Minutes of the
President’s Cabinet Zoom Meeting
February 22, 2021
Minutes of the February 8, 2021, 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, Dianne Sykes
Data As Of Today (2/22/2021)
Consent Agenda Items: None
New Virtual Drone Tour Process (Chris Bryant and Jill Markwood)
This link was shared with the President’s Cabinet. https://centralva-my.sharepoint.com/:v:/g/personal/markwoodj_centralvirginia_edu/EeykyQTYvC9FmeHzerXMkMEBjKunA6M2CS2D8Vh2pgcYCQ?e=48IAhG
Jill began the Culinary Arts Building video and explained this map of the building and the actual rooms shows the audience very quickly where everything is located. She stated she would like feedback before proceeding with videoing other buildings as this is very time consuming. John asked Chris and Jill how they envisioned using these videos. Chris stated he wants to create one video housed on CVCC’s homepage and on Social Media that shows the entire Campus. He stated they also can be embedded in the pages of the departments with information about each of the departments and divisions. Chris stated he feels it would be beneficial to Kimberly’s student orientations. Muriel agreed with Chris and stated she felt it could also be used for virtual tours of the Campus for students and also for new employees. Raylene suggested having a student to actually walk out at the beginning to introduce themselves, say what they're studying at CVCC, and talk about the building. She also stated the accessibility to the buildings should be showcased. Jill stated this would be added in the tours of the Campus but what she is showing today is just about location of the building and rooms. John stated he felt this was a good virtual tour of the Campus but not a good recruitment tool without having any students in the classrooms. He also asked since Jill had said this was highly labor intensive is it worth it to make two different sets of videos like this one without the people and one with the people. He asked if it would be more efficient and effective just to make one. Jill stated there are two different purposes for each video, and they would still have to be done separately.
John stated for Jill to go ahead and do these brief tours minus the people because he thinks that serves an important purpose in terms of orienting prospective students and the public to the Campus. He stated he does not think that it substitutes for a more comprehensive type of recruiting video which can feature more about students, as opposed to spaces and buildings. But he stated he feels she needs to proceed with this. Jill stated she thinks it's a steppingstone to doing the more intense videos and would like to be able to focus on that once everyone is back on Campus. John questioned about the cost of these drone sessions. Chris reported the cost was approximately $800 for the entire day. John gave his okay to proceed. Chris stated they will continue with the tour version of this and bring back more to this group for approval, and then sometime in the summer, a determination will be made as to how to continue.
Cougar Classifieds (Lightfoot)
David discussed the Cougar Classifieds and stated it is an opt-in email distribution for faculty and staff that was established in 2013. He shared the original flyer and stated it was created to share information about the variety of information that could be shared via this d-list, most of the traffic was for selling something—which is logical given the name Cougar Classifieds. David stated unlike in 2013, today there is the Cougar Community Team. He stated he would like to discuss and possibly decide today on integrating the Cougar Classifieds d-list into the Cougar Community Team. David stated a Cougar Classified channel can be created within the Cougar Community Team to augment the Cougar Classified d-list. He stated unlike the Cougar Classified d-list, every faculty and staff member will have access to the Cougar Classified channel. He stated he didn’t see this as a problem, as the information can be ignored by those that aren’t interested. David stated if the Cabinet embraces this idea, the Cougar Classifieds d-list will continue to work as it does today, just the information will also be posted to Teams, but if something is posted to the Cougar Classified channel, it will not be sent to the Cougar Classifieds d-list. When someone begins to reply with Teams, a message is displayed with the words “You’re replying to an email message and your comment will only be visible in Teams.”
John questioned if this would need someone to oversee what was being posted. David stated he thought since people’s names would be associated with their ads that would not be necessary.
Jim questioned David if he had checked to see if buying or selling personal items are allowed using state resources. He stated, with the federal government, this is illegal. David stated he had no idea and guessed it was assumed to be legal because the flyer was created in 2013. John asked Lewis to seek Greer Saunders’ advice on this, and then share the information with the Cabinet.
