UA summer retrospective
Actions by the state legislature in early June put the UA in serious danger of losing its federal stimulus money. The state legislature passed, but Gov. Jan Brewer has not yet approved, a budget that included $50 million in funds sweeps from the universities. If enacted, these funds sweeps could disqualify the universities from receiving federal stimulus dollars. However, the balanced budget required to move ahead with these sweeps remains in limbo at the state capitol. The Arizona Board of Regents said it would sue the state if such a budget went into effect. ""These sweeps are, in fact, illegal,"" said Student Regent David Martinez. ""The regents are willing to take that to court if necessary.""
NOT JUST FOR CONCERTS
Centennial Hall will open as a classroom for the first time. The hall holds up to 1,200 students per class and will combine technical innovations and peer mentor programs to help deal with the increased student presence. Gail Burd, vice provost for academic affairs, told the Summer Wildcat on June 18, 2009, that the courses were needed in order to alleviate the UA's budget problems and to advance its educational mission.
The UA looked to combine the many cultural centers on campus into one overarching Unity Center. The move could have saved the university up to $1 million. However, the plan was met with so much opposition that university officials announced that the centers would remain separate.
Freshman composition English courses will incorporate a trial online writing component this year. The one-credit course is designed to promote information literacy and to introduce students to the new research lab in the Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center. The program will diagnose students' individual strengths and weaknesses and work to improve problem areas. A student's performance on an information literacy test, taken prior to the course, will determine how much time and engagement the course will require. The program should be fully up and running by the spring semester, during which between 5,000 and 6,000 freshmen will enroll in it.
The Honors College will introduce two new non-traditional general education classes that are ""hybrid classes"" — a combination of online and traditional lecture classes. Students enrolled in these classes will solve mysteries based on this year's theme: memory. They will use traditional methods such as texts, homework and exams and also flash mobs, hidden Web sites and Twitter.
PAULY SHORE CALLED, HE WANTS HIS HABITAT BACK
In July, the UA acquired control of Biosphere 2 in Oracle, Ariz. and has finally opened it to the public. The Summer Wildcat reported on July 18, 2009, that UA-affiliated researchers have used Biosphere 2's artificial environments to develop models and instruments to answer questions about Earth's ecospheres. Visitors to the Biosphere can experience every environment on Earth in just an afternoon.
The UA Bookstore is remodeling its lower level to make more information technology resources available to students and to optimize space. The bookstore knocked down one wall to provide more space and will have a new on-demand printing station under the stairs with a new Apple display next to the stairs by Sept. 15. Officials say the project should be completed around May 2010.
CAMPUS RENTAL RIDES
Hertz, a car rental company, has a contract with the UA for a Connect-by-Hertz program for students and university employees. Individuals can register for a free membership that allows access to a fleet of 10 rental cars for $8 per hour and up to 180 miles per reservation. Drivers must be over the age of 18 and not have any major offenses on their driving record.