August 20, 2020
Vickie Shields
Welcome to Academic Year 2020-21
The year is beginning like none other and it may be difficult to stay positive in light of the health crisis and resulting budget reductions. However, Nevada State is still the special community and culture it always has been. We are just going to have to work a bit harder to stay connected and to keep our dreams and strategic plans moving forward. On the bright side, our students continue to choose NSC in search of careers and a better quality of life for them and their families. They rely on all of us now more than ever. This semester, as always, they will welcome your expertise, your commitment, and your compassion - and I know none of us want to let them down.

Captioning Videos
For all of you who have manually captioned videos or painstakingly edited the auto-captioning provided by YouTube, you know how difficult captioning can be. Therefore, we are piloting an effort to make captioning easier, faster, and more affordable for everyone on campus. We'll be sending out more detailed information by email soon, but our new process will allow faculty to use a form to request the uploading of their videos and have professionally captioned videos sent to them or inserted in their class through canvas. For now, we will be limiting this process to smaller videos, but as we gauge campus needs, we will evaluate our ability to expand the service. Starting the first week of classes, this service will be funded centrally. School, program, or department budgets will not be charged for this service.

Town Halls
Thank you to everyone who participated in the recent Town Halls. Your questions and comments submitted beforehand and during the sessions helped leadership shape necessary policy, provided a window into what you are truly worried and concerned about, and informed us when it was the time to pivot. The hard work to provide a safe environment during the COVID-19 pandemic started in March continues, as it will until the pandemic is controlled. The most vital resources you need to stay up-to-date and informed are found on the COVID-19 page of the NSC website. The resources on this page include:
  • Faculty and Staff Guidelines for returning to campus
  • Student Guidelines for returning to campus
  • Video on mandatory face coverings
  • Official memoranda that have gone out to faculty, staff, and students since March 2020. 
State Safe App
Don’t forget to download the State Safe app, which provides quick access to a variety of resources to help keep our community safe. One of the valuable tools is a "friend walk" which allows students to be virtually walked to their car. It also has quick access to emergency contacts, including the campus Police Services.
How much remote learning is Nevada State providing in Fall 2020?
There are many different ways to answer this question. The most useful, reliable, and explanatory method is measured by Student Credit Hours (SCH). Nevada State is offering approximately 75% of all SCH remotely in Fall 2020. The breakdown by School SCH is:
  • School of Education: 88% remote
  • School of Liberal Arts and Sciences: 80% remote
  • School of Nursing: 25% remote

Statement on Fall 2020 Faculty Evaluations 
August 13, 2020
Faculty are currently challenged with maintaining academic quality and consistency in light of the COVID-19 impact and the transition to remote teaching. As we work to respond appropriately to the risks to our region, we expect there will be unhappy students, because they dislike online learning altogether or because of the difficulties that may occur in transitioning from a more typical course format. We are aware that these responses could be reflected in end-of-semester student evaluations, and would like to reassure faculty that all student evaluations will be viewed in light of the disruptive events that began in Spring 2020 semester and continue into Fall 2020. Faculty should note in their annual evaluation and/or P&T materials that the Fall 2020 semester was impacted by the coronavirus pandemic. In their teaching narratives, faculty are encouraged to address the measures they took to meet NSC’s need to move to remote or hybrid teaching.

Academic administrators in charge of evaluations (e.g., department chairs and deans) are directed to be flexible and lenient, when necessary, as they evaluate faculty for their performance in fall 2020. This will be particularly important for faculty applying for tenure or promotion in the next cycle. Faculty and evaluators must also keep in mind that student evaluations are only one variable in assessment and that other forms of assessment should be particularly emphasized for Fall 2020.
Tony Scinta
As we approach the uncharted territory of this fall semester, we’ve been taking stock of our institutional “vital signs.” One of them – our incoming class of students (both first-year and transfer) – is particularly relevant on the eve of a new academic year.

It has been an unusual and convoluted journey to this point, marked by a pandemic that demanded new ways of achieving familiar goals, but also a demonstration of our ability to succeed against long odds. As of today, we are on track to welcome over 500 first-year students to campus, an increase over last year’s total despite a new admissions standard that saw far fewer students enroll with a high school GPA below 2.5 (from 72 last year to 13 this year).

