Skip to main content
You have permission to edit this article.
Edit
Northern Arizona University releases details on upcoming academic year, presidential transition
alert top story

Northern Arizona University releases details on upcoming academic year, presidential transition

  • Updated
  • 0
{{featured_button_text}}
In-person Instruction at NAU

A student walks down an empty path in front of the Cline Library during an early March afternoon on the campus of Northern Arizona University.

Northern Arizona University has provided additional information regarding the upcoming academic year, which encompasses both a return to in-person instruction and the transition of a new university president.

José Luis Cruz, who is set to become Northern Arizona University’s first Latino president and 17th overall, visited the Flagstaff Mountain Campus for the first time as the president-designate Thursday.

Cruz was approved for the position by the Arizona Board of Regents on March 10, with an official start date of June 14.

Cruz began his visit Wednesday at the NAU Biomedical Campus in Phoenix before arriving at the Flagstaff campus for a two-day stay. While in Flagstaff, he plans to host meetings, roundtable discussions, media interviews, open office hours and go on campus tours.

In a letter to the NAU community, Cruz said he is focusing this initial visit on engaging with students before they begin preparing for finals.

Details have yet to be finalized regarding the subsequent two visits, but those will focus more heavily on faculty, staff and the Flagstaff community members. A full schedule of the first visit can be found online on the NAU presidential transition webpage, including information on how to schedule a meeting with Cruz during scheduled office hours.

Cruz met with the NAU Presidential Transition Commission on March 29, a group of representatives selected to provide insight into the beginning of his presidential tenure, and he said the commissioners that were appointed reflect the fabric of NAU.

“The diversity of thought, perspectives, lived experiences and aspirations they collectively bring to the work will position us well for what lies ahead,” Cruz said.

The commission members were announced in a release on March 22, comprising more than 30 individuals, including Flagstaff community members, stakeholders, university students, faculty members and administrative staff. 

Among other participants, the commission includes: Kimberly Ott, associate vice president of NAU Communications; Rose Toehe, Flagstaff’s coordinator for Indigenous initiatives; Maya Guthrie, Black Student Union community service chair; Andrew Iacona, NAU interim sustainability manager; and NAU Faculty Senate President Gioia Woods.

The commission convened for the first time at the end of March and will continue to meet regularly until Cruz begins his tenure as president. In these meetings, the commission will look to “set the groundwork for the first six months of the presidency and prioritize how best to engage constituencies and stakeholders in a collaborative and inclusive process,” according to the release.

“The plan will be designed to build mutual trust with internal and external communities, and to ensure transparency and open communication during the transition and beyond, including providing frequent updates to our Lumberjack community and to key stakeholders,” Cruz said.

Cruz also issued an anonymous survey asking university students and staff for input on improving the institution, which was included in the release.

Support Local Journalism

Your membership makes our reporting possible.
{{featured_button_text}}

No tuition increases for NAU undergraduates

NAU does not plan to propose increased undergraduate tuition costs for the 2021-22 academic year, while the proposed graduate tuition rate will increase by 5%. The university also will not propose mandatory fee increases and will continue efforts to eliminate class fees.

“NAU is proposing no tuition increases for the majority of its students for the second year in a row, remaining mindful of the economic disruption students and families have faced during the COVID-19 pandemic,” the release said. 

NAU President Rita Cheng said setting tuition and fee priorities requires a “thoughtful balance between expanding program access and maintaining affordable options for students.”

The proposal retains the four-year pledge tuition guarantee for undergraduate students on the Flagstaff Mountain Campus. The Pledge program is in its 13th year and sets the rate for a second tuition-setting cycle at $11,896 -- accounting for both tuition and fees -- for incoming resident undergraduate students.

That program currently allows students to plan for the total cost of their undergraduate education, but Cheng said it will not be viable for the university in the future.

“Our ability to continue our Pledge program with zero increases cannot be a long-term strategy,” Cheng said. “Our overall tuition structure merits review but coming out of the pandemic was not the time for an adjustment.”

