Academic plan for New Campus finalized, approved

By Yvonne Condes

Arizona Daily Wildcat

While Pima County's new four-year liberal arts university's name and location still is being decided on, the academic plan for New Campus has been determined.

Seventeen UA students and instructors got together once a week last spring to come up with the academic plan for New Campus, which was approved by the Arizona Board of Regents and released last month.

According to the plan, New Campus would be set up as a house with associated classrooms, student work rooms and information centers with on-line computers.

Classes either would be very small or very big, with at least two-thirds of the classes being small, said Gary D. Fenstermacher, professor of education and APAC member. This is to "avoid the idea that you could be a junior before you have a small class."

"I would like to see a campus built that really fits the needs of students," said Ana Perches, Spanish and Portuguese lecturer and APAC member.

It should fit the needs of all students, Fenstermacher said, not just the elite or more affluent students, even though the education would be "upscale."

The curriculum would consist of liberal education, advanced disciplinary or interdisciplinary studies, vocation or profession studies and service learning, where students participate in community life.

Proficiency in the English language and a second language should be stressed, said Conrad A. Istock, professor of ecology, evolutionary biology and APAC member. The student can then go to another country with the ability to speak and write the language.

Perches said she wanted the university open to different cultures so students can study abroad and in the future incorporate international students to New Campus.

Faculty members should be bilingual, or at least willing to learn another language to set the example for the students, Fenstermacher said.

The goal of the new university is to produce highly skilled and educated people, Istock said.

Students that enroll in the school will know they are "not here to get a bachelor's degree, but to earn a bachelor's degree," Fenstermacher said.

New Campus faculty should be people open to new ideas and non-conventional ways of measuring student performance, Perches said.

The committee discussed tenure, but not at length because the decision ultimately rests with the board of regents, according to the plan.

Perches said she had mixed feelings about the tenure issue. On the one hand, it is "unfair for new faculty to come in and never have that chance," but "the pressure of tenure is in contradiction of a teaching college."

Celestino Fernandez, New Campus executive vice president and provost, said he will recommend term contracts instead of tenure. It is an issue of vision because with the university there is the opportunity to design a new kind of institution of higher education, he said.

Fenstermacher said while getting rid of tenure at the UA would not work, not having tenure at New Campus could. This is because of the amount of academic freedom an instructor at the campus ideally would have.

"All of us have reservations, all see possible sides. Fortunately, we don't decide," Istock said.

The academic plan will be a guide for faculty of New Campus, which is scheduled to be operational in fall 1996.

Location for the campus has not been chosen yet, but 100 acres of the Science and Technology Park is being reserved, Fernandez said.

Perches said the campus she wants to see is hard to envision at this site, while Istock thinks downtown would be ideal because of the proximity to cultural activities, the business district and the public library.

No definite location has made recruiting a challenge, said Michael Celaya, director of enrollment services for New Campus.

The first year, there will be 100 to 150 freshmen, and eventually the school will admit transfer students, Fernandez said.

Hiring will begin in the spring for New Campus, Celaya said.

UA President Manuel Pacheco approved the school's name, Arizona International University. It will go to the Regents for a vote.

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