February 20, 2018
Vickie Shields
On February 7th, I was honored to be included in Vegas Inc’s “2018 Women to Watch” event, sponsored by Greenspun Media, held at the Veil pavilion in the Silverton Hotel and Casino. Twelve amazing women were honored, primarily from the business and non-profit sectors. As the only representative from education to be recognized, it was a great opportunity to speak to over 400 attendees about Nevada State College and the outstanding return on investment a higher education degree gives our students and their families. Here’s a portion of what I told the group:
Higher education is the social mobility engine of our society.
I know you have probably heard that someone with a bachelor’s degree will earn on average $1 million more in their lifetime than someone with a high school diploma only. Here is something you might not know: New research on the big data generated by higher education institutions coming out of the Equality of Opportunity Project at Brown University shows that, indeed, it is difficult for individuals without financial means or family connections to get started in college. However, once a student stays at the same college and is progressing, family background and income make very little difference as to the income level and success they can expect when they graduate and enter the workforce. A survey of the middle-tier Cal State system schools found that 20% of the poorest students, when given the opportunity to persist and thrive, transformed into the top 20% of wage earners.
Middle-tier colleges and universities like Nevada State College are particularly successful at generating this amazing return on investment. We employ the perfect combination of:
  • Access: through our low price point and scholarship opportunities, we are the college of choice for many students with high financial need and who are underrepresented in higher education more generally.
  • Teaching mission: premier teachers provide a small classroom experience that is rigorous within a culture of caring.
  • Student support services: outstanding support for uninitiated or underprepared students to be successful.
At Nevada State College the return on investment is transformative for individual graduate wage earners and their entire families. This is our mission and this is what gets me up in the morning.
Get your Common Read on!
Nevada State College is participating in our first Common Read program kicking off in summer 2018. At Convocation on February 16th we had a stimulating discussion of how we might integrate our book, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, into our summer bridge programs, fall classes, programming, and events. Sharing a common read is a high-impact practice for bringing a sense of community to a campus of teachers and learners. It also promotes interdisciplinary thinking by exposing students to various lenses by which to examine the same text across their coursework. With any luck, the book will also spark informal conversations in the hallways and “at the water cooler.” Let’s have fun with it!"
Tony Scinta
A National Perspective
Recently I attended the winter meeting of the American Association of State Colleges & Universities (AASCU), an opportunity for senior academic leaders - many of them provosts - to get together and discuss big picture issues in public higher education. It was a lot more exciting than it probably sounds, and I'm not just saying that because Vickie, a provost, also reads this newsletter. You may think that provosts do not know how to party, and, to be fair, in many cases you would be right, but it's not for a lack of trying (free wine goes over well at all levels of academia, apparently).

More importantly, it was a chance to talk to a wide range of leaders about the latest trends and challenges faced by institutions across the country. An interesting development was a renewed focus on very practical and logistical elements of the student experience. This included data-driven scheduling, "guided pathways" that clearly define the courses students need to take from day 1 to graduation, and the role of career skill development in student success, beginning from the very first semester of college. There was still plenty of dialogue - justifiably - about high quality instruction, but I was struck by how much attention was given to questions such as "How do we ensure that students get the courses they need when they need them?" (and for good reason; the associated student success data were compelling).

In terms of challenges, I was much less surprised to see that provosts across the country, at institutions of every type and size, are grappling most with 1) inadequate funding, 2) barriers to student success, and 3) partnering effectively with faculty. I took close account of both the great and bad ideas, and recognized some areas where we are ahead of the game. Even though I have always relished what we do at NSC, I was a little surprised by how many academic leaders at very established institutions seemed jealous of our opportunity to build a new college.
Gwen Sharp
Convocation Feedback
If you attended Spring Convocation on Friday, please take a moment to fill out our short survey; your responses will help us improve it in the future.

HSI Professional Development Event
NSC will host a two-day HSI professional development retreat titled "Teaching with Equity in Mind" on May 10-11, offered by ESCALA (a consortium of consultants that works with HSI-serving institutions). The retreat is geared toward faculty and student support staff (course assistants, tutors, etc.). The research-based workshop will discuss socio-cultural issues at HSIs (particularly cultural divides that can exist between faculty and students) and how to use what we know about how the brain learns to build effective classes.

Lunch will be provided both days, and participants will receive a $125 stipend per day for attending. For more details, read this flyer Laura Naumann provided. The retreat is limited to 35 participants; sign up today at www.nsc.edu/hsiretreat

Publications, Honors, & Awards
We would like to use the newsletter to highlight publications and other accomplishments across campus; we have so many staff and faculty doing amazing things locally and nationally, and we want to provide an opportunity to share those successes. Here are a few recent items:

  • The Schools of Nursing at NSC and UNLV are members of the Zeta Kappa Chapter-at-Large of Sigma Theta Tau, International Nursing Honor Society; the chapter received a Chapter Key Award, which honors exceptional chapters. Congratulations to Dr. Sherri Coffman, the Zeta Kappa chapter president for the past two years, for leading the chapter's efforts!
  • Leila Pazargadi contributed a chapter titled "Unfixing the Autobiographical Subject: Fragmentation as Aesthetics and Identity in Rabih Alameddine's I, the Divine" to the edited volume Arab American Aesthetics: Literature, Material Culture, Film, and Theatre. She also had an article, "Re/calling Scheherazad: Voicing Agency in Mohja Kahf's Poetry," published by Gender Forum.
  • Linda Jacobson's co-authored article, "The Importance of Community in Online RN-BSN Courses," was published in Computers, Informatics, Nursing.
  • Nate Mutter, an adjunct faculty member in Criminal Justice, was featured in a TV news story for leading a team that tries to stop human trafficking in Utah.

