Dean of Liberal Arts
Phil Ballard graduated from Hope High School in 1968 and attended college at Henderson State where he earned his bachelor's degree in English in 1972. He did his practice teaching at Prescott High School and then taught for three years at Cross County High School in northeast Arkansas. To help him with his volunteer church work, he went to graduate school in Ft. Worth, Texas, where he earned a master's degree in religious education at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary.
After graduating in 1977, he taught in the secondary schools of Hempstead County for seven years and was active in the Arkansas Education Association, its local affiliate, and the Arkansas Council of Teachers of English. As a consultant-evaluator, he also did site visits for the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.
In 1985, he went back to graduate school to work on a master's degree in the college teaching of English at what was then called East Texas State University. While there, he tutored in the writing center and taught courses in composition and literature. Upon graduating in 1987, he accepted a full-time teaching post at what was then Southern Arkansas University - El Dorado Branch and that was later renamed South Arkansas Community College when it merged in 1992 with Oil Belt Technical College.
During his years at SouthArk, he has taught courses in literature, English composition, and public speaking. He also served as division chair for humanities and social sciences for nine years from 1992 through 2001, served as interim vice president for academic affairs for eight months in 1998-99, coordinated the 1995-96 self-study for reaccreditation, and started the Writers’ Ink creative writing contest and literary magazine for Union County high school students. He also proposed and wrote the writers’ guidelines for the college’s literary magazine for adults, Between the Lines, and served as managing editor or associate editor from 1999 through the present. He also helped start the South Arkansas Historical Journal and serves on its board of editors. In addition to his administrative work, he chairs the SouthArk Lecture Series Committee.