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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Senate votes to approve IT committee

The UA’s Faculty Senate approved an Ad Hoc Committee on Information Technology and discussed similarities and differences between the UA and other Pac-12 schools during its meeting on Monday.

The committee, proposed by Charles Higgins, an associate professor of neuroscience, will facilitate communication between the senate and those who create and enforce information technology decisions at the UA. The 10-member committee will include five faculty members — three faculty senators elected by the senate and two members of the general faculty appointed by the chair of the faculty — one undergraduate student appointed by the Associated Students of the University of Arizona and one graduate student appointed by the Graduate and Professional Student Council.

“It (the committee) is an acknowledgement in how important IT (information technology) is in all of our work,” Higgins said. “It affects us.”

Higgins said by bringing together individuals with and without information technology expertise, the committee can translate potential problems in terms everyone can understand.

Another way to increase university development through collaboration was through Andy Silverman’s meeting with senate members in the Pac-12 schools. Silverman, a former clinical professor of law, explained to the senate that the UA and peer institutions face similar challenges such as threats to faculty tenure, the hiring of more part-time instructors instead of full-time instructors and pressures to run a university using a business model.

“I think everyone can agree we can learn something from the business sector,” Silverman said. “But running the university strictly as a business structure is what people were concerned about.”

The UA’s Faculty Senate is different from the majority of other Pac-12 institutions because it is among the most inclusive, incorporating students, staff representatives, administrators and students instead of just faculty alone, Silverman said. Additionally, he said the UA’s presence in the Coalition of Pac-12 Faculties is important because it allows for university collaboration, idea swapping and the ability to work together on similar issues.

Reports from ASUA Chief of Staff Katy Murray, GPSC President Roeland Hancock and UA President Eugene Sander were also given to the senate.

Murray said that ASUA is continuing to push its campaign to bring Spring Fling back to the UA campus in 2014. In order to do so, Murray and ASUA President James Allen attended an advisory council meeting with UA faculty members and members of potentially affected neighborhoods. The undergraduate governing body is also looking to implement peer advising to complement academic advising, expand Bear Down Camp by integrating it with new student orientation and to fight for a $0 tuition increase for the next fiscal year, she said.

The GPSC surveyed its constituents’ student health care plans and found they are “moderately satisfied” with the current premiums, however, the survey showed there is a lack of a dental plan, Hancock said. He added that the council’s goals for the next few years would focus on providing an on-campus child care center.

Sander said funding needs for the UA’s new cancer center unit in Phoenix’s Biomedical Campus “just goes on and on and on.” The UA is still waiting for approval on its final design steps, he said, because the university must sell certain bonds and find a way to pay those bonds off.

“This is still essentially a work in progress,” he said.

Sander also said he is looking to fix the administrative review process, because the current process is “too personalized.” He said the UA should evaluate personnel annually, and that people should embrace evaluations because it leads to improvement.

“People need to know how they stand in the community in which they work,” he said. “We aren’t behaving as responsible people.”

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