By Troy J. Acevedo
Arizona Daily Wildcat
August 22, 2005
The Arizona Board of Regents has a new leader holding the reins, who says she is ready to start tackling issues such as tuition and university relations.
Regent Christina Palacios said as she assumes the role of president, she is more than prepared to dedicate long hours in both her private sector career and the responsibility that comes with being a regent.
Entering the workforce straight out of high school, Palacios said she attended night school for 10 years before having the opportunity to focus solely on education.
She received her BA in marketing and later, in 1978, her MBA from the University of Utah.
Palacios said with a background primarily in human resources, she has worked for many different companies over the years until finding her home at Southwest Gas in 1984.
While in Southern Arizona, Palacios was approached by the governor's office and asked to sit on the newly formed school facilities board.
Former Arizona Governor Jane Hull later asked Palacios if she would be willing to act as a regent.
"I place a high value on education," Palacios said. "Participating in the policies that make education available to everyone is an honor."
The new president said at the regents June 2005 retreat that her primary goals are to build stronger relationships with community colleges, keep the Legislature better informed in an effort to gain mutual understanding and to examine the number of issues regarding the tuition-setting process.
Palacios said everyone recognizes the shortage of funding and because of this, tuition always comes to the fore.
"I would like to see tuition moderated," Palacios said. "The regents are by no means interested in raising tuition just to raise tuition."
In 2002, the regents were evenly divided on tuition issues and increases. Palacios said following 2002, the Regents established changing directions and were more united on tuition.
In regards to the current standing of the universities and their leadership, Palacios said things are not perfect but the university presidents are working diligently to make it better.
"We really have top notch presidents that are very committed to the community and especially students," Palacios said.