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University of Arizona

Meredith Hay out as UA provost

Meredith Hay, the University of Arizona's sometimes controversial provost, has been bumped - some might say upstairs - to a position with the Board of Regents.

She will take a job as a special advisor to ABOR chair Fred DuVal on Aug. 1.

The move means the UA's top two posts will be filled by placeholders as the school launches national searches for a president and a provost.

Hay hasn't gained many friends among the faculty during her four-year tenure, overseeing the controversial "Transformation Plan." She apologized to the faculty senate in 2009, after a number of professors criticized her handling of state budget cuts, and many called for her firing. One professor called her "a lightning rod" at the time.

"I am thrilled to welcome Dr. Hay to the university system office," said DuVal in a release put out by the UA. "Meredith brings tremendous expertise in strategic planning to the table, and her insight will be invaluable to the board as we continue to implement our strategic plan and enhance our operations to better serve students and the state."

Late last year, Hay was a finalist for the presidency of the University of Massachusetts. She ultimately withdrew her name.

The university appointed Eugene Sander as a temporary president last month, but pointedly left the "interim" off his title, calling him "president-designate." The UA is launching a national search for a successor to Robert Shelton, who is leaving to head up the Fiesta Bowl.

University scuttlebutt had Hay angling for the UA's top job. Many observers said it was unlikely that someone would be promoted from the provost's seat. A question for the university Kremlinologists: Does a move outside the university give her a better chance of becoming the UA's leader? Or is the new post a consolation prize?

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Hay wasn't in her office Friday morning, a staffer said, and Hay is apparently declining to take questions except via email.

Hay's activities on social media may point to the suddenness of the move. She joined Twitter recently, with her first tweets— appearing early Thursday morning—not sounding like someone who's leaving a job.

At 2:20 a.m., she tweeted "Hey @UofA, I'm getting a head start on the new school year and joined Twitter! Would you mind re-tweeting so I can have a few followers?" and at 2:23 a.m.: "Hey @greg_byrne you inspired me to join Twitter, but I only have 1 follower! Want to re-tweet so @uofa fans can follow their Provost?"

Hay will remain on the UA payroll with her $350,000 salary until her contract expires in one year. She will also keep her post as a professor of physiology in the UA College of Medicine.

Jacqueline Lee Mok will serve as senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, while continuing her work as the UA's liaison to ABOR in her capacity as senior vice president and chief of staff, the UA said Thursday night.

Mok's salary will jump from $200,000 to $300,000.

A national search for a new provost will be launched, the school said in a press release. The search that led to Hay's appointment took about a year.

The UA's provost is the university's chief operating officer, overseeing all academic programs.

Sander, incidently, served as interim provost from 2007-088 before Hay's appointment. He had announced his retirement as Dean of the Agriculture College prior to being named as the university's temporary president.

She served as the Vice President for Research at the University of Iowa from 2005 to 2008.

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The Houston native earned a B.A. in psychology from the University of Colorado Denver, and a M.S. in neurobiology from the University of Texas at San Antonio, and her Ph.D. in cardiovascular pharmacology from the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.

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2 comments on this story

Jul 29, 2011, 3:38 pm
-1 +2

$ 350,000.  No wonder students pay so much to go to school. Salaries are one for the Joker. Someone in her capacity, in my opinion can’t do $350,000 worth of work. For a full calendar year folks, thats almost 30k a month. So she keeps her salary and the next one on board gets a $100k raise???? something seems a bit high priced.  Take a voluntary cut Academia. Or give some of your inflated salaries back to scholarship funds. Quit fleecing the residents of Arizona.

Jul 29, 2011, 10:50 am
-0 +4

Word around campus was she was on her way out, being given time to find another job. She won’t be back to UA in any capacity.

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