Cabinet Highlights: Jan. 24, 2012

Math emporium in HLC; budget aids student success plans

NAU’s math emporium, scheduled to begin in the fall, will be housed temporarily in the Health and Learning Center, said Jennus Burton, vice president for Finance and Administration. The math emporium, part of NAU’s student success initiatives, will have room for 200 computer work stations for lower-level math courses. Burton said he anticipates the math emporium finding a permanent location within two years.

President John Haeger announced that Gov. Jan Brewer’s budget submission to the Legislature includes funds for the math emporium, NBC Learn and other student success plans, which will integrate technology into the classroom experience. “NAU has done well in some ways,” Haeger said of the proposed budget.

Human Resources will be conducting an audit of to verify the eligibility of dependents covered under NAU’s Blue Cross Blue Shield health plan. HMS Employer Solutions will conduct the audit beginning in February, and employees will receive a letter to their home address asking for documentation. More information is available online.

Provost Liz Grobsmith announced a draft plan that would accommodate faculty and students if final exams are canceled due to an emergency. The plan allows options for faculty if they don’t already include information in their syllabi. Read a copy of the draft here.

Several bills have been introduced in the state Legislature that could, if passed, impact NAU and the state university system. Christy Farley, vice president for Government Affairs and Business Partnerships, presented an overview of some of the bills but said it is too early in the process to determine which direction they are going. Click here to see an update.

Laura Jones, a director in Planning and Institutional Research, and Eva Putzova, planning and policy analyst senior, presented reports on student retention and changes to enrolled student cohorts. The changes allowed PAIR to more accurately measure state retention rates, which saw a slight uptick. The reports can be found on the PAIR website.

The overall GPA of NAU athletes in fall 2011 is the highest since 1997, Athletics Director Jim Fallis said. Lumberjacks achieved a 3.12 GPA with 43 athletes earning a 4.0. Football, volleyball, swimming and diving, women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, and women’s cross country all broke semester GPA records.

A change in the policy for distributing keys was announced by Jennus Burton. Any individual needing a grand master key is required to get approval from the appropriate vice president.

Sarah Bickel, associate vice president for Student Affairs, said the university is considering offering a pilot program for gender-inclusive housing beginning in the 2012-13 academic year. The plan would create an inclusive environment where upper-division students could live in the same room with any student, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. At least 57 public and private universities, including Arizona State and the University of Arizona, have policies that support gender-inclusive housing.