CSN March Chronicle

CSN biology students

Greetings and welcome to The CSN Chronicle for March 2014.  For a year when the Legislature is not in session, this spring semester is unusually busy with studies, events and policy changes that I want to share with you.     

Salary Equity Progress
Staff in Human Resources are engaged in implementing the necessary payroll/contract transactions for full-time administrative and academic faculty members to process the salary adjustments necessary to implement recommendations for the new/revised salary structures and salary compression. These were recommended by the consultant and Transition Management Teams and ultimately adopted by the Steering Committee.  Each individual full-time administrative/academic employee will receive a letter from HR detailing how he/she was affected by the salary study.  Those receiving salary adjustments will have revised contracts issued.  HR will send out information notifying affected employees when their revised contracts will be ready for review and signature.

Board of Regents Meeting
The Board of Regents held their March meeting at the Charleston campus. I would like to thank all of our staff that helped to make this meeting happen, including Daniel Gonzalez and his colleagues in facilities, CSN Police and security staff and Suzan Workman in the Office of Communications, OTS, Greg Hampton, Dave Morgan, Eric Garner, and campus administration.  CSN hosts the Board of Regents every two years, and preparations for the meeting are extensive.  Many thanks to all who made the meeting successful.   

Tuition & Fees
At the meeting, the Board discussed tuition and fee increases for the 2015-2019 academic years.  For community colleges, the proposal includes a 4 percent increase each year for the next four years for resident students, beginning in fall 2015. Normally, the Board reviews proposals for tuition and fees changes for the current biennium, but this extended time period is being proposed to help students better plan their academic careers.

CSN’s proposal, developed in coordination with student government and endorsed by student leaders, will directly impact student services. The highlights are summarized below and more detail is available here.

Current Fee: $84.50 per credit.
Proposed Fall 2015: $88 per credit
Proposed Fall 2016: $91.50 per credit
Proposed Fall 2017: $95 per credit
Proposed Fall 2018: $98.75

Students taking 15 credit hours would pay a reduced rate at $52.50 more per semester in fall 2015.

For 2015-16:
·         CSN would take 15 percent of the increase and put it toward access scholarships
·         CSN would hire 18 additional full-time-equivalent staff, including eight academic counselors, two disability resource center and counseling and psychology services positions, four staff for the Office of the Registrar and four financial aid staffers to support student needs
·         An additional $155,000 would go toward capital improvements to improve student services spaces, including providing privacy spaces for students to meet with staff. 

For 2016-17:
·         CSN would take 15 percent of the increase and put it toward access scholarships
·         CSN would hire 25 additional full-time-equivalent staff, including eight academic faculty for high-demand programs, two academic counselors, five academic success coach advisors, three staff for the CSN Call Center, three staff for the Office of the Registrar and four financial aid staff for financial literacy education to help students navigate financial aid better and borrow responsibly
·         An additional $177,000 will go to capital improvements to enhance student support spaces

The Board will vote on this proposal in the coming months.

Regents Awards

CSN Business Professor Kevin Raiford selected for 2013-14 Regents award.

Congratulations to Business Professor Kevin Raiford, who received the Regent’s Teaching Award for community colleges. Professor Raiford’s work in the classroom and with young entrepreneurs is making a significant impact in our community and economy. He’s an inspiration to us all.

In addition, congratulations to CSN student Carlos Holguin, who received the Regents’ Scholar Award. Carlos is graduating this spring with associate degrees in music and psychology. Carlos is a remarkable young man who aspires to give the gift of music to others. We will honor him and other students at the annual Outstanding Student Awards on May 9 at the Telecommunications Auditorium at 5 p.m.

Thank you to the Internal Recognition Committee for your work in soliciting nominations for these awards and thank you to all who nominated wonderful faculty, staff and students!

Legislative Committee to Conduct an Interim Study on Community Colleges
The Legislature’s SB 391 subcommittees met this month. The subcommittee on governance and funding heard testimony from the legislative counsel bureau, regarding what governmental entity has jurisdiction over community colleges. There were several media articles regarding the question of governance authority that describe the issues. This topic will be discussed more in future meetings and may inform what actions lawmakers decide to take. The subcommittee on governance and funding will explore alternative structures, federal grants, Hispanic Serving Institution status, articulation and shared services at its next meeting on April 23.

In addition, CSN Division of Workforce & Economic Development Executive Director Dan Gouker did an excellent job testifying about CSN’s workforce development initiatives before the subcommittee on workforce and academics. Each of the community colleges had an opportunity to present information on this topic. He was joined by Robert Buntjer, assistant director of the Electrical JATC of Southern Nevada, who testified about our work in apprenticeship and the 15 trades we work with to help deliver postsecondary education throughout the valley.

There were a number of questions, regarding community college curricula and how we stay abreast of the changing needs of business and industry and how we might improve this connectivity. The next meeting for this committee is April 24.

Two changes CSN is advocating in this and other venues are: 1) a need-based financial aid program for students who do not qualify for federal financial aid, and 2) legislative support for a workforce development fund.

NSHE Budget
NSHE’s budget request for 2015 is underdevelopment with a request to fully fund, and thereby eliminate, employee furloughs as a key priority. Elimination of furloughs continues to be CSN’s top priority.  Additionally, CSN is joining other institutions to advocate for an increase in the dollar value per weighted student credit hour (WSCH)—currently at $137 per WSCH.  This is the core value in the new funding formula, and is the state funding support per WSCH for CSN.    

Faculty Evaluation Policy
At its meeting earlier this month, Faculty Senate passed an evaluation policy. I should receive the final copy next week. The policy is available at http://sites.csn.edu/jmatovina/evaluation/. The page contains the latest version of the Faculty Evaluation Draft Proposal, FAQS and other useful information.  This policy has been long in development, and I’d like to thank the leaders and members of the Faculty Senate who have contributed to developing the policy.

Construction at Charleston
onstruction on the A building (and, eventually, part of the B building) on the West Charleston campus is underway and proceeding on schedule.  Work will be completed in about a year, and we all look forward to recovering the parking spaces that are now a construction staging area.

This is a renovation of the western half of the building and a small addition that will create more spacious classrooms that can be used more effectively. We expect to move back in this December.

Integrate 2
NSHE’s second phase of a new administrative computing system, SCS has issued a request for proposals for a financial and human resources system.  Nevada is one of the last states in the nation to have an integrated administrative computing system for higher education.  CSN is also advocating for a review of the major modules within iNtegrate 1 in order to address existing functionality with the hope of making the Student Information System more effective.

Snap Shot Survey
Your colleagues on the CSN Workplace Climate Committee request that you respond to the following 10-minute survey. The deadline is 5 p.m., Friday, March 28. Your responses will be confidential. A report of the summary results will be released by the committee to all college faculty and staff.

To access the survey please click here. If the survey does not open automatically, please copy and paste the following link to your Internet browser’s address bar:

Your responses matter and lead to committee recommendations that help make CSN a better place to work, a better place to learn for students and a more inclusive and welcoming community for all. 

If you have questions about this survey, please contact Cameron Basquiat, Chair of the Workplace Climate Committee, at Cameron.Basquiat@csn.edu  or 702-651-5998. If you have trouble accessing or completing the online survey, please contact Laura Yavitz, Institutional Research, at Laura.Yavitz@csn.edu or 702-651-5874.

Key Dates
March 25, CSN Elite Business Series Presents UFC President Dana White
March 27, 29, April 17, 19,
CSN FAFSA Workshops – open to everyone

March 27, CSN President’s Forum for Women’s History Month, featuring Las Vegas Metro Chamber CEO Kristin McMillan, Charleston campus D101 at 2:30 p.m.

March 31-April 17, ASCSN Student Government Charity Drive for the Nevada Partnership for Homeless Youth

 Questions from Faculty and Staff Members:

“What is the enrollment picture for spring semester?”

As of the March 15th census date, headcount for spring semester was 35, 278 (down 0.7% from the same period last year) and FTES was 18,233.6 (down 2.6%).  

“What is the NVision program from PEBP?”

 NVision is the Health and Wellness program of PEBP and is intended to engage a preventative health program for employees.  However, I’m getting reports that our people are having a mixed experience with NVision, that the web site is not working properly, that the program is intrusive, and not worth the cost.  I’d like to know about your experience so that information can be shared with PEBP to make the program better.  If, you have had experience with NVision, good or bad, and would like to share it with PEBP, please send it to me and we will forward it.


–Mike Richards

Profile on Medical Laboratory Scientists, A High-Demand, High-Wage Meaningful Career

Greetings from the College of Southern Nevada!

