Notes from the President: March 3, 2022

Dear Lumberjacks,

Yesterday, I had the distinct honor of speaking at the House Higher Education and Workforce Investment Subcommittee to provide testimony as part of their hearing on “Investing in Economic Mobility: The Important Role of Hispanic Serving Institutions and Other Minority Serving Institutions.” This is crucial work, advocating alongside other leaders in higher education for funding for HSIs and MSIs that promote equitable access and transformative outcomes for students throughout our country. I encourage you to view the session and the full written testimony online. It was truly an honor to speak on this important topic and to represent NAU at the national level in our advocacy for increased federal investments to advance the equitable postsecondary value we work so hard every day to deliver to our students and the communities they represent.

This work has absorbed much of the past week as I worked with colleagues within NAU and across the country in the development of the written testimony that sustained our advocacy efforts, but I do have a few key highlights to share that otherwise kept me busy:

  • Last Thursday, I met with national colleagues from the Education Trust and later joined our ASNAU students to discuss our FY23 tuition and fee proposals. I greatly appreciated the time with ASNAU, as we shared not only our proposal for the year ahead but also spent some time contextualizing our strategic priorities for pricing and positioning to increase access, affordability, and transparency for our students.
  • On Friday, I enjoyed visiting with some new members of our NAU team as part of New Employee Orientation. It was a pleasure to share some of my experiences as a still new(ish) NAU employee, and I’m excited to have them as part of the dedicated group of Lumberjack employees that make our mission happen.
  • The balance of Friday was spent meeting with members of my Cabinet, former President and champion of all things NAU Dr. Clara Lovett, colleagues from the College of Education for the accreditation site visit for our new Clinical Psychology program at NAU North Valley and our Board of Regents.
  • The past few days also have held a few exceptional highlights for our Lumberjack Athletics teams: Big Sky Champions for men’s and women’s track and field and our nineth straight WAC Championship for swimming and diving. Congratulations to our student-athletes and their coaches for these exceptional accomplishments!
  • This week, I spent time with the Graduate Student Government regarding our tuition and fee proposals in a similar convening to that held with ASNAU, joined my national colleagues on the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) for a meeting of the Board’s Finance Committee and met with our University Marketing team on key developments in our statewide marketing and outreach efforts to ensure Hispanic students and communities throughout the state know that NAU is here for them.

I look forward to a number of exciting events in the next few days, including the formal naming of the Kitt School of Music on Friday. Against an optimistic backdrop and improving regional and national context, I look forward to communicating an update to our COVID-19 mitigation protocols on Friday, after carefully considering recommendations from our Public Health and Steering Committees.


José Luis Cruz Rivera

NAU Communications