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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


ABOR plans degree increase

Tim Galaz/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

President Robert Shelton speaks with Arizona Board of Regents President Ernest Calder
Tim Galaz/ Arizona Daily Wildcat President Robert Shelton speaks with Arizona Board of Regents President Ernest Calder

UA president Robert Shelton and the presidents from the two other state universities outlined their individual models to improve college affordability and enrollment during the Arizona Board of Regents meeting today.

Gov. Jan Brewer asked for progress reports from each university president.

Shelton outlined his plans to reach out to the Tucson community and look for ways to offer degrees that are more locally applicable.

“”First, we’re drawing on the strengths of the University of Arizona’s academic core, secondly, partnerships with community colleges are absolutely essential and third (we’re) listening to the local communities to implement degrees in those communities that they’re actually desiring to have there,”” he said.

Shelton also said he hopes to increase total enrollment by 14,000 students, which will include increasing enrollment for weekend and evening courses and courses not offered at UA’s main campus. He expects around 7 percent of this enrollment to come from off campus locations.

Shelton told the board that he will continue to focus on upper-division and graduate course loads to avoid competition with community colleges.   

Arizona State University plans to develop partnerships with community colleges and smaller communities across the state.

ASU president Michael Crow hopes these partnerships will increase the number of available bachelor’s degrees and cut down on their price. He also hopes the partnerships will facilitate the transfer of credits between community colleges and universities.

“”We have concentrated our efforts at ASU on finding ways to expand the numbers, types and price of various platforms for access to the university level of education,”” he said.

ASU is working to create more degree options as well, including three-year degree programs and degree programs offered through community colleges statewide. The university currently offers 32 associate degrees and baccalaureate degrees, and may include up to 20 more during this spring semester.

“”I’m happy to announce we will be offering, in fall 2010, three four-year degrees at the community colleges in cooperation with ASU,”” he said. “”These are open and available to any community college in the state.””

The final part of the ASU redesign report included plans to offer augmented on-line degree programs for undergraduate students. ASU plans to offer three online bachelor’s degrees by fall 2010. 

Northern Arizona University’s president, John Haeger, has a similar redesign model, which includes expanding the off campus learning program, expanding their online program for work- and family-bound students and outsourcing services to the community of Flagstaff.

NAU hopes to set up small branch campuses throughout the state to allow for more people to obtain bachelor degrees at a lower cost. One such branch is being considered for Prescott Valley.

“”The other things that the university needs to do — food service, advising and so on — we are trying to partner with the local community and outsource with them,”” Haeger said. “”So it becomes a real economic development opportunity for all of the Prescott area.””

At the regents meeting, Brewer said she is grateful for all three presidents’ hard work, but she reminded them that funding for their proposed redesign models would be limited.

“”The cooperation with community colleges is unprecedented,”” she said, but warned that “”It will cost money and I wish it could be provided, but it can’t.””

Funding issues aside, she urged the presidents to be aggressive in implementing their proposed programs.

“”Student success is now more important than ever,”” Brewer said. “”Thank you for your continued hard work.””

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