CSN MLS students get plenty of practice in the lab.

I have some great news today about one of the newer programs at CSN, the Bachelor of Applied Science in Medical Laboratory Science. It’s one of two four-year degrees offered at CSN.

The 120-credit MLS degree program includes 16 weeks of clinical work at local hospitals and labs, high-level philosophy, English and statistics courses in addition to clinical laboratory science coursework. CSN expanded and remodeled laboratory space on the Charleston campus to add the program.

The first cohort of students to start the program in 2012 has just finished. They’re ready for the job market.

Martiza Camacho, 52, is one of seven CSN students who finished the program in December. Two more students are scheduled to finish in the spring.

It’s an incredibly popular program at CSN and elsewhere. When UNLV ended a similar program due to budget cuts several years ago, the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education approved the new program at CSN.

Camacho has been attending classes at CSN for almost 20 years. She said the B.A.S. in Medical Laboratory Science will be her fifth degree.

She said she chose the program because she had recently finished the college’s program in Medical Laboratory Technology, a two-year program, and wanted to continue in the field.

CSN Medical Laboratory students work with the latest equipment.

Both medical laboratory scientists and medical laboratory technicians conduct lab testing, but only those with a bachelor’s degree qualify for supervisory positions. The pay is also considerably higher, with MLTs earning from $13 an hour to $28 an hour and MLSs earning from $20 an hour to $43 an hour. Medical Laboratory Scientists perform and interpret diagnostic laboratory procedures that help detect, diagnose and treat disease.

Heidi Schneiter, the director of CSN’s program, said the demand for medical lab scientists remains high locally, as well. A new group of students begins the program each fall semester.

The program is a limited entry program. For more information, visit www.csn.edu.

February Chronicle

Outside our classrooms and work areas much is going on that you’ll want to know about.  I hope your is semester going well as we move toward the midpoint of spring semester. The following Chronicle address recommendations for the salary equity study, potential increases to tuition and fees for students, the legislative study on community college governance and funding and more. Please read it and share with your coworkers.

Upcoming events:

Wednesday, Feb. 26:Career Services Presents: Keep Calm and Get Your Resume Reviewed, 10 a.m. to noon, Cheyenne campus, main building lobby, Henderson campus C Building lobby, and West Charleston campus, D building lobby.

Friday, Feb. 28:
Second Supplier Inclusion Networking Event and Workshop, 7:45-11:30 a.m., CSN Cheyenne Campus, Morse Arberry, Jr. Telecommunications Building.
International Coffee House: Language Immersion, 10 a.m. to noon, West Charleston campus, D building lobby.
Friday Night Cultural Event Series Spring 2014, New Beginnings Credit Repair, 7:30 p.m., Henderson Campus, Building C, room 133.

For more information about upcoming events, go to CSN.edu and click on the event calendar.

Salary Study

The outcomes and implementation of the salary transition and compression study conducted by Ulibarri-Mason Global (UMG) are now known and are being implemented. 

First, I would like to express deep appreciation to the faculty and staff who served on the two Salary Study Transition Management Teams.  Special thanks to Darin Dockstader who chaired the Academic Committee and Christopher Brown who chaired the Administrative Committee. The committees contributed to a critical effort on behalf of CSN and its employees. Your work yielded major improvements in CSN’s salary models. 

Facilitating the work of the teams and UMG were John Scarborough and Anita DelCorio.  Both worked tirelessly and thoughtfully on the complex issues of the study.  Know that our HR office has been a champion for resolving the transition and compression issues of employee salaries.  Thank you John and Anita!

This past academic year, the Board of Regents approved a new salary structure/schedule for academic faculty for community colleges. As CSN prepared to make the transition to the new salary structure, we also sought to simultaneously address compression issues that have emerged over the past seven years. We brought in an external and impartial third party to help CSN fairly address compression as it implements the new schedule and develop an implementation strategy that allows the institution, with its limited funds, to address this issue in phases. Additionally, we asked our consultant to look at administrative faculty compensation and to build on the work accomplished via an administrative salary study conducted in 2008 to identify and further address issues of classification and compression for administrative faculty members.

CSN will implement the general recommendations of the study in two cycles, one for the current contract year and one for the next. 

Because individual circumstances will vary, Human Resources staff will issue personalized letters to every full-time faculty member, academic or administrative, to describe the impacts, effective dates, and other details for the salary implementation.  Once you receive your letter from HR, if you have questions or wish to appeal decisions affecting you, HR staff can assist.

Because the Faculty Senate and Administrative Faculty Assembly were so integral to the study, you may also receive communications from the leaders of those groups.

SB391 Interim Study

The next meeting for legislative committee to study community college governance and funding is tentatively scheduled for March 11 for the governance and funding subcomittee. The next day, March 12, the academics and workforce subcommittee is meeting.  We are not sure of the agenda for the March 11th meeting.  CSN has offered presentations at the March 12th meeting on workforce programs and our apprenticeship program and trade union relationships. Both meetings will take place at the Grant Sawyer building and we will follow up with you afterward to keep you informed.

From the study committee, CSN would like to see a recommendation to the Legislature for a need-based financial aid program and for a workforce development fund. 

Budget Request for 2015

Priorities for the 2015 legislative budget request are beginning to emerge.  The budget request will be approved by the Board of Regents at its June meeting.

Top priority is faculty and staff compensation, including the elimination of furloughs.  NSHE and other state employees will receive compensation changes in a standard approach.

For NSHE, a top priority is increasing the value of the weighted student credit hour in the funding formula.

We expect that the capital budget will allocate approximately $120-140 million statewide for construction projects, including renovations and deferred maintenance.  The Board of Regents will also finalize its capital budget priorities for its eight institutions in June.

There is some interest in creating a capital budget formula similar to those in other states.  CSN would support this suggestion. 

Tuition and Fee Recommendation and Expenditure Plan

Following two years with no increase in registration fees, the NSHE Tuition and Fee Committee is recommending a 4% registration fee increase for resident community college students each year of the 2015-17 biennium.  In other words, starting fall 2015, the registration fee will go up 4% each year. The current registration fee is $84.50.  The proposed fee increase would result in an increase of $3.50 per credit hour in year one and an additional $3.50 per credit hour in year two.  The new fee would be $88.00 and $91.50 for 2015-16 and 2016-17 respectively.

The new fees are badly needed to help bolster student support services that facilitate our student success mission. CSN proposes to use the fee as follows (Click on the image to see all three columns):


Reflections of Success

This year, CSN will not host a Reflections of Success event in May as we have for the past two years. Staff have spent the last few months, trying to find a viable date and venue with no luck with so many other wonderful happenings this spring, including commencement celebrations, Connections events, the annual retirees’ luncheon, the WACUBO conference in Las Vegas and more.

In lieu of the Reflections event, CSN will do a yearbook to highlight faculty and staff accomplishments over the past year and distribute those to academic departments in early May. This was one of the many wonderful recommendations that came out of the Work Climate Committee in December.

As many of you know, the Reflections event served as an end-of-the-semester celebration for all of our employees to honor various award recipients. We will announce all of these, including the Excellence, Distinguished and Service award recipients at our Convocation kickoff in the fall on Aug. 18.  As a reminder, all Excellence award nominations are due by March 14 and the Distinguished Employee of the Year nominations are due April 16. Both can be emailed to Internal Recognition Committee Chair Michele Fogg at Michele.fogg@csn.edu.

Faculty & Staff Questions

How does the UMG study differ from the Fox Lawson study in 2008?
The UMG salary study was different from the Fox Lawson study of 2008 for administrative faculty.  Fox Lawson implemented a new salary schedule while it examined job classifications and complexity in making its recommendations.  The result was greater flexibility in salary administration for administrative faculty.  That is why the UMG study resulted in only modest changes for administrative faculty.

Does the salary equity study address classified staff or adjunct faculty pay?
The UMG study does not impact classified staff, whose salaries are overseen by the state and not NSHE.  Adjunct faculty are also not affected by this study, although NSHE is looking at how to improve compensation for part-time instructors.



I know there is significant information in the Chronicle and you may have questions.  As always, I’ll be happy to address them.


January Chronicle


Happy New Year and welcome to the CSN Chronicle for January 2014. There is a lot of  information below that is important for you to know.

