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UA president discusses university budgeting in town hall

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Keenan Turner and Keenan Turner | The Daily Wildcat Keenan Turner / The Daily Wildcat Ann Hart, President of The University of Arizona, talks to a full audience in the Flandrau Science Center for the monthly town hall meeting on Tuesday.

President Ann Weaver Hart held her first town hall meeting of the semester on Tuesday, where the UA community asked about the university’s budgeting methods.

Many UA administrators, as well as students and teachers, attended the meeting, which was in an open question and answer format.

Along with Andrew Comrie, the UA Provost, Hart opened the forum with a discussion about the recent Arizona Board of Regents meeting that put forth a budget request for Gov. Jan Brewer. Hart discussed the loss of state funding from budget cuts.

Hart also discussed the state’s funding for the UA, which is based on the performance of faculty and students and on graduation rates.

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“Performance-based funding, and our ability to do a better job in that area, is our primary source of increases going forward,” Hart said. “We all need to feel that there are opportunities for us.”

Hart also brought up a “package” deal voted on by the board of regents and supported by all university presidents, which includes the UA’s land-grant mission in state funding.

“In order for higher education, including the University of Arizona, to advance,” Hart said, “… this request is a package deal … Don’t pick the U of A out and leave other parts in.”

Members of the audience also voiced concerns about the Responsibility Centered Management budget. The organization is trying to help create and implement a new budget model for the UA, according to its website.

Hart said Responsibility Centered Management will “reveal to all of us, more explicitly, what the expenses … for our activities are,” as well as help find what the actual monetary amount is on activities and amenities throughout the university, such as watering plants.

This will help the university determine tradeoffs that must be made in order to keep the university running, Hart added.

Mark Novak, a landscape architect with the UA Department of Planning, Design and Construction, said the question and answer session was very helpful and that it worked well.

“You don’t get exposed to that every day, and so it’s interesting to see how that’s working,” Novak said, “especially in our changing budget environment.”

Hart said it is important for the university to interact with the community via social media and other outlets.

“We are absolutely committed to being more in tune with our interactive world out there,” Hart said.

Novak agreed, and said interpersonal communication is key to the university’s success.

“It’s important to have some of the face-to-face communication to know why we’re proceeding in different directions and what programs and initiatives are important to the success of the university, beyond seeing it online or reading it in the newspaper,” Novak said.

Rene Lechuga, a criminal justice junior who attended the event for a class, said he wanted to learn more about the university and the topics that are discussed at the town hall meetings.

“I think it’s important for us to be aware of our university and what we have and different activities like these,” Lechuga said.

- Follow Maggie Driver @Maggie_Driver


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UA COVID-19 Test Tracker

Daily (12/8)
669 11 1.6%
Total (8/2)
66,070 1,065 1.6%
Includes tests since August 2, 2021
Data from https://covid19.arizona.edu/updates
Updated December 8, 2021