The CSN September 2015 Chronicle
Greetings! CSN is off to a great start this fall semester and this month’s Chronicle provides important updates.
CSN Achieves Leader College Status with Achieving the Dream
I am pleased to announce that Achieving the Dream has awarded CSN Leader College status. The Leader designation gives national recognition to community colleges showing sustained improvement for student outcomes such as completion and persistence. This is a wonderful accolade and a tribute to all of you. CSN has a culture focused on student success. That said, we have much more to do!
Thank you to all who took part in another fantastic series of CSN Connections events! I know this is one of the hottest times of the year, but I hear over and over from our students how much they enjoy meeting you and how informative it is. Hundreds of students this semester learned about all that CSN offers and I am so proud of this signature college event!
Board of Regents Meeting
The Board of Regents met at UNR last week. Among the most relevant issues to our faculty and staff, the notice of termination for future administrative employees was discussed. There was a robust discussion on the current length of time it takes to dismiss administrative faculty members. The proposal is listed here. The Board will take action on this item at the December meeting. Currently, administrative faculty have up to a full fiscal year or more of employment, once they receive a notice of termination, depending on when the notice is given. The proposed notice periods are 30 calendar days in the first two years of service and 45 calendar days thereafter for those hired after Dec. 15, 2015. In general, the other NSHE presidents and I support this proposal. I believe the current length of time required can foster an unhealthy work environment.
Is CSN Too Big?
The Regents have asked each president to present on the American Council of Trustees and Alumni board benchmarks. On Thursday, I provided CSN’s report which I encourage you to review for excellent information about CSN and how we measure up. The Board asked me if CSN is too big and I want to provide further explanation here to you on my response. CSN is one of the largest community colleges in the nation. According to recent data, we are the 11th largest community college. That said, I think CSN students might be better served under a model similar to that of a community college district, in which we are all part of the same college, but with campuses and their faculty and staff having more autonomy to meet the needs of their unique constituents. I am exploring this type of a model with the system and will keep you apprised and seek your participation if this develops further. This is NOT about dividing the college, breaking it apart or a new governance model.
The Silver State Opportunity Grant
As you’ll recall, the 2015 Legislature created the Silver State Opportunity Grant, the first need-based college scholarship in Nevada. All of CSN’s funds have been awarded to 388 low-income students enrolled in 15 or more credits. Awards ranged from $200 to $5,500, based on recipients’ incomes, family incomes and any federal aid. Many have asked how this scholarship might impact underrepresented students. We’ve received the following breakdown from NSHE and wanted to share it with you.
|Computer Lab Renovations|
|CSN is welcoming students back this semester with a newly renovated computer lab on the Charleston campus. The 8,000-square-foot computer lab got new flooring and paint, new computer stations, group tables and seating, as well as an increase from 148 computer stations to 171. The West Charleston C building computer lab now features:
· All 104 computer “pods” and the independent study pod have both USB and standard power outlets at the desktop
· Tables that seat from 6 to 10 people with built-in power outlets that pop open at the center were added
· Two Media Scape tables with an attached 40” monitor on the side seating up to 5 students were added. Any student or a tutor can now plug in or wirelessly connect laptops and other mobile devices to the table simultaneously and share their screens to the monitor and study together
· Two touch-screen computers attached to the lab columns now allow new students to walk up and activate their network accounts
OTS and Facilities are starting the design process for the Henderson C building Computer Lab renovation scheduled for next summer and welcome your suggestions to make CSN computer labs spaces in which students can’t wait to study!
New Vice President of Student Affairs
Please welcome our new Vice President of Student Affairs Juanita LeFlore Chysanthou. Juanita was selected, following a national search last spring and began Sept. 1. She comes to CSN from the Lone Star College System, where she served as vice chancellor of student success. She also has experience with the Nevada System of Higher Education, serving as vice president for student services at Truckee Meadows Community College from 2004 to 2009. In all, Juanita brings more than 25 years of experience in higher education administration to her duties at CSN. She has a wealth of knowledge and experience leading student success initiatives. Please help welcome her to the CSN family!
CSN’s regional accrediting agency, the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities, will send a team to the college for a site visit Oct. 7-9. The team will review CSN’s ability to meet accreditation criteria. We are encouraging those who would like to submit comments regarding the college’s qualifications for accreditation to do so. You can find out more here.