Events in January

Jan 13 First CSN Poster Fair at the Cheyenne campus
Jan 15 Tech Connect at the Cheyenne campus
Jan 16 President’s Roundtable at Cheyenne, Laxalt Center, Rm. 1031
Jan.17 President’s Roundtable at Charleston, Rm. D209
Jan 17 President’s Roundtable at Henderson, Rm. C105
Jan. 28 CSN Connections Events (Welcome Back Events) Cheyenne
Jan. 29 CSN Connections Events (Welcome Back Events) Henderson
Jan. 30 CSN Connections Events (Welcome Back Events) Charleston
By Jan. 31 Salary Equity and Compression study report and recommendations
By Jan. 31 Final report from Evans Consulting Group on Financial Aid

CSN 2013 Holiday Party

Holiday Party

Through the Foundation Board of Trustees and the President’s Cabinet, I have extended your collective appreciation to the Foundation for the outstanding holiday party we enjoyed at the Santa Fe Station last month.  Food donations that evening provided for 817 pounds of food or 680 meals through Three Square. Thank you all for a great evening and a great cause!

Salary Equity

Upon receiving the recommendations from Ulibarri group at the end of this month on salary equity and compression, I’m planning town hall meetings on each campus to get your feedback on the recommendations. We will then expedite the implementation plan to the extent financially possible.  My thanks to the faculty and staff who are serving on the advisory committees for this important project.  It is essential that equity issues be addressed as fully as possible.

Work Climate Committee Recommendations

The campus Work Climate Committee (WCC), chaired by Professor Cameron Basquiat, has completed its analysis of the 2012 survey and provided recommendations. The full report is located here on the committee’s web page. 

I value the work of the committee, the survey it administered and analyzed and the recommendations it provided. The culture of CSN is improving and will continue to as the work of this committee unfolds and becomes a replicated path for data collection, analysis and targeted changes. My thanks to all faculty and staff who participated in this effort. My thanks, too, to the members of the committee for the deliberate analysis the report represents. I’m committed to keeping this committee and its work in place as CSN strives for incremental improvement and action on the recommendations.

The following comments and responses parallel suggested changes from the committee’s analysis:

I. Hiring and Training Process
A. Hiring Process


  • Increase training on the hiring process (for all relevant personnel) 
  • Training on compliance  issues (offered by Human Resources office) including training on constructing a useful, effective job posting 
  • “Lessons learned/best practices” session offered by Human Resources & previous hiring committee chairs/members
  • Consider a mechanism for supporting CSN candidates when appropriate
  • Examine search committee appointment process. (WCC suggests reflecting on how committee members are nominated and notified.)

My Response: I agree, and further suggest that more people be trained on chairing a search committee.

Faculty Senate will consider a new hiring policy later in the spring.

I’m asking HR to review the search committee appointment process.

B. Supervisor Training


  • Develop “supplemental training” (beyond “Mandatory” training as outlined by NSHE policy) specifically for supervisors to address management skills and persistent issues
  • Potential Issues to Cover: Management, Communication, Problem-Solving, Ethics, Mentoring, Evaluation, Budget, Disciplinary procedures, Reporting, Legal issues, Team Building, Leadership, Student Code of Conduct, Onboarding New Employees
  • Consider an extended retreat/summit format for training new deans and dept. chairs
  • WCC recommends some training be required for both new and current deans and dept. chairs

My Response:  I enthusiastically agree and will ask HR to put a training program together.  I have also suggested that the CSN Executive Leadership Institute be supplemented with a CSN leadership program for managers and aspiring managers. 

NOTE:  I have asked HR representatives and the Work Climate Committee to meet and discuss all the committee’s recommendations in the area of hiring and training.

II. Work Life
A. Internal Communication


  • Share more details on decisions including:
  • Decision(s) taken
  • Rationale of/for decision
  • Process of decision making
  • People/positions involved in decision-making
  • Inclusion practices via increased communication
  • Require part-time workers to use CSN email addresses for institutional communication
  • Create an institutional e-mail list for all active part-time faculty each semester and link to “All” mailing list
  • Keep “All” list and web directory updated
  • Focus communication efforts towards part-time employees (contract and wage workers, student workers, and part-time teaching faculty)
  • Routinize and consolidate routine communications:
  • Circulate weekly “Hotlinks” electronic sheet (brief document with hyperlinks and concise annotations of upcoming policy and deadline updates) to employees
  • Encourage use of consistent templates/formats and communication checklists in all divisions for routine communications to increase consistency and frequency of communication (e.g., welcoming a new employee, reporting a deadline or policy update, etc.)

My Response: This recommendation asks for explanatory information as well as better communication pathways for employees.  Transmitting information in a more timely

manner is also implied with this recommendation.  For my part, I will start implementing this suggestion with this issue of the Chronicle, but that is not enough. The Office of Communications will begin circulating a weekly update and we are exploring new communication forms and processes to increase consistency and frequency of communication among and throughout our departments and units.

I will also asked that the CSN online directory be updated more swiftly to add new employees and will explore how to incorporate part-time faculty.

B. Committee Service

  • Recommendation:
    Broaden participation and awareness
  • Circulate an annual list of existing college and faculty committees/project teams.
  • Send an annual “Topics/Committee Interest” Form to all employees to solicit interests in college service opportunities in order to develop a broader recruiting pool and encourage committee service. (WCC suggests administering this from President’s Office.)

My Response: These are very good suggestions.   We will post and update a list of all existing committees on the college’s website (an announcement will go out when it is posted) and we will evaluate the best mechanism to regularly and systematically solicit membership from the entire college community.

C. Space Availability


  • Establish a place/space for employees to use when on break where not presently available. (WCC suggests all work zones on main campuses have such a space.)
  • Establish a place/space for part-time faculty to use when not in class to meet with students where not presently available. (WCC suggests a location on each campus to be open during and after regular hours.)

My Recommendation: Space at CSN is at a premium and I’m not expecting the state’s capital budget to allow for us to construct new space any time soon. We will continue to evaluate all possibilities to best utilize our limited space with a priority on finding designated areas for part-time faculty and, frankly a lesser priority, for breaks.

D. Career Development


  • Develop a mentoring program for all levels of employment at CSN (including mentor/mentee training and matching).
  • Develop succession planning (career development planning) capacity at CSN for all full-time and part-time employee groups.
  • Encourage employees to construct a 5-year plan for employment goals/growth plan.
  • Have supervisors follow-up with plan to assist employees with professional goals when relevant. 

My Response: These suggestions have been referred to Professor Michele Fogg, chair of the Internal Recognition Committee (IRC), with a recommendation that she discuss these with the committee and create an implementation plan.

III. Organizational Clarity
A. Institutional Organization


CSN Organizational Chart:

  • Construct and update a complete (with filled and vacant positions) Organizational Chart every semester and post on website
  • Create a similar/parallel structure across all Administration Divisions
  • Create a similar/parallel structure across all Academic Departments

External Partners:

  • Post an Office of Technology Service (OTS) organizational chart
  • Post contact information and identification of appropriate CSN liaisons for key external units including Bookstore, OTS and Food Vendors

My Response: Organizational charts are posted on the website but need to be updated regularly. We can certainly pull out contact information for key external units. I would like to note that many of these are already listed in the CSN app. We will work with OTS to obtain important structural information that will be of service to our users.

I plan to discuss the recommendations for parallel organizational structures with the vice presidents to see what we can accomplish to still allow for the flexibility that is paramount for community colleges to be able to respond to our ever-changing environment but provide for consistency and accountability. I am confident that a balance can be found.

Financial Aid Update

CSN has processed through Department of Education channels all of the records and funding changes needed to comply with DOE directions. Over and under payments have been transacted and the immediate challenge has been completed.  However, the recommendations from the Evans Consulting Group are now getting underway, and we expect a full report from them shortly. Issues regarding personnel, policy and procedure and technology are being addressed in earnest. My goal is to create a national model for processing aid in a student-centered manner. I commend the staff for rallying to the challenge this goal represents. To achieve it, CSN is assessing staffing needs, hiring more staff, implementing regular training, restructuring financial aid offices, implementing new policies and procedures with third-party monitoring of processing (this is being done at other large schools such as ourselves) and making technology changes to better serve and more accurately process student records. 

CSN’s Operating Budget Request for 2015-17

CSN met with the Nevada System of Higher Education and Chancellor Klaich to present our budget priorities for the 2015 legislative session. It is my hope that these are incorporated into the Board of Regents’ priorities.

