Southeast Arkansas College is a two year associate degree granting college in Pine Bluff, Arkansas. Students and others in the area often refer to it as SEARK. ('serck') Formerly a vocational-technical school, the state legislature designated the school as a college in 1991 with the name Pines Technical College. Southeast Arkansas College acquired its current name in 1998.
Southeast Arkansas College was originally named Arkansas Vocational-Technical School. It began offering postsecondary vocational-technical programs on September 21, 1959. Act 328 of 1957 set the stage for it to become the first vocational-technical school in Arkansas to meet the needs of industry and to provide jobs, and raise the standard of living, for Arkansas citizens. The school’s first director was Leon Coker, who headed it from 1958 to 1974. The school’s name was later changed to Pines Vocational-Technical School.
When Act 1244 of the Seventy-eighth Arkansas General Assembly, was signed into law by Governor Bill Clinton on April 17, 1991, it re-designated and redefined the mission of eleven existing postsecondary vocational-technical schools located throughout the state to technical colleges. Consequently, state authority for these institutions was transferred from the Arkansas Board of Vocational-Technical Education to the Arkansas Board of Higher Education, which serves as the state coordinating agency for all public universities, community colleges, and technical colleges in Arkansas.
With the enactment of Act 1244 on July 1, 1991, all land, buildings, equipment, and personnel associated with Pines Vocational-Technical School were transferred to Pines Technical College. In October 1991, the governor appointed the charter members of the Pines Technical College Board of Trustees. The college’s first president, Dr. Terry J. Puckett (1992–2000), was appointed by the board effective December 1, 1992. To better reflect the college’s service area, it changed its name from Pines Technical College to Southeast Arkansas Technical College on July 1, 1996. The word “Technical” was removed from the college’s name on July 8, 1998.
The mission of Southeast Arkansas College in Pine Bluff is to provide comprehensive community college education and services, with an emphasis on technical education and workforce development, for the citizens of Jefferson, Cleveland, Desha, Drew, Grant, and Lincoln counties.
Educational programs and services at SEARK College include technical career education, workforce development, university transfer education, general education, adult education, continuing education, and community services. SEARK College provides nursing and allied health, criminal justice, computer training, and academic transfer programs, among others. As of 2007, its average enrollment is 2,200 students per semester with a faculty and staff of 132. The college also partners with the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff to provide workforce training for the existing workforce and to provide basic skills and specialized training for the unemployed.
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