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Highlights from April board meeting: Zero tuition increase for resident undergraduates, board elects officers, UArizona operations and finances

Phoenix, Ariz. – Following are news briefs from the Arizona Board of Regents virtual meeting April 14-16. Board materials are available here.

Board Approves Zero Tuition Increase for Arizona Resident Undergraduates for Second Year

For the second consecutive year, there will be no increase in undergraduate resident tuition at Arizona’s public universities. At Arizona State University, there will be no tuition increase for current and incoming students, both undergraduate and graduate, resident and non-resident.

The Arizona Board of Regents approved the proposed 2021-2022 base tuition, mandatory fees, all academic fees, and residence housing and meal plans for ASU, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona. The board also approved tuition for the University of Arizona Colleges of Medicine and Veterinary Medicine.

“Despite the pandemic, the Board of Regents continues to prioritize student access to Arizona’s public universities,” said ABOR Executive Director John Arnold. “Stable and low tuition coupled with significant opportunities for financial aid opens pathways for all Arizona students. Post high school educational attainment is among the best steps a student can take to improve their own lives, and the board’s tuition and financial aid policies can help make that a reality.”

Read the full news release here.

Board Elects New Chair, Officers to Serve in 2021-22

During its meeting today, the board elected new officers to serve during 2021-22 with Regent Lyndel Manson selected as chair of the Arizona Board of Regents. Regent Fred DuVal will serve as chair-elect and Regent Larry E. Penley as treasurer, after serving two terms as board chair. Regent Kathryn Hackett  King will serve as secretary of the board and Student Regent Nikhil Dave as assistant treasurer.

“It is an honor to serve as chair and continuing to work for the success of students as well as increasing educational attainment in Arizona to provide the educated workforce our economy requires,” Regent Manson said. “I also sincerely appreciate the leadership of Regent Penley throughout the last two years. Through his guidance, our board and universities were better positioned to handle the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and through his vision of the New Economy Initiative, we are positioned to lead the economic recovery of our state.”

Governor Doug Ducey appointed Regent Manson to an eight-year term on the board in November of 2016. She brings a rich array of educational and business experiences to the board. She led a nationwide new product introduction at Ortho Diagnostic Systems, was a market analyst with E.I. DuPont de Nemours & Co. and worked as an investment banking analyst at Shearson Lehman Brothers. She is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration where she earned her master’s degree and a graduate of Middlebury College where she earned her bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in economics. 

Regent Manson is dedicated to Arizona children and their success and has served as president and treasurer for the Northland Preparatory Academy Board of Directors, Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation Board of Directors president and DeMiguel Elementary School PTO president. She is a graduate of the Harvard Graduate School of Business Administration where she earned her master’s degree and a graduate of Middlebury College where she earned her bachelor’s degree magna cum laude in economics. 

Regents are elected to one-year terms as chair of the board and may chair multiple board committees to provide a well-informed experience throughout their eight-year terms. Arizona’s governor appoints board members and the Arizona Senate confirms the appointment. Two student regents appointed to the board serve two-year terms with the first year as a non-voting member. The new officers will assume their new roles July 1, 2021 for one-year terms.

Information about the roles and responsibilities of board officers is available here.

UArizona President Robbins Details Successes, Challenges During Operational and Financial Review

President Robert Robbins presented to the board a comprehensive review of the university’s operations and finances that updates the regents on the progress and results achieved at the university during the past year.

Highlights presented by President Robbins include:

  • The fall 2020 first-year class was the most ethnically diverse and best academically prepared in the university’s history.
  • The university’s retention rate has increased to 85.5 percent.
  • Research expenditures have increased to $750 million with research focused in areas of strength at the university, including space, health, hypersonics, quantum computing and optics.
  • Rankings for the university include: No. 7 in best online bachelor’s programs, U.S. News & World Report; No. 2 in water resources, ShanghaiRanking Academic Ranking of World Universities; and No. 5 in astronomy and physics, Center for World University Rankings.
  • Inclusion is one of the values embraced by the university. As examples, UArizona was named outstanding member institution of the year by the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities and it is the first institution to institute a tribal database where students can select their tribal affiliation.
  • UArizona has signed a clean energy project agreement with Tucson Electric Power that will mitigate the university’s greenhouse footprint by 30 percent.
  • A new targeted marketing campaign is increasing the awareness of UArizona and is focused on “wonder make us,” embodying the idea that the impossible is possible and imagination drives resolve.

