May Chronicle

This May Chronicle is intended to provide you with the latest news and information as the academic year comes to an end.  Many of you will be gone from our campuses when the Legislature finalizes our budget and acts on other business, and there is much activity on many fronts that I’d like you to know about.   


On Monday, May 23, CSN’s commencement ceremony will be held at the Thomas & Mack Center at 6 p.m.  A record number of students, more than 2,200, will be graduating from the college.  We will also recognize Mr. Bart Masi and Mr. Tony Sanchez with honorary degrees.   I hope you will join us for this special tribute to our students.


The CSN Foundation sponsored its annual Legacy of Achievement Gala at the Paris Hotel on April 30.  Commemorating CSN’s 40th anniversary, the gala honored three local foundations that have generously supported CSN and the community in recent years.   More than $250,000 (net) was raised for student scholarships.  Our thanks to the Foundation Board of Trustees and to Jacque Matthews and her wonderful staff for another successful evening—the best event of its kind in Las Vegas!    

Key Dates:

  • May 23 – Commencement
  • June 7 – Regular Session of the Nevada Legislature Ends
  • August 22  – Fall Convocation, Texas Station
  • August 29  – Fall Semester Begins 

NSHE Budget Status

  • The initial closing of the higher education budget is scheduled for Wednesday, May 18.  I am spending Monday and Tuesday in Carson City on a final press on behalf of CSN and NSHE.  In addition, our students are also traveling to Carson to advocate our needs one more time;
  • The Economic Forum recommended more revenues for the state budget, and the Legislature will build the new budget with these additional funds;
  • Currently, based on the governor’s recommendations and the distribution of new revenues, CSN would have to reduce its budget nearly 16 percent the first year of the biennium, and 10 percent during the second year.  The published plan for these reductions would still need action by the Board of Regents;
  • Currently the Legislature is proposing a 5 percent compensation cut for state employees (excluding K-12 teachers) that includes a 2.5 percent salary rollback and furlough of another 2.5 percent.  We are not sure if this will be the final action on compensation, nor do we know the mechanics of a 2.5 percent furlough program;
  • Legislation to give more flexibility to institutions of higher education, including retention of fee revenue, remains to be acted on;
  • The governor’s position that campuses should charge higher tuition and fees and seek more federal financial aid for students is embodied in CSN’s plan for a 13 percent increase in fees for each year of the new biennium.  From that revenue, 15 percent would be earmarked for financial assistance to students.  We are formulating a plan for administering that additional financial aid; and
  • We are proceeding to implement the CSN budget reduction plan that we have published.  Because of notification requirements and the need to prepare for the next academic year, we are moving forward on the decisions described in the plan.

Chancellor Klaich, institutional presidents and the Board of Regents have proposed a Four-Point Plan for NSHE’s budget that is the focus of our advocacy efforts.  Here’s the plan (dollar amounts are NSHE totals):

  1. Averaging the cuts between FY 12 and FY 13 (no additional cost to the state),
  2. Increasing student fees by 13 percent in FY 12 and an additional 13 percent in FY 13 (generating $64.6 million over the biennium),
  3. Cutting expenditures $43.3 million each year, and
  4. Adding new general fund support of $40.3 million each year.

If this plan is approved by the Legislature, NSHE institutions would be able to restore many services.  System-wide, these add-backs are projected to:

  • Maintain access for over 12,700 students who would have otherwise been turned away.
  • Avoid the elimination of 560 faculty and support staff positions. 

Good News—Our Students

On May 4th the Outstanding Student Awards recognized 23 exceptional students from age 17 to. . . older.  Scholarships and tributes to the students were widely shared, and two Regents scholarships were also awarded.  The final award of the evening was a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship to Maryknoll Palisoc.  For the first time, Nevada and CSN presented a Jack Kent Cooke scholarship to a transfer student.  The award is for $30,000 a year, renewable up to three years.  What a wonderful evening!

I’m delighted to share this news about our students.  We have excellent students who achieve because of a dedicated faculty and staff and a commitment of many hours of hard work from everyone.  Thank you all for your outstanding service to CSN. 


Questions from Faculty and Staff Members:

“What consolidations are underway and what is the projected savings?”

We have announced a number of administrative changes that allow us to direct more resources to our instructional core.  For example, we will be reducing the number of vice presidents from four to three, and workloads will be redistributed to the remaining executive officers.  We’re combining analytical functions into the institutional research office for better coordination and effectiveness.  We’re combining affirmative action, CAPE and HR under one umbrella so that our human capital is better served, trained, and supported.  We’re planning similar consolidations of services in student affairs.   The changes have a disproportionate impact on an already lean administration of the college, but our focus needs to be on CSN’s mission and student access.  We estimate that several hundred thousand dollars will be saved through this process.  We also know, however, that we’ll have to monitor these changes carefully:  an organization can be too efficient and not as effective as it should be.  I’m also concerned about burnout that is the result of an excessive administrative workload. 

“What is the status of the work climate findings and the committee making recommendations on the survey results?

The results of the work climate survey have been posted on the institutional research website, and the faculty and staff committee assigned to review the findings and make recommendations to the administration have been meeting regularly to discuss issues raised in the survey.  I have met with the committee once to provide input and solicit preliminary suggestions.   I anticipate we will have more to report at fall convocation.

Will there be mass layoffs and program closures as other institutions have threatened?”

At this time, there is no budget scenario under which CSN will respond with additional wide-scale layoffs and beyond those that we have already announced and begun to implement. As we have communicated to you, under CSN’s response to the governor’s proposed budget and under the NSHE Four-Point Plan, CSN has scaled back its access mission to core operations to protect the classroom. CSN will experience profound changes in the way it operates through administrative changes, referenced above, the closure of sites and centers and the scaling back of course offerings. This will impact everyone and involve shared sacrifice, but we believe our plan can deal with the worst-case scenarios that are being proposed, and still maintain the core mission of the college.  In addition, this plan positions CSN to respond quickly and efficiently to future improvements in the health of the economy.

Have a great summer!

 –Mike Richards

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