Minutes of the
President’s Cabinet Zoom Meeting
February 8, 2021
Minutes of the January 25, 2021, meeting were approved as written.
John Capps, Muriel Mickles, Lewis Bryant, Kris Ogden, Jeffrey Sydenstricker, Randall Franklin, Elizabeth Narehood, Will Sandidge, Cynthia Deutsch, Jim Tuite, Raylene Cope, Sarah Jarrett, Dianne Sykes
Chris Bryant and David Lightfoot
Data as of Today (2/8/2021)
CGC Consent Agenda Items
VCCS Code of Ethics (BRYANT)
Lewis had previously emailed the VCCS Code of Ethics to the President’s Cabinet and asked that they review and be prepared to discuss this at today’s Cabinet meeting. He stated CVCC is required by Agency Risk Management and Internal Control Standards (ARMICS) to adopt a Code of Ethics. Lewis stated the VCCS has a Code of Ethics that CVCC can acknowledge with the approval of the President’s Cabinet. He stated then it would be distributed throughout the College so that everyone is aware of what ethical behavior is at the College for business transactions as well as other types of business.
John asked if there was any discussion or questions for Lewis. Jim stated he noticed the document was dated 2009 and asked if there have been no updates since then. Lewis stated this was downloaded directly from the VCCS website, so he assumed not but will double check. He stated he would think if CVCC acknowledged their Code of Ethics from the VCCS, then as it is updated, CVCC would be aware of those changes without having to ask for approval.
Since there were no other questions, John stated he would entertain a motion for approval to use the VCCS’ Code of Ethics for CVCC’s. Jim made a motion with Muriel seconding. The motion passed unanimously.
The VCCS Code of Ethics is located at the link below: https://go.boarddocs.com/va/vccs/Board.nsf/goto?open&id=9RFKVR75DB72#
Vice President of Finance and Administration
Lewis reported the Amherst and Appomattox Centers’ leases have been extended for another five years. He also reported he is in the process of hiring someone to fill John Rocha’s previous position as he was promoted to Facilities Manager.
Lewis reported he has been working this week tracking lost revenues from the College grant funds from the CARES Act (Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security), and CRRSAA (Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act) as the College is allowed to report some of the loss revenues. He reported, during 2020. and if the trend line holds into 2021, the College will have about $1.5 million in lost revenues.
John reported at the last Cabinet meeting he suggested everyone be thinking about ways in which we might use the CRRSAA funding. He stated the College had $900,000 in institutional funding left over from CARES and has $3.2 million in institutional funding from CRRSAA. He stated a meeting was held recently to discuss possible ways in which this funding could be used. John stated there does seem to be some additional flexibility with CRRSAA to account for lost revenue and also to subsidize faculty and staff salaries. He reported as a result of that meeting there is still a great deal of ambiguity surrounding the acceptable and approved use of CARES funding and even with the CRRSAA funding.
He stated it is also apparent that the College is probably not going to be able to spend the entire amount. He reported all together on the institutional funding side there is $4.1 million at the College’s disposal. He stated even with all the acceptable uses of the funding, the College probably is not going to be able to spend all that funding on the College itself. He stated, in practical terms, the funding will be used for student aid. He asked everyone to continue to think about ways in which that funding may be invested in the College, and about appropriate ways in which it could be distributed to deserving students. He said to remember with the CRRSAA there is still another $900,000 that has to be devoted to emergency student aid. He stated the institution funding can likewise be switched over to student aid, and he thinks the College is going to end up having to do that, since we're not going to be able to identify and justify institutional expenses that will consume the entire amount of the funding.
Lewis stated he wanted to recognize a meeting that Muriel arranged with Horizon Behavioral Health to discuss providing CVCC students with their counseling needs. He stated he felt it was a good idea to begin the discussion and should have some information soon. John reported there is a meeting scheduled tomorrow afternoon with Damien Cabezas, CEO of Horizon Behavioral Health, and his team to discuss how the College might be able to devote some of the institutional funding or even the emergency student aid to provide mental health services for CVCC students, assuming that it would indeed be an acceptable use of the funding.
