Cabinet highlights: Nov. 30, 2015

NAU President Rita Cheng provided an update to the Cabinet this week regarding the Arizona Board of Regents’ latest meeting, held in Tucson Nov. 19 and 20. The board passed 2025 goals for all three public universities, and Cheng said much discussion focused on enrollment, retention, completions, research and costs to produce degrees.

The Regents approved new programs for NAU, including a doctoral program in informatics and computing on the Flagstaff campus, a master’s in business administration at the NAU-Yuma campus, and two degrees via Personalized Learning—a bachelor’s in management and a master’s in computer information technology. Also approved was a request to create a School of Informatics, Computing and Cyber Systems within the College of Engineering, Forestry and Natural Sciences. The president said the programs connect to the Flagstaff focus on economic development and drawing technological businesses to the region.

Cheng joined the other university presidents for a meeting with Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday, Dec. 1, to discuss funding for FY2017. She said the meeting would work toward gaining support of funding in-state student costs, restoring what was cut from the budget and funding for one-time capital projects.

“We hope what we have done for the 2025 goals and on the budget will resonate with the governor,” Cheng said.

Laura Jones, associate vice president for Planning and Institutional Research, presented a report on fundraising gifts, sponsored projects, current enrollment data and the Arizona High School Report Card Summary for NAU. Federal awards have increased over the last year, while state awards are down. Read the full report here. Jones also noted NAU is closing in on its $100 million fundraising goal associated with the Campaign for NAU.

The Student and Academic Services building welcomed tenants over the last week, according to John Morris, associate vice president for Facility Services. The building is nearing substantial completion and will open to students in the spring. The new aquatics and tennis complex will host its first swim and dive competitions in February.

Morris said NAU is set to move forward with installing a rooftop solar photovoltaic array on the San Francisco Parking Garage, which will include outside funding and an incentive from Arizona Public Service. The university will partner with the NAU Green Fund, a student organization that will invest $1 million in the project.

American Campus Communities will break ground on a new residence hall on Runke Drive in the spring, adding more than 600 beds and 700 parking spaces to the Flagstaff campus in 2017. Under consideration are renovations to the bookstore, south dining facilities, Gabaldon Hall and converting the artificial lawn adjacent to South Beaver School into a parking lot.

The president said her leadership team is looking closely at use of space on the Flagstaff campus to accommodate for growth and areas of need including engineering, computer science and other programs, and changes will be announced after the first of the year.

Ricky Roberts, interim chief information technology officer, said that Information Technology Services leadership, an IT Task Force and Human Resources have been working closely with individuals across campus to determine needs and position responsibilities as part of a centralization effort. Additional communication will be distributed as personnel are notified about transfers and new job roles.

Cheng said NAU is moving forward with restructuring marketing and communications functions, including updating the NAU website to help NAU be competitive and refresh the brand image.

The Higher Learning Commission was on campus this week for open forums related to NAU’s re-accreditation. Read about the HLC Open Pathways process and timeline here.