John stated the biggest news for the VCCS is that ACOP has now approved the new strategic plan which is a six-year plan that will guide the system's efforts through 2027. He stated this plan is designed to ensure that no Virginians are left behind. John stated Cynthia was one of the team leads in this project and each gave a brief review during the ACOP meeting of their experience while working on this plan. He reported Cynthia was a “star of the show” as she provided a very articulate and eloquent review of her experience. Cynthia thanked John and reported the next step is the presentation of the plan to the State Board in March and stated she believes each of the team leads will be a part of that as well. She stated if approved by the State Board, the plan will then become official. John thanked Cynthia for her participation and contribution to this plan. He stated the plan itself is certainly comprehensive, but within that broad scope, it also gives us the latitude to tailor make the plan for CVCC. John stated the College will do that with Kris’ leadership and the participation of the Cabinet and members of the College community.
John reported the other news that from Richmond concerns the G3 initiative and stated it has now passed both the House and the Senate making it a definite reality. He stated the most recent headlines show that the governor is leaning on the General Assembly to fund the greater of the two prospective pay raises that the House and the Senate have put forth. He stated the governor and the House voted for a 3.5% pay raise for all state employees and that's what the governor is trying to persuade the Senate, it should do as the Senate and the House conferees meet to craft, the final contours of the budget. John stated as the College has always done in the past the part-time staff will be provided a similar increase.
John reported a decision has been made to have a virtual commencement ceremony this year. He stated Muriel will probably provide more information on this today in her report.
John stated he has asked Will and Kris to reconvene the Reopening Committee with an eye toward hopefully opening the Campus back up again to students, faculty, and staff in the fall. He stated no one knows what the fall will actually bring yet, but preparations need to be made for the possibility that more face-to-face classes and services will be offered than in the past year. John stated it's a lot more complicated to bring people back to Campus than it was simply to say no one can come to Campus. He reported he will be emailing “everyone” on Campus to notify them of this initiative. Will stated he feels the Committee must be flexible and see what guidance comes from the governor’s office and the VCCS.
Vice President for Student and Academic Affairs:
Muriel began her report by stating the fall schedule is a big item on her list right now, and she is glad to hear that the Reopening Committee is going to reconvene because there needs to be more on-Campus classes, but the College still needs to be super cautious with the understanding in the case of an outbreak, the College will go back to virtual and virtual real-time classes.
Muriel discussed the virtual graduation and stated this was a must for this year. She stated she missed having graduation last year and feels the students did also.
Muriel reported the Equity Group continues to work and move forward. She stated the group is reviewing what can be done (if anything) about the “holds” on student accounts that prevent them from moving forward with registration and enrollment.
Muriel also stated she is working with the faculty in the possibility of a 14-week schedule as to if it is a possibility and what it would mean. She stated Jim has discussed this in the Faculty Association meeting and has received a lot of feedback. Muriel stated she is working with Rachel Madigan and Evora on another possibility of having eight-week sessions for students of particular populations to get them in as a cohort, move them through enrollment, and on to graduation. She stated Cindy and Jason are working on the classes. She reported Jim has discussed this with the faculty as well.
Muriel stated Jason has been working very hard on getting the CTE schedule up and ready to be presented to the high schools so they can see what times, days, virtual or in-person the classes will be offered,
Muriel reported Evora continues to work with the Trio Grant and is getting ready to begin hiring staff for her area.
Vice President of Finance and Administration:
Lewis began his report by saying a lot of his time has been spent lately on the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act of 2021 (CRRSAA), funds and trying to determine how these funds can be spent. He stated he has discovered that the funds can be used for TRIO activities. Lewis stated he has engaged Muriel and Evora to find out what is needed that is not funded in the existing grant. He stated expenditures must be tied to the Corona Virus and the disruptions that it has caused. He reported they have looked at every possible avenue in order to maximize the benefits of the funding.
