Cabinet highlights: March 28, 2016

The Arizona Board of Regents held a statewide tuition hearing and workshop in preparation for this week’s meeting in Tucson, during which Northern Arizona University’s tuition and fee proposal was unanimously approved.

Bjorn Flugstad, vice president for Planning and Institutional Research, said the university’s tuition and fee proposal calls for elimination of more than 300 class fees, many of which are related to technology in order to standardize IT support and equipment across the university. The proposed IT fee will provide students consistent access to technology regardless of academic program, as well as boost data security.

Christy Farley, vice president for Government Affairs and Business Partnerships, requested faculty, staff and administrators be thoughtful of communication and information disseminated this time of year, which can have an impact on advocacy efforts at the state legislature. She said budget projections are expected in the next few weeks, and the legislative session may conclude by the end of April.

Laura Jones, associate vice president for Planning and Institutional Research, presented the president’s cabinet report, which highlighted trends for fall enrollment, current sponsored projects and results from the National Survey of Student Engagement.

Provost Jim Coleman noted in the NSSE results that twice as many NAU students reported participating in a culminating senior experience such as a capstone compared to Arizona Board of Regents and Carnegie peer institutions. “These are one of the important markers by which as we assess quality with ABOR,” Coleman said.

Jane Kuhn, vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, said priority enrollment is up and registration for May and June orientation sessions are greater than this time last year. NAU also will hold orientation sessions on the road to help lessen demand for out-of-state students to get into the last orientation session each fall, which is typically the busiest session.

Astrid Klocke, interim vice president for Extended Campuses, said changes in on boarding have led to an increase in enrollment statewide, and Personalized Learning, NAU’s competency-based program, is up to 750 active subscriptions, its highest enrollment to date.

Liz Grobsmith, interim director for the Center for International Education, said NAU will welcome its first cohort of students from Nepal this fall.

As part of NAU’s continuing response to enrollment growth and on-campus housing needs, American Campus Communities has begun construction on SkyView, a new residence hall set to open in 2017. John Morris, associate vice president for Facility Services, said the new residential community will add 620 beds and 700 parking spaces for students, faculty and staff. Additional construction projects include a new parking lot adjacent to Beaver School and improvements to the pedway. Morris also said the first phase of the NORESCO project on north campus is nearing completion, with the second phase to focus on energy efficiencies on south campus.

Several departments will move this spring, summer and fall to maximize space, increase collaboration among faculty and prepare for the launch of new programs. “I would like to publicly thank all of the individuals whose departments are affected by the significant moves happening this year,” Cheng said. “We are not done in our need for space and we must be efficient with what we have, and I am grateful for your flexibility as we continue to expand our offerings for students.”

Bill Grabe, vice president for Research, said federal funding has increased over last year, and NAU is moving into the more competitive environment of larger grant proposals.

Betsy Mennell, vice president for Advancement, said the Only at NAU campaign is on track to hit its $100 million fundraising goal by June 30. Learn more on the campaign website.

Diane Verkest, associate vice president for Human Resources, said the $1,000 fee per out-of-state employee implemented Feb. 1 is a more realistic number to cover the compliance costs with all out-of-state payroll and employment laws. We have extra employees and vendor services costs in managing this compliance, and over the last year processed more than 30 other state tax filings.” View the procedures for departments with employees working from out-of-state.

Resources related to the Affordable Care Act are available online and by contacting Priscilla Timeche, compliance management analyst, at (928) 523-1507.

Discussion is taking place around increasing the threshold of the salary basis test of the Fair Labor Standards Act, which will increase the number of employees that are considered non-exempt under the law, requiring them to report and be compensated for all hours worked. This may impact up to 750 employees now considered exempt. The regulations may be released in April with about 60 days to implement, Verkest said.

Employee Development Day is June 1, and the call for proposals is available on the HR website. Session topics range from health and wellness to professional skill development. Last year’s event had more than 70 sessions on 35 different topics, with more than 430 participants from across the university. Additional learning and development opportunities are available online.

Michelle Parker, interim vice president for Legal Affairs and general counsel, is working with individuals across campus to review, update and revise policies.

“We have ongoing policy work we are engaging in so that we can move the university from a 13,000-student-campus with a lot of informal, verbal policies to a university that can function with today’s statewide enrollment,” Cheng said.

Jennus Burton, vice president for Finance and Administration, said a more formal employee debt recovery policy will be implemented July 1. The policy makes employees aware of the methods by which monies owed to the university can be paid, appealed or collected. The new comptroller policy may be viewed on the Human Resources website.