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Northern Essex Community College Board Of Trustees
Minutes of Meeting (Official) – April 03, 2019

A meeting of the Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees was held at the El Hefni Allied Health and Technology Center at the Lawrence Campus, Room LC-301 at 5:00 PM.

Present

Ms. Borislow
Ms. Cerasuolo-O’Rorke
Mr. Cox
Mr. Linehan
Ms. Morin
Ms. Paley Nadel
Ms. Worden

Absent

Mr. D’Orazio, Ms. Fernandez, Mr. Forman, Mr. Guilmette

Also Present

President Glenn

Call to Order

Chairman Linehan called the meeting to order at 5:04 PM.

Election of Officers

Chairman Linehan opened up the nomination process for the election of the Vice Chair. Trustee Paley Nadel nominated Trustee Cox for Vice Chair. The nomination was seconded by Trustee Cerasuolo-O’Rorke. 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 Cerasuolo-O’Rorke. Having no other nominations, Chairman Linehan declared the nominations closed. Trustee Paley-Nadel was unanimously voted Secretary of the Board.

Chairman Linehan congratulated Trustees Cox and Paley-Nadel.

Approval of Minutes

On a Motion by Trustee Cox, seconded by Trustee Cerasuolo-O’Rorke, it was voted unanimously to approve the March 6, 2019 minutes as presented.

Correspondence

There was none.

Unfinished Business

There was none.

Education Report

NECC Exploratory Program Guided Pathway (ADM-3544-040319)

President Glenn introduced, Dr. William Heineman who introduced the education report topic. Dr. Heineman noted that there is a lot of convincing research that students who come to a college knowing what they want to study will take those courses as directed, and will be successful. However, the challenge (and reality) is that many students come to college not knowing what they want. In the past, those students were directed to Liberal Arts or General Studies programs because, in theory, those programs were the best path forward. However, the challenge was that the number of choices was actually too broad for them, and the amount of guidance provided not enough. With that in mind, NECC is taking a new approach with these students, and Professor Eldiane Elmeus, Program Coordinator for the NECC Exploratory Program is here to explain.

Professor Elmeus provided an overview of the Exploratory Program Guided Pathway which was created with the intention of allowing students to explore, but with a faculty mentor to guide them. As part of the program, students participate in a variety of workshops so they can explore academic and career options while completing required introductory courses.

The First Year Seminar in year one seeks to help students navigate the college world, become self-advocates, and set realistic goals. The seminar helps students solve problems and incorporates single and group presentations to prepare them for future courses and employment. A virtual job shadow account is available to students as well, and they can access the account both on campus and at home. Students take assessments which provide them with a list of possible careers that might be a good fit, and provides videos on what the different positions in the workforce actually do. Information is also available by career on job growth, salaries, expectations, etc. Towards the end of the pathway programming, students are expected to provide a career presentation including short and long term goals.

All of this work is accomplished within the exploratory program with a faculty mentor to guide them and help navigate their possible future.

Trustee Worden ask how the Early College program might dovetail with this program. Professor Elmeus noted that student don’t usually know what they want in the EC program either, so this program dovetails nicely and is invaluable to help high school students navigate these issues as well. The First Year Seminar is taken by all of NECC”s Early College students to help in the career exploration process.

With no further questions, Chairman Linehan thanked Professor Elmeus for her report.

Report of Board Committees

Audit and Finance Sub-Committee

In the absence of the Audit and Finance Sub-Committee Chair (Mark Forman), 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 (2019-20). After careful review of this year’s revenues and expenditures and accommodating for next year’s adjustments, the Audit and Finance Sub-Committee recommend the following motions:

  1. FY20 College Fee – Regular (AFC-19-05)

    On a Motion by Trustee Cerasuolo-O’Rorke, seconded by Trustee Cox, the Audit and Finance Sub-Committee recommends that the board approve a $6 per credit fee increase on all credit courses that are non-Health resulting in a fee of $187 per credit.

