Minutes of the
President’s Cabinet Zoom Meeting
March 22, 2021
Minutes of the February 22, 2021, meeting were approved as written.
John Capps, Muriel Mickles, Lewis Bryant, David Lightfoot, Chris Bryant, Kris Ogden, William Wilkerson, Randall Franklin, Elizabeth Narehood, Will Sandidge, Cynthia Deutsch, Jim Tuite, Raylene Cope, Sarah Jarrett, Dianne Sykes
Data As Of Today (3/22/2021)
Introduction of the new Chief of Police
John introduced the College’s new Chief of Police/Director of Public Safety, William Wilkerson, to his first Cabinet meeting and asked that he tell the members about himself. William stated he most recently worked at Blue Ridge Community College and previously worked at VCU for almost 15 years. William stated he is looking forward to this new challenge with a goal of making sure that the College community is safe. He stated 95% of the time he is very laid back unless something needs to be done.
The Cabinet members introduced themselves to William and stated what their job titles were.
Congratulation to Cynthia
John stated congratulations go to Cynthia Deutsch on her latest honor. He reported at last week’s meeting of the State Board for Community Colleges, Cynthia received the Dana B. Hamel Award for her work on the VCCS’s new strategic plan, Opportunity 2027. He stated the board approved the plan and acknowledged the contributions of the members of the Strategic Planning Task Force by presenting them with the award. Named for the system’s founding chancellor, the Hamel Award is the highest honor bestowed by Virginia’s Community Colleges. John stated Cynthia’s participation on the task force was pivotal, for she served as the team leader for the most important component of the plan: teaching and learning.
John read part of a text that Sharon Morrissey, Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic and Workforce Programs, wrote concerning Cynthia’s work on the strategic plan. She wrote the following: Cynthia was AMAZING and her comments during the presentation were extraordinary and she spoke with a deep sincerity. In addition, the Chancellor announced that all of the task force members will receive the Dana B. Hamel Award. The example we showed was the award inscribed with Cynthia's name. She was so surprised, and she gave a perfect short acceptance speech on behalf of all the TEAM members. I have watched her growth during the past 11 months as she has moved outside of her classroom and her College to develop a greater understanding of the diversity and impact of Virginia’s community colleges. I'd like to talk with you sometime about her possible career trajectory.
John thanked Cynthia for her representing CVCC on the taskforce. Cynthia stated this was an extraordinary opportunity for her to be able to work with such talented people at the VCCS. She stated she has been asked to remain engaged but unsure at what capacity.
John stated as the VCCS transitions to this new plan, CVCC will also begin by building from the VCCS plan to create our next strategic plan. He stated the VCCS’ plan is broken down into different biennium, so we have a set of strategies for the first biennium.
Kris stated she had received updates concerning the new strategic plan from the VCCS’ Institutional Effectiveness office. She reported her office has an opportunity to participate in the post-secondary data partnership with National Student Clearinghouse, and plans are to move forward on that. Kris stated she is enrolled in a nine-week course to get that moving for the College, as that will give some rich longitudinal data to look at the College’s student population to work toward implementing the strategies. She stated there are areas where the College has really improved in this existing six-year strategic plan so it's her hope that the new plan can build off of that and take it to the next level, because she does see so many similarities. She reported her office will be hiring a new research analyst which will help with the data collection.
John stated CVCC has a lot of new initiatives (OER, Title III and Trio grants, and Beacon of Hope) that will dovetail perfectly with that emphasis upon equity and student success. He stated the College has really been engaged in a lot of projects that will be an encouragement for successful implementation of the goals of Opportunity 2027. He stated this is another way of reminding everyone that CVCC is indeed a high-performing College.
Consent Agenda Items: None
Vice President for Student and Academic Affairs:
Muriel began her reported by stating when she thinks of the strategic plan she also thinks about the College’s Equity Group continues to work and move forward. She stated the group has encountered barriers in the application process but stated the VCCS has also noticed these barriers. Muriel stated Financial Aid will be the group’s next focus. Muriel stated the group also has a book club in the next couple of weeks that she plans to have a live look discussion which will include favorite passages, the relevance of the book to CVCC, encounters that were not expected, any aha! Moments, and what can be incorporated here at CVCC.
