The University of Central Arkansas (UCA) is a comprehensive public higher education institution located on a 365-acre campus in Conway. The school lists 709 faculty members (510 full-time, 199 part-time). Fifty-four percent of instructors have terminal degrees.

The University of Central Arkansas was founded by the General Assembly in 1907 as the Arkansas State Normal School. The legislature established the school for the training of teachers. The school's name changed to Arkansas State Teachers College (ASTC) in 1925. The school became known as the State College of Arkansas (SCA) in January 1967 to better reflect newer missions to provide training in the liberal arts and health care. The Arkansas Department of Higher Education changed the name again to the University of Central Arkansas in 1975.






UCA offers a number of degree programs including the associate of arts, associate of applied science, bachelor of arts, bachelor of science, bachelor of science in education, bachelor of fine arts, bachelor of business administration, bachelor of music education, master of arts, master of business administration, master of music, master of music education, master of science in education, master of science in nursing, and specialist in education.

College of Business Administration

College of Education

College of Fine Arts and Communication

College of Health and Behavioral Sciences

College of Liberal Arts

College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics


McAlister Hall, home of the Honors College.


McAlister Hall, home of the Honors College.




Honors College

The Honors College was founded by president Jefferson Davis Farris Jr. and professorNorbert Oscar Schedler in 1982. Students in the program pursue their general education course of study in the first two years with other honors students in large groups and small groups. Students who matriculate into the junior year pursue a minor degree in Honors Interdisciplinary Studies. Regular co-curricular activities sponsored by the Honors College include Challenge Week, Issues in the Public Square, High Tables, and Soapboxes. The Honors College has a dedicated interdisciplinary studies faculty. The dean of the Honors College is Richard Scott.

Residential Colleges

The Residential Colleges at UCA are housed in several of the residential halls on campus, but also serve commuter students. The colleges are designed to address the special academic and social needs of first-year college students. There are four unique residential living and learning communities in Residential Colleges: Hughes, State, STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics), Short/Denny, and Minton Commuter College. In each college students take some courses in the residence hall, have upperclass mentors, and attend specific programs. The Residential College also sponsors a "sophomore year experience" begun in 2003. The director of learning communities in this program is Jayme Millsap Stone.

University College

University College (UC) was organized to meet the needs of transitional students, including those who are nontraditional or have remedial needs. Students in the program may complete an Associate of Arts degree in General Studies, or enter a four-year UCA degree program upon completing transitional and general education course requirements. UC has a dedicated faculty and is directed by Julia Winden Fey. In addition to the general education courses required of all UCA students, University College offers University Studies (UNIV 1100), Transitional Writing (UNIV 1300), Transitional Reading (UNIV 1301), Beginning Algebra (UNIV 1330), and Intermediate Algebra (UNIV 1340). Tutoring is provided through the Academic Success Center.

Academic Outreach

Academic Outreach provides community education, community and professional training and development, online learning, and conference services. The division is a member of the Southern Regional Education Board's Electronic Campus.

Student Life

Student Government Association (SGA)

The Student Government Association (SGA) represents the student body in allocating and administrating student activity funds, advising the administration in regard to student-related policies, cooperating with faculty in determining student obligations and honors, considering all student petitions to SGA, planning and supervising all SGA elections, and approving charters or cancellations of Registered Student Organizations (RSOs).

The SGA is composed of total of forty senators divided into an Executive Board consisting of an executive president, executive vice-president, vice-president of operations, and vice-president of finance. SGA representation from each class is as follows: president, vice-president, and five representatives. Additional members: five senators at large, and three graduate senators.

The full Senate meets every Monday at 5 pm in Student Center 208. All students are invited to attend. This is the time when all the classes and committees come together, under the direction of the Executive Board, to report on goals and projects that are being carried out by the body. Any student can be appointed to a committee.

Registered Student Organizations:

