Cabinet highlights: June 3, 2013

Nearly 90 percent of faculty and staff are satisfied with the services provided by Information Technology Services, according to an online survey by the department conducted in March. Fred Estrella, chief information technology officer, said the survey measured overall satisfaction of support and training services, information security, equipment usage, and administrative systems including LOUIE, PeopleSoft Financials and Business Objects. The survey results are available here.

Pat Haeuser, vice president for Planning and Institutional Research, said the university has submitted its 2013-14 operating budget to the Arizona Board of Regents. The board requested budgets include a contingency for funding in Gov. Jan Brewer’s proposed state budget that allocates parity funding to NAU and Arizona State University as well as performance funding for all three universities. ABOR is expected to consider the universities’ budgets during its regularly scheduled meeting next week in Flagstaff.

Christy Farley, vice president for Government Affairs and Business Partnerships, said that Rep. Andy Tobin, Arizona Speaker of the House, addressed students and attendees during a ceremony at NAU-Yavapai on May 31 in Prescott Valley, Ariz. Fourteen students comprised the first graduating class to earn degrees through the innovative partnership with Yavapai College that began in 2010.

A national movement to freeze tuition and fees is afoot, said President John Haeger. The University of Nebraska and Ohio State University recently announced self-imposed freezes on in-state tuition for the 2013-14 academic year, while last week Wisconsin Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee voted 14-2 to freeze tuition and tax dollars for the state’s university system. NAU’s annual modest tuition increases are structured to support the Pledge program, and include lower rates at NAU-Yavapai, NAU-Yuma, online and at Extended Campus sites, which Haeger said “might become increasingly difficult to maintain.”

The university is exploring several ways to streamline, shorten and improve commencement ceremonies, Haeger said. “The number of students participating in ceremonies is increasing, as is the number of students attending commencement,” he said. Haeger also said several options are being discussed to improve the sound system in the Skydome.

Traffic patterns will be altered on north campus while the Science and Health building is under construction, said Jennus Burton, vice president for Finance and Administration. Construction on the new building is underway and expected to be completed in the spring of 2015. Parking lot 10 will close and traffic on Osborne Drive will be restricted to construction vehicles.

Plans to upgrade Wall Aquatic Center are in the early stages, with a construction proposal likely to be presented to ABOR early next year. A proposed two-phase project would include a new aquatic facility, six indoor and six outdoor tennis courts and a multipurpose recreation field. Both the men and women’s tennis teams compete in the Big Sky Conference but have no facilities to practice on campus.

The Facility Services website features two capital project maps to inform the campus community on ongoing construction. Summer building and infrastructure maps and spreadsheets display current projects on campus. The maps soon will have interactive features that detail each project, according to John Morris, associate vice president for Facility Services.

The third session of freshman orientation is underway this week and more than 1,500 students are on campus, according to David Bousquet, senior vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs.