NSF Grant awarded

Michelle Parsons, assistant professor in Anthropology, has been awarded a multi-year grant ($141,846) from the National Science Foundation (NSF). The ethnographic case study investigates the impact of the social, political and economic production of distress on the rising mortality among middle-aged non-Hispanic whites with lower levels of education in Yavapai County, Arizona. Yavapai County has one of the highest age-standardized midlife suicide rates in Arizona.

School of Communication students Awarded

Students from the School of Communication have won three national awards from the Broadcast Education Association, these include:

BEA Television Hard News Reporting
    Second Place: "Punched by a Cop" - Yesenia De Garcia, Sakya Calsoyas
BEA Television News Anchor
    Second Place: Yesenia De Garcia
BEA Video Studio (multi-camera or live to tape)
    Second Place: Flagstaff Mayoral Debate, Xavier Rangella, Cheyanne Mumphrey, and the Staff of NAZ Today

According to their website, the BEA is the premiere international academic media organization, driving insights, excellence in media production, and career advancement for educators, students, and professionals. The association’s publications, annual convention, web-based programs, and regional district activities provide opportunities for juried production competition and presentation of current scholarly research related to aspects of the electronic media. Congratulations to these talented students for receiving such distinguished awards!

Celebrating Black History Month - "X"

The Acting Company (New York) is performing "X" on February 11, 2017 at NAU. The play is about human right activist Malcolm X as part of the celebration of the Black History Month. Ricardo Guthrie, Ethnic Studies professor and director of the Ethnic Studies program discussed the theme of the show and the importance of the play with the NAU News reporter. Read the entire interview here.

Visiting Scholar at Saginaw Valley State University, Michigan

Congratulations to Janna Jones, professor in the School of Communication. She has been selected to be the 2017 Dow Visiting Scholar, endowed by The Herbert H. and Grace A. Dow Foundation. Jones will teach a variety of classes about screenwriting, the history of movie palaces, cinema audiences and film archives at Saginaw Valley State University in Saginaw, Michigan, on Feb. 15, 2017

  • un ektron
    un ektron

    NAU's Model UN awarded

     On November 18-20, 2016, NAU’s Model United Nation club (MUN) competed at the Northwest Model UN (NWMUN) conference in Seattle, Washington. Two of our ten students, Taylor Lambrigger and Maxwell Ziats, received the Distinguished Delegate Award representing Canada at the conference. Congratulations! Participants in Model UN conferences (delegates) are placed in committees and assigned countries, where they represent members of that body. The Model UN club at NAU has won several awards at these conferences. MUN teaches public speaking, debating, researching and writing skills, along with critical thinking, teamwork, and leadership abilities, and students gain understanding about diplomacy, international relations and the United Nations.

    In addition, a team of twenty seven NAU students traveled to Los Angeles in October 2016 and took part in the TrojanMUN conference. The delegates utilized their skill in diplomacy and strategy featuring a variety of historical and modern committees such as a Trojan War Joint Crisis Committee.

Community Leadership Team

Denver Public Health and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Family Medicine and Community Health have partnered to announce a “Community Leadership Team” training aimed at reducing risky alcohol use and alcohol-exposed pregnancies among tribal communities. This training, with funding from the Centers for Disease Control, will provide teams with the knowledge and skills to raise awareness among tribal communities about alcohol Screening and Brief Intervention (aSBI). This intervention promotes CHOICES: Changing High-risk alcOhol use and Increasing Contraceptive Effectiveness Study.

In response to this partnership’s national call that solicited applications for “Community Leadership Teams,” the application submitted by Northern Arizona University (NAU) faculty members Dr. Jean Balestrery, Assistant Clinical Professor, and Dr. Natalie Cawood, Social Work Program Director and Associate Chair, was selected. In addition to Dr. Balestrery and Dr. Cawood, the “Community Leadership Team” for northern Arizona includes Brenda Manthei, Clinician with Native Americans for Community Action (NACA) in Flagstaff, Arizona. The NAU Social Work department and NACA have been working together for many years, and recently NACA was awarded Community Partner for the year 2016. 

