Tri-University Distance Education Partnership

Society-Ready Graduates
Research Year: 

Arizona's three public universities are located in Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff, leaving rural areas of the state unserved for academic programs in agriculture unless students matriculate to the University of Arizona. Distance education allows students to complete a bachelor's degree without leaving their home towns.

Description of Action: 

Interactive television courses are offered in Yuma, Coolidge and on the University of Arizona campus as part of a collaboration between the UA College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Central Arizona College's Signal Peak campus near Coolidge, and Arizona Western College in Yuma, using microwave television technology provided by Northern Arizona University. Specially equipped classrooms in all three locations enable students to interact with the teacher and each other simultaneously. Live class sessions are transmitted from Tucson to Yuma and Coolidge, and also from Yuma to Tucson. Students enroll at the community colleges for lower division coursework and then take the distance courses through NAU and the UA to complete their degrees.


In the year 2002, this cooperative inter-institutional arrangement enabled more than 70 students to take agricultural courses from the university of Arizona without leaving their home towns. The program fulfills one of the Arizona Board of Regents priorities: to expand access to the university. These are nontraditional students, and in the case of those in Yuma, nearly all work full time. The program enabled the cooperating institutions to arrange their curriculum to include each other's courses and thus expand their programs without hiring extra faculty to teach duplicate courses on each campus. As a result of this program, Northern Arizona University has accepted several agricultural science courses from the University of Arizona as electives for their general education requirements.

Funding Agencies: 

University of Arizona College of Agriculture and Life Sciences; Northern Arizona University; Arizona Western College; Central Arizona College

Conact Name: 
David E. Cox
Contact E-mail: 
Contact Address: 

The University of Arizona

PO Box 210036

Tucson, AZ 85721

Tel: (520) 621-3612, FAX (520) 621-8662