UM curators show interest in pursuing new university model

Friday, September 14, 2012 | 6:47 p.m. CDT

COLUMBIA — Arizona State University President Michael Crow wrapped up his speech to the UM System Board of Curators with lighthearted jokes about the Saturday football game between the Sun Devils and the Tigers.

The topic of Crow's speech Friday was ASU's innovative operating model, which he called "The New American University."

Under this model, ASU strives to create a culture of inclusion by focusing on economic diversity, tracking students individually and providing them with tools for success.

Over the past five years, ASU completely revamped academic programs and invested in new technologies, he said, such as the eAdvisor software that provides students with online advising and student support tools.

Before implementing eAdvisor, only 25 percent of freshmen were on track to graduate at the end of their first semester, Crow said. Now that number has risen to 95 percent.

"It's very interesting what (Crow) had to say, and we will investigate a lot of things that he was talking about, I assume, in the future," board chairman David Bradley said. "We're going to have to probably restructure what's going on at the UM system in the next few years."

Bradley said that operating expenses are increasing faster than operating revenue and this is potentially "a path to destruction." The system is in good financial standing but will be looking for ways to make adjustments.

 Also Friday during the meeting at MU:

  • Chancellors from each UM campus spoke on how they were spending strategic investment funds to improve facilities and student experience. If a tobacco tax passes on the November ballot, they said the funds designated for higher education would be spent on similar projects.
  • The curators voted to award former board chairwoman Judith Haggard the title of curator emeritus to recognize her work for the system. Haggard was a member of the board from 2007 to 2012 and served as vice chairwoman in 2009 and chairwoman in 2010.
  • The board approved a contract between University of Missouri Health Care and the Cerner Corp. for the use of new dictation software. The $2.1 million contract includes a one-time payment of $1,649,960 and a yearly cost of $455,230 for the use of the software. This represents a significant savings from the $2.25 million currently spent on dictation each year.
  • Daniel Sontheimer of CoxHealth and David O. Barbe of Mercy Health System presented information about their partnership with MU. Starting in 2013, third-year medical students in the clinical campus program will spend two years in Springfield, Mo., to do their clinical work. The expectation is that the partnership will allow the medical school to admit more students, create jobs in Springfield and encourage more medical school graduates to work in rural areas.
  • UM System President Tim Wolfe announced he will hold a Twitter town hall meeting at the end of this month. He is accepting questions via Twitter to his handle @UMPrez and will address them in his next video message.

 Supervising Editor is Elizabeth Brixey.

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