More on The University of Arizona Transformation Plan

As the state's land-grant university, The University of Arizona's fundamental charge is to educate students prepared to lead in the new economy and to discover new knowledge that is shared publicly for the betterment of the people of Arizona. To enable the University to move expeditiously to take advantage of new opportunities and maximize its efficiency in a highly dynamic environment, the University has embarked on a major restructuring initiative: The University of Arizona Transformation Plan.

Why: Public land-grant research universities are essential to higher education. Our current operating environment of global connections and intense interaction requires us to radically change the way we serve our students and the people of Arizona and beyond. We must become ever more efficient with our resources and must more clearly align ourselves with needs for: a generally more educated citizenry, education in areas of special societal importance, research in emerging areas of promise, and more effective connection to a broad range of the community's public and private sectors.

Our students are increasingly more diverse. The rich diversity of their backgrounds compels us to continue to make our educational programs more relevant to their experience. Multidisciplinary research and team learning are skill sets that will make UA students invaluable leaders after graduation, regardless of the specific professional path they choose to follow.

Areas of particular research strength at The University of Arizona put the institution at the forefront of discovery and innovation, engaging students in the development of that new knowledge and applying that knowledge in service to our communities. The areas set out in the University's Strategic Plan include:

  • Climate, Environmental, Water and Energy Sustainability;
  • Southwest, Native American, Borderlands, and Latin American Studies;
  • Biosciences and Biotechnology;
  • Optical Sciences and Technology;
  • Space Exploration and Observation;
  • Creative Arts, Languages and Language Acquisition;
  • Law, Public Policy and Entrepreneurship;
  • Biomedical and Behavioral Health; and
  • Youth Development Programs.

The University of Arizona Transformation Plan provides the blueprint for the organizational structures to best support the University's educational, research, and community service endeavors.

When: In response to a widely publicized Proposal Development Phase, the Provost's Office received on October 13, 2008, 77 concept pieces, each between 3-5 pages in length, articulating ideas about program consolidations and mergers, administrative efficiencies, and organizational restructuring. The proposals came from a broad cross section of the University community: faculty, academic administrators, university administrators, and the Associated Students of The University of Arizona. The next phase of the process includes a review of the white paper proposals by a subset of the University's Strategic Planning and Budget Advisory Committee, which has representation from faculty, administrators, classified staff, appointed professionals, students, and the Alumni Association. This group will consider five crucial elements of proposals: the effects on students, on faculty, on staff, on business practices, and on external relations. Proposals may be revised, revamped, and rejected in this phase of the process, and alternatives will also emerge.

In November, more complete proposals, based on the vetting process described above, will be developed for submission to the Provost, and then in December to the Faculty Senate. These full proposals will cover (a) the background for the need, change, and outcomes; (b) details on the specific financial savings expected; (c) explanation of how the consolidation will strengthen the unit's teaching, service, scholarship, research, or creative activities; and (d) justification of the consolidation in light of the strategic needs and priorities of the University.

How: The University will use its established internal policies and procedures, as well as those prescribed by the Arizona Board of Regents, as the framework for approving academic program and academic organizational changes. Replicable operational protocols are being developed so that mergers, consolidations, and reorganizations can be evaluated from a business process perspective in order to establish new organizational staffing.