There are few things as powerful as a new beginning. On a college campus, and in a college community, the buzz of anticipation around the start of a new academic year is contagious. The optimism of our students and the enthusiasm of our faculty and staff echo the promise of good things to come.
NAU continues to thrive, and we are building on our strong foundation to achieve even greater accomplishments this academic year. We are strengthening our research programs to directly benefit our community, and the world as a whole. We are providing new beginnings to others, as well, through initiatives like the Mountain Tremors choir, which connects people with Parkinson’s Disease to a supportive community and builds skills that help them live with the disease.
Our Civic Service Institute is bringing in new resources for projects like the Senior Companion and Foster Grandparent Programs, connecting homebound elders with preschool through high school students whose academic performance and engagement noticeably increase because of the encouragement they receive from their newfound mentors.
We are helping address Arizona’s teacher shortage through initiatives like the NAUTeach program, largely funded by the National Science Foundation, which helps keep science and math majors on track so they are more likely to use their skills in the classroom. Our “Grow Your Own” teacher training programs help prepare teachers in rural areas of the state. In addition, our Teachers Academy launches this year – a joint effort with Arizona State University and the University of Arizona to provide an education degree in exchange for years of service teaching in Arizona’s public schools.
These programs – and many more like them – make a difference for our community because we make a difference for our students.
Our students will always be our focus, and we continue to adapt our services to meet their needs. We are one of only 31 higher education institutions across the country invited to join a new initiative of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The Frontier Set study will examine how universities with diverse student populations can transform to close opportunity and educational performance gaps by meeting student needs. This study closely connects to our ongoing focus on student success, and we look forward to outcomes that will help us help our students even more effectively.
Through many programs and initiatives, we work to ensure that our new beginnings and our growing possibilities also benefit those around us. This academic year holds great things for our future, and we look forward to sharing them with you. FBN
By Rita Cheng