CSN’s Top Legislative Budget Priority:

  • Eliminate furloughs and address cost-of-living increases and fringe benefit expenses – health insurance particularly;
  • Increase the dollar amount received for each weighted student credit hour (WSCH) – as you know CSN is now primarily funded by the number of credits students complete and increasing the amount that CSN receives for each credit completed is paramount to eliminating funding equity issues that have persisted for decades, improving student success services and other goals we intend to accomplish;
  •  Obtain legislative approval to include the less-than-30-credit certificates with industry certification in our performance pool so that CSN receives funding for the hundreds of students that graduate from these programs, which lead directly to employment and advancement;
  • While progress was made in consideration of tuition and fees, CSN supports a continued focus on seeking full retention of fees and tuition;
  • Complete iNtegrate 2:  while an initial allotment from the NSHE operating pool has been identified, a comprehensive plan for implementation and ongoing support needs to be addressed; and
  • Develop a community college funding source to support economic development – work force needs, similar to the state’s Knowledge Fund for research at the university level.

Capital Budget:

Deferred maintenance is a key priority at CSN. We support continued evaluation of alternatives that will provide a resource to address these needs. 

Our capital priorities include the following:

  • Renovation of the B Building at Henderson to address Student Services needs. The building housing these services provides limited space and not enough to allow for adequate spaces for student privacy or to create desired pathways that help students locate the services they are seeking. ($7.6 million)
  • Continual revitalizing of the Cheyenne campus by addressing mechanical systems, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) issues, and exterior weather proofing. In addition to addressing deferred maintenance needs, these projects also assist CSN with decreasing utility costs. ($7 million)

Budget priorities for NSHE will be reported and action will be taken at the June meeting of the Board of Regents.

Tuition and Fees

In accordance with the Board of Regents’ policies, tuition and fees recommendations to the Board of Regents begin with deliberations of a committee comprised of students, presidents, faculty and staff.  This this committee developed recommendations for the next four years, rather than recommendations for the upcoming biennium, to assist with students’ financial and institutional planning.

For community colleges, the proposed rate change is 4% per year for four years.  This would apply to resident student registration fees.  For non-resident students, the proposed change is 0% for the first two years and 2% for the next two years. The reason for the difference in rate changes is that non-resident tuition is closer to the median of surrounding states than are registration fees for resident students.  The committee’s recommendation goes to the Board of Regents in March, following a series of hearings with students at the respective institutions.  CSN supports the recommendation, and at the CSN hearing on February 21st we will explain why.

Concurrent with the hearings and the review process, CSN is developing an expenditure plan for use of the projected revenue. That plan will also be shared and vetted publically.

Interim Study on Community Colleges

The Legislature’s interim study on community colleges will begin January 28th with the first committee meeting. Here are the details of the study’s structure and timetable as of today:

The logistics of the committee hearings between January and May (potentially June) are as follows: 

  • Meetings will be held at the Grant Sawyer Building in Las Vegas, and video conferenced to the Legislature in Carson City.
  • One meeting per month, January – May (potentially June) each lasting a full day 
  • First meeting is scheduled for Jan. 28, 9:30 a.m. (dates for the subsequent months have not been scheduled. 

Meeting Schedule:

  • Jan. 28th - 9:30 a.m.-12:00pm full committee meets, 1 p.m.-5 p.m. subcommittees meet (all committee members are expected to attend for the entire day)  
  • Feb. - 8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. subcommittees meet 
  • March – 8:30 a.m. subcommittees meet; 1 p.m. subcommittees report to the full the committee
  • April -  8:30 a.m. – 5 p.m. subcommittees meet
  • May – 8:30 a.m. subcommittees meet, 1 p.m., subcommittees report to the full the committee. Committee should conclude its business.
  • June – meeting only if absolutely necessary

Jan. 28th Agenda:

  • LCB – Overview and purpose of committee
  • Chancellor and Board Officer – Discussion and overview of community colleges from system perspective; successes and challenges. Desired results of the study, how can the committee help?
  • Four Community College Presidents – 20 min. (each) presentation on successes, challenges and any other information important to share
  • Dr. Geri Anderson – Shared Services Alliance

Committee Membership:

  • Senator Joyce Woodhouse – Chair
  • Senator Barbara Cegaske
  • Senator Debbie Smith
  • Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick
  • Assemblyman Paul Aizley
  • Assemblyman Pat Hickey

Subcommittee on Governance and Funding:

  • Senator Debbie Smith, Chair
  • Senator Joyce Woodhouse
  • Assemblyman Paul Aizley
  • Regent Allison Stephens
  • Dr. Mary Pierczynski
  • Carson City Supervisor John McKenna
  • Churchill County Commissioner Bus Scharmann
  • Elko Mayor Chris Johnson

 Subcommittee on Academics and Workforce Alignment:

  • Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick, Chair
  • Senator Barbara Cegavske
  • Assemblyman Pat Hickey
  • Regent Kevin Melcher
  • St. Rose Hospitals President and CEO Vicky van Meetren
  • GOED Deputy Director Michael Skaggs
  • Nevada Copper VP Timothy Dyhr
  • DETR Director Frank Woodbeck

**There is a possibility for more appointees to the subcommittees

CSN has been asked to provide a student member to the committee.  As more information becomes available, to include future hearing dates, I will provide updates.  

Questions from Faculty and Staff Members:

“What is next with CSN’s HSI status?”

CSN meets the criteria for HSI status and is eligible to apply in the fall of 2014 for funding under Title V.  This is a competitive funding process.  CSN has retained the help of a grant writer to help prepare the proposal for funding.  Typically, up to $750,000 is awarded in a Title V grant. We will be suggesting a theme for the proposal and will be correlating our efforts with the community as the process unfolds.  I am very optimistic that CSN’s initial proposal has a great chance of being successful.

Construction on the A and B (partial) buildings on the West Charleston campus will be underway shortly.  The construction may be disruptive to parking and traffic, but every effort will be made to accommodate students, faculty and staff during the next year of renovation work.  Portable units have been placed west of the I building to provide classroom space during the construction period.   

 Finally, the Faculty Senate has adopted and I have signed a new policy on registration.  It is posted here with other institutional policies.  I urge you to read it and take note of the changes in operation that it requires.

Best wishes for the New Year and for spring semester.

 –Mike Richards

December Chronicle


Holiday greetings to all!  This is the last Chronicle for 2013 and I’ve dedicated most of it to money issues. 

Please Note:  During January, I will again hold roundtable meetings on each campus.  You will be e-mailed an invitation shortly.  We can discuss any of the following topics as well as other issues you may wish to raise. 

Salary Equity and Compression

As you may know, a study of CSN’s salary equity and compression challenge has been underway during fall semester.  The final report is expected in January.  A large group of faculty and staff have participated in the process, coordinated by John Scarborough in Human Resources.  I have been kept informed of the study’s progress, and I remain committed to resolving equity and compression issues. Although a phased approach may be needed, we won’t know that until the final report is submitted and analyzed. 

Anticipating a solution, funding to address faculty and staff equity and compression issues was earmarked at the beginning of this fiscal year.  We will use it, disbursing it in revised contracts as expeditiously as possible. You will receive advance notice before this occurs. 

It is important to know that this project does not mean that everyone will have an adjusted contract.  The study’s singular focus and my intent is to address fairly and squarely equity and compression problems that emerged during years of salary freezes and rollback during the recession.  Should you have questions about the study or its objectives, please ask – Faculty Senate Chair Darin Dockstader. Employee involvement and transparency are critical to success.

Financial Aid

This week past week we updated the Board of Regents on financial aid issues with the following information.

CSN is moving forward on overhauling the CSN Financial Aid Department, following the problems with verification discovered this past academic year.  We are currently awaiting the final report from Evans Consulting.  Following its assessment, Evans’ staff will make recommendations in the areas of organizational structure, process and policies and technology.

Once we receive the final report, we will create an implementation plan. As part of that, we expect to be able to effectively evaluate additional staff positions and operations. We know we will need to develop our services in terms of financial aid literacy and financial aid counseling. We will also begin a search for a new director of financial aid.

We know we will need to develop a comprehensive and ongoing professional development and financial aid training program to ensure CSN staff have the latest information about complex financial regulations.

On that note, I would like to highlight the very large contingent of CSN employees who attended the U.S. Department of Education 2013 FSA Training Conference this week, which was conveniently held in Las Vegas and free. The conference, which featured a keynote by Secretary Arne Duncan, provided four days of valuable information on every aspect of financial aid services for higher education institutions. 

Lastly, we will continue to outsource the verification process for the files that the federal government asks us to double check. This is not uncommon for a college of our size. Through outsourcing this process, we can immediately secure quality assurance while we work to overhaul the department. 

Tech Connection is Jan. 15 at the Cheyenne campus. Registration is limited. Please sign up at:  www.csn.edu/techconnection.