Mandatory Sexual Violence Prevention Training
This fall, CSN will launch online sexual violence prevention courses for employees and students as part of its on-going steps to ensure CSN provides a safe learning and working environment free of discrimination, harassment and sexual violence. Federal legislation requires CSN to adopt institutional policies that address and prevent campus sexual violence, including providing awareness training to institutional personnel and its students. All faculty and staff are requested to complete this training, and students will be strongly encouraged to do so. Please keep a look out for a future email from HR with information on how to take the course.
After many months of considering student, faculty, staff and community comments, CSN’s Institutional Advisory Council voted to recommend a campus naming policy that would further promote our relationships with the municipalities in which we live. The recommendation would change the Cheyenne, Henderson and West Charleston campuses to the City of North Las Vegas East Cheyenne Campus, the City of Henderson College Drive Campus and the City of Las Vegas West Charleston Campus, respectively. The underlying premise is that such a change would help local municipalities and their businesses promote their respective community college campus as an economic and workforce development tool. There have already been some concerns issued by policymakers that the term ‘City of’ connotes municipal ownership and I foresee at least some level of modification to this recommendation as we move forward.
I will present the Council’s recommendation to the Board of Regents’ Committee on Community Colleges in November for consideration. If successful, the full Board of Regents would ultimately make any decision on whether to adopt a campus naming policy and what that policy should be.
The cost of changing the monument signs on our campuses would be $15,000 to $17,000 per sign. This would come from the operations budget and likely be done over a long period of time so as not to delay needed repairs and maintenance that are also funded from that money. We would not allocate funds for new business cards or letterhead, etc. These would be updated through attrition overtime. I commend the Council for tackling this issue, which has caused much consternation internally and in the community.
We officially launched our inaugural women’s volleyball season on Aug. 28. Our team is led by CSN head volleyball coach Sue Thurman and is comprised of 100 percent Southern Nevadans. Please try to come to a game soon to support these women. Their schedule can be found here. Go Coyotes!
This summer, CSN also launched CoyoteQ, which allows students to enter a virtual queue for registration, financial aid, the testing center, the cashier and other services. They can sign in using any computer, smart phone or a kiosk on our campus. Once it’s their turn, students receive a text message to let them know or they can see their number pop up on one of our new monitors in student services areas.
Some fun facts about Coyote Q
Between the July 27 go-live date and Monday, students who entered CoyoteQ, were helped by staff 47,045 times.
In the week before the semester started, (Aug. 17 to Aug. 21), 9,461 total students entered CoyoteQ and were helped by all student services. The busiest department across all campuses for that week was Financial Aid with 2,535 students served and the average service duration time per student across all campus/departments was 8.08 minutes.
Questions from Faculty and Staff Members:
“Why does it seem as if CSN doesn’t promote from within as it relates to classified employees?”
It is unfortunate that there is the perception that classified employees are not promoted internally. Since Jan. 1, 2015, 27 classified employees have been promoted through the reclassifiction, recruitment, or conversion to professional processes. That said, it is important that all employees are aware of professional development opportunities, such as CAPE and grant-in-aid and have the capability to participate in these activities. Classified employees are eligible to participate in the CSN Classified Training Assistance Program. Employees may request up to six credits per semester, subject to administrative approval. They can also request reimbursement for book expenses, up to $50 per course. Specific guidelines and procedures are available on the Human Resources’ web page at http://www.csn.edu/pages/2417.asp.
“Are there going to be any type of longevity pay for those tapped out or are they better off retiring (although earlier than they’d like)?”
The 2015 Legislature eliminated longevity pay. There are many very personal and specialized considerations that any employee who is considering retirement needs to evaluate and analyze. CSN has contracted with vendors who specialize in retirement services. We do not advise employees on whether or not he/she should retire but rather encourage employees to seek professional guidance from financial/retirement experts.
“What does enrollment look like this fall?”
CSN’s enrollment is stabilizing. With apprenticeship and short-term course number still in play, we expect enrollment to be relatively close to last fall. We will know more mid-semester.
“What does the recent expansion of Western Governors University to Nevada mean for CSN?”
CSN has had an articulation agreement with Western Governors University for many years and now that WGU has established an official presence in partnership with the state, CSN looks forward to creating stronger ties with this institution to help our students who desire to transfer to WGU do so effectively. WGU Nevada is designed to cater to the needs of Nevada’s economy and will offer bachelor’s and master’s degrees in business, K-12 education, information technology, and health (including nursing). Western Governors University, an accredited non-profit online school, has already partnered with five other states, including Texas, Indiana, and Washington, to serve potential students with their competency-based learning approach.
Please feel free to send me an email if you have questions or concerns. Hope you are enjoying the start of the fall semester!