January Chronicle

Greetings, Happy New Year and welcome to The CSN Chronicle for January 2011.  Much will be happening this year as CSN celebrates its 40th year of service, as a new governor assumes responsibility, and as a new legislative session begins.  There is much activity on many fronts that I’d like you to know about.   

Holiday Party and Convocation

Through the generosity of the Foundation Board of Trustees and the President’s Cabinet, I have extended your collective appreciation to the Foundation for the outstanding holiday party we held at Texas Station.  Our Convocation program will be held again at Texas Station in August.     

Key dates:

  • January 24—State of the State Address
  • January 27—Pre-session Budget Hearing, Carson City
  • January 28—Grand Opening Ceremony of the Engelstad wing of the Health Sciences Building
  • January 29—State Budget Town Hall (legislative meeting) at the Grant Sawyer Building
  • February 7—Legislative session begins

 

 Budget Outlook:  Early View

  • The Executive Budget Recommendation will have only $5.33 billion to spend versus the $8.3 billion requested from state agencies for the next biennium;
  • Governor’s position of no tax increases, only cuts, remains his policy;
  • A 5% salary rollback for state employees (excluding K-12 teachers) in lieu of furloughs;
  • The governor’s position is that campuses should charge higher tuition and fees and seek more federal financial aid for students; and
  • Planning for a budget cut continues at CSN, but we’re not issuing multiple budget scenarios.  We know we’ll be on a rollercoaster ride for six months.

Questions from Faculty and Staff Members: 

“What preparation has CSN made for the legislative session and how can employees help?”

The legislative session begins on February 7, 2011 and our preparations have complemented those of NSHE staff and the Regents: 

  • Student/faculty/staff involvement will include a dominating presence at the state budget town hall meeting on January 29th that will take place in the Grant Sawyer Building, Room 4401 at 9 a.m.  Higher education advocates are being urged to attend and testify.  J.T. Creedon, CSN student body president, has coordinated or led much of this effort for students, and I applaud the work he’s done with other student leaders to advocate for higher education, generally, and for CSN, specifically.
  • The Chancellor has established a lobbying team for the session that includes past and present leaders of the state.  CSN will also have legislative liaison folks in place:  Patty Charlton, Richard Hinckley, James Campos, and I will take the lead working closely with student leaders and our employee groups.  Direct contacts with legislators have already begun.
  • By the time you read this, two advocacy publications will be available.  One is directed to legislators, and the second is for CSN advocates, including faculty, staff, and community partners.  Both are predicated on one theme and three messages:  the theme is CSN is of value to Nevada.  CSN’s three main messages to lawmakers are to stop the cuts, invest in higher education, and reform funding.  All faculty and staff will receive copies of the advocacy piece and are invited to participate in our ongoing efforts.    

“Will we have town hall meetings?”

Yes.  As we learn more information, we will share it widely, including in a town hall format.  As needed, and as we have more accurate data, Senior Vice President Charlton will be providing information and updates on CSN’s budget issues.  The media will report generalities that may or may be correct.  We will make every effort to insure our information, numbers, data, and policy directions are as reliable as possible.  If you have questions or want to check on rumors you hear, please let me know.     

“Will furloughs continue or expand?”

In lieu of furloughs, the governor is recommending a 5% salary reduction for all state employees except public school teachers.   The Legislature will need to act on the recommendation.     

“What is the enrollment picture for spring semester?”

We have a purge coming shortly, but the last figures I saw showed increases of about 3% in both headcount and FTE.  

“Will we keep sabbaticals and other professional development opportunities going?

We have moved ahead with sabbaticals for this year, and faculty members who have been recommended for sabbaticals have been notified.  To the fullest extent possible we will continue to engage professional development opportunities for our faculty and staff. 

Have a great semester! 

 –Mike Richards

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