Regents to Consider Three New Academic Programs at UA
Academic strategic plans are on the agenda for this week's Arizona Board of Regents, being held at Arizona State University in Tempe.
The University of Arizona will seek approval for an addendum to its 2017-18 academic strategic plan, requesting the addition of one undergraduate program and two graduate programs:
- A Bachelor of Science in animal and biomedical industries in the School of Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
- A Master of Science in genetic counseling in the Department of Cellular and Molecular Medicine in the UA College of Medicine – Tucson.
- A professional science master's in applied nutrition in the Department of Nutritional Sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.
On Monday, ABOR called a special session to discuss House Bill 2359, a proposal that would give each state university a five-member board and limit ABOR's influence. Under the bill, ABOR would retain oversight of the state university system, but would have no direct influence on the decision-making process of each university. The regents voted unanimously to oppose HB 2359.
"This bill strikes at the heart of the design and purpose of the Arizona Board of Regents, a board that works on behalf of the citizens of this state to strengthen our state’s universities and reform public higher education in a way that contributes to their viability and produces greater results for students, the economy and the public," said Greg Patterson, chair of the board.
Two weeks earlier, ABOR convened to discuss the executive state budget recommendations released by Gov. Doug Ducey on Jan. 13. The board voted unanimously to support the governor's recommendations.
Ducey's proposed budget would exempt Arizona's three state universities from paying state sales tax – a move that would free up nearly $37 million a year to be used for capital expenditures, primarily building renewal and maintenance needs. The budget assumes the universities would match these dollars and use them for debt service, creating approximately $1 billion in total debt capacity.
The $9.8 billion state budget proposal also includes an extra $15 million in one-time cash split among the three state universities. The UA would receive $4.2 million in this proposal.
Additionally, ABOR will continue to seek a strategic transition out of the mandated state health benefits plan and into a cost-saving university health insurance program.
Also at the special session, ABOR voted to oppose Senate Bill 1061, which pertains to university tuition, rates and fees.