COVID-19 research to be discussed at ABOR's first virtual board meeting

COVID-19 research to be discussed at ABOR's first virtual board meeting

By Nick PrevenasUniversity Communications
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The Arizona Board of Regents will discuss COVID-19 research and related efforts at the state's three public universities during its first-ever virtual board meeting this week.

"The board and universities are closely monitoring the outbreak of 'SARS-CoV-2' and the disease it causes," according to materials prepared for the meeting, which will be held Thursday and Friday. (Visit the Research, Innovation & Impact website to learn about COVID-19 research activities at the University of Arizona.)

The board was scheduled to hold its April meeting at the University of Arizona, but chose to move the meeting online to adhere to recommended health and safety precautions.

During the meeting, the regents will be asked to approve the 2019 Completion Report, which provides information on the number, growth and types of degrees Arizona's public universities award. The report is intended to document the contribution of Arizona's public universities to improving the skills of the state's workforce and expanding educational attainment.

In 2019, Arizona public university graduates earned 33,217 bachelor's degrees, an increase of 5.6% over the previous year. The number of bachelor's degree awarded at Arizona's public universities has increased for 14 consecutive years. The universities awarded 8,757 bachelor's degrees in STEM fields, an increase of 62% since 2014 and a 15.5% increase over the previous year. The universities similarly awarded more bachelor's degrees in the health fields than at any time in their history, awarding 2,655 degrees, a 63.6% increase since 2014.

The University of Arizona awarded 7,754 undergraduate degrees in 2019, an increase of 7% over the previous year, along with 3,081 graduate degrees, surpassing the previous year's graduate awards by 5%. Business, biological and biomedical sciences, and health professions and related programs remain the most popular fields of studies for undergraduates at the University. There have been significant increases over the last five years in the number of students completing engineering, computer science and homeland security related degree programs.

The regents will also continue their discussions surrounding development of the 2030 metrics that will assist the board in its analysis of the performance trajectory of the universities, the system and the state of Arizona. Currently, the ABOR enterprise metrics stress inputs, such as undergraduate enrollment, and outputs, such as the number of degrees awarded. For the 2030 performance metrics, ABOR seeks to add measurements surrounding outcomes (enhanced knowledge, skills and attributes of university graduates) and impacts (a higher quality workforce and more dynamic economy).

"A move towards outcome metrics would simply mean reporting more directly on how well our institutions are executing their declared missions," according to board materials. The University of Arizona's mission is: We will continuously improve how we educate and innovate so we can lead the way in developing disruptive problem-solvers capable of tackling our greatest challenges.

In other business, the University will seek approval to implement four new programs in the 2020-21 academic year: a Bachelor of Arts in global media studies, a Master of Arts in global media studies, a Master of Arts in bilingual journalism and a Bachelor of Applied Science in applied computing. The Academic Affairs and Educational Attainment Committee reviewed the programs at its March 19 meeting and recommended forwarding the item to the full board for approval.

Other items on the agenda:

  • The University will seek approval of amendments to three master leases between the University and Campus Research Corp. related to developing and operating the UA Tech Park at Rita Road and the UA Tech Park at The Bridges.
  • The board will elect officers for the fiscal year beginning July 1.

The meeting will be livestreamed. For technical assistance, send an email to ABOR Tech Support.

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