Project Description

Now You, NAU

National American University


National American University (NAU) is a private university with multiple campuses throughout the United States. NAU had a strong desire to match its organizational culture with its commitment to prepare students for personal and professional success. The university partnered with The Pacific Institute to conduct a study of full-time students at the Rapid City, South Dakota campus. The study compared two distinct sets of students: those who completed The Pacific Institute curriculum, and those who didn't.

The Pacific Institute® curriculum concepts were incorporated throughout the school's courses over the course of the study. Faculty and staff were required to attend The Pacific Institute curriculum and develop online and face-to-face sessions.


NAU had a strong desire to match its organizational culture with its commitment to providing students with a caring and supportive learning environment. NAU needed to find a way to bridge the gap between the university and the students it serves. The Pacific Institute’s solution was to offer the student course and the employee training in order to create a consistent message across the entire NAU system.

The initial study was conducted for students enrolled at NAU's campus in Rapid City, South Dakota during Fall Quarter. Only full-time students enrolled in at least nine quarter credit hours of courses participated in the study.

Due to overwhelming results, The Pacific Institute curriculum is now required for all students, faculty and staff. All new first-term students are placed in the Strategies for Success course, which runs in either an eight-week or 11-week format. Students have the option to take the course onsite at their home campus or in an online format. The curriculum presents concepts in change management, goal setting, time management, and study skills.

Instructors are passionate about student success and are required to complete the facilitator-training program prior to teaching the course. Investment in Excellence® is now part of the new employee orientation program at NAU. Employees have the opportunity to participate in a live session facilitated by a Pacific Institute representative or, if a live session is not an option at the time of hire, they can complete the program online.


The results of the study showed the following results one year after implementing The Pacific Institute’s curriculum:

  • Students without TPI education earned an average Grade Point Average (GPA) of 2.30
  • Students with TPI education earned an average GPA of 3.109
  • 4.95% increase in first term student retention from Spring 2009 through Spring 2010
  • 4.87% increase in annual retention average for the 2008 academic year
  • NAU term to term retention increased to 82 to 84 percent
  • Bad debt is below 2% and Default Rate (old calculation) is about 8%
  • NAU’s best conversion rate of new students became referrals from current or former student

NAU now has 37 locations, with more than 1,000 employees serving more than 11,000 students. NAU can attribute much of its organizational success and student success on the relationship with The Pacific Institute. The curriculum has touched the lives of thousands of people across the globe, and NAU is proud to call them a partner. Here are some comments from NAU graduates about Strategies for Success:

“During my “college years,” I met some amazing people and learned some great skills that I use on a daily basis. I‘m very glad that I was required to take the Strategies for Success course, as this course has made the most difference. The course, as well as the daily emails from The Pacific Institute, has changed my life and the lives of those around me. Strategies for Success, graduating Magna Cum Laude, and the success I have encountered at work have inspired many of my family and friends to seek out their college education and set meaningful life goals.”
Matias Aragon, Applied Management, Bachelor of Science, 2012, NAU – Albuquerque West

“I credit the Strategies for Success class for giving me the confidence to finish my degree. It helped me realize who I was, who I could be, and what I was capable of doing.”
Rebecca Longoria,Accounting, Associate of Applied Science, 2012, NAU – Lee’s Summit