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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Faculty Senate discusses funding for universities

    Arizona Board of Regents president Fred Boice speaks about the Higher Education Campaign while President Robert Shelton looks on at the Faculty Senate meeting yesterday afternoon.
    Arizona Board of Regents president Fred Boice speaks about the Higher Education Campaign while President Robert Shelton looks on at the Faculty Senate meeting yesterday afternoon.

    Fred Boice, president of the Arizona Board of Regents, addressed the Faculty Senate at their meeting yesterday, on the future of higher education in Arizona and the need to educate the public on issues concerning university funding.

    “”We need to change the financial frame of reference so that we view education as an investment rather than an expense,”” Boice said.

    Boice showed a DVD on the challenges Arizona faces as funds from the state budget become more limited.

    The video highlighted Arizona’s national and statewide rankings for education. Half of Arizona’s high school students don’t enter a university, and the state ranks alarmingly low in categories such as college completion graduates and local per capita spending on education, Boice said.

    “”For the first time in history, my generation will be more educated than the 18- to 25-year olds,”” Boice said. “”If these low statistics continue, more talent will be wasted.””

    The Higher Education Campaign, supported by Boice and Regent Fred DuVal, aims to inform the public about the value of higher education and the need to continually support it. It was created as a response to the profound need to supplement universities with additional resources, Boice said.

    “”Often it takes a crisis to wake us up and show us the path ahead,”” Boice said. “” We need your help.””

    Pink cards were passed out to the crowd so they could sign up for the campaign and receive e-mail notifications of news surrounding higher education.

    “”If we see that after this process, the public becomes more interested in supporting a dedicated income stream for higher education, we’ll proceed with some initiative measure,”” Boice said.

    The focus of the campaign is to help lawmakers and the general public think of education as an investment, as well as to come closer to generating an alternative revenue fund for higher education, Boice said.

    It’s important, however to perceive the campaign as an effort to inform people, rather than instruct them, he added.

    “”I think people of this state would support additional forms of funding, if the need was presented properly and adequate information was made available,”” Boice said.

    John Ulreich, senate representative for the College of Humanities and an English professor, said the presentation was missing an important aspect of defining education.

    “”A huge piece of the puzzle is missing,”” he said. “”Literacy, basic reading and writing skills should be incorporated into the presentation.””

    Dror Sarid, senate representative for the College of Optical Sciences, said showing Arizona universities direct contribution to the state economy should also be added to the presentation.

    Boice said he would consider the suggestions.

    In addition to his presentation for the senate yesterday, Boice also presented the Higher Education Campaign to the Arizona Chamber of Commerce.

    Arizona’s total operating budget for the 2007 fiscal year is $9.7 billion. The state’s universities use up about $3 billion.

    Arizona faces a $1 billion deficit this year.

    “”We’ve made the presentation 10 times since Christmas time, “”Boice said. “”It’s been overwhelmingly successful. People have continued to be a part of it.””

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