Northern Arizona University moves forward with clear road map

By John D. Haeger, 15th President of Northern Arizona University

Northern Arizona University moves forward with a rich legacy of dedication to delivering top-quality undergraduate education, cutting-edge environmental and biological research, distance education that eliminates roadblocks to higher education, and a sustained devotion to service to Arizona communities.

We have started the second century of Northern Arizona University's existence with a clear road map to expanding our service and influence.

We will emphasize the learner-centered approach to students and student services. We will support faculty in meeting the challenges of teaching today's college students. There will be attention paid to the latest technologies needed to deliver education and the technologies in which students must demonstrate competency in the workplace.

To be a successful higher education institution, I believe you have to move quickly to achieve action on technology initiatives and new programs. However, our goal remains the same: to educate students.

Sometimes you'll make mistakes, but you have to allow yourself options to be innovative, to explore new programs or delivery methods, or to embark on a new research project. In effect, higher education is about creativity and innovation and the courage of our intellectual convictions.

Northern Arizona University will follow the same principles in our research mission. Cutting-edge research requires intellectual courage, and problem-based research requires the ability to face constant accountability. We promise Arizona citizens innovative and effective research as well as certificates and degree programs that are up to date, flexible and responsive to the more immediate problems of the economy.

Undergraduate education that provides knowledge of the world and an ability to grapple with change, diversity and life itself is Northern Arizona University’s underlying core strength. Faculty and staff members are committed to the residential campus concept and to the students but also are prepared to deliver education throughout Arizona and world either online or in new campus structures, preferably in partnership with community colleges.

The changing face of America and Arizona leads us to a renewed commitment to diversity among our faculty and our students. Hispanic Outlook on Higher Education ranks us in the top 100 institutions graduating Hispanic students. Diverse Issues in Higher Education ranks Northern Arizona University sixth for graduating Native Americans.

Now we are actively recruiting to further increase the diversity of our students and faculty.

Northern Arizona University is among the best in the nation and must highlight the fact that students who come here actually receive a "private education" with easy access to faculty, small classes and a rich curriculum.

I understand the role of chairs, deans, provosts and the political process up and down the line, and there is tremendous pressure at all levels to move fast and to re-examine everything we do from the classroom to the scientific laboratory.

Changes in higher education are going to take place. We can adapt to those changes or be left in the wake of change.

It is my job to make sure these changes enable faculty to continue to offer quality to both undergraduate and graduate students.