One of the most important components in the life of a student-athlete is academics, and the academic advising staff at UALR has an open-door policy that facilitates and encourages regular contact with student-athletes. Dr. Jan Dannaway and his staff strive to help student-athletes feel a part of the academic community, develop sound academic and career goals and ultimately be successful graduates.
The academic center in the Jack Stephens Center allows student-athletes access to a first-rate facility which they can visit for academic advising, tutoring and schedule consultation. The academic center features 23 computer terminals, each of which provides access to the internet and a printer.
Open communication exists between the academic advising staff and the coaches concerning academic policies and student performance. All student-athletes are guided and monitored for their academic progress and performance throughout the year. Tutoring is one of many valuable resources available through academic advising. By working with tutors and professional staff, student-athletes generally experience reduced test anxiety and improved grades.
Dannaway joined the Trojan athletic department in 2004, bringing with him over 30 years of experience on the UALR campus. In 1975, Dannaway came to the university and worked as a supervisor of student aid before being promoted to acting assistant dean of students in 1977. He was given the post permanently in 1980 and served in that capacity until 1994, when he became a student development specialist working with incoming students. He spent 10 years at that position before joining the athletic department.
Dannaway holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education and recreation, and a master’s degree in guidance and counseling, both of which are from the University of Mississippi, where he played collegiate baseball. He also has a doctorate in student personnel and counselor education and a doctoral minor in physical education from Mississippi State University.
Recent academic highlights for UALR athletics include:
• UALR has posted the highest multi-year Academic Progress Rate (APR) in the state of Arkansas four of the last five years. The APR is a term-by-term measure of eligibility and retention for Division I student-athletes that was developed as an early indicator of eventual graduation rates.
• Based upon the most recent APR data, the UALR men’s and women’s basketball teams have the highest multi-year APR of all Division I member institutions in the state of Arkansas.
• According to the most recent NCAA Graduation Success Rate, UALR posted the highest NCAA Graduation Success Rate of all Division I member institutions in the state of Arkansas.
• UALR student-athletes posted a combined cumulative GPA of 3.18 through the Spring 2014 semester, with 71 percent earning a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or better.
• UALR boasts a 93 percent graduation rate for all student-athletes who remained at UALR and exhausted their eligibility — measured over a 10-year period.
• Head men’s basketball coach Steve Shields boasts an exhausted eligibility graduation rate of 100 percent during his 11 years at UALR, while the women’s basketball program sports a 94 percent rate under head coach Joe Foley.
• For the 2012-13 academic year, 11 of UALR’s 13 eligible athletic teams earned All-Academic status from their respective coaches associations.
• The UALR swimming and diving team boasted the second-highest team GPA in the nation (3.68) during the Spring 2014 semester and earned Scholar All-America Status by the College Swimming Coaches Association of America (CSCAA).
• The UALR women’s golf team boasted the seventh-highest team GPA in the nation (3.74) during the 2013-14 academic year and was recognized by the Women’s Golf Coaches Association (WGCA) for its efforts.