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New CSN Program Gives Students Money to Enroll in More Classes

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LAS VEGAS, Aug. 18, 2015 – The College of Southern Nevada is launching a new program today that will give students free money to spend at the bookstore if they take more classes this semester.

The CSN Future Grad program encourages students to take as close to a full load of credits as possible. Full-time students are more likely to graduate, and that’s what CSN wants its students to do.

Sponsored by Follett Higher Education Group, which operates CSN’s bookstores, the program is available to new students enrolling in their first three-credit classes or returning students adding additional three-credit classes between Tuesday, Aug. 18, and 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, which is the last day to register for 16-week courses for the fall semester.

After enrolling in a new three-credit course, students must email their names, student identification numbers and the names of the new courses in which they enrolled to futuregrad@csn.edu. Funds are limited to the first 1,000 students who email the college and meet the requirements. More details are available at www.csn.edu/futuregrad. Students who complete all the course work they began at the start of the semester will be eligible to receive another $100 CSN bookstore voucher for the spring semester.

“CSN has a variety of courses available now and we hope this program can compel potential students considering attending to make that final step and enroll, and returning students to take more credits toward graduation,” CSN President Michael D. Richards said. “We are grateful to Follett for generously providing the funds for this program.”

What: CSN Future Grad Program

When: Now through 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 23, which is the last day to register for 16-week courses for the fall semester

Who: Returning and new CSN students

About CSN:

Founded in 1971 and educating thousands of students a semester, the College of Southern Nevada (csn.edu) is the state’s largest and most ethnically diverse higher education institution. CSN students can choose from 180 degree and certificate options in more than 100 areas of study, including more than 25 degree and certificate programs available entirely online. Students create flexible, personalized schedules, including day, evening, and weekend classes taught on three main campuses and multiple locations throughout Southern Nevada. CSN — your future starts here. CSN is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution. For more information, visit http://www.csn.edu/nondiscrimination

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Technology Changes Today’s Libraries

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Greetings from the College of Southern Nevada!

Technology has fundamentally changed how many of our society’s institutions function, and the college library is no exception.

The academic libraries of just a generation ago would hardly be recognizable to today’s students. Libraries still have stacks of books, but they have become so much more than that.

Libraries do remain popular. A recent survey showed that more than 5,000 students came through CSN’s libraries in a single day. The college has fully staffed libraries on all three of its main campuses. In the fall 2014 semester, the libraries had more than 500,000 visitors.

The library’s website tells a similar story, with more than 2,000 visits per day.

It is the website where many of the technological changes of recent years are on display.

Students can access online tutorials, help with research, and style guides, all 24 hours a day, seven days a week. During most library hours, they can chat with a librarian instantly.

Because research has shown that nearly two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, with even higher rates among the college-aged, the website is mobile friendly, as well. It will be redesigned in coming months to be even more useful on smartphones.

The website is not the only technological change at the library. More than 50,000 e-books are available, the library has a large collection of tutorial videos, and more than 100,000 academic journals entirely online. That’s more journals than the library could ever have had in print, and now they’re easily searchable.

A survey of students we conducted last year showed that 98 percent of them said they were satisfied or very satisfied with CSN’s libraries. They were most satisfied with the librarians.

That’s one thing I don’t believe will ever change about our libraries. There may be a day when paper books are rare, even in libraries, or when computers give way to whatever comes along to replace them.

But librarians are the heart and soul of a library. What good would all that technology be, after all, if there were no one to help us use it?

This column ran online June 12, 2015 in El Tiempo.

Legislative update

CSN faculty and staff,

The legislative session ended last week. I would like to express my appreciation to all of you who wrote letters, made phone calls or attended and testified at legislative hearings on legislation, related to CSN. I’d encourage you to contact those same legislators again to express your appreciation for what was enacted. At this time, we are still working out a lot of the details with the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE). The following is a brief overview of what we know on some of the major issues we updated you on throughout the session.

Furloughs and Pay

Lawmakers eliminated furloughs and gave all state employees an increase in salary. As of July 1, 2015, you will no longer have to take six unpaid days off each year and 2.3 percent of your salary will be restored as a result. In addition, all employees will receive a non-merit based 1 percent Cost of Living increase in your salary beginning in July 2015 and 2 percent beginning in July 2016. Classified employees also had step increases restored for each year of the biennium. Longevity pay did not pass.

