Shelton: Transformation Plan Won't be 'Dictated Solution'

Shelton: Transformation Plan Won't be 'Dictated Solution'

By Johnny CruzUniversity Communications
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More than 200 people attended Tuesday's forum.
More than 200 people attended Tuesday's forum.

University of Arizona President Robert N. Shelton and Provost Meredith Hay fielded questions about the UA's Transformation Plan at a forum hosted by the Appointed Professionals Advisory Council.

The forum took place Tuesday at Gallagher Theater, and Provost Meredith Hay joined Shelton to discuss the University's plans for its recently announced reorganization effort.

The APAC forum was the first of three similar events taking place this week, where employees from across the University have the opportunity to become engaged in the transformation process.

A faculty forum took place this morning, and a second town hall hosted by the Staff Advisory Council takes place tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. in the Student Union Memorial Center's south ballroom. 

Shelton delivered brief remarks and then answered questions from the more than 200 people in attendance.

Several people submitted questions, both prior to and during the forum. Inquiries included how appointed personnel can contribute to the process, opportunities for feedback, organizational models being studied at other universities and the difference between the Transformation Plan and past University reorganizations.

Shelton reinforced the need to reassess how the UA conducts its business and whether the right structures are in place to effectively deliver the University's mission.

"It is time to see how we are using everyone's precious time at the University," Shelton said. "This will not be some top-down, dictated solution."

When asked about the top strategic issues that he would like to see addressed, Shelton cited the goal of attracting and retaining top faculty, appointed personnel, staff and students. 

In terms of providing feedback, Shelton said the message he is receiving is "overwhelming interest," and he encouraged the attendees to get involved in the process through their individual units, and to do so this semester. "A whole lot of smart people are better than one," Shelton said.

One attendee inquired about a business center model being piloted at Oregon State University, and whether the UA is looking to replicate that model. Both Shelton and Hay cited the importance of closely evaluating how the University conducts daily business transactions, and Hay said that UA representatives will speak with officials from Oregon State about its pilot program.

Hay reminded attendees about important dates in the Transformation Plan development process, which include Oct. 13, which is when initial white paper proposals are due to the Provost's Office. Final proposals are expected prior to the University holiday closure, and will be posted on the UA Transformation Web site.

Eventual organizational changes, Shelton said, should build on the UA's strengths as a premier public, land grant research university and on its Southwestern location. "There are very few universities of any type that have the breadth of disciplines that we have."

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