Notes from the President: Oct. 28, 2021

Dear Lumberjacks,

The pace of activity continues to remain high as we prepare to turn to November and the home stretch of the semester, and I’m pleased to share my weekly report on the activities and meetings that have been the focus of the past few days.

  • Last Friday, the Arizona Board of Regents’ Research and Health Sciences Committee engaged in a presentation about NAU’s TRIF proposal. Interim Vice President for Research Jason Wilder shared an update on workforce development and training programs, impactful research and internal grants for exciting new projects. Thanks to Dr. Wilder and to Dr. Gayla Stoner, vice provost and dean of Online and Educational Initiatives, for their work.
  • On Monday, I went to Encanto School in Phoenix for the launch of the Arizona Teacher Residency Program. The opportunity to collaborate with Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman to launch this program is so important to our state and closely links to NAU’s legacy and longstanding excellence as a teachers’ college. Moreover, I appreciate the leadership from the Arizona K-12 Center in making this program a success. We received significant media attention for this effort, and I’m thrilled that NAU will help make a difference in teaching and learning at the K-12 level throughout Arizona for many years to come.
  • While in Phoenix, I enjoyed productive meetings with Arizona Senators Boyer and Fann. As a state institution, it is crucial for NAU to articulate our value proposition to our elected officials and ensure that we advocate for the important and impactful programs and services we offer to all Arizonans. I look forward to the senators’ support in the months ahead and to building strong partnerships at the legislature to help advance NAU’s mission and serve our diverse statewide communities.
  • I met with City of Flagstaff Vice Mayor Becky Daggett about NAU’s plans and areas where our work intersect. We discussed how we could both be good partners and neighbors and advance our respective aspirations. I appreciated the time and look forward to meetings soon with the rest of our City Council members.
  • On Monday, I stopped by the Faculty Senate meeting to give a brief update on the Strategic Roadmap. Having just finished the engagement process on the first draft of the roadmap, this was a good opportunity to update the Senate on the feedback we received and how we are working with the NAU community to adapt, revise and refine the roadmap to create a second draft. I look forward to sharing a robust update about our plans with you soon. Thanks for your continued involvement in the process.
  • In advance of Veterans’ Day, I met with Pete Yanka, director of Veteran and Military Services at NAU. It was a fruitful conversation and a reminder that NAU is a great place for veteran and military-connected students. I am looking forward to participating in our Veterans’ Day events at NAU and am excited about expanding our efforts to serve these students in the future.
  • On Tuesday, I was pleased to announce a new University Closure Policy that will affect the dates between the Winter Holiday/President’s Designated Holiday (Christmas Eve) and the New Year’s Holiday Observance, Dec. 24 through Jan. 1. I would like to share my appreciation for our colleagues in Human Resources who have been working on this important policy change for many weeks to help ensure NAU is a truly amazing place to work. Thank you again!
  • I also spent some time in front of the camera to share messages with our NAU and statewide communities. I recorded a message in coordination with Greater Phoenix Leadership to inspire our next generation of Latinx leaders and students throughout the state; another to encourage philanthropic gifts to NAU’s Lumberjack Emergency Assistance Fund (LEAF) and another in which I shared my thanks for an award NAU will receive at the upcoming American Association of State Colleges and Universities annual meeting.

Today, I have been on Zoom since 5:30 a.m. participating in national higher education board meetings focused on postsecondary value—discussions that tie directly to our work at NAU.

I hope to see you on campus enjoying this beautiful fall weather.


José Luis Cruz Rivera





NAU Communications