March 18, 2021
Vickie Shields
Fall Semester
One of the biggest questions concerning the fall semester is: How will it look? Our office has been working with each of the schools to plan for a transitional semester that moves us closer to the kind of schedules and campus life we had pre-pandemic but also recognizes that COVID-19 may still be a serious concern. As Chancellor Rose noted in her memo on Wednesday:

“While our institutions are planning for a greater share of in-person instruction, they will be prepared to pivot to distance instruction if the science and data regarding the pandemic require it. Our first consideration has been and must remain the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff, and our entire public higher education community.”

Moving forward, our goal is to stay nimble, hoping for continued improvement of our community’s overall health but also preparing for situations that may require increased precautions. At the moment, we are planning in-person classes at 50% room capacity and six feet of social distance. Should the CDC reduce the distance to three feet and if local authorities increase room capacity to 75%, we will seriously consider following suit at that time.

Vaccination Update
Dr. Fernández notified the campus on Wednesday that "faculty, staff, and student employees who will be returning in the summer and fall are now eligible for vaccination appointments through the Nevada System of Higher Education (NSHE). Appointments are currently available from 8:30 a.m. until 4 p.m. Monday-Friday at the UNLV Student Union.” NSHE employees may also get vaccinated at local pharmacies and Walmart.

I encourage everyone to get the vaccine. It is your opportunity to help make the campus safer for our community. I can personally attest that UNLV Medicine runs a remarkably professional and efficient clinic as part of a joint effort with NSC and CSN.

Beginning March 20, Nevadans aged 16 and older who have underlying health conditions will be eligible to receive vaccination through the Retail Pharmacy Program. For details, visit the Nevada COVID-19 Vaccination Playbook. Beginning April 5, all Nevadans aged 16 and older will be eligible to receive vaccinations. Please share vaccine information with students when it is appropriate. Some of the most at-risk populations in our valley are the most reluctant to receive the vaccine. Having a vaccinated student population will improve the overall safety of the campus and reduce the risks that students will face if safety precautions are relaxed. Misinformation about vaccinations abound, so I hope that you can point our students to sources that are based on good science and evidence-based research.
Tony Scinta
System Maintenance

Two interesting NSHE developments to report on this week:

Gateway math mandate – earlier this year, the Regents asked our institutions to establish a common gateway math course for all health sciences and business programs within the System. This might have forced Nevada State to adopt something other than our preferred gateway math course, even including the possibility of re-adopting a MATH 124 course that we sent to the sidelines many years ago. Consequently, in the resulting conversations with the Chancellor’s office, we worked to retain our ability to choose the gateway math courses that are best suited for our programs and our students, and with the help of Vice Chancellor Crystal Abba, we were able to achieve a generally favorable outcome. The net result, for us, is that nothing is really changing. There won’t be a common math course across all institutions for these programs, and we can still choose the course that we think suits us best (with the caveat being that our students who transfer to UNR or UNLV may need to retake math, but that’s no different than how things work now). It’s not a perfect outcome, but certainly a palatable one, especially given that we were originally headed in the direction of needing to adopt a new gateway math course for both business and the human health sciences.

Dual Enrollment – As noted previously, both Dean Potthoff and I are (deeply) immersed in a Dual Enrollment Task Force commissioned by the System office that aims to determine how we can increase equitable access to college opportunities while maintaining a high level of quality. The resulting crux of the work is the development of shared qualifications for concurrent enrollment instructors across all NSHE institutions that offer a program of this kind (where “concurrent enrollment” refers to college courses delivered to high school students by high school instructors). I worked on a subcommittee with representative leaders from CCSD and fellow NSHE institutions to craft initial recommendations regarding these instructor qualifications, with the initial focus areas including:
  • Degree attainment – the current recommendation mirrors what we have now, with a focus on the attainment of a master’s degree.
  • Instructor requirements – this also reflects our current approach, which includes a supervisor recommendation from the high school, an interview by the college, and a multi-faceted evaluation of the instructor’s performance.
  • Support & expectations – this includes our implementation of faculty liaisons, but also discusses the provision of a “curriculum packet” that includes exemplar syllabi, course learning outcomes, suggested assignments and readings, and the provision of at least one required “key assessment” for every CE course (a strategic initiative request is currently going forward to support faculty in the development of these packets).  
Gwen Sharp
Change to Students' Residency Requirement
The Board of Regents recently approved our request to reduce our undergraduate residency requirement from 32 upper-division credits to 30 upper-division credits. This change, reflected in our Baccalaureate Degree Requirements Policy (AE 4.1), aligns better with the majority of classes on campus (which are usually 3 credits) and with policies at UNR and UNLV.

This change will be implemented as of the 2021-22 academic catalog. Alex Kunkle will ensure degree sheets created by the Academic Advising Center reflect the change. We will work with each school to ensure this change is publicized and included in all updated degree sheets.

Free Webinar on Effective Assessments in Online Courses
If you're teaching online, you may be interested in the webinar "Alternative Assessments in Digital Learning in Higher Education," which focuses on the particular challenges of providing tests in an online environment. The webinar is scheduled for March 23rd at 1 p.m.

