In a 5-4 vote, the Arizona Board of Regents approved closing the doors on the University of Arizona’s Medical Technology program
UA administrators put the program on its phase-out list in 2002 as part of a larger effort to streamline programmatic spending in the face of state budget cuts, according to the Arizona Daily Star.
The program, which matriculated about 20 students a year, would have needed substantial funding to maintain its accreditation. Officials estimate that it takes $25,000 per student to maintain the program, a cost not accounted for by the roughly $4,000 tuition.
“Like many of the programs we thought we would eliminate, this is one that just didn’t fit tightly with our mission,” Provost George Davis told the Star. Faculty members in the program weren’t on tenure track and did not conduct formal research, which is a stock source of revenue and prestige for public universities like UA.
“It’s precisely not the mission of the UA to provide bachelor degrees wherever a societal demand dictates,” university president Peter Likins said in the Tucson Citizen.
But four of the nine regents, including the two health-care executives on the board, disagreed, saying that there is already a huge shortage of trained medical technicians in the state, and that at a time when Arizona is trying to boost its biosciences workforce, Arizona cannot afford cutting this source of needed techs.
“I’m very concerned,” regent Robert Bulla, one of the dissenters, told the Star. “Whether it’s nurses or doctors or medical technicians, we’re behind the curve.”
Many officials at the regents’ meeting, including UA administrators, suggested that the program be taken up by Pima Community College, but no one has offered a suggested source of funding needed to establish and maintain a med-tech training program, an expensive undertaking for a low-tuition community college such as PCC.
For more information:
“Regents end UA’s med-tech program,” Arizona Daily Star, 11/26/2004
“UA action tied to shortage of skilled lab workers,” Tucson Citizen, 11/22/2004
“Regents cut Med Tech program in narrow vote,” Arizona Daily Wildcat, 11/22/2004