If you have an item that may be relevant for this section of the newsletter - or know of an accomplishment by a colleague - email me and let me know!
Gregory Robinson
Teaching Fellows Institute (TFI) and Learning Environment Modeling

I'm excited to be a part of TFI again this summer. In this institute, we provide the time, guidance, and financial support you need to finish a complex project, such as developing a new class or a new online resource. Ideally, you'll share your work with other faculty, contributing to the overall spirit of innovation on campus.

This year, Sierra (from the CTLE) and I will focus on developing online classes. You can propose a class you already teach online or a class that you've always wanted to put online. Either way, we'll work on making it amazing. To give you some context, we're bringing in a team from the University of Central Oklahoma, who will discuss a strategy for visualizing classes called Learning Environment Modeling. They'll do two in-person sessions and five remote sessions with us. Their vast experience in course design will give us some strategies for thinking carefully about how all the pieces of an online course fit together. For more information on their process, check out this video.

To apply, email me a letter of interest with details about the class you’d like to create/improve and anything else you hope to gain from this experience. Space is limited, so try to consider classes that affect large numbers of students or could exert a substantive impact on the college.
Rich Yao
Student Life Taskforce
President Patterson requested that we develop a 5-year student life strategic plan. With our first residence halls opening in Fall 2019, this is a wonderful opportunity to solidify our vision of how we can build a robust student life program that is integrated with the academic mission of the college.  

We have formed a student life taskforce to address this need. The taskforce consists of a Steering Committee, comprised of Phil LaMotte, Amber Lopez Lasater, and myself. The Steering Committee will oversee all aspects of the project from start to finish. We collapsed the myriad student life areas into seven subcommittees:

  • Residence Life
  • Title IX/Student Conduct/Police Services
  • Student Wellness (recreation, counseling and support services, entertainment space)
  • Personal Development (service learning, inclusion and social justice, arts and culture)
  • Student Leadership (NSSA, Clubs and Orgs, Veteran Services)
  • Academic Co-Curricular (undergraduate research opportunities, faculty mentorship, student publication)
  • Greek Life

These individuals volunteered to serve as subcommittee chairs: Phil LaMotte (Student Leadership), Darlene Haff (Student Wellness), Leilani Carreno (Personal Development), Lance Hignite (Academic Co-Curricular), Edith Fernandez (Greek Life), and Cheri Canfield (Title IX/Student Conduct/Police Services). I will serve as the Chair of the Residence Life subcommittee. Subcommittees will include additional faculty/staff members, as well as student representatives.  

The primary task for each subcommittee is to develop a whitepaper that envisions their specific area in 5 years. We are looking to be "aspirational but realistic" in developing our vision. This vision will be informed by a brief literature review of best practices, and ideally finding 1-3 institutions that are doing what we hope to do here at NSC. Each chair directs the subcommittee in developing their whitepapers.

Once the whitepapers are submitted to the Steering Committee, we will utilize the whitepapers to "work backwards" and develop a strategic plan for each area. We will also include the whitepapers as part of the overall strategic plan; the strategic plan will also include budget, staffing, and space recommendations.

Our team has an aggressive (or maybe grandiose) time frame. The Steering Committee would like to have whitepapers completed by the last week of March or first week of April. The Steering Committee will then work to finish an initial draft of the strategic plan by early to mid-May. We will then distribute the draft to key constituents on campus and compile feedback. We anticipate several drafts throughout the summer, with the goal of having a solid draft ready for President Patterson by the start of the fall semester.

New Case Manager
Please welcome our new C.A.R.E. Team case manager, Laura Carroll, to NSC. Laura is a proud NSC psychology graduate and stepped in to fill this vital role on campus. Our C.A.R.E. Team served 97 students in Fall 2017, and this increase in utilization is continuing early this semester as well. Feel free to reach out to Laura directly to consult about any student issues or campus/community resources. Our previous case manager, Kristie Collins, gave birth to her daughter in December, and has decided to focus on finishing her master's degree in social work and meeting the needs of her family.
Sandip Thanki
What percent of NSC students are on good academic standing? This number has been rising. The graph below shows the percent of students on good academic standing during the past 3 years. This growth is amplified when we only consider students who used our free tutoring services; utilization has grown from around 60 students in fall 2015 to over 350 students in fall 2017.
List of events and deadlines from February 20th newsletter
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