Campus Update

TO: Campus Community
FROM: President Ann Weaver Hart
DATE: February 13, 2014
SUBJECT:  Campus Update


I hope that you are well and that the semester is a successful one so far. We have much to celebrate: our men’s basketball team is having an unbelievable season, the restoration and renovation of Old Main is proceeding rapidly, the OSIRIS-REx mission has begun its countdown to launch in 2016, and my team and I officially launched our Never Settle strategic and academic plan at the ABOR meeting in November. In this campus update, I want to share with you some of the ongoing efforts to make the vision of Never Settle a reality.

A few weeks ago, I posted a blog entry on the value and the potential of our nation’s public research universities. The balance of scientific discovery, creative inquiry and civic engagement that defines these great institutions has made them a cornerstone of shared prosperity and social mobility in the U.S. The Never Settle academic and business plan is intended to ensure that the University of Arizona continues this role for the good of our state and nation, and its core elements are beginning to take hold on our campuses throughout the state. In this update, I will share with you some of the ongoing efforts to embrace the reality of disruptive change while remaining focused on our values as a public land-grant university.

Key to the Never Settle plan is the legislature and governor’s support of our funding request. This is essential for the success of the UA’s mission, which is why I have been working closely with our elected leaders to elicit their support for our plan. On January 29th, I made a presentation to the House Higher Education and Workforce Development Committee to discuss the importance of this funding and the need to renew support for Cooperative Extension. I also presented our case to the Arizona Senate and House Appropriations Committees and met with Governor Brewer’s staff. We were fortunate to have Norman McClelland, Chairman of Shamrock Foods, and Steve Trussell, Executive Director of the Arizona Rock Products Association, help share our message with the legislature and I am grateful for their partnership. The vital role that the UA plays in Arizona’s future was well received and I am cautiously optimistic that our plans will be funded. If they are, we can expect the UA to continue its success in critical areas of research and teaching that include water and the arid environment, space sciences, defense and security and four initiatives in health sciences: precision health, population health and health outcomes, healthcare disparities and neurosciences.

To support our efforts in several of these areas, I am working to advance international partnerships that will further our research mission and create engagement opportunities for students at the UA.  As we know from the multinational Giant Magellan Telescope Organization, these partnerships have the potential to advance discovery around the world while they advance our mission to create a positive impact in Arizona. Last month, I traveled to Oman and Dubai, speaking with leaders from educational institutions and government about developing our shared strengths. We have many opportunities to further develop our programs in Middle Eastern and North African Studies and Arid Land Studies. These targeted partnerships will be crucial for our success.

As all of this work has moved forward, we have also been busy securing the leadership necessary to harness change for the good of the University. As I mentioned in December’s campus update, the UA has initiated searches for several vital positions – Senior Vice President for Research, Senior Vice President for Business Affairs and CFO, Vice President for Strategic Planning and Analysis, Senior Associate to the President and Secretary of the University, and Chief of the UA Police Department. The search committees have been hard at work and I am very much looking forward to the results of their deliberations. 


With these and many other developments, the UA remains a community of great success and amazing potential, and I remain grateful for all of your hard work and dedication.