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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA makes changes in administration

Gabriela Diaz
Gabriela Diaz / Arizona Daily Wildcat President Ann Weaver Hart while being interviewed.

The UA administration is making several changes this summer, including restructuring itself and beginning a national search for the replacement of several administrators. Earlier this month, UA President Ann Weaver Hart sent out several emails regarding the changes.

The first email was about Milton Castillo, former chief financial officer for the UA. Castillo quit earlier this month, though the email made no mention of reason or an alternative job. The UA has hired Jim Hyatt, senior research associate and principal investigator at the University of California Berkeley, as interim chief financial officer.

Hyatt said he will continue to do research for CSHE from Tucson. While he looks forward to working with UA administration, Hyatt said he has no intention of spending more than his one year interim term at the UA.

“I’m excited about coming to the University of Arizona,” Hyatt said. “I think that working with President Hart and her team will be interesting and exciting, so I’m looking forward to that.”

Castillo declined to comment.

Following Castillo was Senior Vice President for Research Leslie Tolbert , who decided to step down from her administrative role in order to focus full-time on her research work, according to another email announcement. Jennifer Barton, associate vice president for research, will be taking on the added responsibilities as interim vice president for research.

“It was time to move on and I’m enjoying being back in my faculty position,” Tolbert said.

Jennifer Fitzenberger, former director of external communications, also announced that she will be leaving the UA for a position with marketing and communications of Tucson Electric Power.

“I was offered a terrific opportunity,” Fitzenberger said in an email. “I work with great people here at the UA and I wish them the best of luck in the future.”

A national search for a chief financial officer and a vice president for research will begin in the fall, according to Teri Lucie Thompson, senior vice president for university relations. Thompson said she is currently working on a job description to find a new director of external communications as well.

“We spend some time really thinking about what those descriptions need to look like, what are the qualifications of the person that we’re looking for,” Thompson said. “Those specs have not been written yet.”

National searches occasionally happen through a search firm where a large database is maintained, allowing the firm to match the appropriate talent to the job specifications, according to Thompson. After the firm collects candidates, an internal search committee narrows down the pool of potential employees, holds phone interviews and eventually invites a few selected candidates to visit the university for a final interview.

Universities also advertise positions in publications that focus on higher education and on websites such as LinkedIn, Thompson added.

Thompson said this type of change is part of the nature of large organizations such as the UA.

“All of us all of the time are making decisions about how to best manage our career and we all have decisions to make around balancing our personal lives, balancing our professional lives,” Thompson said.

The UA administration is also changing its structure by integrating the UA Alumni Association with University Relations. One of the emails sent by Hart to UA employees announced the association will be reporting to University Relations allowing the association to “renew alumni connections, and encourage active participation within the University community.”

“Serving as a front door to the UA, the Alumni Association’s vibrant chapter and club network, alumni membership program and leadership groups provide a strong network for driving the reputation and success of the institution as a whole,” Hart said in the email.

Thompson said she is excited about the change which will allow the office, to work with other university relations leaders to strategize alumni outreach.

“The alumni are an adequately critical group for us,” Thompson said.

Changes in departments and new administrators at the UA are a healthy sign of a dynamic institution, Thompson said.

According to Hart, one of her main areas of focus when she became president was to recruit experienced senior executives for key positions at the UA.

“I’ve worked very very hard to accomplish that,” Hart said. “Whenever there’s a change in leadership and direction at a university it is often the case that you have senior executives who have other opportunities and who also we are able to recruit here to join is at the University of Arizona.”

Since Hart took office almost a year ago, several leadership positions have been filled from internal leaders such as Andrew Comrie, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost and recruited externally such as Thompson.

Hart said she has been very gratified by the incredible quality of all the candidates for all of these major posistions, and is looking very forward to the searches next year for a new CFO and Senior VP for research.

“To see an organization undergoing change and doing things to be fresh, current, reinvent itself,” Thompson said, “an organization that’s not settling, that’s not being static … has new talent coming in, new ideas, I find it a very exciting place and I’m excited to be a part of it.”

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