Minutes of the
President’s Cabinet Zoom Meeting
November 23, 2020
Minutes of the November 9, 2020 meeting were approved as written with two minor corrections being made.
John Capps, Lewis Bryant, David Lightfoot, Chris Bryant, Kris Ogden, Jeffrey Sydenstricker, Randall Franklin, Elizabeth Narehood, Will Sandidge, Cynthia Deutsch, Jim Tuite, Raylene Cope, Sarah Jarrett, and Dianne Sykes
Data As Of Yesterday (11/23/2020)
CGC Consent Agenda Items: None
Inclement Weather Closure—Temporary Policy Change in Covid-19 Virtual Environment (BRYANT)
Lewis had previously distributed the temporary proposed policy to the President’s Cabinet. The proposed policy is as follows:
Temporary Inclement Weather Policy due to COVID-19 Virtual Learning:
During the November 18, 2020 CVCC Reopening Team meeting we discussed inclement weather closure, and what that may mean to students and employees now that CVCC is primarily virtual. There was a lengthy discussion about the following issues:
- Students ability to participate in virtual learning during inclement weather.
- Full-time & Part Time Faculty and Staff work schedules when a campus closure occurs due to inclement weather
- Community notification and the level of detail for communication that is possible in media and instant alert, which is a limiting factor
- A limited number of faculty who are visiting campus to host virtual learning
The majority of the group, seemed to feel that a two optioned approach would work best. The first option is where the CVCC physical campus would close possibly due to threats or actual snowy roads, but virtual work and class meetings could continue. The second option would be utilized in the most severe weather which jeopardizes our ability to have even virtual learning or virtual work due to limited internet connectivity or possible issues at home that compete for student and employee time, making class attendance and remote work not possible. Unfortunately, Local TV stations have very structured and somewhat limiting announcements related to weather closure. It is recommended that CVCC announce the campus closure, delayed openings, or early closings on Local Radio and TV stations as it has in the past. IT uses instant alert to update the website to indicate if virtual classes continue, or virtual classes are cancelled. This is a Temporary Inclement Weather Policy during the COVID-19 pandemic which is expected to continue through the 20-21 school year:
Code 1: The College campus is closed but will continue to operate virtually. Website Posting - “CVCC Campus is closed but virtual classes and work continues remotely”. Media-“CVCC is Closed”
Code 2: The College campus is closed, and all classes are canceled – no virtual classes. Media “CVCC is Closed”
There will be variations to these message options for delaying openings and early closures in response to weather conditions.
The administration will work to develop an advanced communication plan after approval of this temporary policy to let students and employees know. Faculty should communicate with their classes as well. Faculty who visit campus to host virtual learning should advise students that in the event of campus closure that their virtual class cannot continue. As in the past, when the campus is closed, only essential workers are permitted on campus which primarily includes Security and Facilities.
Lewis stated that students need to be advised to check the Omni Alert System and the CVCC website for closure information on the virtual classes.
John requested input from Cynthia and Jim from the faculty viewpoint. Jim stated he thought the policy was a good one but thinks the students will assume when the College campus is closed, virtual learning will be canceled as well. He stated communication to the students is most important. Cynthia agreed that the policy is a good one for notifying virtual students as well as the tutoring services such as the MALL, the Writing Center as well as part-time staff. John stated he could see this policy continuing after the pandemic is over. He stated communication should include the CVCC website, text alerts, and for faculty to articulate this information on their syllabi. John stated when enrolling students in classes, they need to be enrolled in the Omni Alert system as well. Raylene reported this is being done in the online orientation to new students. She stated one concern is when students change their telephone numbers or providers and do not update the change. John questioned David, if students when registering for classes, could be automatically signed up for Omni Alert. David reported not at this time but possibly Kevin could create a way in Navigate. David stated he felt the best way was to send out text messages and/or emails. John stated he felt doing both would help to remind students. Jeff stated in his last employment, students were automatically enrolled but received a confirmation text to “okay or deny” the request. Jeff reported that Michael Farris had a higher percentage of students’ cell numbers than Omni Alert had, and maybe that would be a good avenue for contacting students to enroll. John stated maybe automatically enrolling students should be investigated with the choice to opt out. He also stated Michael Farris should be consulted to get his perspective on this. John requested that David, Jeff, and Michael review this and present a recommendation to the President’s Cabinet. John also requested for Lewis to compile a list of the different modes of communication and who is responsible for each.
