AIC: Location, location, location
You know the old saying about publicity, that no matter how bad it is, it's still good. The truth of the doggerel seems borne out by the recent announcement that the Arizona International College has experienced a more than three-fold increase in number of applicants for next year.
From the beginning, AIC has been attacked for everything from its no-tenure policy to its current location on South Rita Road. Last year, the negative publicity came to a head when funding cuts forced the fledgling college to take out a loan from the University of Arizona to stay afloat. That move was followed by the Arizona Board of Regents decision to plant the college at the UA, in the hope it would subsequently spin off anew into a campus in its own right.
AIC officials say that aggressive recruiting and media advertising are the main reasons for the jump in applications.
Lucian Spataro, associate to the provost for AIC, said that among other things, the college's three admissions counselors have focused otheir recruitment on about 100 high school campuses. The goal, he said, is to bring students to AIC one or two at a time. The approach, Spataro said, dovetails with the personal attention and small classes the AIC is designed to offer.
If the numbers mean anything, it appears the college's efforts are working.
Another adage that should be working for the college is the one about real estate. Value is based on three things: location, location, location.
When the campus was created four years ago, the regents chose the former IBM facility on Rita Road, 30 miles away from downtown Tucson, over a proposed mid-town site. The sense on campus then was that the decision was poor. The southeast side of Tucson was then, and continues to be, difficult to reach from the city. The idea then, and Spataro said it is an idea that still might work, was to put the school in a growing part of town.
"We were just a little ahead of the game," Spataro said.
Spataro said the key benefit from the move to temporary buildings on the main campus is the sense of direction for AIC, the sense that it's here to say.
Spataro added that accessibility doesn't hurt, that a populated area with convenient transportation would help the school.
We agree. In deciding the future of AIC, administrators and regents should keep in mind that the life off campus is an enriching part of the university experience. Student life, however, tends to be restricted by geography. Available transportation and a nearby community need to be key components when a new location is planned for AIC. Location is important to its value.