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Arizona Board of Regents passes new contract revisions for ASU, NAU, UA presidents

The Arizona Board of Regents is extending contracts and setting bonus goals for the presidents of Arizona’s three public state universities, Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the University of Arizona. 

The Board, which governs the three universities, met on Sept. 27 to review the agenda for their upcoming meeting sessions later in the month. Item three of the agenda, relating to the university presidents’ contracts and bonuses, was the topic most discussed by the Regents’ representatives at the meeting.

Item three of the agenda, relating to the extension of the presidents’ contracts and their upcoming goals for bonuses, was heavily discussed in the meeting. Revisions to the bonus system have been made: Rather than being based on full completion, presidents can now receive partial payment for attempted goal completion. 

Sarah Harper, the Board’s Vice President of Communications, led the forum.

Each fall the presidents’ and the executive director’s contracts come to the Board.  The presidents are given multiple-year contracts, while the executive director’s is renewed each year.

These newly extended contracts will essentially lock in the presidents for another term with their respective universities. In addition, they’re given the opportunity to earn bonuses by completing assigned goals.

“Each year the presidents and director together each receive assignments from the Board, called their ‘at-risk’ assignments,” said Harper. “they’re eligible for compensation for these assignments.”

The goals being assessed follow a variety of topics, customized to each of the university’s needs.

“They range from science and technology and economic development for President Crow, President Rivera (of NAU) had some assignments for NAU online, President Robin (of UofA) had some economic and workforce development assignments,” Harper said. 

This year the regents have started a process where the presidents can receive partial payment. In the past, presidents were required to fully complete the project, or else they did not receive any compensation.

There does have to be an attempt to complete the goal, Harper said. 

“Compensation is tied to the completion of the projects, which are assigned on an annual basis,” said Harper. “The executive director and the presidents each receive assignments and then the group of them … also receives assignments.”

Similar to the previous bonus system, the partial completion will be subject to regent approval. 

Kevin Smith, ABOR’s Associate General Counsel, said: “Discussion amongst the regents about how much they’ve earned (...)  sometimes it does relate to mathematical things depending on the nature of the goal, sometimes there’s no mathematical formula you can apply so they discuss how much they think they accomplished a goal or to what extent.”

“The presidents’ discussion will be great,” said Kim Edwards, an administrative associate at ABOR. 

Further details of this plan will be discussed in the upcoming meetings, along with details of the presidents’ extended contracts.

Smith said, “If they make the commitment we expect them to be there for the term of that contract. There may be limitations on when they can leave, if at all during that term.

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