June 5, 2018
Vickie Shields
Dr. Jonathan Dunning Named Associate Dean of LAS
I am pleased to announce that Dean Kuniyuki has promoted Jonathan Dunning to the position of permanent Associate Dean for the School of Liberal Arts and Sciences. Dr. Dunning took over as Interim Associate Dean in January 2018. Prior to that, he served as the Department Chair for Social Sciences and Business and an Assistant Professor of Psychology. In his many roles, Dr. Dunning has maintained a remarkable commitment to student success, including examining the effectiveness of evidence-based teaching and learning strategies. As a result, he won the NSC Teaching Excellence Award in 2017.
 
Dr. Dunning holds a Ph.D. in Health & Social Psychology from Stony Brook University in New York, an M.S. in Psychology from the University of Memphis, and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Georgia. He has been employed with NSC since 2012, taking on increasing levels of responsibility in teaching and college leadership.
 
Please join me in congratulating Dr. Dunning on his new role!

 
Student Life Planning
While we search for a replacement for Dr. Rich Yao, I wanted to provide an update on an important aspect of strategic planning that falls under the Dean of Students. Last year, President Patterson charged Rich with creating a Student Life Taskforce to begin drafting a 5-year student life strategic plan with recommendations for implementation. As Dean of students, he created several subcommittees, each focusing on a specific element of Student Life. The subcommittees were made up of faculty and staff with relevant expertise. Each team submitted a whitepaper that included a literature review focusing on theoretical foundations, best practices, program ideas, and recommendations for staffing, budgets, and space.

Tony Scinta and Phil LaMotte will consolidate these individual papers into an over-arching report this summer that can be introduced to the campus for additional feedback as part of our larger strategic planning efforts this fall.  From that point, the taskforce will consider campus feedback, prioritize recommended initiatives, and draft a year-by-year plan to implement them. A vision for student life will be part of our college-wide strategic plan; this year’s fall Convocation will kick off the campus-wide planning process.
Tony Scinta
NSC By the Numbers – Enrollment & Retention
One-year retention – At present, our “in progress” 1-year retention numbers for the fall 2017 freshman class are slightly ahead of where we were at this point last year (67.6% vs. 62.0%), but the final outcome remains uncertain. Most of the great 1st year retention work – from academic support to great teaching and learning experiences – is already done, but the Academic Advising Center is doing its best to keep even more students on track through robust communication and advising campaigns (e.g., strategic outreach and 1-on-1 counseling about what students need to do next).  

First-year enrollment – Right now we are on track for a freshmen class that is about 5% smaller than the historic 551 students we enrolled for fall 17. Granted, this is based on our enrollment projections ( dashboard here), which are calculated from available data and are subjected to an annoying but unavoidable margin of error. Sign-ups for Student Orientation are actually ahead of last year (375 vs. 282), but the different result could be due to a host of factors (e.g., better communication to incoming students).

No matter what, we are doing more to manage our growth through new hires (e.g., four new first-year lecturers in English and math), new policy (an earlier application deadline), and better communication to prepare key stakeholders. Even so, this is undoubtedly something we must continue to work on as the college moves forward.
Gwen Sharp
Grant Updates
  • Nevada Humanities notified Angela Brommel that they are funding her proposal; she will receive $3,500 for arts and culture events on campus.
  • Laura Rosales collaborated with a colleague at New Mexico Tech to include a subaward to NSC on their NASA Exobiology grant proposal. If you wonder what exobiology is, basically: aliens. It's aliens.
  • In mid-May, the HSI grant supported a two-day retreat, "Teaching with Equity in Mind," led by Escala Education. Thirty-one NSC teaching faculty and administrators attended. The retreat highlighted how cultural expectations specific to college may conflict with cultural norms Latinx students are most familiar with; faculty learned how to make their classrooms more culturally balanced.
Publications, Honors, & Awards
  • Sarah Bryans-Bongey (SOE) won the best paper award at the 2018 Global Conference on Education and Research for her paper, "Encouraging Student Engagement in STEM Fields through Teacher Training and the Use of Unmanned Aircraft Systems (UAS)." She also published an article, "Tech-Based Approaches to Supporting and Engaging Diverse Learners: Visual Strategies for Success," in Contemporary Issues in Education Research.
  • Danielle Mateo (LAS) received a National Center for Women & Information Technology 2018 Educator award.
  • Mary Cappelli (LAS) published an article, "Decolonizing Female Consciousness in Bessie Head's A Question of Power," in The Journal of African Literature. She also contributed a chapter, "El Mundo Zurdo de Gloria Anzaldúa: Healing Sueños of Nepantlera Activism," to the edited volume Transnational Narratives in Englishes of Exile.
  • Heather Lang (LAS) published "Search and Rescue: A Nevada Haibun," co-written with J.R. Tappenden, in the South Dakota Review.