As important as the growth, if not more important, is how we grew. Consistent with our mission to provide educational opportunity, we saw increases in students from nearly every race and ethnicity, including a substantial increase in African-American students, from 29 to 55. In alignment with our strategic goals, we observed more students choosing majors such as education, biology, visual media, criminal justice, and deaf studies, as well as decreases in undecided and pre-nursing students (the latter of which remains very robust but slightly more in line with the capacity of our nursing program).

Finally, we have long prided ourselves on the college’s ability to help students maximize their potential, regardless of their individual starting points, and that should never change. However, one thing we are trying to change is the degree to which Nevada State is viewed as a “first choice” destination among students who excelled in high school. For many years, this group did not consider the college in meaningful numbers, but we have garnered significantly more interest in recent years, and this fall we are witnessing historically high enrollments among students from this population.

In all, it is an optimistic outlook, with convincing evidence that students from all backgrounds – and varying interests – are increasingly seeing NSC as a viable destination. Thank you to the entire campus for making this an excellent institution, and to our admissions, recruitment and marketing colleagues for ensuring that prospective students know it.
Gwen Sharp
New IRB Application Form
I updated our IRB application form to try to make it easier to use and less repetitive. I also added a template for the information sheet, which can be used instead of an informed consent document for projects that are Exempt.

All forms and templates are available at the IRB Canvas page.

Grants
  • Our GEAR UP proposal has been funded. It will pay for an academic advisor and various activities for first-year GEAR UP students. Congrats to Alex Kunkle (Advising) on this initiative to support incoming students.
  • The School of Education submitted a proposal to the Nevada Department of Education for a $622,000 grant to provide professional development related to online teaching to CCSD teachers. Shartriya Collier and Kevin Graziano put together a strong proposal on a very short timeline.

Publications and Awards
Nevada Humanities recently published a photo essay by Heather Lang-Cassera (First-Year Experience Lecturer) in their Humanities Heart to Heart series. The photo essay is dedicated to Dawn Butler, our colleague who passed away last semester.
Gregory Robinson
Integrating Zoom into Canvas
To video conference with students, we recommend Zoom or BigBlueButton. If you prefer Zoom, here are some instructions for adding Zoom meetings to Canvas menus and modules.

Quick Tips for an Amazing Online Semester
Many of our students will be taking online classes for the first time this semester. This page has some quick tips to help them.

TRiO-SSS
Our TRiO-SSS grant was successful and the program is now funded for another five years. TRiO-SSS provides a wide range of services (including academic support, tutoring, programming, and scholarships) to students who are accepted into the program. To be eligible, students must have one of the three characteristics: (1) demonstrated financial need (2) first-generation status, or (3) a documented disability. Over the last five years, TRiO-SSS has far exceeded our expectations thanks to the leadership of Director LaKiasha Hollingsworth and Coordinator Andreana Franco. I’d like to thank Christine Gonzales and Gwen Sharp for their efforts in writing the proposal and getting it submitted.

Peer Support Training
We completed an entire week of Peer Support Training, which was open to all our student workers. Over 100 students participated and discussed topics such as the NSC Way (how we treat each other), dismantling inequality, helping others remotely, and learning from experienced students. Several guest speakers from across campus shared their experiences and the students had a great opportunity to meet other workers who aren’t in their areas. Thank you to Cristina Caputo (ASC Director), Pam Ball (Interim Course Assistant Coordinator), Dr. Rachel Herzl-Betz (Interim Writing Center Director), and Rikki Gaddy (ASC Coordinator) for leading sessions all week. I also want to thank Danette Barber, Baden Fox, and Brandi Gilmore for their work on the planning committee.

Nepantla Celebration of Completion
Didn’t get to see the Nepantla students celebrate the end of their summer program? You can still the YouTube broadcast. The video does a terrific job showing how many people came together to make the Nepantla Summer Bridge Program a reality. I want to thank Dr. Leila Pazargadi, Director Leilani Carreño, and Johanna Araujo for their leadership, as well as the other members of Team Nepantla who committed themselves to making this a transformative experience, including: Dr. Laura Decker (English), Dr. Christine Beaudry (Education), Derryce Howzell (Communication), Dr. Chris Harris (Communication), Peter Calin (Math), Brian Chongtai (ITS), Bill Miller (ITS), and Dr. Sierra Adare-Tasiwoopa Api (CTLE). The commitment required to orchestrate an effort like this is remarkable and I’m so proud of what this team accomplished.
Stefanie Coleman
Mark your Calendars!
On Friday, August 21st, at 10:00 am, Academic Support, Student Life, and Student Support Services will participate in a virtual Town Hall discussion. Dr. Tony Scinta, Executive Vice Provost, will moderate the conversation. If you have any questions regarding how these departments will provide services this fall, look for the email announcement and the link to submit questions.
Congratulations NSC!
Nevada State College has been selected to participate in the Hope Center's Emergency Aid During the Pandemic project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Our students will participate in a survey regarding their needs for food, housing, childcare, and mental health supports, and their access to and experience of using emergency aid. Nevada State will receive recommendations for improving the delivery of emergency aid. Institutions who weren't selected for funding are paying $5,000 to participate, so we're excited to receive a grant to take part. Laura Hinojosa (Case Manager) and Danette Barber (Institutional Research) will be working with the Hope Center team.

