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Playing Catch-up: Three in Arkansas

June 7, 2017

In higher education, there are three settings for the exchange of information: wholesale, retail, and boutique. Of necessity, I spend more of my classroom time in the first of those: delivering quantities of information to large classes at either 8:00 a.m. or 4:00 p.m., when we would all rather be somewhere else. My colleagues who are privileged to teach in the other settings — the class of modest size, where absence is noticed and students become more than faces, or the academic equivalent of the boutique, the downright intimate student-faculty relationship that can move to a back booth at Howard Johnson’s —  don’t often thank me for making that possible: because faculty positions are a function of student numbers times credits offered (what used to be called FTEs or “full-time equivalencies”), I create their boutique, that is, my large numbers compensate for the minimal FTEs they generate.

In the next few days I’ll be clearing my desktop by posting multiple candidates for A-A status in groups like these three churches in Arkansas: Methodist and Presbyterian in Clarksville and Baptist in Malvern. Clarksville, home of the University of the Ozarks, has a couple churches that might be larger than their community warranted, simply because of the student population. First Presbyterian at Cherry Street and College Avenue was built in 1922 from plans by Rogers architect A. O. Clarke. The restoration of its stained glass dome affords limited views of the interior. The Methodist church, on the other hand, has been replaced with a block-square campus in far more traditional style than this almost Progressive example.

Malvern’s inventive Baptist church takes considerable stylistic latitude, blending the Neo-Classical and Romanesque Revival in a not entirely successful composition. It’s gone, though I would have found it difficult to protest the demolition.

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