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(Many Paths)
An Online Newsletter Celebrating Native America
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NAU Ranks High In Nation For Indigenous Student Success
by press release

The Native American Cultural Center at Northern Arizona University is a resource for all of campus and community to learn about and celebrate indigenous cultures.

(Flagstaff, Ariz.) February 10, 2020 – Northern Arizona University’s commitment to Native American/Indigenous students is rising on its campuses and in national rankings. NAU awards degrees to Native students at some of the highest rates in the nation.

“Current rankings reflect that Northern Arizona University is standing behind its strategic goal to become the nation’s leading university serving Native Americans,” says NAU President Rita Cheng.

NAU’s success with Native students received numerous 2019 high rankings. Diverse Issues in Higher Education reported the university has nine top rankings for awarding American Indian/Alaska Native students bachelor’s degrees.

Based on data from four-year public institutions throughout the United States, NAU ranks first in awarding bachelor’s degrees to Native American students in public health and management information systems and services. The university is second for awarding bachelor’s degrees to Native Americans in dental support services and allied professions. Additional 2019 top rankings are in engineering, liberal arts, biological sciences, nursing, and hospitality.

The 2019 Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System ranked NAU second in the nation for minority Fiscal Year Completions for Master’s/Doctorate Degrees, and third for Graduate Fall Enrollment.

“We continue to support our strategic goal, not just in words, but with multifaceted action,” says Chad Hamill, vice president for NAU’s Office of Native American Initiatives.

NAU’s Native American Cultural Center serves as the primary hub for indigenous engagement on campus. As the only facility of its kind in Arizona, the center provides “home away from home” support resources to help students navigate the university and their academic success.

Support starts with numerous pre-college programs for middle- and highschool students and continues throughout their academic career.

“The Office of Indigenous Student Success is housed at the center and offers exceptional support to Indigenous students—from the day they step on campus to the day they step on the stage to receive their degree,” Hamill says.

Commitment to Native American/Indigenous students and culture is prevalent throughout NAU’s academic programming. Students participate in learning and research opportunities in programs such as Applied Indigenous Studies, Tribal Public Administration, the Partnership for Native American Cancer Prevention and more.

Currently, more than 2,000 Native American, Alaska Native and Native Hawaiian students are enrolled at NAU, with representatives from more than 110 nations bringing in an array of perspectives and cultural experiences to the university community.

Hamill says the primary challenge faced by NAU and all universities serving Native American students across the United States is the unacceptably low graduation rates of indigenous undergraduate students.

“Given our strategic goal, we won’t rest until graduation rates for Native American students are equivalent to those of their non-Native peers,” he says. “To counter the national trend, we are increasing our engagement with K–12 schools, in particular through the Diné Institute for Navajo Nation Educators, which pairs our university faculty with K–12 teachers on the Navajo Nation to strengthen teaching and learning through a series of seminars that are teacher driven and lead to rigorous, culturally-infused curricula.”

For more information, go to NAU’s Native American Resources.
Diane Rechel
Communications Officer/Media Relations
NAU Native American Initiatives 928.523.8656

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