Instructional Leadership, emphasis: K-12 School Leadership (MEd)
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NAU 2025 – Elevating Excellence

A bold and boundless future for all

Dr. Jose Luis Cruz Rivera talks with students under a big tree on the NAU Flagstaff campus.

Message from the President

I am pleased to present NAU 2025 – Elevating Excellence, Northern Arizona University’s roadmap for delivering a bold and boundless future for all. The strategic priorities described herein represent a robust synthesis of the NAU community’s thoughtful engagement and bold aspirations for the future, and it reflects the evolving challenges and opportunities that we face as an engaged public institution of higher education. To equitably serve students and communities from all backgrounds, identities, and lived experiences, our commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice is infused throughout this guiding document. We will capitalize on NAU’s 122-year history of distinctive excellence as an engine of opportunity to drive social impact and economic mobility for the people of Arizona and beyond.

In partnership,

José Luis Cruz Rivera, PhD

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The New NAU Charter

NAU aims to be the nation’s preeminent engine of opportunity, vehicle of economic mobility, and driver of social impact by delivering equitable postsecondary value in Arizona and beyond.

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Academic excellence

NAU’s high-quality academic programs, general studies curriculum, and the teaching excellence of our faculty will foster students’ knowledge and competencies necessary for professional success, informed civic engagement, global citizenship, lifelong learning, and the promotion of a more just and sustainable future.

Position students for post-graduation success

NAU will position our students for postgraduation success by offering a broad portfolio of high-quality academic programs with learning outcomes and perspectives that are responsive to the workforce and social needs of Arizona and beyond.

High-impact learning opportunities

NAU students will participate in high-impact learning opportunities that promote academic excellence, build mentorship relationships, and prepare them for career and life success as Lumberjack alumni.

Offer faculty and staff professional growth opportunities

NAU will offer faculty and staff professional growth opportunities designed to enhance teaching excellence and foster learning environments that support the success of all students.

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Student Success

Grounded in a student-centered institutional culture of care, NAU will provide accessible and affordable educational opportunities, with tailored support services that enable students to complete their academic credentials and realize transformative outcomes from their collegiate experience.

Broaden access to more Arizonans

NAU will broaden access to more Arizonans by providing equitable, affordable, and seamless pathways to higher education, resulting in a student population that reflects the State and complements our exceptional out-of-state and international student populations.

Increase enrollment statewide and online

NAU will increase enrollment statewide and in online programs to better serve students wherever they live and learn.

Improve retention rates and increase educational attainment

NAU will improve retention rates and increase educational attainment using effective approaches that are tailored to student needs and focused on closing gaps in retention and completion across student populations.

Improve student momentum and post-graduation success

NAU will improve student momentum and post-graduation success by supporting students’ economic, physical, and mental well-being; fostering a strong sense of belonging at NAU; and providing robust support for academic success, leadership development, and career preparation.

NAU College of Health and Human Services student on graduation day.

Commitment to Indigenous Peoples

In recognition of the unique sovereign status of Native Nations and the sacred land on which the university was built, NAU will continue its intentional support for Indigenous students, faculty, and staff; develop university-wide culturally responsive educational opportunities and programming; and build mutually beneficial partnerships with Indigenous communities that will position NAU as the nation’s leading university serving Indigenous Peoples.

Knowledge and understanding of the sovereignty of Indigenous Nations

Through Indigenous Peoples-focused coursework and programming, NAU students and employees will gain knowledge and understanding of the sovereignty of Indigenous Nations and Indigenous Peoples’ cultures, arts, contributions, self-determination, and traditional ways of knowing.

Enrollment, retention, and educational attainment

NAU’s enhanced strategies will support enrollment, retention, and educational attainment of Native American and other Indigenous students through community-based pre-college pathways and recruitment, culturally responsive programming and pedagogy, and dedicated campus environments that support the success of Indigenous students.

Promote and support Indigenous community-driven research, scholarship, and creative activities

NAU will promote and support Indigenous community-driven research, scholarship, and creative activities across disciplines.

Recruit, retain, and support Indigenous faculty and staff

NAU will exercise best practices to equitably recruit, retain, and support Indigenous faculty and staff throughout the institution.

Support community-driven partnerships, engagement, and service

In partnership with Native Nations and local communities, NAU will support mutually beneficial community-driven partnerships, engagement, and service.

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Impactful Scholarship

NAU’s teacher-scholars will engage in impactful research, scholarship, and creative activities to provide transformative learning opportunities, engage our diverse students and communities, advance disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge, and contribute to solving problems of regional, national, and global relevance.

Increase engagement in mentored research, scholarship, and creative activities

NAU will leverage the teacher-scholar model to increase the number and diversity of students engaged in mentored research, scholarship, and creative activities by broadening access to transformative learning opportunities.