GradFit
Drs. Christine Beaudry and Rachel Bower (both from SOE) accompanied 13 NSC students (our largest group ever!) to GradFit at the University of Nevada-Reno in late May. UNR provided the programming, room, and board for students; NSC, through funds from an INBRE grant, NSSA, and the Provost's Office, paid for students' travel. Students toured UNR's facilities, met faculty and grad students, and attended workshops about applying to and succeeding in graduate school. They also got to visit beautiful Lake Tahoe. Thank you to Christine and Rachel for chaperoning the trip and to Leo Peña for making all the complicated travel arrangements!
Gregory Robinson
Strengthening Our Core
This week, five NSC faculty will attend the 2018 AAC&U Institute on General Education and Assessment, a four-day workshop to help colleges develop and evaluate their general education courses. This team includes Chris Garrett, Lori Navarrete, Jonathan Dunning, Samantha Oliphant, and myself. 

We’ll be looking carefully at the Liberal Education and America’s Promise Essential Learning Outcomes. Aside from being a little acronym heavy (AAC&U’s LEAP ELOs), this set of core outcomes has several advantages over our current model:

  1. It has been widely adapted by multiple states, which will help to make our core consistent with our peers. AAC&U has developed standardized rubrics to evaluate artifacts for each outcome.
  2. The outcomes are better aligned with our mission and values. They include categories such as information literacy; critical and creative thinking; and teamwork and problem solving.
  3. These outcomes align well with the WICHE Interstate Passport initiative, which makes it easier for students to transfer.

Changing the core curriculum is a complex endeavor. Our core categories have been in place since our inception (fine arts, cultural diversity, etc), as have our assessment categories (communication, critical thinking, citizenship). The committee is taking this task very seriously, and hopes to have a set of recommendations ready for the campus to evaluate when we return.  
Course Assistant Program Highlighted in the Chronicle
In an article titled "A Third of Your Freshmen Disappear. How Can You Keep Them?" Kelly Field surveys the ways colleges can retain freshman. Our own Course Assistant program is mentioned as an innovative way of connecting students and peer coaches. Congratulations to Danette Barber and the Course Assistants!

Nepantla Peer Educators
Seven Nepantla Peer Educators passed NASPA's Certified Peer Educator training and are now Certified Peer Educators through NASPA BACCHUS Initiatives. Students become certified by completing an online test at the end of the 8-module training. Students who pass receive a certificate, membership card, and resume attachment stating that they've been trained in core skills that will make them a better leader, role model, activist, and team member.  

Congratulations to:
Marco Ferry John Lopez - Nepantla 3rd cohort
Douglas Mitchell - Nepantla 4th cohort
Jocelyn Solorio - Nepantla 4th cohort
Maria Takalo Rivas - Nepantla 4th cohort
Edgar Hernandez - Nepantla 4th cohort
Alan Cruz - Nepantla 2nd cohort
Alex Estrada - Nepantla 4th cohort
Sandip Thanki
4000 Graduates!
In the March 2018 newsletter, we projected a minimum of 277 students graduating this spring. How many students actually crossed the finish line? 290. This brings our number of total graduates for 2017-2018 to 566 students (580 degrees), and the total number of NSC graduates to 4000 even. As the chart shows, 2017-18 is notably higher than previous years.
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