ABOR proposes university system realignment
As part of Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) Chairman Anne Mariucci’s System Leadership for Excellence Initiative the presidents of Arizona’s three state universities - Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona - today unveiled a ground-breaking plan to realign the Arizona University System into a more effective and efficient enterprise model.
A series of recommendations in a plan called Strategic Realignment 2010 Forward have been developed to focus each university on specific outcome-driven objectives to collectively meet the goals identified ABOR’s strategic plan, 2020 Vision.
The recommendations, unveiled at the board’s annual retreat, include aggressive new performance metrics; enable new gains in efficiency and effectiveness; provide new low-cost options for students; and offer privatization plans and partnerships. Ultimately, the realignment will streamline operations, result in higher output levels and better position the University System to serve students and address the state’s need for a skilled, innovative work force and sustainable economic growth.
“In Arizona and across the nation there is a demand for higher education institutions to fundamentally change the way they operate in order to meet the needs of growing student populations and changing economies and to adjust to today’s fiscal realities of shrinking state budgets,” said ABOR Chairman Anne Mariucci. “The realignment draws on the strengths of each university to enhance its value to the student, the public and the state.”
The recommendations call for an evaluation and potential restructuring of academic programs, support units and curricular design to maximize excellence and success for students while containing costs. They also call for an expansion of access to baccalaureate degrees through new baccalaureate degree campuses, expanded community college partnerships and expanded online access. The universities also will look to broaden admission standards for selected academic units and campuses to expand the number of students eligible to pursue baccalaureate degrees.
“Today, we are renewing our covenant with the people of Arizona to provide broad access for an innovative, world class university education to all segments of society, said Fred DuVal, ABOR vice chair. “Adopting an enterprise approach will move us to a model of higher education that increases productivity, makes Arizona competitive in the national and global economy, raises the standard for operational efficiency and effectiveness, and improves student access and affordability.”
The plan also calls for a total restructuring of the state of Arizona investment model from the outdated enrollment growth model to a funding model built on performance indicators, and the privatization of select, self-sustainable academic programs. In addition, the enterprise will expand its research component to $2 billion per year, making it second only to California in the West and propelling its research impact indicators to the highest level of universities in the country.
“Arizona’s move to an enterprise model for higher education follows similar, highly successful transformations in Michigan, Colorado, and Virginia,” said ABOR President Tom Anderes. “Those institutions and states have proved it is possible to chart a course that improves agility and effectiveness in meeting mission-critical objectives of service to students, families, businesses, and state and local governments.”
The plan establishes the university presidents as individual CEOs who together with the ABOR president will form an enterprise executive committee to execute the recommendations once formally approved by the Board of Regents. Strategic Realignment 2010 Forward calls for the evaluation of the recommendations and if deemed appropriate, the development of action plans for execution over the next year.
The recommendations were developed by Anne Mariucci, chair of the Arizona Board of Regents; Fred DuVal, vice chair of the Arizona Board of Regents; Thomas Anderes, president of the Arizona Board of Regents; Michael M. Crow, president of Arizona State University; Robert Shelton, president of the University of Arizona; and John Haeger, president of Northern Arizona University in consultation with William (Brit) Kirwan, Chancellor of the University System of Maryland and nationally recognized leader on critical issues shaping higher education.