State funding reduction prompts NAU cost-saving proposal

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FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) — Northern Arizona University is likely to see bigger class sizes, heavier academic workloads and the permanent elimination of 60 jobs in response to the state's $17.3 million cut in funding.

Only 10 people of those 60 eliminated positions will lose their jobs under a budget reduction proposal by Northern Arizona University President Rita Cheng, the Arizona Daily Sun reports ( The other 50 positions are currently unfilled.

"I'm confident that faculty can adapt by using technology and pedagogies to accommodate larger classes," she said.

Cheng made the announcement during a Thursday budget forum held at the campus, and said several satellite campuses may close depending on the university's return on its investment in those facilities. Two research facilities will also be closed.

Furloughs are also on the table, but Cheng said they may not be needed.

"We believe that furloughs are temporary and we need long-term solutions," Cheng said, addressing the NAU faculty and staff in the audience. "When we have 60 positions unfilled, it means that we're asking you to do more, and asking you to take a furlough at the same time is difficult."

The university is also postponing construction of a multimillion-dollar Engineering Lab Building proposed in 2014. Enrollment for that program has tripled since 2005.

"We will keep the engineering lab on our list of projects that we'd like," Cheng said. "When we have the ability, financially, we will be able to move ahead with that, but not until then."


Information from: Arizona Daily Sun,

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