Archive for Northern Arizona University

NAU opens new facility in Prescott Valley; launches aggressive recruitment effort

Expanding its outreach recruitment and market research; opening information office and visitors center in Prescott Valley

In a newsletter sent to the public and received May 11 by the Blog, NAU stated that it was expanding its outreach and market research in the Yavapai County. It also stated that it was opening an Information Office and Visitors’ Center across from Harkins’ Theatres in Prescott Valley. 

The newsletter added that NAU “values our partnership with Yavapai College.  We are excited about continuing this relationship and look forward to expanding the opportunities in Prescott Valley and Yavapai County.  By working together, we can maximize our relationships to help move Prescott Valley and the State of Arizona forward in this new age of opportunity.”

Recall that a day before this NAU announcement, Wills’ indicated at the District Governing Board meeting she was not sure of the direction NAU was taking.  Umm? 

More of the mystery of the future relationship between Yavapai College and NAU to be uncovered. What is the impact of NAU and Yavapai College competing for the same students?  Why did NAU become more aggressive in Yavapai County in its recruitment efforts? Especially in Prescott Valley?  Have the Prescott Valley politicos sold both NAU and Yavapai County a political bill of goods in re developing economic engines there?  Time will tell.

Below is the news release from NAU.


Mystery surrounds relationship with NAU and Yavapai College

Wills’ can’t provide answers to questions about NAU’s future relationship with the College

Mystery suddenly surrounds the relationship between NAU and Yavapai Community College.  Will NAU close the existing NAU/Yavapai Regional University in Prescott Valley.  Will it purchase land from a local land family for an entirely new campus?  Has the program to obtain a bachelor’s degree in three years failed? Will it join Yavapai Community College at the new Allied Health Campus?  

NAU PHOTO 1When President Penelope Wills was asked specifically by Representative Deb McCasland at the May 10 Governing Board meeting about the future relationship between the College and NAU, she provided no concrete answers.  Wills’ said that discussions with Rita Cheng, the NAU president, involved “what they may do with their facility” at the Prescott Valley Library.  Wills provided no details.  Wills added that NAU “may very well come over to this Center.” But then waffled.

Wills’ stated that “it was a lot more clear under the former president.  We knew exactly where we were going with the Allied Health and the Medical Center for Excellence. But those are all under discussions.”

It appears that the College has made a deal with Prescott Valley to purchase the property used by NAU as its Regional University. The property was was financed by the College back in 2007 via an intergovernmental agreement with the town of Prescott Valley.  If the property is sold back to Yavapai College, does that change NAU’s presence at the facility?


Who knows?  Certainly not the public whose money finances these projects. 

New NAU President could earn $700,000

Northern Arizona University President Rita Cheng’s compensation could hit $700,000

Northern Arizona University President Rita Cheng’s compensation could hit $700,000 in 2017 if she meets performance goals set by the Arizona Board of Regents, according to a story in the Arizona Daily Sun written by Ms. Michelle McManimon. Click here to read the entire story.

RITA CHENGCheng receives $390,000 as her annual salary. Her housing, car allowances and pension plan contributions bring the total annual value of her compensation to about $520,000 a year. In addition to the salary and related contributions, the Board of Regents included a number of bonus clauses in her contract.

If the goals included in the bonus clauses are all met, it is estimated by the Arizona Daily Sun that by 2017 she could receive around $700,000. Some of the goals related to bonuses include the following:  a performance incentive payment of $10,000 if Cheng puts together a “high quality and effective” leadership team by July 1, 2015; $15,000 for reaching out to Arizona’s Native American communities and developing a plan to increase Native American student success rates; retaining at least 75 percent of NAU’s freshmen class in 2016-17, spending at least $39.2 million on research, awarding at least 4,625 bachelor’s degrees and having at least 3,200 community college transfer students enroll at NAU. An additional $10,000 bonus will be awarded if more than 43.2 percent of graduating seniors rate their entire educational experience at NAU as “excellent” on their senior surveys.

Other  incentives, according to the newspaper article,  require that “Cheng implement a plan to manage the growth of NAU’s extended campuses and Personalized Learning degree program, demonstrate the growth and financial stability of NAU’s allied health programs at the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, and personally lead efforts that substantially increase the amount of resources NAU brings in outside of tuition and research grants.”