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The Backpack: A news source for parents and families of students at Northern Arizona University The Backpack
GPS: Grade Performance Status Messages GPS: Grade Performance Status Messages
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Vol. 7 No. 19 | February 8, 2011
Not getting GPS messages? Have your student contact his/her professors.

GPS Helps Inform Students of Academic Standing

Grade Performance Status—it’s the university’s new academic feedback system, and it’s ready to deploy.

Messages are sent directly from your student’s instructor to his/her university e-mail and can include positive feedback or academic alerts to keep students on course.

GPS messages also contain a link to Resource Connect Website, which contains relevant links and tools for your student. You can learn more by visiting

Parent Volunteers Still Needed

Thank you for responding to our request for parent volunteers! I appreciate your willingness to help out, as well as your swift responses.

We could still use your help in a few places, including Tucson, Prescott, and Pinetop/Show Low, Arizona; San Jose, California; Portland, Oregon; and Honolulu, Hawaii. Please e-mail me if you are available to assist.

Choosing between majors

Changing Majors

What if your student wants to change his or her major?

Approximately three-quarters of all college students do change their major and some students change majors as many as four times. Students will find new areas that interest them and in which they excel.

The Gateway Student Success Center can be a great place to start when interests change. Advisors are available to help students identify their strengths and aptitudes and then help identify an academic major leading toward a career path. Students should consult with a Gateway advisor as soon as they have questions or are beginning to contemplate a change in direction

For students who are not certain about direction and goals, the career fairs that are held each semester provide an opportunity to meet employers and explore career opportunities. The spring career fair will be March 2 at the High Country Conference Center from 10 AM to 3 PM.

Backpack Is Upgrading!

The Backpack’s readership continues to grow and we will soon be moving to a new e‑mail subscription system to handle the popularity. This new service will give you better control over your Backpack subscription (for subscribing, unsubscribing, etc.), access to archives, and more. The plan is to roll out this new service in February.

Ali Carter

Spotlight: Ali Carter, Mentor

Fostering Independence in Others

  • 2012 Doctorate in Physical Therapy; 2009 BS in Elementary Education
  • Hometown: Phoenix, Arizona

During her undergraduate career, Ali was active in establishing service links between the university and the Flagstaff community. As a member of the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, for instance, she served as a mentor in the "Student Athlete for a Day" program, in which local elementary-school children earn opportunities to spend the day with an NAU student-athlete.

"I meet weekly with 15 student-athletes to mentor them," she says. "We talk about their classes, their sport, adjusting to college, and anything else they might want to talk about. The meetings help ensure the student-athletes are staying on top of all their responsibilities and that any problems or questions that come up are handled quickly."

Read the full spotlight...

Event Highlights

Step Afrika! Tuesday, February 8 at 7 PM at Ardrey Auditorium. Ticket is required for entry, all tickets are reserved seating and Free to the public, limit two per order. Tickets available at the Central Ticket Office in the University Union. Presented by NAU's Black Student Union and funded by the Student Activities Council

♦ The second annual Flagstaff Food Film Festival, sponsored by Slow Food NAU, is coming up! It's all FREE and open to the public. Cline Assembly Hall at 4 PM Friday, February 18.

See a complete listing of university events on the official calendar website. Flagstaff event highlights can be seen at ShowUp Flagstaff and Flagstaff Happenings.