John asked if anyone had any other ideas about how the College might be able to invest that funding. Cynthia asked if John if the funds could be used for any type of scholarship such as COVID19 Incentive scholarship. John stated he was unsure scholarships could be provided per se as the use of the funding cannot be contingent upon the students’ continued enrollment at the College, which provides some limitations on how the funding can be used. He stated the possibility of some type of scholarship was discussed at the last meeting. John stated he asked Michael Farris and Ryan McNamara along with several others to determine how the student portion of the new $900,000 CRRSAA funding could be used and bring back a report to the larger group with their recommendations. He stated he never thought the College would be in the position of having more money than it can spend.
Muriel questioned if the funds could be used to pay for students accounts that are on hold because they owe the College money. She stated this prevents them from registering for classes. John stated this is certainly worth exploring but the fundamental limitation is that any disbursements or any use of the funding has to be associated with the disruption resulting from the pandemic. He stated if the case can be made that a student lacked the money for tuition because of some crisis related to the pandemic, maybe the loss of employment or something like that. it might would work but would require investigating more fully. John stated he felt, in general, the College should be doing this regularly through the Foundation divorced from CARES or CRRSAA funding. He stated those of you who participated in the Chancellor's Annual Retreat this year will remember that was one of the strategies that Georgia State University has used to increase enrollment and Germanna Community College does the same. If a student comes up a little bit short on his or her tuition, the college can subsidize the difference. He stated this makes sense as when the Foundation provides that money, the money comes right back to the college in the form of tuition. He stated this is a win-win as the colleges gain enrollment and the students can continue with their education.
Muriel reported this was a thought coming from equity workgroup and will include Chris Bryant in the discussion. John stated he had spoken with Chris on this and also introduced that topic to the Foundation. Lewis stated for the student portion of the CRRSAA funds, the money has to be given directly to the student. He stated at this time if the institutional portion is used to give money to students it is not clear if that same logic applies or same requirement exists.
John stated after the earlier meeting it was discovered that on virtually any question about the use CARES and CRRSAA funding, there are lots of different opinions as to what is allowed and what is not. John stated he cannot understand why the Department of Education and the Federal Government can't be clear and more definitive on the guidelines they expect to be followed and which they will no doubt hold everyone accountable for, even though they have given no clear guidance in the beginning. Jim stated he thinks there are so many different alternatives, different needs that they're trying not to be too prescriptive. But he stated, on the other hand, they're trying to be prescriptive enough that it is not used for such things as a retreat at the luxury resort for faculty. He stated they are trying give flexibility and don’t want to be too detailed, because then it might not cover a particular situation.
Project Director of Title III Grant
Elizabeth Narehood reported on the Title III grant and stated a steering committee meeting was held about a week and a half ago. She stated most of that meeting consisted of getting everything ready for the annual report. Elizabeth stated they are doing a system upgrade but she still does not have an update on that but everything is prepared to complete that criteria whenever it does open. She stated they have shared updates related to some of the work of the navigate leadership team, the equity work group, and the embedded tutoring initiative which are areas that she has been trying to support with different people in different leadership roles. She stated she will let Muriel take the lead on the equity group and on the great conversations that this group has been having.
Elizabeth reported Cindy Wallin shared an update on behalf of the embedded tutoring group. She stated she has just been working to try to support them, keeping things on track, and continuing to move forward.
John stated, from what Elizabeth said at the Title III meeting, the embedded tutoring is going very well. Elizabeth agreed and stated she is focused on the math aspect of it with Patti having a wider view as she has implemented embedded tutors in a lot of the different courses. She reported there are some fantastic tutors along with some of the best instructors, so she thinks the stage has been set to have great results for direct enrollment. John stated math is very important, since a lot of students never make it to the finish line because they never really get out of the starting blocks in the math courses.
