August 5, 2020
Vickie Shields
So many things about living in the COVID-19 era are anything but humorous. However, it has spurred some funny writings, memes, cartoons, and media. I LOL’d when I read a top ten list by local columnist, Bill Caserta.

My favorites:
  • Coronavirus has turned us all into dogs. We wander around the house looking for food. We get told “NO” if we get too close to strangers, and we get really excited about going for walks and car rides.
  • If there is a second part of this quarantine, do we have to stay with the same family, or will they relocate us?
  • The garbage man left an AA flyer on my recycling bin.

Reopening Concerns
Since our reopening plans were finalized and submitted to NSHE, at least two significant things have changed: COVID-19 cases continued to spike in Clark County and the CCSD has announced their plans for a severely reduced school semester for children. Because of the changes with the virus and the extra burden on finding childcare for both faculty and students, I shared with the academic Deans that I want to add one additional layer of flexibility for teaching faculty for fall 2020: those faculty now assigned to teach in a hybrid modality may elect to teach their classes remotely, under certain conditions as described here:
  1. Deans and chairs will identify all hybrid courses on the schedule.
  2. Deans and chairs will identify whether the in-person portion is essential for meeting the learning outcomes for the course (such courses are exempt from this option).
  3. For the remaining courses, Deans and chairs will offer the instructor the option to move the course online for fall 2020.
  4. All faculty who want to teach hybrid courses regardless of whether the in-person component is objectively essential or not are encouraged to do so.
  5. Deans and chairs will inquire whether the instructors who remain teaching hybrid courses require additional room space to conduct their classes with safe distancing, particularly on test days.
  6. An appropriate staff member in the deans’ offices will contact each student in the classes where the modality has switched from hybrid to remote. They will also inform the student whether the course will be synchronous or asynchronous.

The Path Forward
I’d like to thank our Faculty Senate Chair, Laura Naumann, and Anthony Ruiz for sharing legislative updates with the campus and our NSC community for speaking up in support of Nevada State at the recent Legislative special session and Board of Regents meetings. As you may know, NSHE has to find an additional $25 million in cuts in addition to the 14% reductions institutions have already taken. All variables have not yet been settled, especially whether or not the CARES ACT assistance can be counted toward our overall cut.

There is no way to sugarcoat the consequences of these reductions; we will feel the repercussions from these cuts for the foreseeable future. However, we have many advantages that we didn’t have in 2008 when we last faced a similar challenge. We are a larger, stronger institution and we went into this crisis in the strongest financial shape of our 18-year history. We’ve been through this before, and during our previous struggles with budget reductions, we proved our resilience and our ability to persevere. For those of you who joined NSC after 2010, I encourage you to speak with some of the faculty and staff that helped the college survive the drastic cuts caused by the recession in 2008-2010. They’ll tell you that these were exceedingly trying times, but that the struggle also helped to bring us together in support of a shared cause. It is difficult to predict how future semesters will look for us, but I know that as the State’s public 4-year institution we are needed now more than ever as the communities we educate and serve fight through this crisis and then begin the long path to recovery.
Tony Scinta
I just returned from a short family getaway (much needed and even more appreciated), so most of last week was pretty slow, but I still have a few matters of interest to report.

Human Health Sciences – with help from Marketing and our resident health science experts, Vu Duong and Lance Hellman, we’re developing resources and a brochure to apprise students of our upcoming HHS degree. This is a critical endeavor because we hope that HHS will be a viable pathway for some of our erstwhile pre-nursing majors, allowing them to earn a degree in an area of interest without leaving the college (or higher ed altogether).

Complete College America (CCA) – I participated in a series of workshops for our CCA Metro Momentum Pathways project. We’ve made significant progress in areas such as gateway math, 15-to-Finish, and proactive advising, and are now turning increasing attention to academic maps/degree pathways and the “momentum year,” which involves numerous components (e.g., Career Services).

HOPE survey – we know a lot about our students and what contributes to their success, but I have a far less comprehensive understanding of basic needs (e.g., food, affordable housing). Thanks to Laura Hinojosa, we recently submitted an application to be one of 100 institutions that will administer HOPE’s well-vetted survey of basic student needs (funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation), which can give us an even better idea of how we can provide support.