Lewis reported there is a statewide work group that meets tomorrow to discuss lost revenue which is about the most open-ended thing that the CRRSAA money can be used for. He stated he is interested to see if the money can used to recoup the 10% that was lost in the spring term enrollment or provide an insurance policy as the College moves into the fall semester.
John reported he met with a group on Friday and stated it looks as if the second installment of CRRSAA funding will be awarded for emergency student aid just after the census date in mid- March. He stated it's probably going to result in a similar number of students receiving the aid and receiving a similar amount to what students received during that first CARES act allotment.
Director of Strategic Initiatives:
Will stated once John emails “everyone” here at CVCC, he and Kris will reconvene the Reopening Committee to develop a strategy on how the College will move forward for the fall semester.
Dean of Institutional Effectiveness:
Kris stated she is excited that a new six-year strategic plan is in place, and she looks forward to working with everyone to capture those ideas. She stated she thinks this is a real opportunity to strengthen the College’s overall planning and assessment processes as to what has been done during the past six years. She stated the College has demonstrated that it can do some things really well and will just be capitalizing on that along with this new strategic plan.
Kris reported her office has been doing a lot of year-end reporting and supporting a lot of different projects. She stated it's really good to see all of that come together, and now plans are in progress to repopulate the Campus to a greater extent this fall. She stated she feels there is a lot of opportunity here at CVCC.
John stated as intense as Kris’ office is, he feels it's about to become even more intense with the development of CVCC’s new six-year plan.
Vice President of Information Technology:
David began his report by stating the SIS 9.2 technical upgrade will begin on Thursday and completed on March 1. He stated Evan, Kim, Kevin, and others have done their testing. David stated there is nothing else to do at this point in time. He stated, in addition to the 9.2 upgrade, there is a new identity management system and hopes are that all will work as well. He stated having two different systems upgraded in the same weekend can be challenging so hopes are that everything works as planned.
David reported he met with the Faculty Association meeting at which time he gave his presentation on “The Future of CVCC Student Computing.” He stated a lot of faculty members were in attendance and had a lot of questions that will require some follow up.
David discussed high-flex classrooms which is a hybrid flexible classroom required by the Chancellor’s expectations to have in place. He stated he along with Muriel, Jim, Cindy Wallin, Jason Ferguson, and Ed McGee will meet tomorrow to talk more about this, and hopefully pilot something for the fall semester. David stated this is just speculation now, but the College is supposed to have 10 classrooms in place by the end of next academic year (spring 2022). He stated he would like to have a couple of classrooms ready for the fall and adding more for the spring.
David reported those are the main things going on in IT at this time.
John stated thank goodness these upgrades have become more routine than they used to be. He stated he remembers when PeopleSoft upgrades resulted in outages for days on end, as the system was overwhelmed.
President of Faculty Association:
Jim reported at the last Faculty Association’s meeting there were several presentations-one from Dr. Evora Baker on the TRIO program, one from Chris on the Employee Campaign, and several from David. He stated this was a long meeting and not without controversy. He stated one thing he learned at this meeting is that it would be a good idea before proposing anything to the Faculty Association to provide background documentation prior to the meeting about why this is being proposed and what benefits are to be gained. He stated this applies both to shortening the semester by a week and to the Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) proposals. Jim stated he is working with David to create a document on the BYOD as to what are the key advantages. He stated from what he has read, it is an inequity issue not to require students to have their own device if they can purchase them with financial aid funds. He stated students who can't afford a computer and have never used computers will be at a disadvantage professionally. Jim stated students are receiving computers in high school and required to have them at the four-year colleges. But right now, community colleges are in the middle as students are not required to have one.
