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Arizona Board of Regents finalizing qualifications for the next University of Arizona president

Posted at 8:57 AM, Jun 18, 2024

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — The Arizona Board of Regents, along with the University of Arizona’s presidential search advisory committee, has been looking for a new president for the university after President Robert Robbins announced he would be stepping down after his contract ends at the end of June 2026.

On Monday, they held a meeting where they made changes to a rubric, or list, of qualifications for the next president, adding things like the ability to retain university workers. Those qualifications are separated into eight categories, then broken down into more specific qualifications.

Fred DuVal, one of the regents, felt strongly about the new president having team-building, community-building, and financial skills.

They’re qualities that are listed under the eight qualifications categories. One of the eight categories is understanding how the university’s multiple financial systems work.

“Any president has got to be able to know when an institution is facing financial stress, what the tools are to address it, how to do it over multiple years,” Duval said.

Sam Rodriguez, graduate student at the UA, said he’s hoping the president understands how the university’s finances work, especially after the university started having financial issues. Rodriguez is hoping the new president puts the interests of students at the forefront of goals for the university.

“A lot of students want someone who isn’t focused on using money for things that aren’t directly related to research, academics, student programs,” he said.

Academic and research excellence is another one of the eight qualifications categories.

“Ideally we will find someone who has had some history in governing and leading medical enterprises because we have two colleges of medicine,” Duval said.

However, he also said they’re considering someone with the highest degree such as a PhD, or someone who is a scholar in science or the law.

Another one of the eight categories is "interpersonal and engagement style” which includes building trust with university employees and students.

Kolby Arnell is a student at the university who said it’s important for the next president to take into consideration the needs of students.

“Reach out to the students and check up on them, whether it be through surveys of like how they think their classes are going,” Arnell said.

Duval said they’re going to have a final rubric within the next two days. He said, so far they have narrowed the candidate pool to about fifty people.

Over the next few months he said they’re going to narrow the search down to three candidates. After that they are going to have a meeting so community members can give their opinions on the candidates.

“This is a great university and we’re seeing that in the quality of people that are submitting interest,” DuVall said.

Andrew Christiansen is a reporter for KGUN 9. Before joining the team, Andrew reported in Corpus Christi, Texas for KRIS6 News, Action 10 News and guest reported in Spanish for Telemundo Corpus Christi. Share your story ideas with Andrew by emailing or by connecting on Facebook, or Twitter.