COVID looms (always) – we continue to work on plans for the fall semester. This week I’m getting up to speed on how we are preparing both students and faculty/staff for classwork that is largely or entirely online.
Gwen Sharp
Two new policies were recently approved and are in effect:

  • Jamie Palmer (Sociology) and Molly Appel (English) have been chosen as the two faculty members NSC will nominate for NEH Summer 2021 stipend grants. If funded, Jamie will work on her project, "Memorializing the Cuban Revolution and Colonial Legacies: The Tension between Collective Memory and U.S. Tourism in Cuba," while Molly would translate poems and write introductions for the collection Writing Abuse: A Transcontinental Collection of Poetry from South Africa and Argentina.
  • Lance Hellman (Human Health Sciences) and Kayla Bieser (Biology) got $13,000 INBRE grants to support research with students. 
  • Amber Howerton (Chemistry) received $44,000 from INBRE for student research.
  • Zach Woydziak (Chemistry) has received an INBRE Developmental Research Project grant of $97,500 for his research with students. 

Publications and Awards
Kevin Graziano (Education) and his co-authors received the Outstanding Research Paper Award from the Journal of Digital Learning in Teacher Education for their article, "TPACK Leadership Diagnostic Tool: Adoption and Implementation by Teacher Education Leaders." The award goes to a single article from the past year of the journal that is judged to have the greatest possibility of advancing the field of teacher education.

In addition, the U.S. Department of Education included one of Kevin's previous co-authored articles, "Teacher Educator Technology Competencies," from the Journal of Technology and Teacher Education, in the bibliography of a recent call for grant proposals. Finally, Kevin co-edited the recently published book Championing Technology Infusion in Teacher Education; in addition to editing the volume, he co-authored two chapters.

Aster Sigel (LAS Undergrad Research Director) is co-author of the article, "Racial and Sex Differences in the Polymorphisms of the Endocannabinoid Receptor Genes in Obesity," published in the Journal of Diabetes and Its Complications.

Convocation has moved to the Office of the President. While Spring 2020 Convocation was canceled due to COVID-19, I want to thank my planning committee for all their help last year: Bill Miller, Christine Draper, Edith Fernandez, Jessica Camacho, Jess Price, LaNelda Rolley, Marie Lacamera, Noelle Garcia, Pam Ball, Rachel Bower, and Sierra Adare-Tasiwoopa api.
Gregory Robinson
WICHE Passport
To facilitate the transfer of core curriculum credits to and from NSC, we have partnered with the WICHE Passport consortium, along with UNR and TMCC. This consortium helps students transfer between member institutions, a bit like our articulation agreements help students transfer between NSHE institutions. As members, we join a growing list of institutions across the west. To learn more, visit the WICHE Passport site or read their press release.

Go Team Nepantla!
The Nepantla Cohort of 2024 will participate in their Ceremony of Completion this Friday. This was the first Nepantla class to complete the entire summer bridge virtually.

Preferred Communication Tools

Student Online Readiness
One of the most frequent concerns we hear from students regarding this fall is their lack of familiarity with online classes. To help students prepare, Sierra Adare-Tasiwoopa Api (CTLE) created the Student Online Preparedness course, a Canvas class that helps students learn the basics of online learning. Students who complete the course receive a badge, visible in their Canvas profile. We’re enrolling all students into this course, making it available on their dashboard. I want to thank Sierra for her hard work. And thank you to Janice Le-Nguyen, who developed some innovative ways to ensure that students aren’t receiving any unwanted emails.
Welcome Jollina! 
Please join me in welcoming Jollina Simpson as she becomes NSC’s Interim Writing Center Coordinator. She has been a part of the Writing Center team since the Spring of 2018. Jollina holds a BS in Biology and a BFA in Theatre. In addition to working in the Writing Center, Jollina is an International Board Certified Lactation Counselor, Doula, and Childbirth Educator. She is the owner of Birth Waters Labor Tub Rental Company and founder of the non-profit The Kijiji Sisterhood.
Stefanie Coleman
Welcome Back, Nicola!
Nicola Opfer has been hired by the Academic Advising Center as the new Gear Up First-Year Advisor/Student Success Specialist. Nicola will support high school juniors and seniors as they prepare for post-secondary education and current NSC students through the Scorpion Success Network.