Jim discussed the proposal of shortening semesters by a week. He stated, depending on the programs, there were different responses from the faculty. Jim stated he feels the associate vice presidents (AVPs) need to talk to their department heads to find out what the impact is going to be. He stated, for example, in social sciences, the impact is going to be different than it's going to be for radiologic technology. Jim reported a survey was conducted which showed all the comments being either on one side or another, with about a 5% margin that would like to go to a shorter semester. He stated an overwhelming majority wants to keep the fall break, earlier start in the fall, a later start in the spring to maximize that piece in between, and possibly the inclusion of a “J” term.
Jim stated there was a lot of support for the high-flex classrooms, particularly amongst faculty who would like to be the first to try it.
Cynthia stated she would like to add something to what Jim was saying. She stated she just received an email in response to the VCCS plan about this issue of flexibility in scheduling to include eight- week terms to enable the colleges to have more room. She stated the email was very reactive and asked if the VCCS is moving back to the quarter system. She stated she feels this is similar types of comments that were heard in the Faculty Association meeting. Cynthia stated she is unsure how these concerns can be addressed.
Jim stated even though the same amount of contact time would be maintained, there was this concern that the class can't not be divided up that way. He stated colleges across the country have been able to make it work and feels CVCC can also. He stated there was this reticence without actually having a real rationale about why these changes are being made.
Muriel asked Jim to let the faculty know that they are looking for what will work best for College as far as enrollment, but no one will be forced to do anything until everyone is able to voice their opinions. Jim stated everyone is aware that these are just preliminary discussions.
President Classified Staff Association:
Raylene reported the CSA was scheduled to meet on February 18 but the College was closed that day, and she is now in the process of rescheduling the meeting to March 4. She stated plans are to have Evora Baker to talk about the TRIO grant and Chris Bryant also will be a guest.
Cynthia had nothing else to report.
Vice President of Institutional Advancement
Chris reported March is a big month for the Foundation with its 40th
anniversary being on the March 25. He stated their last board meeting was just a couple of weeks ago. He stated this quarter will wrap up in March, and he is trying to put in a couple of pledges for the GO Virginia grant, the Planning District Commission grant and will put the College at over a million dollars raised in this fiscal year. Chris reported, so far, which is a big number for the College.
Chris reported in the coming weeks, there are two central grants that are being written, one for just the regular sort of EMT/EMS programs and then the other for a new x-ray system match.
Chris stated because he cannot meet with any donors right now and doesn’t want a disconnect between some of the Foundation’s major donors, a student intern is helping create videos and zoom conversations to connect donors with scholarship recipients taking those video clips and teaming them up to send them to donors like Karen Painter where her scholarship recipient gets a message directly from her by way of email message. He stated five or six of those thank you videos that will be used in the coming months. He stated hopes are to have more videos as a way to connect with the donors.
Chris stated thanks to Lewis, John Rocha, and their teams, for their help in the process of buying six new milling machines. He stated all the funding has been secured, and the hard part begins with the moving out of the old equipment and replacing it with the new.
Chris reported marketing continues for the College’s eight-week classes which begin on March 15 and soon marketing for the summer semester will begin.
Chris reported they are desperately trying to keep the momentum rolling with the Alumni Association. He stated leadership has grown to include several other officers of that Association, which is good, but it is difficult to conduct a monthly meeting social and services in this environment.
Chris stated the Foundation’s anniversary will have three segments during the week of March 22 through 25 on “Living in the Heart of Virginia” television show. These segments will include information about the Foundation and how it supports CVCC students with scholarships, emergency funding, and equipment. He stated the Foundation will have a half-page newspaper ad that Sunday. Chris stated there will be several other small things like lapel pins and mailings to donors and thank yous.
Project Director of Title III Grant:
Elizabeth stated in the Title III world as Muriel said earlier, time has been spent reviewing what can be done about the “holds” on student accounts. She stated she along with Cynthia, Muriel, and Evan had met a couple of times to just look at review some of the information. She stated a lot was learned during this time and they will meet with the equity workgroup tomorrow, because more input is needed from the other departments that are interacting with these audits and get feedback on exactly how they're put on and how we should proceed with that information.
