Blackboard Learn recommended to replace Vista; budget talks coming soon

  • Based on a systematic evaluation process, the Provost’s Academic Computing Advisory Committee is recommending the adoption of Blackboard Learn as the new learning management system for NAU with the phasing out of Vista. The committee is recommending Learn over Moodle, an open-source model. Learn’s features will better serve the NAU community and will cost less in the long run. Read minutes from the committee’s meetings here. Inside NAU will have detailed reports of the change after the holiday break.
  • President Haeger and other executives have begun setting the context for budget discussions. NAU, like other state agencies, is facing more budget reductions while addressing issues such as salaries and buildings in need of renovation. The president has scheduled a campus-wide forum for Jan. 25 to discuss the budget. To this point, NAU has not participated directly with the state Legislature on budget discussions.
  • The upcoming meeting of the Arizona Board of Regents will include discussions about funding for the Arizona Universities Network, known as AZUN, which is administered by NAU. Funding AZUN most likely will be reduced because Arizona universities have developed considerably more online degree programs since AZUN’s inception about a decade ago.
  • The impact of the recently approved Proposition 107, which bans preferential treatment by state agencies, is under review by NAU counsel Mark Neumayr. The effects of the proposition may be minimal to NAU, but attorneys are working with the NAU Foundation and Financial Aid to smooth out any concerns about scholarships.
  • The President’s Cabinet Report showed significant increases in applications to NAU, especially from non-resident and international students. Read the full report here.
  • Eva Putzova, of Planning and Institutional Effectiveness, presented an executive summary of NAU’s 2010 Diverse Learning Environment report, a pilot study administered by UCLA’s Higher Education Research Institute. Research compiled key recommendations for discussions regarding NAU’s climate. Read the summary here.
  • Executive Vice President MJ McMahon and David Bousquet, senior vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, are leading discussions regarding the university’s policy for on-campus speakers. NAU’s current Statement Regarding Assembly creates a starting point for guidelines and is being considered for revision. Bousquet pointed out that creating the policy is considerably more complicated and nuanced than may appear on the surface.
  • Communication efforts regarding May 2011 commencement are under way. The Skydome will be closed for renovations, which is forcing the ceremonies to be held in a structure on south campus. Debra Larson, associate vice provost for Academic Affairs, has been meeting with campus representatives as well as discussing one-time changes with parents and graduates.
  • With a cut to NAU’s state funding almost a certainty, Jennus Burton, vice president for Finance and Administration, is discussing initiatives to cut costs at NAU. He and other administrators are examining use of facilities, business practices, technology and other methods of saving money.
  • Burton also clarified NAU’s policy of furniture purchases. NAU policy allows furniture orders that are less than or equal to $5,000 to be purchased from any source and processed using a Departmental Purchase Order or Pcard. Details can be found here.