DRC Updates
The Disability Resource Center has returned to campus; however, they will NOT be taking walk-ins. The DRC will remain predominantly online for general inquires. If you or your students have a more specific question, concern, or issue that requires seeing someone in person, an appointment with the appropriate staff member is required. Students will still be able to contact the DRC by phone, chat, cranium cafe, or email.

Should you or a student need to visit us in person, please sign into Waitwhile before you arrive at the DRC office. Once we are ready for you to enter, we will alert you via Waitwhile.
The DRC is online:
  • via Cranium Café 
  • Facebook(@NSC_myDRC)
  • Instagram (@NSC_myDRC)

Testing at the DRC
The DRC will open the testing rooms on a very limited basis. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, new procedures are in place for testing. The rooms will only be available to DRC students who have no other adequate testing options or on a case-by-case basis after speaking with DRC staff. Students with extenuating circumstances who feel they need to test at the DRC should contact the DRC at least seven (7) business days in advance. Approvals will be made on a case-by-case basis after an interactive conversation. Once approved, students must complete the Test Scheduling Form per DRC policy.

The DRC can proctor remotely! If you have an exam that needs to be proctored remotely, contact the DRC and we will walk you through your next steps.

Students with approved accommodations (including those unable to wear a face covering for medical reasons) will receive an accommodation letter from the DRC to share with their instructors; otherwise, no accommodations can be given. Only provide those accommodations listed in the DRC letter.

Wash your hands.
Wear a mask.
Watch your physical distance.

Stay safe.
Sandip Thanki
This summer, we designed and implemented a dashboard, Scheduling Advisor (preferred browser: Chrome), to help us provide our students with more course options and open seats. Here are some of the things the dashboard allows us to do:

  • View class sections offered by schools with components (e.g. LAB), instructors, times, locations, and delivery (e.g. synchronous) for any term;
  • View capacity offered, enrollment, % full, days-to-full, wait-list, eligible students based on completed pre-requisites, and weekdays offered by section;
  • Collapse/expand the view all the way to the course level using (-) or (+) that appears while hovering over the left column titles;
  • Filter the view by Terms, Area (e.g. Social Sciences), Discipline (e.g. Biology (BIOL)), Levels (e.g. Lower Division), Courses (e.g. EDU 203), Instructors, Contract (e.g. Part-time), Components (e.g. LAB), Mode (e.g. Hybrid), Facility (e.g. KAB 131), Delivery (e.g. Synchronous), Time (e.g. Morning), Colors (Red: Full and filled up quickly, Yellow: Full or almost full but filling up slowly, Orange: was full at one point and is now more than 80% full, Green: many open seats), and words within the course description (e.g. ‘Satisfies Humanities Core’);
  • View course titles, full descriptions, and credits;
  • View student distribution by major/minor, admissions type (e.g. transfer), academic level (e.g. freshmen), and age;
  • Sort by any data field by clicking on the term titles.

Below are few of the added features:
  • By choosing multiple terms, we can compare course offering trends. To fit more terms in the view, you can select and exclude columns using right-click options;
  • By picking all terms and filtering on instructors, we can list all classes ever taught by an instructor since the implementation of PeopleSoft (2011);
  • In expanded view, by picking all terms and filtering on a course, we can list all instructors who taught that course since 2011.

The dashboard link is also available in the NSC Portal under Faculty Center. We welcome your feedback to help us make the tool more useful and user-friendly. Send you feature requests, training requests, questions, or general feedback to sandip.thanki@nsc.edu.
Key Dates
8/21: Scorpions Unite Town Hall at 10am
8/24: Fall classes begin
NSC Office of the Provost | 702-992-2663 | http://nsc.edu/provost
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