CAMDEN By Bradly Gill
South Arkansas University Tech Chancellor Dr. Jason Morrison was the guest of the Camden Rotary Club’s meeting Tuesday at Catherine’s Bistro and gave the group an update on the progress of the institution.
“I try to talk about Tech everywhere I’m at, because I do think it’s the most important thing in our community. It’s the cornerstone of our community,” Morrison said.
Morrison said his school builds toward education and also allows students that otherwise have been overlooked when it comes to higher education.
“But we’re also becoming the first choice of students that have other offers and other choices. We’re seeing ACT scores coming into SAU Tech that are 30 plus,” he said.
While COVID-19 stopped work at many colleges, Morrison said his faculty was only out roughly a week, which was vital for the survival of the school.
He also touted that SAU TECH enrollment rose 4.5% this year.
“We are one of only two two-year colleges in the state of Arkansas that are up in enrollment,” he said.
Morrison also mentioned partnering with the South Central Co-op to start a pre-school.
“Our RN program started this fall. Started with 20 students, that’s max capacity,” he said.
A press release from the SAU system states, “SAU Tech opened its new Registered Nursing program this fall with 20 students in the first cohort and enrollment in the Practical Nursing program increased by one-third. Both of these programs added significantly to the overall increase in enrollment. The Nondestructive Testing and HVAC-R programs had improved numbers this semester as well.”
In the release Morrison states, “We are glad to see that students are continuing to choose to pursue their education despite the current pandemic. This indicates that despite all the changes in how we do business, students are as determined as ever to obtain an education.”
With so much growth at the school, SAU Tech is expanding its dormitory capacity, according to Morrison. He said that with all the athletic options being offered now, student housing is a top priority.
He commended the Cheer Squad and also said he has big plans for the Rockets basketball team. He also stated that the SAU Tech softball team once again defeated ASU and are now 4-0 against them. He said Rocket Softball games regularly gather 200 fans, which are very high numbers for softball.
Another recent announcement out of SAU Tech is the reception of a $1 million Delta Regional Authority grant in order to start a sonogram program.
He thanked a host of area businesses and institutions that have supported Tech, including Jim Golden Ford and other organizations.
All of these programs are essential to the growth of the community, according to Morrison. He said that students that stay at a school within 60 miles of their home are 60% more likely to stay in the community.