Elizabeth also stated a “quick poll” has been deployed last week (and last for two weeks) through Navigate to assess students’ perception of student services and what areas that they've interacted with and see value in and that's a part of our evaluation of Title III.
Elizabeth reported the Title III’s APR is officially open and she is busy working through this annual report which is due in April. She stated this is required for the College to continue to receive funding from the grant. She stated she pulled appointments this morning and just wanted to share that we're off to a good start as it's similar to last year’s. Elizabeth stated this shows if students develop a relationship with somewhere like the MALL or their advisors, then a lot of times that carries through into the spring semester, so appointments for the spring semester are looking better than they were in the fall semester. She stated all of the key staff met this morning to just touch base on the project. Elizabeth reported engagement is continuing to be an issue so even though they're getting alerts and referrals, students are being called to schedule appointments. Even though all of this is being done, getting students to schedule appointments and to engage with staff is an ongoing issue. She stated if faculty have students that need additional assistance, please make sure to continue to push them to refer them and also to follow up with them. For example, if they are referred to tutoring, question them to see if they set up a tutoring appointment. She stated faculty members have such strong relationships with their students something like that could be really helpful. Elizabeth stated she knows that all of the staff is actively working with Community Connections to try to get services out to the students as well but getting the students to engage with staff is challenging in this remote environment.
Elizabeth discussed the reopening of the College or ways that it needs to move forward to prepare for the fall semester, and one of the ideas that came from their last meeting was to help students with financial planning. She stated this was suggested by Philmika and Kimberly as a lot of students are getting themselves into some challenging financial situations where they ruin their credit which impacts every other aspect of their life such as being unable to qualify for rent. Elizabeth stated the same students are repeating visits for emergency funds for additional dollars.
John stated he feels this would be beneficial and has been discussed in the past but doesn’t think any significant step has been made toward enacting any of that. He stated talk has included transitioning the financial aid office into more of the financial planning and aid office. He stated especially in this climate that's probably something that should be revisited, and for students who repeatedly ask for emergency funds require some kind of intervention and financial planning. John asked Muriel to follow up on this. Muriel stated she will make this a part of her Equity Group and pull in the appropriate individuals. John stated if students continue to come back with requests for emergency aid that should be a signal that we need to intervene and provide that student with some financial counseling as a requirement for even continuing to be eligible for the emergency aid.
Cynthia stated she is on the committee that reviews all of the student emergency fund requests and, indeed, as Elizabeth has said, there has been a lot of repeat requests from semester to semester and really large requests for financial assistance over the past year for electricity bills, rent, and housing issues which go far beyond for which initially the emergency fund was established. She stated they have certainly made some exceptions this past year because of COVID19 and because of the unusual circumstances that so many students have found themselves in. She stated this is not necessarily doing these students a great service in rewarding requests for large amounts of money and then the behavior isn't changing at all. Cynthia stated she is seeing first-hand that this is a problem.
Raylene stated when she worked in Financial Aid at Randolph College, there were students that would come for help with unpaid bills. She stated they had a committee that was sit down together with the student and devise a payment system plan, specifically for that student. She stated a lot of times, the student did not understand payment options or how it worked.
John stated that knows Muriel has addressed this issue before in individual cases but maybe should undertake this as a formal project to determine what sort of process, the College might be able to put into place to try to impact this issue. He stated the number of students at CVCC has declined dramatically but the College’s employment numbers have not declined dramatically, which leads him to the conclusion that there may be some people who have some time on their hands, who could be trained as financial counselors who might be able to be pressed into service to work with students individually on matters like this. He stated maybe that's part of the solution and thinks this issue needs to be addressed and it’s time the College develops some sort of policy and process on this and at the same time its’s fulfilling our fiduciary responsibility to the College.
