At the start of a new year, good intentions and goals are plentiful. Resolutions form a path for optimism and the promise of success is in the air. At NAU, we are optimistic – but our confidence is not limited to specific dates on the calendar. We enter each new day with excitement for what we will accomplish for our students, our team and our community, and we build our plans on the success we have seen thus far.
Our ambitions are not random. We follow clear metrics of success that we shaped with the Arizona Board of Regents, and we are inspired by the human impact of our efforts. To us, education statistics are not just numbers on a spreadsheet – they represent lives changed, jobs created and options expanded.
To better reach our communities with the power of education, we join with partners who understand and share our vision. NAU is an enthusiastic member of chambers of commerce, neighborhood coalitions, the State Board of Education and education alliances that extend our reach and our welcome. We are engaged and involved with United Way of Northern Arizona’s LAUNCH Flagstaff initiative to improve outcomes for all children from cradle to career, along the educational continuum. We also proudly support the Achieve60AZ coalition, which brings together business leaders and education experts to open college pathways to more Arizonans and to enhance the educational and economic benefits that come from higher education.
Of course, outcomes require investments. As the legislature begins its consideration of a new state budget, we will ensure political leaders understand the details of what we do and what we can do for Arizona’s job creation and education. We will seek progress toward a 50/50 funding balance between state funding and tuition for Arizona residents, to provide a dependable model that keeps education affordable and cements the state’s relationship with public universities. And we will pursue resources to build and maintain the infrastructure and resources necessary to facilitate our student success and research discoveries. Our community has always united behind our efforts to obtain resources for NAU, and I hope you will continue to do so. Polls consistently show that Arizonans believe education is one of their top priorities, and we need help reminding our leaders that it is time for resources to match the importance and quality of what we want our education programs to be.
In this new year, we are eager to continue the partnerships and practices that have brought us to this level of success. The expansion of knowledge creates more possibilities for individual graduates and for the Arizona economy than ever before, and at NAU we are prepared to thrive at the cutting edge of those opportunities. FBN
By Rita Cheng
For additional information on our state budget priorities, visit nau.edu/gabp.
Rita Cheng is the president of Northern Arizona University.