Sept. 10, 2012


To Faculty and Staff of Northern Arizona University

Re:  Conduct, Ethics, Reporting and Transparency (CERT Program)

The university expects its employees to maintain the highest standards in their conduct to serve as examples for our students and outside community as they observe our everyday business. It is with this goal in mind that we have developed a mandatory CERT Program that will require annual and other periodic certifications of how we conduct our day-to-day business. The Board of Regents also expects all University employees to conduct ourselves in an exemplary manner as part of our responsibilities as University citizens. Moreover, private business has learned its lessons through poor conduct in that businesses have gone bankrupt leaving many private citizens in a lurch for financial resources for their retirement and everyday expenses. Congress passed the Sarbanes Oxley Act to address these shortcomings in the private sector, however, the public sector has been given the opportunity to police itself. 

Towards that end, NAU offers this program as a way to assure that the public we serve has confidence that we are doing the absolute best we can in managing resources and that our teaching, research, scholarly activities, business and work practices are of the highest standard. Other universities have not conducted themselves in an exemplary manner and they are paying the price for tarnishing or destroying their hard-earned good reputations. Someone once said that “A good reputation is hard to earn and very easy to lose.” NAU intends to keep its good reputation intact for a long time to come and we are asking you to comply with the CERT program online reporting mechanism as a way to help in this process.         

In order for us to meet the obligations outlined in this program, I am pleased to announce the CERT course, which includes:

  • The Standards of Expectations and Conduct
  • An Employee Conflict of Interest Disclosure (e-CERT)
  • Resources for employees to better understand their obligations under this program. A website has been created that includes links to the various policies and laws that apply to conduct and conflict of interest, examples and FAQs, and links to key resource offices. An optional tutorial and quiz is also provided for faculty and staff to check their understanding of these obligations.  

I believe it is important that each of us becomes aware of our obligations in this area, and therefore all current staff, faculty, graduate assistants, student employees and volunteers are expected to complete the program by November 30, 2012. As new employees are hired, they will be directed to do the same. As employee circumstances change throughout the year, the Employee Conflict of Interest Disclosure (e-CERT) must be updated within 15 days of when changes occur. Each employee completing the e-CERT will receive an email with their responses.  

Thank you for your attention to the requirements in this program. The CERT Program can be accessed at CERT Course. For the first time through the program, participants will need between 20 and 40 minutes to review all materials and complete their disclosure. Those participating in sponsored projects may require more time to complete the disclosure, and may wish to review disclosure requirements prior to accessing the CERT Program. 

Because this is our pilot year of the program, we welcome your feedback on the materials provided in the feedback survey at the end of the course. It is our hope to add enhancements to this program from the feedback we receive by the second year. Thank you for your commitment to this program and upholding a culture of integrity and compliance at NAU.


John Haeger

John D. Haeger