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March 2, 2011

Host: Ted Simons

Arizona Board of Regents

  |   Video
  • The Arizona Board of Regents oversees the state's universities. Hear what Regent leadership has to say about a bill to abolish the board.
  • Anne Mariucci - Chairman, Arizona Board of Regents
  • Fred DuVal - Vice Chairman, Arizona Board of Regents
Category: Education

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The Arizona board of regents oversees the state's public universities. And as a matter of full disclosure, it also holds the license for this public television station. That said, state lawmakers are considering a bill to abolish the board. Here to talk about that and discuss an upcoming work session to find out how budget cuts will impact state universities are board chairman regent Anne Mariucci, and vice chairman regent Fred Duval. Good to see you back here. Let's talk about this bill. Let's start on the bill to abolish the board of regents. Your thoughts?

Anne Mariucci: Well, my understanding from the senator's comments are that he believes that this will instill more competition between the Universities. That is very much lost on me. I am all for competition. But if you get the three universities competing against each other, that's a zero sum game, and in a zero sum game, there's winners and losers. So let's talk about competition, but let's compete as a state against absolute measures of performance, which is what our mission is now at the board. Let's compete around degree production, cost per degree production, retention rates and so forth. And my colleague Fred has a significant amount of experience in the history of this, and in his knowledge about what's happening in other states. And I think his report from the front lines are pretty insightful.

Fred Duval: I appreciate that. This is to some extent sort after treatment that does haven't a symptom. The symptom has gone away. We now have a robust array of competition in our relationships with the community colleges, there are multiple pathways that students have currently to choose different pathways towards their degree. So the competition issue really is sort of dated. But it is interesting, I used to staff in the governor's office back in the '70s and '80s the board of regents, at a time when the regents were specifically selected to protect their individual institutions. Somebody from Tucson, somebody from Phoenix, somebody from Flagstaff. You have research at NAU as an accommodation to a political log rolling kind after deal. You've got a law school at ASU, as an accommodation to the medical school going to Tucson. And what you had was a board that protected institution by making sure everybody gets everything. It's exactly the opposite of I think the direction the senator wants to go. And to -- we just came back from the national governors' conference where this was a huge topic. Governor Gregoire of Washington state has a centralized ward with the community colleges, not with the Universities and says look I can't get the streamlining and efficiency that I need in my list unless I have one board so we’re moving in the wrong direction.

Ted Simons: When the senator says this bill would give more autonomy to the universities, more of a way to have their own identity, more stability, more flexibility, you say --

Anne Mariucci: It may give more autonomy, but is that a good thing? Is autonomy a good thing when it's a means to build redundancy, duplication of effort, and introduce a whole other layer and dimension of cost into a system where I think we universally agree we need to take cost out of the system, not build cost into the system.

Ted Simons: So the -- the idea of the -- getting a board of trustees for each University?

Fred Duval: It will be political log rolling. It will sort of be like earmarks in Washington, DC. If you get yours, I get mine, nobody moves until everybody is happy, and it is a pathway towards redundancy at a time when the board is really working overtime squeeze out redundancy it becomes as efficient as possible. Integrate the system into a more productive --

Anne Mariucci: When you look across the country, there are some models where this actually does work. But it happens after years and years of clearly articulated mission differentiation between the institutions. So that when there was a central governing board, they painstakingly created nonduplicative mission and programs and centers of excellence at each place, and rooted out all the overlap. We are not there at that point. Yes just starting with our enterprise initiative that level of activity. It would be far premature, and furthermore, the bill as we understand it provides for no central coordinating effort or organization sitting on top of those independent boards, and I do understand that every state in which it is successful with separate boards does have an overlaying coordinating effort.

Ted Simons: To that end, apparently the bill does call for something along the lines of benchmarks that a legislative oversight would look to see that the Universities would somehow accomplish, I don't know exactly how the metrics would be explained, but the idea of more legislative oversight for state Universities. Your thoughts?

Fred Duval: Well, the reasons are in the constitution for a reason. The founders of the of our state thought it was important that there be people with long-terms that are not caught up in politics to set out a long-term strategic plan for the state of Arizona. We've gone about setting up some very tough outcome oriented benchmarks around productivity, around transfer rates, around retention. All of the kind of things that the senate is talking about. And I think the more they learn about the benchmarks and the metrics that we're holding our presidents accountable for earthquake I think the more they may realize we're really on the same pathway.