I encourage everyone to come out and see the many vendors showing off what’s new in classroom technology, attend informative breakout sessions and hear about important technology topics from Senior Vice President of Cisco Patrick Finn and Executive Vice President of Switch, Missy Young.  I hope to see everyone there! 

Official invitation: http://sites.csn.edu/techconn/2014_new/tech_connection_invitation2.html 

 Budget Request for 2015-17

Later this month, CSN will present to the Chancellor its budget request for the 2015-17 Legislature. That request will include the following priorities:

  • Fund the face value of contracts such that furloughs are eliminated.  This is CSN’s top priority.
  • Increase the dollars per Weighted Student Credit Hour that we receive for each student who completes a course in the funding formula to begin to replace funding cuts that occurred during the recession.
  • Increase funding for PEBP to improve employee benefits and health options.
  • Allow institutions to truly keep tuition revenues without having to ask the state for them. 

There is likely to be few capital dollars, although CSN needs urgent funding for deferred maintenance priorities.  There is also likely to be no enhancement funding for new initiatives, although such funding would benefit the state and our community.  

Tuition/Fee Increases

The NSHE Tuition and Fees Committee is recommending a 4 percent increase in registration fees for resident students for FY 2015 and in each of four years thereafter.   Hearings with students on the recommendation will occur during January and February.  The Board of Regents will act on the recommendation, however it may be modified, at its March meeting.  

Preliminarily, CSN plans to use revenues from the proposed fee increase as follows: 

  • Scholarships and need-based financial aid;
  • Staffing in Student Affairs;
  • Improving our full- and part-time ratio with more full-time faculty; and
  • Enhancing advising and academic support services.

Formula, AtD, CCA Convergence

With Achieving the Dream, CSN has laid out a constructive plan and timeline to improve completion rates and retention with deliberate actions that, in turn, complement the Complete College America (CCA) goals Nevada has adopted, and that, in turn, complement CSN’s position under the new funding formula where course completions and performance metrics yield funding.  (Take a breath after that sentence.) There is a fusion of relationships here that I’d like all faculty and staff to see.  Initiatives CSN has adopted and that faculty are engaging interrelate for greater student success and improved funding under the new formula.  I’m so very pleased with the work of faculty on streamlining developmental education—it’s great work!  I’m so very pleased with the faculty and staff efforts to improve student matriculation by removing barriers to success!  Thank you, all, and please keep up the good work!  You are making a transformative difference for our students!

Questions from Faculty and Staff Members:

“What is the status in ACT testing?”

In 2011, the Board of Regents approved a resolution urging the State of Nevada and district superintendents of public K-12 instruction to adopt the statewide administration of the ACT test for all high school students in their junior year.  This action was reaffirmed in 2013 by all NSHE presidents.  However, NSHE staff also wish to explore the SBAC test and have established a committee of institutional representatives for that purpose.  State superintendents still support the ACT test.  Under provisions of AB288 passed during the 2013 legislative session, a decision by the school districts must be made by 2015.  Ideally this assessment would replace the Nevada High School Proficiency Exam. 

“What is the status of the community college interim study?”

You may recall that the Legislature authorized a study to examine governance and financing of Nevada’s four community colleges.  A committee comprised of six legislators is conducting the study.  Senator Joyce Woodhouse will chair the committee.  The work of the committee is expected to start in January and extend to June 2014.  Recommendations will be submitted to the 2015 Legislature.

Happy Holidays to all of you!

 –Mike Richards

November Chronicle

The CSN Chronicle

Greetings, and welcome to The CSN Chronicle for November, 2013. I know this is a busy time for everyone and I appreciate you taking a moment to read the Chronicle to get the latest information.   

The CSN North Las Vegas Advisory Board

Earlier this week, we signed an agreement to create the new CSN North Las Vegas Advisory Board, which — as I’ve discussed in the Chronicle and elsewhere — will provide broad input on local concerns, trends and needs and help share information about CSN and the Cheyenne campus with others in the community.

Community colleges are designed to meet local education and workforce needs. CSN already has 46 advisory boards in place for academic programs to enhance curricula. I believe this partnership will ensure CSN is responsive and has its finger on the pulse of our community. We think this may be a model for our campuses in Las Vegas and Henderson.

I have selected the Board members in consultation with Mayor Lee.  Board members include Lee, myself and the following:

Dave Hales of Ohana Matters Foundation, Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce Vice President of Government Affairs Brian McAnallen, North Vista Hospital CEO Cathy Story, ViaWest President and CEO Nancy Phillips, Brady Industries Vice President Travis Brady, First African Methodist Church Pastor Ralph E. Williamson, Lunas Treasurer Norberto Madrigal, CSN Student Government Secretary Selena Torres, Vice President and General Manager of Cannery Casino Hotel Patrick Hughes and CenturyLink Director of Legislative Affairs Randy Robison.�

CSN Successes    

CSN History Professor Dr. Michael Green

Congratulations to CSN History Professor Dr. Michael Green, who has been selected as the winner of the 2013 Eugene Asher Distinguished Teaching Award. The Asher Prize is awarded annually by the American Historical Association (AHA) in recognition of outstanding teaching and advocacy for history teaching at two-year, four-year and graduate colleges and universities. The prize will be awarded during a ceremony at the association’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., in January.

In the nursing program, CSN Professor Ron Gonzales coordinated with the University of Phoenix to bring in eight hospital nurse recruiters to conduct interviewing workshops for our graduating nursing students.  He organized this in April and we learned that Sunrise hired 16 students from that April event and Summerlin Medical Center hired six. This was a wonderful event for our students and just the kind of program to promote as part of the poster presentations on student success initiatives that will take place on Jan. 13 from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Cheyenne campus in the June Whitley Student Center.


Salary Update

The salary equity study continues as previously discussed with the first set of recommendations slated to come out at the beginning of 2014.

Holiday Party

The 2013 Holiday Party, sponsored by the CSN Foundation, will take place at the Santa Fe Station (please note the location) on December 12. This year’s event is all about giving back to help spread holiday cheer. Tickets will be $5 per person and go to support student scholarships and programs. You can get your ticket at any campus cashier’s office. Please bring non-perishable food items to the party for collection by Three Square.  We have many in our community who need help this holiday season.

Hungry Games

CSN Faculty, James Lee, Alok Pandey, Jodie Mandel and Patrick Villa pose with the Hungry Games trophy.

With the exception of one injury during the kickball tournament, the second annual Hungry Games at the CSN Henderson campus was otherwise a huge success.

Although these Hungry Games tournaments seem particularly dangerous for Faculty Senate chairs, we must congratulate Faculty Senate, which won the kickball tournament.  

Thank you to all who made the event such a fun day for CSN employees and their families!


TIAA-CREF being the new sole record keeper for both the mandatory Retirement Plan Alternative (Non-NV PERS Retirement Plan) and for the 403(b) plans including the Roth 403(b). Previously the record keeper function was handled by three companies (TIAA-CREF, FIDELITY and VALIC).  This means TIAA-CREF will handle all the administrative functions associated with the plan including – payroll interface, processing of loans and distributions, generating quarterly statements, on-line account access, financial consulting services.  These changes are a different approach in the management of the retirement plan compared to how it is managed now. 

The new investment lineup (please click on this link to see the lineup) for the plan has also been finalized. This investment lineup is different from the existing lineup in that there is only one proprietary fund from TIAA-CREF on the lineup. These will be your investment choices within the plan for your contributions beginning January 1, 2014. If you are not planning to go with the default fund, you will need to take action prior to January 1, 2014.

HR has sent out emails regarding workshops with TIAA-CREF and for those of you unable to attend these meetings, TIAA-CREF will also be hosting webinars in November and December.

Transition packets were mailed from TIAA-CREF to employees’ U.S. mailing addresses last week. Please contact HR if you have additional questions.

Nevada Workforce Development Center

Nevada Workforce Development Center ribbon cutting with Chancellor Daniel Klaich, left, DETR Deputy Director Dennis Perea, CSN President Michael Richards, Nevada Senator Majority Leader Sen. Mo Dennis, CSN DWED Executive Director Dan Gouker and Nevada Sen. Ruben Kihuen on Nov. 20, 2013.

 Also this week, CSN and the Nevada Department of Employment Training and Rehabilitation officially opened the Nevada Workforce Development Center at the Cheyenne campus. This is a one-stop shop for local businesses to get information about workforce assessment, customized employee training, identifying potential hire with specific skillsets and obtaining local industry specific data at no cost. The center will be staffed by DETR and CSN’s Division of Workforce & Economic Development.

DETR plans to implement similar centers at the state’s other three community colleges.

