Northern Arizona University and President John Haeger are strengthening the university’s commitment to diversity by seeking a special adviser on Native American affairs.

The president is looking for a current member of the NAU community who will answer directly to him and assist through counsel and guidance in advancing the university’s commitment to Native Americans.

“The university has long had a strategic goal of ‘becoming the nation’s leading university serving Native Americans,'” Haeger said. “The new special adviser certainly will advance that goal.”

The position is partly in response to a new Arizona Board of Regents policy on tribal consultation, which was adopted in December following a Governor’s Executive Order. The policy asks the state’s three public institutions to develop tribal consultation practices, which include designating a liaison.

The special adviser on Native American affairs would work to enhance NAU’s partnerships with tribal governments and communities, assist with the new Native American cultural center, and encourage faculty and staff with research and academic programming related to Native Americans. The adviser also will help coordinate the activities of the Institute for Native American’s Tribal Advisory Council and the Commission for Native Americans.

“This move is most fitting and appropriate as NAU is located within close proximity to a majority of the Native American tribes in Arizona,” said LuAnn Leonard, a member of the Arizona Board of Regents. “I’m excited as this staff person will not only help NAU strengthen its relationships with the tribes but will also help to forge new partnerships that can benefit both tribal and local communities.”

Leonard said she believes the enhanced relationships with the tribes will be a benefit to NAU students.

“Native American tribes have the ability to bring knowledge, opportunities and challenges in the areas of economic development, nation building, education, natural resources, etc. But most importantly they bring cultural wisdom, traditions, knowledge and history,” she said. “NAU and its students will certainly benefit from engaging with tribal communities to discuss, address and develop solutions to challenges we face in northern Arizona and the Southwest in general.”

The adviser will maintain his or her current university position but will receive release time and an administrative stipend to perform the duties of the position.

Details on the position can be found on the president’s web site.