By Anthony C. Braza
Arizona Summer Wildcat
July 1, 1998

Undergrad education improving, UA officals say


Wildcat File Photo
Arizona Summer Wildcat

Provost Paul Sypherd

Arizona Summer Wildcat

UA officials reported good news about undergraduate education to the Arizona Board of Regents last week .

Class availability and exposure to ranked teachers are up for undergraduates since last year.

But, University of Arizona Provost Paul Sypherd said yesterday the changes did not come without a cost.

"There have been trade-offs in the number of graduate courses and small-enrollment courses offered," he said in an email interview.

Having regular faculty teach lower-level classes and advise students has bumped-up some class sizes and cut a number of graduate courses.

"[The trade-offs] are probably not good effects, but are necessary for the greatest good," Sypherd added.

The report showed that 73 percent of undergraduates were able to get classes they needed for their major, up from 61 percent four years ago. It also showed that the number of undergraduate classes taught by regular faculty increased from 60 percent to 67 percent during the same time period.

The report assessed how well the UA did in meeting 35 goals set by the ABOR in 1994. The goals were intended to increase the number of undergraduate classes taught by regular faculty, give each undergraduate student a faculty advisor and make it easier for undergraduates to get classes needed for their majors.

"Course availability and having tenure-track faculty and PhDs in the classroom for lower-division students [are both important,]" Sypherd said.

Some UA faculty members said Tuesday the overall situation is improving for undergraduates.

"The situation for undergraduates [in this department] has improved, and continues to improve," said Pat Murray, undergraduate advisor in the computer science department.

Larry Evers, head of the English Department said 100 percent of the lower division classes, with the exclusion of composition, are taught by regular faculty.

In addtion:

  • Regents approved multiple-year contracts for the faculty at the Arizona International College. The three-year contracts will be offered to existing faculty, and new faculty will be offered two-year deals.
  • The UA was granted permission to plan for two 350-bed residence halls. The halls will cost $29-$34 million, and will be located immediately west of La Paz residence hall.
  • Seven projects were approved en masse through the Capital Improvement Plan, including a new faculty office building, a graduate and family on-campus housing project, and a parking structure that will add 600 spaces. The graduate housing project will include two 100-150 unit buildings.
  • The regents met Thursday and Friday in Flagstaff.