Mission and Goals

NAU School of Nursing Mission and Values


History of the School of Nursing

The nursing program was established in 1962 as an organized unit of faculty of the Arizona State College (named in 1945) granting the associate degree in nursing.  The associate degree nursing program, under the direction of Ms. Frances Hegglund, received its first full accreditation from Arizona State Board of Nursing in 1963. The Department of Nursing at that time was part of the College of Arts and Science. Ms. Bea Evans continued as the department chair through academic year 1970-1971.

In 1966, the Arizona Board of Regents approved the changing of Arizona State College to university status.  The name was changed to Northern Arizona University. In 1972, a new center was opened on south campus.  A new college, first named the College of Integrated Studies was approved to provide liberal arts programs for the south center.  This College was later named the College of Public and Environmental Services. The Department of Nursing was housed in these Colleges under the direction of Dr. Phyllis Adkinson and Dr. Roberta Clegg.

In 1973, the baccalaureate faculty of the Department of Nursing came together for the first time and the baccalaureate program was developed. This program was designed as a career ladder program and today is known as the RN to BSN completion program.

Under the direction of Dr. Roberta Clegg, a grant was submitted for the construction of a building for nursing education. In 1974, the President of Northern Arizona University received notice that the Federal Government had approved the grant in the amount of $969,332.00 for the construction of a building for nursing education.  With matching state funds the total amount available for construction and other costs was $1,356,500.00.

In 1974, under the direction of Dr. Roberta Clegg, the Associate Degree in Nursing Program received full accreditation from the National League for Nursing (NLN). At that same time, the baccalaureate program was established and received provisional accreditation from the NLN. In 1975, the baccalaureate program received full accreditation.

In 1981, under the direction of Ms. Mary Walsh, the nursing faculty made a unanimous decision to begin immediately to phase out the Associate Degree in Nursing Program. The last class graduated in the Spring of 1983. 

The School of Health Professions was established on July 1, 1982 under the direction of Dean, Richard Borden by uniting several existing health professional programs. Nursing, located in a College of Public and Environmental Service, was split off from that College. The result was a new academic unit – the School of Health Professions, which consisted of the Departments of Physical Therapy, Dental Hygiene, and Nursing.

In 1983, under the direction of Dr. Sally Ruybal, the phase out of the associate degree was completed and the baccalaureate program was expanded to include a pre-licensure baccalaureate program. The baccalaureate program received continuation of full accreditation status.

The School of Health Professions was renamed the College of Health Professions (CHP) in 1991 and housed the Departments of Dental Hygiene, Health Education, Physical Education and Recreation, Nursing, Physical Therapy, and Speech, Pathology and Audiology. 

In 1995, the Department of Nursing received approval for implementation of the Master in Science program in nursing with a Rural Health Specialist track and a Family Nurse Practitioner track.

In 1997, The Department of Nursing did not seek re-accreditation with NLN, but applied for re-accreditation through the Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education (CCNE). Both the baccalaureate and masters programs received full accreditation.

The College of Health Professions was reorganized into a School of Health Professions (SHP) and a School of Nursing in 2005 and housed in the Consortium of Professional Schools

The School of Nursing and the School of Health Professions were re-united into a College of Health and Human Services in 2007. 


The mission of Northern Arizona University’s School of Nursing is to provide outstanding education to students at the undergraduate, master’s and doctoral level who can provide  high quality health care services to individuals and diverse communities in an environment of constant change and emerging health care trends. To achieve our mission, faculty plan, guide, and facilitate learning while supporting the learning needs of a diverse community of students. We believe that learning-centered experiences with rigorous expectations and actively-engaged students result in higher-order thinkers and graduates prepared for leadership in real world practice. We value incorporating rural and global healthcare into a variety of educational experiences. Thus education not only expands the thinking of the learner, but increases opportunities for application. Our service mission is to encourage faculty and students to participate in consultative and professional health related services ranging from local to global settings.


The values upon which the mission and goals are founded are:

  1. We value the intellectual life shaped by excellence in knowledge, learning, creativity, intellectual curiosity and scholarship;
  1. We value diversity within community with respect for the uniqueness of each person, compassion for each person and accountability to one another; and
  1. We value growth and service to others informed by mutual empowerment and risk taking.

