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President Robbins outlines UA's future to regents

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Carmen Valencia | The Daily Wildcat The Arizona Board of Regents meets in the student union on Nov. 16 about degree programs, the capital development plan, tuition, and other things.

University of Arizona President Dr. Robert Robbins presented his first public operational and financial review to the Arizona Board of Regents on Friday, Nov. 17. Robbins, along with other UA leadership presented the board with their important goals for the future. 

The presentation was based on two main points. “One is the focus on health science enterprise, in particular, the Banner relationship, and the other is how do we tell our story more effectively,” Robbins said.

Conversation on the health science enterprise focused on the College of Medicine. The college has two accredited locations—one in Phoenix and one in Tucson. 

Robbins noted that in his time asking students at both campuses why they chose the campus they attend, he noticed that students see different things at each location.

“They want an urban, new-age maybe more digitally-focused experience in Phoenix,” Robbins said. “And then, here maybe a more research-intensive traditional education on this campus.”  

Though the reputations of both campuses are different, Robbins plans to keep the two medical schools tied together while he is president. 

Along with the college of Medicine, Robbins briefly touched on UA’s relationship with Banner Health. 

Regent Rick Myers, along with former UA president Ann Weaver Hart started the relationship with Banner three years ago. Robbins explained the future of the relationship: 

“As we continue to evolve our relationship with Banner, I think you probably will see the location of some the more tertiary and quaternary services maybe in one campus versus the other,” Robbins said. 

Overall, Robbins sees the partnership as a good thing for UA. 

“I think this is a true partnership with Banner,” Robbins said. “It’s very much a partnership and we’ll develop strategies for each of these campuses individually.”

Robbins also sees the partnership as a chance to increase UA rankings. Over the last four years, the ranking for Banner University Medical Center-Tucson has dropped over the years from number 2 in 2010 to number 88 this year. 

“The good news is, there is some progress being made, but the fact is that overall rank of 88 is certainly not good,” Robbins said. 

Robbins presented regents with an update on a new business plan that will be based on new strategic planning under his leadership that will be ‘broad and inclusive,’ according to the 2017 business plan.

“This is the official kickoff for our strategic planning process,” Robbins said. “We intend to conclude in the fall and present a year from now, here on campus, the results of that strategic plan.” 

The new business plan will be built around the building the UA brand and how to tell the story of the university. 

“I think we’ve got the phenotype right,” Robbins said. “We’ve got to put a name on it.”

This new plan is based off the Never Settle plan that was created in 2013 under the leadership of former president Hart. 

“I think the Never Settle plan was great,” Robbins said. “Particularly the one-hundred percent engagement part of that plan, is incredibly important to the university.” 

The planning process will involve stakeholders ranging from the regents to stakeholders within the university such as students, faculty, leadership and community members over the next four to five months. The ideas will then be given to a leadership team and support team, who will then be tasked with building the business plan. The completed plan will be presented to the regents at the UA’s Operational and Financial Review in November 2018.  



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