- Associated Press - Wednesday, October 5, 2016

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. (AP) - Northern Arizona University has closed a college focused on increasing freshman retention, saying it has streamlined those efforts.

The University College unit was closed this summer with employees divided into different departments, The Arizona Daily Sun reported (http://bit.ly/2dvNc1m).

NAU President Rita Cheng said in a letter to faculty and staff that the University College was an effort to improve the first-year student experience, but that those efforts have been strengthened by moving them to other departments.

The 2016 freshman retention rate is 74 percent, up from 69 percent in 2009. The regents have set a goal for NAU of 80 percent by 2025.

“Because one of NAU’s paramount goals is the success of our students, we look at ways to be as efficient and effective as possible,” said NAU spokeswoman Kim Ott in an email. “We felt that the programs of University College, and thus NAU students, could be better served by strategically realigning the programs to increase their effectiveness.”

Ott said the former dean of the University College, Cyndi Banks, was leaving the university, which created “an opportunity to reorganize.”

Ott said no jobs were lost in the process, but some vacancies have not been filled.

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Information from: Arizona Daily Sun, http://www.azdailysun.com/

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