Second Faculty Forum Addresses ABOR, Transformation, Budget

Second Faculty Forum Addresses ABOR, Transformation, Budget

By Alexis BlueUniversity Communications
Printer-friendly version PDF version
Wanda Howell
Wanda Howell

The University of Arizona needs to do a better job of defining what a research university is in light of events at last week's Arizona Board of Regents meeting, Faculty Chair Wanda Howell said yesterday during an open forum with Faculty Senate officers.

The board voted Thursday to reject President Robert N. Shelton's proposed tuition increase of 9.5 percent for in-state undergraduate students, instead electing to cap the UA's tuition and fees increase at 3.7 percent, or $206, while approving the plans put forth by Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University.

Regent Ann Mariucci, who voted for the ASU and NAU increases, changed her vote when it came to the UA's plan, saying the University needed a "wake-up call" and needed to make changes in the way it operates.

However, the regents reversed their vote and approved Shelton's proposal the following day after student Regent David Martinez, a UA student who initially voted against Shelton's plan, reintroduced the issue for discussion and, ultimately, a second vote.

Shelton had said following the initial vote that his plan's failure could lead to the loss of dozens of faculty and hundreds of classes at the UA.

While Shelton's plan eventually passed – increasing base tuition for in-state undergraduates by $500 to $5,774 next year – Howell said the first vote suggested to her that some regents might not understand the UA's significance as a research university and the importance of shared governance.

"It was clear that we have not done a very good job – our administration, we as faculty – at defining what a research university is," said Howell, who attended the regents meeting in Tempe. "We haven't carved out our worth and our purpose in the state of Arizona."

The UA is the only state university with shared governance, which calls for faculty participation in University planning and decision making, rather than allowing upper administration to make major governing decisions unilaterally.

Howell emphasized the importance of shared governance, saying faculty members largely define the UA's research mission.

"If such a core function of your enterprise is defined by a group of people that group of people has to have say in how that organization is governed," Howell said.

She said she worries that some regents don't understand that and asked that faculty members to think about how to begin educating regents on the importance of shared governance.

Mariucci is scheduled to visit campus tomorrow to learn more about how the UA operates, from classroom structures to budget details, Howell said.

As the discussion at yesterday's forum turned to transformation, some in attendance suggested that since academic and nonacademic units on campus have submitted their "white paper" proposals for reorganization, there seems to be a "lull" in the process.

Howell warned that ongoing planning for cost-saving measures – from eliminating programs to adjusting teaching loads to revising job descriptions – is necessary for all departments, with an anticipated $20 million midyear budget cut from the state looming.

"Phase two is going to be the hardest thing for all of us. These first phases of grand restructuring are difficult enough. Phase two is program elimination," she said.

Howell encouraged creativity when thinking about impending budget cuts, urging deans to take the lead.

Yesterday's forum was the second in a series of meetings intended to allow faculty members to discuss the transformation and relay questions and concerns to the president and provost via faculty officers.

Only about 25 people attended the 4 p.m. meeting at the Main Library. Howell said she would consider 100 attendees a good turnout.

The forum was also available through a live, streaming Webcast.

About 50 people attended the first forum, which was held Nov. 3 at the Student Union Memorial Center.

Faculty Senate officers will hold more open meetings next semester, Howell said. Dates are yet to be determined, but more information will be available on the Faculty Senate Web site.

You can hear Shelton speak about tuition and the Transformation Plan in this video.

UA@Work is produced by University Communications

Marshall Building, Suite 100. 845 N. Park Ave., Tucson, AZ 85719 (or) 
P.O. Box 210158B, Tucson, AZ 85721

T 520.621.1877  F 520.626.4121

Feedback University Privacy Statement 

2024 © The Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of the University of Arizona