Minutes of the
President’s Cabinet Zoom Meeting
December 21, 2020
Minutes of the November 23, 2020 meeting were approved as written.
John Capps, Muriel Mickles, Lewis Bryant, David Lightfoot, Chris Bryant, Kris Ogden, Jeffrey Sydenstricker, Randall Franklin, Elizabeth Narehood, Will Sandidge, Cynthia Deutsch, Jim Tuite, Raylene Cope, Sarah Jarrett
Data As Of Yesterday (12/21/2020)
Consent Agenda Items: None
Agenda Items: None
John stated he did not anticipate a long meeting as there were no agenda items, but he would like to discuss a couple of recent updates. (He stated he would be emailing “everyone” on Campus to inform them of these updates that will be discussed today.)
John reported one of the most important updates is that Governor Northam has reinstated a funding increase of about $36 million for the G3 (Get Skilled, Get a Job, Give Back) initiative. He stated that is $34 and a half million during the last fiscal year of the biennium for the program itself, and the governor added $1.5 million for marketing purposes for the G3. John reported this was based upon the reforecast of the Commonwealth’s revenue projections. He stated apparently the economy is better than they had thought, and the revenue projections are much better than they anticipated.
John reported the restoration of funding for G3 comes at an opportune time for CVCC, as the program will coincide with the formal launch of the College’s regional CTE academy in fall 2021.
John stated another update he would like to highlight is what CVCC is doing to better meet the needs of its students. John stated the hotspots from T Mobile have been ordered, have now been received, and distribution to the students will begin. David reported 495 hotspots have been delivered and now just waiting on the remainder 5. He stated Michael Fein is cataloging them in the Ex Libris library system. David stated stickers have been added to the back of the hotspots showing it is the property of CVCC, also showing the SSID and password. He stated the “help” number is actually a T-Mobile number for students to call. (Students can also call CVCC’s help desk.)
David stated a link has been added to CVCC’s website to enable students to enter their addresses to see if T-Mobile has coverage in their area, and hopefully, they will do that before actually receiving a hotspot. David stated the College is in process of purchasing a mobile device management system which will allow the College to have a little more control over what is happening on those loaner hotspots. David reported with the help of Chris Jordan and Allison Clark, a quote was obtained to purchase 100 laptops that students will be able to check out in the library. David stated these are zero-time delivery, so as soon as the PO is received, the laptops should be shipped and arrive at the College by early January.
John stated this is great news, and this initiative would never have come to fruition, had it not been for David on the research and technology side and Lewis on the physical side making it happen. He stated special thanks to both for bringing this project to completion and helping CVCC’s students who desperately need that technology assistance.
John asked Lewis to talk about the new Cares Act or whatever it will be called. Lewis reported this will be amazing if all he has heard is true. He stated the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) is what it's called and reported 50% of those funds (almost $900,000) went to students. He stated David and he are still in the process of spending those funds. Lewis stated the grand total was $60 million plus, with $32 million being allocated to K-12. Lewis reported the press headlines. indicated this morning that $82 million will have to be shared with K-12 and with the rest of Higher Ed. He stated he was optimistic about how much money the College may receive from this (appears to be twice as much), and hopefully, a lot of good can be accomplished. John stated let’s hope that money or at least a good chunk of that money comes CVCC’s way and doesn't come with the same kinds of restrictions that the first allotment of Cares money came with.
Lewis reported just prior to this meeting, he received a drawing from the architects for the HVAC area which is to be divided into three new classrooms. He stated he, along with Chris Bryant and Jason Ferguson, have been working with the architects to develop a draft design. Lewis stated good progress has been made despite the pandemic. He reported the draft will be circulated soon.
Lewis reported he has received a lease request from BRIMS to use some office space here. He stated he has been working with the VCCS facilities people and Central Resources to vet this request. He stated this could generate some revenues for the College if the requested space can be allocated.
Lewis also reported he has been working with the Lynchburg Economic Development Division on a kiosk that they would like to place on Campus. He stated the most recent option of it is to use solar ops and solar power which would enable the College to gain solar power experience right here Campus with this project.
John thanked Lewis for his update and the difference he has made on all these different fronts.
John stated the other major project that the College has underway is a direct mailing campaign, and this came as an outgrowth from the meeting that he had on December 10 with the Classified and Part-Time Staff Associations. John stated there have been many discussions concerning the College’s enrollment dilemma, and Connie Deacon suggested in an email to him after the meeting to try some sort of postcard or direct mailing campaign. John reported he suggested that possibility to the leadership team, and in the usual CVCC way, the team quickly jumped on the idea, and the project was brought to fruition as well.