Questions from Faculty and Staff Members:

When will we know whether our salary will be impacted by the equity study?

I’m prepared to begin acting on the study findings early spring semester.  Many of our staff and faculty have participated in this work in process.  My thanks to each of you. 

How can we improve enrollments in the future?

Vice President Divine and many others are deeply involved with Noel-Levitz in the Strategic Enrollment Plan (SEP), a comprehensive review of what CSN is doing/not doing to manage its enrollments and to retain students.  I have high hopes for this important process because it will engage everyone in improving enrollments and student success.

Will a campus name be changed?

Recently CSN sent out a survey asking for your thoughts about changing the names of CSN’s Cheyenne campus to the CSN North Las Vegas Campus and the CSN Charleston campus to the CSN Las Vegas campus. CSN was exploring this issue at the request of community constituents, particularly the Mayor of North Las Vegas, to better market our campuses and affiliate with the local community. Approximately 60 percent of employees and students voted against changing the names. Most cited costs as a factor in their decisions.  I conveyed the findings to the Mayor’s staff.  We are pursuing more substantive ways we can show our support for our local communities

Best wishes to you all for a Happy Thanksgiving and I look forward to seeing you at our Holiday party.

–Mike Richards

October Chronicle

The CSN Chronicle

Greetings to all!  This semester is flying by and I hope it is going well for you.  There is much activity on many fronts that I have covered in this newsletter. Please read through so that you are up to date on a number of important matters. 

Financial Aid:

We are addressing financial aid issues on two fronts:  1) processing for the three financial aid award years is now closed or nearing closure.  The 2011-12 year is awaiting final direction from the Department of Education.  The 2012-13 year is closed — all processing verification work is done.  The 2013-14 year remains active but all verification and awarding is current. 2) Evans Consulting Group is leading the effort to assess all financial aid operations. They are holding interviews, focus groups with students, visiting all three campuses, and examining our processes, policies, structure, staffing and training.  We have asked Evans to provide recommendations and priorities that need action.  My goal is to transform this essential operation into the premier financial aid office in the region. We will keep you informed of new information in this area as it arises. We are also keeping the Chancellor and Regents informed on progress and the corrective steps we are taking. 

Salary Study:

The salary compression study is on track. There have been multiple open meetings and emails with faculty and staff to explain the process for the study and obtain feedback. Committees of faculty and staff are monitoring the process which should conclude at the end of the calendar year.  I am committed to this process and to solutions—perhaps in phases—that resolve long-standing compression problems. 

Classroom Dedication:

On Wednesday night, we dedicated the air conditioning and technology classroom at the CSN Cheyenne campus to Daikin Applied and Norman S. Wright Mechanical Equipment Corporation, following their donation of a new, state-of-the-art chiller, worth $100,000. The donation allowed us to replace our existing unit, which we then gave to the air condition program to help train CSN students.

CSN alumnus and City of Las Vegas HVAC Technician Chris Deangelis, who has since passed away, helped arrange the donation and a plaque was hung in his honor. 

The Santa Fe Station on North Rancho Drive will be the site for our 2013 Holiday Party on Thursday, Dec. 12. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for this wonderful, CSN Foundation-sponsored celebration.  Please note the new location.   

Hispanic Heritage Month

I want to thank our Hispanic Heritage Month Committee, the Office of Diversity and our wonderful volunteers who put together a fantastic Hispanic Heritage Month program. There were many great events but one I would like to highlight in particular is the Latino College Camp. Students from Rancho High School visited the CSN Cheyenne campus on Friday, Oct. 11. There, they received tours and met with many of our great faculty and staff members. They also met and received guidance from CSN college students. It was a great event! These Latino high school students learned about their career options and how to be more prepared to begin their college experience after graduating high school. Thank you to all that helped to make this event a success!

We look forward to celebrating Native American Heritage Month and International Education Week in November.

Campus Names

All of you have received a survey, regarding a potential name change that community members have asked us to consider. I’m sure many of you have heard in the media about the Mayor of North Las Vegas John Lee and his hopes that CSN can help bolster economic and workforce development within his city’s limits. An energetic supporter of the community college mission, he’s not alone. And he’s right. We can help. We do a lot in all of the respective communities that we serve that a lot of people don’t know about and we can also do more.

In terms of the name change, please make sure to fill out the survey by Nov. 13 at http://studentvoice.com/ccsn/namechangeopinion

North Las Vegas Advisory Committee

I’m working with Mayor Lee to create a North Las Vegas advisory board that will report to the CSN Foundation and provide recommendations to me, regarding trends and concerns in North Las Vegas. That board will be announced in a few weeks. 

CSN has had campus advisory boards in the past. I believe this type of collaboration is going to be meaningful and I hope it will also help us better communicate our mission and accomplishments. 

SB 391

I hope by now you are all aware of the upcoming interim legislative committee to study community college governance. This committee’s work has the potential to impact everyone at CSN and we need your help to make sure all of your colleagues know about it and get engaged. 

States throughout the nation regularly assess and alter higher education governance structures. Currently, Nevada’s system of community college governance is centralized in that all eight higher education institutions are governed by one Board of Regents. There are many systems that have local and state boards or just local boards that govern colleges’ budgets, grant degrees and certificates and create policy. There are even more systems that also have a component local funding. 

Six legislators will make up the committee, which will begin its work in early 2014. Those lawmakers are Senators Joyce Woodhouse, Barbara Cegavske and Debbie Smith; Assemblypersons Paul Aisley, Pat Hickey, and Speaker Marilyn Kirkpatrick. That committee will then have two subcommittees, which will each include a regent. We are currently meeting in small groups with legislators and community constituents to provide background on CSN’s mission and workforce programs. 

The committee and subcommittees may benefit from faculty, staff or student testimony. We look forward to the opportunity to share more about what we do and will keep you informed about the committees’ progress and opportunities to participate. 

Upcoming Events

We look forward to the following upcoming events: 

CSN Ralph & Betty Engelstad School of Health Sciences Open House

Nov. 15, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m., Charleston campus, Ralph & Betty Engelstad School of Health Sciences Building 

The CSN Foundation is sponsoring this wonderful event with guest speaker, Jon M. Hager, Executive Director of the Silver State Health Insurance Exchange. He will discuss the challenges and opportunities local providers and students can expect as Nevada begins to implement the Affordable Care Act. Local medical leaders will also discuss how business and education can better prepare students for emerging jobs in healthcare.  

CSN will then provide tours of the Ralph & Betty Engelstad School of Health Sciences Building and guests will view hands-on demonstrations of cutting edge teaching technology by students enrolled in nursing, clinical laboratory sciences, cardiorespiratory sciences, emergency medical services, surgical technology and other important health science education programs currently available at the college. 

2nd Annual CSN Hungry Games

Nov.  16, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., Henderson Campus

Bring your family and come down to spend the day with your CSN colleagues. Play in the kickball tournament and enjoy good barbeque and other fun games.

Questions from Faculty and Staff Members: 

“If we rename the Charleston campus the “CSN Las Vegas Campus” and the Cheyenne campus the “CSN North Las Vegas Campus,” what will we call the Northwest Campus? What will we call our sites and centers?

With the exception of CSN’s Western Center, the satellite sites already bear the name of their locals.

The future campus in Northwest Las Vegas still requires a land patent from Congress in order for CSN to develop it. I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves by naming it before it is ours to name. 

“Are we evaluating the names of our campuses because of Mayor Lee’s threat to take over the Cheyenne campus?”

No. As stated above, he is one of many constituents in North Las Vegas who feel that way and we have found that some in Las Vegas would also prefer that the Charleston campus be the “CSN Las Vegas campus.” In addition, we have found that there are a number of policymakers and constituents that think it will better market the campuses. 

“How is enrollment this fall?”

It is where we anticipated. CSN had planned for enrollment to decline about 3 percent this fall. Headcount at the mid-semester census was 36,658, down 2.3 percent. FTE is at 18,903.7, down 3.2 percent. 

“How come we cannot apply for Hispanic Serving Institutions status until 2014 if we reached the 25 percent Latino enrollment threshold in 2012?”

That is a great question. Colleges and universities that have the federal distinction as a Hispanic Serving Institution must meet the criteria two years prior to application, according to rules of the Title V grant. This is a great opportunity to also remind folks that we will be one of many HSIs applying – if they offer the grant — in 2014 and the award process is extremely competitive. It is now time to get to work to create the most competitive proposal possible to benefit CSN students. 

Best regards to all. 

