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UA Touts Academic, Research, Campus Safety Strengths
Thursday, February 16, 2012
University Communications

UA officials spoke to the Arizona Board of Regents on Thursday about the University's strengths in research and acadmics and about its commitment to campus safety.

TEMPE, Ariz. – University of Arizona President Eugene G. Sander touted the UA's research and academic strengths – as well as the impact of faculty and student projects – during a presentation Feb. 16 to the Arizona Board of Regents.

Sander spoke as part of an Enterprise Executive Committee report, along with the other two Arizona university presidents, during the public meeting on the Arizona State University campus.

The Enterprise Plan includes key metrics and annual targets for the state universities and the university system as a whole in the areas of productivity, research excellence, educational excellence and access, and community engagement and work force impact. The universities used those indicators when drafting their five-year strategic plans.

Sander stressed the growing research enterprise at the UA, where expenditures exceed $600 million. The University is ranked No. 1 in the nation for expenditures in astronomy and planetary sciences. The UA is ranked No. 18 nationally in research expenditures among all public universities.

Areas of strength and investment include translational agricultural and biomedical science; space sciences; optical and information technology; environmental sciences, engineering and policy; and Southwest cultures, languages and border studies.

"We're about as good as they get in the world," Sander said regarding space science at the UA. 

In fiscal year 2011, the UA tallied a record 80 licenses and eight new startups. The UA also recently formed Tech Launch Arizona, a center designed to promote the transfer of ideas and technology to market.

Academic excellence at the UA thrives in many disciplines. UA Regents' Professor Roger Angel was a recipient of the Kavli Prize in Astrophysics. More than 175 faculty members are national and international fellows and honorees. UA alumnus Brian Schmidt received the 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics.

The UA, Sander said, has one of the largest and strongest groups of social network scholars in the world. One project called "Dark Network" studies the behavior of covert networks of terrorists and violent insurgents across the globe.

Sander said a goal is 100 percent engagement by students, who are encouraged to participate in research and creative activities.

Also Thursday at the meeting, representatives from the three university police departments discussed campus safety in response to the Legislature's ongoing attempts to pass legislation that would allow concealed weapons on college campuses.

UA Police Chief Tony Daykin said the department makes itself readily available to the community, and it has great relationships with surrounding law enforcement agencies.

He detailed how his department has established a strong violence-prevention program through its partnerships across campus and in the Tucson community.

Also, the UA has a robust Campus Emergency Response Team that meets monthly to make sure it's prepared for issues that might come up and to ensure the campus is safe.

Campus safety is "a full community effort," said Melissa Vito, vice president for student affairs.

The meeting continues tomorrow. Items on the agenda include: 

  • The board is scheduled to vote on whether to appoint Ann Weaver Hart president of the UA. Hart, president of Temple University, emerged as the top candidate after an extensive search process. If appointed, Hart will earn an annual salary of $475,000 plus a housing and car allowance.
  • The UA will seek approval to sell bonds to finance the North End Zone project at Arizona Stadium and various minor intercollegiate athletics projects.