branch, a faculty member at Arkansas State University since 2003, has been selected as one of 52 emerging college and university leaders for the 2021-22 class of the American Council on Education Fellows Program.

The Fellows Program identifies and prepares faculty members, staff members and administrators for senior positions in college and university leadership. The program includes retreats, interactive learning opportunities, and visits to campuses and other higher education-related organizations.

Jones-Branch, 50, is the James and Wanda Lee Vaughn Professor of History. She became dean of the graduate school at ASU in July.

She has bachelor's and master's degrees from the College of Charleston in South Carolina, and a doctorate in history from Ohio State University.

Jones-Branch is the author of "Crossing the Line: Women and Interracial Activism in South Carolina During and After World War II" and co-editor of "Arkansas Women: Their Lives and Times." Her next book, "Better Living By Their Own Bootstraps: Black Women's Activism in Rural Arkansas, 1913-1965," will be published by the University of Arkansas Press in June.

Operations job filled at teaching center

The University of Central Arkansas has named Brandi Keith director of operations for the Interprofessional Teaching Center in the new Integrated Health Sciences Building.

Keith is in charge of the overall administration of clinical services for the College of Health and Behavioral Sciences, including the Speech-Language-Hearing Center. She will develop a plan and direct activities of the center.

The center is on the first floor of the new Integrated Health Sciences Building, a 10,000-square-foot space that includes private examination/counseling rooms; a therapy gym; a pediatric therapy room; an area for assisting clients with activities of daily living; and a community classroom with a teaching kitchen for cooking classes, client education and classes for the public.

The facility, which is scheduled to open in the fall, will allow students in nursing and other health professions to learn and work together instead of independently.

Before she joined UCA, Keith worked at Conway Regional Health System for five years in administration in marketing, business development and wellness. For the past two years, she led the wellness initiatives for the health system, including diabetes education, men's health and bariatric programs.

Keith, 30, has a bachelor's degree from UCA and is pursuing a Master of Business Administration.

She began the job on Feb. 16. Her annual salary is $85,000.

Pedestrian bridge to span UCA creek

The University of Central Arkansas will construct a pedestrian bridge over the Stone Dam Creek on campus, providing access from a parking lot west of Stone Dam Creek to the Stone Dam Creek Trail and the Reynolds Performance Hall parking lot.

Currently, Stone Dam Creek divides these two large parking lots, and the western lot has no direct access to the trail.

"The bridge will be used for pedestrians, bicycles, wheelchairs and other nonmotorized vehicles and will provide safer access for students, employees and patrons utilizing these parking lots and the trail," said Larry Lawrence, director of the UCA Physical Plant, in a news release.

The pre-manufactured aluminum bridge will be about 6 feet wide and 70 feet long. The total cost of the project will be about $250,000. The university received a $173,000 grant from the Arkansas Department of Transportation's Transportation Alternatives Program for the project.

Construction is set to begin in August, with a planned completion date in March 2022.

Beck Center's board taps retired general

Retired Brig. Gen. Keith Klemmer has been named chairman of the Beck Center for Veterans board of directors at Arkansas State University.

Klemmer replaces retired Maj. Gen. George Barker, who served as chairman for 11 years.

The Beck Center provides combat-wounded veterans with educational programs and services at ASU. These include counseling, rehabilitation and financial assistance.

Klemmer, 56, is originally from Brookland, outside Jonesboro. He received a bachelor's degree in agricultural business from ASU in 1987 and a master's degree in strategic studies from the Army War College in 2007. He is also a graduate of Harvard University's homeland security program. Klemmer was commissioned a second lieutenant through the ROTC program in 1985.

He has served in a variety of positions in the 39th Infantry Brigade, 142nd Fires Brigade, and 87th Troop Command. He is a veteran of Operation Desert Shield/Desert Storm in 1990-91 and Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003-05.

In October 2011, Klemmer became director of the joint staff, Arkansas National Guard. In December 2012, he was selected as the deputy adjutant general for Arkansas. He was federally recognized as a brigadier general on April 1, 2013. In May 2015, he was selected as the deputy commanding general for the Fires Center of Excellence and Fort Sill.

In April 2017, he joined BAE Systems, a global British-based multinational arms, security, and aerospace firm, after more than 32 years in the Army National Guard as a field artillery officer, retiring at the rank of brigadier general. He lives with his family in Arlington, Va., outside Washington.

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