December Chronicle

Greetings, and welcome to The CSN Chronicle for December 2010.   This issue has a number of reports which affect our College community.  But first. . .

Holiday Party and Ketchup Socials

With support from our remarkable Foundation and the hard work of many people, we celebrated the holidays with a wonderful party—good food, good dancing, and good company.  Our thanks to all who contributed to the success of the evening and to everyone who attended and donated to CSN scholarships and programs and Three Square!  Also during fall semester, Vice President Darren Divine and his staff and friends launched Ketchup Socials at each of our campuses.  Our thanks to him and to all who have made these events so successful!  We plan to continue these events next year.  I believe that all these activities remind us that CSN is a great place to work and provide faculty and staff some much needed time to mingle. 

Two New Bachelor’s Degrees

Thanks to the tireless work of Drs. Hyla Winters, Patti Castro, Darren Divine, and the faculty in the Ralph & Betty Engelstad School of Health Sciences, CSN received approval from the Board of Regents for two new Bachelor of Applied Science degrees, one in Clinical Laboratory Sciences and the other in Cardio-respiratory Sciences This is great news for our community, which lost the CLS program at UNLV due to funding reductions and the state, which has no other accredited four-year program in cardio-respiratory. It will also allow us to build off of our two comprehensive associate degree programs in these areas. What a wonderful opportunity for our students!  Our thanks, too, to the Board of Regents who saw this as a natural fit for CSN, foresaw the need for these niche degrees and approved them.  These specialized degree programs complement CSN’s mission as this community’s college.  Congratulations to all involved!  

Three Assessments, Their Findings, and Next Steps

We have concluded two of three assessments of CSN that many of you participated in.  In summary, here they are:

 Mystery Shopping Project, Chaired by Professor Judy Stewart

  • Workplace Climate Survey, underway
  • Human Resources Review, Facilitated by Allison Villancourt, Vice President for Human Resources, University of Arizona 

I want to provide a brief report on each one and indicate our next steps. 

Mystery Shopping:  This was conducted during fall semester 2010 with the purpose of defining the customer service experience of individuals contacting CSN either in-person, by telephone or via the web.  A total of 216 “shops” or contacts comprised the study.  Six departments were targeted within our three main campuses.  Positive and negative aspects of our customer service were revealed.  Telephone shops exposed weaknesses in the technical capabilities of the phone system and the training of our staff.  In-person shops revealed frustration with long wait times and mixed experiences with interactions.  Web-based shoppers found the college site informative and easy to navigate, but some of our information creates an overwhelming experience at times.  Knowing more specifically about our customer- service experience will allow us to target solutions with better orientation and training, better technology, and more helpful web design.  Next steps improving our customer relations include:  1) recommendations from the committee that monitored the research, 2) CAPE programs throughout 2011, 3) an upgrade to our phone system, and 4) modification of our web site. 

Workplace Climate Survey:  This study is currently underway, and I hope by now you’ve had a chance to respond to the survey.  If not, it is open until January 23 and can be accessed online here.  I have asked members of our faculty and staff to serve on an ad hoc committee to analyze the results and provide recommendations to the senior administration.   I have asked Professor Janice Glasper to chair the committee.  

Human Resources Review:  Conducted during fall semester 2010 with the purpose of improving the operations of our Human Resources function, this far-reaching review highlighted the dedicated work of many HR staff members and it revealed a number of areas for improvement.  Ms. Villancourt facilitated a similar review of CSN’s Human Resources function in 2004.  Following a pattern used in the earlier study, Ms. Villancourt met with HR employees, faculty and staff, and administrators of the College.  She observed that many improvements had been made since 2004 — a tribute to the employees in HR who labor without an integrated administrative computing system, with multiple groups of employees and systems, with a complex regulatory climate, with limited policies, and through furloughs and other demands to meet the needs of our faculty and staff.  She suggested two priorities for action as next steps, one of which is already in process:  complete revisions to the hiring process and development of appropriate policies and procedures.  A full report of the review will be provided to the administration.    

Join us on January 19 at the Henderson campus for a full day of technology.  The Office of Technology Services, along with help from CAPE, is inviting both hardware and software vendors to share ideas and inspire you to integrate technology into your courses.  Come interact with the vendors as well as your peers while attending workshops scheduled throughout the day. Our event begins at 8 a.m. and will continue throughout the day.  Come join us for breakfast and lunch and a cocktail reception with the CIO.  We will have keynote speakers, technology displays, workshops, and raffle prizes!  In addition, OTS and the CSN Foundation are working together to offer partnerships to our vendors for this event.  With their support, all monies donated by our partners will be designated to the Tech Connection Endowment Fund which will provide financial support to students attending CSN.

Visit the Tech Connect website  for updates as we continue to plan this exciting day of learning!

Questions From Recent Meetings:

“What can be done to improve the appearance of our campuses?”

I’ve heard from a number of staff members that trash isn’t emptied as frequently as it used to be, restrooms are looking bad, and the general physical environment isn’t well maintained.  Since 2007 when budget cuts were first directed, we’ve known that by cannibalizing non-instructional functions in favor of students, jobs, and instruction, some areas of the College would not have the resources they once enjoyed.  We also knew that cutting and stretching our resources would cause delays, deferrals, and sacrifice.  We made the decisions to cut nonetheless.  I appreciate the work of Associate Vice President Sherri Payne and her staff as they do all they can to make our working environment better.  They are doing a remarkable job with 20% fewer staff and with our capital priorities of renovating space, particularly at Cheyenne and maintaining it.    

“Will furloughs continue; will we have more furlough days?”

It appears that our new Governor will recommend that furloughs continue, or that salaries be rolled back, or that an additional furlough day be required of state employees.  His exact recommendations will be made known in January.  Of course, his is only a recommendation.  The Legislature will need to deliberate the issues and take final action. 

“What is our message to the Legislature?”

Our general message is that CSN is of value to Nevada and the state’s economic recovery, and we have nine “message points” that support that assertion, including the results of the economic impact study recently published on our website and available at csn.edu/economicimpact.  Please take time to review the CSN Value to Nevada document when it is distributed later this month.  

“What is the status of the improvements at Cheyenne and West Charleston?”

After December 20 the renovation of the Cheyenne science labs begins in earnest.  We have added temporary lab space that will be operational during spring semester.  The renovation should be complete by fall semester 2011.  In addition we are systematically making HVAC, roofing, flooring and other improvements at Cheyenne throughout 2011.  At the West Charleston campus we are installing some new landscaping along Torrey Pines, and we will be painting the exterior of several buildings.     

I wish you the very best for a happy holiday season.  –Mike Richards

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