By Richard Ellis
Friday, September 20, 2013
Why does JBU love Little Rock?
Well, what’s not to love?
Downtown Little Rock is a fascinating hybrid of modern growth drenched in rich southern culture. Antebellum homes stand next to modern art museums, running trails wind past city buildings and it’s common to see business professionals darting out of the capitol building for a quick lunch at the Rivermarket.
If you drive down Cantrell Road, you’ll find JBU has added another great element to Little Rock’s already vibrant scene: graduate business and counseling programs at the new JBU Little Rock Center.
Because these programs can be started and finished completely through a combination of online courses and classes in Little Rock, students will no longer need to travel to Fort Smith, Rogers or Siloam Springs to complete a graduate degree from JBU.
For someone like Monotoyia Key, a mental health professional, full time mother and graduate counseling student, this is great news. Her job involves working with the Little Rock school system, which means her weeks have never had a ‘typical routine’. Each day is a combination of waking early, parenting, fighting traffic, handling multiple interventions and attending meetings. Bringing the program that she considers a “perfect fit” to her home turf has eliminated the challenge of driving to Northwest Arkansas to finish selected classes.
JBU has offered undergraduate courses in our Degree Completion Program in Little Rock since 1996, but this fall will mark the beginning of graduate programs in the Little Rock area. Since many adult students who go back to college to finish their bachelor’s degrees often want to continue on and get a master’s degree, we anticipate JBU alumni living in Central Arkansas will be among our first graduate students at the new Little Rock Center.
Little Rock’s ‘new kid in town’, the JBU Graduate School, has a well-established reputation for excellence. The university’s graduate program in marriage and family therapy is the largest in Arkansas. This spring, the Association for Play Therapy designated the Graduate Counseling Department as an Approved Center for Play Therapy Education.
JBU’s graduate business program has reached beyond northwest Arkansas for years. Students have long taken advantage of networking opportunities and the international opportunities of intensive study trips to China, Central America and now Brazil. As you might expect, the students come back from their travels laden with more than just a new perspective on international business. This year’s excursion to the Silk Market in Beijing nearly doubled a few students’ baggage weight on the flight home!
And beginning this fall, these opportunities will be available to college graduates in the Little Rock area.
As a whole, Little Rock has long been home for creative professionals and business giants alike. The city is a smooth blend of residential life and cosmopolitan savvy, all set to the backdrop of the rolling Arkansas River. Now, it’s also a great new home for JBU’s Graduate School. All in all, there are many things to love about Little Rock.
Richard Ellis is Dean of the Graduate School