Cabinet highlights: Sept. 28, 2015

President Rita Cheng discussed the Arizona Board of Regents’ meeting last week, during which she delivered a comprehensive presentation on student success and NAU’s response to the state budget reduction for the current fiscal year. The board unveiled a proposed state investment model and a request for funding to support student growth, facility maintenance and infrastructure.

The president and Bjorn Flugstad, vice president of Institutional Effectiveness, will continue meeting with deans and directors to address the university’s $4 million structural budget deficit for the current fiscal year.

Laura Jones, associate vice president of Planning and Institutional Research, reported an increase in NAU’s sponsored projects and the announcement of several new grant awards. The latest report is available online.

Jane Kuhn, vice president of Enrollment Management and Student Affairs, said applications are strong for next fall, increasing in in-state and out-of-state students. Discover NAU events have begun and several hundred participants have visited campus this fall, and more events will be held throughout the academic year.

Fred Hurst, vice president of Extended Campuses, reported that online enrollment growth continues as community campuses have declined. Extended Campuses enrollment increased five percent this year, and student credit hours have increased 14 percent overall. Hurst said Personalized Learning will roll out four new programs next year, including a bachelor’s degree in management with an emphasis in health care.

Maribeth Watwood, dean of the Graduate College, said graduate student enrollment is up and increases are anticipated with the launch of the fellowship program. NAU is holding workshops with current undergraduates to educate them on applying to graduate school. Cheng said NAU will look to its own undergraduate students for recruiting to graduate programs, and will explore 3+2 professional programs for select fields that accelerate the path to a master’s degree.

NAU will host the 2016 FIRST Robotics regional competition in March, an event that will bring high school students to NAU for the science and technology competition. Kuhn said the event will provide an opportunity to highlight NAU’s academic programs in STEM education.

John Morris, associate vice president of Facility Services, said the Student and Academic Services Building is nearing completion, and is expected to open on time. The university also is reviewing a solar array proposal for the San Francisco Parking Garage.

Changes to benefits, including structure and new tiers for employees including family members on their plans, are being rolled out this week, according to Diane Verkest, associate vice president of Human Resources. Employees who have one dependent can change to spouse-only or child-only plans under the new structure. More than 1,100 employees participated in the HealthyU program in 2015, and 1,400 in 2014. Participants are eligible for credits to health care premiums.

Verkest said report of injury forms for employees and non-employees are available online, and automated personnel requisition forms are expected to go live in the next few weeks. All of the forms will be available via PeopleSoft.