Monthly Chronicle, November 24, 2020

As the holiday season is upon us, I want to wish you and your families a very happy Thanksgiving on behalf of the entire CSN family. Traditionally, this is a time when we gather with friends and family; however in light of the COVID-19 pandemic we must be diligent now more than ever in ensuring health and safety. Although we may not be gathering as we have in years past, I pray that we retain the season’s spirit of joy and hope.

I especially want to thank each you for helping us get through the many challenges posed by the pandemic. Together we have overcome every challenge by putting our students first — and I am confident that we will continue doing so, no matter the circumstances. We emerge a stronger and better institution every time we overcome adversity. Thank you all for that.

As you know, the challenges we must face are far from over. The news surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic is not good — not here in Southern Nevada, in the entire state, or anywhere in the country. We are in the middle of a spike in reported cases, hospitalizations and deaths. We must continue to be diligent in our efforts to mitigate transmission rates. Remember the advice of health professionals: wear your face coverings, reduce the size of gatherings, maintain social distancing, and remain home if you are feeling sick. Additionally, experts recommend that you minimize travel and stay at home to the greatest extent possible. Please be aware that if travel is necessary, many states have imposed increased limitations, which you can find information on here, as well as a list of best practices when traveling here.

I am sure you are aware that Gov. Steve Sisolak provided information on Sunday regarding new limitations of private gatherings to no more than 10 people from no more than two households — whether the activity is indoors or outdoors. You can find a full list of restrictions and guidelines on the Nevada Health Response website. We at CSN will follow guidance from the chancellor’s office when it is released.

Finally, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has shared a number of resources that include important recommendations and guidelines for holiday celebrations and gatherings. 

COVID is not the only news going on, as the winds of change come at us from several different directions. In addition to a contested presidential election, an ongoing social justice campaign, and economic consequences stemming from the pandemic, we at NSHE are experiencing changes that include a new chancellor, new presidents at the state’s flagship universities, and four newly elected regents who will be seated after the first of the year. I want to thank outgoing regents Trevor Hayes, Kevin Page, Lisa Levine, and Rick Trachok for their tireless dedication to Nevada’s students. I also want to wish a warm welcome to newly elected regents Lois Tarkanian, Byron Brooks, Patrick Boylan and Joseph Arrascada. I look forward to working closely with them as we prepare for a successful 2021 and beyond. It is an exciting and challenging time for all of us, and I know we are up to the challenge.

You will recall that the governor’s office called for budget cut proposals earlier this year. We responded with plans for reductions that resulted in no layoffs. Now, the call for more cuts has come, and again, thanks to the hard work of our Budget Reduction Task Force, we submitted plans to NSHE for cuts that avoided any layoffs. I want to caution, however, that we are not out of the woods. There may be calls for more cuts in the future. In addition, our full-time equivalent enrollment was down more than 10 percent this semester compared to last year, which will mean a further reduction in state funds for CSN in the upcoming biennium.

The bottom line is that there is much uncertainty and ambiguity on the horizon. As always, every decision we make will be guided by a concern for the health and safety of our faculty, staff, students and community.


Reflect upon your present blessings — of which every man has many — not on your past misfortunes, of which all men have some. — Charles Dickens

In This Issue:

CSN Foundation Campaign

I hope you saw my note last week about the CSN Foundation’s fundraising campaigns designed to help our students in this time of incredible need. During these difficult times, many of our students are facing difficult financial choices that can shape the rest of their lives. They must balance the costs of rent, utilities, food — and their college expenses. You can give the gift of hope by supporting the Foundation’s student-focused campaigns.

Commencement Ceremony

While we were unfortunately forced to cancel our planned Commencement photo op for our Class of 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are still thrilled that we’ll be holding a Virtual Commencement Ceremony at 1 p.m. Saturday, December 19. The Class of 2020 has been through an extraordinary time, and we believe it’s critical to publicly recognize their accomplishments. Please look for more information on the ceremony in the coming weeks.

