Arizona Advantage



Driving Social, Cultural, and Economic Impact

Arizona Advantage icon

As an Arizona land grant institution, the University can build on its unique location and people to drive social, cultural, and economic impact in the 4IR era. With the initiatives of our Arizona Advantage pillar, we leverage our remarkable differentiators to reinforce our commitment to diversity and inclusion.

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Each initiative has a project plan in place. Teams are working toward meeting milestones.

Initiative Owner: Steve Voeller

The Phoenix Center will facilitate partnerships throughout the state and the greater Phoenix area, furthering UA’s recognition as a leading higher education institution generating solutions for Arizona’s most pressing problems. The UA Phoenix Center will provide the physical space needed to bring UA's network of expertise to Maricopa County, enabling public and private partnerships in one of the fastest growing metropolitan areas in the nation. The increased engagement will strengthen UA’s reputation and allow for more competitive student recruitment efforts and increased donor and alumni engagement.

Initiative Owner: Andrew Schulz

Arizona will integrate the arts throughout the university experience and beyond. In doing so, we will ensure that all students, regardless of major, have opportunity for meaningful experiences in the arts and that the arts play an essential role in realizing the University of Arizona’s land-grant mission. These land-grant values will be carried beyond the campus as part of our identity in the work that alumni, faculty, staff, and the broader community do to realize transformative impact in the world. Visit to learn more about the impacts of this initiative.

Launch Date: 7/1/2019

Initiative Owner: Abra McAndrew
Co-owner: Brian Mayer

Community engaged experiential learning that provides mutual benefit to organizations within the region and state will become a signature experience of undergraduate education at the University of Arizona. The initiative enhances capacity of faculty, community organizations and students to engage authentically in effective practices for pedagogy and learning. When incentives to participate align for all stakeholders, meaningful partnership and learning outcomes will result. The initiative enhances our capacity as an institution to sustain this transformation through improved practice, processes and better positioning toward wide recognition of the University’s public service. Results can enhance proposals for extramural investment in integrated learning strategies. Visit to learn more about this initiative.

Launch Date: 7/1/2021
End SIF Funding: 6/30/2024

Strategic Initiatives Fund FY24 Budget: $250,000

Initiative Owner: Kathleen C Insel

The goal of the Innovations in Healthy Aging initiative is to explore, discover and evaluate new models for healthy aging, including:

  • creating an Age-Friendly University
  • partnering with developers of senior living communities
  • expanding our capacity in research and discovery focused on aging (including identifying and testing interventions for Smart and Adaptive living environments that consider both environmental factors and health management)
  • increasing the workforce to meet both the opportunities and challenges of our aging population.

This will lead to more contracts, licenses, invention disclosures, grants, partnerships, and students and faculty focused on healthy aging, and will position Arizona as the leading university and premier educational organization and destination for healthy aging. The efforts of this initiative will result in state-of-the-art, inclusive, safe and supportive senior living that engages seniors, researchers, students, health professionals and community members in co-development of solutions for families, communities and society’s changing needs.

Launch Date: 7/1/2019
End SIF Funding: 6/30/2024

Strategic Initiatives Fund FY24 Budget: $500,000

Up and Running

The goal/vision of each initiative has been operationalized.

Initiative Owner: Jennifer Hatcher

The University of Arizona will create engaging and empowered campus environments that inspire creativity, enhance our ability to think critically, and challenge us to approach society’s most complex problems through an inclusive lens, enriched by diverse perspectives. This paradigm shift of engaged proactive inclusion promotes active institutional transformation. The imperative for this work is not just about the future of higher education and UArizona, it is about leading the way toward a society that taps into the talents, wisdom, and strengths that all individuals and communities possess to solve our greatest problems. Our projects embed equity into our institutional habit, emphasizing our communal commitment that Inclusive Excellence takes Every Wildcat, Every Day! Visit to learn more about this initiative.

Launch Date: 7/1/2020
End SIF Funding: 6/30/2023

Initiative Owner: Marla Franco
Co-owner: Andrea Romero

The University of Arizona will become a premier destination for Hispanic learners, scholars, and partners. Leveraging important differentiators, this initiative calls for well-informed strategies that support the conditions necessary for greater access and rates of degree attainment for Hispanic learners, increasing the number of faculty focused on research and scholarship centered on issues relevant to the Hispanic community, supporting greater rates of retention and promotion among diverse faculty, increasing community based participatory action research and scholarship with the Hispanic community, and vehemently enhancing our ability to secure external grants that support the mission of this work.