Engage in research and service activities

In partnership with local and regional communities, NAU will engage in research and service activities that promote and enhance quality of life, community engagement, and economic opportunity.

Help solve issues of regional, national, and global relevance

NAU’s areas of distinctive and emerging excellence in research will advance knowledge and innovation to help solve issues of regional, national, and global relevance.

Recognize excellence in research, scholarship, and creative activities

NAU will support and recognize excellence in research, scholarship, and creative activities that contribute to disciplinary and interdisciplinary knowledge, with a focus on contributions that advance the university’s mission.

Students study on a laptop outside at NAU's Yuma campus.

Mission-Driven and Diverse Faculty and Staff

NAU will implement employment practices to support the recruitment, retention, development, and promotion of a highly qualified, mission-driven, diverse workforce. NAU’s commitment to individuals from all racial, ethnic, cultural, and socioeconomic backgrounds, national origins, disabilities, age, veteran status, religious or political beliefs, sexual orientations, gender identities and expression, and lived experiences strengthens our institutional workforce culture that incorporates diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice in the pursuit of excellence and the promotion of student success.

Implement equitable policies and practices

NAU will develop and implement equitable policies and practices to enhance the recruitment, retention, professional development, and evaluation of highly qualified, mission-driven faculty and staff with diverse academic pursuits, experiences, and talents that support, enhance, and connect with the diversity of our student community.

Support economic, physical, and mental well-being

NAU will support faculty and staff economic, physical, and mental well-being to foster a healthy and fulfilled workforce and a mission-driven workplace.

Foster a culture of shared responsibility

NAU will foster a culture of shared responsibility for diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice-centered institutional practices to support our community in pursuit of excellence.

Promote student success

NAU will promote student success with mission-driven faculty and staff collectively supporting the needs of all students through meaningful relationships and experiences, tailored support, accessible environments, and pedagogical excellence.

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Community Engagement

NAU will engage locally, regionally, and globally with public and private partners to foster mutually beneficial relationships that enhance our students’ educational experiences, contribute to broad social impact, and increase individual, communal, cultural, and economic vitality.

Enhance and celebrate community engagement

NAU will enhance and celebrate its culture of community engagement by building new and expanding existing mutually beneficial partnerships to promote civic responsibility, contribute to the public good, and advance knowledge and service throughout Arizona and beyond.

Economic and social impact in communities

NAU’s academic programs, public service, applied research, and scholarly contributions will have a beneficial economic and social impact in communities across Arizona and beyond.

Build a robust statewide network

NAU will build a robust statewide network for internships, teaching practicums, and clinical placements that prepare students for the workforce and support Arizona’s businesses and communities.

Enhance alumni engagement

NAU will increase and enhance alumni engagement and service, facilitate opportunities for alumni leadership, and foster meaningful connections between alumni and students.

Serve as a regional cultural hub

NAU’s Flagstaff campus will serve as a regional cultural hub through its rich arts and cultural experiences, athletic events, and scientific and technological activities to enhance community engagement and economic opportunity.

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Sustainable Stewardship of Resources

NAU will effectively utilize our physical, technological, and financial resources in support of our vision and mission, with a commitment to the responsible use of environmental resources, innovative use of technology, and mission-driven financial investments and philanthropic activity.

Sustainable Smart Campus Master Plan

NAU will develop and implement a Sustainable Smart Campus Master Plan that effectively reimagines how we utilize and continually improve our physical resources to optimally deliver all aspects of our mission within the context of our New NAU Workplace initiatives, a commitment to safety, and ongoing prioritization of exceptional student learning, service, and support.

Climate Action Plan

NAU will develop and implement a Climate Action Plan that responsibly achieves carbon neutral operations by 2030 and provides educational, research, and community engagement opportunities for our students, faculty, and staff.

Provide technological infrastructure and service

NAU will create an exceptional working and learning environment by providing advanced technological infrastructure and service to propel institutional advancement.

Diversify revenue streams

NAU will diversify revenue streams to accelerate institutional priorities by advocating for public investments, partnering with public and private organizations, expanding our relationship with the NAU Foundation and other philanthropic organizations, and pursuing grants, contracts, and additional revenue streams.

Call for proposals

Through institutional calls, faculty, staff, and students can bring forth their ideas and apply for competitive funding that will contribute to the realization of our goals.

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Realizing Attainment Impact through Strategic Enrollment (RAISE)

To propel the strategic priorities of NAU 2025 – Elevating Excellence, a university-wide effort is underway to make intentional, strategic progress in broadening student access, delivering value, and propelling lifelong success and prosperity. Learn more about the RAISE efforts that contribute to NAU’s vision and will help the university award high value credentials to over 100,000 people by 2035.

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