UAFSUniversity of Arkansas, Fort Smith
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Hale said an all-online graduate from UAFS would receive the same diploma as someone who attended all on-campus classes.
Hale said UAFS welcomes online graduates to walk, as well, and officials have traveled to parts of Arkansas to hand-deliver diplomas to other graduates.
Sandi Sanders, Westark's provost and CEO, said Westark would officially become UAFS on January 1, 2002.
Sanders stressed that it would take time for UAFS to introduce additional four-year programs.
While she estimated that UAFS would eventually introduce between 15 and 25 four-year programs, she also cautioned that creation of new degree programs is a "step by step process.
Sanders said that because UAFS will be, like Westark, "a learning institution," she did not expect that faculty would see their workloads reduced to the university-standard load.
Sanders also said UAFS would continue Westark's associate's degree and certificate programs.
UAFS would be the 11th institution within the University of Arkansas System.
UAFS provides accredited programs with a strong educational foundation and built-in opportunities to spur economic development.
During the past year, UAFS has developed a master plan that envisions ambitious changes to the 170-acre campus that will include expansion or replacement of existing buildings and construction of new facilities to house a wide variety of academic and cultural activities.
was officially renamed The Blue Lion at UAFS Downtown.
UAFS launched its first mobile app for iTunes and Google Play in November 2013 and has already attracted more than 10,000 users.