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What UA Deans Say About the Land-Grant Mission

As part of a week-long package on the history and contemporary relevance of the UA's land-grant mission, University deans were asked to talk about what the mission means to their respective colleges. Here are some of their responses:

Acknowledging the Mission's Expansive Meaning

"While land-grant universities certainly originated with the idea of teaching practical agriculture and engineering skills, I think the mission has evolved to mean providing value to the State by being committed to accessibility and service. This can be done in many ways, including outreach and applied research. But I also believe one of the major ways we serve this state is by educating its next generation." -John Paul Jones III, the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences dean

Immediate and Direct Impact

"Since most of our programs in College of Agriculture and Life Sciences are very hands-on and applied, we are impacting the communities and state by graduating well-qualified job candidates.  Our students bring with them, in many instances, practical experience that can help them transition into the work environment that much easier. Many of our majors learn and take part in community programs in these areas. These students are not just doing this with classes and programs, but also as part of student clubs and organizations. Food safety, healthy eating, exercise and other types of programs are each areas that many of our clubs work in promoting." -Elaine Marchello, assistant dean of academic programs for the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and faculty member in the veterinary science and microbiology department

Educational Access, a Core Function

"Serving students is what we do, and our land grant mission provides a historical context to emphasize the importance of the work we do. Our land grant mission guides our departments to focus on serving students by providing access and support throughout their entire experience as a Wildcat. From the admission process, to orientation, financial aid and registration, enrollment management engages students and their families by providing innovative services to support their student experience." -Kasey Urquidez, Undergraduate Admissions dean and associate vice president for Student affairs and Enrollment Management

The Impact Graduate Education Makes

"The land-grant mission shapes the way we do teaching, do research and the way we participate as contributors to the community. We as a land-grant university bear a special responsibility to link research and practice and to address issues of importance to the citizens of Arizona. In Arizona, we have a special mission with regard to border issues and issues affecting Native Americans. However, we also broadly extend our view of the mission beyond Arizona to the world and to problems beyond agriculture and technology to economic, cultural, and social challenges as well. The Graduate College is a leader in putting knowledge and research to work to make life better for people everywhere, guided by the historic principles of the land-grant." -Andrew Carnie, interim dean of the Graduate College

Public, Private and Community Collaborations are Essential

"In the College of Humanities we focus on providing teaching and scholarship that ask new questions and focus on collaborating effectively with many different constituencies and stakeholder in the community. We also emphasize reaching new audiences in ways that serve the students at the UA, the region, the state, and transcultural communication across the globe." -Mary E. Wildner-Bassett, the College of Humanities dean

Supporting a Legal Structure, Training Generations of Lawyers

"When it was established as the School of Law in 1915, Arizona was still a young state in a rugged, relatively undeveloped region of the country. Since then, many of our more than 7,700 graduates have been instrumental in building the legal infrastructure of the American West, and have strengthened its communities by assuming the mantle of civic and professional leadership. Many of our programs are important to the state’s most significant interests in, for example, natural resources and environmental law.  Our faculty are involved in projects that inform the public policy debate and grow capacity for serving the legal needs of the public.  Our students engage in co-curricular and volunteer efforts that simultaneously prepare them for the profession and benefit their society and their communities." -Lawrence Ponoroff, James E. Rogers College of Law dean

Expanding Information Access in a Knowledge Economy

"The needs of 21st century society are broader in range. Food production and industrial development are continuing needs but society also has new, different needs now. These include understanding the environment and the impact of modern society on it, learning how to improve the health of our citizens, developing new sources of energy, addressing social issues of a modern – increasingly diverse – population, using computer and telecommunications technologies to increase the knowledge and capability of the human mind, understanding business and management issues and understanding the history and origins of ourselves and our world. The UA addresses these and other needs through the instructional, research, and outreach activities of its many units. The land-grant mission is important to the University Libraries, which serve as the collective memory for information, an agent for cultural transmission and a proactive participant in the changing scholarly communication process. This is accomplished by facilitating access to information needed by students, researchers and applied and social scientists to address the broad range of societal needs – from education and workforce development through applied research and technology transfer." -Carla J. Stoffle, dean of the University Libraries, which includes Special Collections and the Center for Creative Photography

Health System Benefits for All

"From a systems perspective we seek to improve the health of the population through collective action primarily through health promotion and disease prevention with  values of community fairness and social justice. We work to translate  cutting edge research to communities in order to eliminate health disparities and promote health equity." -Iman Hakim, the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health dean

Training Generations of Medical Professionals

"Certainly, with a severe state and national shortage of physicians and other health-care professionals, the University of Arizona College of Medicine – Tucson and the UA College of Medicine – Phoenix are serving a vital, practical, role in preparing much-needed physicians for our state and nation. With more than 3,000 alumni, the College also provides statewide learning opportunities at all levels, from school-age children to professionals continuing their medical education. Its statewide research initiatives are touching lives and improving health throughout Arizona and beyond. And UA College of Medicine departments, sections, centers and programs serve as an important resource for Arizona’s health-care professionals, providing outreach clinics, technical support and other resources." -Dr. Steve Goldschmid, dean of the UA College of Medicine Tucson campus

Impact, Excellence and Community Cooperation

"For us, the land grant mission is all about working to help people.  We help the economy with education of students as these students go on to build new companies and work for existing companies. We also do research that helps further our ability to solve problems and help improve people’s lives. Our research also has economic impact as we work on the ideas that become new products and systems. Finally, we have an outreach mission where we encourage students and the public to understand how we help people." -Jeff Goldberg, College of Engineering dean

Photography by Patrick McArdle, Beatriz Verdugo and Norma Jean Gargasz of UANews