Chris Thomason, chancellor of the University of Arkansas Community College at Hope-Texarkana, will join the University of Arkansas System administration as vice president for planning and development, effective July 1, UA System President Dr. Donald R. Bobbitt announced today.
In his new role, Thomason will lead projects that broadly impact UA System campuses, divisions and units, including facilitating future system growth and development, leading efforts to integrate services such as systemwide contracting, exploring public-private partnership opportunities, assisting with risk management projects and spearheading institutional and economic development strategies.
“As one of our most tenured two-year college chancellors, Chris has a breadth of leadership experience, including roles in projects with a systemwide impact,” Bobbitt said. “We are excited to bring his skills in economic development and strategic initiatives to the system level to benefit all of our institutions. In today’s higher education environment, it is critical that we continue to look for ways we can operate more efficiently and effectively as a system, and Chris will provide critical leadership in helping us pursue that goal.”
In addition to serving as chancellor at UACCH-T since 2008, Thomason has recently served as a member of the executive committee and chairman of the steering committee for Project One, the systemwide enterprise resource planning (ERP) project that is in the process of aligning all UA System campuses, divisions and units onto a common platform for administrative business functions.
He is also past chair of the executive committee of Arkansas Community Colleges, an association representing all of the state’s 22 two-year campuses, and current chair of the Southwest Arkansas Community College Consortium, a group of college presidents and chancellors that collaborate on developing a regional vision for education and economic development.
“I am grateful to President Bobbitt for his confidence in me to serve in this new role for the UA System,” Thomason said. “It’s been the honor of my professional life to be the chancellor of the college that serves the region I call home. While it will be difficult for me personally to leave later this summer, I am excited for this new challenge and look forward to helping the entire system meet our goal of providing a quality, affordable higher education experience for our state and its citizens.”
Under Thomason’s leadership, UACCH-T achieved historic student enrollment and graduation rates and was recognized as one of the fastest-growing colleges in Arkansas. He led the effort to establish a campus in Texarkana, Ark., which was formally added to the institution’s name in 2019. Along with its long-time campus in Hope, the Texarkana campus helped UACCH-T set all-time graduation and enrollment records in 2018.
One of Thomason’s first tasks in his new position will be helping to lead the search for a new chancellor at UACCH-T. Details on the search will be announced in the coming weeks, he said.
Prior to his tenure as chancellor, Thomason was elected prosecuting attorney for the Eighth North Judicial District in 2006 after serving two terms representing District 3 in the Arkansas House of Representatives. He earned his bachelors and law degrees from UA Little Rock and has experience in private law practice and as a deputy prosecuting attorney.