Randall made a motion with Jim seconding to approve the Inclement Weather Closure—Temporary Policy Change in Covid-19 Virtual Environment as written.
The President’s Cabinet approved the policy unanimously.
Approval of the 2021 Holiday Schedule (FRANKLIN)
Randall had previously emailed the 2021 Holiday Schedule for discussion at this meeting. (He reported the pay calendar for 2021 has not been received yet.) Below is the schedule:
2021 HOLIDAY SCHEDULE
||New Year’s Day
||Martin Luther King, Jr. Day
June 18 *
Juneteenth (June 19)
||4 hours additional State time **
|November 25, 26
|President’s Day (2/15/2021) Columbus Day (10/11/2021) Veterans Day (11/11/2021) December 23 (8 hrs additional)
||Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday
||New Year’s Day
Total of fifteen and ½ days (124 hours) for calendar year 2021 which includes regular state holidays rescheduled to meet college needs. Holidays scheduled for February 15, October 11, November 11, and December 23 are rescheduled to December 27-30.
* The June 19th (Juneteenth) holiday was approved by the Governor on 10/13/2020.
**November 24 is four-hour workday, 8:00 AM to 12:00 noon.
Jim stated the Juneteenth is a new holiday and could affect the summer academic calendar. John requested Jim to speak to Muriel on this.
The President’s Cabinet approved the 2021 holiday calendar as presented.
John stated he would like to discuss CVCC’s enrollment. He reported the College was in the unenviable and unbelievable situation of being near the bottom of the VCCS’ enrollment. He stated most alarming is the fact enrollment is down by 41% and regular FTE students’ enrollment is down by 46%. He stated CVCC is down 550 regular students in terms of headcount. John stated he is not hitting the panic button yet but is very concerned. John stated he asked Kris if she could identify some of the areas that the College has fallen short. He requested Kris to share some of the analysis that she has discovered so far. Kris reported she has reviewed students that have enrolled in spring 2021, and the characteristics they have compared to those students that enrolled in a class last spring. She stated it can be expected to enroll a certain percentage of the same students who enrolled in fall as for spring. Kris stated as of this morning, CVCC had a headcount of 1,041total students enrolled. She stated there are 1,450 students that can be expected to return for spring but have not enrolled. Kris stated she cannot identify just one characteristic that can be said these types of students have not enrolled but one item she notices is that 291 students have withdrawn completely or at least from one course. Kris also stated the College enrolled 464 new students in the spring semester (this means they were not enrolled in the previous fall semester) but for spring 2021 only 146 have enrolled. She stated the College needs to retain students and has room to attract new students. Kris stated that Michael Farris and Patti Saffioti have reached out to currently enrolled students to encourage enrollment for spring. She stated the students feel most connected with their faculty so maybe faculty could urge their students to enroll. Kris stated with the Online Virginia Network and the legislative allocation, some of these funds can be used for marketing the College’s virtual online classes.
John thanked Kris for her analogies but stated what continues to plague him is that CVCC is engaged in all the strategies that the other community colleges are doing. He stated he feels CVCC’s marketing is more robust than in the past, but in relative terms, the College is performing far worse than its sister colleges. John stated that he still does not understand what is different about CVCC’s predicament. He stated he is concerned about CVCC’s pay date of December 2 which he feels is very early. John stated he researched four colleges, Lord Fairfax, John Tyler, Blue Ridge, and Virginia Western, and discovered their pay dates are much later in allowing students to pay-as much later as January 6. He stated he spoke with Lewis about why CVCC chose the December 2 date as that is more than a month prior to when classes begin. John stated perhaps he needed to talk with Muriel, Michael, and Christina about this. David stated he questioned about the date as usually no one is dropped by the pay date. He stated he was told this date was chosen to encourage students to register and pay early. Kris stated she thinks it is because “it’s the way we have always done it.” John stated maybe an incentive (such as a discount or gift) would work on an early date but still have the final pay date much closer to when classes start. Sarah stated she feels the College is sending mixed messages by having a deadline but always extending it. Sarah also questioned if CVCC’s spring schedule was released the same time the other colleges. John stated no and that is another item that needs to reviewed.