President of Classified Staff Association
Raylene stated she had nothing new to report at this time. She stated a meeting is scheduled for Wednesday to discuss who will be the spring celebrity guests.
President of Part-Time Association
Sarah reported the Part-Time Staff Association met the last week of January and managed to successfully played Jackbox games which is a virtual game, and watched a short TED Talk video which encouraged trying something new for 30 days. She stated several members shared their 30-day experiences.
Sarah stated she thinks the Zoom meetings have opened up opportunities for people to attend the part-time meetings especially those at the off-site centers or those that cannot get away from their office. She reported the meetings will be alternating between Wednesdays and Thursdays this spring to try and accommodate the most people.
John stated he appreciated everything Sarah and Raylene are doing in this virtual environment.
Vice President for Student and Academic Affairs
Muriel discussed the 12-week classes and stated all the classes made except the SDV 100. She reported she was not surprised as the SDV classes are offered on a rotating basis.
Muriel stated her team as well faculty are looking at a 14-week semester. She stated Karen in Admissions and Records is working on the scheduling. She stated another meeting will be held to see what it looks like, what the dates are, and how long the classes would need to be in order to have a 14-week semester.
Muriel stated her team is working on developing an eight-week schedule of classes for students which will be called a fast-track cohort. She stated these students will take two classes the first eight weeks, two classes the second eight weeks, and then maybe classes in the summer. She stated the goal is to try to bring forward a cohort of students that are going to move through a program as quickly as possible with supports built in. She stated Evora Baker and Rachel Madigan and others are working with her team to see if there are enough students to have a cohort. She stated in a 14-week semester, there would be seven-week classes instead of eight.
Muriel reported the first Trio application came in today. She stated the Trio website was available for the first time, and the College has received its first application. She stated Dr. Evora Baker is absolutely delightful to work with, and it is uplifting to see the energy and the passion that she has for the work she's doing. Muriel reported Evora and Jill have been working together to create a brochure about the Trio program that will be sent out to students. She stated the College cannot recruit students unless they are actually enrolled in College.
Muriel stated she is in the process of hiring several positions which include a navigator and an administrative assistant for the Trio grant (two coaches and tutors have been hired).
Muriel stated she is pleased with the equity group and tomorrow they will be looking at the holds on student accounts. She anticipates a big discussion on what to do and what can be done as an equity group to make this work better for CVCC students. She stated the next topic will be on financial aid.
Muriel stated she agreed that the College is doing quite well in this remote environment which has taught everyone to be much more flexible in the College’s programming and scheduling.
Jeff reported James River will be installing new cameras throughout the main Campus. He stated about 20 cameras have been installed so far. Jeff stated these new cameras show great improvement in clarity and quality compared to the previous ones especially when the zoom feature is used. He stated even when the zoom is maxed out, the clarity is almost 100%. Jeff reported he is very satisfied with the upgrade and feels it is a good enhancement to the safety and security of the Campus.
John asked if the Campus would continue to have the same number of cameras that it had before. Jeff stated currently the new cameras will just be replacing the ones that are already here but hopefully additional cameras may be added in areas that are lacking coverage outside such as in some of the parking lots and in the quad area. He stated some of the existing cameras were redundant and those will not be replaced.
Jeff thanked David and his team for their help and Lewis for providing the funding for this project.
Cynthia gave an update on the new strategic plan and stated she received two emails from Sharon Morrissey last week, the first was a request to vote on the naming of the plan. She stated four options were presented with quotes and a description under each one and asked the committee to do a rank-order vote. She stated the results on that should be available in the next week. Cynthia stated it was a tough decision because all options contained only one word (one actually contained two). She stated being an equity plan there are lots of words that could be used. The options were Empower 2027, Aspire 2027, Engage 2027, and New Horizon 2027.