  • Addictions Studies Association
  • Alabaster Dance
  • All Greek Council
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha
  • Alpha Phi Alpha
  • Alpha Psi Omega
  • Alpha Sigma Alpha
  • Alpha Sigma Tau
  • American Association Family & Consumer Science
  • American Chemical Society Student Affiliates
  • American Institute of Graphic Design
  • American Society of Interior Design
  • AMSA Premedical Chapter
  • Anime & Manga Society
  • Apostolic Students for Christ
  • Arkansas Hall Council
  • Art Education Association
  • Art History Association
  • Association of Muslim Students
  • Baptist Collegiate Ministry
  • Baridon Hall Council
  • Bernard Hall Council
  • Beta Alpha Psi
  • Bike Club
  • Black Graduate Association
  • Black Men United
  • Business & Information Technologies (form. The Computer Club)
  • Carmichael Hall Council
  • Catholic Campus Ministry
  • Central Arkansas Student Athletic Training Association
  • Chi Alpha Christian Fellowship
  • Church of Christ Student Union
  • Circle K International
  • College Republicans
  • Collegiate Middle Level Association
  • Computer Science Club
  • Conway Hall Council
  • Corps of Cadets
  • Delta Zeta
  • Diamonds
  • Ebony Models
  • Environmental Alliance
  • Fellowship of Christian Athletes
  • Friends of Christ Uniting Students (FOCUS)
  • Gamma Beta Phi
  • German Club
  • Graduate Association for Student Personnel
  • Graduate Association of Counseling & Psychology Students
  • Griot Society
  • Hispanic Pride
  • Honors Center Society
  • Horn Club of the International Horn Society
  • Hughes Hall Council
  • Humane Society
  • ICC
  • Insurance Society
  • Interdenominational Christian Council
  • Interfraternity Council
  • International Trade Association
  • International Tuba Euphonium Association
  • Iota Phi Theta
  • Judah Chorale Collegiate Choir
  • Kappa Alpha Psi
  • Kappa Delta Pi
  • Kappa Kappa Psi
  • Kappa Sigma Colony
  • K-Life Ministry
  • Ladies of Black and Gold
  • Lambda Pi Eta
  • Leadership Council
  • Local Harvest
  • Lutheran Student Fellowship
  • Minority Mentorship Council
  • Missionary Baptist Student Fellowship
  • Model United Nations
  • National Pan-Hellenic Council
  • National Science Teachers Association
  • National Society of Collegiate Scholars
  • New Hall Council
  • North American Saxophone Alliance
  • Omega Psi Phi
  • Panhellenic Council
  • Phi Beta Lambda
  • Phi Beta Sigma
  • Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia
  • Phi Sigma Kappa
  • Phi Upsilon Omicron
  • Physical Therapy Club
  • Pi Kappa Alpha
  • Pi Sigma Epsilon
  • Pre-Physical Therapy Club
  • Prism Alliance
  • Psi Chi/Psychology Club
  • Public Administration Club
  • Public Relations Club
  • Residence Hall Association
  • Rotaract Club
  • Serving Central Arkansas Together
  • Sigma Alpha Lambda
  • Sigma Kappa
  • Sigma Nu
  • Sigma Phi Epsilon
  • Sigma Sigma Sigma
  • Sigma Tau Gamma
  • Speech Language Hearing Association
  • Stadium Park Apartment Council
  • State Hall Council
  • Student Activities Board
  • Student Dietetic Association
  • Student Government Association
  • Student Nurse's Association
  • Student Occupational Therapy Association
  • Student Support Staff
  • Students for Creative Anachronism
  • Students for Life
  • Students for Pre-Occupational Therapy
  • Students for the Propagation of Black Culture
  • Students In Free Enterprise
  • Tau Beta Sigma
  • Teachers United
  • The Bear Den
  • Track Club
  • Ultimate Frisbee Club
  • Umoja Wa Afrika
  • United Leftist Front
  • Up 'Til Dawn
  • Words of Wisdom
  • Writing Club
  • Young Democrats
  • Young Life Fellowship
  • Zeta Phi Beta Sorority







History of UCA

Arkansas State Normal School (1907-1925)

UCA was founded as the Arkansas State Normal School in 1907 under Arkansas Act 317. Five communities in the state were considered as a potential site for the new school: BentonConway, Fort Smith, Quitman, and Russellville. Conway's winning bid included a cash payment of $51,753 plus land and improvements to infrastructure. The city's location in a "dry" county also recommended it. The first building for the college's eight professors and nine academic departments was completed in September 1908. The first class of 107 students enrolled that same year. Successful students enrolled at the school originally received a two-year Licentiate of Instruction degree.

A dormitory for women, Doyne Hall, was finished in 1913. (Women moved into McAlister Hall in 1934, and men were placed in Doyne.) To facilitate the teaching of teachers in context the school established a Model School where grade school students could be educated and master teachers could be observed. The Administration Building, now known as Main Hall, was constructed in 1919. Many students also participated in the agricultural education programs of the school, reflecting the rural foundation of the state. Each student tended school produce in a 500 square foot personal plot of land in the university garden. The school also raised livestock and other products for consumption in the school cafeteria.

