Home Breaking News Howard County native to lead state’s higher education

Howard County native to lead state’s higher education


LITTLE ROCK – Dr. Maria Markham, a native of Howard County, has been named director of the Arkansas Department of Higher Education.

Her first official day in the position will be Monday, Aug. 15.

Dr. Markham currently serves as vice chancellor for academic services at UA-Cossatot.

A graduate of Dierks High School, Dr. Markham received her bachelor’s degree in marketing from Henderson State University in 2002 and her master’s degree in business administration from HSU in 2003. She received her doctorate in business from Northcentral University in Prescott Valley, Ariz.

She has worked at Cossatot for the past 11 years.

The ADHE Director Search Committee met July 26 in executive session and interviewed three candidates, including Dr. Markham; Dr. MacGregor Stephenson, former deputy chief of staff to Texas Gov. Rick Perry; and Dr. John Townsend, associate vice chancellor of workforce development for Tennessee’s board of regents.

The search committee recommended Dr. Markham as the new director of ADHD Friday, July 29. The board voted unanimously to hire her.

“We’re excited for her,” UA-Cossatot Chancellor Dr. Steve Cole said Monday. “We’re proud and a little sad. She’s been a great vice chancellor for academic services. Now we have a higher education director that no one can outwork. She’s intelligent and knows academics. We take pride in her being from southwest Arkansas. This is a good thing for our state.”

Dr. Markham’s last official day at Cossatot will be Friday, Aug. 12, before she moves to her new role in Little Rock Aug. 15.

The search for Dr. Markham’s successor is underway. Cossatot has advertised the position, Dr. Cole said.

“We will have a two-week search. After that, we’ll conduct interviews. We hope that the first week of September, we will have a new vice chancellor. We hate replacing people, but we always find great people to succeed them,” Dr. Cole said.

Dr. Markham began working at Cossatot in 2005 as director of the Career Pathways initiative. The next year she became division chair for public services. She has been vice chancellor since 2010.

“We’re proud of her,” Dr. Cole said. “This is great for higher education.”

Dr. Markham will succeed Dr. Brett Powell, who recently resigned to become vice president for finance and administration at Henderson State.

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