Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees
Minutes of Meeting (Official) – April 01, 2020
A meeting of the Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees was held via a Zoom Teleconference at 5:00 PM.
Mr. Guilmette Mr. Linehan
Ms. Paley Nadel
Also Present: President Glenn
Call to Order
Chairman Linehan called the meeting to order at 5:00 PM.
Elections of Officers
Chairman Linehan opened up the nomination process for the election of the Vice Chair. With a motion presented by Trustee Paley Nadel and seconded by Trustee Forman, Trustee Cox was nominated for the position of Vice Chair. Having no other nominations, Chairman Linehan declared the nominations closed. Trustee Cox was unanimously voted Vice Chair of the Board.
Chairman Linehan then opened up the nomination process for the election of Secretary. Trustee Cox nominated Trustee Paley Nadel. The nomination was seconded by Trustee Forman. Having no other nominations, Chairman Linehan declared the nominations closed. Trustee Paley Nadel was unanimously voted Secretary of the Board.
Chairman Linehan thanked Trustees Cox and Paley Nadel for their service to the board.
Approval of Minutes
On a Motion by Trustee Borislow, seconded by Trustee Cox, it was voted unanimously to approve the March 4, 2020 minutes as presented.
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Report of Board Committees
1) Audit and Finance Sub-Committee
Trustee Paley Nadel provided the committee report. She noted that as part of the college’s budget development process, the college needed to set its fees for the next academic year (2020-2021). After careful review of this year’s revenues and expenditures and accommodating for next year’s adjustments, the Audit and Finance Sub-Committee recommended the following motions:
a) FY21 College Fee – Regular (AFC-20-04)
On a Motion by Trustee Linehan, seconded by Trustee Borislow, the board unanimously approved the Audit and Finance Committee’s recommendation of a $6 per credit fee increase on all credit courses that are non-Health resulting in a fee of $193 per credit.
b) FY21 College Fee – Allied Health Courses (AFC-20-05)
On a Motion by Trustee Cox, seconded by Trustee Worden, the board unanimously approved the Audit and Finance Sub-Committee’s recommendation of a $6 per credit fee increase on all Allied Health courses resulting in a fee of $273 per credit.
c) FY21 College Fee – Facilities (AFC-20-06)
On a Motion by Trustee Borislow, seconded by Trustee Fernandez, the board unanimously approved the Audit and Finance Sub-Committee’s recommendation to continue to implement the increase of the Facilities fee by $20 in FY21.
Report of Administration
President Glenn noted the astonishing work of the NECC faculty and staff over the last 2 weeks as they convert their work and classes into remote work, teaching, and learning. About one-third of NECC students had already geared up for online classes, but two-thirds of the classes needed to be converted quickly to remote learning platforms. With much coaching, technology assistance, study groups, and support groups, great progress was achieved in a very short period of time.
President Glenn noted that due to the COVID-19 crisis, an announcement would be going out to fall faculty and staff soon notifying them that face-to-face classes will not resume this semester. In addition, the May 16th Commencement will not be held as scheduled, but several different ideas for a virtual celebration are being discussed and considered right now. This might consist of both a virtual celebration and/or a modified “walk on stage” celebration at a future date. President Glenn noted that he will be consulting with the Student Senate on April 2nd to get their ideas and input for commencement, and a final decision and announcement will be made shortly thereafter. Trustees will be informed of the decision when it is finalized.
President Glenn also noted that enrollment is likely to decline across all fifteen Massachusetts community colleges due to the pandemic. As events evolve, the economy and lives of future students are being modified. There have been some articles recently noting that many future college students may choose to stay closer to home, or they may push off decisions to attend a four-year school for a semester or two. These decisions may very well impact community college enrollments. Also, with an increase of unemployed people, there may also be an uptick in enrollments from that population.
President Glenn noted the federal CARES Act will be providing some financial assistance to colleges, and should result in a few million dollars for NECC. While that is good news, it is important to know that these federal funds will most likely be offset by a reduction in the college’s state appropriation. He noted that the leadership team is monitoring all these issues very closely. “While our fee increases are modest right now, resulting in a 2% increase overall, following this crisis, we may need to revisit those fees at a future trustee meeting” he noted.
In closing, President Glenn noted that while they were hopeful that the summer schedule would have classes as normal, it is likely that the college will have to continue with remote teaching and learning. Fewer sections are offered in the summer, however. President Glenn noted that he will continue to work with the union membership when a decision is made regarding the summer classes.
When asked about the college union expectations, President Glenn noted that the MCCC and AFSCME Unions realize this is an unusual time. With much collaboration and legal counsel, we are getting through the spring. During the summer and fall, the college will ensure that the interests of faculty and staff are represented.
President Glenn thanked the trustees for their continued support and noted that the President’s Leadership Cabinet is working tirelessly on this transition. Students recently attended a Student Town Hall with the President and VP William Heineman where they were able to ask questions during this uncertain time. A future Town Hall for Faculty and Staff will be held in the coming week and include an opportunity for everyone to envision new ideas and ways of doing things at the college. “We hope the college emerges better and stronger as a result of these challenges,” he noted.
- Emergency Delegation of Authority to Appoint New Full-time Employees to Existing Vacancies, Approve Emeritus Status Recommendations, Approve MCCC/MTA Reappointments and Tenure, and Approve Grants and Contracts for the Remainder of the Academic Year (ADM-3609-040120)
President Glenn noted that due to the COVID-19 crisis, and in the event that Trustees were unable to meet due to closure or illness, this delegation of authority would allow President Glenn to approve pertinent items so that college operations can continue. All approvals will be brought to the board for their affirmation at their next regularly scheduled meeting.
On a Motion by Trustee Guilmette seconded by Trustee Forman, on a roll call vote, it was voted unanimously to approve the Emergency Delegation of Authority to the President to approve existing vacancies, emeriti status recommendations, MCCC/MTA reappointments and Tenure and approve grants and contracts until the board rescinds this delegation.
- Emeritus Status Recommendations (ADM-3610-040120)
President Glenn noted that there were five well-deserving Emeriti recommendations and he was seeking Trustee approval.
On a Motion by Trustee Worden seconded by Trustee Fernandez, it was voted unanimously to approve the five (5) Emeritus Status Recommendations as noted in Attachment B.
- Grants: President Glenn noted that there were two (2) grants put forward for approval.
- Massachusetts Department of Higher Education/Massachusetts Inclusive Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (MAICEI) for Students with Disabilities quality Enhancement Project (QEP) (ADM-3611-040120)
- Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development/ Lawrence Community works: Urban Agenda Grant Program
On a motion by Trustee Paley Nadel, seconded by Trustee Borislow, it was voted unanimously to accept the two (2) grants in the amount of $43,338 through August, 2020.
Trustee Forman presented a question regarding the status of students in the health services programs who are scheduled to graduate but are having difficulty finishing their clinical due to the COVID-19 crisis. Dean of Health Professions Mary Farrell noted that some professions, such as Nursing and Respiratory have made accommodations for virtual experiences, however some programs like Dental and EMT do not have accepted clinical simulations, so those students will most likely need to complete their degrees next fall after completing their clinical placement.
Lastly, the college has established an Emergency Relief Fund due to the COVID-19 crisis. The fund has already raised several thousand dollars, and approximately seventy (70) students have applied for assistance so far.
With no other business, Chairman Linehan adjourned the meeting at 5:32 PM.