Navajo Technical University extends hybrid learning to spring semester

Noel Lyn Smith
Farmington Daily Times

FARMINGTON — Navajo Technical University will continue its hybrid learning model in the spring semester next year.

The university's decision came after holding classes by face-to-face instruction and online during the fall semester. It is also in response to new coronavirus infections on the Navajo Nation.

"Under a hybrid learning environment, NTU is hoping its courses can be flexible enough to meet social distancing standards while meeting the safety needs of students, faculty members and staff," the university's press release states.

In another step to help students during the pandemic, the Crownpoint-based tribal college is extending its 50% tuition assistance program to the spring semester.

Casmir Agbaraji, the university's dean of undergraduate studies, said it is important for NTU to remain open and affordable so students can continue their education.

Olsen Thomas, who is majoring in environmental science and natural resources, does math homework in the Student Union Building at Navajo Technical University in Crownpoint.

"Offering hybrid courses allows our students to complete their degree at a pace that's right for them, but also in an environment that's right for them," Agbaraji said.

The release states that the student retention rate at NTU decreased from 58% in fall 2019 to 42% in fall 2020. It also states that more than 94% of classes this fall required an online learning component while the remaining was offered through face-to-face instruction or by independent study.

To conduct classes in this manner, NTU received a special waiver from the Higher Learning Commission, which serves as the university's accrediting agency.

NTU will end the fall semester later this month. The spring semester will start on Jan. 25.

Noel Lyn Smith covers the Navajo Nation for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4636 or by email at

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