Ted Simons: I want to get to this work session and the ideas that might flow from this. Obviously there's something to be looked at here of 170 million dollars in cuts down the pipe. Before we do that, for folks who don't know what the Arizona board of regents is or does, give us a definition.

Anne Mariucci: It's the governing body that oversees the three public Universities, Arizona state, northern Arizona, and University of Arizona. The presidents report to the board of regents, the board of regents technically owns the assets, the hard physical assets of the Universities. We set tuition, and we make broad policy decisions around every aspect of strategy and operations.

Ted Simons: OK.

Anne Mariucci: It's a really a full-fledged board of directors.

Ted Simons: Let's get now to the work session and what you're going to look at. I've heard unprecedent and watershed and all sorts of things, I know that there are implications of $170 million in cuts occur, what are you going to look at? What are priorities, what's going to be focused on?

Anne Mariucci: We're going to look at everything. In order to look at everything, we've got to have time, and engagement across all levels and all people to throw the issue on the table, talk about it, carefully, thoroughly, all the voices are heard. And we needed a special day to do that. So this is an unprecedented meeting of the board of regents to discuss something of this magnitude. We have asked each of the three Universities to come forward with a variety of scenarios with an emphasis on how do you operate, preserving quality, at a lower level of investment that rolls up to this $170 million? We have instructed the presidents that tuition increases are a solution of last resort. Not a solution of first resort. So that means we've got to look at many many different ideas around cost savings, extracting deficiencies, eliminating redundancies at the University level and then one University to the next. Which then makes the case for why it's great to have a central governing board, because we can actually sit and ask that question, do we really need three engineering schools? Can we afford to have three engineering schools in an environment like this? If we agree we can't, we have the ability to do something about it.

Ted Simons: And I was going to ask about that. The idea of cutting colleges, cutting underperforming programs, of cutting schools. That's a big move on the table?

Fred Duval: Everything is on the table, because these are dramatic cuts. It's important to have the multiyear perspective. We've already taken $230 million out of the system. It's a lot hard tore lose 10 more pounds if you're thin than if you're fat. We've really trimmed it down, so a lot of the obvious things, not so obvious things have already taken place. So we are now kind of down to really hard choices and how it is that we preserve a system that hopefully in the years to come when the economy is better can grow again. And do that in a fashion that's not too destructive to our mission, which is making Arizona more competitive in the 21st century.

Ted Simons: Are there other institutions, you preferred to this earlier, that other states have certain dynamics that you might have to look at, but are there certain states right now similar to ours who are getting maybe better results or something, getting results would you like to see here in Arizona? Anyone we can learn from?

Anne Mariucci: Well we're already one of the most efficient from a cost standpoint of producing degrees, states in the United States that exists of public systems. Because we have head among the lowest levels of state funding per student. And we've been such a rapidly growing state. So, yes, we're always looking at what's innovative in other states, but Fred told me 15 minutes ago we just got back from the national governors' conference and Arizona and Tennessee were the talk of the town in terms of who was doing the most innovative work around accelerating low-cost options, different pathways for different students to pay different price points depending on the kind of expwrik mortar experience they get going to college. And that's something that there's a lot of talk that we're not doing enough, we're telling our presidents. We've got to do more faster, yet on a national level we're recognized as a leader.

Fred Duval: And Ted that's on the productivity side on the qualitative side it’s important to make the point. A lot of discussion in Washington, the governors' meeting about the Boeing contract. Washington's governor said the reason Boeing chose Washington, we have a commitment to producing 11,000 engineers by 2020. That's a permanent game-changer for the state of Washington. So we have to remember what this is really about.

Ted Simons: We've got about 30 seconds left. Everything from aims scholarships, when you say everything is on the table, financial aid, reform, aims scholarship reform, tuition hikes, maybe a moratorium on capitol expenditures. All of this stuff is going to be considered.

Fred Duval: Welcome to our world.

Ted Simons: OK. So we'll see how long before we know what has been considered winds up as policy?

Anne Mariucci: Over the next month, because then we have our tuition hearings at the end of the month, and in April we have our decisive vote on tuition.

Ted Simons: All right. Very good to have both of you here. Thanks for joining us.

Anne Mariucci: Thank you, Ted.

Arizona Technology & Innovation: Teen Innovators

  |   Video
  • Several Arizona high school students were recently given the Future Innovators award during the Governor’s Celebration of Innovation. Learn about the research being done by these teens.
Category: Science   |   Keywords: education,

View Transcript
Ted Simons: The governors' celebration of innovation is an annual event that honors Arizona's current and future leaders in technology and innovation. At the most recent awards ceremony four young innovativers were honored. Here's a look at their research.