Chris gave an update on this project and reported he approached Lewis, and he and others have helped him out greatly by getting that postcard together. He stated it will be mailed the week of December 28th
as it will take a while to get them printed. He reported the design is almost completed, and he would like to thank Jill for working on that even on her time off. Chris stated the postcard will be mailed to all of Lynchburg and the surrounding counties (approximately 126,000 households). He stated the theme is to let enrolled and potential students know that CVCC has heard the needs of the community and is responding. He stated several bulleted items on the card will show that laptops and hotspots are available, free Wi Fi in the parking lots, and the College will pay for the processing fee on the credit card payments.
John stated that surveys Kris has administered have indicated again and again that students continue to suffer from technology problems and lack of internet connectivity. He stated the postcard with the listed initiatives that are available will show the College is trying to address those needs among its students. He stated, even if it does not bring in a bonanza of FTEs, it is going to dramatize to every person who receives the postcard that CVCC is bending over backwards to try to meet the needs of its students and provide them with the resources they need to enter and succeed in higher education. He thanked Chris for all his work on this project and Lewis, who also had a primary role, is this one too. (John reported Foundation money has been used for this project to circumvent all the regular state approval processes and get the postcard out timely so that students would be in possession of the postcards and the information before registration ends.) John reported everyone has brainstormed ideas that possibly will strengthen enrollment, and he hopes this initiative will prove to be a big piece of that larger puzzle.
Chris reported December is the most giving time of the year and for someone like him in a position of philanthropy or fundraising, this is a hugely complicated time. He stated he appreciates everyone’s patience if he has let anyone down by delaying something that his team is working on. Chris stated things have been crazy, but he feels it’s crazy in a good way. He reported just two weeks ago, the first large friends’ mailing was sent out, but it really went out to alumni. He stated a lot of time has been spent over the past 18 months putting together an extensive listing for one group of alumni. He reported lots of small lists have been compiled to make a large list and mailings have been sent to 12,300 individuals, making it the largest mailing list sent out from the Foundation. He stated it took a lot of coordination and help from Barry in the mailroom and Jennifer (both on Lewis’ team) and of course, Catherine and the marketing team. He stated it was intense labor but he reported today, 14 gifts were received which is fantastic.
John thanked him for his leadership on these initiatives.
Muriel reported the new Trio Director, Dr. Evora Baker, will begin working on January 10th
, and her office will be located in the previous office of Lorenz Chan (upstairs in Merritt Hall). She stated there also will be enough room for an office administrator.
Muriel reported she is signing the adjunct contracts today while she is in the office on Campus. She stated the adjuncts were hoping to get their contracts a little earlier this year and was happy to say this is going to happen.
Muriel stated after speaking with faculty, she discovered that they could not see all of the notes that were in Navigate, but this problem has been solved and will be discussed at a Convocation session led by Kimberly French. Muriel stated Kimberly will demonstrate how the faculty can see the notes in Navigate.
Muriel reported incompletes have been reduced significantly with work continuing them.
Muriel discussed the schedule and reported the associate vice presidents (AVP) have created 12-week classes, but at this time, they will not appear on the schedule. She stated the reason being is they do not want those 12-week classes to compete with the 16-week classes. She stated after the first week of classes, students will be able to view the 12-week class schedule, and Chris Bryant and his team will begin to market them heavily. She stated hopes are to capture students who may be enrolling a little late.
John thanked Muriel for her report. John reported Muriel did reach out to Sharon Morrissey, the Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Workforce Programs, to inquire about the possibility of extending the deadline for making up incompletes. He stated there is still an outrageous number of incompletes, and he was afraid that those students might be precluded from continuing their education if those incompletions turn to F's. He reported word came back from the VCCS that the policy the system had established last spring was not going to be deviated from.
Elizabeth reported, as far as supporting enrollment, her team has identified an opportunity in using a planner in Navigate. She stated this planner usage has been expanded significantly to SDV 100 classes. She thanked all instructors and Kimberly's leadership for implementing this. She stated this will provide the students’ names that are required as an assignment in class to schedule at least the next semester’s courses or beyond, but at least one semester of courses. She stated students who have not yet enrolled have been identified and those names are shared with counselors to be able to use that for marketing purposes. Elizabeth reported it gives the counselors kind of heads up of what the students are already looking for and interested in helping them with their appointments.
Elizabeth reported any student that logs in to Navigate get an enrollment quick poll which helps to identify if they need additional assistance from an advisor. She stated this was implemented by Kevin and has produced a really high success rate. She stated the effort of putting embedded tutors has really helped with the spring courses from the math perspective. She stated she has been helping Cindy Wallin when organizing some of those meetings to discuss this with Kris, Patti, and everybody that's been working on it.
