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Northern Arizona University announces final draft of strategic road map

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Blue and Gold at NAU

Students are wrapped by bright gold leaves in this September 2021 photo as they use a crosswalk on the Northern Arizona University campus on the first day of the fall semester.

Northern Arizona University (NAU) announced the final draft of its strategic road map, now called NAU 2025–Elevating Excellence, in early May. It will be presented to the Arizona Board of Regents at its June meeting.

The road map was first announced in August, with three sets of drafts and feedback sessions taking place over the course of the school year. Committees for each of the seven areas of focus narrowed down a list of big picture objectives, based in part on community feedback sessions.

University President José Luis Cruz Rivera said in NAU 2025’s announcement that the plan is meant to be “more aspirational than operational” and that it “sets the foundation for institutional accountability.”

“In advancing the priorities articulated in NAU 2025–Elevating Excellence, we will build on the momentum gained in the first year of our 17th presidency, propel economic mobility, enhance the public good and deepen our university’s social impact,” he said.

Each priority -- academic excellence, student success, commitment to Indigenous peoples, impactful scholarship, mission-driven and diverse faculty and staff, community engagement and sustainable stewardship of resources -- has three to five components listed under its overview statement. These are broad goals for the university that are expected to be achieved through more defined programs and efforts.

For example, the third component under its impactful scholarship priority is that its research “will advance knowledge and innovation to help solve issues of regional, national and global relevance.”

Other goals are more specific. The first two components of the sustainable stewardship of resources priority involve developing and implementing a climate action plan and “sustainable smart campus master plan.”

The draft describes the first as “responsibly [achieving] carbon neutral operations by 2030 and provides educational, research and community engagement opportunities for our students, faculty and staff.”

Cruz Rivera said the university had been working to advance the road map’s goals as it was being developed through efforts such as the new NAU workplace, the Access2Excellence initiative and its admissions pilot program.

“We will carry this momentum forward into the future,” he said.

The announcement of NAU 2025 also included that $4 million in one time funding had been allocated for projects relating to NAU 2025. Half will go toward impact projects developed by the president’s cabinet and implemented over the summer and the other half will fund a round of competitive proposals from the NAU community.

More about NAU 2025, including the complete draft, can be found at nau.edu/legacy/strategic-road map.

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