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The Daily Wildcat

Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA to look at border

    A UA academic outreach adviser will be dispatched to the border community in order to assess their academic needs, as a result of a meeting between President Robert Shelton and Santa Cruz County officials yesterday.

    The next step in Santa Cruz County is to secure state and local funds for a possible new institution, which may grow to be an extension of the UA similar to UA South, said Manuel Ruiz, chairman of the Board of Supervisors for Santa Cruz County.

    “”The meeting went very well,”” Ruiz said. “”The only thing (Shelton) said was that he was going to have an academic outreach adviser that would be in the Nogales community, in the Cooperative Extension Office in Santa Cruz County.””

    When chosen and dispatched to Nogales, the academic adviser will coordinate closely with Cochise County directors to schedule appointments with students in order to assess their academic needs.

    “”This would allow for the adviser to not focus on one discipline or degree but to talk to students to decide what they would want and what kind of course work they would like to pursue,”” Ruiz said. “”My hope is that eventually we would be to lay forth a two-plus-two program or have the students work toward an associate degree and eventually a bachelor’s degree.””

    From here, Ruiz said Santa Cruz County officials have to roll up their sleeves and begin the search to secure funding for the new institute of higher education near the border.

    “”The mayor (of Nogales) and I are talking about having a study group or bringing more information to present to the legislature,”” Ruiz said. “”We are pursuing through our representatives down here having some kind of appropriation that would be dedicated to the program down here.””

    Throughout the day, Shelton met with educational leaders, including President Pedro Ortega of the University of Sonora, said Ignacio Barraza, Mayor of Nogales, Arizona.

    “”President Shelton met with his counterpart from Sonora to discuss possible partnerships between the U of A and the University of Sonora in Mexico,”” Barraza said.

    “”We had a wonderful gathering with President Shelton, one that will prove to be a fruitful relationship between Nogales and the University of Arizona,”” he said.

    In order to help secure funding, Barraza said he would be establishing a binational commission to study the needs of post-secondary education in the area.

    “”We will also have an analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of our markets and determine what courses would be better suited for this border environment,”” Barraza said.

    To help bring higher education to the area immediately, Barraza said he and Shelton discussed implementing a two-plus-two program at Cochise College, in which students would be able to advance from an associate degree to a baccalaureate.

    However, Barraza said, with support from the state legislature and the community, the two-plus-two program could gravitate toward a university campus in the area.

    “”The ball is in our court now,”” Barraza said. “”We are grateful for an academic outreach adviser and also for the possibility of a two-plus-two program. Let’s look at the campus as a crowned jewel.””

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