Muriel stated work continues with discovering new ideas to make things easier, less challenging, and more equitable for CVCC students. She stated there were new initiatives such as direct enrollment, CTE academy, and several G3 programs that will be forthcoming this fall. She discussed the Trio grant and stated Evora now has a part-time administrative assistant and will be hiring a navigator very soon. Muriel reported Philmika just completed a Single Stop training which is where students can come to one place and find out about all the resources that that the VCCS and CVCC has to offer. She stated another new program called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP 5050) will soon be available.
Muriel stated the graduation committee continues to work on a virtual ceremony for 2021 and the previous year 2020.
Muriel reported some students are really struggling in this COVID environment, and plans are to work with Horizon Behavioral Health to create an avenue for them to receive the mental health support that that they deserve.
John reported the College has not received the performance-based funding metrics for this past cycle and in previous years, the College typically has done very well. But he stated the disaggregated data tells a slightly different story. The College does not do as well with the students of color and even though dramatic progress on that front over the past several years, the College still has a way to go before achieving the goal of equity and equality. He stated this is all the more reason that the work Muriel is doing with the Equity Task Force is so important.
Project Director of Title III Grant:
Elizabeth stated she continues to work with the Equity Group under Muriel’s leadership in the areas of admissions and enrollment. She reported she is also working closely with Cindy Wallin and Patti Saffioti concerning tutors specifically for the MALL because math is a focus area of Title III. She stated the College had embedded math tutors this spring and have been hosting regular meetings to talk with those tutors. Elizabeth reported talks with the instructors on how their experiences are going and how that could help to better expand that initiative for direct enrollment in the fall.
Elizabeth reported she has a steering committee meeting on Wednesday, and she has been working to prepare some data related to the MALL and will be talking with one of the embedded tutors during that meeting. She also stated the Committee will also be looking at using grant funds to support some professional development. She stated five faculty members will be virtually attending a conference to the Developmental Institute in June to talk about direct enrollment.
Elizabeth stated most of her time is being spent on the Title III’s APR which is due in April.
President Classified Staff Association:
Raylene reported the CSA met virtually on March 4 with guest speakers Evora Baker who talked about the TRIO grant and Chris Bryant who talked about the Employee Campaign. She stated the members present played a pandemic game which required players who were at home to gather hard-to-get items. She stated their next meeting will be April 1, and the special guest will be Chris Jordan to discuss technology in the upcoming reopening of the College. Raylene stated she wanted to discuss the vaccine and everyone’s thoughts on that subject.
John reported on the mass vaccination that took place last Saturday and stated about 75-76 CVCC employees that received the vaccine and 13-14 others who wanted to get it but were unable on that date. He stated he will be emailing everyone later today or tomorrow, but arrangements have been made for subsequent vaccine clinics for CVCC employees over the next eight Saturdays. He asked that everyone spread the word to their constituencies for those who weren't able to take advantage of the opportunity on Saturday, and let them know there will be additional opportunities in the forthcoming Saturdays. John stated the disillusioning aspects to him about the entire initiative has been that only about 48% of CVCC employees even opened his original email that alerted people to the chance to get the vaccination. He reported every time an email is sent to “everyone” on Campus, it goes to 565 recipients. Raylene stated she actually forwarded John’s email to all classified staff.
Kris stated a lot of people are still concerned about getting the vaccine for several reasons and are hesitant about taking the shot. She stated she was also unsure of what to do but after she saw of number of people that she knew personally get the shot and do okay, she decided to get vaccinated. Cynthia suggested interviewing some that had gotten the vaccine would help encourage those that are skeptical to do the same. She stated she really missed seeing her coworkers here at the College. Chris stated he will work with John and Randall to see if making a video of some
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.
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.
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.