    Chairman Linehan asked for any discussion. Student Trustee Courtney Morin noted that while she understands that enrollment and retention figures are down, she felt strongly that these fee increases are yet another barrier to NECC’s students who typically have the lowest incomes in the state of Massachusetts. She noted that given those reasons, she cannot support the increase in fees.

    President Glenn thanked Ms. Morin for speaking on behalf of her fellow students, and he noted that he agreed with her summary of the population. But he also wanted to ensure all trustees that the college carefully considers all student costs, and also considers costs for other colleges and universities in the area and state when making these recommendations. For example, UMass is also increasing fees by 2%, but the overall cost of attendance at UMass is considerably higher than NECC. For many of our students, the 2% increase at NECC next year will cost them approximately $144 per year – well below the increase sustained by UMass students. In addition, President Glenn noted that “in the NECC budget presented to the board next month, scholarships to help offset gaps between student aid and increased costs will be included. Those scholarships will come out of operational budget funds and will be double the amount allocated last year. So while we are raising fees in anticipation of a narrow or 1% increase in allocation from the state in FY20, we are building support for students as part of that slim budget.”

    Trustee Borislow asked if the scholarships were considered a retention fund (geared toward returning students) or was it available to new students as well? President Glenn noted that students need to have attended at least one semester to be eligible for the funding. “The retention fund is meant to have some latitude built into it so that we have the flexibility when offering those scholarship dollars” he said.

    In closing, President Glenn noted that for a lot of years, the college didn’t raise fees incrementally. As a result, the college suffered and ended up with the largest deferred maintenance backlog ($90 Million) across all community colleges in the state. He noted “The philosophy we have taken from that situation back then was that we have a small, incremental increase every year so that we are never in that position again.”

    With no further discussion, the Motion to increase the FY20 College Fee-Regular by $6 on all credit courses that are non-health, to be $187 per credit passed on a vote of six (6) Trustees in favor, and one (1) Trustee opposed.

  2. FY20 College Fee – Allied Health Courses (AFC-19-06)

    On a Motion by Trustee Cerasuolo-O’Rorke, seconded by Trustee Paley Nadel, the Audit and Finance Sub-Committee recommends that the board approve a $6 per credit fee increase on all Allied Health courses resulting in a fee of $267 per credit.

    Chairman Linehan asked for any discussion. Student Trustee Courtney Morin noted that the same argument on behalf of NECC students applies to this fee as well. President Glenn thanked Ms. Morin again for her advocacy of students, and noted that he hopes to increase the student scholarships in future years to help offset the gaps in funding for students in need.

    With no further discussion, the Motion to increase the FY20 College Fee-Allied Health Courses by $6 on all Allied Health courses to be $267 per credit passed on a vote of six (6) Trustees in favor, and one (1) Trustee opposed.

Report of Administration

Prior to starting his report, President Glenn recognized Student Trustee Courtney Morin for recently representing NECC’s Student Government members at an event at the State House where representatives from more than 20 colleges gathered to meet our local State Representative and Senators and learn how the numerous legislative bills were presented and supported in the legislature. Ms. Morin noted it was a wonderful learning experience on how the many bills can support college students.

  1. LIFT Campaign (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that the quiet phase of the campaign continues and so does meetings with potential donors and the writing of grants to support the effort. He noted that the college will achieve the Lawrence Promise goal within the next two months, and some of the focus will now turn on the development of a Haverhill Promise program next.

  2. NECC 2020: Strategic Plan (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that one of the college’s goals focuses on professional growth, and the college has several faculty members working on a something called The Persistence Project. Faculty are using evidence-based classroom practices to help retain students and share what they learn with other faculty. In addition, this goal accommodates for an Adjunct Faculty Fellow who is able to assist the part time faculty workforce with integrating into the learning community by enhancing communication with part time faculty and encouraging them to participate in professional development opportunities available to them.