John asked if Cynthia was going to say how she voted. She stated this was really an interesting exercise as she recently had been thinking and reading the research about not going with your initial reaction as it is not necessarily going to steer you in the right direction. She stated she talked to her students about this with multiple choice tests. Cynthia stated her initial reaction was Engage 2027 because the colleges are all about student engagement but she went with Empower 2027 because it's such an all-encompassing and powerful word. She stated her second choice was Engage 2027, the third was Aspire 2027, and last was New Horizon as she was not a fan of this one.
Muriel stated she would have selected the same order that Cynthia did. John stated his choices would have also been the same.
Cynthia stated she received last Friday the first actual written draft of the plan with all of the different reports all compiled into one. She stated this was different in the one that she had sent to John and Kris as this one contained actual phrases and paragraphs. She stated the committee will be providing feedback which is due this Friday. She reported, she thinks on Sunday, a working draft will be sent out to the presidents for their feedback.
John stated that is exciting and stated everyone is grateful for Cynthia’s work on that critical task force. Cynthia reported there is also a communication team that's being formed with Paula Panto as the chair. Cynthia stated she expressed interest in working on this group but has not heard back from anyone. John stated he would be surprised if they don't tap into her talents
Cynthia stated she thinks the task force is still on target for the final version of the plan to be presented at the State Board meeting in March to seek their approval. Cynthia stated she thinks she is a part of that meeting as the team leads are going to be presenting their pieces of it.
John thanked Cynthia for all her hard work on this important project.
Director of Strategic Initiatives
Will stated he had nothing new to report at this time. John stated he had another assignment for Will and will discuss this with him at a later date.
President of Faculty Association
Jim reported the Faculty Association will meet next Tuesday with a presentation by Dr. Evora Baker, the Trio coordinator, to provide the faculty with information on referring students and how they can begin the application process. He stated David Lightfoot will also give a presentation on the Future of Computing at CVCC and also on a new VCCS initiative which is the hybrid flexible classroom or the high-flex classroom. Jim stated this may be a way some of the CRRSAA funding may be used. He also stated Chris Bryant will be talking about the CVCC Employee Campaign.
Jim reported the Faculty are also looking at possibly drafting an attendance/drop/withdraw policy for virtual classrooms somehow paralleling the one in place for face-to-face classrooms. He stated this will eliminate students who end up getting “Fs” in the class because currently there is not a policy for dropping them on the drop date.
Jim stated the faculty have requested more detailed Canvas training, not just the general training, but how to use certain functions of Canvas but not necessarily in a synchronous classroom and more like videos. He stated he is in liaison with Ed McGee for his help but to start Jim has actually provided some online resources on the Faculty Association webpage where they can go and watch videos to show how to do different tasks in Canvas. He stated there's a Canvas collaboration site that has a lot of information and a lot of videos that are very helpful in teaching how to use some of the tools that are in the general Canvas course.
John stated he knows it's been an adjustment for faculty to transition to this virtual environment, but he thinks most faculty have made that adjustment in a very effective way. John asked Jim if he feels his students have adjusted to this environment now and are better poised to succeed in these courses. Jim stated yes and no. He stated they do fine in the courses but with face-to-face classes, students are reminded repeatedly about what they need to do. He stated with Canvas courses, the site needs to be monitored and students must be reminded about what they need to do. He stated, for example, assignments that are due on Sunday, and on Sunday, for assignments that are due on Monday, if you just have due dates on the syllabus, some of the students will fall by the wayside if not repeatedly reminded. He stated this may not be true in graduate school or in a big university but it is true at CVCC. John stated a virtual environment really requires more active participation and engagement on the part of the faculty member. (Jim agreed.) John stated he guesses the face-to-face classes promote accountability just by nature of that physical proximity and the routine schedule. Jim stated, in face-to-face classes, the students are warned of the consequences of not getting assignments in on time, and are being told how they can succeed on the assignment. He stated these sorts of messages need to go out to the students in the asynchronous virtual class. Jim stated because it's not just about the Canvas site, the best Canvas site in the world is not going to work unless the students know what's going on in the classroom. John stated he guesses the familiar cliché “out of sight, out of mind” applies here. Jim stated he sends constant reminders by Canvas mail and even to the point where he now records weekly office hour videos where he tells them what to do that week because it actually helps in getting them to respond.
