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The Daily Wildcat

 

UA senior staff unveils Never Settle, business plan

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Amy Phelps
Amy Phelps / The Daily Wildcat President Ann Weaver Hart speaks at the Never Settle Strategic Academic and Business Plan Presentation to the Arizona Board of Regents on Friday at the Center for Creative Photography. The presentation was about improving and enriching the lives of the people of Arizona through education, research, creative expression, and community and business partnerships.

UA President Ann Weaver Hart and her senior leadership team unveiled the university’s strategic plan on Friday, one year in the making.

Hart and senior staff presented the many aspects of Never Settle, the UA’s academic plan as well as a business plan that outlines how the UA will achieve its future academic goals to the Arizona Board of Regents.

Student Engagement

Melissa Vito, vice provost for academic initiatives and student success and senior vice president for Student Affairs and enrollment management spoke about the UA’s plan to retain and graduate more students.

Vito said in order to retain students from freshman to sophomore year, her staff has been analyzing the reason students leave after one year. They have also been partnering with resources like Think Tank to help students succeed their first year and continue attending the UA.

Vito said another goal is to provide students with real-world experiences through research and creative engagement.

Research

Jennifer Barton, interim vice president for research, talked about the UA’s growth and expenditure goals regarding research. The plan is to double research expenditure with a $170 million increase by 2023, Barton said.

In order to reach this goal, the UA plans to tap into funding from federal government agencies such as the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation as well as the Department of Defense and the Department of Energy.

Because funding from the federal government is expected to decrease in 2014, the UA is also looking into funding from foundations and non-profits. But the greatest opportunity in funding, Barton said, is through collaboration with the research industry itself.

The UA also intends to add research space to the university and make existing space more productive through renovation.

While funding and competition may be challenging, Barton said the UA has some of the most innovative faculty and programs in the world.

“We really have the people and the programs here that we can build upon,” Barton said.

Some research strengths the university plans to build on include defense and security, space systems, water and the arid environment and clinical trials.

Health sciences

Dr. Joe G.N. “Skip” Garcia, senior vice president for health sciences at the Arizona Health Sciences Center, talked about the university’s strategic biomedical initiatives: neurosciences, health disparities, precision medicine and population health.

Garcia said Never Settle’s health sciences goals fall in line with the NIH’s priorities, which will help the UA as it seeks funding from the federal organization.

Garcia also showed how the UA College of Medicine – Tucson is falling behind other universities’ colleges of medicine but pointed out that the UA’s College of Medicine is also much smaller. In order to compete with other colleges of medicine, investment in growth in necessary.

Tech Launch Arizona

Taking the UA’s intellectual property from research to product is another goal, said David Allen, vice president of Tech Launch Arizona.

To meet this goal, Allen created the TLA Roadmap which outlines four strategies: enhancing the commercialization of UA-created technology, increasing industry-sponsored research and collaboration, integrating the UA’s two tech parks into the university’s mission and merging TLA enterprises into the university’s technology community.

“It’s a new day,” Allen said. “Our customers and stakeholders that recognize this and the changes are leading to a new commercialization future.”

So far, TLA has launched three companies in the past three months and is on track to launch 12 companies each year, Allen added. Since January the university has undertaken 30 proof of concept programs and filed 56 patent applications, Allen said.

Partnership

In order to take the goals of Never Settle and make them a reality, the university is focusing on partnership in three areas: businesses, community groups and governments. Such partnership will allow the UA to enhance its impact on the local and global community.

Some examples of the university already partnering with the community are the Social and Behavioral Science Downtown Lecture Series, a series of interdisciplinary lectures which was held for the first time this year at the Fox Theatre. The College of Science has hosted the UA Science Lecture Series every spring for seven years.

“All of these are supported by numerous community partners and sponsors that really help these partnership links that we are trying to foster,” said UA Provost Andrew Comrie.

The university is also working on increasing partnership at an international scale by increasing international enrollment to 4,400 students by 2020.

The university also plans to further develop health science partnerships, Garcia said. Today, thousands of UA graduates contribute to the much-needed healthcare field across the state from all medical colleges at the university, he added.

“The partnership with our healthcare system is enormously important for our growth and for the training and education and research mission of our university,” Garcia said. “Right now we’re absolutely delighted with the integration of which we have with the University of Arizona Health Network.”

UAHN is also focused on addressing health disparities in areas like diabetes and cancer and in minority populations who are at higher risk like Latina and Native American women, Garcia said.

Strategic Business and Finance Plan

The UA’s senior staff also spent a substantial amount of time creating a budget plan and looking into possible sources of revenue that will allow Never Settle’s goals to be financed.

Jim Hyatt, interim senior vice president of business affairs and chief financial officer of the UA, said the plan is one in which revenues exceed expenditures and involves redirecting resources.

The plan is also based on the assumption that there will be an increase in enrollment, predicting that more than 50,000 students will be enrolled at the UA by 2020, including online enrollment.
It also predicts that research will double by 2023, Hyatt said.

Hart said the plan falls in line with the goals the regents have set for the university and promote student learning, advance educational attainment, expand research enterprise and impact in the state.

“We have set a budget plan that is realistic and responsible,” Hart said.

Regent Anne Mariucci said the UA plan was necessarily bold and ambitious in order for the UA to succeed in the future.

“This is the first time we’ve had a plan at this university that has a true linkage of vision, mission, values strategies, tactics, a financial model that accurately reflects it,” Mariucci said. “That is an enormous accomplishment.”

Rick Myers, chairman of the board of regents said the goals in the business plan were very realistic and while there would be challenges, setting a high bar is necessary.

“We’re in a competitive world,” Myers said. “With the aggressive goals they’ve put in place … if we could achieve those and when we achieve those everyone will be better off in Arizona.”

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