CSN January Chronicle

Happy New Year to all of you! Welcome back to another year and to spring semester. There is considerable information to share with you. 

Sandy Hook Tragedy and CSN

As the fall semester ended, the tragedy at Sandy Hook School occurred in Newtown, Conn. The horror of this event shocked the nation, stunned us with grief and prompted every one of us to ask, how could this happen? Some of us, myself included, thought when and where will it happen next? 

Rather than let fear and anger paralyze us, we must let these motivate us to be prepared. Over the last few months, I’ve reported on steps CSN has taken to address student and employee safety and campus preparedness for emergency situations. I want to remind you of what resources CSN has in place to help address emergency incidents and keep our campus safe. 

We are fortunate to have consummate professionals, who are trained to handle emergency incidents, leading our CSN Police Department and our Office of Emergency Management. Although we depend on their expertise, we are not relieved of our personal obligations to be alert and aware of what’s going on around us. 

Every one of us has a responsibility to review the college’s Emergency Preparedness Guidelines so that we know what to do in an emergency at CSN. This report, which we rolled out last fall and promoted at convocation, includes emergency telephone numbers and instructions on how to respond in a variety of manmade and natural disasters, including an active shooter situation. They will also provide you with a greater understanding of how first-responders will act in accordance with each situation. Please make sure your colleagues and direct reports have read these guidelines. Be ready. 

I am pleased to report that since the beginning of the fall 2012 semester, a total of 931 employees have attended the Emergency Management Overview sessions and 78 of your colleagues have attended the Floor Warden training and made the commitment to act in that role in the event of an emergency. 

CSN police officers maintain continuous patrols on our campuses and at our centers. Our officers work closely with community law enforcement agencies to share information and CSN recently joined the Southern Nevada Area Communication Council, which fosters relationships between police agencies and the interoperability of enhanced communication equipment that is vitally important to first responders. 

New “Blue Light” Emergency call boxes have been installed at strategic locations throughout CSN’s three main campuses. When you push the “information” or “emergency” button (depending on the model), you are immediately linked to the CSN Police Department personnel who will quickly respond to your call and dispatch aid. In addition, the tower units act as an emergency notification system from which campus public safety personnel can broadcast critical incident information across campuses.

We are in the process of enhancing our Emergency Notification System and I urge you to sign up now at www.csn.edu/alert to receive email, text and/or phone calls during and after campus emergencies that will provide you with the latest information. In addition, our Intercampus Communication System (ICS) screens provide updates on breaking situations as we receive them.

Additional information

  • Visit the CSN website for our more information on our policies and public safety.
  • Know that incidences and all threats are investigated by trained professionals.
  • If you have information pertaining to threats of any kind at CSN or to our students, it is imperative to report these to the CSN police.
  • Our campuses utilize sophisticated camera systems to monitor activity at all CSN locations.
  • CSN police officers perform around-the-clock random checks of our campuses. 

Finally, CSN hosts many children each day on our campuses.  They enrich our lives and the learning experiences we offer.  Let us be mindful of their safety and security as well as our own. 

Changes to CSN Diversity Function

Diversity is one of three pillars supporting CSN’s mission alongside quality and access. This means that CSN must represent the diverse community we serve and provide a welcoming environment, where all have the opportunity thrive. There are many ways to accomplish these goals, some which include education and celebration and others that require us to build, strengthen or transform relationships within our community, and we have limited resources.

To lead us in these endeavors, I have reorganized our diversity function.  While some institutions can afford 8 to 10 FTEs in diversity, CSN has to be more prudent.  We have had a search underway for several months – a fact that caused much frustration this fall as faculty and staff have come to depend on institutional leadership and guidance in this area for a multitude of activities and issues. I believe this speaks to how valued the diversity function is at CSN, a function I have split:  establishing a line position for internal diversity efforts, and a staff position for outreach.

Please welcome Kimiko Walton in her new role as CSN’s diversity coordinator, effective immediately, as an outcome of our national search. As the former head of recruitment, she has demonstrated leadership in outreach and has a unique understanding of whom we serve. She will provide educational programs and resources, including support to heritage month committees and consultation to faculty and administrators in strengthening diversity. She will provide educational and social activities that serve to celebrate diversity and eliminate discrimination. She will also support student clubs and organizations as they endeavor to do the same.

