University of Arkansas System President Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt has named Laura Clark interim chancellor of the University of Arkansas Hope-Texarkana (UAHT). Clark, currently the vice chancellor for academic affairs at UAHT, will take over for departing current Chancellor Chris Thomason on July 6.
Bobbitt announced in March that Thomason would join the University of Arkansas System administration as vice president for planning and development. The Board of Trustees of the University of Arkansas publicly approved Bobbitt’s choice of Clark at its specially held board meeting on June 17.
“As this campus prepares the search for a new chancellor, I’m committed to ensuring that faculty and staff will continue moving forward with the high standard of service and innovative culture that Chris Thomason had in place here for many years,” Clark said. “I’m thankful for the confidence Dr. Bobbitt has in me and look forward to the challenge of maneuvering this campus through this critical time. Our goal remains to continue to provide students with skills and experience to join the workforce or move on to four-year institutions and be successful.”
Clark has been at the campus for more than 25 years. Prior to becoming vice chancellor for academics, she had been dean of health professions. She also served as the practical nursing program director, Arkansas Rural Nursing Education Consortium (ARNEC) program chair, C.N.A. program chair, and full-time practical nursing instructor at both Hope and Murfreesboro. In 2013, Clark was the Outstanding Faculty Member of the Year. Clark began her career in nursing by working as an emergency room and critical care nurse at Howard Memorial Hospital in Nashville and as a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit nurse at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock.
During her time at UAHT, she has fulfilled many vital educational and leadership roles. She led the reactivation of the paramedic program and was actively involved in the college joining ARNEC. Under Clark’s direction, the college initiated the associate of applied science LPN to RN degree, including expanding the curriculum design to an evening program on the Texarkana campus. Clark was instrumental in the design, development, and implementation of the campus textbook program. She provided insight and oversight into the creation of the Hope and Texarkana Collegiate Academies. She also managed absorption of the Secondary Career & Technical Education Centers on both campuses, endeavors that greatly expanded access to higher education and workforce training in the region. Most recently, Clark developed and guided the approval of the James Black School of Bladesmithing, making historic arts a unique addition to the UAHT curriculum.
“With her many years of experience, Laura Clark has a good understanding of the challenges that students face, and she desires to help UAHT do the best it can to help students achieve their educational goals,” Bobbitt said.
As was previously announced, one of Thomason’s first tasks in his new UA System role will be to lead the search for the next permanent chancellor at UAHT.
“In the coming weeks, I will work with Dr. Bobbitt to name a search committee to assist the system and the Board of Trustees in managing the search process,” he said. “Given the high regard with which the campus is held both in Arkansas and outside the state, I am positive we will have an exceptional pool of candidates for the campus to consider.”