01 Jun UACCM’s Diana Arn retires
After 33 years of service to UACCM, Vice Chancellor of Academic Services Diana Arn retired effective May 31.
As UACCM’s chief academic officer, Arn was responsible for the administration of the college’s instructional and non-instructional academic programs and services.
“This is a very bittersweet time for UACCM. While I could not be happier for Ms. Arn as she retires, it will certainly leave a huge hole at UACCM,” said Chancellor Lisa Willenberg. “Her commitment to a quality education and the integrity that accompanied that commitment is by far one of her many great attributes. The combination of her many years’ experience at the same institution undoubtedly means a great deal of institutional knowledge is also being retired.”
During her tenure, the campus community grew with new buildings that have been constructed for academic purposes, including the construction of the Workforce Training Center in 2018 that houses several programs and the UACCM Workforce Development and Community Education department. In 2009, UACCM opened the newly constructed E. Allen Gordon Library, with its use expanded in 2015 under Arn to include more student support services.
Arn provided a steady hand when UACCM expanded its areas of study necessary for its continued growth. Most recently, the college reactivated the collision repair and refinishing technology and dietary management programs, with classes beginning in the fall semester. UACCM Adult Education expanded under her tenure, as new facilities opened in Conway and Clinton in 2017. She also oversaw the formation of commercial driver training classes in 2016 and the industrial mechanics and maintenance technology program in 2015.
Along with the growth of technical areas, Arn worked to create more transfer opportunities for students seeking to gain a bachelor’s degree. Under her leadership, UACCM has forged multiple 2+2 agreements with universities that provide students a blueprint to graduate UACCM on time and provide seamless transfer.
A U.S. Army veteran, she joined the college in 1987 — then called Petit Jean Technical School — as a business education instructor. In 2002, she became division chair of humanities, social sciences and mathematics, then was vice chancellor starting in 2008. She also has notable experience sitting on committees. Since 2008, she has sat on the Arkansas Rural Nursing Education Consortium Board, including presiding as chair on three separate occasions, and has served on the Arkansas Community Colleges Board. She also led the college through its accreditation with the Higher Learning Commission.
Arn made history as the first woman to lead UACCM with her appointment as interim chancellor by University of Arkansas System President Dr. Donald D. Bobbitt in January 2019. She held the role until the appointment of Willenberg by the UA Board of Trustees.
As the first member of her family to go to college, one of Arn’s strengths was her ability to identify with UACCM students based on her own life experience. Herself a community college graduate, she gained an associate of applied science degree in business from Arkansas State University-Beebe.
In March, Arn reflected on her life and career at the UACCM’s Talks, Thoughts and Treats lecture series about her decision to attend college.
“It was nothing my parents ever thought nor expected me to do,” she said during the lecture, and then turned to a nearby gathering of students. “It took me seven years to get through schools, and students, sometimes we push you to get through it. Sometimes I could go to school and sometimes I had to work to be able to go to school. But I had a goal, and I was going to get through it.”
She received a bachelor’s degree from Harding University, then she earned a M.S.E. in business education at the University of Central Arkansas.