Smart Talk Sept. 28 

Building the student count
Arkansas hit a record college enrollment this year and enrollment is up at most campuses, but that hasn’t stopped some jealous competitors from grumbling about the colossus of Conway, the University of Central Arkansas. Following its announcement that UCA would top 12,700 enrollment this year, several competitors complained that college president Lu Hardin had swollen the numbers by recruiting “concurrent enrollment” from high school students.

Hardin pleads guilty. As state higher education director, he wrote the regulations by which colleges can count high school students as part-time students if the students pay tuition for college-level courses taught by a master’s-level instructor. He said UCA enrolled 500 to 600 such students this year.

Said Hardin: “The duty of a four-year public institution, as well as a two-year institution, is to meet the needs of students. Concurrent enrollment and distance learning are the future of higher education. From 12,100 to 12,700 students would hardly be ‘swelling.’ This is somewhat of a pilot year for UCA to see how well this works and evaluate the quality of instruction, which is absolutely paramount.”

There once was a mayor named Coody
The news shouldn’t be mocked, but a news release from Fayetteville nonetheless made us think of Paris, France and underpants.

Straight face now. Fayetteville Mayor Dan Coody has named a poet laureate task force to devise a system by which Fayetteville can formally anoint a city poet laureate on an annual basis in April, National Poetry Month. Fayetteville is home to many poets, not the least of whom is the 1997 Inaugural Poet Miller Williams. Indian Bay Press, a Fayetteville poetry publisher and sponsor of an annual poetry competition, has been working with Coody on the project too and hopes April 2007 “will see a significant increase in poetic activity in Fayetteville.”

On the air

Turn the radio on at the University of Central Arkansas and you just might get a little preaching from the campus radio station KUCA.

Monty Rowell, general manager of broadcast services at UCA, says the station runs “Powerline” — a syndicated music program with a Christian slant — every Friday between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m.

Rowell, who we called because of a reader’s question, said the station has run the program for three years. Asked about a taxpayer-funded radio station running a religious program, Rowell responded that the station is supported by a student fee, with the broadcasting license issued to the board of trustees at UCA.

“Our funding is not what I would call tax supported, if you will,” he said. “The only thing that is tax supported with the radio stations is my salary.” However, student fees become public funds in the hands of a college.

Rowell said the Powerline program appealed to him because it is largely a music program featuring Top 40 tunes. “About halfway through the program,” he said, “they might have a little message that might go from one to


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