PINE BLUFF, Ark. (News release) – The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) has expanded its degree offerings to include its first engineering degree, Agricultural Engineering, and a Hospitality and Tourism Management degree program.
The Arkansas Higher Education Coordinating Board approved the programs at its meeting Friday afternoon, after both previously received the approval of the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees. Classes will begin this fall.
“It’s fitting that our first engineering degree would be in Agriculture as the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff is an 1890-land grant institution,” said Dr. Robert Z. Carr, Jr., provost and vice-chancellor for academic affairs.
“Agriculture and tourism are the state’s top industries, generating $16 billion and nearly $6 billion annually, respectively. Our goal at UAPB is to offer programs that empower students to positively impact their communities, the state and society at large,” said Chancellor Laurence B. Alexander.
Carr added that the Agricultural Engineering degree will offer three areas of emphasis: power and machinery; agricultural production systems; and soil and water systems:
The Power and Machinery track will challenge students’ creative minds to develop and improve the next generation of agricultural equipment. Upon completion, students may pursue careers in fields associated with hydraulic engineering.
The Agricultural Production Systems track will focus on aspects of animal and plant production, including structural development and analysis and environmental control and air quality issues associated with housed animals and plants. This track will prepare students for careers in agricultural chemistry, large irrigation systems work and management, soil fertility treatment, biological pest control and agricultural commodities.
The Soil and Water Systems track will emphasize the design and evaluation of conservation systems. Students will learn how to mitigate and improve the environmental impacts of production and agriculture. Upon graduation, students will have the knowledge to become water resource specialists, wastewater engineers, environmental engineers, and soil and water conservationists.
University officials believe the response to the new degree programs will be robust, as potential students have expressed desires to study engineering at UAPB. Carr said, individuals in this career path typically enjoy median earnings of more than $111,000 annually.
The Hospitality and Tourism Management course of study will include classes that are key to the hospitality industry and tourism market, including management of restaurants and hotels and the marketing of both. Students will be prepared to thrive as general and sales managers and in entry-level positions.
“The timing of the Hospitality Management and Tourism degree program is ideal as it opens the door for possible partnerships with the new casino resort coming to Pine Bluff,” said Dr. Carr. Individuals who are interested in the hospitality and tourism field should expect the work to involve hours beyond the typical 8-to-5 day, and Carr, said the university will structure the classes likewise.
“We will receive $500,000 per year over the next 5 years for agriculture-related scholarships. We hope to use these funds to expand scholarship opportunities to include students majoring in our two new degree programs,” he added.
University officials said graduates of the Hospitality and Tourism Management program can expect to earn between $40,000 and $50,000 annually.