Dear Arizona Wildcats,
Welcome to another year at the University of Arizona! I hope you all had a wonderful summer, whether you were on campus studying, travelling with friends and family, fulfilling an internship, or working a summer job. For the newest members of our Wildcat community, I hope you are ready to embark on a life-changing educational experience. The UA has much to offer, and I know that all of you have much to contribute to our community of learning.
With so many learning and engagement opportunities available here at the UA, I want to share with you some of the changes taking place this year and some of the resources that you have as you begin or continue your educational experience here.
Those of you who are returning students will know about the University’s 100% Engagement initiative, which ensures that each and every one of you has the opportunity to apply knowledge from formal learning experiences in new settings. For example, students in water management courses actually build water collection systems that help manage rainwater on campus, and students in a business intelligence course last semester built prototype websites for a redesign of the Arizona Board of Regents metrics website, which is where university and state leaders go to see important measurements of the UA, ASU, and NAU’s progress on strategic goals.
This kind of hands-on experience in a professional or other applied setting is crucial to the UA’s educational mission. In these settings you develop the ability to use your knowledge in response to the complexities of the world we inhabit, and it helps prepare you for lifelong learning, both of which will be valuable resources upon graduation.
Of course, these experiences do not go very far if you don’t know how to find them, which is why the UA’s Institute for Career Readiness and Engagement offers information about engagement programs on campus, and will work with you to identify internships, jobs, and other opportunities. Another important resource, especially for those of you who are new to campus, is the Office of Student Engagement (ose.arizona.edu), and I encourage you to visit its website to learn more. Student engagement also means ensuring that you have the support services needed for academic success. This is why the UA has retention and academic support programs like the THINK TANK, which houses the Writing Center, academic skills tutoring, supplemental instruction, and many other services. See thinktank.arizona.edu for more information.
The university also is working very hard to ensure that the cost of your education is predictable and affordable. This is why we began the Guaranteed Tuition program at the start of last year, and have continued it this year. This is also why we are working very hard with the Arizona Board of Regents and with elected leaders to develop a new model for state appropriations to support higher education in the state. Our goal is to create a model that will provide long-term stability and affordability in budgeting here at the UA while also ensuring that the quality of your educational experience remains among the best in the world.
Finally, your success as students and the UA’s ability to enable that success depends on the safety of our campus community, which is why I also want to take this opportunity to reiterate a message I sent to campus towards the end of the spring semester.
In April I wrote about a series of programs, new personnel, and other efforts to combat sexual violence at the UA. This work is ongoing, and it bears repeating that sexual assault and sexual violence are wrong, no matter what the setting, no matter what the circumstances. As I said at that time, this principle is inviolate and undergirds everything we do at the University of Arizona to confront the presence of sexual violence on our campus.
As a community of learning, our mission and our values as an institution require that we promote a safe environment for all members of the UA community. It is for that reason that the university has taken measures that include hiring staff who are trained to investigate reports of sexual assault and ensure due process for all involved, instituting mandatory training for incoming students, and adopting the “It’s On Us” bystander intervention program.
To help ensure that these efforts are effective, the UA also participated in a campus climate survey focused on attitudes about sexual assault and sexual violence. The results of that survey—which took place on campuses across the country—will be coming soon, and the UA Dean of Students Office and other units within Student Affairs and Enrollment Management are planning to use the insights gleaned from that data as we build new programs and continue to evaluate existing ones.
With all of these programs in place, I very much look forward to a productive and enlightening year for all members of our university community. It is wonderful to see all of you back on campus, and I wish you the best of luck as you begin classes this week.
Best wishes, and Bear Down!
Ann Weaver Hart