UA President Hart sets stage for change with strategic plan
During President Ann Weaver Hart’s first semester at the UA after succeeding former President Robert Shelton to become the UA’s 21st president, she has already made many changes.
“One of the things she has asked us to do is to put together a strategic plan that combines the academic strategic plan, the capital strategic plan — which is the planning of new buildings and renovation of old buildings — and the financial strategic plan into one,” said Leslie Tolbert, senior vice president for research. “We haven’t done that in the past years.”
Previously, different groups on campus have worked on planning, but they were never brought together into a single effort. It will be “one of the hallmark actions” of Hart’s first year, Tolbert added.
“It’s something we have to do when funds are limited and resources generally are limited,” she said. “They all have to be working together to be as frugal and efficient as possible. I think that has been a really important step that she took this fall immediately upon taking office.”
Hart has also rearranged the president’s cabinet slightly and changed the names of some of the roles, said Andrew Comrie, senior vice president for academic affairs and provost.
“In actual terms of day-to-day stuff, I think she is getting the input that she needs,” Comrie said. “I think in order to simplify meetings to make them more effective, she is trying to just have the key people at the right tables for the right kinds of decisions, rather than have a huge group at a huge table for everything, which is less efficient.”
When Hart came into the position, the cabinet, as she inherited it, was very large and did not specifically serve in an advisory capacity, said Wanda Howell, chair of the Faculty Senate.
“We certainly, with President Shelton, covered more global issues and, perhaps, concerns,” Howell said. “But a cabinet, in my view, is really designed to help the executive officer.”
In addition adjusting the cabinet’s role, Hart has also changed its composition.
“It’s a difference in sensibility, especially for how it looks. It looks much better to be much more inclusive. She is very good at that based on her academic background, and a bit because she is a woman. She is also an executive and with any executive you are going to have a very core group.”