Monthly Archives: April 2020

Phishing incidents on the rise

As LCC transitioned to online classes, cybercriminals ramped up their tactics to take advantage of those who may have inadequate or naive security postures. While working from home, LCC employees are outside the reach of the on-campus security tools and have a higher exposure to phishing and network attacks.
 
Attackers are taking advantage of the panic around coronavirus with phishing email themes such as stimulus checks, promises of a cure and symptom details. If you are concerned or stressed about the virus, you are less likely to remember your information security training and will be more likely to click a link in a phishing email or give your credentials to a malicious website. Users working from home are also more likely to mix work with personal email and web browsing. Attackers are also leveraging the wave of remote workers who have come to rely on online conferencing tools and virtual private networks.
 
For example, one ongoing phishing campaign is reeling in victims with a Cisco security advisory that warns of a fake vulnerability in WebEx. The campaign starts with a phishing email from a spoofed email address of meetings@webex.com and a subject of “Critical Update” telling victims: “To fix the critical vulnerability, we recommend that you update the version of Cisco Meetings Desktop App for Windows” and points them to a “Join” button to learn more about the “update.” Victims who click on the “Join” button are redirected to the phishing landing page, which looks like a legitimate Cisco WebEx login page, asking for your network credentials.
 
During this time, we need to be even more on guard, looking out for possible security risks in all our cyber activities. When logging into our Cisco WebEx site at https://lccedu.webex.com/, check the URL and look for the LCC logo in the upper right before you select “Sign In.” Below is a legitimate screenshot of our Cisco WebEx site:

To avoid being phished, remember to:

Screenshot from LCC's WebEx login, showing a legitimate URL and the LCC logo in the upper righthand corner.
  • Check the “From:” address on all emails to see if you recognize the sender. If you are suspicious and know the person, contact them personally. Friends can also be victims of hacking, so be watchful for suspicious message content or unusual requests. 
  • Check links before clicking them by either using your mouse to hover or pressing and holding down a link (as opposed to tapping it) on your phone or tablet. 
  • Check attachments before opening them, as they can contain malware or redirect you to sites designed to trick you. You can check attachments/links at www.virustotal.com. You can also send the attachment to spam@lcc.edu and they will use advanced tools to quickly determine if it’s legitimate.
  • If a message represents itself as something official, or is attempting to pressure you into some sort of action, use the web to research its origin and use the contact information you find on the website as opposed to what is included in the message. Spelling and word choice are often giveaways for a phishing email.
  • If it looks suspicious or you weren’t expecting the email, forward it to the LCC Help Desk at lcc1@lcc.edu, or call them at 517-483-5221. They are happy to help you figure it out. Plus, if it’s a malicious email, they can notify the other recipients to delete the email. You should also contact the Help Desk if you have given your account information in response to a phishing email or other online scam.

If you have any questions or need further information, please contact Director of Information Security Paul H. Schwartz at schwarp1@lcc.edu.

Understanding FOAPALs at LCC

As part of the strategic plan’s Resource Management and Fiscal Responsibility focus area, the college has launched the Increased Financial Awareness Team. This group’s goal is to increase the college community’s understanding of LCC budgeting and accounting.

In this article, we cover the concept of FOAPAL (pronounced ‘fopul’), which is commonly used to refer to how expenses are charged against the college budget.

FOAPAL is an acronym for Fund, Organization, Account, Program, Activity and Location. These terms are elements that, when used together, identify an accounting transaction. Fund, Organization, Account and Program are required elements. Activity and Location are optional. All elements are combined using a hyphen (-) character. For example, a transaction to charge paper and binders used by ITS staff would have the FOAPAL 11-60001-7175-210000. For this FOAPAL:

  • The Fund is 11, which is the General Fund
  • The Organization is 60001, which is the Information Technology Services division
  • The Account is 7175, which is Supplies
  • The Program is 210000, which is Information Technology – 2.0

For more information regarding the six FOAPAL elements, please visit the Understanding FOAPALs article. 

The Increased Financial Awareness Team wants to hear from you and what you need in order to better understand the college’s finances. Please reach out to Kevin Bubb at bubbk@lcc.edu if you have questions or ideas for items you’d like the team to address, or if you’d like to join the team.

Happenings in the CTE

New site developed for LCC community stories
This “Live Together” website was created by a group of faculty members with the Open Learning Lab. It’s a place for all of us to share our experiences during this time through stories, pictures and recordings. It is open to everyone who works at LCC and our students. 

Faculty recognition deadline extended to May 1
In an effort to highlight the work of your colleagues, the CTE is requesting nominations of faculty members you feel deserve recognition. To do so, complete this form by Friday, May 1.

LCC’s chief diversity officer named to Michigan task force

Tonya Bailey, LCC’s chief diversity officer, has been named to the Michigan Coronavirus Task Force on Racial Disparities.

The task force, created by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and led by Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II, has its focus squarely on racial disparities in Michigan’s coronavirus outbreak.

“We are taking immediate action to assemble some of the greatest minds to tackle this racial injustice now and in the future,” Gilchrist said.

In Michigan and in states across the nation, communities of color are experiencing greater health challenges during this crisis, disproportionate to other communities. Dr. Bailey will join health experts, scientists, doctors, community organizers and legislators to develop strategies to address racial disparities and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

“I am honored and humbled to serve on this task force,” Bailey said. “Watching this virus attack our communities, our friends and our loved ones is a tremendous burden. The coronavirus pandemic has exposed the vulnerability of people of color who suffer greatly from a lack of access to health care, transportation and other inequalities that disproportionately increase health challenges during this crisis.”

The task force convened its first meeting April 17.