John stated most of the complaints from students is that they just don't feel as if the faculty members are present, engaged, and actively participating in the course. Jim stated he agreed because if he forgets to remind them one week, he will notice sometimes five assignments have not been turned in. He stated the next week he will remind them and all assignments are turned in.
Muriel stated the good news is that not too many complaints are coming through so that is a tribute to you.
Elizabeth added she is taking hybrid classes at JMU and has been studying abstract theories in business and has been a little bit lost in the readings. She stated last week, she had to travel to JMU for her class and found the in-person class enhanced her ability to comprehend and understand the coursework. She reported the commuting back and forth is tough, but she felt it was worth it. Elizabeth stated she has been taking classes for a long time and thought about CVCC students who are taking classes for the first time and thought about how hard it must be for them.
Cynthia stated she thinks the students either for technology needs or what Elizabeth was talking about having discomfort in the online environment until better options are provided for those students, they are going to continue to struggle. She stated she had an interesting experience with this instructor engagement issue. She reported she found an OER class for abnormal psychology, a class that she teaches in a summer section. She stated it is a low-cost version through Lumen, and it's using their waymaker platform. She stated she got a tour from a Lumen representative last week, and she stated she was absolutely astonished by how much has been put into the planning and the materials for this class. Cynthia stated she was a little put off by this, asking where's her part, where’s her teaching. She stated if these materials are used, faculty must make sure they provide an active, engaged, and involved class.
Jim stated even the publishers today are providing textbooks that have downloaded Canvas cartridges and ancillaries that have auto-graded exams. He stated it is tempting for the faculty to just be sort of a conservator in this Canvas shell, but there needs to be more than that whether it's weekly study sessions or some way of connecting with the students, so that they can ask questions and not just being told what they did wrong. He stated this is particularly true in the math and science classes.
John stated these are all perceptive and truly enlightening comments that have been made. He stated he feels all will agree with him when he says that the pandemic has just intensified many of the issues that have existed all along. He stated he thinks everyone is just more acutely aware of the issues and the challenges that so many of the students face. John stated he hopes a lot has been learned as a result of this disruption and hates to think that the College will resume doing things the same way when it returns to a face-to-face environment.
Dean of Institutional Effectiveness
Kris reported the research analyst position that has been vacant since Collins left 15 months ago has been posted. She stated she is looking forward to reviewing the applications, and hopefully getting some support for her office because it's getting harder and harder to keep up with all the initiatives that have been referenced today at this meeting. She stated her office will bring all that plus the VCCS initiatives together when the College’s Strategic Plan is developed,
Kris stated she and Cynthia have heard this week about efforts to collect the baseline data to support the new strategic plan, and so she is looking forward to learning more about that from that team.
She reported Will stated earlier he had nothing new to report but she thinks that's a tribute to a job well done. She stated everyone learned so much from the fall semester planning. She stated she and Raylene can give a good example of this from the way Friday last week was closed out such as dealing with the public, helping families and students. She reported a call was received late Friday afternoon from a family who was on Campus and thanks to the ability to interact quickly in this environment, Raylene was able to speak with them and believes a full FTE for 12-week courses was gained.
Kris stated the College is learning a lot and trying to be responsive in this environment and she hopes that is not lost in the future. John stated instead of expecting students to come meet us where we are, the key to our students successes that we need make an even more deliberate effort to meet them where they are.
John stated there's going to be another fall semester rolling around in the not too distant future, and that fall semester is going to be, unlike any fall semester that has ever seen before so that's going to require a comprehensive planning effort, just as the planning for last fall required. He stated he wants Will to be thinking about this. Will stated he thinks the main thing is that when planning for the fall, the right team is needed, because if you have the right team some good things are going to happen.
