Highlights from April meeting: ASU general education framework, board officers, coaching and athletic director contracts, UArizona Regents Professors

Female student in class with other students in the foreground and background

Highlights from April meeting: ASU general education framework, board officers, coaching and athletic director contracts, UArizona Regents Professors

April 8, 2022

Board approves ASU general education curriculum framework  

Arizona State University’s new general education framework, approved by the board today, will help prepare students to become engaged citizens, critical thinkers and lifelong learners who are equipped for success throughout their lives.

“Our universities have worked extremely hard to redesign general education courses to ensure students who leave the universities have the educational underpinnings allowing them to participate fully in our democracy, engage in civil discourse and quickly adapt to our ever-changing technological world,” said Arizona Board of Regents Chair Lyndel Manson.

In June 2019, the Arizona Board of Regents approved a new policy to address general education requirements at Arizona’s public universities designed to “prepare graduates … to participate fully as informed citizens in a robust constitutional democracy based in values of individual freedom, self-reliance, and equality under the law, diversity, inclusion and constructive dialog.”

In addition to traditional general education requirements in math, science, arts and the humanities, this policy requires ABOR’s three universities to ensure general education curricula encompass a range of core skills and knowledge areas, including American Institutions and United States social and economic history.  Among other key provisions, the policy also calls for the universities to cultivate students capable of engaging in civil discourse founded in fundamental civic knowledge.

Students also will complete courses fostering the following six cross-cutting competencies: critical thinking and inquiry; communication and civil discourse; leadership, collaboration and teamwork; civic and global responsibility; creativity and innovation; and self-reflection and lifelong learning.  

The board’s and universities’ commitment to civics education is reflective of their commitment to Arizona’s values and belief that fundamental civic education is critical to the health of American democracy.

More information is available here.

Board approves new multiple-year coach and athletic director contracts

Leading in academics, building a strong program: New multiple-year contract for NAU head women’s basketball coach

The board approved a contract extension for Northern Arizona University Head Women’s Basketball Coach Loree Payne through March, 2027. Among her accomplishments at NAU since she became coach in 2017 are the first Big Sky Tournament participation and the first winning season in 12 years. Academic achievement among players is excelling through her leadership with a fall 2021 cumulative GPA of 3.51.

Coach Payne had the first post-season win in program history and the team played this year in the conference championship game for the first time since 2007.

More information is available here.

UArizona Vice President and Director of Athletics’ contract approved for two-year extension  

The board approved the extension of UArizona Vice President and Director of Athletics David Heeke’s multiple-year contract for an additional two years, through March 31, 2025. Heeke has led the university’s athletic department through the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, while sustaining impressive athletic achievements and maintaining student athletes’ academic success.

As examples, 14 teams participated in their respective NCAA postseasons in the past year while men’s golf, men’s basketball and baseball won Pac-12 championships, along with seven individual Pac-12 champions. UArizona had 32 All-American student-athletes, and 23 current and former Wildcats qualified for the 2021 Tokyo Olympics, three of whom medaled. Heeke has attracted top coaching talent and student athletes have enjoyed academic success with the highest overall GPA in a single semester at 3.172 in spring of 2021.

More information is available here.

New head coach at the helm of ASU women’s basketball after board approves contract

With approval by the board of her multiple-year contract, Natasha Adair is signed on to serve as head women’s basketball coach at Arizona State University through 2027. Coach Adair has extensive experience in women’s basketball, serving as head coach at the University of Delaware, Georgetown University and the College of Charleston.

In five seasons at the University of Delaware, Coach Adair compiled a 95-58 record, including two back-to-back 20-win seasons, and captured the program’s third Colonial Athletic Association title. In 2021-22, she coached the Delaware women’s basketball program to its first NCAA Tournament appearance in nearly a decade. Coach Adair was named the Colonial Athletic Association coach of the year in 2021 after she guided the Delaware program to a regular season title and a Women's National Invitation Tournament semifinals appearance, finishing with a 24-5 overall record and a 16-2 record in league play.

More information is available here.

Board elects new 2022-23 officers; Chair Manson to serve additional year

The board elected new officers for 2022-23, including current Chair Lyndel Manson who will serve an additional year as chair.  

“Chair Manson is a leader of tremendous integrity, competence and vision and we are very appreciative of her dedication and commitment to serve another year as chair,” said ABOR Chair Elect Fred DuVal.

Additional board officers for 2022-23 are:

  • Chair Elect: Fred DuVal
  • Secretary: Cecilia Mata
  • Treasurer: Larry Penley
  • Assistant Treasurer: Rachel Kanyur.

ABOR bylaws authorize the board to elect a chair, chair-elect, secretary and treasurer for the upcoming fiscal year, beginning July 1. More information is available here.

Excelling UArizona professors earn Regents Professor title - highest faculty honor

Pioneering research in the arts to asthma and the environment span the accomplishments of five University of Arizona professors awarded the title of Regents Professors by the board at its meeting today. The title of Regents’ Professor is the highest faculty honor awarded at Arizona’s public universities.

“Each of these scholars is truly elite in their field and make extraordinary contributions to our students, our state and the global community,” said Chair Manson. “I extend my sincere appreciation and congratulations to these top-pier academic leaders – your contributions are remarkable.”

New Regents Professors are:

  • Sama Alshaibi (College of Fine Arts) - Professor Alshaibi is elevating the stature of the School of Art Photography, Video and Imaging that is currently ranked third in the nation. An immigrant, Alshaibi uses her artwork to create space, both for herself and others, where little had existed previously. Her projects engage with the visual legacy of colonialism and subsequent cultural erasure. She brings an extraordinary level of talent and dedication to her work as a scholar, artist, mentor and colleague.
  • Jean-Luc Brédas (College of Science) - An essential prerequisite to the successful design of new materials is the understanding and control of their electronic energy levels. Brédas and his colleagues have been at the vanguard of devising theoretical approaches to materials that has led to a revolution in materials design. His research is recognized by multiple awards including: Alexander von Humboldt Research Award; Materials Theory Award of the Materials Research Society; and Centenary Prize of the UK Royal Society of Chemistry.
  • Juanita L. Merchant (College of Medicine) - Dr. Merchant is a pioneering researcher on cancer of the stomach and is an accomplished member of the faculty of the University of Arizona College of Medicine in Tucson. She has reached the highest achievements as a practicing physician, researcher and teacher/mentor. Among many honors are: Funderburg Research Award in Gastric Cancer and election to the National Academy of Medicine, American Academy of Arts & Sciences, and Association of American Physicians.
  • David Pietz (College of Social & Behavioral Sciences) - Professor Pietz is the world’s preeminent scholar examining China’s environmental transformations. His award-winning research has focused on the management of water in China, as he analyzes the causes and consequences of China’s responses to environmental issues that have global reach. He is the university’s first Andrew Carnegie Fellow, selected for his capacity to “address important and enduring issues confronting our society,” and he was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship.

  • Donata Vercelli (College of Medicine) - Dr. Vercelli and colleagues used a natural setting to demonstrate that the more children and their mothers played with and were exposed to farm animals, the fewer asthmatic symptoms the children displayed in later life. These efforts provided a model system and were a major driver for a five-year, $9 million National Institutes of Health grant addressing environmental exposures on childhood asthma. Her investigations have a profound impact on the understanding of asthma and allergic diseases.

Per ABOR policy, the rank of Regents’ Professor is conferred only on full professors whose pioneering contributions and achievements have brought them national or international distinction. Additionally, the title may be awarded to no more than 3% of tenured and tenure-track faculty.

More information is available here.