Spring 2021 Enrollment Open

Registration for the spring 2021 semester is open now. Similar to the current semester, we plan to offer about 85 percent of our spring 2021 classes online, with hands-on classes such as welding and science labs in person.

President Zaragoza Appointed to Hispanic Association of Colleges & Universities Board

I’m extremely pleased to announce that I have been appointed to the national governing board for the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities — a first for Nevada higher education. CSN is an important part of the national conversation about higher education and the role of community colleges in training and retraining our nation’s workforce, especially now as we prepare for a post-pandemic economy. I am honored to represent CSN on the Governing Board and I want to thank our entire NSHE family and congressional delegation for their support.  

James McCoy Selected as Interim VPAA

James McCoy

I am happy to report that James McCoy is the new interim Vice President of Academic Affairs at CSN. The appointment, which begins December 1, comes after an internal search, open to all NSHE employees. James most recently served as the Assistant Vice Chancellor of Academic and Student Affairs and Director of Corequisite Implementation at the NSHE System Office. The move marks a return to CSN for McCoy where he previously served for more than two decades in multiple leadership positions including Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, Associate Vice President for Academic Success, Chair and Lead Faculty for the Department of Communication and tenured Communication Professor.

Please join me in welcoming James back to CSN.

EmployNV Career Hubs

We held the official grand opening for the first of several planned EmployNV Career Hubs on our Charleston Campus this month. The centers are the result of an unprecedented partnership between CSN and Workforce Connections. They’re designed to help train and retrain our region’s workforce and fill critical jobs in manufacturing, healthcare, information technology, skilled trades and logistics. Centers are also planned for our Henderson and North Las Vegas campuses, as well as our Sahara West Center. 

I want to thank Workforce Connections Executive Director Jaime Cruz for the partnership and his devotion to the cause of helping to get Nevadans back to work.

International Education Week

International Education Week commenced worldwide from November 16-20, and we at CSN were glad to participate. The virtual celebration was an opportunity to explore the benefits of international education and exchange. This joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education was part of an effort to promote programs to prepare Americans to contribute to a global community and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences in the U.S.

CSN programming hosted by faculty and staff throughout the week focused in part on United Nations Sustainable Development Goals. Set forth as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future, the goals address global challenges such as poverty, inequality, climate change, environmental degradation, peace and justice. More than twelve events were held virtually over five days underscoring the importance of global collaboration for collective success.

I want to thank International Center Director Carol Fimmen for her hard work in putting these events together and ensuring their success.

NSHE Furlough Policy

The Board of Regents this month formally approved the legislatively mandated employee furlough policy as part of a strategy to dramatically reduce costs. This policy requires all system employees — academic faculty, administrative faculty, and classified staff — to take unpaid time off from December 1, 2020, through June 30, 2021. As we have noted, these furloughs will result in pay reductions of 4.6 percent.

For full details, see the memo from Human Resources, and contact HR at should you have any questions.

Employee Assistance Program

CSN has launched a new Employee Assistance Program from Guidance Resources. The program offers counseling, legal and financial consultation, work-life assistance and crisis intervention services to all employees and their household family members.

Employees and their families can access the program confidentially at or by downloading the GuidanceNow app on their mobile device using the web ID: CSNEAP. For more, please read the FAQs.

Holiday Toy Drive

The annual University Police Services Holiday Toy Drive is underway. Collection bins are available at all UPD location across southern NSHE campuses:

Nevada Promise Mentors

The Nevada Promise Scholarship program is once again seeking mentors of all backgrounds who are willing to give 3-5 hours each semester to guide CSN students as they pursue a college education. Become a mentor and change a life.

Those interested community members can find out more by attending a virtual information session at noon December 2 via Microsoft Teams at

S/U Grading Policy Extended

NSHE Chancellor Melody Rose issued an update on S/U grading for all NSHE institutions. NSHE’s institutional presidents have unanimously agreed to continue the Satisfactory/Unsatisfactory grading option for the 2020-2021 academic year under the authority granted them by the Board of Regents last spring.

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