Curricular Concepts

The School of Nursing faculty has developed an organizing framework that serves as a guide and provides direction for faculty to organize its programs of education and to focus research, scholarship, clinical practice and community service. The framework represents a systematic organization of concepts which are the essential components of baccalaureate and graduate education.

  • Professionalism and Professional values
  • Clinical practice and prevention
  • Critical reasoning
  • Communication
  • Global health
  • Leadership

All students are evaluated using these concepts throughout the curriculum.

School of Nursing Goals

The goals of the School of Nursing reflect those of the University.

Goal 1: Increase retention of students, faculty and staff.  (NAU Goal 1)

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Create and sustain an environment of recruitment and retention for students, faculty and staff recognizing and building upon the strengths of a diverse work-force.

  • Facilitate mentoring of at risk students by enhancing existing resources.
  • Identify faculty and staff opportunities to meet personal and professional goals.
  • Foster an environment of academic progression and continuing competencies while       encouraging life-long learning.   

Goal 2: Provide excellence in nursing education at the bachelor, master and doctoral levels.  (NAU Goal 2)

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To foster a student-centered learning environment that includes creativity, collaboration, and clinical decision making and reasoning. 

  • Develop curricula that are student-centered, culturally appropriate, and introduce                 interprofessional practice which are grounded in research in an effort to achieve program outcomes and competencies. 
  • Develop educational opportunities that provide students with state of the art simulation experiences and quality didactic and clinical experiences in multiple learning environments.

Goal 3:   Strengthen the research activities for the School of Nursing. (NAU Goal 3)

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To nurture a climate of inquiry and research that addresses health disparities and needs of diverse individuals, communities and populations. 

  • Develop a research program for the School of Nursing.
  • Identify and remove barriers for student and faculty inquiry.
  • Increase extramural funding for research.

Goal 4:   Foster a culture of diversity, community and global citizenship within the School of Nursing.  (NAU Goal 4 & 5)

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Create an environment in which the strengths of diverse students, faculty and staff are acknowledged and rewarded, and in which, students, faculty and staff work collaboratively to achieve success for the School, the University, the Flagstaff community, Arizona and the profession.

  • Recruit and retain students, faculty and staff of diverse backgrounds. 
  • Develop educational opportunities that provide students with the experience of working with patients from diverse backgrounds.
  • Articulate the role of faculty, students and staff in citizenry for the School, the University, the Flagstaff community, Arizona and the profession.

Goal 5:   Become the Nation's leading School of Nursing serving American Indians.  (NAU Goal 6)

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To be recognized nationally for the provision of educational opportunities for American Indians,  that incorporate strategies to meet the unique needs and learning styles of American Indian students and that are designed to meet the health care needs of the American Indian population served by these graduates. 

  • Identify and remove barriers to admission and retention within the resources of the School and the University. 
  • Increase American Indian admissions and graduations in the undergraduate and graduate programs.
  • Participate in the Pathways into Health Initiative and bridge programs for recruiting American Indian students.


Goal 6:  Provide leadership within the University and the state in the development, use and assessment of innovative teaching technologies and program delivery. (NAU Goal 7)

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To be recognized as a leader in innovative program delivery models and the use of distance learning technologies, and to provide state of the art educational experiences for students in multiple learning environments.  

  • Facilitate the application of computer and multi-media technology in instructional design and delivery to provide learning centered distance education. 
  • Develop an infrastructure that is data driven, based on evidence and one in which strategic decisions are determined by research and data.
  • Develop partnerships with community colleges across the state of Arizona to provide innovative, effective and affordable options for students to advance their education.

Goal 7:   Ensure financial stability and growth.   (NAU Goal 7)

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To be recognized within the University community as fiscally responsible through such practices that recruit and retain faculty, students and staff, by growing the programs within the School of Nursing that meet the needs of the community, state and profession, and to engage in the acquisition of grants or other funding to underwrite School activities. 

  • Develop a strategy for ensuring adequate number and mix of faculty.
  • Develop an active alumni association.
  • Develop a strategy of fund-raising.