Ricardo Azziz, Ballot Position No. 13
President, Georgia Regents University
CEO, Georgia Regents Health System
Read Azziz’s official bio and position statement here. (PDF download.)
1. Describe how you think the relationship between the Board of Trustees and the university president should function.
While the relationship between the University president and the BOT is bidirectional, complex and multifaceted, it can be summarized as follows. Foremost, the BOT has the duty to ensure the strategic direction, mission alignment and reputation of the University, and as such the overall performance and success of the President in achieving these goals. In addition, the BOT has the responsibility of providing the President and his/her team the support and resources necessary to optimally achieve the mission and strategic plan of the university, understanding that it will most likely require difficult decisions. In turn, the University President has the responsibility of ensuring the BOT is kept fully appraised of ongoing progress and challenges, a task that entails maximum transparency, candid honesty, and a clear understanding of what is right.
2. What would you do to help heal the university community and to assist the university as it continues to recover from the Sandusky scandal?
It is critical that the BOT, both directly and through University administration, ensure, through action and word, clear and consistent messaging noting: 1) That we, as Penn State faculty, staff, students, alumni and community, should stand proud and with heads held high for the continued greatness and relevance of the University in today’s world; 2) That we have to recapture and honor our history, including the many contributions of Joe Paterno and his teams; and 3) That while we, the Penn State community, cannot and should not be deemed responsible for the terrible tragedies on our campus, we are responsible for recapturing our past and reinvigorating our future.
3. What, in your view, are the major fiscal challenges Penn State will face over the next three years—and how should the university address them?
Major fiscal challenges for Penn State, as a global research university, include the need to continue to develop its innovation engine in the face of declining federal support for research; the need to increase student access and affordability in the face of continuing decline in already small state support, the added cost of further developing the necessary technologic infrastructure to meet current and future student needs, and a limitation on continued tuition increases; and the need to continue to develop a strong philanthropic base in a competitive and now-strained environment.