Cabinet highlights: March 10, 2014

Associate professor Roy St. Laurent gave an update on the NAU presidential search. St. Laurent, a member of the 28-person search committee, said the group sought input last week during several forums for faculty, staff and community members. The committee has asked for feedback regarding the qualities the next NAU president should have after John Haeger steps down from the presidency and back into the classroom. The committee will meet next week in Flagstaff and again in Tucson during the next meeting of the Arizona Board of Regents.

Associate professor Astrid Klocke, president of the Faculty Senate, said senators sent a resolution to the search committee reflecting the close relationship the group has with President Haeger and encouraging members to seek a new president who embraces the concept of shared governance.

The proposed Aquatics and Tennis Center is expected to be discussed April 1 at the legislative Joint Committee on Capital Review, said Jennus Burton, vice president for Finance and Administration. If the project receives favorable review, a groundbreaking ceremony will be scheduled later in April. Burton also said the aquatics center construction will disrupt pedestrian and traffic flow on north campus. Details will be released as the project nears.

The university’s tuition recommendation will be announced Friday and discussed during a March 25 public hearing, President Haeger said. ABOR will vote on tuition April 3 in Tucson.

Fred Estrella, chief technology officer, is asking faculty and staff to complete a campus-wide survey that helps Information Technology Services improve campus service. Estrella also said several hundred computers still use Windows XP, which could pose a security threat when Microsoft discontinues support for XP in April. ITS is contacting XP users to discuss upgrades.

Budget negotiations are ongoing at the state Legislature but with minimal communication between the governor and legislative leaders, said Christy Farley, vice president for Government Affairs and Business Partnerships. Farley said NAU continues to hope for full closeout of parity funding, which would mean $6 million added to the university’s base budget. The proposed $1 billion research infrastructure bill is not expected to be funded this year, but the universities are discussing the economic benefits of increased state expenditures toward research.

Regents professor Robert Trotter is leading the partnership between NAU and Northern Arizona Healthcare. The two organizations will conduct health care research in the areas of population and community health, precision and personalized medicine, and translational and biomedical health.