Muriel stated a student just cannot keep coming and requesting money. She stated there should be a limit or something in writing to fully explain the situation. Muriel also stated one student cannot just take all of the money from the emergency fund. She stated a process needs to be created and asked Raylene to help.
President of the Part-Time Association:
Sarah reported the Part-Time Staff Association has a meeting scheduled for Thursday and Chris Bryant has been invited him to this meeting to talk about the Employee Campaign and all the great work that the Foundation has been doing. She stated she wants to see if Evora has the time to talk about the Trio grant.
Director of Human Resources:
Randall stated he is glad the reopening has been discussed during this meeting. He stated the big question is how to address the employee who, when the College is reopened, wishes to continue teleworking as opposed to coming back to Campus. He stated in years past teleworking was an option but he feels that it wasn't completely embraced overall. He stated some did work from home but mostly one day per week. Randall stated there are some that come to campus once a week or twice a week as needed and there are some that haven't been back on campus since last March. He stated this needs to be addressed as the College moves forward.
Randal reported a lot of positions are being posted and some that have closed. He stated he has been screening applications and those will be forwarded to the hiring managers.
John stated the HR office has been busy and didn’t want anybody to lose sight of the fact that HR office is short staffed. He thanked Randall for his exemplary work that he has done.
John questioned Randall if there is a preliminary consensus among his peers about how to handle the teleworking issue. Randall stated not so far but it has been discussed on almost every call for the last few weeks, and so it is an issue that will have to be addressed.
John asked the Cabinet members if there were any preliminary thoughts on this topic. He stated he has talked about the importance of flexibility, and this is certainly one of those areas in which the College must be extraordinarily flexible.
David stated this could impact the renovations as to how many offices would be needed if teleworking continued. Randall stated there are a lot of questions that are going to come up surrounding this whole topic and how much office space is needed if no one is using them is certainly one of them.
Raylene asked how can offices be made safer for meetings with students and their families. She stated some schools are still remote, and there are some people not wearing masks. She stated people not being respectful to boundaries or others is what she is most concerned about. Raylene stated she thinks that there will be those that are going to be pushy and expect more out of you, then what you feel comfortable with doing.
John stated these are all issues that the Reopening Committee will have to consider. He stated people will wear masks while they're on CVCC property or the police will be escorting them off Campus. He stated he thinks the College will probably have to become more generous and more liberal with teleworking than in the past. He stated depending upon how things evolve, he is not a big proponent of allowing anyone and everyone to continue to work off Campus because he feels too much is lost when people aren't together. John stated he is talking about the value of community as opposed to the sanctity of the individual, because there are certain advantages to people working in isolation from home and some of that will no doubt continue. He stated one of his greatest fears at CVCC is that its losing that sense of community which really distinguishes the College as an institution,
Cynthia stated one other concern or issue would be technology, and if employees working some at home and some on campus. She asked is there going to be an expectation that technology is going to go back and forth so. She stated she felt it would be quite a chore to have to bring a docking station from home to office.
David stated duplication at both locations is very expensive. He stated what is envisioned is wherever your primary place of work would have a docking station and a Surface would have a cable to connect to external monitor. David stated at the secondary place, the Surface would be connected to a 22-inch monitor with a plugin.
At your secondary place if you were split you'd have your document your surface screen and maybe a 22 inch monitor, but you wouldn't have to full size monitors and so, then they take back and forth to be your surface, the new plugin D, the one that should give you.
John stated this is obviously a topic for another day, one that will be discussing at length, later on, but for right now suffice it to say that he is not willing to turn the institution on its end and abandon everything that the College always done in the past. He stated he feels CVCC is at its best when we're interacting with one another person-to-person, whether it be colleague-to-colleague, colleague-to-student, or student-to-student. John stated he thinks this is what really distinguishes us as a community college, it makes us different from our four year peers, especially large research institutions and he would hate to see this abandoned all together.
Jeff stated he did not have anything new to report.
The meeting ended at 2:45 with the next Cabinet meeting to be held on March 22, 2021.