By Associated Press - Thursday, November 13, 2014

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Faculty members at a northwest Arkansas college are urging the delay of an online education program.

The faculty senate of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville unanimously passed a resolution Wednesday calling on the UA System to postpone implementing its eVersity program, the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette ( ) reported.

The eVersity is a planned online university that will draw on campuses within the UA system and compete with for-profit schools that are popular with older, working students. It’s expected to offer its first classes next fall.

Many UA campuses have been building their own online course offerings for years. The faculty resolution states a concern that “unfair competition of eVersity will undermine online high quality courses from University of Arkansas campuses.”

Chancellor Joel Anderson of the University of Arkansas at Little Rock said in an internal memorandum last Thursday that some faculty members were reluctant to participate and develop curriculum and courses for eVersity.

“A number of faculty have expressed reservations about UALR’s participation … because they perceive eVersity as a lower-priced, in-house, competitor that will draw students from UALR programs,” Anderson wrote.

The UA system’s board of trustees recently voted to pull $5 million from campuses for the program’s start-up costs. On Tuesday, the college’s student government passed a resolution against funding eVersity.

UA System President Donald Bobbitt emphasized his support for eVersity in a statement following the passing of the faculty resolution.

“We have received resolutions of support from both the Arkansas House and Senate, funding from various legislative leaders, official recognition from the Arkansas Department of Higher Education and its Coordinating Board, and funding from the Governor’s office and the UA System Board of Trustees, among others,” Bobbitt said.

In October, several people, including chancellor G. David Gearhart of the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville, told trustees they opposed the $5 million interinstitutional loan for eVersity.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette,

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