At the same time, state employees’ retirement contributions increased from 13.25 percent to 14.5 percent for each year of the biennium. This increase of 1.25 percent in employees’ retirement contribution will affect employees in the defined contribution retirement system – primarily academic and administrative/professional faculty – and those in the Public Employee Retirement System (PERS) – mainly classified staff. 

It should be noted that even with the additional retirement contributions, you will see an increase in your monthly paycheck due to the furlough elimination and cost of living increases. 

Campus Carry

As many of you know by now, legislators did not enact campus carry legislation. Special thanks to Senate Judiciary Chair Sen. Greg Brower and other senators for not hearing this legislation after it passed the Assembly.

Silver State Opportunity Grant

Gov. Brian Sandoval signed the $5 million Silver State Opportunity Grant into law with a number of education officials by his side, including outgoing CSN student body President William McCurdy II and CSN Government Affairs and Communications Director Michael Flores. This grant will provide low-income community college and Nevada State College students taking at least 15 credits a semester a stipend, based on the student’s ability to pay, to help them attend full time. These students must also be Nevada residents and college-ready, meaning they must be in college-level math or English. This scholarship is effective July 1 and is truly transformational for our students.

Millennium Scholarship Minimum Credit Requirement

The Silver State Opportunity Grant is also meant to counteract the effect new Millennium Scholarship minimum credit requirements will have on our student population. Legislators passed new credit minimums for this scholarship, requiring community college students eligible to receive the Millennium Scholarship to take a minimum of 9 credits, up from 6 credits.

Economic Gardening

Assemblywoman Dina Neal and Sen. Pat Spearman both shepherded legislation to provide CSN’s Division of Workforce & Economic Development with funds for a workforce development pilot project to work with the Nevada Small Business Development Center, the Urban Chamber, NSHE and other partners to help existing local businesses expand over the biennium.

Again, thank you to all who participated in this session. I think we can be proud of what was accomplished and optimistic about the future of higher education in Nevada. We will continue to update you as we know more.

Best,

 

Mike

CSN Student Gets Prestigious Award

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Greetings from the College of Southern Nevada!

We have many extraordinary students at CSN, none more so than Selene Moreno.

Moreno was recently notified that she was awarded the prestigious Boren Scholarship, a rarity for community college students and the first ever awarded to a CSN student.

She called it “the best news I have ever received.”

“I still think that this is all a dream,” she said.

The National security Education Program awarded just 171 scholarships this year out of 750 applications. The federally funded scholarships are intended to provide U.S. college students the resources and encouragement needed to acquire language skills and experience in countries critical to the future security and stability of the country. Award recipients agree to work for the federal government for at least a year later on.

Moreno is a dealer in a local casino, working an overnight shift. She comes to class after her shifts end in the morning.

Now that’s determination.

She said she fell in love with Middle Eastern culture years ago, and even started a Middle Eastern dance club while a student at Rancho High School. She’s traveled to Egypt, Lebanon, and the United Arab Emirates.

When she enrolled at CSN, she wasn’t sure what she wanted to study. She took an Arabic language class, and she loved it.

“I was hooked,” she said. “I took all the classes I needed to take and realized that with my passion and knowledge of Middle Eastern culture and language, I could do so much.”

She applied for the Boren Award two years ago, but didn’t get it. Moreno was disappointed, but she didn’t give up. She worked on raising her grades, and asked for help from her English professor.

She crafted new essays, submitted an application this year, and won.

She had wanted to study in Egypt, but that’s not going to be allowed for security concerns. She’ll study in Jordan instead, a country she’s never been to.

“It’s fair to say that my hard work actually paid off,” she said.

This column ran online June 5, 2015 in El Tiempo.

Cyber Summit Will Address Shortage of Security Experts

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For Immediate Release:

Contact:          Richard Lake, CSN Public Relations Specialist, 702-651-7715, Richard.Lake@csn.edu

Cyber Summit Will Address Shortage of Security Experts

Shortage of computer system specialists trained at community colleges will help address nation’s critical security needs

LAS VEGAS, June 3, 2015 – As cybersecurity becomes an issue of increasing national importance, the College of Southern Nevada is preparing to host the second annual Community College Cyber Summit this month to help these two-year institutions prepare the workforce that will secure our nation.

