- Associated Press - Friday, June 10, 2016

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) - University of Arizona President Ann Weaver Hart is leaving her leadership post when her contract expires in 2018, saying Friday that she will go back to teaching full time at the school.

Hart became president in 2012 and led amid growth in enrollment, tuition increases and the major merger of the university’s hospital with Banner Health.

“This is a natural choice and one that all of us must make some time in our lives,” she wrote in a letter to the university. “I am excited for the years ahead, working on behalf of this great university.”

She came under fire this year after joining the board of the company that operates DeVry University, a for-profit school that the federal government is suing on allegations that it misled students about job prospects.

The Arizona Board of Regents initially said they supported the decision, but reports later revealed they were bothered by it. The regents said they were supportive of Hart’s decision to step down when her contract ends on June 30, 2018.

“The decision not to seek an extension is hers, and true to her character, she has made it in full consideration of both her personal aspirations and her institutional commitments,” board Chairman Jay Heiler said in a statement.

The university will begin searching for replacement later in the year.

Hart has defended her board position with DeVry, saying that her experience as a non-traditional student would help guide DeVry students who don’t have the time to attend a traditional school like the University of Arizona.

DeVry is paying Hart $70,000, plus $100,000 in stock annually. It’s among several for-profit schools that have come under government scrutiny for its practices.

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