President Robbins included in his presentation to the board the many ways UArizona leadership, faculty, students and staff continue to serve the state during the pandemic -  including as a state vaccination site that is capable of delivering 6,000 doses per day, developing a smartphone based COVID-19 test and serving as a “freezer farm” to store vaccines.

Regent Ron Shoopman thanked President Robbins for his leadership of the university that includes significant engagement with the community and focusing on research. “Thanks to that engagement and the research taking place at the university every day, this university is advancing innovation on multiple fronts from constructing mirrors for the Giant Magellan Telescope to the OSIRIS-Rex project that is bringing material from a meteor back to Earth.”

The universities’ operational and financial reviews provide the board an overview of the progress of key initiatives against the goals set by ABOR for each university, as well as to outline priorities, challenges and opportunities that will be addressed in the coming year.

Board Approves Multiple-Year Employment Contract Extension for UArizona Women’s Basketball Head Coach

Based on a record of performance and success, the board approved a second amended multiple-year employment agreement for UArizona Women’s basketball Coach Adia Barnes.

Among Coach Barnes’ accomplishments are back-to-back top-four finishes in the Pac-12 for the first time since 2004, thirteen Pac-12 wins this year and second place finish in 2021 - the best finish since 2004.

Under her leadership, the UArizona Women’s Basketball Team was selected as a third seed in the Mercado Region of the 2021 NCAA Tournament – their first NCAA Tournament berth since 2005. She coached them to the first Final Four appearance and National Championship in the team’s history earlier this month. Coach Barnes finished second in Pac-12 Coach of the Year voting for the 2020-2021 season.

Barnes is the only coach in school history to win at least 20 games twice in her first four seasons. She was named the 2020 Naismith Coach of the Year finalist and 2021 Naismith Coach of the Year semifinalist.

“Coach Barnes is a stellar asset to the University of Arizona. Her leadership of the women’s basketball team has taken this program to great heights. It was a thrill to see the team come so close to taking the NCAA national championship this year, and we wish her the best next season,” Executive Director Arnold said.

In October 2019, UArizona entered into an amended multiple-year employment agreement with Barnes effective through April 30, 2024. The updated agreement approved by the board includes a two-year extension of Barnes’ current contract to April 30, 2026, and raises Barnes’ base annual salary for 2021-2022 with incremental increases over the five-year term.

Board policy requires board approval for multiple-year employment contracts. Additional details, terms and provisions related to the approved contract can be viewed here.

Board Awards Highest Faculty Honor to NAU, UArizona Professors

For exceptional achievements and contributions to research that have brought them national and/or  international distinction, the board awarded the title of Regents Professor to professors from NAU and UArizona. The Regents Professor title is the highest faculty honor awarded at Arizona’s public universities.

Recognizing their pioneering research and groundbreaking efforts to address the world’s most pressing and complex challenges – from cancer, to COVID-19, to climate change and more – ABOR awarded seven NAU professors and six UArizona professors with this prestigious honor:

Following are the new NAU Regents Professors:

Scott Goetz (School of Informatics, Computing and Cyber Systems, Center for Ecosystem Science and Society)

Professor Goetz is internationally recognized as a distinguished scholar in environmental remote sensing and its applications to global climate change research. His accomplishments include leading NASA’s $100 million, 10-year Arctic Boreal Vulnerability Experiment, which supported interdisciplinary research on climate-ecosystem interactions. He is also deputy principal investigator for science for NASA’s $94 million Global Ecosystem Dynamics Investigation project to better understand earth deforestation, forest and water resource management, carbon cycle science and weather prediction.

Jani Ingram (Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry)

Professor Ingram is the NAU lead principal investigator for the National Institutes of Health funded Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention. She has built a national and international reputation in community-engaged research with Indigenous communities with expertise in the environmental impacts of uranium mining on the Navajo Nation. She mentors many students in her lab, an achievement recently recognized through the American Chemical Society’s Award for Encouraging Disadvantaged Students into Careers in the Chemical Sciences.

