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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Mailbag: Feb. 20

    In response to Feb. 13 column titled, “UA needs strong leader as president”:

    The opinion piece titled “UA needs strong leader as president,” published on Feb. 13, contains serious factual errors.

    First, Arizona State University and the UA have exactly the same admissions standards, set by the Arizona Board of Regents. Neither institution has lowered its standards.

    Second, the academic quality of ASU’s freshman class is exactly the same as that of UA. ASU freshmen have the same average for SAT and ACT test scores and high school GPA as UA freshmen. The only difference is that ASU’s class is larger.

    Third, the assertion that ASU is a “golden child of the regents” is absurd. Arizona Board of Regents meetings and decisions are public, and anyone who cares to watch the proceedings and read the documents will find not the slightest bit of evidence to support this assertion.

    While it may be tempting to look for political favors or easy explanations for the dramatic growth in ASU’s reputation and results over the last decade, the truth is that it has come through a powerful and clearly articulated mission, a laser focus on breaking down barriers to knowledge creation and academic success, and hard work by thousands of faculty, staff and students.

    While we consider ourselves competitors in sports, we are colleagues everywhere else. ASU and the UA are united in our drive to serve the citizens of Arizona, to advance our collective impact on the world, and to produce highly skilled, innovative graduates. We are keenly interested in the success of the University of Arizona and look forward to working with your new president.

    — Terri Shafer,
    ASU associate vice president

    We could not agree more with the title of your Feb. 13 editorial “UA needs strong leader as president,” but the content of the piece is sorely misinformed.

    Policy decisions made by the Arizona Board of Regents are driven by three major factors: what’s best for students, what’s best for the state and what will allow each institution to achieve and excel at their respective missions. Statements made to the contrary are absolutely misinformed and wrong.

    The UA, like its cohorts Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and all other public institutions of higher education across the country, faces unparalled battles in balancing the delivery of high-quality, affordable and accessible education with never-before-seen budget challenges while at the same time evolving to meet the increasing demands for higher education.

    The Board of Regents has adopted an Enterprise Plan that maximizes the unique strengths in each university’s discovery, teaching, learning and service missions while at the same time rewarding organizational adaptability, innovation and entrepreneurship in a high change environment. This plan was developed collaboratively with our university presidents and has been recognized locally and nationally as one of the most innovative and aggressive strategic plans for a university system.

    This plan emphasizes quality. Admissions standards at our three state universities remain identical. We hold each of the universities to higher standards of performance, efficiency and productivity to achieve our ultimate goal of having a
    top-performing university system to serve students and address the state’s need for a skilled, innovative workforce and sustainable economic growth.

    Had the Wildcat editorial board cared to do even a minimal amount of fact checking, you may have penned a different editorial. You could have reported that the UA is making great progress in a number of key areas such as increasing the number of bachelor’s and master’s degrees awarded, including those in the critical areas of science, technology, engineering and math. That’s something worthy of your ink.

    The UA is in fact a premier educational and research institution. The Board of Regents would advocate for nothing less and we have the utmost confidence that your new president, Dr. Ann Weaver Hart, has the experience, skill and successful track record to take the university to an even higher level of excellence.

    — Dennis DeConcini,
    regent and UA presidential search committee co-chair

    Rick Myers,
    regent and UA presidential search committee co-chair

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