February 4, 2021
Vickie Shields
The Fall 2021 Transitional Semester
Fall 2021 will be a “transitional semester,” serving as a bridge between our current model and the predominantly in-person model we want to return to for spring semester 2022. While I understand the frustration of those anxious to get back to full classes and events without our current safety precautions, I’m also very optimistic that we are moving in a positive direction, pragmatically and gradually shifting back to the models of instruction and student support that have served us so well throughout our history.

Our transitional semester will include:
  • A combination of in-person, hybrid, and fully online courses (offered in both synchronous and asynchronous formats); 
  • In-person courses scheduled/designed in a manner that permits classrooms to be at half capacity for social distancing; 
  • The contingency plan for in-person classes will be synchronous, online;
  • Students, faculty, and staff following established safety protocols, such as masks and social distancing; 
  • A combination of in-person and online events supporting student success and campus culture, such as Orientation, Welcome Week, and Peer Support Training.

Our goal is to provide our students with engaging in-person options without sacrificing our commitment to safety and accessibility.

Course Scheduling
It is difficult to predict how much progress the nation will have made by Fall 2021 in its efforts to curb the spread of COVID-19. That said, it is reasonable to assume that we will still have heightened safety concerns for our students. Therefore, we are planning to continue the existing practice of reducing the number of students allowed in the classroom (i.e. physical capacity) by 50% to ensure social distancing. If circumstances allow us to increase capacity safely beyond 50%, we may do that in the interest of ensuring that there are a sufficient number of available seats for our students. We may also consider opening the ballrooms up to use as classrooms for Fall 2021 only, allowing for more students in the class, while retaining room capacity at 50%.

Exceptions Granted to First-Year Courses
Guided by data collected from the Office of Institutional Research, I may reduce class caps for courses where data suggest that doing so will have a positive impact on our incoming students. For example, we may reduce the class caps on ALS/CEP courses, allowing them to run in-person, since these are crucial for engaging our new students.

We respect our faculty’s ability to design classes in ways that permit in-person participation without violating established safety guidelines. As long as a course meets these criteria, it satisfies our guiding principles:
  • The course retains its established cap
  • The course does not require students to exceed 50% of a classroom’s capacity
  • The course meets the required contact hours (45 total hours for a 3-credit course)

Administrative Faculty and Staff Scheduling
We will continue to follow guidelines from the Governor’s Office, the Southern Nevada Health District, and NSHE regarding on-campus work. Generally, we expect faculty and staff to have more campus presence during the fall, although it may not be at pre-COVID levels. Employees at elevated risk (unvaccinated and over 70, unvaccinated and suffering from other conditions, etc.) will still be able to teach online or work remotely.

Heidi Batiste Appointed to Advisory Council
Dr. Batiste (Business) was recently appointed to the Clark County Business Development Advisory Council. A major initiative of this body is to promote small businesses and provide equal opportunity to women- and minority-owned businesses in southern Nevada. It will be a great opportunity to promote our programs while aligning our curriculum and instructional strategies with the needs of the local business community.
Tony Scinta
The more things change . . .
the more this week’s newsletter remains the same. It has been a busy couple of weeks, but a lot of the work has been oriented around recent newsletter topics, including:
  • The ongoing search for a Director of Workforce Development, with two finalist interviews in the past week and a third interview approaching on Monday, Feb. 8.
  • Continued participation in the NSHE Dual Enrollment Task Force. Dean Potthoff and I furnished a report and gave two presentations to participants, one on instructor qualifications and another on school/instructor supports (where we recommended additional investments to bolster program quality and better support the people involved).
  • My involvement in the transfer space, which includes conversations with CSN faculty and leadership on how to improve our education transfer pipeline and an effort to overhaul our transfer web pages.
  • The arrival of “first cuts” of the videos for our virtual tour, which are shaping up quite well (kudos to Marketing for herding the cats as they guide that effort).