Arkansas State Teachers College (ASTC) (1925-1967)

The campus began to take its modern shape under the federal works programs undertaken during the New Deal. Ten buildings were erected in the 1930s, including McAlister Hall, Wingo Hall, Ida Waldran Auditorium, the Prince Center, Doyne Annex (Meadors Hall), the President's Home, Commons (McCastlain Hall), Bernard Hall, the National Youth Administration Building (Baridon Hall), the Home Management House, and a Heating Plant.

During World War II the college joined higher education institutions across the country in contributing to the war effort. Students enlisted in the armed services, and enrollment declined sharply. The Women's Auxiliary Army Corps (WAAC) trained 1,800 women for non-combat roles in the conflict. The Army Air Corps Cadets and Naval Cadets took specially-designed courses on the campus, training many aviators and navigators. Forty-six UCA alumni were killed in the war, each recognized by what are now tall oak trees lining Donaghey Avenue and sidewalks in front of Wingo, McCastlain, and Bernard halls.

Agriculture disappeared from the curriculum in 1948. In 1956 the color barrier came down at the school when African American student Thomas Embry enrolled at ASTC. Embry did not graduate from the school. The first black graduate was Joseph Norman Manley in 1958. Manley went on to earn a master's degree from the University of Arkansas at Fayetteville and a doctor of optometry degree from Ohio State University.

Torreyson Library was completed around 1963.

State College of Arkansas (SCA) (1967-1975)

The first African American educator, Mable B. Anderson in childhood education, joined the faculty of the State College of Arkansas in 1969. They were followed a year later by Clyde Penny and Marian Ross. Ross established the Department of Occupational Therapy.

University of Central Arkansas (UCA) (1975-present)

The first bid to elevate SCA to university status came in a 1969 bill that failed on a 44-16 vote in the Arkansas House of Representatives. A successful bid to university status came on January 21, 1975. Within a decade the school had founded ten graduate degree programs, seven more undergraduate programs, and the UCA Press. In the Fall of 1982 the school added an Honors College, only the fourteenth such institution in the country, to sustain "severely gifted" students. In 1986 the UCA Archives came into being under the leadership of Tom Dillard.


Since 2006 UCA has been a Division I school and a member of the Southland Athletic Conference. Other members of the conference are McNeese State, Nicholls, Northwestern State, Sam Houston State, Southeastern Louisiana, Stephen F. Austin, and Texas State. The head football coach is Clint Conque.


UCA is a former member of the Division II Gulf South Conference.

University enrollment

Fall term enrollment figures for UCA. Data prior to 1961 could not be verified.

Year Enrollment
1908 105
1909 158
1910 n/a
1911 n/a
1912 n/a
1913 312
1914 n/a
1915 399
1916 476
1917 328
1918 301
1919 446
1920 482
1921 679
1922 771
1923 902
1924 847
1925 871
1926 854
1927 905
1928 873
1929 n/a
1930 806
1931 685
1932 502
1933 589
1934 699
1935 730
1936 683
1937 715
1938 793
1939 832
1940 797
1941 596
1942 422
1943 291
1944 355
1945 498
1946 1,061
1947 1,428
1948 1,503
1949 1,587
1950 1,676
1951 1,288
1952 1,206
1953 1,137
1954 1,112
1955 1,221
1956 1,311
1957 1,334
1958 1,514
1959 1,629
1960 1,681
1961 1,798
1962 1,973
1963 1,968
1964 2,313
1965 2,707
1966 3,364
1967 3,887
1968 4,255
1969 4,513
1970 4,351
1971 4,380
1972 4,585
1973 4,535
1974 4,508
1975 4,759
1976 4,985
1977 5,190
1978 5,349
1979 5,538
1980 5,739
1981 6,001
1982 5,875
1983 5,993
1984 6,245
1985 6,452
1986 6,425
1987 6,614
1988 6,698
1989 7,477
1990 8,396
1991 9,057
1992 9,473
1993 9,567
1994 9,192
1995 8,882
1999 8,739
2000 8,481
2001 8,486
2002 8,553
2003 9,516
2004 10,069
2005 11,375
2006 12,330
2007 12,619
2008 12,974
2009 11,781
2010 11,444

UCA Presidents

The University of Central Arkansas has had eight presidents and at least one interim president:

UCA Provosts

Campus Buildings

Ironically, one of the more well-known buildings on campus isn't actually on campus. The Erbach house is situated south of AETN on Donaghey.

Notable former students or graduates


  • Jimmy Bryant, The Centennial History of the University of Central Arkansas (Virginia Beach, VA: Donning Company, 2008), 9-19, 42-53, 62-104.
  • Debra Hale-Shelton, "Dip Seen in UCA Student Numbers," Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, August 9, 2009.

External links