February Chronicle

 

The CSN Chronicle

 Greetings to all!  There is much activity on many fronts that I’d like you to know about.     

 Black History Month

Last week, as has been our custom this academic year with heritage months, CSN hosted a President’s forum on student success, this time focusing on African-American persistence and completion. We appreciated the participation of Congressman Steven Horsford and the address by Dr. Harriet Barlow.  These forums included a data review and analysis of our students as well as remarks from a student and guest speaker on how CSN can better serve its minority populations.

On Tuesday, the Black History Month Committee will host the annual scholarship reception with keynote speaker CSN Professor Karen Laing-Urbana. I encourage you to come if your schedule permits from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. in K101 at the Charleston campus.

 There have been many other great events taking place at CSN, DRI and UNLV during this month.  A full calendar is available online at www.csn.edu/blackhistory.

 Work Climate Survey

Many faculty and staff participated in the recent work climate survey. I understand that the results will be available by April. The work climate committee will review the findings and seek input from the community on the challenges identified so they can develop recommendations. Typically, these kinds of surveys reveal positive observations and areas for improvement. Areas targeted for improvement in 2011 included campus communications, policies and training. We’ll see what changes occurred in these areas. Again this year, we intend to take the recommendations seriously. The aggregate survey data will be posted on the IR website.

At its regular meeting on February 28 and March 1, the Board of Regents will receive a report from Dr. Richard Katz, a consultant on trends in E-Learning.  Although there will be some general discussion and responses from the presidents, issues of coordination or next steps will be the subject of many subsequent meetings among institutions and with the Board.  While some of the report’s recommendations have merit and reflect suggestions CSN has made for several years, the bulk of the report needs significantly more discussion and, in many cases, extensive new investment of funds that neither NSHE nor the institutions have at their disposal. 

Legislative Advocacy

ASCSN Student Body President Travis Brown, Vice President Antonio Guerrero, Secretary Charles Winters, Senator Michelle Tewes and dental hygiene student Michelle Fasbinder at the Grant Sawyer Building on Friday

NSHE and its institutions have now had four hearings during the early days of the 77thRegular Session of the Nevada Legislature. The hearings have covered NSHE’s budget request and the new funding formula recommended by the Interim Committee of the Legislature on Higher Education Funding. On Friday, a group of our students, including ASCSN Student Body President Travis Brown, Vice President Antonio Guerrero, Secretary Charles Winters, Senator Michelle Tewes and dental hygiene student Michelle Fasbinder were present for the joint meeting of the Assembly Committee on Ways and Means and the Senate Committee on Finance. The committee met to review the impact of the economic recession and subsequent budget cuts to NSHE and K-12. Due to time constraints, only a few students from NSHE institutions were able to testify. They did a wonderful job and represented all Nevada students well. In addition, CSN Classified Council President Rob Telles provided comprehensive and heartfelt testimony about the impact of pay and benefit cuts to CSN employees. We appreciate all of their efforts to support the college and higher education this legislative session. We now need faculty, staff and students to engage in regular contact with legislators to advocate the budget request of the Board of Regents and to tell legislators we need the new funding formula. 

CSN’s legislative priorities include supporting the proposed funding formula, as approved by the interim Legislative Committee on Higher Education Funding and the Board of Regents, and salary restoration for employees. This link provides suggestions on contacting legislators. 

On its website, the CSN Foundation has set up a legislative information page with links to individual legislators, bills and committees. This site may also be helpful to you.

 As the legislative session proceeds, we will provide updates and more information. 

National media reports on breaches of cyber security and email threats remind us of our vulnerability. OTS reports that in 2012, our systems intercepted 112,000 email threats per day. In 2013, that number rose to 350,000 threats per day. Precautions you can take include locking your personal phone, using a security cable for laptops, which you can request from OTS, updating your passwords regularly, staying current on security in the OTS newsletter, and having a VPN account for email (contact the help desk for this account). 

Student Affairs also has a new blog. Check it regularly for content related to our student support services. As discussed in the last Chronicle, there are a lot of changes occurring in this area of the college as we focus more on student success and retention.

Bradley Honious

I would also like to welcome the new assistant vice president of College Access Services, Bradley Honious. His experience includes service as associate vice president of Enrollment Management for Onondaga Community College; managing director of Financial Aid and Veteran’s Affairs for Valencia College District; director of Student Financial Assistance for Gateway Community College, part of the Maricopa Community College System; acting district director of Student Affairs for the Maricopa Community College District; and program coordinator of Financial Aid Information Services and Counseling at Arizona State University. Honious was selected after a national search and will oversee Student Financial Services and Veterans’ Affairs. 

Questions from Faculty and Staff Members:

 “How many students are enrolled spring semester?”

Our spring enrollment is still not finalized, but we are down by about 4 percent over last spring. While declining enrollment at community colleges is currently a national phenomena, research also suggests that one of the best ways to improve institutional enrollment is to focus on retention. This fits in with much of the student success work underway at the college that many of you are involved in. We are also evaluating our outreach and enrollment processes for improvements. 

“What is your position on the E-Learning report?”

