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UA Colleges of Letters and Sciences to absorb Fine Arts

Citizen Staff Writer



In the latest step in the University of Arizona Transformation Plan, the newly created Colleges of Letters and Sciences will absorb UA’s College of Fine Arts and change its name to the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science.

The new unit will serve as home for more than half of all UA faculty and undergraduate students and could result in at least $3 million in savings, according to UA officials.

College of Science Dean Joaquin Ruiz is the executive dean of the superunit. Each college will retain its identity, class structure, faculty and dean, although the reporting structure for business and administrative practices will funnel up through Ruiz.

UA originally said creating the Colleges of Letters and Sciences in mid-December wasn’t a merger but a “partnership” between the colleges of humanities, social and behavioral sciences, science and University College.

Provost Meredith Hay said at the time that she expected at least $1.5 million in administrative savings from the partnership by centralizing such things as student advising, procurement, human resources and business affairs.

This month, however, in response to an Arizona Board of Regents request to detail how UA would absorb the nearly $80 million in state cuts, officials said one step was reducing the number of academic colleges from 16 to 13 through mergers. Another was closing University College.

The latter offers no classes but serves as the advising and administrative home for paraprofessional programs and undecided and interdisciplinary studies majors at UA.

The addition of the College of Fine Arts to the new unit could add at least $1.5 million to original savings projections, said Stephen J. MacCarthy, UA vice president for external relations.

He said he could not comment on how many employees might be laid off as a result of the addition of Fine Arts to the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science. He said those decisions would be made by Ruiz in his position as executive dean.

“It is being aggressively handled, but does that mean that by Tuesday of next week I can tell you how much we’ll be saving on copying and servers? No, but we think we should be able to save multiple millions of dollars in the long term,” MacCarthy said.

Ruiz did not return calls seeking comment.

MacCarthy said the College of Fine Arts joined the new college after discussions with Dean Maurice J. Sevigny.

“The transformation process is an ongoing enterprise and when we find opportunities for new collaboration we will follow those,” MacCarthy said. “Nothing is static.”

Sevigny said in a news release that he is encouraged by the new collaborations that might happen through the new college.

UA Faculty Senate President Wanda Howell said she anticipates that faculty input and votes will be needed eventually as the Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science evolves.

University College Dean Juan Garcia was out of the office sick Wednesday and could not be reached for comment.

Separate colleges at UA

Colleges remaining separate from the new Colleges of Letters, Arts and Science:

• College of Agriculture and Life Sciences

• College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture

• College of Education

• College of Engineering

• College of Law

• College of Medicine

• College of Nursing

• College of Pharmacy

• College of Optical Sciences

• Eller College of Management

• Mel & Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health

• Outreach College

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