Kurt Andres: There was report run on turbines and their efficiency, so I decided to look for mass and balance, and to maximize efficiency, which is important in Arizona with our upcoming energy efficiency and also global as we look to maximize energy efficiency through turbines. I built an instrument package that used a data model and dynamically measured math and balance, and I use add ceiling fan as a test model. I was able to use the law of cosign and matrix to solve for the angle. This would be very important for wind turbines in promoting rotor damage and maximizing be efficiency of a turbine. If you can eliminate mass, you can prevent damage excessive noise, all kinds of problems that result from the imbalance in a turbine. Mine innovation allows to you Mount two fixture screws a very small package that use as data logger and an accelerometer and records a memory card, the angle of the current at which the imbalance occurs. My project is very compact and very easily Mountable, and is a different approach because it uses two simple equations so solve for angle of a current and you can use up to -- multiple blades to fix the mass in balance and you than disperse the weight you need to shave or add to the turbine to dynamically balance the turbine.

Scott Olson: The purpose of my innovation was the Development of an original design for a fiber optic base display. My initial motivation was the desire to create a textile basis light system. Textile in the sense it was flexible, durable and efficient in its operation so it could be woven into a shirt or have a lot of the attributes a typical textile has. The goals revolved around efficiency, flexibility, durability, cost of production, and an enhanced viewing angle in the textile display. After performing multiple tests, which included measurements, evaluations, I came upon the conclusion that the displaced -- which I had created produced an enhanced viewing angle, more flexibility than displays we have today and a more durable system as well. Some of the end uses currently would be within large-scale display systems, which could possibly be flexible or solid state. One exciting aspect is that it could potentially be used in 3D police play systems where an object can be viewed at all angles by an observer walking around cylinder itself. I'm still conditioning research on my project and I'm planning to become involved with the Stephens Institute of Innovation in order to develop the project into a future business plan and future product.

Stan Palasek: I found that a HEXUS is metabolized at a speed that’s related to how much energy it would make for an ISO. So from this I was able to get a certain mathematical equation which gave a lot of new insight about how the sugars are metabolized. I looked at the sugars and found that the rates they're metabolized is proportional to how much energy they would need for the cell. So this could be modeled by what's called differential equations. And solutions to this equation look like these simple curves, so this would show with respect to time how much of the molecule into the cell. I found that the amount that's metabolized is equal to some constant times the rate of transport. With this new information we can now synthesize a new type of Hexus that would give us more energy with less of the actual sugar. And this could be implemented for not only everyday nutrition, but also for metabolic disorders like diabetes and obesity. Using my research and applying it to some field of science and get to be do a lot of math, which is what I think is really cool.

Varun Ramesh: I decided to pick a topic, the topic of hand gesture recognition, and I create add simple recognition system that I could experiment with and play around with in order to see what could be done to make it faster and more intuitive. My technique uses at vision-based technique. And basically I'm using an image from the camera, it tries to extract information about the hand from it. After extracting the hand, which is extracted using a profile that has to be generated after user's skin color, it use as founding box to detect the state of the hand and from there it uses the motion of the hand to find gestures and do tracking to control stuff like cursors and things such as that. I actually had a demo in which could you use the gesture to signify clicks and unclicks on a mouse. From that a user was able to move windows and play simple games on a computer using only their hand. Would you have to learn this button does this, this one does that, you kind of have to do combinations. That's confusing for most people, but with something such as a connect all you do is just replicate the motion your character would do and make it easier for anyone to come up, they don't need to learn what your control is. If a true recognition system could be implemented, that everyday users could be using it could be incredibly beneficial for everyday computer users. For example in the movie slide demos, someone could select an item from a list or any sort of queue, in the map demo somebody could navigate Google maps or yahoo maps by moving their hand possibly rotating it zooming in. And even in the drawing demo, artists could have new content creation tools that have new ways of interfacing and allowing the create objects more intuitively.

Legislative Update

  |   Video
  • A mid-week legislative update with Arizona Capitol Times reporter Luige del Puerto.
  • Luige del Puerto - Arizona Capitol Times
Category: Legislature

View Transcript
Ted Simons: Good evening, and welcome to "Horizon." I'm Ted Simons. Senate president Russell Pearce this week decided that press conferences held inside the senate building will no longer be open to the public. That after reports that certain people have been black listed from entering the building. Here to explain all this in our weekly legislative update is Luige Del Puerto of "The Arizona Capitol Times." Good to see you again. Before we get to that business with the senate president Pearce, just late today now the idea of the state nullifying federal laws, that got a vote.