This Community Leadership Team will work to facilitate implementation of aSBI/CHOICES among tribal communities and other community health and social service agencies. The main focus of the training is to reduce the risk of alcohol-exposed pregnancies which may cause Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) among newborns. FASD can cause deformities and long-lasting health issues for the infants.

Community Leadership Team members in northern Arizona were selected based on professional expertise and demonstrated leadership in social work and the behavioral health field in addition to combined experience collaborating with tribal communities. This Community Leadership Team training fosters community-based partnerships within the local area. The leadership team has over twenty years of experience in social work and the behavioral health field, which includes working with Native peoples and communities.

A range of locations from the Family Resource Center and NAU campus sites, will be host to free community-wide trainings for local health and behavioral health agencies. The Community Leadership Team will integrate the aSBI/CHOICES project into NAU coursework to educate current students. Northern Arizona’s culturally diverse context, which includes many Native American communities, makes Flagstaff an ideal place to implement this type of health program. The goal of this health project, “Implementing aSBI/CHOICES,” is to inform and lead the public in reducing alcohol-exposed pregnancies as well as expand the partnering between NAU and tribal communities.


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    20 under Forty

    Erin Kruse, Senior Corps Programs Project Director at NAU, was selected to be a part of the first class of 20 under 40 for 2016. The 20 under 40 award program was created by The Arizona Daily Sun, in collaboration with the Greater Flagstaff Chamber of Commerce, to spotlight young emerging business men and women and their commitment to community. Through a nomination and selection process they assembled a list of 20 young professionals who have helped develop the Flagstaff community.
    After working in three locations, Illinois, Miami and North Carolina for Caterpillar, Erin moved to Denver to follow her passion to work for a non-profit organization and worked for Volunteers for America, which is the largest non-profit organization in Colorado. She applied for a position at NAU under the Civic Service Institute, administering the same programs. At NAU, Erin now works with volunteers statewide as the director of three programs: the Forster Grandparent Program, the Senior Companion Program and the RSVP Program to support children and elders who are struggling.  Erin loves Flagstaff and will continue to make Flagstaff “stronger, healthier and more connected." Congratulations!

50 Highest Paying College Majors

The Washington Post recently released a study which reveals which majors pay the most during the first five years out of college. STEM majors are on top of the list, but other majors can pay generously. Each major also lists three of the most popular jobs that new graduates take upon entering the work force. A lot of the majors listed are offered in the College of Social and Behavioral Science. Check the ranking and read about the full methodology here: 

50 Highest Paying College Majors - Washington Post

  • Students with vr googles in Chemlab
    Students with vr googles in Chemlab

    School of Communication Turns Virtual Reality Into Reality

    Chemlab VR is an educational technology tool that is being created to teach organic chemistry to students at NAU. Department Chair Edgar R. Civitella is collaborating closely with the IVR Lab to create a mobile VR tool to teach hybrid classes. The main goal of this project is to see if experiential learning via virtual reality can improve learning of complex science concepts. Mobile VR was launched into classrooms as part of the curriculum to teach Organic Chemistry in September 2016. The students showed curiosity and skepticism at the beginning, but as soon as they put the goggles on to dive into the virtual reality world they were pleasantly surprised. All of the students are convinced that virtual reality will help them to better understand organic chemistry. Read and watch more about the IVR Lab.

Social Work and Health and Human Services celebrate Health Professions Week 

In honor of Health Professions Week, faculty members representing six different health professions spoke with students from NAU’s Social Work Program and College of Health and Human Services about Interprofessional Collaborative Practice. Jamie Clem, Assistant Clinical Professor of Sociology and Social Work, moderated the panel with aplomb. Assistant Professor of Social Work, Mary Damskey, was part of the Panel and answered student questions diligently.  The Panelists agreed on the value of communication and co-work between all types of medical professions, and shared decades of experience. Planning is underway to make it an annual event due to its great turnout! Read more 

  • collegechoice

    Bachelor of Social Work ranked #1

    NAU's Bachelor of Social Work got ranked #1 by College Choice as the most affordable online Bachelor of Social Work. Congratulations! We offer the lowest tuition rate for this online program in addition to tuition benefits and financial aid. Only a few schools offer these benefits for online programs. Read more about the full ranking here.



