President Rita Cheng hosted the annual Spring Campus Forum and announced that the campus minimum wage will be raised from $8 to $10 an hour, impacting about 28% of student employees.
“All of you are engaged in NAU’s success and we are committed to identifying opportunities to invest in those of you on the frontline each and every day,” Cheng said.
Additionally, Cheng focused on NAU’s advancement and achievement over the last five years, along with priorities and plans going forward.
According to Cheng, NAU has adopted the Prosci ADKAR Model for individual change. This model consists of five personalized goals for NAU: student success and access, research and discovery, commitment to Native Americans, engagement and stewardship. Cheng explained how NAU plans to attain and uphold these goals.
Over the past semester, NAU has both modified and created various student infrastructures. Cheng addressed this topic within the context of diversity and inclusion.
“We created a new and greatly expanded office space for our Office of Inclusion, Multicultural and LGBTQIA Student Services,” Cheng said.
Cheng also spoke about the importance of diversity within academics.
“Diversity is a fundamental aspect of the learning experience, and I am proud of our ongoing commitment to diversity at NAU,” Cheng said.
Cheng advocated that NAU should focus on student success through widespread inclusion and support. In addition, students are assisted through the recent distribution of academic advisers.
“We have added advising positions to units with more enrollment by reducing the number of advisers in other units,” Cheng said. “We also increased access, availability, consistency of service, training and support for advisers.”
In addition to the developments regarding advising, NAU students can also use multi-term enrollment to enroll for up to four semesters out.
“It ensures more certainty and control in [students’] pathway to a degree,” Cheng said. “All of this work demonstrates NAU’s commitment to a high quality, personalized, student centered education across Arizona and beyond.”
After discussing the models and motivations for future student success, Cheng highlighted NAU students' accomplishments.
The Fulbright U.S. Student Program is a distinguished study-abroad grant offered to exceptional students. This year, Laura Lillis, Austin Miller and Megan Wagy were awarded with the Fulbright.
“Three NAU students are recipients of the prestigious Fulbright U.S. Student Program this year, a record for NAU,” Cheng said.
Cheng applauded student achievements, and she also focused on the importance of faculty and staff. She plans on rewarding NAU employees for their teaching and research.
“Our faculty and staff are crucial to what we do,” Cheng said. “I’m pleased to announce today that on July 1, eligible faculty and staff will receive up to a 3% salary increase.”
Cheng said that students, faculty and administration all contribute to the fiscal impact of the university. In turn, NAU’s economic influence was also examined during the Spring Campus Forum. According to Cheng, NAU benefits both the local community and the state economy as an outstanding investment.
“NAU generates $185 million dollars in state and local taxes [annually],” Cheng said. “For every dollar the state appropriates, NAU returned, in 2017-18, an estimated $24.20 in economic activity, and generated $1.72 in state and local taxes.”
During the forum, Cheng also focused on maintaining growth and gaining publicity in the future. She stressed the significance of NAU’s advertising campaigns and online platforms.
“Since [the internet] is our number one tool for prospective student engagement, we are pursuing a comprehensive roadmap for website improvement,” Cheng said. “We are aggressively advancing our online marketing presence in a way that we never have before.”