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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


ABOR to focus on UA’s academic, business plans

Jordin O’Connor
Jordin O’Connor / Arizona Daily Wildcat Chair Rick Myers and President Ann Weaver Hart at the Arizona Board of Regents meeting at the SUMC on April 4, 2013.

Months of preparation will come to fruition on Friday when top UA administrators present their overarching plan for the UA’s future to the Arizona Board of Regents.

The second day of the board of regents meeting, hosted by the UA, will be dedicated to a three-hour presentation of Never Settle, the UA’s academic plan, and the UA’s business plan, which will show how the university intends to finance Never Settle.

The Never Settle plan focuses four major priorities for the university’s future: engaging students in real-world experiences, innovation through research and creativity, partnership with businesses and community organizations and synergy, which focuses on advancing the UA’s diversity and sense of place.

UA President Ann Weaver Hart and members of her senior staff will walk the regents through the UA’s future academic and financial plans and possible challenges, said Rick Myers, chairman of the board of regents. Myers said he considers the Never Settle plan an ongoing strategy rather than an unchanging set of goals for the future.

“We live in a very changing … world,” Myers said. “[Hart has] looked at this big picture of education and research and economic development and tried to put together a roadmap of what U of A can do now and moving forward.”

Since the first time the UA’s academic strategic plan was presented to the board of regents a year ago, the president’s cabinet has gotten feedback that helped flesh out the details of the plan, said UA Provost Andrew Comrie.

The board will likely be more focused on the business plan, which links the university’s goals with its resources, said Wanda Howell, chair of the Faculty Senate. The business plan will show the regents how UA faculty leaders plan to create and balance revenue sources, such as tuition and funding campaigns, Howell added.

“[The board will] be interested in how we project tuition changes over the next several years,” Howell said. “That’s the kind of accountability that the board is looking for — that we actually do have plans that are realistic and no one group will be overburdened.”

The president’s cabinet has been working with Hart to come up with a business plan that falls in line with the university’s academic priorities and predicts what funds will be available from the federal and state governments, Myers said.

The plan also launched a campus-wide process where colleges, departments and schools within the university have started to develop their own strategic plans.

“For the first time, we’re going to have a coordinated set of plans at the U of A,” Comrie said. “We make plans because it focuses what we all do.”

Members of the president’s senior staff will present sections of the plan that fall in line with their area of expertise, Myers said, adding that it’s important to have the senior staff present because they will be the ones who help Hart execute the plan.

“Some of this is seeing the plan,” Myers said, “but some of it is also feeling comfortable that we have the right leaders in place and that … Dr. Hart has built a cohesive and high-performance team to drive the future of the university.”

– Follow Stephanie Casanova @_scasanova_

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