The summit, designed to bring cybersecurity educators and experts from around the country together, will address how to rapidly expand and enhance cybersecurity programs in community colleges. It will take place June 17-19, primarily on CSN’s Cheyenne campus.

“Community Colleges are on the front lines in the battle against the shortage of cybersecurity experts in the workforce,” said Michael Spangler, dean of the CSN School of Advanced & Applied Technologies.

Missy Young, executive vice president of colocation at Switch, will be the conference’s keynote speaker, scheduled for 1 p.m. Thursday, June 18, in the June Whitley Student Center at CSN. Hundreds of educators from community colleges are expected to attend the summit.

Recent studies show that hundreds of millions of records are stolen online annually; nearly half of all Americans had their personal data stolen in 2014. As the need for more workers to counteract this trend grows, CSN is developing a degree program in cybersecurity.

“There is a shortage of computer systems specialists trained in cyber security,” Spangler said. “This threat is very real. Our job as a community college is to train the experts by developing the curriculum and acquiring the necessary technology resources. The summit goes a long way toward helping us achieve that goal.”

The conference is being organized and produced by a host of cybersecurity interest groups funded by the National Science Foundation, including the National CyberWatch Center. For more, please visit www.nationalcyberwatch.org and click on Events.

What: Community College Cyber Summit

When: June 17-19

Who: Missy Young, executive vice president of colocation at Switch

Why: As cybersecurity threats grow, community colleges are uniquely poised to deal with them

About CSN:

Founded in 1971 and educating thousands of students a semester, the College of Southern Nevada (csn.edu) is the state’s largest and most ethnically diverse higher education institution. CSN students can choose from 180 degree and certificate options in more than 100 areas of study, including more than 25 degree and certificate programs available entirely online. Students create flexible, personalized schedules, including day, evening, and weekend classes taught on three main campuses and multiple locations throughout Southern Nevada. CSN — your future starts here. CSN is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution. For more information, visit http://www.csn.edu/nondiscrimination

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CSN Graduates Record Number Again

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Greetings from the College of Southern Nevada!

We are continuing a trend at CSN this year by graduating our largest class ever.

This year’s graduating class will include a record 3,326 students who are receiving 3,578 degrees and certificates, according to preliminary data. Official numbers for the spring 2015 semester will be available once final semester grades are completed.

Those totals have been growing consistently in recent years, which I believe is evidence that our efforts to help students succeed are working.

In addition, 36 percent of our graduates are graduating with honors or high honors.

CSN has made a concerted effort to help students complete their education once enrolled. The college has launched or expanded services such as free, unlimited tutoring, math and writing resources centers on each campus, and dedicated counselors for degree-seeking students.

And we have implemented mandatory orientation, advising and placement testing for many new incoming students, which we believe will enhance student success even more.

This year’s graduating class includes some extraordinary students.

Andrea Wilkerson is a radiation therapy student who plans on working with cancer patients after graduation. She already has her bachelor’s degree in communication, but she felt like she had missed her calling. After volunteering with organizations that worked with terminal patients, she enrolled at CSN. Now on the cusp of a new career, she said she feels “like I’m about to go out there and change the world.”

Our graduating student body president, William McCurdy II, grew up in West Las Vegas, the son of a schoolteacher and a pastor who worked for the local housing authority. McCurdy was a stellar athlete at Palos Verdes High School, but ended up dropping out after fathering a child. Undeterred, McCurdy later came back to school and succeeded through hard work and perseverance. He plans on attending UNLV, and later going to law school.

“CSN set the perfect foundation for me,” McCurdy said.

There are many more stories like Wilkerson’s and McCurdy’s among the 3,000-plus students who are earning degrees and certificates.

It is an honor to be able to celebrate their accomplishments with them.

This column ran online May 29, 2015 in El Tiempo.

CSN Commencement Speaker’s Story Shows Hard Work, Excellence

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Greetings from the College of Southern Nevada!

Excellence is a habit.

That’s the message that this year’s CSN commencement speaker, student Karin Rodriguez, will deliver at our upcoming graduation ceremony.

