NAU-Yavapai wins high praise from Arizona dignitaries
Northern Arizona University’s innovative venture in Prescott Valley is gaining both statewide and national attention, with visits to NAU-Yavapai from two prominent Arizonans who expressed strong support for the endeavor.
Gov. Jan Brewer visited the NAU-Yavapai campus Friday, meeting with NAU President John Haeger, Yavapai College President Jim Horton, Prescott Valley civic and business leaders, board members from Yavapai College and local school district superintendents.
On Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick visited the campus and met with another contingent of local educational and community leaders.
Both Brewer and Kirkpatrick threw their backing to NAU-Yavapai, which is part of Haeger and Horton’s plans to deliver affordable and accessible bachelor’s degrees to the citizens of Arizona.
“This is visionary,” Brewer said. “It sets an example for the entire state and the nation.” Pointing around the room, Brewer added, “And these are the visionaries. These are the people who said, ‘We can do this.’”
Kirkpatrick called NAU-Yavapai a dream come true. “This is what we should be doing,” the congresswoman said. “This is a model project.”
Brewer and Kirkpatrick were referring to NAU’s partnership with Yavapai College, through which students will be able to earn bachelor’s degrees in a system that is truly unique among Arizona’s public institutions. NAU-Yavapai will offer structured programs that will continue throughout the year.
NAU-Yavapai is the first visible sign of the Arizona Board of Regents and governor’s call to revise the current structure, or architecture, of the university system. The intent is to offer students lower-cost options to obtaining baccalaureate degrees.
Beginning in the fall, NAU-Yavapai will offer three degree programs: community development and sustainability; entrepreneurship; and service industry management.
“We will offer very structured programs with limited choice, but all your courses will count toward your degree,” Haeger said. “We will have classes running 12 months a year instead of a semester system. Students can go as fast as they want.”
Because of its structure, NAU-Yavapai will cost considerably less than the research universities in Arizona. It is hoped that NAU-Yavapai will have a student population of between 3,000 and 5,000 in 10 years.