John stated he read in the Richmond Times Dispatch this morning that an analysis has been completed which shows if the current pace of vaccinations continue, the Commonwealth will reach herd immunity in November and that’s under the best of circumstances, and under the worst of circumstances, they're predicting that the Commonwealth will not reach herd immunity until April of 2022. He stated a lot of people will get vaccinations, a lot of people will be immune from the disease, but it still holds important keys for the College about the way fall semester is planned because it won't be a return to business as usual and not like fall of 2019 but somewhere in between.
Director of Human Resources
Randall reported everyone should have received their W2s in their home mailboxes last week as they were mailed out on January 26 from Department of Accounts. He stated he only had one that was returned for an incorrect address. He asked if anyone hears of any concerns or issues, to please direct them to the HR office.
Randall stated several jobs have been posted which include the following: facility supervisor position (interviewing on Friday), HR analyst, Trio navigator, which is a grant for that full-time position and two wage positions in the Trio grant, an office manager, a financial aid associate, two CTE academy full-time positions, research analysts position, and then this week a faculty position, Director of Clinical Education will be posted. He stated his office will be certifying full-time payroll today and part-time payroll tomorrow.
Muriel stated she wanted to praise the HR office as there are only two people working in it and they are being pulled from all directions. John stated that's why Randall earned an acknowledgement of extraordinary contributions during this past evaluation cycle.
John stated the last question put before the group is a broad question on which discussions can begin today, but it will no doubt merit further discussion in the days ahead. He stated the College is into the spring semester, and so far, things seem to be going pretty well. John stated enrollment is down by about 10% which is just about where it was in the fall with regular enrollment down by 10%, and dual enrollment down by 9%. He stated all together enrollment is down just a little bit less than 10%, but the College is still not matching the VCCS’ average of about -6.8%. He stated this is because Northern Virginia Community College is up by 2% and carries about one third of the FTEs in the entire VCCS which skews the average.
John stated all things considered he feels the College has adapted to spring pretty well but now must focus on fall. He stated everyone needs to be thinking about what the College can do in the meantime to maintain the momentum to move into the fall semester successfully. He stated in other words, what are the issues that we as a cabinet, need to be paying attention to, what needs to be addressed if the College is going to build on its successes. John opened the floor for immediate ideas. Lewis stated one thing that would help the College get ahead is to mark and promote the beginning of the fall enrollment period and come out of the gate strong. John stated that is a great suggestion as the College did not do this for the spring semester, and the fall must also have a robust marketing plan. Will stated he thinks another thing is going to require a lot of emphasis for the fall is what that schedule will look like. He stated because if there are additional in-person classes that will need to be reflected in the schedule. He stated this reinforces what Lewis said about getting out of the gate early. John stated he will be bold and say that a college succeeds or fails on the basis of its schedule and that's why the scheduling initiative that Muriel talked about before is so important, important from the perspective of how the semesters are organized but also important from the perspective of how the classes are offered such as the times, formats, etc. He stated the environment in which we will be living and functioning in is so uncertain right now but an educated guess must be made. John asked that everyone continue to think about this.
John asked if there were any glaring challenges, any significant deficiencies that the College is experiencing now. He stated he will take everyone’s silence as a no.
Muriel stated she wanted to make a quick announcement. She reported on Wednesday, the Diversity Committee will be offering for Black History Month, a new conversation about the realities, resilience, and reaffirmation of African American or people of color. She stated there will be a panel discussion from 3:30 p.m.-5 p.m. with Randall Franklin and Debbie Harris participating. She invited everyone to tune in and listen to what they have to say as she feels this will be very enlightening and educational material.
Vice President of Institutional Advancement
Chris Bryant was absent.
Vice President of Information Technology
David Lightfoot was absent.
The meeting adjourned at 2:30 p.m. with the next meeting being held on February 22, 2021.