Elizabeth reported having embedded tutors is something they are going to try. She stated with most of the fall classes online, it is a challenge getting students to meet with a tutor. She stated it is just not the same as their ability to walk across Campus to meet with one. She reported, with embedded tutors, hopes are to expand some of those efforts. She stated the equity workgroup has met several times and identified several areas and processes where they could make improvements in the future for students. She reported group meetings are on hold now because the majority of members are actively trying to enroll students which is a priority focus for now. She stated this group will reconvene after the first of January.
Elizabeth reported she is helping the students with the financial aid process and is pleased from the equity standpoint to share that Dr. Tia McNair is scheduled to be a speaker for Spring Convocation. Elizabeth stated Dr. McNair wrote From Equity Talk to Equity Walk: Shifting Mindsets for Student Success
. She stated Alison Moore coordinated all of this, and she feels everyone will enjoy Dr. McNair. Elizabeth stated Cynthia recommended Dr. McNair and asked if she wanted to add anything else. Cynthia reported Dr. McNair gave a presentation for the VCCS Task Force and did a wonderful job. She felt the presentation would be tailored for CVCC and not the system-wide level. Muriel suggested everyone to read her book over the holidays. John thanked Elizabeth for all her hard work with the Title III grant.
Cynthia stated the VCCS Task Force work continues, and at her last report, the group was at the point of basically finalizing strategies that were presented at ACOP two weeks ago. She stated everything seemed to be well received especially the teaching and learning strategies from her group. Cynthia stated Dr. Reynolds, who is on her committee was approached by several of the presidents and asked if flexibility in scheduling could be included. Cynthia stated she was glad CVCC is moving in that direction with the addition of 12-week classes as she feels that is a recommendation from the strategic plan. She reported she is leading the Teaching and Learning Group and was asked to join the Equity group just last week, so she will be working with them as the strategies are finalized. Cynthia stated she will be presenting the draft recommendations at the upcoming January State Board meeting. John stated Cynthia was the star of the ACOP meeting during her presentation from the Teaching and Learning group.
Cynthia stated another group is a Financial Planning group and reported there are some very specific recommendations that will include terms of payment plans and ways that the VCCS and the colleges can be savvier in making classes not more affordable, but more flexible in affordability.
Jeff stated he did not have a lot to report. He stated the contract security company scheduling has been finalized. He stated his plans are to use them during the Christmas break as much as possible. Jeff reported in the past full-time officers worked during the holidays and using the security company will save money. Jeff stated he appreciated Lewis’ help with getting the details ironed out with the contract. He stated CVCC’s full-time officers are relieved to know their schedule prior to the Christmas break.
Jim reported it’s grading time right now, and he hopes everyone posts their grades by five o'clock today. He thanked Muriel for signing the adjunct faculty contracts early as they all have expressed their appreciation.
Jim stated anything that can be done to make Navigate more transparent to the faculty so that they can help the students would be good because getting results actually causes more faculty to be engaged.
Jim stated he guesses the inclement weather syllabus statement has been approved by the administration and the faculty. He stated he asked Lewis to make it a required statement so that it actually was added to the syllabi. He stated of course this is a temporary weather policy and also a COVID policy and should be there at least while the College is in this temporary environment.
Jim stated the only other comment he has concerns the COVID immunization rollout. Jim stated the CDC has recommended a rollout plan for who is to get the vaccine. He would like to be able to notify faculty (particularly those faculty who are teaching face-to-face) as soon as possible as to when they are eligible to get the vaccine. He stated there may be forms that need processing in order to get the vaccines. John stated Jim’s point about the immunization is certainly well taken, and the College will stay on top of that. He stated direction should be coming from the governor and the VCCS. John asked Randall or Lewis if they had heard anything about this. Randall stated he had not. Lewis stated he had heard it would be six to eight weeks to move through that phase. John stated from what he’s heard, the vaccine should be widely available to everyone who wants it by the end of the spring or the beginning of the summer.
Jim stated this semester has really been difficult. He reported some students have gotten discouraged and sort of flattened out, and it took a lot of contact, prodding, and urging to get students particularly through this semester. He stated he had a lot of younger students, making it a real challenge. John complimented Jim and Cynthia and stated teachers like them make a difference in student success.
John stated CVCC had its first snow day, and he felt the new inclement weather policy went well. Lewis reported he had not heard any complaints. John stated working from home allowed the part-time workers to continue to work when usually the College would be closed. Sarah stated that it worked out well for part-time staff.
Sarah began her report by stating the Part-Time and Classified Staff Associations joined together for an end-of-the-year meeting on December 10. She reported the meeting was a success with John being the guest speaker. Sarah stated those working at the off-site centers have never been able to come to Campus for meetings but were able to join in through Zoom. She stated during this meeting a virtual cookie swap was organized with about eight or nine recipes being submitted.
