October Chronicle

The CSN Chronicle 

Greetings to all of you!  As we near the mid-way point in the semester, I hope things are going well. Because a number of fine rumors are circulating, I’m going to start this Chronicle by addressing some of them.  Then I’ll share information about other important news and activities.  

Rumor Control 

Distance education will be outsourced.  No.  We have no plans to change anything regarding distance education other than the learning management system (LMS).  

Nevada will create a virtual college.  No.  Although a recommendation in the report of the Fresh Look Task Force advanced the idea, there is no support, particularly at CSN, to create a redundant online college.  CSN is already fully on online, delivering excellent classes and student support services. 

The new password policy is an administrative decree.  No.  The new policy and the reasons for it were exhaustively discussed in Faculty Senate last spring.  As I mentioned at convocation, the intent of the policy is to protect college and employee information through regular changes in passwords. Requiring regular password changes is a common practice at many businesses and organizations. 

Starting Nov. 1, the new computer password protection standards will take effect and you will be prompted to change your Active Directory password. Please be proactive and change your Active Directory password as soon as possible before Nov. 1.  Changing your password now will ensure the new standards are implemented smoothly.  This is part of the Information Systems and Electronic Resources Acceptable Use Policy that was approved in May. Information about password protection can be found in section II G. 

The state/national Complete College America (CCA) agenda will threaten current curricula and programs.  No.  While CSN and other institutions are learning more about how the CCA will affect Nevada, the aspects discussed by the administration integrate into existing structures and programs, predominately in student services.  

CSN is pleased to host professional meetings at its campuses.  This month we will host the Western Region Council for Black American Affairs with its many events and professional activities Oct. 28-29.  

 Human Resources Improvements 

Watch for the HR Newsletter, issued periodically with current information from Human Resources.  The newsletter will be posted on the web. 

HR staff members are working steadily to improve services to all CSN employees.  A new software system for administering leave is being tested, and a new I-9 system has been acquired.  Both systems will make our operations more effective and efficient.  I hope, too, that you have visited the new HR web site.  The product of months of effort, the new site offers a wonderful resource for faculty and staff.  Also, take advantage of HR staff visits to other CSN campuses.  Their regular circuit of visits saves you travel time.    

Our facilities staff members, under the direction of Sherri Payne, continue with the phased plan to upgrade space at the Cheyenne campus.  New carpet and paint has made a huge difference, along with improved mechanical systems.  Restrooms are next on the list of projects.  We have also introduced new directional maps and signage to all three campuses.  In some cases room numbers will be revised for more systematic “way-finding,” a particular need at Cheyenne.  Exterior maps are also part of this project.  Our thanks to Sherri, Luis Tristan and the team for these much-needed improvements. 

System Planning and Fiscal Direction 

At a special meeting of the Board of Regents on Oct. 21, the Board is expected to develop its strategic direction in preparation for the 2013 legislative session.  The goals and objectives of the Nevada System of Higher Education have not been updated for some time, particularly as the national college completion and workforce competency agendas have been published.  It is expected, too, that institutional performance measurements will be introduced as an aspect of NSHE’s strategic plan.  

We at CSN have developed preliminary directions and ideas for the revision of the state funding formula.  A legislatively-approved study is getting underway as members of the study committee and working group have been named.  From CSN, Patty Charlton is on the working group, and I am on the study committee.  

On Thursday, Dec. 8, CSN is celebrating the end of the year with a Holiday Fiesta at Texas Station. The ‘fiesta’ theme celebrates the large and colorful community gatherings of Latino culture. You should be getting a ‘Save the Date’ e-mail soon, so mark your calendars and plan to join us for this wonderful and festive celebration. Tickets, which go to support CSN programs and scholarships, are $5 and go on sale Nov. 1. Again, we are collecting Three Square donations at the door. The CSN Foundation sponsors the holiday party, and we thank the trustees for their continuing support. I have every assurance that this year’s event will be even more fun than last year. More information is available at www.csn.edu/holidayparty

Hispanic Heritage Month 

I would also like to encourage you to help CSN celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month. You can do this in a number of ways, such as attending the CSN Cesar Chavez Scholarship Luncheon on Oct. 26 at the Stratosphere.  In addition, there is a Wine & Tequila Tasting Fundraiser on Nov. 1 at the Blue Martini at Town Square. More information about both events, which raise money for CSN student scholarships, is available on the CSN home page.

Reminder: Driving and Cell Phones

I would like to remind everyone that talking, texting or otherwise using a handheld device like a cell phone while driving is now against the law as of Oct. 1. Please do not use your handheld device while operating your vehicle at any time. Whomever you need to communicate with – whether it is a coworker, a supervisor at CSN, a family member or friend – will understand and appreciate your prudence if you wait until you are off the road and no longer operating a vehicle to contact them.   I want to stress that you must not use your cell phone to conduct CSN business on your phone while driving at any time. 

Regents Awards

The college’s Internal Recognition Committee is now soliciting nominations for the NSHE regents’ awards, including Regents’ Scholar, Regents’ Teaching, Regents’ Academic Advisor and Regents’ Creative Activities awards. As you will recall when our own Dennis Soukup won the Regents’ Teaching Award this past year, it was a huge source of pride for the college. Each award also comes with a $5,000 stipend. Nomination materials are due to Jann Carson by 5 p.m. on Oct. 21 at jann.carson@csn.edu. For more information on these awards, go to www.csn.edu/recognition.

The committee will also begin soliciting nominations for the excellence and distinguished awards (these are given out at convocation) shortly. 

Questions from Faculty and Staff Members: 

“How’s fall enrollment?” 

Our official census date is Oct. 15, but the last numbers I saw indicated headcount and FTE enrollment were down about 10%. 

“Why is enrollment down?”

CSN’s enrollment history is cyclical and we have periods of growth and decline. We believe enrollment is declining as many Nevadans, who would be students, have been told that our education system is broken and are looking out of state for postsecondary opportunities.  We’ve talked for six months about closing sites and even a campus.  That probably didn’t help.  Nevada’s population is no longer growing as it once was, and many who have lost their jobs in recent years have given up and moved away instead of enrolling at CSN to obtain more marketable skills.  Increasing tuition and fees probably did not help either.  But I would not say enrollment is suffering. For the past three years, CSN’s student population has grown and we have some catching up to do.  I see this as an opportunity to look inward and focus on the quality of the education we provide and making sure all of our students receive the attention, knowledge and skills they need to achieve their goals. 

Best regards to all.


–Mike Richards

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