September 16, 2020
Vickie Shields
NSC’s Second HSI Title V Grant - Historic in Nevada
Nevada State just received its second multi-million-dollar, multi-year HSI Title V grant from the Department of Education for $2.8M. In 2017, our grant was the first to be garnered by any higher education institution in Nevada. Now, we have earned a historic second award. CSN was awarded its first grant on the same day. Funding falls under the Developing Hispanic-Serving Institutions (HSIs) program.

This grant will award us $542,529 for the first budget period (2020-2021). We anticipate that the grant will be funded for a total of five years. The HSI Program provides grants to assist HSIs to expand educational opportunities for Hispanic students. The grants also enable HSIs to expand and enhance their academic offerings, program quality, and institutional stability. At NSC, our grant is focused on strengthening the teacher pipeline and enhancing bilingual education opportunities. Congratulations to Dennis Potthoff (SOE Dean), Shartriya Collier (SOE Associate Dean), and Melanie Murray (SOE Director of Partnerships/Field Experiences), and Gwen Sharp (Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives) who all worked on the proposal.

Interdisciplinary Data Science Is Nevada State’s Newest Degree
On September 10th, I was honored and excited to present the Interdisciplinary Data Science major for approval by the Board of Regents. The proposal received unanimous approval. Nevada State developed this program to help meet the rising demand for trained professionals in this field as it continues to grow locally and nationally. The annual growth rate for data-science related occupations in the Western region is expected to be 24.6% between 2014-2024, which far exceeds the average growth rate for other fields. Students can pursue careers such as data analyst, operations manager, database administrator, and software engineer – professions that typically earn salaries above the market.

This program helps fulfill the College’s mission focused on opening doors to career success for a diverse student population through quality educational programs that meet the critical workforce demand required to grow our regional and state economy. I am excited to announce that Data Science will be a cornerstone program in the new department of Data, Media, and Design beginning in Fall 2021.

Also at the Board of Regents meeting, I presented a proposal that our undergraduate upper-division residency requirements be reduced from 32 to 30 credits to align with UNLV and UNR. This proposal was well received, and I anticipate the new policy will be approved at the December BoR meeting.
Giving Raker the Artistic Touch
Our most recent sculpture acquisition, located in the Raker Student Success Center's main stairwell, is Reaching for the Stars by Barbara and Larry Domsky of Domsky Glass. Commissioned by the Office of Arts & Culture, the artists were asked to create a work to inspire and celebrate our students as they pursue their dreams at Nevada State. The hanging sculpture is comprised of steel, blown glass globes, plate glass dichroic coating, and crystal prisms. We recommend viewing the sculpture in late afternoon as it catches the summer sun.

This September we celebrate the 5th anniversary of the unveiling of the Nevada State Permanent Collection. The collection has grown to nearly 100 works by Nevada artists. With artwork scheduled to be programmed in all our buildings in locations accessible to the public, we call this initiative The Campus as Museum.

More from the Office of Arts and Culture…
The Office of Arts and Culture does much more than manage our art collection. Under the direction of Angela Brommel, the Office stays highly connected to arts in NSC academics. This fall marks the second year of the Art Minor and the first cohort of Creative Writing students.

Also, the Office of Arts & Culture is proud to support Let there Be No Regrets, an online series featuring our U.S. Poet Laureate, Joy Harjo. This series is presented by Poetry Promise, the Las Vegas Jewish Film Festival, and the Clark County Poet Laureate. The events occur on September 23rd, September 29th, and October 1st. External registration is required:
Tony Scinta and Sandip Thanki
The past six months have been unprecedented in obvious and disheartening ways, but there also have been some very encouraging precedents. To begin, we achieved our highest ever graduation rate in 2020, as the metric climbed from 14% just a few years ago to 23% for current graduating class. Likewise, we appear to have set an all-time high for our 1-year retention rate, at over 78%, one year after setting our previous record for retention. Further improvements to the graduation rate are imperative, and more work is needed to maintain student persistence beyond the first year, but both markers demonstrate a positive trajectory, and both are a testament to the efforts of the entire campus to improve student learning and success.