Following the completion of the final New Student Orientation on August 5th, the AAC and LAS will release all courses held for first-year students on Friday, August 7th. If you have students who were waiting for one of these courses, phave them check after the end of business on Friday.

Housing Updates
Construction delays have pushed the opening of the Student Village and move-in date to October 1. The 61 students who have already signed leases have three options: cancel the lease without penalty; commute from home with an adjusted contract amount; or staying in temporary housing (likely a nearby hotel). If you have questions, contact Shenise Noel.

STING Academy
NSC hosted STING Academy last month for students who did not meet the new admissions GPA requirement. IT WAS A SUCCESS! The academy provided additional support, information, and experiences to help students to determine if they are ready for the rigor of NSC and exposed them to key areas of student support. In the season of COVID-19, the program delivery and format had to be adjusted, but it was still informative and provided our new Scorpions with an enthusiastic welcome to NSC. Congratulations and job well done to the Admissions Committee, Alicia LaMotte, Program Coordinator, and our presenters: Dr. Shantal Marshall, Phil LaMotte, and Nicole Wesley.

Student Life Continues to Provide Engagement
The Office of Student Life and NSSA have worked diligently this summer to prepare for a fall semester full of virtual events. Interested in weekly Zoom trivia? How about a weekly podcast to help students navigate the structure of our campus community? Want to join an eSports community? Dynamic speaking presentations from members of our campus and professional speakers sound good? While we can’t replicate the in-person experience of building community, we’re committed to offering all of these virtual engagement opportunities and more!

NSSA has continued to impress by overcoming all of the barriers associated with COVID-19. Without ever having had the opportunity to be in the same room together as a board, quality training and professional meetings have occurred in a business-as-usual fashion, with a lot of great initiatives on the docket. One initiative is the NSSA African American Student Support Task Force, which has been meeting and plans to conduct focus groups and a supplementary survey to get a sense of the student experience through the lens of those who identify as Black or African-American.

New Student Orientation
Today the RISE Peer Mentors will host the final virtual Online Orientation session welcoming our new Scorpions to NSC! Over 500 incoming first-year students have received valuable information regarding campus resources and academics through the Online Orientation Platform and six Online Orientation sessions hosted via Zoom. First-year students will also have the opportunity to join us on-campus for small group sessions the week of August 17. Thank you to everyone who has helped to provide a big Scorpion Welcome to our incoming students!

I Wear Because I Care Campaign
NSSA, SON students, and Dr. June Eastridge (Dean of SON) began shooting videos around campus regarding the new campus mandate of face coverings and social distancing. I have communicated with many of my peers who are using "student influencers" to inform and motivate their fellow classmates regarding the importance of wearing a face covering and social distancing. The Student Return to Campus Guidelines and Expectations will also include the Scorpion Pledge. After reading the guidelines and expectations, students will be asked to acknowledge they have been informed of the expectations to return safely to campus and potential consequences for ignoring those expectations. The guidelines and pledge will be sent to all NSC students using all platform delivery modalities.

3Ws for Safety during the Time of COVID-19
  • WASH your hands regularly
  • WEAR a mask
  • WATCH your social distancing
Sandip Thanki
Here's some great news: Our Fall 2020 student headcount is comparable to Fall 2019 enrollment at the same time last year. 

Given the current circumstances, how many students do we expect to be physically on campus for classes in Fall 2020? To answer this, let’s examine how many students we had on campus in Fall 2019 for each half hour time slot. Below is the heat-map of 3,492 students in Fall 2019 who enrolled in classes that required in-person attendance on our campus. This excludes students who attended off-campus courses (e.g. clinicals). A similar heat-map for Fall 2020 shows the 889 students who are enrolled in classes currently scheduled to require in-person attendance. This number may grow with additional enrollment, but will also change as faculty opt to move hybrid classes fully online, as Vickie described above.
Key Dates
8/10-8/14: Peer Support Training for Student Workers
8/24: Fall classes begin
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