CSN December 2014 Chronicle

CSN Cheyenne Campus


As this semester ends and we prepare for the holidays, I would like to express my gratitude for your service to our students this semester. It has been a wonderful semester, full of many exciting developments. 

I want to create a culture of communication, in which all supervisors share information with their direct reports and faculty and staff actively discuss changes and debate them as well through the shared-governance process. I believe this is happening in some areas of the college and know it is not happening in others. But it starts right here with this Chronicle,which includes important updates for you and your colleagues. I encourage you to read these, ask questions and share this information with others around you. 

Presidential Evaluation & Introspection

Since I was appointed President in 2007, I have undergone two extensive evaluations of my performance, most recently Dec. 9-12. This process is conducted through the Board of Regents and NSHE staff in accordance with Board policies. This has been an exceptionally busy year for the Board and system staff and I know the date conflicted with finals week, when many faculty, staff and students are occupied with end-of-the-year endeavors. To those of you who were able to participate in the evaluation process, who addressed the committee, wrote emails, or attended forums, THANK YOU!  This is an important process for college communities and whether good, bad or ugly, it provides invaluable feedback that I take very seriously. I am also very grateful to UNLV President Emerita Dr. Carol Harter, who served as the evaluation consultant and facilitated the process to ensure we get the most of this time for introspection. She spoke with 98 individuals from our campus community over three days and received dozens of emails. I look forward to her final report, which she will share with the Board of Regents at their meeting in March. 

She provided initial recommendations to me at the conclusion of the Board of Regents Periodic Presidential Evaluation Committee on Friday, which are discussed below. 

Dr. Harter strongly recommended expanding the executive administration. She and the committee made several suggestions on potential models, including an executive vice provost model, in which CSN would have an internal president, strongly representative of the academic side of the house. Other suggestions included a vice president of advancement, or an executive leader for business and industry partnerships and a special assistant to the president. 

In case the idea of expanding administration seems enigmatic to you, I will explain the rationale for this suggestion. CSN is one of the largest institutions in the nation and is involved in a number of resource intensive initiatives geared toward improving student success. Although in the world of academics and shared governance, we tend to all wear many hats, I need more people, and people of diverse perspectives, to help me develop, plan and implement these initiatives and do so in an organized, cohesive fashion so as to minimize disruptions to you and your responsibilities. 

She also made several recommendations to increase the number of minority applicants and finalists for faculty and administrative positions. 

If you are reading this and wondering why the focus on diversity, it is not only important that we represent the diverse community we serve for symbolic purposes, there are ample studies that suggest our students do better when they are taught by individuals with shared experiences, socialization and background.           

In the area of student success, she recommended that I enhance existing student events with more personal interaction with students. She also suggested that we explore requiring community college students to obtain an associate degree to transfer. 

Another recommendation was to increase my external commitments in the community. Know that I have to be off campus often to promote the reputation of this college, create and maintain partnerships and garner support and friend-raisers for this important institution. At the same time, I pledge to do more to get out and meet with students and employees. Dr. Harter noted that expanding the administration, as noted above, would provide more time to do this and knock on doors in the community. 

Any change in transfer and articulation must come from the system, but I look forward to a rigorous discussion on the associate-degree requirement in the near future with our colleagues at our sister institutions.

More on this will be forthcoming on the evaluation and recommendations, but since I ask you to read the Chronicles, I best keep this brief. In summary, I agree with the recommendations and plan to take some time during the holidays to reflect on them further.  As a final note, there is no time like the present. Although this periodic evaluation happens only once every three years, my door is open and I welcome your comments, concerns and critiques.

CSN faculty and staff dance at the CSN 2014 holiday party.

Holiday Party

I would like to thank the faculty and staff who put together the CSN holiday party. Michelle Word, Dave Morgan, Jann Carson, Jamille Walton, Suzan Workman, our floral design department faculty and staff and many more worked hard to get raffle prizes, make the room look sensational, distribute and take tickets, organize the food drive with Three Square and much more.  The room was beautiful (I particularly liked our logo in lights!). The food was great and the company was magnificent. The event was a wonderful end to this academic semester and I enjoyed catching up with many of you.  Thank you, too, for the many comments encouraging continuation of the holiday party.

Institutional Advisory Council

The Board of Regents, system and my office have selected 17 members to sit on CSN’s new Institutional Advisory Council (IAC). As you’ll recall, these advisory boards are a product of the interim legislative Committee on Community College Governance. The members have been notified of their appointments and have been invited to the inaugural meeting on February 4, which will take place at the system office.