As many of you know, CSN is a major provider of online instruction. I frequently tell people that CSN is Nevada’s Virtual College. This year nearly 5,000 FTE students or about 14,000 total students are enrolled in our online campus. CSN offers 28 complete programs and certificates online in addition to hundreds of class sections taught by innovative faculty.  Dr. Richard Katz, retained by NSHE as a distance education consultant, was aware of our efforts but did not summarize the scope of distance education operations on any campus in his recent report to the Board of Regents. 

The report will prompt much discussion, which is good. I am hopeful it may also lead to improvements long advocated by CSN faculty and staff.  But of the 16 recommendations in the report, 13 require major infusions of new funding that NSHE and its institutions do not have. The lack of resources will certainly constrain the impact of the report and be an issue going forward. 

“What good does a Work Climate Survey do? What kinds of changes, if any, can we expect from another survey?”

This is a great question. I can’t tell you what to expect from the results of the most recent survey as we have not received them or analyzed the responses. Below are the results from the previous survey and if they are any indication, I think you can surmise that the surveys produce meaningful results at CSN. 

Consistent policies and procedures

Human Resources

  • HR website reorganized for easier access to information and forms.
  • Faculty and staff handbooks with live links to current policies developed and posted on HR website.
  • Employee resources section of HR site for common topics and questions by new and continuing employees
  • Short video tutorials and thematic FAQ page created for common HR questions.

Evaluations

  • New part-time faculty members must be evaluated their first semester and continuing part-time faculty members must be evaluated at a minimum every three years.
  • An online evaluation system was deployed and is now the required tool for evaluating full-time faculty and professional staff.
  • An online evaluation system for classified employees is under development.

Faculty Senate and Curriculum

  • Faculty Senate updated its by-laws which eliminated internal inconsistencies and created two voting seats for contingent faculty.
  • Curriculum Committee is moving to a completely electronic curriculum system with electronic approvals which will allow for a yearly curriculum-to-catalog cycle rather than the current three-year cycle.


Communication/Communication of values
Administration

  • Members of the administration are working more visible to employees every day and at Ketch-up type events for employees.
  • The President’s Monthly Chronicle, cabinet minutes and the President’s Blog communicate CSN news, provide answers to employees’ questions.
  • More frequent updates are provided to all employees by email and on the CSN home page.

Departments

  • Integrated communication between and within departments, and through social media and MyCSN, have improved.
  • Budget Services published annual overview of CSN budget and will post quarterly updates with current budgets and year-to-date activity on updated website in 2012.
  • Department chairs have been encouraged to increase communication with part-time faculty.

Campus Events

  • CSN events and information are disseminated via ICS video screens, weekly CSN Events newsletter and the master events calendar on the website. 

Training and access to it

Relevant and Convenient Training

  • CAPE offered hundreds of training workshops throughout the year on all main campuses and online. These included NEATS/supervisory training, FERPA and MyCSN training, leadership training, policy training, customized trainings by request.
  • CAPE developed additional online training options, relevant resources and an improved online registration and evaluation system that can record participation.
  • Diversity-related workshops, including anti-discrimination training and adaptive technology/disability awareness events, have been developed by CAPE and DRC.

Administration Support

  • Convocations and Classified Staff In-Service Development Days were redesigned to be more relevant to workplace needs. Supervisors were specifically encouraged to arrange for their employees to attend.
  • Support for sabbaticals, travel, grant-in-aid and professional development was protected during budget cuts.

Faculty Development

  • Annual part-time faculty conference (Adjunct Impact) was developed and offered successfully. Opportunities for training for part-time faculty have increased.
  • Professional development is considered in full-time and part-time faculty evaluations.
  • CAPE developed a Virtual Faculty Orientation website 

Customer Service and Relationships

Human Resources

  • HR now holds regular office hours on all three main campuses.

Student Affairs

  • A “mystery shopper” study was conducted in 2010, resulting in equipment upgrades, procedural changes, and new broad-based customer service training for front-line employees.
  • The MyCSN call center was created to assist Student Affairs departments and OTS in supporting students; making correct referrals using consistent information is emphasized.

Academic Affairs

  • Counseling was moved to Academic Affairs and to a school-based model to allow more focused advising and support for academic programs. Faculty-driven advising is being advanced in departments.

Recognition

  • Recognition awards program for faculty has been instituted; outstanding faculty achievements promoted on website and ICS screens.
  • Process for nominating colleagues for recognition opportunities has been promoted and managed by Internal Recognition Committee.
  • End-of-year Reflections of Success event and Retirees’ Luncheon created for recognition and service awards. 

Other Areas

Campus Spaces

  • At all main campuses, directional and building signage have been installed.
  • Public spaces, classrooms and offices have been renovated at Cheyenne (CY) campus.
  • Obsolete air conditioning and heating systems have been replaced at CY and high-tech centers.
  • Task seating has been replaced across Henderson campus.

Safety and Security

  • Safety and Security Committee has been formed and has had its first meeting.
  • Emergency phones and towers have been installed.
  • The emergency alert system has been upgraded.
  • The Emergency Operations Plan has been created and disseminated.

Because so many active shooting incidents occur at schools, I asked that all faculty, staff and students take 15 minutes for the Active Shooter short course from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.  So far, over 500 have taken the course and submitted certifications of completion.  Thank you for taking time to prepare for incidents that we hope will never happen at CSN.  

Best regards to all. 

–Mike Richards

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