Diné College and Northern Arizona University sign agreement to collaborate

Front row: NAU President Rita Cheng, Diné College President Martin Ahumada. Back row: Theresa Hatatulie, Diné Board of Regents, Aaron Lee, student representative, Diné Board of Regents, NAU’s Chad Hamill and Greg Bigman, Diné College Board of Regents.  Photo/NAU News

Front row: NAU President Rita Cheng, Diné College President Martin Ahumada. Back row: Theresa Hatatulie, Diné Board of Regents, Aaron Lee, student representative, Diné Board of Regents, NAU’s Chad Hamill and Greg Bigman, Diné College Board of Regents. Photo/NAU News

TSAILE, Ariz. - ­Diné College and Northern Arizona University (NAU) finalized a partnership agreement Feb. 29 that allows the two schools to maximize their educational resources and expertise to increase educational opportunities on the Navajo Nation.

Diné College President Martin Ahumada and NAU President Rita Cheng signed the memorandum of understanding in Flagstaff. The agreement outlines academic programming, faculty collaboration, and student success initiatives.

Under the agreement, faculty at each school will collaborate creating a faculty exchange program and developing specialized curriculum. The agreement will allow the two institutions to create academic success programs specifically for Diné College students.

Ahumada said that the mission of both institutions strongly align.

"The strengths of NAU match very well with what we [Diné College] need the most," Ahumada said.

The agreement will help Diné College students transfer to NAU to continue their education.

With the agreement the two institutions aim to increase the number of Native American students earning baccalaureate and master's degrees.

Each school will select a liaison that will assist in the facilitation of the agreement. The liaison will establish academic advising teams that will guide students through the college transfer process.

"We have a historical commitment to our Native American communities. We need to look for every possible avenue to reach more students and to encourage transfer into our master's and doctorate programs," Cheng said of the purpose of the agreement.

Members of the Diné College Board of Regents and key members of the Diné College Administrative Team were in attendance at the signing. The Board of Regents approved the memorandum of understanding Jan. 15.

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