Bjorn Krondorfer (Department of Comparative Cultural Studies, Martin-Springer Institute)  

Professor Krondorfer has developed a world-wide influence through his work in Holocaust and Genocide Studies, Critical Men’s Studies and Memory Studies, and has applied his scholarship to current conflicts such as the treatment of refugees, mass violence and genocide, as well as to peace-building work and issues of social justice and change. He fosters deep student engagement and empathy through his teaching on topics that lead to an enhanced understanding of moral courage, tolerance, reconciliation, and justice.

Yiqi Luo (Department of Biological Sciences, Center for Ecosystem Science and Society)

Professor Luo is a prolific and highly respected, internationally known scientist with expertise in ecology and large-scale quantitative modeling with a focus on global environmental change. He has published over 461 peer-reviewed publications, and has been cited approximately 45,000 times. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He is also a dedicated teacher who has authored two textbooks and converted a carbon cycle modeling course to a virtual format that attracted students from six continents.

Michelle Mack (Department of Biological Sciences, Center for Ecosystem Science and Society)

Professor Mack is a globally distinguished leader in the field of ecosystem ecology, with expertise in carbon and nitrogen cycle dynamics of fire and thawing in boreal and tundra landscapes in the Arctic. She has multiple highly cited publications in Science and Nature, and she was selected as a Kavli Frontiers of Science Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences. She is a committed teacher and mentor to undergraduate and graduate students, and has launched many successful student careers.

Edward (Ted) Schuur (Department of Biological Sciences, Center for Ecosystem Science and Society)

Professor Schuur has provided international scientific leadership through development of the Arctic Carbon and Climate observatory in Alaska and the Permafrost Carbon Network that has contributed a unified and collaborative scientific framework for how to consider threats emanating from the release of permafrost carbon under rapid climate change. He has multiple highly cited publications in Science and Nature, and he is an American Geophysical Union Fellow, and a Leopold Leadership Fellow in the Stanford Woods Institute of the Environment.

Miguel José Yacamán (Department of Applied Physics and Materials Sciences, Center for Materials Interfaces in Research and Applications)

Professor Yacamán is an internationally recognized scholar in the areas of nanomaterials and electron microscopy. He has published over 465 peer-reviewed publications and has been cited approximately 34,000 times. Yacamán has received numerous honors, including being elected a fellow of the Materials Research Society, the American Vacuum Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the Microscopy Society of America. He was named a distinguished scientist for the Society for the Advance of the Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science.

More information on the NAU Regents’ Professors is available here.

Following are the new UArizona Regents Professors:

Steven Archer (College of Agriculture & Life Sciences)

Professor Archer has reconstructed vegetation history and has quantified and predicted the consequences on sustainability of grazing systems, ecosystem biogeochemistry and land-surface atmosphere interactions. His research is concentrated on interactions between grasses and woody plants in relation to soils, climate and land use through a broadly-based research program using remote sensing, geographic information system (GIS) mapping technology, dendrochronology and stable-isotope chemistry.

Sonia Colina (College of Humanities)

Professor Colina, a linguist in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese in the College of Humanities and the director of the National Center for Interpretation, has amassed an exemplary record of internationally recognized, groundbreaking and interdisciplinary scholarship. She is an expert in two fields - theoretical phonology and translation studies. Her work in the latter has scholarly and literary implications. It extends outward into medical and social services and social justice, which is of paramount importance at UArizona – a Hispanic Serving Institution - and in Pima County, where Hispanics make up 37.6% of the population.

Marwan Krunz (College of Engineering)

Professor Krunz’s research was pivotal for providing guarantees of quality of service for Internet-streamed video. Without his innovations, services such as Zoom, Netflix and others would not be effective. He broke new ground with a concept known as statistical multiplexing, which resulted in the ability to stream hundreds of different video-based media from the same server to thousands of Internet users. To determine the effective bandwidth and storage requirements per stream, Professor Krunz provided one of the most accurate statistical models for compressed video in use today.

Dante Lauretta (College of Science)

As principal investigator of the OSIRIS-REx mission to collect and return material from the asteroid Bennu, Professor Lauretta has been prominent in the news. OSIRIS-REx is not only the largest sponsored project ever conducted at UArizona, but it also will yield fundamental knowledge about the origin of the terrestrial planets. In addition, Lauretta was awarded the Alfred O. Nier Prize of the Meteoritical Society in 2002 for "his experimental studies of iron-bearing sulfide formation in the solar system."

