October Cabinet Notes

October 11, 2010

Cabinet Members:
President Mike Richards
Vartouhi Asherian, Chair, Administrative Faculty Assembly
John Bearce, Director of Institutional Research
K.C. Brekken, Communications Manager
Thomas Brown, Chief Campus Administrator, Cheyenne
Art Byrd, Vice President, Student Affairs
Patty Charlton, Senior Vice President for Finance & Facilities
Chemene Crawford, Interim Vice President for Administration
J.T. Creedon, Student Government President
Darren Divine, Vice President, Academic Affairs – absent
Richard Hinckley, General Counsel
Bill Kerney, Faculty Senate Chair
Cat Maihen, President, Classified Council
Larry Mason, Chief Diversity Officer
Jacque Matthews, Executive Director, Foundation
Penny McCollum, Campus Site Administrator, Henderson Campus
Joan McGee, Chief Campus Administrator, Charleston Campus
Dan Morris, Executive Director, Business Operations 
Tracy Sherman, Faculty Senate Chair-Elect
Mugunth Vaithylingam, Chief Information Officer

The meeting was called to order by Dr. Richards at 9 a.m.

The notes of the September 13, 2010 cabinet meeting were approved.

Dr. Richards reviewed upcoming events, including the CSN Foundation Fun Fest, October 29-31, and the end of the year holidays.

Vartouhi Asherian began the cabinet member reports with an update on the AFA. There are concerns among members about benefits. Vartouhi is directing everyone to the forums and is hopeful everyone’s concerns will be addressed there. AFA is trying something different this year in the employee of the month. She told the cabinet members they may be polled for positive feedback about nominees. She also asked cabinet members to inform AFA about any professional development ideas you may have. She will be working with CAPE to address the training needs.

Dr. Byrd gave an update on the areas of Student Affairs, starting with Project Graduation. Through Institutional Research, Student Affairs has identified 4,269 students with a large number of credits and a good GPA. The plan is to work with these students and encourage them to graduate. Counselors will be setting appointments on all three campuses. In response to reorganization recommendations, the Counseling Department Liaison Initiative with CSN’s schools and departments is beginning; and cross-training of advisors and retention specialists to provide early intervention to incoming students is beginning also. Other news in Student Affairs departments include:

Bill Kerney relayed current events and concerns in Faculty Senate. They continue to work with Mugunth and the OTS department on the password policy. Bill brought up the fact that using graduation rates to evaluate Community College success is a hot topic with Faculty Senate—it is not fair evaluation criteria for CSN. Dr. Richards told him he knows that it is problematic to reconcile the expectation using the current success criteria, but the national trend is for this type of completion. Nevada (NSHE) is participating in Complete College America which will require CSN to show an increase in certificates and degrees over the next 10 years (2010-2020). Some of the ideas being discussed to improve the completion rates are possible certificates for General Education completion, certificates for transfers, or some other method of commendation. The problem at present is that IPEDS will not recognize these certificates in evaluating the data. Dr. Richards also discussed a national movement to standardize Bachelor’s degrees at 120 credits and Associate degrees at 60 credits. Another mistake being made by legislators and others unfamiliar with higher education is the elimination of low producing programs to save money. Using that kind of logic, many health programs and engineering programs would be eliminated from many institutions’ curriculums. The NSHE Plan for Nevada’s Colleges and Universities, Combining Excellence and Austerity to Attain Success is an outline for the Nevada Legislature to explain some of the issues and possible solutions for higher education in Nevada. It can be read in its entirety at this link:


Jacque Matthews talked about the Foundation’s activities and highlighted the upcoming Fall Fun Fest, October 29-31. She distributed some of the Fun Fest marketing materials being used for what is hoped to become an annual event. Some of the sponsors include Budweiser, Cox, the Las Vegas Review Journal, and Lotus Broadcasting. She said that publicity begins in print this week, and during the 10 days prior to the event radio and television spots will run. On the Wednesday before the Fun Fest, two parking lots will be closed to allow for set up. Although it will be inconvenient, it is only for one day and will be well-communicated to faculty, staff and students. There will be a meeting of the Foundation Executive Committee on November 4, with a goal of establishing a cohesive fundraising strategic plan, owned by the trustees. The committee will be conducting in-depth interviews with business leaders and other members of the community to identify the Foundation’s strengths and weaknesses in fundraising, and determine the community’s perception of the College.

The Foundation’s annual Golf Classic is scheduled to take place on November 23 at the Las Vegas Paiute Golf Club Resort. The venue change will give CSN an additional $50 per player and allows for growth for the event, from the resort’s three courses. Jacque said they have at least 13 pros confirmed to participate.