Archeology Professor, Dr. Jaime Awe and his NAU team (more than 30 students) discovered one of the largest Mayan tomb ever found in Xunantunich, Belize this summer. The team also found a burial of an important ruler, hieroglyphic panels, and multiple pieces of ceramics. This is the first tomb of an important ruler found ever found in this area although researchers investigate this site for more than a century. Not only the size of this tomb is spectacular, the structure of the tomb is very unusual as well. Professor Awe told the KNAU reporter: that “Most tombs in the Maya world are sort of dug into existing buildings,” Awe says. “Not in this case! In this case, they constructed this tomb and then built the pyramid on top of it.”  The panels found might be even more important than the burial because they provide will provide new knowledge about the fabled nation who still presents a puzzle to scientists. Dr. Awe and his team of NAU students and their discovery is in the news world wide. Pictures of the site from Professor Awe will follow soon. 
KNAU Report #1
KNAU report #2
Xunantunich, The Mystery Unfolds Part Two

PRM - Park and Recreation Program

The Park and Recreation Management Program at NAU-SBS (PRM) is one of few in U.S. that also provides training the park rangers in law enforcement in the National Park Service to the prospective rangers. The park rangers enforce park, local and state laws, are trained in structural and wildland firefighting, respond to emergencies and even deal with crime within the National Parks. Justin Regan, a reporter of Arizona Public Radio wrote this report about the program.


Best Online Master's in Communication Degree Programs 2016

NAU's College of Social and Behavioral Science recently released their rankings of the 50 Best Online Master's in Communication Degree Programs 2016 by Smart Choice. The Master's in Communication online degree program was ranked #48 based on factors as reputation, flexibility and affordability. Only colleges listed by the National Center for Educational Statistics and regionally accredited were considered. Smart Choice published the following information about our program:

Northern Arizona University’s humble beginnings involved 23 students, one professor, and two copies of Webster’s International Dictionary bound in sheepskin. What began as a small school in 1899 has become a major public university in Flagstaff, Arizona, with nearly 4,400 graduate students. The student-to-faculty ratio is 18 to 1. Regional accreditation is administered through the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Program Details: The School of Communication in the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences provides an online degree program for a Master of Arts in Communication. Curriculum includes 36 units, with 15 units of core requirements in communication and 21 units in an area of emphasis. Students choose between an emphasis in Communication Studies or Documentary Studies. The program culminates in thesis or project options. Students acquire skills in analysis, problem-solving, critical thinking, research, theoretical application, and written communication. Students develop independent research projects with faculty mentors as guides, toward a degree that is personally designed to meet professional goals.

Read the full list of ranking here.

AmeriCorps Members
AmeriCorps members

Civic Service Institute receives $1.2 million grant

The Civic Service Institute (CSI) received a $1.2 million grant to help over 5,000 high school students in Arizona by launching a statewide AmeriCorps program. The fund will be used to help to increase the on-time graduation rate as well as the postsecondary enrollment rate in areas where these numbers are lower than average. Please join the information sessions about this project in July to find out how you can help and become a partner in this project. More details about the information session can be found in the SBS event calendar


Johnathon Nez (MPA 2005) was just elected Vice President of the Navajo Nation. 

UCLA MUN Conference 2015 

UCLA MUN Conference
UCLA MUN Conference

NAU's Model United Nations club just returned from its last conference of the year. Thirty students traveled to California to take part in the UCLA MUN conference.

Not only were 7 students given individual awards, but the entire delegation was awarded Outstanding Large Delegation. This is quite an accomplishment, as the list of other universities competing included USC, University of Minnesota, UC Davis, UC San Diego, Stanford, and a number of international universities.