–Mike Richards

CSN September Chronicle

CSN Henderson Campus


Greetings to all!  I hope your semester is going well.  There is much activity on many fronts that I have covered in this newsletter, including financial aid, the e-Learning task force and of course, rumors and questions. 

Please note that in the coming months, you may receive a call from Francine to come to lunch with me. Don’t worry, you’re not in trouble! You are an expert in your field of service to the college and I am hoping to sit down and learn more about you, your work and your thoughts about how to advance CSN. Please accept the invitation if you are available.  

We are also instituting a monthly (most months) social reception, a casual time at the end of the week for faculty and staff to gather, get better acquainted with colleagues and unwind.  Mark your calendar for Oct. 11 at 5 p.m. at Russell’s. Refreshments will be served. 

Top 25 in the Nation

CSN Business Professor Kevin Raiford rated the fifth highest professor in the nation by RateMyProfessor

CSN Professor of Business Kevin Raiford was named by RateMyProfessor as one of the top 25 professors in the nation. In fact, he was ranked the 5th highest in the nation. Congratulations, Kevin! 

Financial Aid

As a follow up to financial aid issues announced the first week of school, please know that we are winding down the solution on verification issues:

  • All under-awards have been paid and we’re moving ahead to conclude DOE processing requirements.   
  • A special taskforce is working with students to address their questions. 
  • Aid going out this year will have already been subject to the enhanced verification process, conducted through ProEd Solutions. 

We are finalizing a contract with an external consulting group that specializes in financial aid to assist us with our processes, policies, operations, structure and training in this areas. 

Finally, CSN has begun the process of overhauling financial aid operations to ensure the highest level of service, accuracy and accountability in this area of the college. 

We will keep you informed of new information in this area as it arises.

CSN Connections:

CSN students at the Cheyenne campus Connections event get information about student services.


 Thank you to all student services and academic staff and faculty that participated in the CSN Connections events at the start of the semester. They were a huge success! These events exist to connect students with the many services we offer to help them succeed in a fun and welcoming environment with music and, of course, free food. They also help us highlight the importance of student success to our students and stakeholders and the critical role that student services staff play in helping students achieve.

Those who participated conducted two of these fairs each day at each campus to ensure our students that attend during traditional hours in the day and later courses in the evening both were connected to the number of services available to help them succeed. 

Thank you again for all of your efforts!

The Santa Fe Station on North Rancho Drive will be the site for our 2013 Holiday Party on Thursday, December 12. Please mark your calendars and plan to join us for this wonderful celebration.  Please note the new location. 

eLearning Taskforce

As Darin Dockstader and I have reported, the Chancellor has appointed an eLearning Taskforce.  The Chancellor will chair the Taskforce.  The members and roles of the taskforce are:

Kevin Carman UNR Admin; Provost
Robert Wynegar WNC Admin; Provost
Christian Fritsen DRI Faculty
Fred Lokken TMCC Faculty
Darren Divine CSN Admin; Provost
Lisa Frazier, GBC Admin
Erika Beck NSC Admin; Provost
Mark Fink UNLV Faculty
Tony Scinta NSC Faculty
Caroline (Carrie) Bruno GBC Faculty
Jeffrey Wong UNR Faculty
Terry Norris CSN Admin
Kendall Hartley UNLV Faculty
Cynthia Clark UNLV Student
Alex Porter GBC Student
Paul Davis TMCC Faculty
Richard Kloes WNC Faculty

Here is the charge to the committee: 

At its March 2013 meeting, the NSHE Board of Regents received and enthusiastically accepted the report prepared by Richard N. Katz & Associates: E-Learning and Higher Education’s Iron Triangle:  Opportunity, Affordability and Student Success at NSHE.  The Board directed the Chancellor to develop and proceed with a plan for the implementation of the report’s recommendations.  In response to that direction, I am creating an ad hoc committee charged with setting priorities, evaluating and pricing alternatives, and crafting an implementation plan per the Board’s direction.  This Steering Committee will report to me with a deadline of December 2014. 

Given the urgency expressed by the Board and considerable time and resource commitments necessary for the implementation of the numerous recommendations in the Katz report, we need to make the distance education- related issues that support student success a systemwide priority and focus on our common goal of graduating more students.  The reality of NSHE’s limited resources means that the promising possibilities and benefits of adaptive learning, learning analytics, digital course materials and other areas of service and investment will need to be accomplished in phases indicative of the overall priority of the Board.  The Committee report’s recommendations must reflect both the challenges of our resource constraints and the need for urgent and impactful action.

While the Katz recommendations did not specifically address remediation, critical success metrics indicate good reason to focus early efforts on remediation and the corresponding transition to “gateway” courses that build upon successful remediation.  Student success in mathematics is a strong indicator of a student’s likelihood to persist and ultimately graduate.  Remediation rates in mathematics continue to be unacceptably high, and despite the successes of the Remedial Transformation Project, more work remains to be done.  We have the opportunity to build upon our faculty’s successful and transformative work and the momentum they have generated by focusing the initial work of the committee on remediation.  We know that student preparation for collegiate work remains a barrier to their success and progress.  We know too that in order to consolidate success in remedial courses, we must ensure students ability to immediately proceed to regular credit bearing college work.  Evolving technologies such as adaptive learning must play a part. 

Phase 1:  Remediation/Skills Modules 

The Steering Committee shall consider approaches and technologies that utilize e-learning in the support of remediating students in a timely and effective fashion.  The Committee shall develop an education and business model, a program plan, and budget for the implementation of on-line and e-learning remedial modules initially in Mathematics and then English.  The recommended model must include appropriate student support mechanisms, including but not limited to, on-line and face-to-face tutoring and other student support strategies.  Key to the success of this effort will also be plans for ease of registration by students at all NSHE institutions, in addition to their home institution. The plan developed by the Steering Committee must be complete by June 2014. 

The recommended approaches for remedial education shall consider strategies for developing remedial skill modules internally, through vendor partnerships, or both.  The recommended approaches must include provision for students to complete required remediation in a self-paced environment that is adaptable to each student’s learning style.  The measure of success for remedial education will be successful completion of the related entry level college-level course, and the Committee shall consider that transition in formulating its recommendations. 

Phase 2:  E-Ncore 

The heart of the report’s recommendations calls for the development of an e-Ncore whereby the campuses would develop and deliver e-Ncore master courses for the general education curriculum.  The Committee shall develop an education and business model, a program plan, and budget for the implementation of e-Ncore on-line gateway course offerings that will be transferrable to all NSHE institutions.   

Given the limited human and financial resources of the System and its institutions, it is reasonable to expect that implementation of the full general education curriculum under the e‑Ncore is not feasible in the short-term.  Therefore, the Committee may develop a phased implementation plan that includes a timeline for implementation across the general education curriculum.  The Report should articulate a strategy or rationale for sequencing priorities within the general education curriculum.   

I am expecting that wherever best from the student perspective the approaches identified by the Committee will build on the considerable excellent work already accomplished in the System.  As was noted at the March Board of Regents meeting, NSHE colleges and universities have married the on ground and on campus modes of instruction in response to the changing preferences and demographics of those we serve.  Our goal now is to build in ways that extend the benefits of our collective strengths to all of our students where and when they need us. 

Phase 3:  Other Recommendations 

The Steering Committee shall evaluate and prioritize the remaining recommendations of the Katz report not otherwise addressed in Phases 1 and 2.  The Committee shall recommend a timeline for implementation of the other recommendations. 

Additional Committee Authority 

In its development of an education and business plan, the Committee shall consider partnerships with external vendors and may seek and retain the advice and counsel of subject matter experts, internal or external to the System, as needed.  In addition, the Committee may establish subcommittees with appropriate student, faculty and administrative representation to meet the provisions of this charge.  Any data requested by the Committee will be provided by the System Office. 

“15 to Finish” is a campaign endorsed and promoted by all NSHE institutions to encourage students to enroll for 30 credits a year.  Data indicate that students who enroll full-time—15 credits a semester—are more likely to complete a certificate or degree program in a timely manner.  This saves students money and time.  Please urge students to take 15 credit hours.  By adding one or two classes a year, students will complete their degree programs faster and at lower cost, given the annual increase in the cost of education.      

Questions from Faculty and Staff Members: 

“I don’t understand why the issues in financial aid were not known and acted on earlier.”

