U of Arizona President Stepping Down in 2 Years

June 13, 2016

University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart has opted not to pursue an extension of her current contract, a decision coming months after she drew flak for deciding to join the board of for-profit college company DeVry Education Group.

Hart, who took over as Arizona’s president in July 2012, still has two years left on her contract. She’s slated to step down from the presidency on June 30, 2018. Her decision came after she realized she’s been a university president for 14 years, she said in a statement. Hart was previously president at Temple University and the University of New Hampshire.

“I look forward to returning to full-time faculty work as a teacher, scholar and citizen of the university,” she said.

Hart’s decision, announced Friday, comes after she was sharply criticized in March for joining the Board of Directors for Illinois-based DeVry Education Group, which operates DeVry University. The criticism followed the Federal Trade Commission filing a lawsuit against DeVry, alleging it made deceptive claims about job placement rates and graduate wages.

Arizona alumni, employees and students’ parents complained about Hart joining DeVry, and she was questioned by Arizona’s Faculty Senate. But she defended her role, saying she would advocate for quality at DeVry and try to make education available to students who cannot attend Arizona.

The Arizona Board of Regents plans to start a national search for Hart’s replacement this fall. The board came out in support of her decision not to seek a new contract, with Chairman Jay Heiler releasing a statement.

“President Hart has conferred with me and others throughout the spring regarding her plans and her contract,” it said. “The decision not to seek an extension is hers, and true to her character she has made it in full consideration of both her personal aspirations and her institutional commitments.”

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