Faculty Publications & Accomplishments
  • Dr. Christina Squires (Psychology) is first author on the article "Preschoolers' Endogenously-Triggered Self-Regulation," which has been published in Cognitive Development.
  • Nicole Benson (NSC alum), Dr. Zach Woydziak (Chemistry), and Dr. Adam Davis (Visual Media) collaborated on an article and video, "Synthesis of pH Dependent Pyrazole, Imidazole, and Isoindolone Dipyrrinone Fluorophores Using a Claisen-Schmidt Condensation Approach," which has been accepted for publication in JoVE, which specializes in science videos that improve research and education in the sciences. It's exciting to see such an interesting interdisciplinary collaboration!
  • Dr. Katie Durante (Criminal Justice) has been appointed to the Las Vegas Metro PD's Citizen Review Board, and was recently chosen as their member spotlight. The Citizen Review Board investigates allegations of misconduct (such as excessive use of force) among Metro officers. Members complete a 12-week Citizen Police Academy to learn first-hand about the role of police officers in Las Vegas. This is an excellent example of a faculty member putting her academic expertise to work in the community!

Using Outlook's Scheduling Assistant to Select Meeting Times
Trying to set up a meeting with several people? The scheduling assistant function in Outlook makes it easy to identify times when everyone is free, and can eliminate a lot of the back-and-forth emails about when people are available. I highly recommend it as your starting place for setting up meetings.

It's available in the desktop and web versions of Outlook, for PCs or Apple computers. The video linked above and this short explainer should turn you into a pro.
Gregory Robinson
Tales of Two Planets
Alena and I agree that one of our favorite pieces from the upcoming Common Read is titled “The Funniest S**t You Ever Heard,” by Lina Mounzer. It discusses a situation where the government of Beirut, Lebanon engaged in massive rebuilding efforts without modernizing their sewage system. The effort made the visible parts of the city beautiful again and ripe for tourism, but the pipes below the city could never manage heavy rains. When the rains began to fall more forcefully, the pipes exploded from the strain, and the world above ground was flooded with contents of the world below.

This is a great example of what the stories in Tales of Two Planets do. You’ll find very few direct arguments about climate change or the kind of statistics that help us understand its effects. Instead, the stories humanize the consequences of climate change, providing glimpses into how humans and the natural world interact across the globe. This particular story is gross - and funny - but also hints at the idea that we use humor to deal with things that are legitimately horrific. It is also replete with stunning writing:

When it rains that hard the sea becomes invisible in the distance; the horizon is a single gray wall of water from earth to sky. It is not hard to imagine that the sea itself is falling upward, roused out of its bed to roar vengeance down upon us: the poison of our s***, our garbage, our waste, the collective punishment of our carelessness both innocent and deliberate having mutated it into a monstrous thing.

If you’d like to read it, it is on page 137 of the book. A slightly modified version is also available online. A warning is probably unnecessary, but I’ll offer it anyway: This story uses poor sewage management as its core theme and the language is correspondingly blunt. It may not be the best choice for all audiences.
Stefanie Coleman
Nevada AHEAD Conference
The 4th Annual NV AHEAD (Association on Higher Education and Disability) Virtual Conference is Friday, April 16th, 8:30 am-1:00 pm. Conference topics include Using Campus Coaching to Foster Students' Self-Determination in Challenging Times as well as Visible and Invisible Disabilities: Providing Support to Faculty to Accommodate Students in the Classroom. For more information about the conference and registration, contact Sharnee Walker, Director of the DRC and NV AHEAD president-elect.

The Village Spring 2021 Open House
The Village will host an open house for prospective and newly admitted NS students on Saturday, March 20th, 9:30 am-4:30 pm. All COVID guidelines will be enforced.

Also, congratulations to Pre-Nursing student Emma Croft! Emma has been hired as a new RA in The Village.

Academic Advising Update (by LAS Associate Dean Dr. Jonathan Dunning)
As part of a larger campus project to overhaul degree materials, LAS has created Dropbox folders for each of its major programs (minor programs coming soon!). The folders include a “Distinctive Excellence” document that describes standout elements of the curriculum, examples of teaching excellence, student testimonials, and some career prospects for each major. The aim is to have each program update these documents roughly once per semester to keep them fresh. Moreover, the amazing Advising Center has created great-looking degree sheets, road maps, and marketing-focused program packets. Any unit on campus can freely view and use this information when they need it by going here: Dropbox NSC > Public Folders > Liberal Arts & Sciences > Degree Materials

Women's History Month Celebration
More events are scheduled this month. If you missed virtual yoga with Solvie on Saturday, you get a second chance!
  • Thursday, March 25th, 3:30-4:30pm: Women in Leadership Panel
  • Friday, March 26th, 6:00-8:00pm: Movie Night (On the Basis of Sex)
  • Saturday, March 27th, 10:45am-12:15pm: Self-Care Saturday yoga with Solvie

Student Lounge Snacks
Nevada State students are awesome and know how to get information in the right hands. Some student chatter made its way to Carlos Navarro, Student Life Coordinator, about hungry students in evening classes studying on campus, looking for snacks. Carlos connected with Case Manager Laura Hinojosa and now we have a mini snack basket available for students after 4:00 pm. The basket will be on the welcome desk counter or in the student lounge.
Sandip Thanki
The Largest Graduating Class Ever
The Registrar’s office is actively reviewing graduation applications for Spring 2021. Historically, well over 90% of applicants have graduated during the terms they applied for. Most others graduated in subsequent terms. This spring, 386 enrollees have applied for graduation. At a low estimate of 90% conversion into actual degrees awarded, and having the largest summer (138, 9.5% up from previous summer) and fall (246, 15.5% up from previous fall) graduations, we once again expect to have our largest graduating class ever for the 2020-2021 academic year.
Key Dates
NSC Office of the Provost | 702-992-2663 |
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