Jan. 27, 2016
President's Legislature visit highlights successes, fiscal outlook

President Rita Cheng highlighted challenges and opportunities related to the university’s budget and fiscal outlook when she spoke to the Arizona House and Senate appropriations committees this week.
Read more. 

Jan. 15, 2016
President Rita Cheng's statement on the Governor's budget proposal

Cheng: Northern Arizona University sees hope in the budget proposed by Governor Ducey today.
Read more.

May 1, 2015 
President charts a course amid significant budget cuts

During the April 30 campus forum, President Rita Cheng called for a strategic, campus-wide change in operations to address state funding cuts while maintaining the university’s mission in the long term. Read more. 

April 24, 2015 
President Cheng to host campus forum April 30

President Rita Cheng will discuss the closing academic year, FY15-16 budget and university priorities moving forward during a public forum from 3 to 5 p.m. Thursday, April 30, in Prochnow Auditorium.

The forum will be webcast, and web participants may email their questions in advance or during the event to Inside@nau.edu.

March 11, 2015
Letter from President Rita Cheng to campus community

Dear faculty and staff:

Today the Arizona Board of Regents met at Northern Arizona University for a thorough discussion of NAU’s planning, operations and financial efforts. Included in this conversation were the positive initiatives each of you is carrying out on behalf of NAU and for the success of our students. I thank you for your commitment to providing our students with a high quality university experience.

The budget recently passed by the Arizona Legislature was certainly a topic of conversation and we have only just begun to explore how we will face the financial challenges before us. As a result of the FY16 budget adopted by the state, NAU is in the position of having to reduce its expenditures for next year by more than $17 million. That is a steep hill to climb.

On campus and off, I’ve been speaking a lot about adaptability, and that attitude will certainly come into play now. No one can afford an inflexible approach to the budget. We are all committed to resolving this together.

There will be no shortage of campus engagement over the coming weeks as strategies, ideas and concerns will be sought and considered. You can contribute ideas, including those for revenue generation and efficiencies, by sending an email to budgetinfo@nau.edu. We have also set up a web page with FAQs and additional information.

Certain core principles will underpin all conversations about the budget: NAU will remain a student-centered university. Academic quality is paramount, which includes premier academic programs and access to support services for student success through graduation.

We will take a long-term approach with all decisions because the health of the university 10 years from now will be affected by how we implement reductions and allocate resources today.

In the short term, there is no avoiding the reality of a reduction of this magnitude. Quite simply, our university will feel the impact of these cuts. Each of us will feel it. There is no way to cushion everyone from this blow. That being the case, all aspects of our operation are up for consideration.

Difficult decisions have already begun to address the cuts. NAU has withdrawn its plans for a new building to house engineering capstone design projects, despite the rapid growth in that discipline and a glaring need for such space.

In addition, I have instructed the provost and vice presidents that all hiring must be carefully considered, and approval from my office will be required to proceed with any new positions. All travel will be reviewed for approval by vice presidents and the provost. As for our process going forward, our vice presidents, deans, chairs, and directors must be given an opportunity to consider the budget implications. We had been expecting cuts for several weeks, but the higher number significantly changes the scale of all that has been considered thus far.

While difficult, we cannot allow this new budget reality to define Northern Arizona University. We have risen to budget challenges in the past and I ask the campus community to approach this one as an opportunity for creativity and innovation. Over the long term, those are the traits that help the university achieve new levels of success. For now, we will all need to consider how to do our jobs under increasingly challenging circumstances.

I am confident NAU will emerge from this challenge with its mission and ideals intact. Thank you for all you do to contribute to our success.


Rita Cheng signature

President Rita Hartung Cheng

March 4, 2015
NAU President Cheng's statement on proposed budget reduction
Cheng issued a statement Wednesday when the state Legislature’s budget announcement outlined an $18 million reduction for NAU and more than $100 million for Arizona’s university system as a whole.

“The effect of these reductions will ripple into the economy for years to come,” Cheng said. “Our universities are made up of people who make significant contributions to this state and help it recover in tough budget times.”

“Let us remember it is today’s students who create tomorrow’s innovations,” she added. “It is our researchers and faculty who discover groundbreaking solutions to real problems.”

Read more.