Will reported that his team does not have a lot of initiatives or problems that they needed to address at this time. He stated if and when a problem arises, he will reconvene a meeting with his team. John stated this is good news but the work that you're not
doing right now is a reflection of the great work you, Kris, and other Reopening Task Force team members did at the very beginning of the semester to prepare the College to reopen.
Randall reported the HR office is usually very busy during the month of December for a number of reasons which include meeting the payroll yearend deadlines prior to the holidays. He praised Hollye for her great job in getting the stipends out for the full-time employees last Wednesday and part-time employees and the adjuncts last Friday. Randall stated he was contacted by only two adjuncts who felt like they should have received the stipend. He stated he will discuss this in more detail with Lewis.
Randall thanked Muriel and Jim for their help in getting the adjunct contracts completed as it will benefit the HR office as well.
Randall stated there are a couple of positions that need posting but plans to complete this in a couple of days.
Randall stated Friday afternoon was bittersweet as Connie Sublett finished cleaning out her office as she is retiring on January 1, so he will email everyone so they can reach out and congratulate her on retirement.
John stated that doesn't quite summarize everything as he would like to extend a special commendation to Randall and Hollye because the HR office has been operating with less than half the staffing that it normally has. He stated besides their usual work special initiatives such as the stipend was added to the workload. John stated the entire College community is indebted to Randall and Hollye for their commitment and diligence to make sure that everything that needs to get done has been done.
Raylene stated she agreed with Sarah that the joint meeting with the Classified and Part-Time Staff Associations went well. She also stated she felt more have attended the meetings lately because of using Zoom and some are even watching it at a later time since the meetings have been recorded. Raylene stated she hopes to continue to be able to do that so people can tune in from their desks or wherever they are if they aren’t able to attend in person.
Raylene thanked Kris for attending the meeting and discussing the findings of the survey that was sent to the students.
Raylene reported as the Association could not physically get together, she tried to do things that were kind of community building such as ways to get home offices organized, how to get motivated to work from home every day, various ways the Cares Act funding could be used, and what to do if tested positive for COVID. She stated Randall was also a guest speaker earlier this semester.
Raylene reported during the last meeting along with the cookie swap, a holiday apparel contest was held with Connie Deacon being the winner for the Classified Staff. (Sarah stated Debbie Gilliam won for the Part-Time Association.) She stated a holiday decorating contest is being held and hopes to receive pictures of their decorations.
John thanked Raylene for her leadership in the Classified Staff Association.
Kris thanked Raylene and Sarah for inviting her to their associations’ meeting as it was great to interact with everyone. Kris stated Raylene asked her to give an update on the survey even though the survey hadn't closed yet. She reported she thinks the efforts with technology are paying off because the survey indicates improvement in access to technology and things like that. She stated but the surveys show that the students want and need interaction in a way that the College just can't deliver right now because of the pandemic. She stated the classified and part-time staff did a great job of describing what that feels like from their perspective, and the survey results captures the same.
Kris complimented Chris on his Grinch performance and song during the recent social event and stated she had a couple of pictures if the recording cannot be recovered.
Kris discussed the G3 initiative and stated at the October Board meeting, 15 career studies certificates, 4 certificates, and 1 associate degree were approved, and work is being done so they can be added prior to 2021 fall enrollment along with some simple modifications that will be made to other programs. Kris stated the College will have robust credit offerings available when the College can begin with the Go Virginia funds and really launch the CTE Academy. She stated Jason is working hard on this initiative.
Kris reported, when students return for the spring semester, the same approach that was used in the fall will continue for the spring. She stated any new students who are attending face-to-face classes will need to sign agreements again with their faculty for those classes. She stated the Canvas course will be updated again and plans are to have that done by the time everyone returns for the spring semester. She stated she just wants to make sure that any new students or new employees on Campus are introduced to those requirements in the reopening plan. Kris stated she feels most are aware as part of the reopening plan on Campus included the adjustment to on-campus traffic and a phone line which was dedicated for this purpose. She thanked John Rocha and his team who have just done such a great job with the new Campus signage. Kris stated her question is since the College is closed beginning on Thursday, December 24, will the phone message be updated to let everyone know that no one is available again until January 4 or is there something she needs to do to remedy this.
David stated usually the IT department updates the main number but additional numbers can be updated with the same message saying the College is closed. Kris asked would that be the 832-7800, the 832-7600, and the 832-7880, with David agreeing.
John asked if anyone had any other questions. Sarah asked how the website will be updated about students getting enrolled while the College is closed. She stated she is sure there will be something that says the College is closed for the holidays but wondered if there might also be a link that shows a step-by-step of how to do it. Chris stated the top that is called the blue box on the homepage of the website, will have different bullets starting today which will read pick classes, enroll, and pay. He also stated, beginning on Wednesday, social media posts will also show that the College is closed for the holidays.
John ended the meeting by wishing everyone happy and safe holidays.