Launch Date: 08/30/2019
End SIF Funding: 6/30/2023

Initiative Owner: N. Levi Esquerra

This initiative is focused on establishing UArizona as a leading institution serving Native Americans by increasing awareness and establishing new processes. The Office of Native American Advancement & Tribal Engagement (NAATE) was created in September 2020 with the hire of a Senior Vice President of NAATE, who is elevating the voice of tribal governments and Native American students, faculty, and staff by directly reporting to the UArizona President on all aspects of the University’s land grant mission. The initiative will create a physical space for the Office and establish a School of Indigenous Governance and Nation Building. The initiative will support fundraising campaigns to establish these physical spaces that recognize, promote and support achievement, sustainability, and expansion of Native American advancement at the University.

Launch Date: 06/11/2019
End SIF Funding: 6/30/2023

Initiative Owner: Lehman Benson
Co-owner: Armando Miguel Garcia

In 2021, the University of Arizona joined a collaborative partnership with the University of California to offer postdoctoral fellowship opportunities at the University of Arizona. In this partnership, the University of Arizona offers postdoctoral research fellowships in all fields, coupled with faculty mentoring, professional development, and academic networking opportunities. The University of Arizona views these presidential postdoctoral fellowships as an exceptional opportunity to recruit potential new faculty to the University whose research, teaching, and service will contribute to diversity and equal opportunity at UArizona. Visit to learn more about this initiative.

Initiative Owner: Brew McKenna

The Washington, D.C. Center for Outreach & Collaboration was established in 2020 to inform and convene leading experts from around the world and extend the impact of UA research and scholarship. Here, we will lead imaginative collaborations to create a world where human potential is realized by working together to develop solutions to grand challenges. Located in DC’s East End, the D.C. Center is within walking distance of the White House, the American Association of Universities, the Association of Public Land Grand Universities, and above Metro Center which provides easy access to the U.S. Capitol, the Hall of States, NASA, NIH, NSF, DOE, etc. The office co-locates the UArizona Federal Relations team, the National Institute for Civil Discourse, RII faculty, UA-ARC, and the to-be-created Semester in Washington Presidential Fellowship Program. Additionally, the D.C. Center includes a dynamic conference center with several well-equipped spaces for faculty and staff to use while in Washington. The Washington, D.C. Center for Outreach & Collaboration will be the University’s front door in Washington where we will welcome elected officials, policymakers, influencers, and community stakeholders to share in the amenity and enhance the visibility of the University of Arizona on the global stage.

Launch Date: 11/22/2019
End SIF Funding: 6/30/2023

Initiative Owner: Justin Dutram

Through the implementation of this strategic initiative, the University of Arizona will be recognized as the leading institution for developing partnerships with Mexico across academic, experiential and private spheres in support of the development strategies of Mexico and the State of Arizona. Strengthening our partnerships with Mexico through innovative approaches will enable the University to collaboratively develop solutions to the grand challenges that impact our shared region and to elevate the importance of Mexico’s impact on the creation of new knowledge at the University and on the region’s social, cultural and economic well-being.

Launch Date: 08/30/2019
End SIF Funding: 6/30/20

Initiative Owner: Javier Duran

The main goal of this initiative is make the UA the leader in the field of border studies by creating new knowledge and transnational collaborations. This will position the university as a top destination for students and faculty pursuing border related scholarship in global, binational and regional contexts. To this end, the Border Lab will consolidate and expand existing UA research, provide experiential and service learning opportunities for UA and non-UA students and articulate an interdisciplinary curriculum at the graduate and undergraduate level.

Launch Date: 01/23/2020
End SIF Funding: 6/30/2020

Initiative Owner: Doug Hockstad

UA has been successful over the last five years in growing its commercialization activities. To build on that success, and to create a nationally-recognized innovation ecosystem, UA will enhance and lead the innovation ecosystem in southern Arizona by fueling innovation, commercialization of IP, entrepreneurship, and corporate partnerships. Through a strategically connected portfolio including technology commercialization through TLA, student entrepreneurship and education, physical assets at UA Tech Parks, including an “innovation hub” at The Bridges, and AZ Forge incubator concept at Roy Place, UA will attract students, faculty, staff, community, and industry to this ecosystem.


Initiative Co-owners: Laura Condon and Joaquin Ruiz

As a rapidly drying climate threatens food and agriculture systems around the globe, Arizona's agriculture industry needs innovative solutions to continue producing food using less water. The Commission was established by President Robbins in December 2022. Drawing from experts across the University, and from the agriculture, food production, and water industries throughout the state and beyond, the Commission will produce a set of recommendations on concrete actions to help make UArizona a global leader in creating and applying transformational technologies and climate-resilient sustainable agricultural and food production practices, in partnership with the desert agriculture industry.

The report, submitted and approved in July 2023, recommends five actions that the University of Arizona can take. Find the recommendations and read the complete report.


The initiatives below were launched as part of the original 2018 strategic plan. Due to a variety of factors, the initiatives were discontinued or significantly downsized. Contact for more information.

Bay Area Center for Outreach and Collaboration | 3.3B3

Castro House 3.3C3

Arizona Advantage in the News