A win on the hardwood is sweet, but victory in the Supreme Court could be transformative. A case called NCAA v. Alston looks at whether the NCAA can limit educational benefits for athletes.  "This case is a fundamental challenge to the very model of the NCAA as we've known it for the last 100 years," said Helen "Nellie" Drew.Former West Virginia Running Back Shawne Alston...and former University of California Center Justine Hartman are leading the class action suit. This isnt about college athletes getting salaries. Theyre arguing the NCAA cannot limit education-related benefits. The two want the Supreme Court to uphold a lower court ruling so schools could pay for computers or science equipment or allow athletes to get paid internships. But the NCAA worries universities could abuse the new rules, allowing wealthy donors to fuel bidding wars for players, as Michael Mitten explains."These would be provision of in-kind benefits over and above the full cost of attendance, scholarships and actual necessary and reasonable educational expenses. And the NCAA's argument is that, well, then this is really becoming a type of pay for play."During oral arguments, justices voiced their concern over the NCAAs amateurism argument. "It does seem...that schools are conspiring with competitors...to pay no salaries to the workers for making the school billions of dollars on the theory that the consumers want the schools to pay their workers nothing," said Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.But they worry future litigation that could extend those benefits and blur the lines between professional and amateur sports as well as the court's involvement in college sports."I worry a lot about judges getting into the business of deciding how amateur sports should be run. And I think of ways around that.," said Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.This Supreme Court case is separate from a discussion in Congress--about whether college athletes can make money off their name image and likeness. But together they are part of a broader discussion about college athletes rights."There are some pretty significant changes that are coming to college sports and we will probably start to see them with the next academic year in the fall," Mitten said."What will be the institution is driving the change? The NCAA has had multiple opportunities to do so and has chosen effectively not to do so. There will be change is just a question of who is going to be the driving force," Drew said.For Newsy, I'm Austin Kim

ABOR similarly announced on Friday, March 26, that none of the three state universities proposed increased undergraduate tuition rates for the upcoming academic year.

The regents will host a virtual public hearing on the proposals on Tuesday, and the university presidents, including Cheng, will present their proposals to the board on Thursday. The board is expected to vote April 15 on the proposals.

Regents President Larry Penley said recently that the stance taken by the university presidents reflects a commitment to ensuring that education is affordable despite the financial hardships placed on many students by the pandemic.

While NAU and the University of Arizona proposed no tuition increase for resident undergraduates, Arizona State University went even further by proposing no tuition increases for any current or incoming student, including undergraduates and graduate students.

Cheng said Gov. Doug Ducey's recent support could allow for critical program expansion at NAU to meet Arizona’s workforce needs. In January, Ducey proposed a $35 million budget to support the New Economic initiative's workforce development at public universities.

“Our university is a critical partner in guaranteeing Arizona has the talent pipeline to succeed in the state’s New Economy,” Cheng said. 

A win on the hardwood is sweet, but victory in the Supreme Court could be transformative. A case called NCAA v. Alston looks at whether the NCAA can limit educational benefits for athletes.  "This case is a fundamental challenge to the very model of the NCAA as we've known it for the last 100 years," said Helen "Nellie" Drew.Former West Virginia Running Back Shawne Alston...and former University of California Center Justine Hartman are leading the class action suit. This isnt about college athletes getting salaries. Theyre arguing the NCAA cannot limit education-related benefits. The two want the Supreme Court to uphold a lower court ruling so schools could pay for computers or science equipment or allow athletes to get paid internships. But the NCAA worries universities could abuse the new rules, allowing wealthy donors to fuel bidding wars for players, as Michael Mitten explains."These would be provision of in-kind benefits over and above the full cost of attendance, scholarships and actual necessary and reasonable educational expenses. And the NCAA's argument is that, well, then this is really becoming a type of pay for play."During oral arguments, justices voiced their concern over the NCAAs amateurism argument. "It does seem...that schools are conspiring with competitors...to pay no salaries to the workers for making the school billions of dollars on the theory that the consumers want the schools to pay their workers nothing," said Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh.But they worry future litigation that could extend those benefits and blur the lines between professional and amateur sports as well as the court's involvement in college sports."I worry a lot about judges getting into the business of deciding how amateur sports should be run. And I think of ways around that.," said Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer.This Supreme Court case is separate from a discussion in Congress--about whether college athletes can make money off their name image and likeness. But together they are part of a broader discussion about college athletes rights."There are some pretty significant changes that are coming to college sports and we will probably start to see them with the next academic year in the fall," Mitten said."What will be the institution is driving the change? The NCAA has had multiple opportunities to do so and has chosen effectively not to do so. There will be change is just a question of who is going to be the driving force," Drew said.For Newsy, I'm Austin Kim

0
3
0
0
0

Want to see more like this?

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Related to this story

Most Popular

Get up-to-the-minute news sent straight to your device.

Topics

News Alerts

Breaking News

Breaking News (FlagLive!)