We also continue to grow. The pandemic has stemmed the rate of growth that we enjoyed with continuing students in recent years, but we still have increased enrollments at a time when many institutions are grappling with significant decreases. Our incoming freshman class grew to 505 students, despite a substantive decrease in the number of students enrolling with a HS GPA below 2.5 (due to the new admissions standard). Similarly, we are witnessing an even larger proportional jump in our transfer enrollments, as this population climbed from 411 students in 2019 to 443 (so far) in 2020. Perhaps more important than the growth is the profile of who those students represent, as we welcomed significant increases in diverse populations (e.g., African American students), high-achieving high school students, and critical academic programs (e.g., education, biology). As you may have heard, our most dramatic growth has occurred with our dual credit population, which skyrocketed from 1,119 students last year to 2,607 in fall 2020. This growth is critical at a time when our headcount for continuing students grew by a shade under 3%. Perhaps more importantly, it is an enormous population of prospective students, many of whom will help shape NSC’s future.  

All things considered, thanks to the many efforts of our faculty, students, and staff, it is a hopeful outlook for an institution in the face of a historic challenge.

Gwen Sharp
National Survey of Student Engagement (NSSE) Summary
NSSE is a national survey distributed each year to first-year and senior students. The 2020 snapshot report provides a 2-page overview of results in key areas, including interactions with faculty and peers as well as experiences with high-impact practices.

These two policies have been approved and will soon be available in the policy library:

Why Are Textbook Selection Deadlines So Early?
This issue comes up regularly: why on earth are faculty asked to submit textbooks in mid-October (for winter/spring) and mid-March (for summer/fall)? Faculty aren't really thinking about their future classes that far out.

The deadlines were set to comply with the federal Higher Education Opportunity Act of 2008, which attempts to bring more transparency to the full cost of a college education. Required and recommended textbooks for classes have to be posted with price info available to students when enrollment begins (in early November, for winter/spring). That means we have to get textbook orders in with enough time for the bookstore to publish them all before enrollment opens so we comply with the law.

Thank you for reading The More You Know: Textbook Edition.

  • Kayla Bieser (Biology) got word that our NSF IUSE grant was approved. Our subaward (through University of Detroit Mercy's larger award) will provide $43,000 for course-based research activities in genetics.
  • Kimberly Williams (Director of Upward Bound) received a supplemental award, providing an additional $21,000 for NSC's two Upward Bound grants.

Scorpion Diversity Academy (SDI)
The Office of Community Engagement and Diversity Initiatives (CEDI) has created the Scorpion Diversity Academy to provide professional development to faculty and staff related to equity, diversity, and inclusion. They will offer seven trainings during 2020-21 on topics such as SafeZone (LGBTQIA+ issues), being an ally for undocumented students, working with students with disabilities, and race and pedagogy.

If you attend any four of the seven sessions, you'll receive a SDI certificate of completion, which you might want to include in your annual review or P&T portfolios. To learn more, check out the SDI flyer.

IRB Update
I recently attended a virtual IRB conference to learn more about how campuses are handling human subjects research in light of COVID-19. The consensus across institutions was that in-person research that isn't directly tied to medical treatments or aspects of COVID-19 remains on hold, since the risks to participants aren't justified. Since we don't have any clinical trials, all of our in-person research falls into this non-medical category.

Even if your research doesn't take place in person, you'll want to think about the potential effects of COVID-19 for your findings. For instance, behavioral research might be complicated by subjects' reactions to the pandemic, media consumption and politicization about it, the stress of unpredictability related to K-12, and the general frustration of the shutdown. You'll need to think through whether any data/results you get during this time will still realistically address your original research question.

First-Year Experience Lecturer Search
We have posted the job ad for two First-Year Experience (FYE) Lecturer positions. These positions will replace Myra Infante-Sheridan and Dawn Butler. The lecturers will teach our first-year College Success course and introductory classes in their disciplines. They will join our existing FYE Lecturer, Clark Pearson, who teaches College Success and biology.

PopMatters published an essay by Pete La Chapelle (History), "What 'O Brother, Where Art Thou?' Gets Right (and Wrong) about America." Pete discusses teaching a class centered around the film and how it connects to current social and political events and concerns.