Rodriguez was chosen from among many students who vied for the honor of delivering the commencement speech.

His story is similar to many community college students’ stories. It is one of persistence, hard work and overcoming obstacles. He started college several years ago, but was unable to finish. He says he felt like a failure.

But by 2012, Rodriguez had seen a new daughter born into the world and he was struggling financially. He knew he had to do something. He re-enrolled and began classes at CSN.

Soon, Rodriguez went from attending part-time to attending full-time. He found that he liked college and that he could become good at it if he worked hard enough. He learned what his weaknesses were, and he sought to improve. He knew he needed to work on his writing skills, so Rodriguez signed up for free help at the CSN Writing Center.

With help, his writing improved. He earned top good grades, not just passing grades, in his writing courses. He improved his good grades to perfect grades, earning straight A’s. He formed a habit of doing excellent work.

In his final year at CSN, Rodriguez became more involved in school, joining the student government as a senator, and becoming a member of TRIO, a group for first-generation college students. All the while, he continued working a full-time job outside of college.

Though he struggled with some courses, even up to the end, he credits support from his family for his success. He is among the newest crop of CSN graduates, the Class of 2015.

This column ran online May 18, 2015 in El Tiempo.

CSN May Chronicle

The CSN Chronicle

This May 2015 Chronicle is intended to provide you with the latest news and information as the academic year comes to an end. Many of you will be gone from our campuses when the Legislature finalizes our budget and acts on other business, and there is much activity on many fronts that I’d like you to know about.

Graduation

Grad1On Monday, May 18, CSN’s commencement ceremony will be held at the Thomas & Mack Center at 6 p.m. A record number of students will graduate. We will also recognize Mr. Dennis Birr with an honorary degree to honor him for leading our terrific CSN High School program for more than 10 years. I hope you will join us for this special tribute to our students.

 

 

Key dates:

  • May 18–Commencement
  • June 2 — Regular Session of the Nevada Legislature Ends
  • August 17 — Fall Convocation, Texas Station
  • August 24 — Fall Semester Begins

 

 NSHE Budget Status

  • The Economic Forum projections of revenue for the next biennium came out May 1, putting a $170 million hole in the Governor’s proposed budget. Even if lawmakers approve his revenue package or something like it, the Legislature will have major decisions to make if the state is to maintain a flat budget for the next biennium.
  • The initial closing of the higher education budget took place Thursday, May 7. In general, the higher education budget is in good shape and we are positive about the future. Lawmakers expressed hope and positive sentiments toward several initiatives for which there is yet no funding, including state-funded grants for low-income students, the workforce development fund and merit for professional staff. We have made a strong case for these items. We know that legislators, including leadership understand them and there is ample support for them. However, at this point, it is a matter of finding the money to implement them in some form.

As legislative action draws to a close in early June, I will issue a message to the college community about the final outcomes.

Good News—Our Students

Trehixi Galvan was named the Regents’ Scholar for CSN this year.

Trehixi Galvan was named the Regents’ Scholar for CSN this year.

On May 1, at the Outstanding Student Awards Ceremony, we recognized 21 exceptional students. Scholarships and tributes to the students were widely shared, and this year’s Regents Scholar award was presented to Trehixi Galvan. Many awardees were members of Phi Theta Kappa, our national honorary, an organization critical to CSN for its benefits to students. PTK students complete their certifications or degrees at a much higher rate than the general student population, and they are eligible for remarkable scholarships to four-year institutions. This year, a CSN PTK student was awarded one of four national $20,000 scholarships to Boston University! A wonderful achievement! Another CSN student Selene Moreno received a prestigious Boren Scholarship, a rarity for a community college student and the first ever awarded to a CSN student!

I’m delighted to share this news about our students. We have excellent students who achieve because of dedicated faculty and staff and a commitment of many hours of hard work from everyone. Thank you all for your outstanding service to CSN.

Vice President of Student Affairs

New CSN Vice President of Student Affairs Juanita LeFlore Chrysanthou

New CSN Vice President of Student Affairs Juanita LeFlore Chrysanthou

I am proud to announce that Juanita LeFlore Chrysanthou will join us as the new Vice President of Student Affairs, beginning Sept. 1.

