Education, Coarsely

Root for the Phightin’ Phoenices to Roost in Arkansas

DATELINE MIRTHOLOGY — We, the Campus Welcoming Committee of the University of Arkansas System, would like to extend a hand or rather wing to our newest school, the University of Phoenix.

As the UA System Board of Trustees has not yet voted on the adoption of this virtual campus, we might seem hasty. But this purchase has been delayed, if not debated, long enough. Let’s follow the lead of our popular new governor and act before thinking everything through.

Update: This fantasy will remain imaginary as trustees quashed the acquisition (alternate link) April 24, 2023. But read on to enjoy the show.

Trustees in public have only questioned the acquisition without opposing it — quoted in “University of Arkansas System Board Split on University of Phoenix Deal” (alternate link) — nowhere near “Are you nuts,” “This could break the bank, “Are we losing sight of our purpose?” “This’ll weaken the stability and reputation of our corporeal campuses.” Thus, the committee cheerily accepts what’s coming.

Later, a new name — University of Arkansas at Phoenix or University of Arkansas, Phoenix, or University of Arkansas-Phoenix — will be determined by the governor with advice from her out-of-state staff.

The private enterprise, with the social media handle UoPX (pronounced YOH-PIX), while an online higher education institution has been based since its 1976 founding in Phoenix, Arizona. While Arkansas (like Oklahoma) is not Arizona, the ZIP postal codes — AR and AZ, respectively — have been confusing for decades.

The AR-AZ confusion will only increase with the acquisition, but that’s good. Stephens Inc. has enough gold to buy out climate change: Arizona gets rain, and we get succulents. As if Arkansas doesn’t have enough thorny situations.

Well, I never been to Heaven / But I been to Oklahoma / Well, they tell me I was born there / But I really don’t remember / In Oklahoma, not Arizona / What does it matter, what does it matter? 

— Hoyt Axton (Waylon Jennings cover )

The UA System Welcome Committee, to avoid confusion not to mention hard feelings, sends greetings to our fellow land-grant school the University of Arizona — Go, Wildcats! Uh-oh, cats prey on birds. Beep-beep, Phoenix, fly!

If universities still teach ancient mythologies — as opposed to making it up as we go along, like now — students would already know that the fiery phoenix of legend never quite dies as it keeps getting reborn.

The UoPX new abbreviation is expected to be UA-Phoe, pronounced U-A FEE. UAP is too similar to UAPB (UA-Pine Bluff). There’s conservative concern UAP would be spoken as YIPPEE, which indicates fun.

The committee also welcomes the new Transformative Education Services Inc. (TES pronounced TEASE), recently created by the UA-System to hold UA-Phoe (UA-fee) separate from the Arkansas grounded campuses.

The plural of phoenix is phoenices. We won’t have to look far for a mascot for the Phoenix Athletic Department or risk further political incorrectness with the cheer, GO PHIGHTING PHOENICES!

Grabbing Phoenix by the tail is hoped to land better than the previous attempt, in 2021, to buy our way into 100 percent remote digital, UA-Grantham, originally Grantham Radio License School. While Grantham’s team had been the Eagles, its mascot now is the digit the Talon. The UA-Sys Welcoming Committee assures all Arkansans it has a cheer, “TAKE IT FOR GRANTHAM!” 

To be in UA, Grantham and Phoenix will field teams like Razorbacks, Lions, Golden Lions and Trojans. As online campuses, they will compete in video games and video gaming, once these are differentiated by the NCAA. When this will be set is its own sporting proposition.

Grantham started in Los Angeles and now is officed in Little Rock. We recommend Hot Springs or North Little Rock to house Phoenix, as both cities have enjoyed waves of rebirth.

To plan, the Welcome Committee first reads the writing on walls not covered with ivy. The UA System is anticipating when student enrollment declines to where it can’t be rescued by offering in-state tuition in neighboring states. Enrollment is falling already on some UA campuses.

Finding a few cash cows, once past prime so to speak, is one way to keep the land-grant public higher education system afloat. Valuing volume over quality has its attractions but only for certain economic models.

Instead of continuous construction, repurpose existing campus buildings and offer naming privileges. Ever heard the descendants of UA-Fayetteville alumnus Aulden Main regret the beloved Old Main?

Additional multidiscipline and honors majors could be designed, and charge for them like a private college. If a family wants a Rice or Hendrix University education for their kid, the UA System could set something up yet with tuition and fees temptingly set between a private school and the UA’s.

Some quarters push for charter schools. Why not charter colleges? Imagine the attraction of the higher ed equivalent of open-enrollment charter and district conversion charter colleges.

Consider the UA-System purpose, “provides communities in Arkansas with access to academic and professional opportunities, develops intellectual growth and cultural awareness in its students and provides knowledge and research skills to an ever-changing society.”

Or claim TES (Tease) is both sound and sincere.

©2023 Ben S. Pollock

Illustration of a comical phoenix and pig
Images from
Print Friendly, PDF & Email