Teaching and Learning Resource
NSC is a member of the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies. WCET provides research, free webinars, and support related to educational tech generally, with a particular focus on digital and online learning. Anyone at NSC can sign up for their discussion lists and weekly updates. Here's a recent weekly update, which covered issues with hyflex courses, trauma-informed teaching, and more.

If you'd like to sign up for discussions or the weekly update, email Laurie Klusman with your name, title, department, and NSC email address.
Gregory Robinson
What Is the Ideal Length for Online Videos?
According to Jack (Joachim) Agamba (Online Instructional Designer), the newest addition to Team CTLE:

Research shows that students will typically watch a video that is about four minutes long. Shank (2017), found that a learner is more willing to replay a four-minute video...than a seven-minute one, even when assessment is involved. The Pew Research Center (2012) indicated that the median length of the most popular YouTube videos is two minutes and one second. Overall, research ranging from 2013 to 2020 supports the ideal length of a video to range from two minutes to 15 minutes, with four minutes appearing to be the ideal (Berg, Brand, Grant, Kirk, & Zimmerman, 2020; Panopto, 2020; Shank, 2019; Guo, Kim, & Rubin, 2014; and Guo, 2013).

If you’d like to read the rest of Dr. Agamba’s research on the topic, it's available here.

Also, remember that captioning is available for all faculty and staff. All you need to do is complete this form: It is also available on the “Faculty and Staff Forms” section of the NSC portal. It is listed as “Video Captioning Request.”

Peer-to-Peer Support is More Important than Ever
In many colleges that have high numbers of online programs, students receive frequent and regular check-ins from a variety of units on campus. The guiding philosophy is that students who participate in an entirely virtual environment need more points of contact to help them feel connected to the college community. This is another good reason to encourage students to use our support services, particularly the ASC and the Writing Center. The students who work in these areas are subject experts, but they also serve as colleagues who can help others feel like a part of our campus in a time when everyone is feeling a little disconnected.
Stefanie Coleman
He's Here!
I'd like to introduce the newest member of my team, Nathaniel Ray LaMotte. Little Nathaniel arrived on Wednesday, September 9th. Nathaniel's parents are Phil LaMotte, Director of Student Life, and Alicia LaMotte, Coordinator of New Student Orientation and Peer Mentors. Congratulations Phil and Alicia on the newest member of your family.

Food Pantry Updates
The NSC Food Pantry is up and running and accepting donations. Several faculty and staff have dropped off donations or planned for a regular monetary donation. Erin Keller, Associate Vice President of Institutional Advancement, donates on behalf of her community partners, who enjoy helping our students.

Students needing food support should contact Laura Hinojosa to schedule a pickup time. Students who need immediate food support while on campus are welcome to use the self-serve mini food pantry outside of Laura's office (RSC 250). All items are individually bagged.

At the beginning of the semester, Laura arrived at her office to find a bag of food and a note on her door. The note read "I didn't have enough to eat before but now I'm in a better place and wanted to give back." NSC students are special and appreciative.
NSC Alum Helping in the Community
Former NSSA Public Relations Chair and 2020 graduate Robert Totten is the Community Engagement Director at The Just One Project. The project is collaborating with Laura Hinojosa (Case Manager) and CEDI to bring a pop-up food pantry event to NSC. Details coming soon.

Real College Survey
Last month, I announced NSC was selected to participate in the Hope Center's Emergency Aid During the Pandemic project, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. NSC students will participate in a survey regarding their needs for food, housing, childcare, mental health support, and their access to and experience of using emergency aid. The survey has been distributed to students via email and they will receive a weekly reminder until the survey closes on October 30th. Please encourage your students and student workers to complete the survey at this link. The benefit for NSC is we learn if our efforts made a difference and will receive recommendations for improving the delivery of emergency aid.

New Intern at NSC
Laura Hinojosa is officially a Clinical Professional Counselor intern and can provide one-on-one counseling services to students. Laura will provide services after her official work hours and on some weekends to accommodate our housing community. Congratulations, Laura!

"Tough times never last, but tough people do." -Schuller

Stay safe!
Key Dates
9/21 - 9/24: NSC Spirit Week
9/29: Reading from Joy Harjo, Poet Laureate.
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