Cabinet Highlights: Nov. 22, 2011

Cabinet members discussed some of the lessons learned in the wake of events at Penn State University. President John Haeger said a letter was in the works (and has since been distributed to all students, faculty and staff) that reinforces reporting requirements in response to a suspected crime on campus. Haeger emphasized that university employees have a responsibility to report violations to their supervisors and to the NAU Police; cabinet members were encouraged to discuss the letter and its recommendations with those in their areas.

Upcoming meetings with the Regents will focus on tuition and fees at the three universities, and Haeger said his strategy is to protect NAU’s Pledge Program, which freezes tuition rates for eight semesters. He said he is considering proposing a modest increase for new Flagstaff campus undergraduates as part of the Pledge. Moderate increases are being considered for graduate students and students at Extended Campuses sites. Continuing undergraduates on the Pledge would not see a tuition increase, which accounts for a large majority of all NAU students. He cautioned that the Regents may not approve any tuition increases.

Haeger said a campus Leadership Day is being planned for some time after the first of the year for senior leadership and student leaders to discuss the 2012 budget plan and identify budget priorities.

A broad overview was discussed related to the ongoing dialogue on rethinking how NAU delivers its programs. The University College concept is being considered as a model for delivering freshman year courses with increased student success and improved retention. The college would be a way to bring cohesion in an expenditure-neutral environment, unify best practices and focus on special initiatives. If the concept moves forward, the University College will be in place next fiscal year. Haeger said planners will continue pursuing feedback on the topic.

Haeger also discussed changes in the way that some math courses will be delivered as part of a pilot program based on the “emporium model,” typically linked with Virginia Tech but that has been adapted at universities across the country. The department proposes shifting a suite of six lower-division math courses to the emporium model, which convenes students one day per week for dedicated time in a group setting engaged with software. He said there are still details that need to be addressed, but it has the potential to become the largest math emporium in the country.

Jane Kuhn, associate vice president for Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, discussed the proposed outsourcing of the du Bois Summer Conference program as a way to create efficiencies. The program would operate under a structure similar to what currently exists, but it would be managed by a third party with sales and operations expertise. The transition would occur for the summer of 2013.

Renovations to the North Quad are nearing completion, and the area will be fully usable in the spring. Departments, programs and classes can use the area for free, unless they require special needs. Those wishing to use the space for commercial purposes or non-university events, such as weddings, will be charged a fee. Because of the anticipated demand for the space, scheduling should be coordinated through the High Country Conference Center to ensure there are no conflicts. General access to the quad will be available by Dec. 15 in time for commencement; some areas may still be fenced off for safety as work is finalized.

Jennus Burton, vice president for Administration and Finance, distributed a project status report for renovations to 21 campus classrooms. Most of the work involves general upgrades, such as new carpeting, fresh paint and whiteboards. The classrooms are located in geology, physical sciences, chemistry, biology, SBS, health professions and SBS West.