The award winners are: John Murphy, Connor Mullins, Scott Brownell, Claire Bergstresser, LaShae Brown, Victoria Ziegler, and Sage Knapp.

Congratulations to our NAU team!

Congratulations to the Northern Arizona University GRAIL & CST&L and NAU Center for Science Teaching and Learning have been selected to receive a Special Achievement in GIS (SAG) award at the 2015 Esri User Conference. This award is given to user sites around the world to recognize outstanding work with GIS technology. Your organization stood out from more than 100,000 others.
Esri Honors SAG Winners
Organizations That Use GIS to Improve Our World By embracing geographic information system (GIS) technology, these organizations have used GIS to improve our world—and set new precedents throughout the GIS community.
The SAG Award ceremony is held at the annual Esri International User Conference and presided over by Jack Dangermond, the president and founder of Esri. During the reception, winners are invited to have their pictures taken with Jack.
Recipients of the Special Achievement in GIS award are submitted by Esri staff from thousands of organizations worldwide, then personally reviewed and selected by Jack.

NAU Model UN team wins at National MUN conference in NYC

A team of 8 NAU students has just finished competing for the first time at the National MUN conference in New York City. Representing the state of Tonga, the team was just awarded the honor of Distinguished Delegation! The closing ceremonies were held at the UN (see the attached photos), and the team was honored to represent NAU at such an important international location.

The team was made up of (from left to right in the picture taken outside the UN): John Bower, Will Wolf, McKenzie McLoughlin, Josh Demakovsky John Murphy, Matt Dotzler, Gretchen Gee (faculty advisor), Caitlyn Ratliff, and Liam Bewick.


 Model UN 

Please join me in congratulating these members of the NAU Model United Nations team!

NAU senior (and Gold Axe winner) Claire Bergstresser just won the Outstanding Diplomacy Award at the World Model United Nations conference in Seoul, South Korea. This marks the second year in a row that a NAU student has won the highest award at this international competition.

Claire led a team of 7 NAU students to the conference from March 16-20, 2015, where they spent the week representing the state of South Korea on a committee discussing numerous international issues.

The team included (from left to right), Erin Hodges, Emily Ross, Cheyenne Franklin, Claire Bergstresser (seated), Jasmine Jewell, Connor Mullins, and Landon Richards.

Congratulations to the National Domestic Violence Fatality Review Initiative  

The Mary Byron Project announces “Celebrating Solutions” and Roth Award winners; Agencies rewarded for innovative domestic violence prevention efforts Louisville, Ky. — The Mary Byron Project, fostering innovations and strategies to end domestic violence, has named four programs as recipients of the prestigious 2014 Celebrating Solutions Awards, and one program for the Roth Award. This is the twelfth year for the annual recognition, which showcases innovations that demonstrate promise in breaking the cycle of domestic violence. Local and national experts help select programs they believe serve as models for the nation. The 2014 honorees are: National Domestic Violence Fatality Review Initiative, Flagstaff, AZ. The mission of the National Domestic Violence Fatality Review Initiative is to provide technical assistance for the reviewing of domestic violence related deaths, with the underlying objective of preventing them in the future, preserving the safety of battered women, and holding accountable both the perpetrators of domestic violence and the multiple agencies and organization that come into contact with the parties. The mission is fulfilled by conducting national, regional and local training conferences and workshops; providing onsite, teleconference and videoconference technical assistance to community groups all over the United States; offering extensive on-line services through the website, newsletters and film library; and, working with an array of national, international, regional, and state level partners.

NAU learning outcomes

Explore the University’s Learning Outcomes, and the benefits of completing your education at NAU.  

A new website is now available featuring these outcomes and can be accessed at The website lists the student learning outcomes as “NAU Graduates Can...." statements and describes the benefits of the outcomes to students, faculty, the institution, the state of Arizona, and future employers. The University Learning Outcomes articulate NAU’s shared expectations for student learning, including goals and values of liberal studies as well as those of degree programs, diversity, and the global learning initiative.