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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Monday Morning Quarterbacking

    Shelton picks a provost

    UA president Robert Shelton chose Meredith Hay, the current vice president of research at the University of Iowa, as Arizona’s next provost. Hay will take over as the university’s chief academic officer April 30, if her nomination is approved by the Arizona Board of Regents at its March 6-7 meetings. Hay isn’t the best choice for undergraduate students, but there’s no question that her experience securing funding and promoting research at Iowa will have huge value for the UA’s research mission. At Iowa, she was known not only for overseeing the university’s research programs, but for continuing to work in her own National Institutes of Health-funded research lab. Selecting Hay sends a strong message about the UA’s ambitions as a top-tier research institution. But the UA is already a research powerhouse – it’s things like our dismal retention and graduation rates, our flawed general education program, and our dearth of interdisciplinary programs for undergraduates that really need focused attention from a fresh provost. We hope Hay will reach outside her specialty to address the problems that need the most attention.

    Hiring halt on the horizon

    Facing a cooling economy and a state budget deficit, Arizona Gov. Janet Napolitano issued an executive order Thursday prohibiting the state from hiring any new employees, “”except those that are vital to, and directly involved in, providing for the health and safety of the public or the collection or investment of state revenues.”” For now, the freeze won’t have any effect on Arizona’s public universities, whose hiring is technically subject to the oversight of the Arizona Board of Regents, but it may be a portent of changes to come. According to the Arizona Daily Star, the regents will be considering a university hiring freeze at its meeting in Tempe next week. A halt could seriously damage the UA’s academic mission unless it’s administered with great care, since the university currently has hundreds of open faculty positions and is in the process of hiring three new deans. Leaving those jobs open could affect course offerings and quality for semesters to come. The university needs to do its part in fixing Arizona’s fiscal crisis, but a hiring freeze is a heavy-handed and dangerous means of encouragement.

    UA Alert (everyone else)

    In the wake of several violent incidents on campuses across the country, such as the Virginia Tech shooting in 2007 and killings at Northern Illinois University this past month, the UA is encouraging students to register for UA Alert, a text-messaging service that sends notifications to the university community regarding emergencies on campus. By disseminating correct, timely information, the program aims to reduce panic and ensure rapid response to a crisis. While 10,000 students have signed up so far, that’s only about one-fifth of the student and staff population, and programs like these have a chance to succeed only if they are embraced by the student body at large. Without that widespread support, UA Alert will result in a very well-informed minority attempting to allay the concerns of the panicked masses. UA Alert needs student support to succeed, and more ought to sign up and stay informed.

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