Juanita comes to CSN from the Lone Star College System in Texas, where she served as vice chancellor of student success. As many of you who participated in the national search and public forums for the VPSA candidates this fall will recall, Juanita is familiar with the Nevada System of Higher Education, whereas she served five years as vice president of student services at Truckee Meadows Community College. She has ample experience leading student success initiatives, including her tenure as the vice president of learning services at Bakersfield College, where she co-directed a Title V Hispanic Serving Institutions grant. In addition, she brings significant experience in financial aid and student enrollment planning to this office.

Juanita received her Bachelor of Arts and a master’s in counseling, guidance & PPS from Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles and is currently working toward her Ed.D. in Leadership from the American College of Education.

I want to thank all of you who participated in the search process. Please help welcome Juanita to the CSN family when she arrives this fall.

CSN Connections

CSN Connections events are designed to connect students with the various services CSN offers, including the CSN Writing Centers.

CSN Connections events are designed to connect students with the various services CSN offers, including the CSN Writing Centers.

CSN Connections events were held on all three campuses leading up to enrollment beginning for the fall 2015 semester. The events featured free food and music for our students, and booths featuring information on all the services CSN offers. We had dozens of information booths, including transfer advisors for UNLV and Nevada State College, the CSN Libraries, the Writing and Tutorial Centers, and much more. The events not only provide vital information for students, but help ensure their success by making sure they have a chance to meet faculty, staff and administrators. Studies show that students who are more familiar with their college are more likely to succeed.

 

Diversity Fair

Outgoing ASCSN President William McCurdy II and incoming President Christopher Jones at the Student Diversity Fair.

Outgoing ASCSN President William McCurdy II and incoming President Christopher Jones at the Student Diversity Fair.

The Office of Community Relations, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs, along with the student Living Sociology Club and the Associated Students of the College of Southern Nevada, sponsored a CSN Student Diversity Fair. Designed to bring people from diverse backgrounds together, the fair featured information on everything from the homeless in southern Nevada to the many volunteering opportunities available in the community. I’d like to thank the faculty, staff and students involved in putting together this wonderful event.

New Student Body President

Congratulations are in order for Christopher Jones (see above photo), the newly elected president of the Associated Students of the College of Southern Nevada. Jones, who served as a student senator from the Charleston campus this semester, will take over from William McCurdy II, who has distinguished himself as president. Jones is studying urban planning and hopes to establish a career in real estate development. His plans for the upcoming academic year will include effective communication with students to discover their wants and needs, and working as their elected advocate. Please join me in congratulating Jones on his election.

United Way Payroll Deductions

Screen Shot 2015-05-11 at 9.33.59 AMAfter much thought, we have decided to discontinue the annual drives to solicit payroll deducted contributions for United Way of Southern Nevada. The logic behind this is that we could not provide similar opportunities for other organizations and it competed with our CSN Foundation’s efforts to increase employee donations to our students.

If you wish to continue your monthly payroll deductions to United Way, you may absolutely continue to do so. If at some point you wish to stop, or change the amount deducted, please contact HR and they can assist you with these endeavors. If you ever wish to donate directly to United Way, which is a wonderful organization and CSN community partner, providing resources and services to many needs in this valley, please go to http://uwsn.org/ to learn more. You can also find engagement opportunities at uwsn.org/volunteer.  We look forward to enhancing our relationship with United Way in other ways and helping to promote their efforts – as well as those of other organizations – through other mediums.

Questions from Faculty and Staff Members:

“Will we have the ability to work four 10-hour work weeks in the summer?”

Before furloughs and budget cuts, some employees had a flexible summer option. We will not be returning to that this year, although, it might be considered in the future.

“What policies have been approved this year?”

A number of policy revisions were adopted in the past academic year, and we’ll prepare a summary of them in my summer Chronicle. It’s important that policy information be widely communicated throughout the college community, and that process will shortly begin.

I hope to see many of you at graduation to celebrate the success of our students.

Have a great summer!

–Mike Richards

CSN to Recognize Diverse Graduating Class

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For Immediate Release:

Contact:          Richard Lake, CSN Public Relations Specialist, 702-651-7715, Richard.Lake@csn.edu

CSN to Recognize Diverse Graduating Class

College will hold a series of multicultural celebrations leading up to the 43rd annual commencement

 LAS VEGAS, May 8, 2015 – The College of Southern Nevada will hold several multicultural graduation celebrations in the coming weeks to recognize the hard work of its diverse community of students.

