November Chronicle

I have much information to share with the CSN family this November as we prepare for the holiday season.          

Holiday Celebration

Our annual holiday party will be held at Texas Station from 6 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 8. Sponsored by the CSN Foundation, this event has quickly become a college tradition, a time to socialize, relax and have fun.  Please mark your calendar, get your tickets and plan to be with us.  Again this year we will collect food donations (cans and sealed packaged items) for Three Square Food Bank. For more information go to www.csn.edu/holidayparty.      

The Board of Regents will discuss at length the new NSHE Strategic Directions planning document at the December meeting. The plan is designed to advance student success at our colleges and universities, as well as position the system for the 2013 legislative session.  Four strategic initiatives comprise the plan:  1) Increase student achievement, retention and success, 2) Increase transparency, accountability and performance, 3) Increase continuous review and revision of programs to support innovation and responsiveness, and 4) Ensure that higher education is accessible and affordable for Nevadans.    I have posted the document on CSN’s Strategic Plan web page. 

 Complete College America and CSN

Through the Complete College America (CCA) program and the National Governor’s Association (NGA), Nevada has committed itself to focusing on and pursuing the performance measurements advocated by these two groups.  Both organizations seek to significantly increase the number of Americans with college degrees or credentials of value and close attainment gaps for traditionally underrepresented populations.  Nationally, the goal is that six out of every 10 young adults will have a college degree or credential of value by 2020.  Currently in Nevada, only 30% of adults, age 25-64, have a college degree.  Each Nevada institution has received a target number of completers to annually strive for until 2020.  

I have posted a report from the system office online that indicates our Complete College America goals and the actual number of completers during this first year. 

I have asked Drs. Divine and Crawford to lead strategies to achieve CCA/NGA objectives: 

  • Overseeing initiatives for enrolling and graduating students from diverse backgrounds;
  • Continuing our Project Graduate program;
  • Adopting performance standards and policies from CCA and NGA;
  • Training faculty and staff on CCA/NGA goals;
  • Recommending operational or structural changes to achieve CCA/NGA goals;
  • Working with faculty on developmental education; and
  • Exploring accountability and reporting mechanisms. 

Nevada is one of 30 states subscribing to CCA/NGA goals and has been selected as one of six states to pilot connecting the goals with public policy.  The Governor, Regents and Chancellor are committed to Nevada being among the leading states in the nation to advance CCA/NGA purposes. 

As I have met with the cabinet and the leaders of the faculty to review the CCA/NGA agenda and our institutional obligations, I have stressed two points:  1) faculty participation to the fullest extent possible through forums, Senate meetings, and training sessions; and 2) an institutional commitment to shaping the CCA/NGA agenda where we can in accountability, degree attainment, and developmental education.  I believe it is better for CSN to be proactive and part of the dialog surrounding performance metrics to help shape public policy rather than to have no say in the discussion and be forced to react to it at a later date.  

  • I commend faculty and staff members who have already stepped forward on CCA/NGA initiatives. The math faculty have worked internally and statewide to improve developmental education;
  • The Student Affairs staff have carried out Project Graduate and other efforts for student success;
  • The leaders of the Faculty Senate have demonstrated great vision and energy, representing CSN with the system; 

Through the efforts of many of our people, CSN technology has improved on a number of fronts.  The new SIS/MyCSN system is fully operational and is registering students for spring semester.  The VoiP system is nearing completion with the final installation of phone sets in individual offices.  The research and demonstration of a new LMS system has now been completed and a selection will be forthcoming.  Many thanks to all who have labored over many months to implement these improvements!  We are also moving ahead—enthusiastically—to acquire and implement new financial and human resources systems for a fully integrated administrative computing system.           

Faculty & Staff Information Handbook

We have reinstated the Faculty & Staff Information Handbook and posted it online. Thanks to all of the many individuals throughout the CSN community who helped collect and review this information. Located on the General Counsel’s Policies & Procedures webpage, the handbook contains great information about our organization. 

U.S. Secretary of Education Visit to CSN

Please mark your calendars. On Nov. 29 at 10:15 a.m., U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan will be at CSN to host a public town hall on K-12 and higher education in Nevada at the Horn Theatre on the Cheyenne campus. Chancellor Klaich will moderate the event. This event falls at the same time as the first meeting of the Formula Funding Study Committee, of which I am a member, at the Grant Sawyer Building. I hope you can attend one of these important events that day. 

Way-finding, keys and room numbering

At the end of the renovation project on the Cheyenne campus, new signs and room numbers were adopted for the science labs and classrooms.  This is part of a larger project to better navigate Cheyenne’s instructional spaces.   Over time, new signs and room numbers will be implemented throughout the campuses.  The price of this project, however, is some confusion in the short term as changes are made when classes are not in session.  New directional maps have been installed on all three campuses, and later new building signage will be added.  The Ralph & Betty Engelstad Health Sciences (K) Building on West Charleston includes much of the new signage along with the science renovation on the Cheyenne campus.  We are also stretching our resources to improve access to buildings and rooms with electronic key cards. Our goals for this project include, ease of room and building navigation, room security with appropriate electronic access, and better key management.     

Questions from Faculty and Staff Members: 

“Why was fall enrollment down?”

I believe fall enrollment dropped for a number of reasons.  As the recession has dragged on and unemployment remains high, there are few jobs for graduating students, and where students have jobs, they’re hanging on to them.  The new MyCSN system may have discouraged some students.  Six months of talk in the Legislature about closing locations didn’t help either.  But also know that the enrollment drop at most schools in Nevada also occurred in many other states this year, including New York and Alabama among others. 

How was the part-time instructor job fair at CSN on Nov. 17?

CSN is still committed to improving our ratio of full-time to part-time faculty, however, from time to time, we reach out to the community to ensure that we can maintain a strong pool of highly qualified part-time instructors from which to choose.  The latest fair was quite successful in adding names of qualified faculty to department rolodexes.  Many thanks to all who planned and organized the event. 

Will CSN be closed during the winter break?

Other than state designated holidays, CSN will remain open during the winter holidays, although various departments may decide on a case-by-case basis to close shop for a couple of days, depending on their workload and staffing availability during this time.

The CSN Foundation Board of Trustees has developed a fundraising campaign statement and has organized itself to move forward with a 10-year campaign.  We are ready to launch, and we deeply appreciate the commitment of the Trustees to CSN’s future. 

 Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

–Mike Richards

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