Prescott Valley, AZ – TB) Northern Arizona University and Yavapai College have combined forces for a new college campus in the heart of Prescott Valley . Administrators are still putting the final touches on programs which begin in the fall Susan Johnstad, the NAU Yavapai campus director, says they've been working to create unique baccalaureate degree programs.
Susan Johnstad) We've been talking with a lot of people in the area K-12, educators, with economic development folks and chamber and business folks at the corporate level and small businesses. As well as students and parents about what they're looking for.
TB) When students sign up for NAU Yavapai they can choose from programs like entrepreneurship, community development and sustainability, or leadership in the service economy. Courses will be offered in 5, 10 or 15 week sessions more in line with marketplace demands.
SUSAN: and we're finding that people's needs don't start and stop at the traditional academic year the way they once did. It's important I think to offer structure and the ability to accelerate along with some flexibility so people can participate in other aspects of their life.
TB) This model can offer substantial savings if a student is motivated, they can save an entire year of tuition And with rates at about 43-hundred dollars a year, the cost of attending NAU Yavapai is about a third less than attending NAU in Flagstaff. It will help locals who are place bound says Yavapai College President Jim Horton.
Jim Horton) so it brings some immediate opportunity for our local citizens. But also for the programming that's being planned, I think it's going to be a destination venue and truly a regional university that serves the needs of the whole state.
TB) NAU Yavapai will have face to face instruction, online classes and a combination of both.
Horton says universities are magnets for economic development. And leaders in the town of Prescott Valley, home to NAU Yavapai couldn't be more enthusiastic Greg Fister is the Economic Development Director, whose office is next to the new campus.
FISTER what you see is a lot of space around it. a lot of vacant land.
TB) With mountains in the distance and the town nearby, NAU Yavapai was built next to the new library with room for expansion. Over the past decade Prescott Valley's growth has exploded and while it has slowed way down, Fister envisions a future with NAU Yavapai as a full functioning university.
Greg Fister) " and we're hoping down the road, as the economy gets better, and we're in a better position and the state is in a better position to do some things in the economic field so to speak so we can develop some of the land around it."
TB) Fister sees the college creating a better educated workforce that would help the region economically. It couldn't come at a better time says Lyndsie Aquilina a junior at Yavapai College in Prescott.
Lindsie "I know a lot of people who are struggling right now, everybody is struggling right now. so it's hard. But this being localized it's just going to make everything a lot better.
TB) State lawmakers say Arizona needs to increase the number of baccalaureate degree earners to remain competitive with other states . And NAU Yavapai is one step in that direction. Educators and the Arizona Board of Regents say they'll be watching the progress of NAU Yavapai and may create similar partnerships in the future. In Prescott Valley, for Arizona Public Radio, I'm Theresa Bierer