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UA President Hart updates faculty on strategic plan

Shane Bekian
Shane Bekian / The Daily Wildcat President Ann Hart insists that the Cancer Institute is a “perfect place” to provide funding at the Faculty Senate Meeting on Monday.

In the first meeting of the fall semester, the Faculty Senate heard updates from President Ann Weaver Hart on the strategic plan and discussed a new online reporting system for faculty annual reviews.

Hart presented the strategic plan Monday night and Joaquin Ruiz, dean of the College of Science, presented on the partnership aspect of the strategic plan that still needs work. Hart said she called the plan “Never Settle” based on feedback she received following previous presentations of the strategic plan. Hart emphasized that the UA is a university that is constantly looking forward and never settling.

The credo statement reads, “We have never settled. Never will. Because we’re thinkers and doers, always moving forward, upward.”

Hart said one of her goals is to obtain 100 percent student engagement through internships, which the strategic plan is expected to generate. An example she provided is current internships mining engineering students are participating in at mining companies.

Moving forward, UA officials will present a detailed business plan to the Arizona Board of Regents on Nov. 22. The business plan will include estimations of the plan’s cost along with milestones, according to Hart.

“It’s that money part that leaves everybody skeptical,” Hart said, “because if we can’t find revenue sources and make tough decisions internally that promote those goals, we won’t be able to achieve them.”

When Ruiz presented, he said in order to ensure the UA is still relevant in five years, it needs to generate larger, more focused proposals for projects to ensure funding.

Ruiz formed a group called the innovation of strategy committee consisting of Neil Armstrong, professor of chemistry, Nick Delamere, professor and department head of physiology, Diana Liverman, co-director of the Institute of the Environment and Fernando Martinez, director of Bio5, in order to discuss creating departments and increasing focus on five areas — environment of energy, international expertise and partnerships, life sciences, space sciences and brain research.

“When the president of the country says the next Sputnik has to be the brain, it’s a no-brainer to do something about the brain,” Ruiz said. “So that’s why we’re doing that.”

Toward the end of the meeting, Tom Miller, associate vice provost, and Doug Jones, senior assistant to the dean, presented on UA Vitae, a new online reporting system for faculty annual reviews, which will be implemented in the next two years. To enable the university to document its impact in new ways in its support of its strategic plan, Jones said UA Vitae will help make a lot of the contributions of the faculty more visible to the community.

The UA doesn’t currently have documents for that, according to Jones, and this reporting system will help increase the accountability of faculty.

“The rumors around campus are that some units do not do annual reviews so this will make that transparent as well,” Miller said. “One of the things the president, when she is giving presentations on the strategic plan, says is we are going to use priorities in the strategic plan to begin assessing administrators … That data can come from this annual reporting system.”

-Follow Rachel @rmcclusk6

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