Cabinet Highlights: May 3, 2011

BC/BS rates likely to increase in January

Rates for Blue Cross/Blue Shield are expected to increase about 10.5 percent for the calendar year 2012, Jennus Burton, vice president for Finance and Administration, told Cabinet. He also explained that the university is taking steps toward a self-funding approach for insurance, which would save $1.2 million. Other changes may be forthcoming and will be announced when finalized.

A new electronic tool that will benefit transfer students as well as NAU staff is being introduced by the Admissions Department. Paul Orscheln, director of Admissions, made a presentation on a new web-based system that will automatically process transfer credits so students can check their status at the time they are admitted to the university. The new system promises accuracy and efficiency because it eliminates the huge task of manually inputting transfer information.

Eileen Mahoney, director of the Gateway Student Success Center, gave a status update on the ePlanning Critical Tracking system that is intended to simplify student access to academic and career information. Mahoney and Harper Johnson, an ITS director and project manager, say the system will improve the quality of information and increase adviser availability by automating processes. The website, which is under construction, can be found here.

NAU graduate students have formed a government body on campus that will have the same authority and responsibility as ASNAU does for undergraduates.  Grad students Sheena Kauppila and Johan Bodaski said they are working with ASNAU to acquire a portion of the “23 fee” students now pay.

Deb Larson, associate vice provost for Academic Affairs, said the temporary structure has been set up on south campus for the five upcoming commencement ceremonies.  Despite some early glitches, ticket distribution has moved smoothly, she said.

Jennus Burton and Jane Kuhn, assistant vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, discussed summer construction projects. Among the projects are work on the transit spine, reconfiguring the quad near Old Main into green space, and beginning work on two private partnerships for residence halls and a parking garage. Details can be found at the Capital Assets website.

As required by the Arizona Board of Regents, NAU is close to finalizing the 2015 Academic Calendar.