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NAU's Weekend College Students Learn From Community Leaders

by Margaret Hurst
Marketing Specialist

October 10, 2014

SIGNAL PEAK, AZ: Northern Arizona University’s (NAU) Public Budgeting and Finance (PADM 327) class, taught at Central Arizona College's (CAC) Corporate Center through the Weekend College, invites prominent community leaders to speak to students about real-world examples of public budgeting. 

Taught by Dr. Edward Ackerley, this course overviews budgeting theories, techniques and decision-making in the public sector. 

Most recently, CAC president Doris Helmich spoke to the class about higher education costs and funding cuts. 

Casa Grande City Manager Jim Thompson spoke earlier this semester. Next week, Arizona State Representative Frank Pratt delivers a guest lecture in the course. 

Dr. Ackerley describes his teaching method as “Edutainment”– a phrase used to describe an education and entertainment hybrid. Guest speakers like Helmich, Pratt and Thompson help students learn through storytelling. 

“It’s important to make the curriculum come alive for students,” says Dr. Ackerley. “In turn, it becomes meaningful to them in their own lives.” 

The partnership between NAU and CAC, established in 1995, allows students to take bachelor’s degree classes, including PADM 327, on a CAC campus or online. Students are part of NAU’s BIS 90/30 Weekend College program held at CAC. 

“We need our educated residents to stay in Pinal County to attract industry,” says Helmich. “The CAC-NAU partnership helps us accomplish this goal.” 
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