Sallie Marston (College of Social & Behavioral Sciences)

Professor Marston is most noted for her groundbreaking work on citizenship, public space and social reproduction. Aside from her scholarly articles, she has written one of the most widely used textbooks in her field. Her highly regarded article published in 1990, “Who Are ‘The People’?: Gender, Citizenship, and the Making of the American Nation,” looks at the relationship produced by public places and public spheres and the exclusionary powers such spaces can create.In 2013, she was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of American Geographers.

Ian Pepper (College of Agriculture & Life Sciences)

Professor Pepper is a locally, nationally and internationally renowned environmental microbiologist who has worked at the interface of human health and soils, potable water and municipal wastes. There is no better example of how he has impacted addressing real-world problems than his successful efforts to identify and quantify the COVID-19 virus in waste flows from university dormitories. His team’s “wastewater-based epidemiology,” which enabled the university to avoid a major campus outbreak, has been implemented in many other locations.

Appointments for Regents’ Professor are made by the university president and brought before the board for approval. More information on the UArizona Regents Professors is available here.

New Report Details Critical Retention Data

Retention is an important measure of student success that is examined in detail through the inaugural Fiscal Year 2020 First-Time Student Retention Report.

Students who don’t finish their degree have an increased likelihood of loan defaults, lower lifetime incomes and higher unemployment. Retention rates impact university rankings, reputation and financial position, and are an important measure for the state as it reflects the imperative to increase educational attainment and develop a 21st century workforce.

Key findings in the report include:

  • At ASU, the full-time student retention rate declined slightly year over year from 86.7% in 2019 to 86.2% in 2020. Part-time student retention, which represents 11.3% of all first-time enrollments, improved from 44.5% in 2019 to 49.3% in 2020.
  • Full-time student retention declined slightly at NAU from 77.6% in 2019 to 76.3% in 2020, whereas part-time student retention - 12.4% of all first-time enrollments - rose from 50.3% to 54.6%.
  • Full-time student retention improved at UArizona from 83.2% to 85.5% year-over-year, while part-time retention - 21.5% of all first-time enrollments - was essentially static at 66.7% in 2019 and 66.8% in 2020.
  • At all three universities, on-campus students were retained at much higher rates than online students.
  • Arizona resident students are retained at higher rates than non-resident students at all of the universities.
  • The retention gap between Pell Grant-recipient students and non-Pell Grant recipient students is relatively small at all three universities. However, large variances in retention rates across racial and ethnic groups persist at all of the institutions.

In addition to this new report, the board measures student retention at each of the universities as part of its strategic metrics. More information is available here

Board Hears on First Reading Proposed Revisions to In-State Tuition Policy

Among new proposed revisions to the board’s in-state tuition policy are changes that will affect military veterans. Changes to the policies regarding residency requirements for in-state tuition were on the board meeting’s consent agenda.

Proposed revisions update current ABOR policy in order to comply with new federal law pertaining to in-state tuition for military veterans. In January, former President Trump signed into law the Johnny Isakson and David P. Roe, M.D. Veterans Health Care and Benefits Improvement Act of 2020. This sweeping legislation includes several GI Bill and education-related changes, including to in-state tuition eligibility requirements for veteran students.

Under the previous law, public universities were required to charge non-resident veteran students in-state tuition within three years of their discharge date from the military. The new law removes that restriction so that any veteran student eligible to use GI Bill benefits will be charged in-state tuition, regardless of their date of qualifying discharge. ABOR has updated its proposed policy with new language to comply with that law.

Other policy revisions – developed by a tri-university work group made up of ABOR and university attorneys and staff – are designed to clarify for students and staff how residency is determined. The proposed changes include:

  • Defining objective evidence to mean “documentation or information other than an individual’s own statement(s) of intent”
  • Clarifying the definition of parent to include adoptive parent and custodial parent
  • Clarifying the definition of student to mean a person admitted and eligible to enroll in classes

The full description of proposed changes to ABOR’s residency policy may be viewed here


Sarah Harper, 602-229-2542, 602-402-1341 |