  3. NECHE Accreditation (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that the college has spent considerable time over the last few months preparing for the beginning phase of the NECHE accreditation process. During this initial phase, Standard Writing Teams are gathering evidence to support their work across the accreditation standards which will culminate in a 100 page report to NECHE in the fall of 2020. Trustees should have recently received a SOAR Forum survey from one of the Standard Teams, and President Glenn encouraged Trustees to complete the survey as part of the effort.

  4. Haverhill Campus (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that pictures of the construction at “The Heights” downtown have appeared on social media. Progress is happening as the building begins to take shape. George Moriarty continues to be the key manager of the project until the manager position is filled. Also, next week, on April 12th, the college will be hosting the NECC/Methuen Police Academy Graduation from 10am to Noon in the Gym President Glenn encouraged Trustees to attend if they are available. With this graduating class, the college will have exceeded 400 graduates.

  5. Lawrence Campus (Verbal)

    President Glenn informed trustees that there is a new entrepreneur at the revolving kitchen at 420 Common Street. Bocaditos, a Latin-inspired restaurant has opened for business. Also, Dr. Glenn invited Trustees to join him in meeting Congresswoman Lori Trahan when she visits campus on April 22. A formal invitation will be sent next week. Lastly, President Glenn noted that due to low enrollments, Northern Vermont University has decided to end its partnership with NECC. The process is being coordinated with the Department of Higher Education, and students who are currently in NV classes will be transitioned to another NECC partner, Cambridge College.

    Lastly, next Tuesday, NECC will be hosting another public event in the El Hefni Lobby where immigrants from other countries can meet with college staff to assist them in gathering educational documentation that will help them with credentializing their degrees in this country.

  6. Remote Participation Advisory (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that he had received communication from the college’s legal counsel, Ken Tashjy, which created a new opportunity for public boards to engage in remote participation. Right now, he noted, there are fairly restrict requirements in place, and after consulting with Chairman Linehan, it is strongly recommended that the NECC board not adopt this remote participation advisory at this time. Given the board only meets nine times a year, the preference is that the board meetings happen in person unless there are extenuating circumstances. President Glenn thanked the board for their continued support.

  7. Report from Statewide Trustee Conference held on Thursday, March 28, 2019 (Verbal)

    Chairman Linehan noted that the meeting was well attended and provided a good training opportunity for both new and more seasoned trustees. The information session conducted by the Board of Higher Education about the future plans around Equity were informative and helpful. At the MCCTA meeting, future systemic challenges were discussed, and also Student Trustees were honored.

  8. Invitation to Student Academic Awards Ceremony, Tuesday, May 14, 2019 @ 7:00PM in the Sport & Fitness Center (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted to please let Cheryl Goodwin if you will be attending.

  9. Invitation to Commencement, Saturday, May 18, 2019 (Verbal)

    President Glenn reminded the Trustees that NECC 2019 Commencement is scheduled for Saturday, May 18th at 11AM at the Haverhill Campus. Trustees are asked to arrive in C120 at 10:15AM for a reception and to robe in caps/gowns. Please let Cheryl Goodwin know if you will be attending.

New Business

  1. Personnel Actions

    1. New Appointments (ADM-3545-040319)

      President Glenn noted that there were two (2) new appointments recommended for approval.

      On a Motion by Trustee Cerasuolo-O’Rorke seconded by Trustee Cox, it was voted unanimously to approve the two (2) new fulltime personnel action as listed in Addendum A.

  2. Grants

    1. Massachusetts Department of Higher Education/Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: Early College Funding (through CDEP/Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program) (ADM-3546-040319)

      On a motion by Trustee Paley Nadel, seconded by Trustee Borislow, it was voted unanimously to accept the one (1) grant in the amount of $93,191.69 through June 2019.

Other Business

There was none.

Adjournment

With no other business, Chairman Linehan adjourned the meeting at 6:14 PM.

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