John Bearce and Dan Morris reported on the iNtegrate Project. With Robyn Render’s passing, some changes have been made in leadership. Chancellor Klaich named Annie McDonald as the Interim Project Director and Marilyn Delmont as Interim Vice Chancellor for Information Technology. A national search will begin soon for permanent staff. The September iNtegrate task report shows very little disparity between projected and actual completed tasks, and CSN achieved a milestone accomplishment last week when the Course Catalog was put into the production system. The Summer and Fall courses for 2010 were also put into the system for rollover purposes, and will simplify the process when the system is live. On the academic side of the iNtegrate transition, the student portal will be called “My CSN,” following suit with a number of other institutions with student portals. Dan listed the “go live” dates for some of CSN’s areas: Admissions, December 13; Registration, April 26, 2011 for Fall of 2011; Student Financial Services will go live shortly thereafter. Dan is working with K.C. Brekken to communicate with all constituents regarding training on the new systems. Summer 2011 will be on the current Legacy system, Fall 2011 will be on the new PeopleSoft system; and although there may be confusion initially, the new system is very intuitive and should pose few problems.

Dr. Richards shared that another institution found the transition to the PeopleSoft product very problematic, and asked Dan if CSN would have the same issues. Dan explained that the problems the other institution experienced were caused primarily by a 3rd party, which CSN will not use. Our transition will be implemented differently and with our own staff rather than a 3rd party. Dan said our student records staff is very dedicated to the transition running smoothly, and Administration has been supportive as well. He is confident that we will not have the same issues.

Dr. Richards spoke about the Efficiency & Effectiveness memorandum from the September Board of Regents meeting. He again reminded everyone to become familiar with the topics discussed therein. On the second page of the memo is a reference to the Community College Task Force. It has been renamed a “Fresh Look at Nevada’s Community Colleges.” The group will meet monthly and evaluate many recommendations for Community Colleges. Another task force talked about in the memo is the Library Task Force, which will look at combining services with the intention of becoming more efficient and saving the system money.

Richard Hinckley presented a draft of a Legislative Advocacy plan developed by himself and James Campos for CSN this year. He began by reminding the group that since 2007, CSN has cut 25% from the budget. This fact is affecting access – a big part of our Strategic Plan, Mission, and one of the core themes – and CSN is turning away many qualified students requesting access to various programs. Among these programs are many in the Health Sciences areas. The overall strategy for the College in this Legislative Session is to focus on communicating with the Legislative Leadership. CSN must be involved in discussions with legislators. Richard presented 5 goals for consideration:

1)    Restore and strengthen CSN’s ability to accomplish its Mission to provide access; and continue to make progress with the Legislature’s addressing CSN’s funding equity problem.

2)    Increase CSN’s student access by keeping education here affordable.

3)    Strengthen partnerships for workforce and economic development and respond to current and emerging labor market trends.

4)    Publicize and reinforce the fact that higher education is not an expense—it is an investment. Higher Education is a critical investment needed to help solve the current economic situation and to buffer the state and the country from future turbulence.

5)    Make a long term commitment to excellence in education by focusing on quality and access.

CSN’s action plan will involve meeting with the Legislative Leadership, preparing a post-election report and refining the strategy once the new legislators are in office, and meeting with the NSHE lobbyist regularly to be sure CSN’s issues are heard. One of the most important factors in a favorable outcome is to increase the number of advocates for CSN. It is critical that we have people in attendance in Las Vegas at the Grant Sawyer Building when there are legislative events going on. It is also critical that we greatly increase our number of communications with legislators, and to keep these communications worded positively. Dr. Richards commented on the impact CSN’s students had when they presented testimony at the last sessions, and how powerful their stories are in getting the message across to the public. Richard Hinckley and Dr. Richards both stressed the importance of communicating CSN’s issues to family, friends, neighbors and everyone who votes. Former NSHE Chancellor, Jim Rogers, will be interviewing all 8 NSHE Institution Presidents individually for his talk show; and the interviews will air prior to the Legislative Session in February 2011.

Dr. Richards shared with the group a PowerPoint presentation given by Senator Horsford in July of this year to the Business Leaders Group. The PowerPoint covers Nevada’s budget shortfall, unemployment and a reasonable approach to balancing Nevada’s budget. The solution as presented in the PowerPoint, calls for a fiscal reform with a combination of reasonable cuts to the budget while protecting education, and broad based revenue strategies to lessen the State’s dependence on gaming revenue. The presentation also emphasizes the need for a long term look at education, fiscal reform and health care to create a better Nevada for us all.

Larry Mason reminded everyone of the Cesar Chavez Luncheon at the June Whitley Student Center on Tuesday, October 12. The keynote speaker is Hilda Solis, Secretary of Labor.

Dr. Richards invited everyone to view the video of the White House Summit on Community Colleges, and read the written summary of the discussion groups. Both are posted on the President’s Blog at this link: http://blog.csn.edu

Dr. Richards complimented Darren Divine and the Henderson Campus on the Ketchup event. He said it was a lot of fun.

Joan McGee told everyone that Part Time Music Instructor, Alan Popick passed away. He participated in the holiday party each year by playing Santa Claus. An announcement will go out later in the day.

Meeting adjourned at 10:30 a.m.

Next meeting scheduled November 8, 2010.

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