To lead our outreach and community relations, I have appointed Maria Marinch to fulfill this role, effective Feb. 1.  Maria has more than 20 years of experience in community outreach. She has designed and implemented award-winning campaigns for government agencies and private businesses. Maria served the college this fall in her capacity as president of Language Sources, a multicultural media firm, to strengthen the college’s outreach efforts and help us in our goal to become a federally designated Hispanic Serving Institution. She has developed strong relationships with our faculty, staff and community partners. She will hit the ground running to bring CSN closer to the many diverse groups that call Southern Nevada home and want this institution to be their community’s college.

Please welcome Maria to CSN.

On January 29th we will celebrate our new student transfer office, a unique partnership with UNLV.  While we have had transfer centers for some time to provide general advice to students, UNLV has funded two FTE positions full time on West Charleston and Cheyenne campuses, respectively, and a “circuit” advisor travelling from Cheyenne to Henderson.   

Questions from Faculty and Staff Members: 

“How many students are enrolled at CSN?”

Our final numbers for fall 2012 were 37,696 students for headcount and 19,531.4 FTE.

“Why are we doing all of this construction now and how are we paying for it?”

There are a lot of projects underway that represent years of preparation by our Facilities Management Department. A great deal of planning, and pre-construction (or destruction) work is done in advance of the winter and summer breaks to ensure minimal disruption to students. 

A variety of revenue sources are funding these projects, including standard maintenance budgets, deferred maintenance or state funding and capital improvement fees. 

Initially, we requested funds from the Legislature for all of the major projects, such as the Henderson campus A Building mechanical retrofit, the Charleston A Building mechanical retrofit and the Charleston A Building renovation. However, these projects were not funded. The A Building Mechanical work at Henderson was approved by the Board of Regents last March and is being funded through the capital improvement fee. The A Building renovation for the Charleston campus is being accomplished through the proceeds of a bank loan that was approved by the Board of Regents at the November 2012 meeting. The funds to repay that loan will be from capital improvement fees. 

Is CSN hiring more Student Affairs support staff and why?”

The entire institution is aware of the need for more frontline staff.  While we are striving to fill vacant frontline positions in the admissions and financial aid offices, we also have needs in advising, recruiting, retention and student life.  But even as these are filled, we are also working to add positions. For example, the financial aid office is in the process of adding a total of six new positions in client services, processing, and programming. This is an initial step. However, the plan for student affairs is much bigger than adding a few staff positions.

“How and why is Student Affairs reorganizing?”

Higher education is changing with a much greater emphasis on completion and student success. While community colleges will continue to provide access, the emphasis must expand to include support services that lead to student success. 

CSN Student Affairs is re-orienting, more than reorganizing, to adapt and the envisioned organization being developed includes re-purposing of positions since the “what we do” and the “how we work” shape the “type of positions” that are needed.   

The re-orienting includes the development of CSN Central. This is a “one-stop center” which will serve a triage function, addressing student issues and responding to questions concerning admissions, cashier, financial aid and registration issues. This approach will be functional by summer and will be available at all three sites. CSN Central will reshape the initial student experience at CSN.  

There are parallel functions which have been and are being developed to complement CSN Central.  The CSN Call Center, 651-5555, which has been in operation for one year, captures calls, provides information to all callers and returns calls as needed. The institution has added 20 part-time staff to answer calls and provide information. These part-time positions will be converted to full time as the range of services provided by the Call Center expand. In addition, technology solutions are underway to create a virtual presence, which will increase accessibility, allow students to better engage with CSN services and provide timely information. 

Student Affairs is piloting CSN College Connections, a targeted recruitment model for expansion of outreach services. This is a comprehensive recruiting initiative designed to help high school seniors navigate every step of the admissions and financial aid application processes and to connect them to what we are now calling Student Success Coaches

The expansion of the advisor role toward a proactive and intrusive case management model eliminates some of the silos in the operation by reshaping the functions of recruiters, retention specialists and advisors. A new title, Success Coach, reflects the expanded role. More importantly, the goal is to connect students with appropriate educational pathways, resources for success, and hence promote successful college attainment as reflected in increases in participation, completion and graduation. The spring semester will allow time for piloting with full implementation for the fall semester. 

The immediate focus is on the final stages of development of these transformational initiatives and initial implementation. Although this vision relies heavily on an effective and cohesive student affairs leadership team, the reality is a successful student experience is totally dependent on each of us.  

I will report on this as more information becomes available.

Best regards to all.

–Mike Richards


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