Gary Packard, Jr., Ph.D.
Dean, College of Applied Science and Technology
Before joining the College of Applied Science and Technology, Gary was a career Air Force officer who served as both a pilot and as a professor and administrator at the United States Air Force Academy. Gary graduated from the Academy in 1982 with the dream of flying Air Force jets and went on to serve as a pilot, instructor pilot, evaluator pilot, deployed Director of Staff, Operations Officer, and Flying Training Squadron Commander; accumulating over 3,900 flying hours.
At the United States Air Force Academy, Gary served on the faculty and earned the rank of Permanent Professor. He also served as a Department Head, Division Chair, Vice Dean for Curriculum and Strategy, and Vice Dean of the Faculty. He led academic strategic plan, diversity and inclusion programming, a $35M research portfolio, and institutional curriculum transformation. He spent a 6-month sabbatical at the Pentagon as one of the lead authors of the Department of Defense’s study that led to the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. He was awarded the Charles S. Gersoni Military Psychology Award for outstanding contributions to military psychology as a result of his work on repeal. After retirement from the Air Force, he worked with the Air Force Academy Foundation as Program Manager for the Institute for Future Conflict to develop a $100 million campaign to prepare graduates for the challenges of 21st Century National Defense.
In addition to his bachelor’s degree in Behavioral Science from the United States Air Force Academy, he earned a master’s degree in Counseling from Michigan State University, a master’s degree in Aeronautical Science from Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, and a doctorate degree in Developmental Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His dissertation focused on the social network influences on leadership and professional military development for cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy. While on active duty, Gary developed a reputation as a collaborative leader who nurtured partnerships in support of cutting edge academic, research, and training opportunities. As Dean, he is bringing these experiences to the College of Applied Sciences and Technologies in order to offer applied, affordable, and accessible education that advances equity and opportunity as part of the University’s Land Grant Mission.
Linda Denno, PhD
Linda Denno has been the acting Interim Dean of the University of Arizona College of Applied Science and Technology. Linda will be taking on the Associate Dean position in Fall of 2020. CAST is located at the branch campus in Sierra Vista, Arizona. Under her leadership, enrollment in Bachelor of Applied Science degree programs has grown from 143 students in six (6) programs to over 1,000 students in eleven (11) programs for the Fall 2019 semester. Denno’s strategic academic vision is evident in her development of new and innovative BAS Programs designed to meet the needs of an evolving workforce. Her commitment to academic excellence in the design and implementation of these programs is demonstrated by the fact that two of the College’s BAS programs – Cyber Operations and Intelligence and Information Operations – have been designated as National Centers of Academic Excellence.
Denno received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Davis; her M.A. in Government from the Claremont Graduate School; and her B.A. in Political Science from California State University. Her university teaching career includes courses in American politics and institutions, political philosophy, constitutional law, cyber law and ethics, and national security studies taught at the University of California, the State University of New York (SUNY), and California State University.
Welcome to the College of Applied Science and Technology
Welcome to the newest college at the University of Arizona!
In 2019, the Arizona Board of Regents approved changing the name of UA South to the College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST). Established as an official branch campus in 1995, UA South sought to extend the University's educational mission to people living in Sierra Vista and the surrounding communities with targeted degree programs. The transition to the College of Applied Science and Technology ensures that the college will further the land grant mission of the University of Arizona by providing affordable, accessible higher education to students throughout rural areas of Southern Arizona.
CAST has already established itself as a leader in academic excellence with innovative degree programs that prepare students for the 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) –a time of augmented intelligence and the fusion of the digital, physical, and biological worlds. Our Bachelor of Applied Science in Cyber Operations is recognized as one of only 21 national Centers of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations by the National Security Agency. The Defense Intelligence Agency designates our Bachelor of Applied Science in Intelligence Studies as an Intelligence Community Center of Academic Excellence. These programs are emblematic of our focus on quality degrees that combine academic rigor with specialized instruction designed to prepare students for employment in high demand career fields.
CAST offers students the opportunity to earn a coveted University of Arizona degree in ways that are flexible and accessible to non-traditional students for whom the traditional campus experience is not a viable option. CAST is proud to support several pillars of the University of Arizona Strategic Plan. Perhaps most importantly, CAST uniquely supports Pillar 1–The Wildcat Journey: Preparing students with the skills and mindsets to lead in the 4th Industrial Revolution in a variety of fundamental and interesting ways. Our commitment to student success includes emphasizing the importance of student learning through innovative and flexible programs, overcoming the challenges of distance delivery often perceived as limiting educational quality and meeting the needs of time-bound, place-bound, professional, military, and other nontraditional students. Moreover, our emphasis as a college is on innovative programs that respond to the technological changes in how jobs are created and filled. CAST works with partners in industry, academia, and government to provide accessible and affordable educational opportunities that prepare our students for the new careers brought about by the 4th Industrial Revolution.
Perhaps more than any other college at the University of Arizona, CAST advances the land grant mission articulated in Pillar 3. We have always been a leader in providing affordable access to quality higher education. We do this through exceptional student service, innovative and relevant educational programs, experienced and knowledgeable faculty, and expert instruction delivered through state-of-the-art learning modalities.
Finally, we believe that CAST exemplifies the goals of Pillar 5—Institutional Excellence: Living our values and innovative culture to enable a high performing institution. As mentioned above, two of our BAS programs have received national recognition as Centers of Academic Excellence. Our Virtual Learning Environment, which serves several of our academic programs and includes an innovative virtual city, has set the standard nationally for providing a state-of-the-art, hands-on, learning experience that is currently unrivaled in its scope and versatility.