The University of Arkansas in Pine Bluff stands as a piece of American and southern history, established by the Legislative Act of 1873 as both a land-grant Agricultural, Mechanical, and Normal College, but also as an institution “for the convenience and well-being of the poorer classes”. What was built stands as the oldest historically black college in the nation, created to “provide the liberal and practical education of the laboring classes” (and was segregated from the other University of Arkansas schools for most of its time) and standing today as a comprehensive, full-fledged member of the UA system open to all races and genders.
UAPB’s ultimate goal is to “assist America in building a new social organism that will accommodate racial, ethnic, and cultural pluralism…enhance the quality of lives…and weld the nation into one people”, a mission it’s carried through its almost 140 years in Pine Bluff. Currently, the university (which left the UA system in 1929, not rejoining until 1972, when it returned as a full member) has a student body of about 3400, mostly Bachelor seekers, but with a small percentage in Master’s programs. The school still maintains a majority black population (about 95%) of students, thought it is no longer the rule, and it has remained at its location since 1929, though it was expanded and will continue to do so (it includes about 1000 acres of land for their farming and “aquaculture” programs).
Academics at UAPB offer a variety of majors, with many still true to the schools roots (e.g. 4 Agricultural Science B.S. programs, a B.S. in Fisheries Biology). Primarily for undergrads, UAPB houses 5 Bachelor schools including the School of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Human Science, all together offering 40+ Bachelor degrees with numerous majors of study to permutate most (there is also one AA degree in Electronics if you look hard), leading to nearly 100 degree options. Though education and agriculture are still vaunted areas of study, the aquaculture industry (controlled farming of fish) is a booming department at UAPB, with a good portion of their research funding diverted to that area.
Several Bachelor degrees, though not all, fall under the category of UAPB’s “8 Semester Degree Program”, creating a strict, self-patrolled program of study that will guarantee a 4 year course of study for degree.
The Graduate School has offerings in Education (an MAT, and MEd programs in Early Childhood and Secondary Education, with numerous specializations offered), as well as a MS in Addiction Studies, one in Agricultural Regulations, and, of course, one in Aquaculture/Fisheries.
The Center for Teaching, Learning, and Advising is responsible for “enhancing and developing instructional and advisement skills” for the university and has been pushing for expansion in Pine Bluff’s distance education offerings (one of its “major thrusts” as of right now). As of now, there is only a small selection of online classes each semester for students, but with no strictly distance education or online degree programs. Total, there are about 50 online classes offered, mostly undergrad.
Looking to bring its history into the future with expansion, both technological and physical, research, and a commitment to academic excellence, the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff stands shoulder to shoulder with other UA schools as home to relevant and comprehensive education for all.