Finally, we submitted a report to the NWCCU on issues related to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (an area where our accrediting body is accelerating their efforts). Gwen Sharp did some heroic, late-night writing to help make this happen.
A Message from Gwen & Gregory
Last week, we had the pleasure of volunteering full-time at the CSN Henderson NSHE vaccination distribution site. Over the course of the week, we checked eligibility documentation at the door, took people's temperatures, handed out consent forms, helped elderly individuals fill out the online registration form, directed people to the check-in and vaccination stations, and watched people in the waiting room after their vaccination.

After so many months of feeling helpless in the face of COVID-19, it was great to be able to actively assist people in our community to finally get vaccinated. We saw some of our NSC colleagues come through for vaccinations, along with faculty and staff from other NSHE institutions; later in the week, CCSD teachers made up most of the patients.

Nursing students from NSC, CSN, and UNLV are actually administering the vaccines. We were so proud to see our NSC nursing students (and some faculty!) playing such a vital role in helping fight COVID-19 in Nevada. The nursing students from all three institutions have been amazing, helping allay patients' fears, creating a welcoming atmosphere, and working with few breaks to administer as many vaccines as possible each day.

If you'd like to volunteer, please check with your supervisor. If they approve your request, join CSN's group on GivePulse; once your membership is accepted, you can sign up for specific shifts (4 hours each). No medical knowledge is required. If you have questions, Michelle O'Reilly is helping coordinate NSC volunteers. We put together some frequently asked questions, which cover topics such as parking and what to wear.

We are really glad we took this opportunity to volunteer. It's a meaningful way to help NSC, NSHE, and the community generally, and we got to know some awesome colleagues at UNLV and CSN. We're both continuing to volunteer two half-day shifts per week, and we hope to see some of you there!
Gwen Sharp
Student Scholarship Available for Women's Leadership Conference
The American Association of University Women (AAUW) Nevada chapter is offering scholarships to allow female college students (first-year through juniors) to attend this year's virtual National Conference for College Women Student Leaders in late May. 

Applications are due March 26th. This flyer explains the application requirements and process. 

Carol Lee (Psychology) co-authored "Personal Value, Self-Efficacy, and Social Acceptability of a Social Behavior as Correlates of Behavioral Action in Social Anxiety," which is being published in Trends in Psychiatry and Psychotherapy. Her co-author, Christina Yeghiazarian, is one of our psych undergrads.

Kebret Kebede (Biology) submitted an INBRE Pilot Grant proposal focused on extreme heat events and the health of workers.

Virtual Native Hoop Dance Contest
The Heard Museum, located in Phoenix, focuses on Native American art and culture. This year, its annual hoop dance competition will be virtual, streamed live on YouTube on Saturday, February 13th. This is a great opportunity to see a really spectacular cultural event that isn't usually easily available.
Gregory Robinson
Search for a New NSC President Proceeds with Alacrity
We had our first Advisory Committee meeting for the NSC President search last Friday. The search will be guided by three primary bodies:
  • A Regents Committee, chaired by Amy J. Carvalho
  • An Advisory Committee, with NSC employees and members of the community. (It is the size of a small army)
  • AGB Search, the firm that was hired to help us find suitable candidates. AGB will be represented by Carlos Hernández and Garry Owens.

Chair Carvalho explained that the role of the Advisory Committee was formed in accordance with BoR policy; our primary role is to help the Regents Committee make the best decision possible.

While much of this initial meeting was taken up with formalities, there was extensive discussion about how to make the leadership profile reflective of NSC’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. The timeline for this search is ambitious. Chancellor Rose stated that her intent is to complete the search on the following schedule:
  • February to April: Recruit candidates
  • March 26th: Anti-bias training for the Regents Committee
  • April 7th or 8th: 8-10 Semi-finalist interviews
  • End of April: Forum for finalists
  • April 28th and 29th – Final selection at the Board of Regents meeting

Common Read
There is still time to put in a request for this year's Common Read: Tales of Two Planets: Stories of Climate Change and Inequality in a Divided World. Get your free copy now!

