Notes from the President: Feb. 2, 2023

Dear Lumberjacks,

This week has been a busy one, with three days spent in Phoenix and a full slate of engagement on campus in Flagstaff in between. As we enter February and settle into the rhythm of the spring term, I am proud of the good work underway throughout our university to advance our mission on many fronts. Below are my notes for the last week:

  • Last Thursday in Phoenix, I began the day at a convening of statewide Hispanic/Latino leaders in education for MAPA: The State of Arizona Latino Education, Power, and Influence. As the keynote speaker, I shared my story with educators from throughout the state and shed light on the great work of NAU to educate and empower the next generation of learners and leaders who will represent the diversity of our state’s population. This work helps to elevate NAU’s presence, strengthen partnerships, expand collaboration and, ultimately, broaden access to excellence and success as we work to drive economic mobility and social impact for all.
  • Then, I was on my way to Tempe, where I joined NAU colleagues and the Arizona Board of Regents for a committee meeting. Discussions included planning around meeting workforce needs of the state as well as presentation and approval of our institutional metrics that will help measure and calibrate our efforts to deliver equitable postsecondary value to Arizonans.
  • While these discussions continued, I joined a Zoom meeting with staff from the U.S. Department of Education to prepare for my first meeting as a newly appointed member of the National Advisory Committee on Institutional Quality and Integrity (NACIQI).
  • On Friday, before returning to Flagstaff, I made the most of my time in the Valley, visiting with ABOR Executive Director John Arnold and joining Presidents Robbins (UArizona) and Crow (ASU) to speak on the Arizona Capitol Times’ “Morning Scoop” program to share the great work and tremendous positive impact of our public universities on the state. We continue to partner closely as a university system to drive access, student success, research and discovery and public engagement to elevate the fortunes of our state.
  • Monday brought another trip to Phoenix, which, although just a quick down-and-back, was well worth the time, meeting with philanthropic and educational partners on how NAU can accelerate efforts to drive attainment, partner with the public and private sectors and leverage connections in the K-12 system.
  • With a bit more space on the calendar Tuesday, I turned to strategic planning around various university initiatives that we look forward to developing and launching soon.
  • Yesterday, I began my work at the University Union for several calls before joining our IMQ team and members of our university community in honoring the life of Tyre Nichols and resolving ourselves to act for a more just future.
  • The remainder of the day included discussions on our Arizona Attainment Alliance work, joining the Institute for Higher Education Policy (IHEP) and a talented team from NAU, led by Julie Mueller, chief economic advisor to the president, on their presentation as part of the Value Data Collaborative. Then, convening with our Diversity Commission Co-Chairs and Diversity Fellows for a candid conversation about our work, the context in which we advance it and how best to prepare for upcoming interviews with finalists for the Vice President for Inclusion, Diversity, and Engagement role, who will be visiting NAU in the weeks ahead.

As we look ahead to the weekend—and a welcome forecast for some warmer weather!—I hope our university community will join me in celebrating Black History Month at NAU. There are many events taking place throughout our university and I encourage you to join as you are able, including this weekend at our rescheduled Martin Luther King, Jr. breakfast and day of service. More information is available on the IMQ website.

Until my next update, thank you to all of our teachers, scholars, learners, dedicated staff and engaged advocates for all that you do to advance the work of NAU.


José Luis Cruz Rivera

NAU Communications