Archive for Univ of Arizona

UA making real investment in future of the Verde Valley and its people

Yavapai College Administration in Prescott has yet to see the light

An editorial by Christopher Fox Graham in the Sedona Redrock News vividly pointed out the contrast between the University of Arizona, which is making a real investment in the future of the Verde Valley and its people, and Yavapai College currently operated by Dr. Penelope Wills’, which has made a real effort to leave the Verde Valley and its people.

Christopher Fox Graham

Mr. Christopher Fox Graham

The University of Arizona intends to expand its College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) and the newly established Veterinary Medical and Surgical programs to the Verde Valley after winning the bid to receive the gift of the 45-acre DK Ranch in Cornville. It has already budgeted $200,000 a year to maintain the Ranch with many other capital improvements on the way. Meanwhile, in the last 18 months the Dr. Wills’ administration scuttled the internationally recognized film program at the Sedona Center and unsuccessfully tried to close down and sell the entire facility. She successfully withdrew virtually every for-credit program from the Center while cutting staff in the Verde Valley by at least 13 employees. She has yet to announce any plans for the Center or to return more than two for-credit courses per semester to the Center.

Dr. Shane Burgess, the vice president of CALS told the Redrock News that it is “investing in the future of Arizona’s economy by investing in the Verde Valley. Our schools and departments will utilize DK Ranch to complement existing programs at the UA and to create new ones specifically related to the region.”

“Penelope Wills, . . . needs to hear them more than anyone else in Arizona’s higher education network.”

As Mr. Graham wrote in his editorial, “[t]hose are welcome words to hear, and we hope they echo over Mingus Mountain into the halls of Yavapai College and the ears of President Penelope Wills, who needs to hear them more than anyone else in Arizona’s higher education network.” 

The Blog couldn’t agree more with Mr. Granham. Despite the outrage expressed by Verde Valley residents over efforts of the Wills’ administration’s shenanigans to do in the Verde Valley in the last 18 months, the best it could do to quiet the anger over its shameful treatment was  to invest a miniscule $35,000 to lease some space from Camp Verde High School to offer a fundamental cooking course and put in a blacktop parking lot at the Sedona Center.  (Three other programs announced by the College cost it almost nothing.) Meanwhile, during those same 18 months it was in the process of allocating and spending over $20 million dollars in various building projects on the Prescott campus. Efforts to halt the wild spending spree on the West side of the County by the two Sedona-Verde Valley representatives on the Governing Board and the entire Verde Board Board Advisory Committee were ignored!

Mr. Graham suggests that “it may be high time for Verde Valley taxpayers to seriously consider seceding from the college taxing district and work with UA to build a satellite university campus in the Verde Valley.” He points out that UA already partners with the Verde Valley Medical Center’s cancer center.

Mr. Graham also suggests that the UA could focus on Medicine, Tourism and Hospitality Management, Small Business Administration, Filmmaking, Agriculture and Forestry. These are terrific ideas and what a welcome relief it would be to the residents of the Verde Valley to have folks who would listen to and address their needs.

You may read Mr. Graham’s entire editorial by clicking here.