ABOR to Discuss System Realignment, Numerous UA Projects
A proposed plan for the Arizona university system that would mean new learning sites, accelerated degree programs and community college partnerships is at the top of the agenda for the Arizona Board of Regents.
The draft plan, "Pathways: Access-driven Architecture for the Arizona University System," is among the items Arizona Board of Regents members will discuss during their meeting at Northern Arizona University tomorrow and Friday.
The purpose: To make earning an undergraduate degree faster and less expensive for students in more locations throughout the state.
The Pathways plan â€“ which is listed as a discussion-only item â€“ would modify the structure of the state's university system to create better alignment with the regents' strategic plan, which calls for an increase of at least 50 percent in the number of baccalaureate degrees awarded by the three state universities by 2020.
"Our current mechanism for public higher education relies almost entirely on a version of the research university platform," regents' documents explain. Board documents explain that while it is important to stress the research mission, offering multiple sites to obtain degrees is also important.
The draft proposal being presented to the regents calls for developing a "new baccalaureate campus by 2010," with at least four "highly integrated partnership campuses or regional universities established in collaboration with community college partners by 2012."
For The University of Arizona this would mean sustained and expanded offerings by way of "2-plus-2" partnerships with community colleges and also select offerings of undergraduate and master's level programs at sites in counties across the state.
It is expected that the UA would be serving an additional 10,000 students by 2020 through what is being called the "UA/Community College Partnership Campuses," board documents show.
To do this, the UA would work with community colleges to lease space and offer programs that meet local demand. The plan also leaves room for new campuses leading up to 2020.
Like the UA, NAU and Arizona State University also may be able to offer selected four-year degree or accelerated programs through the use of Web-based and on-site courses at community colleges. This would enable the universities to share both facilities and teaching resources, board documents indicate.
Other items before the board:
- With approval, a master developer will be selected by the year's end and construction of infrastructure improvements will begin. The first phase of development for the Arizona Bioscience Park would begin in January 2011.
- Also on the agenda, each state university will present major capital development plans to regents. The UA is seeking approval of its 2010 fiscal year plans, which includes several projects. Among them are the Environment and Natural Resources II, which would be a new facility; the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, which is being designed; and the Bryant Bannister Tree-Ring Building, which is the proposed relocation site for the UA's Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.
- The regents will consider a 50-year ground lease with the Vail Unified School District at the UA Science and Technology Park. Vail High School, a charter school, is a tenant of the UA park, serving about 160 students.
- The regents are slated to vote on a multiyear employment contract for men's basketball team head coach Sean Miller â€“ a five-year contract beginning May 2009 to run through April 30, 2014.