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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


UA President Hart intends to move forward with new academic plan

Turki Allugman
Kyle Wasson / Arizona Daily Wildcat UA President, Anne Weaver Hart, speaks with community members at her first-ever town hall meeting, Oct. 31 in the Kiva Room.

Since she first arrived on campus one year ago, UA President Ann Weaver Hart has worked to better the university, impressing administration, government and business leaders along the way.

Named the UA’s first female president on July 1, 2012, Hart has appointed multiple senior administrators, helped to create a new academic plan and gotten to know a variety of business leaders and Arizona legislators, including the Arizona Board of Regents and Gov. Jan Brewer.

Her academic plan, which has had input from more than 4,000 people, is intended to help students apply what they are learning outside of the classroom, as well as encourage students and faculty members to find new ways to apply knowledge.

“The academic plan … is very much structured around what we do best at the University of Arizona,” Hart said, adding that executing the new academic plan is her biggest goal in moving forward as president of the UA.

One goal is to increase partnerships between the UA, other businesses and the city of Tucson, in order to meet goals for the community. The plan is now in its execution phase; Hart, administrators and faculty members have started to work on a budget that will ensure these goals will be met.

J.C. Mutchler, executive director and vice president of the Executive Office of the President, said Hart is a good executive who can understand, listen and make decisions quickly, something that is necessary for the future of the UA.

“She’s very much able to … execute on a much shorter timeline than universities have traditionally been operating on,” Mutchler said. “The days in which we can form a committee and spend a year and a half studying something to think about making a recommendation to possibly make a decision are over. We don’t have that kind of time anymore.”

Hart said one of her biggest challenges thus far, however, has been finding resources in a declining economy in order to execute her academic plan.

With state funds reduced by hundreds of millions of dollars in recent years, and serious discussions within the federal government about major cuts in funding for key research areas, Hart said a successful fundraising campaign will be important to the future of the UA.

“Revenue [and] resources to achieve our goals are going to be a major focus for all great universities going forward,” Hart said. “And though we’ve had almost draconian decreases in state funding over the last five years, the state remains our biggest single donor.”

Efficiency in using already existing resources will also be key in moving forward in her goals for the UA, she said.

“We can’t ever settle,” Hart said. “Never settle is a spirit that arose out of the planning process. And we’re looking for a way to make sure that everyone here, regardless of the challenges and the discouragement that sometimes comes from those challenges, feels that excitement and momentum of moving forward.”

Rick Myers, chair of the Regents, said he feels Hart is the right person at this time to lead the UA. Her ability to lead the creation of a new academic plan, to get to know not only the Regents but the governor, and key business leaders in Arizona has been impressive.

“It’s hard to believe Dr. Hart’s been here a year already,” Myers said. “I think she’s got a complex job with a tremendous scope of responsibility and I don’t see anything other than she’s still got a lot of work to do, so we hope she hangs around for a long time.”

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