COTO/ASU Alignment FAQs






On February 5, 2019, College of the Ouachitas Board of Trustees voted unanimously to move forward with alignment efforts with the Arkansas State University System.  This very exciting news promises many positive growth opportunities for COTO and the ASU System.  We understand that any change like this brings about questions and concerns.  In an effort to address as many of your questions as possible, we have compiled the following questions and answers.

Will the name change?

Yes, the name will change.

What is the new name of the College?  

The College Board of Trustees voted unanimously Tuesday, September 10, 2019, that Arkansas State University Three Rivers would be the new name of the College.  Focus groups were conducted to help us determine the name the best fits our College and region.  The College will officially be renamed on January 1, 2020.

Will the College get a new logo?

Yes. The College’s identity/brand is a reflection of who we are and is one of the College’s most valuable assets. The logo is one of the most visual ways we communicate our institution’s identity. The new logo will be released once the final version is made available to the College by the marketing firm.

What is the timeline for the alignment to take place?

Subject to approval by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), it is anticipated that COTO will officially become a part of the ASU System in January 2020 following the HLC review process.

Is the College being sold?

No, the College is not being sold. It will become one of the six member institutions of the ASU System that is independently accredited and operationally separate. 

What will change?

The College of the Ouachitas Board of Trustees will become the Board of Visitors. The Arkansas State University System Board of Trustees will become the governing board. The president of COTO, Dr. Steve Rook, will become Chancellor of the institution and report to ASU System President Dr. Chuck Welch. Dr. Rook will continue to manage the institution on a day-to-day basis.

What will not change?

The College’s day-to-day operation will stay the same.

Why align with a system?

Streamlining costs, especially state insurance costs, were among the reasons the school sought affiliation with a higher education system. Alignment will provide cooperative buying and resource sharing opportunities, as well as access to additional expertise in finance, governmental relations, legal counsel, and strategic communications.

Why align with the Arkansas State University System?

The COTO Board of Trustees explored several university systems at length over a three-year period. This was not a quick decision. After narrowing to three, President Rook and college staff gathered information relating to each of the systems. The Board weighed pros and cons of each of the final three and decided the ASU System is the best fit for our College and community. The COTO Board felt that the Arkansas State University System would allow for more local input in the future of the College.

What were the steps taken in the alignment decision?

After exploring COTO’s alignment options for three years, the COTO Board of Trustees announced in November 2018 that it would pursue alignment with one of three university systems. President Rook and college staff began gathering information on the systems to assist in selecting the one that best fits with the college in carrying out its mission and vision. The University of Arkansas and Southern Arkansas University were the other university systems considered.

Will the College become a “branch campus” of Arkansas State University?

No. COTO will become one of the six independently accredited and operationally separate member institutions of the Arkansas State University System. Arkansas State University in Jonesboro is one of the six member institutions.

Will the College still offer the programs that have been traditionally offered?

Yes. No changes in programs will result from the alignment. We will continue to meet the needs of students and the community, and to remain in touch with community values.

Will College of the Ouachitas now offer Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees?

Arkansas State University in Jonesboro will offer selected bachelor’s degree programs on the Malvern campus through a variety of delivery methods. Students will have the opportunity to complete a four-year degree as well as complete specific Master’s programs in Malvern.  It is yet to be determined which Arkansas State University programs will be offered on our campus.

How will the students be impacted?

The students will not be impacted by this change, except that they will have more opportunities because of it. College of the Ouachitas decided to align with the ASU System to give our students the opportunity to further their education.

What are the benefits to students?

The alignment creates more seamless pathways for students to transfer to other ASU System institutions, including the flagship four-year research institution in Jonesboro. There are special transfer scholarships for ASU System students, and COTO students will have new opportunities to complete a four-year degree in Malvern.

How will the alignment impact south-central Arkansas?

The expanded educational opportunities will benefit the region by giving students more higher education choices closer to home.

How will the alignment affect Career Center Students?

The alignment will not affect Career Center students and their classes. They will continue business as usual.

Will my COTO classes still transfer to any other four-year college or university in the state?

Yes. COTO classes will transfer to Arkansas State University and all other four-year colleges and universities in Arkansas.

Will you still offer technical courses and degrees in Malvern?

Absolutely! One of the reasons the alignment was appealing to the ASU System was our College’s emphasis on vocational education. We will continue to work with community partners to educate their workforces and will continue our present technical/vocational programs.

Will I need to get a new student/employee ID card?

Students are required to replace or renew their ID cards each semester. Employees receive ID cards when they are first employed with the College.  Both students and employees should visit the Library to have a new I.D. card made after the HLC officially recognizes the alignment in January 2020.

Will the community still be able to use the College Library or other campus facilities?

Yes, the community will be able to use the College Library and other campus facilities as before.  Community users are issued a community-user library card and are allowed to check out materials and use the computers in the Library just as they could before the alignment.

Will my Ouachita Technical College or College of the Ouachitas diploma still be valid?

Yes, all diplomas, certificates and degrees are still valid.  The Higher Learning Commission, our accreditor, the Arkansas Department of Higher Education, and the U.S. Department of Education will all acknowledge the new name.

Should I change the name of my alma mater on my resume?

Once HLC votes to make the alignment official, you should note the College’s new name on your resume, followed by the phrase “formerly College of the Ouachitas” or “formerly Ouachita Technical College.”

Will tuition and/or fees change because of this?

Although the tuition and fees do change occasionally, the name change and system affiliation will not affect tuition and fees. We remain committed to low-cost tuition and quality education.

How is the name change being paid for?

All expenses incurred from the name change will be taken from the College’s normal operating budget.  The new name and logo will appear on printed materials as supplies run out and have to be reprinted.

What else will we see changed?

The College logo, crest/seal, slogan, campus signage, and website will all reflect changes.

What is the new website?

The new website address will be announced as soon as the domain name is selected and confirmed.

Will there be any special ceremony announcing the name change?

Yes. Although the College will officially change names January 1, 2020 (pending HLC approval), the College will host an official open house celebration to publicly recognize the change at a date to be announced.

Will employee and student email addresses change? If so, when will that happen and how long will the current addresses continue to work?

Employee email addresses will change to reflect the new domain name.  This change will take place January 2020.  Old email addresses will continue to be valid through July 1, 2020.

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