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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Hart looks toward the future of the UA after 100 days in office

    Gordon Bates
    Gordon Bates / Arizona Daily Wildcat Ann Weaver Hart, prospective President for the University of Arizona, is welcomed to UA’s Gallagher Theater to answer questions from students, Tucsonans, and UA staff and faculty on Monday, Feb 13.

    One hundred days after the UA community welcomed President Ann Weaver Hart to campus, Hart says she plans to continue forging the future of the university and building the UA as a model for other land grant research universities around the country and around the world.

    The first 100 days

    Since taking office on July 9, Hart’s agenda has included introductory meetings with legislative leaders and the governor’s staff, activities associated with the UA land grant mission, executive searches for positions within the university, and planning across the board.

    Hart has traveled to Phoenix and met with legislative leaders and the governor’s staff to establish stronger relationships in preparation for the legislative session and also made a trip to Yuma, where she met with students, alumni, cooperative extension faculty, community and industry and political leaders.

    “It was important for her [Hart] to set a timeline of milestones that she wanted to reach in her first month here,” said Leslie Tolbert, senior vice president for research. “What we all came to realize is that she does that. She sets a timetable and off we go, all of us, running to move the university forward.”

    As far as her accomplishments thus far, Hart commented on relationships established with key leaders in federal, state and local government and within the university. She also mentioned her focus on building a university presence in Phoenix and relationships with business and government leaders in Phoenix.

    “I feel good about the progress of important, early initiatives and have received very positive feedback from many University of Arizona friends, faculty, staff and students,” Hart said in an email interview.

    Strategic initiative and work with the Arizona Board of Regents

    Some of Hart’s cabinet members commented that Hart is currently working on a strategic planning exercise, focusing on an strategic plan for academics, a financial plan and a building and facilities plan. The first draft should be done by next month, Tolbert said.

    “It’s just a very important exercise for us to be undertaking,” Tolbert added. “Knowing that she’s going to act on the recommendations that various groups are making makes it not just timely, but likely to have a real impact.”

    Hart said financial planning and work on tools for long-range financial modeling are progressing and she will present the UA strategic and business plan for achieving various goals to the regents durng their meeting in the first week in December.

    Board Chairman Rick Myers commented on Hart’s frequent communication and her emphasis on creating a strong dialogue with the regents. Her experience also puts her ahead in her position, Myers added.

    “I think she, in particular, comes into the job with a greater experience having already been a president at two other universities,” Myers said. “I think that’s certainly something that contributes to her ability to move so quickly into the work and into the issues and start to make progress.”

    When speaking about the president’s strategic plan, Myers stressed the fact that Hart is trying to bring in different constituent groups and have them share their insights, ideas and ways to create new, innovative approaches to how the UA can continue to develop.

    “I think it’s a very inclusive process with Dr. Hart,” Myers said. “It’s a process where she’s reaching out to all the constituents and making sure that they’re bringing their ideas and their thoughts to the process.”

    Campus outreach

    After facing criticism over accessibility during her last year working at Temple University, Hart said it is very important for her to work closely with student body officers to head off any issues regarding her availability.

    Hart has met with the Associated Students of the University of Arizona President, Katy Murray, and the Graduate and Professional Student Council President Zachary Brooks. Both commented on her support for students and her work toward maintaining communication.

    “I absolutely love Dr. Hart,” Murray said. “She is such a pleasure to work with and you could tell through our meetings that she has such a passion for working with students and serving students.”

    In addition to meeting with student leaders, Hart has met with key faculty leadership groups, keeps communication with Faculty Senate leaders, meets with staff groups and attends events that involve alumni, community advisory groups and others.

    “All of the groups like the student association and GPSC, [Appointed Professionals Advisory Council] and the staff advisory councils … all of those people have contact with her,” said Wanda Howell, the faculty chair for the UA’s Faculty Senate. “It’s really her desire to make things as transparent and accountable as possible.”

    However, due to some students remaining unaware of Hart and what her goals for the university are, student leaders are working with the president to promote more outreach.

    Murray mentioned the possibility of hosting a breakfast twice a semester with Hart and students around campus. In addition, Hart mentioned a student and community meeting scheduled during her inauguration at the end of November.

    In terms of accessibility, some members within Hart’s cabinet commented on their belief that Hart trusts those in position of authority to continue with their responsibilities as she works toward establishing relationships outside the university.

    “I see a president who decided to trust that the university was moving in good directions and that if there were fires, if people told her about emergencies, she would deal with them,” Tolbert said.

    Next steps

    Hart also commented on the progress on the establishment of the UA Cancer Center in partnership with St. Joseph’s Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix, as well as the work of executive director of Tech Launch Arizona, David Allen, on “establishing critical partnerships and on modernizing policies that facilitate the translation of great research into business and economic development projects.”

    Hart added that the work of students is defining the university’s future.

    “I am so proud of this wonderful university and I hope that the students know what a great institution they are helping to shape in their studies, community engagement and activities,” Hart said.

    A few months in, some said that Hart’s work up until this point is just the tip of the iceberg.

    “I would say that the state of Arizona and the University of Arizona in particular are very lucky that Dr. Hart chose to come here,” Myers said. “I think we’re just beginning to see the fruits of her hard efforts.”

    Hart timeline:

    Feb. 7, 2012 — Regents announce Hart as presidential candidate

    Feb. 14, 2012 — Hart comes to campus for first time to address public in open town hall meeting to discuss experience, goals

    Feb. 17, 2012 — Regents name Hart UA president during their Tempe board meeting

    July 9, 2012 — Hart returns to campus for first day in office, UA holds welcome event

    July 25, 2012 — Hart appoints former graduate college Dean Andrew Comrie as interim provost and vice president of academic affairs

    July 27, 2012 — Hart appoints Suzanne Y. Ornelas as chief of staff and liaison to Arizona Board of Regents

    August 22, 2012 — Hart appoints Amy Taczanowsky, former executive associate to the vice president of external affairs, as executive associate to the president

    Sept. 27-28, 2012 — Hart attends her first regents’ meeting, requests UA budget for fiscal year 2014; regents approve

    Nov. 30, 2012 — Hart will be inaugurated during a two-hour ceremony in Centennial Hall

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