June Trustee Notes
NECC Knights are Sixth in the Nation
The NECC Knights returned from the National Junior College Athletic Association Division III World Series in Tyler, TX, ranked sixth in the country.
And, at the June 4 meeting, members of the board of trustees had the opportunity to congratulate Coach Jeff Mejia and members of the team in person.
NECC Athletic Director Sue MacAvoy introduced team members and described what the team accomplished this year, including winning the Massachusetts Community College Athletic Championship and the Region 21 championship, in addition to the national ranking.
What is even more important than winning, according to MacAvoy, is the praise which the team received on and off the field for sportsmanship.
“We were recognized repeatedly for our conduct, and the team really took the spirit of community service, coaching Little League players from Texas.”
Student Success Initiatives
Dawna Perez, who recently filled the new position of dean of student success, reported on what the college has been doing to ensure that students achieve their goals.
The college’s focus has been on tracking the transition from developmental courses into gateway courses—introductory courses within a major—and on retention and graduation rates, according to Perez.
The college is carefully tracking students who transfer from a developmental course into a gateway course, looking at their success rate as well as demographic factors such as age, ethnicity, whether they are first generation, and whether they are part time or full time.
One problem has been that students are spending too much time in developmental courses so the college has focused on speeding up this process with a number of initiatives including accelerated learning programs, math pathways, pairing developmental courses with college-level courses, and streamlining the ESL course sequence from five levels to four.
As President Glenn shared, accelerating developmental programs has to be balanced with the need to be sure students are well-prepared to succeed in college-level courses.
“We want to be sure that students transition when they’re ready and have the skills they need to be successful,” he said.
Approval of FY15 Budget
Based on the recommendation of the Audit & Finance Committee, trustees voted unanimously to approve a $43.6 million FY15 budget for the college.
According to committee chair Peter Dulchinos, the budget is based on state support consistent with the budget passed by the State’s House Ways & Means as well as fee increases.
Trustees also voted unanimously to approve several fee increases, which will take effect this fall.
The college fee per credit hour will increase by $18 from $132 to $150 a credit hour; the per credit cost for health care courses that are not part of the iHealth initiative will increase by $49 to $230, which is what iHealth students currently pay; and there will be a new facilities fee of $75 for part-time students taking six or fewer credits and $150 for full-time students taking seven or more credits per semester.
At the December meeting of the Board of Trustees, President Glenn reported that with a $90 million deferred maintenance back log, Northern Essex is leading community colleges across the state in deferred maintenance.
“When you look at the college’s net asset value, which measures the condition of a campus, the college is last in the state, falling in the “catch-up” stage which indicates that buildings need significant repairs,” he said.
In FY14, Northern Essex fees were the third lowest of the Commonwealth’s 15 community colleges.
“We’re one of the lowest cost colleges in the state, and we’re proud of this but it’s coming at a tremendous price,” said Glenn.
Although the fees are increasing, Glenn and the board of trustees plan to keep Northern Essex’s cost in the lower half of all community colleges in Massachusetts.
To assist students with the increase in fees this year, the college has increased its institutional aid available to students by 25 percent.
Four Receive Full-Time Appointments
The trustees approved four full-time appointments: Susan Fichera, assistant professor, Nursing; Jody Carson*, assistant professor, Early Childhood Education; Courtney Newman, academic counselor; and Arlene Suriel, clerk IV, Academic Advising.
*This was a part-time position moving to full time.
The next meeting of the Board of Trustees will be held on Wednesday, September 3 at 5 p.m. in TC103 in the Hartleb Technology Center on the Haverhill Campus.