Faculty Members Share Transformation Concerns

Faculty Members Share Transformation Concerns

By Alexis BlueUniversity Communications
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At the first in a series of forums designed to allow faculty members to give their input on The University of Arizona Transformation Plan, attendees voiced concerns that the plan has created a culture of fear on campus and questioned whether the driving forces behind reorganization are financial or academics-related.

About 50 people attended Monday's forum to ask questions of and share concerns with UA Faculty Senate officers, who will in turn relate the comments to the offices of the president and provost.

With budget cuts and job losses looming, some faculty members suggested the campus atmosphere has taken on a negative feel and said they worry some valued employees might even choose to leave the University due to uncertainty.

Faculty Chair Wanda Howell urged faculty members to stay positive.

"We do have a say in the ultimate decision," she told those in attendance at the forum, which was held in the Student Union Memorial Center. "We need your help – not fear, not lassitude and not apathy."

Discussion of the Transformation Plan continued at Monday's Faculty Senate meeting, where Provost Meredith Hay vowed to be as "transparent and inclusive as possible" throughout the process.

Asked to clarify whether the plan's initial goals were related to academics or to the budget, Hay said the plan began in August with the intent of strengthening the University as a whole, but in light of economic events in recent months, it has taken on a dual financial focus.

"We have to be prudent," said Hay, urging that the University stop spending as much as possible and that the campus community try to stay positive.

"We will emerge stronger and better than ever," she said.

The UA's Strategic Planning and Budget Advisory Committee has recommended 20 of the "white papers" proposals submitted by academic units on campus for further consideration. Those proposals will be available for public viewing on the provost's Web site this week.

Faculty Senate officers will hold additional forums to get faculty feedback on the transformation process throughout this semester and likely next semester. Dates and times will be posted, as they are determined, on the Faculty Senate Web site.

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