The celebrations begin Saturday, May 9, and run through May 16, leading up to the college’s 43rd annual Commencement Ceremony on May 18. Food and entertainment will be provided at each celebration and all are open to the public.

“CSN will celebrate the accomplishments of every graduate. We want to honor the traditions of members of the diverse communities who call CSN home,” said Maria Marinch, executive director of the Office of Community Relations, Diversity and Multicultural Affairs. “We know these celebrations impact student success, express appreciation for the invaluable support family, friends and community provide students, and inspire others to see college in their future.”

CSN, Nevada’s largest and most diverse higher education institution, is graduating its largest class ever this year.

The multicultural celebrations will all take place on CSN’s Cheyenne campus:

  • Native American Celebration: 11 a.m., Saturday, May 9, in the Morse Arberry Jr. Telecommunications Building. The keynote speaker will be William Anderson, former tribal chairman of the Moapa Band of Paiutes.
  • Latino Celebration: 6:30 p.m., Friday, May 15, in the June Whitley Lounge. Noted DREAMer and organizer at the Progressive Leadership Alliance of Nevada Astrid Silva will deliver the keynote.
  • Asian/Pacific Islander Celebration: 6 p.m., Friday, May 15, in the Morse Arberry Jr. Telecommunications Building. Speakers include Evan Louie, owner of Kona Ice Las Vegas and commissioner of minority affairs for the state of Nevada, and Elaine Chen, president of TopSight Corporation.
  • African American Celebration: 6:30 p.m., Saturday, May 16, in the June Whitley Lounge. The event will feature a performance by the P.A. Owens Christian Academy choir and scholarships presented by Stephanie Hill, CSN assistant vice president for student engagement services and Anthony Caraveo, market manager for Grainger Tools for Tomorrow.

About CSN:

Founded in 1971 and educating thousands of students a semester, the College of Southern Nevada (csn.edu) is the state’s largest and most ethnically diverse higher education institution. CSN students can choose from 180 degree and certificate options in more than 100 areas of study, including more than 25 degree and certificate programs available entirely online. Students create flexible, personalized schedules, including day, evening, and weekend classes taught on three main campuses and multiple locations throughout Southern Nevada. CSN — your future starts here. CSN is an Equal Employment Opportunity/Affirmative Action institution. For more information, visit http://www.csn.edu/nondiscrimination

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As High School Students Graduate, CSN Gears Up for Enrollment

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Greetings from the College of Southern Nevada!

It is time to enroll for the fall 2015 semester.

Beginning May 22, new students can begin registering for classes at CSN for the fall. Registration for the Summer 2015 semester is already open.

New graduates of the Clark County School District should be aware of some important changes we have implemented to the enrollment process. Many of these changes were put in place last year and we have expanded on them for the upcoming semester.

These graduating students from CCSD schools will be required to attend advising and orientation sessions, as well as take placement tests in math, English and reading. Numerous studies show that students who get adequate advising and orientation and are placed in the proper level courses do better in college. Preliminary data from CSN’s initial implementation of this policy last year shows students who were affected were more likely to return the following semester than those who did not fall under the program.

We know that many students come to college with little idea of what classes they should take, what their majors should be, or how to go about forming a plan. We are changing that.

The policy was expanded this year to include reading placement testing. In all, CSN expects about 3,500 CCSD grads to be affected. CSN has communicated about the policy with more than 20,000 high school students expected to graduate this year.

Once students have applied for admission, they can come to an on-campus orientation session, or complete one online. They must also prepare for and take the placement tests. Students who fall under the new policy are strongly encouraged to start the process now.

The orientation process will direct students to services available at CSN and will help them navigate registration. The students will also have help from their advisors to build their class schedules, with a goal of registering for necessary classes early in their college careers, particularly math requirements, which students often delay until the end of college. As students progress through CSN, they will be paired with a counselor from their department and a faculty mentor.

Student progress will be closely monitored and, if the initiative continues to prove successful, it will be expanded in the future to include all new incoming CSN students.

This column ran online May 8, 2015 in El Tiempo.