Cabinet highlights: Jan. 25, 2016

NAU President Rita Cheng visited with the Arizona Senate and House Appropriations Committees this week, said Christy Farley, vice president for Government Affairs and Business Partnerships. A summary of the president’s presentations can be viewed here.

Farley said Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s budget proposal restores a fraction of what the universities and Arizona Board of Regents requested for FY 2016-17. Cheng responded to the budget proposal with a statement last week, and Eileen Klein, president of ABOR, also released a statement on behalf of all three universities. The universities are seeking $24 million in state funding toward lessening last year’s $99 million reduction.

The request also includes the newly adopted funding formula based on resident students, directly related to the state’s constitutional requirement to keep education as nearly free as possible, Farley said. Bjorn Flugstad, vice president for Institutional Effectiveness, noted that nearly 58 percent of the three universities’ year-to-year enrollment growth for resident FTE occurred at NAU in the fall, with about 40 percent at Arizona State University and 2 percent at the University of Arizona.

Laura Jones, associate vice president for Planning and Institutional Research, presented the President’s Cabinet Report, which includes updates on sponsored projects, student data, a budget report for January and the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources survey. The report is available online.

Jones noted that the Campaign for NAU has increased by $2.2 million since last reviewed during Cabinet in November, and is at more than $94 million. NAU has seen an increase in federal and state awards for sponsored projects over last fiscal year to date.

The search for a chief information officer is under way, and the university is working with a search firm, said Jones, who will chair the hiring committee. The process is in the recruitment and evaluation phase, and interviews are anticipated to take place in March. Jones said the schedule will include candidate forums with individuals on campus.

Upcoming campus events include a State of the University campus forum scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 16, said Joanne Keene, chief of staff and executive vice president. A student leadership day is slated for Wednesday, Feb. 17.

The president will host an open house in the Student and Academic Services building Friday, Jan. 29, welcoming the campus and community. The Aquatics and Tennis Complex will officially open Feb. 19, and host its first athletics event in early March, said John Morris, associate vice president for Facility Services. The complex’s exterior tennis courts will be completed by late summer.

Upcoming construction projects include a new residence hall with partner American Campus Communities, which is expected to break ground in February on Runke Drive. The South Dining facility will undergo a renovation this year, and the solar array project on the San Francisco Parking Garage will go before the Regents in an upcoming meeting, Morris said.

Carla Andrews-O’Hara, chief marketing and communication officer, is working with individuals across campus through a committee focusing on the strategic branding and a message platform. Further details will be shared in the spring. She said messaging will align with the long term visioning and strategic plan currently taking shape.

Chad Hamill, special assistant on Native American Affairs, said the Regents will consider a tribal consultation policy during their meeting in Tempe next week. The policy governs university activities including proposed research, initiatives, educational programs, agreements and policies. A tutorial will be produced to help guide researchers and faculty on the new policy.

Hamill said a memorandum of understanding with Diné College has been approved by the Regents that allows NAU to share library resources, allows for collaborative faculty work and further supports the partnership established through Diné2NAU. He thanked Vice Provost Dan Kain and Dean Karen Pugliesi for their work on the partnership.