John stated he was surprised when he saw the early December 2 pay date as he thought the College had to decided not to repeat what was done in the fall. Kris stated the enrollment group was supposed to meet once more, and she could schedule one perhaps at the beginning of next week when Muriel returns to work. John requested that they meet and look at the academic calendar and establish a pay date that works best for the student.
Cynthia questioned if a 2.5% fee still existed for paying with the credit card. (Note
: There is a 2.5% fee charged by the merchant for use of a credit card for an online payment. There is no fee for payment by e-check.) John stated that should have been removed. David stated he spoke with Christina Brannan but was told the fee note needed to remain. Lewis stated the fee was waived beginning of last month but he will discuss this with Christina.
John requested to Chris that once a new pay date was established, there needed to be a splash on CVCC’s webpage with the real payment date and a statement about students paying online without the 2.5% fee.
John stated a good review would be of John Tyler Community College as they have a stratified version on how and when to register and pay.
John reported on a community taskforce called “Lynchburg Tomorrow.” He stated it was created by Alison Morrison-Shetlar, the new president of the University of Lynchburg, to identify how the University of Lynchburg and CVCC can help to address some of needs in the city. He stated Marjette Upshur (Director of Lynchburg Economic Development Authority) who serves on this taskforce stated the city allows $375,000 in CARES Act funding to pay utility bills but almost no one has come forward to claim the money even though there are all sorts of delinquent bills. Crystal Edwards, LCS Superintendent, stated she thought a lot of people in Lynchburg were weary of venturing outside their comfort zone to seek the help they need. John reminded everyone of the ALICE report which shows Lynchburg as having the highest poverty rate (tied with Radford City) in Virginia. John stated with the Re-Employing Virginians (REV) Initiative, CVCC has not had the response it had hoped for but maybe it is because of what Crystal Edwards said.
John discussed the $1.8 million received from the CARES Act $900K was for emergency student aid and $900K was for institutional use. He stated, at first, it was believed that the money could be used to subsidize faculty salaries either in the summer or fall. John stated after reaching out to Senators Kaine and Warner, the DOE said this money could not used for salaries. John stated the money must be used for a hardship caused by the pandemic. He stated he and Lewis discussed using the money for emergency grants to provide technology or to support students with internet costs. John stated he would welcome any ideas on how to use this money.
Cynthia stated she is a member of the Student Emergency Fund Committee and reported they have received large requests to help with hefty utility bills. She stated these students may not live in the Lynchburg City limits but if they did, perhaps the $375,000 CARES Act money could be used to help with these bills. John stated he did not know the details of the program but this should be the first place to reach out for the utility bill requests. He stated he assumes that Philmika Reid is aware of this money. Cynthia stated Philmika is also a member of the Student Emergency Fund Committee but is not sure if she is aware of this. John requested Cynthia or Raylene to talk with her.
Elizabeth reported an Equity Workgroup meeting was held last week, and the student onboarding process was discussed. She stated one of the action items coming from the discussions was for CVCC to look at why students’ accounts are on hold. She stated some of the reasons could be COVID-19 related which could be a good usage of the $375,000 CARES Act money. John stated he would also like to know the reasons for the student accounts being on hold.
Kris stated, from a previous meeting, ensuring the quality of the online courses was discussed. She stated a group was formed with Jim, Cynthia, and herself being members. Kris stated they worked with Ed McGee who has had training in quality matters. She stated he brought a recommendation to the group which included a peer review process through a nationalized rubric. Jim stated this review process will begin with courses that have always been taught online.
Will reported the recent CVCC Bookstore initiative for returning book orders on time was the best it has ever been.
With no further business, the zoom meeting adjourned at 2:35 p.m. The next President’s Staff meeting is scheduled for December 7, 2020.