Earlier this month, the University of Arizona held Family Weekend. Students welcomed their moms, dads, sisters, and brothers to campus and showed them around the place that has become their home away from home.
Families saw the ZonaZoo in action at Arizona Stadium, where the UA's award-winning student section cheers on the football team; the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab, where mirrors for the world's largest telescopes are being built; and the iSpace, a technology-rich environment where faculty and students use 3-D printers, a data visualization wall, and other tools to learn and create together.
With these and other exciting programs and events, the weekend was a wonderful chance for families to experience a little of what the UA has to offer, but it would take much more than a few days to cover all that is happening on and around campus. Here are a few other recent examples of the ways in which the UA is achieving its mission as a super land-grant university:
The UA just established a new campus, UA Oro Valley, which will be the home of the state's first public veterinary medical education program. See the story below to learn more.
The UNAM Center for Mexican Studies at the University of Arizona was inaugurated at the end of last month. This partnership with one of Latin America's premier research universities will foster collaborative research and cultural exchange.
The University changed the name of the Arizona Health Sciences Center to the University of Arizona Health Sciences to clearly identify Arizona's academic health center as an integral part of the UA and its mission on behalf of the state.
The award-winning approach the UA has used to help students with learning challenges achieve academic success will be expanded and shared with all students thanks to a $5 million gift from Patricia and Bruce Bartlett. Their donation will be used to renovate the UA's Strategic Alternative Learning Techniques Center and it will fund an initiative providing innovative support and learning services for all students.
I also would like to share some news that has recently placed the UA in the national and international spotlight. The first was the announcement from NASA that images captured by a UA-managed camera orbiting Mars provide evidence that water flows on the surface of the Red Planet. The dark streaks shown in the images were discovered by Lujendra Ojha in 2010, when he was an undergraduate student at the UA. The second piece of news is the UA being recognized as one of the world's premier academic research institutions in the 2016 U.S. News & World Report Best Global Universities rankings. The UA ranked No. 67 out of 750 higher education institutions across nearly 60 countries.
This news has given us wonderful reminders of the UA's global leadership and the impact that our faculty and students have here in Arizona and around the world. With Homecoming happening this weekend, we have a lot to celebrate with past, present, and future Wildcats.
The new home for the UA's Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree program will be the University's newest campus: the University of Arizona Oro Valley. The innovative DVM program will welcome its inaugural class in fall 2016 and plans to begin offering clinical veterinary training at the Oro Valley campus in 2017. Dr. Michael Ames, a veterinarian and UA alumnus, speaks about the need for the program in this video.
A UA-led research team is creating a curriculum that uses the topic of sleep to develop children's skills and interests in the STEM fields – science, technology, engineering and mathematics. In the process, the program is expected to educate children and parents about the effect that sleep has on academic performance – with the goal of encouraging students to get more shut-eye. It's the largest-ever national study of elementary school students' sleep habits and STEM learning.
UA engineering and biomedical researchers are building a virtual reality experience targeting concussion awareness in order to encourage college football players and other student-athletes to report the real thing. The team has developed an app that puts users on a virtual athletic field and shows them the immediate and delayed side effects of concussion. The researchers will present their prototype this winter in the second round of the NCAA Mind Matters Challenge.