Radical Candor
I met with the Directors in our Student Success units (ASC, Nepantla, Writing Center, and TRiO-SSS) this week to have a short discussion about the book Radical Candor by Kim Scott. If you have a role on campus where you work with a team, I highly recommend it. One of the guiding ideas of the book is that the best feedback you can give is a mix of caring personally and challenging directly. It is easy to say, but hard to do! Most feedback, Scott argues, falls into other categories, where an unwillingness to confront someone directly keeps them from getting the feedback they need.
Stefanie Coleman
Black History IS American History, and for the next 28 days, we highlight Black Americans who have made, and are still making, contributions to our country. Black history is a journey, and some of that journey is painful, ugly, and involves other people. Some of the journey involves celebrating the beauty and triumphs that emerged from the pain and ugliness in the face of adversity. Black history celebrates the good, acknowledges the bad, and remembers the champions.

Nevada State Black History Celebration
Please plan to attend the virtual Harambee: Celebrating Our Journey event during Black History Month. With a roster of esteemed scholars and artists, you'll learn about the rich history and culture of Black Nevadans and Americans. Let's pull together and celebrate! The event is Thursday, February 11, 2021, 12:00 - 3:30 pm, and is hosted by Dr. Kimberly Florence and CEDI.

We encourage you to register in advance. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the meeting.

Mental Health and COVID
CCSD made nationwide news last week because of a high number of suicides among students in the district. It's not a far reach to assume many of our students have siblings in CCSD who may be struggling with unfortunate effects of COVID: isolation and loneliness. We have resources to help our students if they are feeling powerless or confused during these challenging times.

Student Emergency Funds: Students in need are encouraged to apply for emergency funds or connect directly with Case Manager Laura Hinojosa at 702.992.2514.
Mental Health Screenings: Anyone who takes a screening is given an extensive list of on-campus, local, and national mental health resources.
All About You Counseling: AAU is working with students 3 days a week to meet the high demand for mental health services. Students should call 702.754.0807 and identify as an NSC student to sign up for free services. For community mental health services, students should email Laura Hinojosa or call 702.992.2514.

Flag/E-Alert Success
Congratulations to Jesse Poole and Nicola Opfer for their work using the Scorpion Success Network (Starfish). Preliminary numbers related to flags/e-alerts showed promising results. Students who ‘met’ with Jesse or Nicola to have their e-alert addressed had a 17.9% higher retention rate from fall 2020 to spring 2021 than students who did not respond to the intervention requests.

Other significant milestones include;
  • 444 students flagged in the fall semester
  •  947 flags submitted (one student could have multiple flags)
  • Students who met with Jesse or Nicola had an 11% higher credit attainment ratio than students who did not respond to the intervention request 
  • Students who met with Jesse or Nicola had, on average, a .35 higher cumulative GPA than the population who did not respond to the intervention request. 

If anyone is interested in learning more about the Scorpion Success Network, email Jesse Poole. Nice work, Jesse and Nicola!
Sandip Thanki
Here is a question that kept many of us (especially Tony) up at night: how did students do in our (nearly) all-remote format last fall? Below are two comparisons between Fall 2019 and Fall 2020 that can help us examine this. (We have excluded our dual-credit students from this data.)
“Big Picture”
Fall 2019 and 2020 semester GPAs are comparable. In Fall 2019, our average semester GPA was 3.06; it was 3.07 for Fall 2020. The percentage of students receiving at least one D, F, W, or I grade was 23% in Fall 2019 and 20% in Fall 2020. The percent of students on Good Academic Standing was 83% in both years. Retention into the following Spring was 82% for Fall 2019 and 81% for Fall 2020. The slight drop in retention could be related to a 15% increase in the number of students graduating in the fall.
Course Level
This table shows the percentage of D, F, W, or I grades assigned in courses with enrollments of more than 100 (in all sections) sorted by Fall 2020 enrollment in courses that generally have in-person sections. In Fall 2020, these courses were offered remotely. The table also shows the courses broken down by instruction modes. For the majority of courses, the differences are minor.
Key Dates
NSC Office of the Provost | 702-992-2663 | http://nsc.edu/provost
Be Bold | Be Great | Be State