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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Live updates from the Arizona Board of Regents

4 p.m. 

After reports from several committees and the Getting AHEAD project, the board stands adjourned until 9 a.m. tomorrow. 

2:50 p.m. 

The regents have unanimously approved project implementation to renovate the north end zone of Arizona Stadium. The project will add 133,800 new net square feet to the existing structure and will allow some football operations to be relocated from the McKale Center. The addition will also provide an additional link between the eastern and western portions of the stadium. 

The new space could house up to 5,000 additional seats, which would take the place of the metal benches throughout the rest of the stadium. 

2:25 p.m. 

The regents have approved new terms for men’s head basketball coach Sean Miller. He is now under contract until April 2016 and will receive a $100,000 raise in base pay, bringing his base salary to $1 million. His salary will increase by $100,000 a year for each additional year of his contract.

Miller will also receive $700,000 for peripheral duties, such as speaking engagements and radio and television appearances. This amount is unchanged from Miller’s previous contract. 

Miller will receive an additional 15 hours of noncommercial jet a year for use for recruiting and other basketball-related activities. In addition, incentives for Graduate Success Rate, which measured the proportion of student athletes who earned a degree, were replaced with incentives for total team grade point average. This, according to board documents, is due to new regulations put forward by the Department of Education.

All other portions of Miller’s contract remain unchanged.   

Shelton said the new terms of the contract were important in order to honor an agreement with Miller that an extension would be brought forward for board approval after two years, and in order to keep him from being lured away by another university. 

11:22 a.m. 

The three university presidents have concluded reports on their progress with the legislative assignments:

Funding structure for performance and outcome-based funding: This assignment is trying to discern a way to move away from the traditional per-student funding model that has been in place for decades in favor of one that is based on a set of performance metrics, both quantitative and qualitative. This would apply only to state funding and appropriations. Crow said the major hurdle that still needs to be crossed is determining a set of “”politically understandable”” performance measures that accurately depict progress across the three universities. 

Student-centered financial aid: Shelton said that there are around a dozen people compiling and analyzing data to provide a comprehensive look at the state financial aid system and how it can be revised in a way that ensures the maximum possible level of access to higher education. Shelton said he expects a preliminary report on those findings to be available in mid-July. 

Funding disparity between the three universities: NAU President John Haeger said that disparity in per-student funding exists because of differences in university scope and mission combined with historical legislative decisions on funding. He said the primary ongoing step is to determine what funding sources should be taken into account when determining funding as a measure of full-time equivalents (the number of full time students in the university system). For instance, revenue related to research grants would be discounted since they cannot be given to all three universities. He said that funding of this type for all three universities was relatively close for fiscal year 2011, a bit more than $5,000 per full-time equivalent with no more than a $900 difference between the three. 

“”We should have a number for the board very very soon,”” Haeger said. 

The regents’ meeting now stands in recess. 

11:01 a.m. 

The regents approved the framework of the metrics. They will now discuss reports on assignments they received from the legislature, including a funding structure for performance and outcome-based funding, a student-centered financial aid model and a strategy for dealing with the disparity in per-student funding between the universities. 

10:52 a.m. 

Discussion on the enterprise plan stalled after several regents raised concern with how some metrics were defined. Regent Dennis DeConcini raised concern over the lack of projected tuition increases in the report, despite the presence of expected increases in the average tuition of peer schools for all three state universities. 

Regent Fred DuVal said that this iteration of the metrics was like the “”first draft”” of an architectural blueprint, and is meant to serve as a foundational starting point that will be built upon in future measures, not taken as set in stone. 

“”We’re not at the interior design stage yet,”” DuVal said. 

ASU President Michael Crow agreed with DuVal’s point, though he used the metaphor of an unplanted field to do so. 

Student Regents William Holmes and Jennifer Ginther both raised concern over the metric measuring tuition as a percentage of the state’s median family income. Glen Nelson, the regents’ chief financial officer, said that since the current projections assume no increase in state endowment from now until 2020, the only new revenue taken into account were increases in tuition and related fees. He said these numbers will be refined and revised in the future as new information becomes available.

Regent Mark Killian raised issue with the provision in the Arizona constitution that stipulates higher education be as free as possible. He also raised the question of whether an enrollment cap would become feasible in order to combat tuition hikes associated with costs necessary to maintain enrollment growth.

“”How can we produce all of these additional graduates if we’re making it impossible to go to school?”” Killian asked.  

Superintendent of Public Instruction John Huppenthal said he thought the metrics placed too much emphasis on raw number measures, such as the number of degrees awarded, and not enough on qualitative ones which measure the quality of education being offered. He also said he thought that the rapidly expanding online education options are eroding the ability of universities to count on students being willing to pay higher tuition. 

“”Our ability to keep charging higher tuition is going to evaporate because we’re not going to have a market force to compete,”” Huppenthal said.  

9:51 a.m. 

During the regents’ calls to the audience, both David Martinez, the government affairs director for the Arizona Students’ Association, and JC Mutchler, the secretary of the UA Faculty Senate, spoke to thank President Shelton for his service to the university. Martinez, specifically, praised Shelton’s work with students, reminiscing about picking Shelton up in a Cat Tran shuttle and meeting with him at a local eatery. 

“”While you look really nice in a yellow coat and I congratulate you on that, we know that you will always bleed red and blue,”” Martinez said.

Mutchler, speaking on behalf of the faculty, thanked Shelton for his leadership during times of economic adversity and stressed the importance of being unified throughout the process of finding a new president to replace him.   

The regents are now discussing the Arizona Higher Education Enterprise Plan, a set of statewide higher education performance metrics that serve as benchmarks of progress for the state university system. 

9:20 a.m. 

UA President Robert Shelton is on hand for this regents’ meeting. Part of the proceedings today and tomorrow will be to form a search committee to replace him on a permanent basis after he departs for the Fiesta Bowl. 

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