LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — The University of Arkansas System has selected 29 faculty members to develop curriculum for its new online school, known as an eVersity, with each campus within the system having a representative on the Governance Council, except the flagship campus at Fayetteville where there were no applicants.
The council, announced Friday, is to meet Wednesday and Thursday to develop curriculum and the framework for online degrees in criminal justice, business, health care management and information technology — areas that are among the most popular with students and are aligned with workforce needs in Arkansas, according to a university news release.
"The eVersity is fortunate to have broad-based support from outstanding, experienced and diverse faculty across the University of Arkansas System who are willing to devote their expertise to building workplace-relevant degree programs," said Michael Moore, vice president for academic affairs for the UA System.
"I am excited to be working alongside these teams toward our goal of providing Arkansans with opportunities they thought might have passed them by," Moore said in the release.
Moore told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (http://bit.ly/1GlIeeE ) that the group has a tentative June 5 deadline to develop specific plans.
UA Provost Sharon Gaber in Fayetteville sent a notice in an Oct. 28 email to Moore saying that the Fayetteville campus would not be participating in the eVersity Academic Governance Council "at this time."
"We are, however, interested and would like to remain abreast of developments so that we may assist and participate at a later time — if we are able. It would be great if we could attend in a non-voting capacity so that we could easily transition into participation at a future date," the note said.
The Fayetteville campus' faculty senate passed a resolution in November opposing the online school and asking that it be delayed. Concerns include taking $5 million from reserve funds at each UA campus for a loan to pay startup costs.
Earlier this month, the Arkansas-Little Rock faculty senate voted unanimously to approve a resolution opposing the online venture, but will have a representative on the Governance Council.
Moore compared the process for designing a curriculum for the eVersity to building with Lego blocks, adding that all of the courses for the online school were chosen from course catalogs of existing UA campuses.
"The blocks are there; you just have to know what to do with them; figure out where they go," Moore said.
The eVersity is scheduled to begin offering courses in October 2015.
Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, http://www.arkansasonline.com