May 2020 CSN Chronicle

I know we have been on a difficult journey these past six weeks, and I want to again thank you all for your hard work and dedication to our students and to the CSN family.

As you may be aware, Gov. Steve Sisolak outlined plans yesterday evening to reopen Nevada. His announcement triggers our reopening phase that we have been eagerly awaiting. As discussed in our last Town Hall meeting, our primary concern will be to create a safe and effective environment for students, faculty and staff.   

CSN and its sister NSHE institutions are planning for increased online, hybrid and COVID-19 protocol compliant on-campus courses. We are working with our college stakeholders to design a schedule that can quickly transition to an online environment in the event that we were to experience a second wave of the pandemic. We will be discussing the approach to the fall 2020 schedule and seeking your input and feedback on our preliminary plans at our next town hall, scheduled for 3 p.m. Tuesday, May 5, so please be sure to join us.

On a related note, you may have noticed in the governor’s report, “Nevada United:

Roadmap to Recovery” linked above, that he considers the state’s community colleges to be the “First Responders” to reboot the economy by training and educating students for jobs in occupational demand fields. The expectations for CSN have never been higher and we are working with our workforce partners to launch an enrollment campaign largely focused on getting our community back to work.

This enrollment campaign will focus on accelerated retraining to re-skill displaced workers to attain employment in high demand growth industries such as IT, healthcare, manufacturing and the middle-skill trades. This will be done through a combination of credit and non-credit programs, and many will be short-term skill certificates or accelerated programs to accommodate a rapid return to work.

In the short term, CSN and our NHSE sister institutions could see declining enrollments, especially for our fall transfer programs. As of today, we have almost 2,000 fewer applications for the fall semester than this time last year. Moreover, our summer FTE enrollment, which was up 10 percent two weeks ago, is now flat. So while we anticipate a surge in enrollment once the economy begins to improve, there is much uncertainty for the short term. As this edition of the Chronicle will document, this is truly a transformational period for higher education and definitely for CSN.

Federico

In this issue:

Thank You

As we draw near the end of another academic year, I would be remiss if I failed to thank the leaders at CSN who have helped us all ensure our students always come first, even over these last few weeks as we faced extraordinary challenges.

Thank you Arnold Bell, Natalie Nelson and John Woodbury for your leadership of the Faculty Senate, Administrative Faculty Assembly and Classified Council, respectively. These groups are incredibly important to our model of shared governance, and I appreciate your wisdom and advice.

And a special thank you to student government President Dan Gutierrez, who has been a beacon of leadership for our students the entire academic year, and especially now. We know Dan will go on and do great things after graduation, and we’ll remember him fondly.

CSN would not be the great institution it is if it weren’t for visionary leadership from all of you.


DACA Students

The U.S. Supreme Court may soon rule on a case that will affect many people in our community, including many CSN students. The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program may be in jeopardy, and as we hope for the best, we must prepare for the worst. I strongly encourage all DACA recipients to renew their status as soon as possible.

CSN fully supports our DACA students, and we want them to know that there are resources available to help, including the UNLV Immigration Clinic. Please visit my blog for more details.

Student Emergency Fund

The CSN Student Emergency Fund has been a critical resource for many of our students who find themselves in financial dire straits.

The Wells Fargo Foundation is matching contributions made to the fund before May 8. You can make your gift online here. A gift of $55 makes a difference to our students.

The fund has distributed more than $35,000 to our students, 95 percent of them since the COVID-19 shutdown. The fund will experience a $30,000 boost on May 8 thanks to a contribution from the 2019–20 ASCSN Student Government.

Thank you to the many CSN employees who have donated to this fund. Your contributions impact the lives of our students.

Commencement

We are all more than a little disappointed that we won’t be able to hold our traditional Commencement Ceremony this month. Because this event is about our students, we asked them what they wanted: A virtual ceremony now or a delayed, in-person ceremony. Students overwhelmingly said they wanted to wait until we could hold an in-person ceremony, and I couldn’t agree more. Our Commencement Committee is working on securing a date and a location for a ceremony this fall.

The Commencement Speaker Committee heard audition speeches from a wonderful group of students this week, and we’re looking forward to sharing the name of this year’s speaker with the CSN Family soon. Look for information on our Commencement Speaker and other graduates on our website later this month. And as always, I will keep you informed as details develop about our in-person ceremony.

Outstanding Students

Congratulations are also in order for this year’s winners of the CSN Outstanding Student Awards, an amazing group of students who show how hard work and determination can help overcome obstacles. While we will not have a ceremony this year, we will still honor our students with these awards and scholarships.

The winners are chosen by the academic departments. Awards are intended to honor CSN students who demonstrate what our college is all about – ensuring our students graduate, complete, transfer and prosper. One student from each department is honored, as well as the Regents’ Scholar Award winner and the Kim Gregory Memorial Scholarship recipient.  

I am extremely proud of these students, and of our outstanding faculty for their guidance and teaching. Congratulations to all.​​

DWED Training Partnership

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As our region goes through these unprecedented times and begins to recover, CSN will be a critical local resource for those who have suffered economically during this crisis as they seek education and job training.

I am pleased to report that our Division of Workforce & Economic Development is ready. DWED Business Development is working with Resorts World to offer online offerings that will give people the opportunity to develop skills and be certified.

We want to make sure our community can access the valuable education we offer. That’s why we put together online offerings that will give people and companies the ability to train or retrain in areas including personal branding, effective communication, conflict management, customer service, Microsoft Excel, quality control management, safety, Six Sigma, stress management, teamwork and time management. The opportunity is there for businesses to transform their teams while they work remotely.

This is a great first step toward getting our community back to work.

Budget Reductions

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As you know, the governor’s office has asked all state agencies to submit various budget reduction scenarios for the rest of this fiscal year and for the next fiscal year. Under CSN’s proposal, which was approved by the Board of Regents last month, we will absorb cuts of 4 percent this year and as much as 14 percent next year.

We have proposed to accomplish this through a variety of means including the use of federal stimulus dollars, a hiring freeze and reductions in travel and operating budgets. Cuts at the highest proposed levels could result in temporary student surcharges and professional staff furloughs, although layoffs are not part of our proposal.

Although any budget cuts are serious, I remain optimistic that we can protect our student success mission, our accreditation and shared governance standards, and our ability to perform essential business functions.

These are trying times, but the CSN Family has already shown that this crisis brings out the best in all of us. I am proud to be part of this family.

Grants

Another way to help cover expenses at CSN is through grants, especially during possible budget reductions. As of now, CSN has secured over $11 million in active grants that will help offset possible cuts. These grants will cover expenses in areas ranging from helping disadvantaged students prosper academically to providing state-of-the-art equipment to future surgical technologists and environmental specialists.

In addition, we have $20 million more in grant applications submitted and awaiting review and decisions. If approved, these funds would help us in a variety of ways, including construction of a Workforce Education and Training Center and the expansion of our prison education program. I want to express my gratitude to the team in the Office of Sponsored Projects for its hard work in pursuing external funds to ensure that our students succeed and prosper.

Enrollment and Institutional Data

To review the latest enrollment data, visit the Institutional Research Data Dashboard. The site houses publicly available interactive reports created to support institutional decision making.



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