September Friends of UA



Dear Friend of UA, Last month I shared some of the exciting ways that the University of Arizona continues to impact our state and world, even with the advent of the summer heat and the temporary drop in our campus population. This work continues as we prepare for the rapidly approaching 2015-2016 school year.

September 2, 2015



Dear Friend of UA,


We have begun a new academic year here at the University of Arizona, and our campuses in Tucson, Phoenix, and at UA South are filled with students. The energy from their return is wonderful, particularly with the largest freshman class in UA history, and I am so glad to see both new and familiar faces as I go about my daily work. You can read more about some of the things the UA is doing to engage our students and make a UA education affordable, accessible, and adaptable in this issue's insert.


As we start this fall semester, I am also thinking about the future of higher education in general. Over the past year and a half, I have sought to address this future by writing on my blog about the University of Arizona and how our efforts to transform the land-grant model of a public research university are geared to have the greatest and most widely accessible impact for our state. As we work to transform the UA, other colleges and universities around the U.S. are engaged in similar efforts, many of them at least partly in response to the challenges for higher education that have emerged in the wake of the 2008 recession.


Viewpoints in the national discussion responding to these challenges are diverse, and many times their differences hinge on particular ways of understanding the history of higher education in the United States. However, despite the differences between them, many commentators have sought to address a common problem: how to sustain the productive tension of research and teaching at the public research university so that we can also sustain the vital impact it creates.


As I have said many times before, while all institutions of higher education face similar challenges, their individual approaches to addressing those challenges must emerge from the convergence of their mission, their setting, and the communities they serve. However, even with this specificity, our shared history, and the common challenges that we face mean that there are common lessons worth adding to the ongoing dialogue. My goal over the next several months will be to explore and comment upon the characteristics that make higher education distinct and to share thoughts on how different universities (primarily public research universities) can sustain and strengthen them today. My recent blog post begins to set the groundwork for this discussion and begins to describe several questions I will pursue. I encourage you to read more here.


The solutions that I will explore have great bearing on the future of our state as well. Whether it be the continued growth of our presence in Phoenix with the recent opening of the UA Cancer Center at St. Joseph's, the upcoming dedication of the Richard F. Caris Mirror Lab on September 18th, or other celebrations of long-term investment and effort, there are many signs that the UA's approach to partnering and engagement is finding success as we work to sustain our vital mission and impact throughout the state.


It is because of the success of our efforts and the support they have gained that I am certain of the UA's bright future. As we look forward to this school year and many more, I am grateful for that support and am excited to share more thoughts and more news with you in the months to come.




Ann Weaver Hart
University of Arizona





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