Cabinet Highlights: Jan. 25, 2011

Laura Huenneke, vice president for Research, has unveiled goals for the coming year to help meet the Arizona Board of Regents’ mandate to double the amount of research conducted by the state’s universities. A Research Task Force, made up of regents and representatives from the three universities, has been collaborating on ways to win large research grants or to allocate TRIF monies. The full plan will be available online in the next few weeks.

President John Haeger updated cabinet on Gov. Jan Brewer’s budget proposal, which would trim $170 million from the university system, including $25.8 million from Northern Arizona University. Budget hearings are scheduled at the Capitol next week, and the president discussed budget issues at Tuesday’s forum.

The Academic Task Force on Innovation and Change, headed by Provost Liz Grobsmith, is examining strategies for reshaping the university enterprise. It is looking for proposals to reduce per-credit-hour costs. The task force will present a report to the President’s Cabinet in 90 days. Dean Paul Jagodzinski, one of the co-chairs, is requesting “radical” ideas be forwarded to the committee.

“We know the easy ones,” he said.

In an effort to simplify the process for students transferring from community colleges, NAU has made a minor change in the admission standards. Fred Hurst, senior vice president for Extended Campuses, said students enrolled from their first day in any Connect2NAU program now will be considered NAU students if they maintain continuing status and a 2.0 GPA. There may be other requirements, depending on the major.

NAU is launching a Leadership Program designed to recognize and encourage potential leaders for the university, the Arizona Board of Regents and for higher education in general. Individuals will be nominated for the program and will meet weekly for much of the academic year beginning in the fall. Executive Vice President MJ McMahon is spearheading the effort, and she explained that details will be announced to campus soon.

Cindy Chilcoat, associate director of Human Resources, said her department is finalizing plans for mandatory new-employee orientation. The first phase of the orientation will cover new benefit-eligible employees and phase two will cover temporary and part-time employees