UALR Series: Meet Ann Bain
October 20-26, 2014
By Becca Bona
This is the second piece in a series of profiles on the deanship positions at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock. As the University has recently restructured its colleges, and hired a few new deans to fill the positions, this series will act as an introduction and a glimpse into the future of UALR’s redefined vision. Today’s subject is Dr. Ann Bain, dean of the College of Education and Health Sciences. The following profiles will be presented in alphabetical order, by last name.
Finding UALR through education and teaching
Dr. Ann Bain, founding dean of the newly minted College of Education and Health Professions (CEHP), did not know her career path would lead her to higher education.
The Little Rock native attended Mount St. Mary Academy before heading to the University of Central Arkansas. “My plan was to major in elementary education,” she said, but ended up instead steeping herself in nursing, obtaining both an associate’s and a master’s degree before finding her way to UALR.
“My master’s degree (has) a dual emphasis in education and medical surgical nursing,” she explained. As she started her family in the ‘80s, she also began her teaching career at UALR, securing a tenure track. She served as the Nursing Department chair for nearly 20 years, and was able to help push the program forward.
“I was really fortunate to have the opportunity to grow (nursing) and to engage the faculty in the growth of that program,” she said. The program expanded from an enrollment of 60 students as solely an associate’s degree program, to today’s enrollment of nearly 600 students. The options have expanded as well, including a completition program. “It is a definite growth,” she added.
Like every good teacher, she also became a student during this time, pursuing the doctoral program in higher education administration at UALR. She chose this particular path in order to widen her impact down the road. “It gave me some background in financial planning, the link between community colleges and four year colleges, and curriculum building. A lot of that information has really helped me in my administrative positions that I have held,” she said.
Everything she learned in her years of serving the Nursing Department combined with her higher education administration experience came to a head last year, when she stepped in as interim dean for The College of Science during the planning stage of UALR’s restructuring.
She served the year out, and then, as the position came open for the deanship of the new CEHP, something moved her to apply.
“On the very last day … I submitted my application and was selected for an interview and was eventually selected for the position,” she said. “It’s truly an honor.”
As of July 1, the CEHP has been on the move, making changes and getting involved with the community.
New year, new CEHP, new UALR
Bain believes opportunities are truly unlimited for progress at this juncture not only for the CEHP, but also for UALR. The CEHP brings together several of UALR’s established professional programs that are each individually accredited: Educational Leadership; Teacher Education; Audiology and Speech Pathology; and Sports Management; Nursing; CARE (Counseling, Adult and Rehabilitation Education); and the School of Social Work.
“It’s nice to bring the focus on health forward so it’s visible to our external supports and our students, and it also provides for many opportunities for our college to do some collaborative initiatives,” she said.
These initiatives span the college, and one of the examples Bain highlighted involves collaboration on a broader scale – with the city and specifically, Mayor Stodola’s Love Your School program. “We are going to start in the spring with the nutritional education pieces. It’s going to bring Teacher Education, Nursing, Health and Human Performance together for this initial collaboration,” she explained.
Looking toward creating more partnerships with business leaders, companies, and the community at large, the CEHP is in the perfect position to get involved, geographically speaking. “Little Rock is the center of health care (in Arkansas.) We’ve already started a list of potential collaborative initiatives,” she said.
In terms of technology, Bain also sees an angle for the educational side of things to have a voice in the community. “I think that education programs have a responsibility to look at the changing environment and look at what would best meet the needs of our potential students,” she said.
Also in the books is centralizing a STEM center at UALR that would include all of the facilities and programs that fit this model, under one roof. Bain is enthusiastic about the move, as this will streamline working together across the University as a whole.
Although at times stressful, the restructuring process has opened doors at UALR, making community outreach one of many top priorities.
Bain highlighted the progress as she sees it, “The restructuring was complex and it involved a lot of stakeholders, a lot of discussions … but I think it was critical for where we are in our history – we are to a point at looking at what we could do better.”
Opening up a dialogue with the community is integral in this endeavor, and Bain mentioned the Community Connection Center (CCC) – an entity that recently opened and plans to help make community engagement easier for all involved: students, professors, businesses, and Central Arkansas residents.
She also believes the CCC will make UALR more accessible to the community: “We need a centralized office and a person who can be that touchstone and coordinator for community initiatives,” she explained.
In terms of the CCC working with the CEHP, Bain believes it will be an indispensable relationship. “I think that it’s going to be a very powerful force with our college to help with some partnerships,” she said. The CCC is making progress quickly, as she added, “They’re already working on one thing that hasn’t been announced yet which will be very good for my education folks.”
Bain also believes that the college will do well to look at forging some 2 +2 initiative partnerships. These agreements partner with community colleges in order to focus on finishing a four-year degree.
“It’s a plan that enables students to graduate on time with a very clear degree completion path. Our first visit will be with UACC Batesville,” she said.
Each of these steps, not only within the CEHP but also across the University as a whole, gives Central Arkansas an opportunity to claim UALR. Bain said, “UALR is your university, it is Central Arkansas’ university. I believe that the programs that are within this particular college are very important to the life and future of this area.”
When not busy, Bain tries to find time to paint with watercolors and create with pastels. She and her husband enjoy spending time at their cabin at the Red River, which she anticipates will lead to her learning to fly fish. “You’re supposed to do that up there, it’s a rule,” she laughed.
When not casting a line, Bain can be found on UALR’s campus meeting people and working hard. “I like making new friends and I enjoy the diversity of people – I like getting to know people and learning new things. Everybody brings something great to the table … it might be very different from what you’re used to seeing, but it ends up being something that adds to the value either to your life or the group that you’re involved with.”
For more information on the College of Education and Health Professions, visit: http://ualr.edu/cehp/.