Each community college in Nevada now has an IAC, which will function as an additional layer of governance that will advise me on a broad array of college activities. The Chairs of each IAC will also be ex officio members of the Board of Regents’ Committee on Community Colleges. I’m particularly grateful to have the participation of the Faculty Senate and the ASCSN as members of the IAC.  A thorough orientation process for all IAC members is being developed and will be introduced to the members prior to the first meeting. Should you have questions about the IAC, please let me know.

CSN Institutional Advisory Council Membership

Susan Adamek
Director of Education
Dignity Health-St. Rose Dominican

John R. Bailey
Senior Partner
Bailey-Kennedy LLP

Dr. Nancy Brune
Executive Director
Kenny Guinn Center for Policy Priorities

Ardell Galbreth
Executive Director
Workforce Connections

Maria Jose Gatti
Director of National Diversity Relations
Interim Director of Philanthropy & Community Engagement
MGM Resorts International 

Vida Chan Lin
Vice President of Economic Development
OCA Asian Advocacy Group 

Norberto Madrigal
Lunas Construction 

Paul Moradkhan
Vice President of Government Affairs
Las Vegas Metro Chamber of Commerce 

Shaundell Newsome
Sumnu Marketing
Vice-Chair of the Urban Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors 

Dennis Perea
Interim Director and Deputy Director
Nevada Department of Employment, Training and Rehabilitation

Dr. Jonas Peterson
Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance 

Randy Robison
Director of Legislative Affairs

Jose Solorio
President & Founder
Political Advancement of Latinos Organization

Gaye Stockman
President & CEO
Mesquite Regional Business, Inc.

Shari Wong
Director of Communications
Arcata Associates and Wong Media Inc

 Ex Officio

Jodie Mandel
CSN Faculty Senate Chair

Ex Officio
Lizbeth Gonzalez
ASCSN Vice President

Legislative Session and Budget

As 2015 opens, Governor Sandoval will announce his budget recommendations in his Jan. 15 State of the State address, prior to the legislative session, which starts Feb.2. We are advocating the Regents’ priorities, including the elimination of furloughs, but as I’m sure you are aware, this will be an interesting session with many surprises. You have my commitment that a steady stream of information and news will be widely shared with the entire CSN community over the next six months.   

People and Responsibilities

As the new calendar year begins, a number of new folks are assuming new assignments in NSHE and at CSN. 

I want to take a moment to explain two key CSN changes and provide my rationale for these. With the creation of the new Institutional Advisory Councils, I have asked K.C. Brekken to staff this council. Who better to help them become informed advocates for CSN’s 50,000 students, than our communications and government affairs person? She provided support for the previous CSN North Las Vegas Advisory Board, has done research on community college trustees as part of her doctoral program at UNLV and is excited to help get this new initiative up and running as a key support function of our college. She will serve in this capacity as an executive director. 

This leaves a gap in our legislative and public relations activities, just prior to the start of the legislative session. I am pleased to announce that Michael Flores will be our new communications and government affairs director. Michael is a CSN alumnus and comes to us from Congressman Horsford’s office where he served as press secretary and senior community liaison and developed great relationships with lawmakers from both sides of the aisle. He has also previously served as state director for Reform Immigration for America and communications director for Progress Now Nevada. He is bilingual and will help us increase our presence in Hispanic media. He begins Jan. 5 and will work with K.C. to help us with our communications and government affairs needs as we approach the 2015 legislative session. Please help welcome him to CSN! 

Facilities Report:

A number of projects are closing or starting and I want to make you aware of them: 

Naming of the D Building in Honor of Dr. Paul Meacham

On Dec. 4, the Board of Regents approved the naming of the CSN Charleston Student Services Building in honor of CSN President Emeritus Dr. Paul Meacham. The first African American President in the Nevada System of Higher Education, Meacham was CSN’s longest serving president. Having led this college through one of its fastest epochs of growth and expansion from 1983 to 1994, he changed the lives of thousands and his legacy should be promoted in perpetuity. CSN desires to recognize Dr. Meacham’s contributions to this state by naming the student services building, also known as the “D” building on the West Charleston campus, in his honor. We will be planning a dedication ceremony in the spring semester. 


Congratulations to Maria Schellhase, a CSN business instructor whose course MKT 210 – Essentials of Marketing will receive the 2015 Award for Outstanding Blended Course from the Instructional Technology Council. ITC award winners will receive a complimentary registration to attend eLearning 2015, the organization’s annual conference. This year’s conference will be held in Las Vegas and CSN is the official host. ITC is an affiliated council of American Association of Community Colleges (AACC). 


I have decided to do faculty, staff and student roundtables throughout the semester, instead of at the beginning. My hope is that this will make it easier for more people to attend. 

Happy holidays to you and your families! Hope you have time to rest and relax and enjoy good friends, family and neighbors. 

–Mike Richards

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