Cabinet Highlights: Dec. 13, 2011

Harper Johnson, a director in Information Technology Services, and Eileen Mahoney, executive director of the Gateway Student Success Center, updated cabinet members on a MyNAU portal project meant to increase student success and retention. The new portal features targeted, critical messages to students on their current academic status and other needed information. About a third of faculty and students are currently using the new system, but it is expected that most will participate.

NAU’s financials remain in comparatively good shape. Bob Norton, associate vice president in the Comptroller’s Office, said NAU will show a $30 million surplus, but he cautioned that the amount includes rollover funding that has not yet been distributed by the state. He also pointed out state appropriations are now below total tuition revenue.

The proposed University College is moving forward for a fall 2012 debut, according to Liz Grobsmith, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. The Math Emporium, which will be a part of the college, is expected to service 3,500 students in three courses.

NAU administrators are examining space needs and availability on campus. The growing Flagstaff campus may have to expand classes on Fridays and, perhaps, Saturdays if student needs call for it.

David Bousquet, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, and Jennus Burton, vice president for Finance and Administration, will be meeting with Flagstaff officials to work on ways to alleviate parking problems in the Flagstaff Southside neighborhood. President John Haeger also wants to address employee and student parking in private business lots west of campus.

Brian Chase, associate vice president for Facility Services, gave an update of several construction projects. The parking garage on San Francisco, which still awaits favorable review from the Joint Legislative Budget Committee, has begun some construction. The structure, which will hold 1,400 cars, is expected to be completed fall 2012. Ardrey Auditorium and classroom renovations have begun, and the Liberal Arts renovation is complete, though repair to damage from a burst pipe is under way. Other projects that are nearly complete are the central campus pedestrian corridor, the North Quad project and the Science Lab repairs.

Jennus Burton announced that construction for an office building housing some back-of-the-house NAU operations is scheduled to begin Dec. 26.

Programming from NBC Learns, McGraw Hill and Pearson is being incorporated into NAU courses and the university adds more technology in the classroom, Haeger said.