Luige Del Puerto: That got a vote today and it died in the senate. It is among a slew of bills, when we call states' rights bills, basically expressed our objections to what the federal government is doing so far as regulating commerce or air quality, or greenhouse emissions, or what have you. That bill died in the senate. 18 Republicans voted against it. Lori Klein, who’s the sponsor of the bill, had to vote no at the end so that she can reconsider the bill later on. So the bill is not dead, and as you know in a session a bill is never dead until the session ends.

Ted Simons: Were you surprised at this vote? Were observers surprised this went down?

Luige Del Puerto: I think many would have been surprised by that vote. We kind of expected it, a conservative senate, and there's been so much discussion about these bills, that more conservative senate, you would get these bills through. So it was a little bit of a surprise, but Republicans voted against it. The caucus was pretty much split on this issue.

Ted Simons: OK. Let's get now to the other issue that we're hearing an awful lot about, that is regarding access to the senate. Restricting press conferences now inside the senate. Talk to us about this.

Luige Del Puerto: Yesterday senate president Russell Pearce sent out this memo that basically says press conferences, inviting the public that conference would not longer be allowed inside the state senate building, and the reason that he gave is basically for members' safety, what happened in Tucson, with all the destructive behavior he said we've seen in the last few days, he felt it best that we do it this way. His reasoning is that press conferences used to be held outside the senate, they used to do it on the house lawn, on the senate lawn, that's to him is the tradition. And this is just going back to that tradition. And so, yeah, press conferences now -- that have people basically invited to that press conference will no longer be allowed.

Ted Simons: OK. But obviously media allowed, but public, no.

Luige Del Puerto: Right. And there was a little bit of discussion about what the public means, and does that include media, who is the public, is a reporter part of the public, but, yeah, I mean, as far as reporters, there's no restriction in so far as attending press conferences. Obviously you can't hold one without the media people in there.

Ted Simons: A press conference without the press is a little counterproductive. Democrats, critics, what are they saying about this?

Luige Del Puerto: Democrats were particularly unhappy about this whole thing. Steve Guardado, when I spoke to him on the phone about it, he said we've never seen a senate president ban people from the senate, now basically saying you can't hold a press conference inside the senate. They're very upset about it. Leah Landrum Taylor said on the floor, what happens, if I'm -- I'm talking to a reporter or talking with someone with my constituents and then we go into one of these hearing rooms and then the reporter walks in with us, what happens in that situation? But I think what Russell Pearce wants to do is basically disallow a situation where we have Democrats and Republicans basically inviting people into a room and holding a press conference, and then you have your people clapping or booing or what have you. I think that's the situation that he wants to avoid.

Ted Simons: Tie that story in with the idea, president Pearce says there is no black list, other folks aren't quite so sure. People were photographed identified and apparently banned, so is there -- what's going on? Is it semantics?

Luige Del Puerto: Well it may be semantics. The fact is there are people who are not allowed to set foot in the senate building. And those people -- Pearce, the source of the disruption, if you recall during the senate committee hearing, senate appropriations committee hearing on the immigration bills, there was a huge number of people who were there, they were directed to the an overflow room or overflow rooms and they were clapping and what have you. And basically security officers came up to Russell Pearce and said we had this situation, and Russell Pearce said, we'll do something about it, and -- but obviously you can't black list or will ban 200 people. So Pearce suggested why don't you just identify the ring leaders, and among those identified is the immigrant activist, Salvador Reza. He’s a very well known immigration activist, we know him 1070. So now he cannot set foot in the senate building. When he did, security officers said, you're not allowed to be in here, he refused to leave, they arrested him.

Ted Simons: Actually in the future now, anyone banned from the senate, if you're on the list that's not a list, I'm getting this correctly, but you are banned, you can petition senator -- president Pearce to ask to be allowed in the building?

Luige Del Puerto: There is a question in so far as how long the senate president can ban somebody from entering the senate building. So we asked senate president Pearce. He said, you know what, he's open to allowing them back in the senate as long as they appeal to him and basically -- in short, tell him they're going to be in their best behavior next time. And if they did that, then he might reconsider the ban, the black list, whatever you call it.

Ted Simons: Whatever they're calling it down there.

Luige Del Puerto: Yes.

Ted Simons: All right. Luige, as always, interesting times there at the capitol. Thanks for joining us.

Luige Del Puerto: Thank you.