This is an excellent question.  In the area of financial aid, audits—including reviews by the Department of Education—lag a year.   Specifically, NSHE’s auditor, Grant Thornton, prepares an A-133 audit of federal funds, the results of which are forwarded to the Board of Regents for approval. Based on a sample from the 2011-12 Grant Thornton audit, the U.S. Department of Education requested in March 2013 that CSN complete a review of the verification of awards from that year. The Grant Thornton audit had found that for nine of 58 students tested, CSN had not updated federal application for student aid information. Hence, ProEd was retained to verify results from 2011-12.   CSN then asked the company to verify awards for 2012-13 and the current year this summer. 

The DOE’s response on the 2011-12 A-133 audit was then received on July 18, 2013. The response for the 2012-13 audit will be completed next summer and so there is a lot of lag time associated with these processes as well.  Once CSN was aware of the extent of the problem, the college acted, made an announcement to public stakeholders and began contacting impacted students. 

“How much will CSN have to repay and how many students were impacted?”

Once the assessments are complete and finalized, CSN will be able to provide a total dollar amount and number of students. They will not be asked to repay over awards and under awards are being automatically funded to those students’ accounts. 

“When the salary study is done are some salaries being reduced?”

No.  Our objective is to correct salary equity and compression problems.  

“When did student completion become such a hot issue, and how do we balance that with student learning and access?”

Since early in 2010, national and state attention to certificate and degree completion has eclipsed other student-related issues.  Major national foundations, the National Governor’s Association, professional associations in higher education, and the White House have focused our attention on completion and career readiness.  From my observation, this new national agenda has sometimes overshadowed student learning, assessment, and a broader view of student access.  Liberal education has taken a back seat to career education and a perceived urgency to “get students through.”       

“I have not had a good experience on search committees.  The hiring process seems to take too long and does seem to be very efficient.”

For several months, a new hiring policy has been in development.  It is designed to improve the hiring process.  The final draft of the policy is about ready for the Faculty Senate to act on it. 

Best regards to all.


–Mike Richards

Special Chronicle


This unusual July Chronicle serves to inform you of critical information that will affect your professional life at CSN.  PLEASE take time to read this and make sure that your colleagues have as well. Some of it will be elaborated upon at Convocation next month, but you need to know about these changes on CSN’s horizon. 

Compensation and Contracts

  • CSN is complying with legislative direction on contracts, fringe benefits, furloughs and salaries. Your new contract is being prepared.  A message from the HR office has been sent regarding the status of contracts and when they will be ready for signing.
  • CSN is engaging a contractor to conduct a salary equity and compression study this summer and fall. We expect recommendations by the end of the calendar year. Initial funding to begin addressing equity and salary compression issues has been set aside in the 2013-14 budget. 

Funding Formula

Earlier I reported to you that the Legislature adopted a new funding formula similar to the one we discussed last fall that was proposed by the legislative interim Higher Education Funding Committee. We have more information available now that is important:


  • CSN did receive additional general fund allocations through the new funding formula.  As noted over the past several semesters, with enrollment declines we continue to realize a shortfall in registration and tuition revenues;  
  • All revenues including tuition and fees continue to be approved by the Legislature as ‘approved revenues,’ which requires any excess registration fee or tuition revenue to have interim finance approval. Institutions will still prepare budgets as usual;
  • CSN and the other colleges and universities are now funded based on course completions, not enrollments in classes. Students that drop out of a course or receive a W, reduce CSN’s funding next time the formula is run.  Hence, CSN must address and ensure that students complete their courses and earn a letter grade of A-F. It is important to note that the F grade is included and faculty should by no means diminish course rigor;
  • Starting in the 2014-15 academic year, 5 percent of CSN’s state funding will be set aside. CSN can earn it back by meeting certain benchmarks related to transfer, degree and certificate completion. Over the course of three biennia, this element of the budget expands to make up 20 percent. This means that performance will determine $18-20 million of CSN’s budget. Through Achieving the Dream, and other student success initiatives, CSN faculty and staff are positioning the institution for this uncertain future by doing research, evaluation and crafting pilot projects designed to help students overcome challenges and barriers to completion of their academic programs.Although we have a large group involved in these initiatives, I’m aware that some have remained cynical and on the sidelines. I urge you now to use that skepticism to improve these processes and get involved. Everyone will gain if we work together and all of our community will suffer if we fail to make progress.

Enrollment Trends and Deficits

Since fall 2011, CSN’s enrollment has declined, taking revenues with it. CSN completed last year with a sizable budget deficit because enrollment was lower than estimated. This has happened at community colleges across the nation, following historically high enrollments at the height of the recession and then continuous enrollment decline as the economy has slowly improved. In addition, increases in tuition and fees to make up for state budget cuts have not helped. 

For fall 2013, another enrollment/revenue drop is expected. We are planning for a 3 to 4 percent decline, but it is still too soon to tell. 

This trend directly impacts operating budgets, as well as financial planning and forecasting.  Our budget for 2013-14 is a prudent reflection of CSN’s enrollment trends. Our success initiatives, such as ATD, which help students complete courses and programs, will also improve our enrollment numbers, as we continue to communicate the importance of a college degree to the community. 

To help guide CSN’s enrollment future, Noel-Levitz has been retained to facilitate a more systematic approach to recruitment, retention, and student success. During this next academic year, many faculty and staff will be working with Noel-Levitz experts in this unprecedented effort to help us manage enrollments.

Please note important financial aid dates for fall 2013 below and help us communicate these with students: 

Institutional and state scholarship programs, such as the Access Grant and the Millennium Scholarship, will be disbursed starting on Sept. 4. Federal Title IV grants, such as the Pell Grant or the SEOG, will be disbursed starting Sept. 18 and federal Title IV loans, including subsidized and unsubsidized loans, will be disbursed starting Sept. 25. 

Federal financial aid disbursement rules allow schools to determine the disbursement dates based on their student population. CSN has chosen to use the delayed disbursement model to assure students receive the correct amount of financial aid according to the courses they enrolled in and attended. Many students find it very difficult to pay the government back if they receive the funds, spend them and then drop out of courses. Prior to the disbursement date, students can charge their books and supplies against their refund and their courses will not be dropped for non-payment during this time period. 

Federal Changes and Rule-making

The following reflects several financial aid issues you need to know to help students:

Item 1:  When a student decides to enroll at a college, is awarded financial aid, and then drops out, the financial liability is the institution’s, and under federal regulations, funding must be returned to the Department of Education.  For many colleges and universities in the country, this issue is significant and costly.  Faculty and staff can help by making sure that the student’s “last date of attendance” is accurate, and by avoiding the use of inappropriate W grades.

Item 2:  Federal regulations last July restricted student eligibility for Pell grants to a specific time frame and to the student making Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) toward completion.  From this issue arises the matter of measuring and recording SAP in progress toward graduation and financial aid eligibility. 

Item 3:  Interest rates on student loans issued after July 1, 2013 rose from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent after federal lawmakers failed to reach an agreement before the start of the new fiscal year. Until Congress resolves this issue, it may create another barrier or deterrent for students to access education and complete certificate and degree programs in a timely manner.  From this issue will arise others still undetermined. 

These federal policies and mandates directly impact CSN’s operations, its students and faculty.  You will hear more about them next month and into the academic year. 

Finally, you may have noticed that there has been some discussion in higher education literature and in some regional accreditation reviews, about the precise definition of a contact hour and a credit hour. In the wake of reports about faculty that cancel too many classes or regularly end classes early, policymakers are questioning how to best determine that contact hours are properly met to equate to the required credit hours. This issue affects distance education as well as site-based classes. 


 –Mike Richards

Congratulations to CSN’s PTK Chapter!

Congratulations to CSN’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter! I am proud to announce the nation’s largest community college honor society has designated CSN’s organization a Five Star Chapter, the highest level of distinction. 

The designation recognizes the college’s chapter for its progress in meeting student engagement and community service goals. CSN will also receive a Five Star Chapter Development Plan, which will serve as a blue print to improve student engagement on campus and further strength the college’s chapter. 

Only 13 out of 98 college chapters in the Nevada-California regional district have attained Five Star status. 

This is a remarkable testament to the hard work and dedication of our Phi Theta Kappa students and CSN English Professor Bruno Rhodes, who has served as one of the finest chapter advisers in the nation. Together they have put in countless hours to improve our community and attain academic excellence. This chapter is a great asset to our community and CSN students. 

CSN’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter is one of the largest in the nation with over 700 members, who provide hundreds of hours of community service each year to Southern Nevada. Phi Theta Kappa membership is available to all students that have a cumulative GPA of 3.5 and completed a minimum of 12 college-level units at CSN.  Members have access to scholarships, along with leadership, fellowship and service opportunities. For more information about membership benefits visit www.ptk.org.

Again, congratulations to our PTK students and to Professor Rhodes!