ABOR to Hear Update on Research Metrics, Adopt a Performance Funding Model

The research metrics are part of the Arizona Higher Education Enterprise plan. Legislation requires the adoption of a performance funding model by July 1.
June 13, 2012
From left: Student Regent William Holmes, ABOR Chair Rick Myers, Northern Arizona University President John Haeger. (Photo by Patrick McArdle/UANews)
From left: Student Regent William Holmes, ABOR Chair Rick Myers, Northern Arizona University President John Haeger. (Photo by Patrick McArdle/UANews)

The Arizona Board of Regents this week is expected to hear an update on the Arizona Higher Education Enterprise Plan, which is designed to realign and strengthen the state university system.

The update will focus specifically on research metrics at each of the state's three universities.

A report presented to the Arizona Board of Regents in September 2010, titled "The Arizona Higher Education Enterprise: Strategic Realignment 2010 and Forward," outlines priorities and important discussion areas for realigning the state university system in a way that allows each state university to better focus its individual mission to benefit the system as a whole.

Drafted by the three state university presidents and Tom Anderes, president of ABOR, the report addresses everything from organization and curricular design to the universities' relationship with the state. It was written in response to a charge from Regent Anne Mariucci to think about ways the state university system can operate more effectively as an enterprise.

At this week's board meeting, which takes place Thursday and Friday at Northern Arizona University, the regents will hear how each university is making progress toward its research goals using the metrics of total research expenditures, invention disclosures transacted, U.S. patents issued, intellectual property income, startup companies and doctoral degrees conferred.

In the fiscal year that ended in 2011 – the most recent for which data are available – the state university system as a whole exceeded the goals set for all the metrics except total research expenditures and doctoral degrees conferred, both of which fell short of their goals.

At the UA specifically, the goal was for $630 million in research expenditures, but the actual amount was $610.6 million. Likewise, the University fell short of its goal of conferring 859 doctoral degrees, with 445 instead. In all other categories, the UA met or exceeded its goal.

For more information, see item No. 1 on the ABOR agenda (PDF).

Also on the agenda:

  • The board will be asked to review and adopt a performance funding model to be used in developing university state budget requests. Legislation requires that the board formally adopt a performance funding model by July 1. The model initially was presented in August and is based on degree production, completed student credit hours and external research funding.
  • The board will be asked to approve the annual operating budget for fiscal year 2013, which begins July 1. The budget will include the universities' allocation of parity funding and performance funding. Achieving funding parity became an issue last year after it was noted that the University of Arizona receives more per-pupil funding from the state than the other universities. The principle behind the ABOR-approved plan is that the base level of general fund support for the UA, ASU and NAU should be equal, based on the same per-student funding for each school. ABOR is being asked to approve a general fund appropriation of an additional $12 million for ASU and $3.3 million for NAU as the first installments of a five-year phase-in of the parity plan. This year's funding is for the specific purposes of course redesign technology and capital appropriations.
  • The board will be asked to review the framework of state operating budget requests for the fiscal year that begins July 1, 2013, and provide guidance to the universities. Board action on the requests is scheduled for the September board meeting.
  • The UA will request approval of its capital development plan for the coming fiscal year. The plan includes five new capital projects and two previously approved projects. The total cost for all the new capital projects is $220.9 million.
  • The UA also will seek a base salary adjustment and one-year contract extension for UA head basketball coach Sean Miller, who was hired at the UA in 2009. The new contract would go to April 30, 2017, with a $100,000 increase to his base salary to take effect July 1, 2016. When Miller was hired in 2009, the board approved a base salary of $900,000. The contract also provided that the University would contribute $300,000 per year to a retention fund, payable to Miller only if he completed the entire term of his employment. The contract was originally set to expire on April 30, 2014, but the board extended the expiration date to April 30, 2016, when it met last June. At that time, the board also approved adjusting Miller’s base salary by $100,000 effective each July 1 during the term of the contract. By July 1, 2016, Miller's base salary will be $1.4 million. If this new extension is approved, his base salary would increase to $1.5 million at that time.
  • The board will be asked to approve an additional title for Director of Athletics Greg Byrne: vice president for athletics. The title would be added to his current contract, with no other contract changes proposed. The new title would make it clear to the National Collegiate Athletics Association that Byrne reports directly to the University president, keeping in line with the NCAA constitution that mandates that an "institution's president or chancellor is responsible for the administration of all aspects of the athletics program."