Bailey has been LCC’s chief diversity officer since the fall of 2018 and holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Central Michigan University, a master of public administration from the University of Michigan-Flint, and a bachelor’s of science from the University of Evansville.

Update about IDEA course evaluations changes related to COVID-19

Academic Affairs, with input from around the college, has worked to provide status codes related to every section taught in spring 2020. The Center for Data Science (CDS) is using those codes – and checking for updates frequently – to determine if course evaluations should proceed.
 
Any section still providing ongoing instruction, regardless of if the section transitioned from face-to-face to virtual, will receive an evaluation as would have been normally scheduled. If a course has been delayed or paused, the evaluations have also been delayed or paused with the hopes that we will be able to resume the evaluation when/if the section is able to resume.
 
As a final note, some have asked about adding additional questions related to the current circumstances to the evaluation. In discussions with academic leadership, it has been decided LCC will not be adding institution-wide questions to IDEA in favor of sending out a separate survey via SurveyMonkey.
 
If there are any additional questions or concerns, please contact CDS at lcc-cds@lcc.edu.

Supervisors of student employees: Employment eligibility

In order to provide sufficient time for planning, please note the important enrollment start/end dates for student employment eligibility. Supervisors are responsible for communicating these dates and ensuring their student staff are aware and adhere to them accordingly.
 
In an effort to clarify and remind supervisors of the current enrollment eligibility requirements, please share the following information with your respective student employees as needed. Our intent is to provide students and hiring departments sufficient time to plan accordingly.
 
Summer semester enrollment requirement

  • Must be enrolled and attending a minimum of 3.0 credit hours over a minimum period of 8 weeks during summer semester. [Example: Student is registered for 3.0 credits during the 8-week part of term that begins June 5 and ends Aug. 2. This student would be eligible to be a student employee.]

Spring semester – student employees who will not meet the summer semester enrollment requirement

  • The student’s last day of working must be on or before May 16.

Spring semester – student employees who will meet the summer semester enrollment requirement

  • The student is eligible to work during the break between their spring course end date and summer course start date.

New student employees for summer semester

  • A student who meets the summer semester enrollment requirement, but not the spring semester enrollment requirement, may begin working as early as May 18, assuming the hired/rehired student has been approved to work and has attended New Employee Orientation (NEO).

Summer semester payroll deductions

  • Students will remain eligible for the FICA exemption during the time after spring semester ends, from May 12-16, as long as the summer enrollment requirements are met.
  • Students with a first date worked prior to July 2, 2018, registered for at least 6.0 credits in summer semester, will not be required to pay into MPSERS during the timeframe that the student is enrolled and actively attending class.
  • Students with a first date worked on or after July 2, 2018, are not eligible to participate in MPSERS.
  • Credit requirements for spring and summer semester must be met in order to maintain exemption from FICA and MPSERS. Failure to do so will result in automatic enrollment and payroll withholdings.

Questions and/or requests for additional information may be directed to either the Payroll Department at FS-Payroll@star.lcc.edu or 517-483-1799, or the Financial Aid Student Employment Coordinator at FS-FA-Student-Employment@star.lcc.edu or 517-483-1176.

Brighten your day with photos of some cute pets and kids

A few weeks ago, the Experience Starpower team asked to see photos of your new favorite co-workers. You delivered! Check out our community’s adorable stay-at-home companions.
 
Join in the next Experience Starpower photo challenge! Send in a picture of your very Brady virtual meetings! Capture that perfect moment and send it to experiencestarpower@star.lcc.eduby May 4 to be included in a future edition of The Star.
 
Look for more activities in the coming weeks!

Provost offering online office hours

Provost Sally Welch is taking her office hours virtual! Faculty are invited to join her 3-4 p.m. Monday, April 27, via WebEx to ask questions or offer ideas.  

Meeting number (access code): 194 013 742 
Meeting password: xbPQDKJG667

Join meeting

Join by phone
+1-415-655-0001 US Toll
+1-415-655-0001 US Toll
 
Join from a video system or application
Dial 194013742@lccedu.webex.com
You can also dial 173.243.2.68 and enter your meeting number.

Board of Trustees eliminates online learning fee for students

Trustees approved the end of LCC’s $25 online course fee, effective for the summer semester, during their April 20 meeting. Given the switch to online-only education, the college and trustees agreed it was not reasonable to charge students an extra fee. Additionally, the fee was established to defray startup expenses of moving to online education, and the college now has a robust infrastructure to support virtual learning.
 
Further, trustees approved:

  • A $65,000 increase in the Blanket Purchase Order with Moore Trosper Construction Company necessary to complete the Student Affairs and StarZone renovation in the Gannon Building.
  • A $197,415 increase in the Blanket Purchase Order with WFF Facility Services to support the 2020 and 2021 increases in Michigan’s minimum wage.
  • An extension of the lease agreement with Howell Public Schools to use space at Parker Middle School for LCC’s Livingston County Center. The $536,870 lease will run Aug. 1, 2020, through July 31, 2022, with two one-year options to extend. LCC has leased the space since 2007, and now holds more than 100 courses every fall and spring at the Livingston County Center.

The trustees did not approve 2020-2021 sabbatical leave requests. While they did not question the merits of the sabbatical projects proposed, trustees agreed the leaves were an additional expense the college could not afford at this stage in the pandemic.
 
Trustee Robert Proctor provided an update on the college’s presidential search. The presidential search screening committee has completed its work, and will forward the names of five finalists to the Board of Trustees after all finalists as well as unsuccessful candidates have been contacted. The names of those finalists will be made public as soon as possible.
 
The Board of Trustees is next scheduled to meet Monday, May 18. Watch for details of that meeting from the Board of Trustees email account.