Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees
Minutes of Meeting (Official) – December 2, 2015
A meeting of the Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees was held in the Hartleb Technology Center at the Haverhill Campus at 5:00PM.
Ms. Sally Cerasuolo-O’Rorke
Ms. Daly O’Brien
Ms. Estrella (arrived at 5:09PM)
Ms. Paley Nadel
Absent: Mr. Forman, Mr. Guilmette, Mr. Moynihan
Also Present: President Glenn
CALL TO ORDER:
Chairman Linehan called the meeting to order at 5:04 PM. Chairman Linehan asked that the election of officers be delayed until the first three items on the agenda were completed.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
On a Motion by Trustee D’Orazio seconded by Trustee Paley Nadel, it was voted unanimously to approve the October 28, 2015 minutes as presented.
Trustee Estrella arrived at 5:09PM
President Glenn provided the Trustees with a copy of the letter of resignation from Trustee William J. Moynihan. Mr. Moynihan’s resignation is effective January 31, 2016. President Glenn thanked Mr. Moynihan for his years of dedicated service and noted that Mr. Moynihan will be invited to join the board for the end of year dinner in June.
President Glenn introduced one new employee. Patricia Bradford, the college’s new Human Resources Generalist was welcomed by the board.
ELECTION OF OFFICERS:
Chairman Linehan opened up the nomination process for the election of the Vice Chairman. Trustee Cox nominated Trustee Estrella. The nomination was seconded by Trustee Daly O’Brien. Having no other nominations, Chairman Linehan declared the nominations closed. Trustee Estrella was unanimously elected Vice Chairwoman of the Board by roll call vote.
Chairman Linehan then opened up the nomination process for the election of Secretary. Trustee Daly O’Brien nominated Trustee Cox. The nomination was seconded by Trustee Paley Nadel. Having no other nominations, Chairman Linehan declared the nominations closed. Trustee Cox was unanimously elected Secretary of the Board by roll call vote.
Chairman Linehan congratulated Trustees Estrella and Cox.
General Studies: Individualized Option: Tailoring Degrees to Meet Student Needs (ADM-3306-120215)
President Glenn introduced Dr. William Heineman, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs. Dr. Heineman noted that many academic programs offered at NECC meet the needs of many to most students, but not for all students. This new option of General Studies helps to meet the more individualized needs of other students who want a more specific credential. Dr. Heineman then introduced Grace Young, Dean of Academic Support Services, Articulation and Transfer who provided a brief overview of the General Studies Individualized Option.
Dean Young noted that NECC has offered a General Studies degree for many years. As noted in her Power Point slide, the traditional General Studies program provides students with specified courses to be taken which provide students with 24 discipline specific credits. The remaining credits/courses provide a lot of flexibility and choice. During a review of this program, the Division discovered that the attrition rate of General Studies students was less than desirable. Students had taken a hodgepodge of classes, and weren’t really moving successfully toward completion. As a result, the decision was made to inactivate the program, but allowed previously matriculated students to complete their studies.
In the spring 2015, Dean Young worked closely with the Division of Foundation Studies, Liberal Arts and Sciences to create a new, individualized option of General Studies. These students need to speak to a specialized advisor, and the program is tailored for them in programs like Communications Disorders, Construction Management, Environmental Conservation and Sustainability, Fashion Design, and others that NECC does not historically offer. Dean Young noted that the Mass Transfer Block is embedded into the curriculum, and the goal is to continue to expand the future offerings of this flexible program. The hope is to offer more students more options even though the college may not offer “a program.”
Trustee D’Orazio asked if most of these graduates transfer after graduation. Ms. Young noted that they do with most entering Liberal Arts and Psychology programming. She also noted that the designed “structured pathways” towards industries like Construction Management require a heavy math curriculum which prepares students for year 3 and 4.
Trustee Cox noted that he was glad that the college maintained the General Studies program. He noted that many years ago, he also went through an individualized major/program and “it was a valuable tool for the institution to have for those of us that didn’t fit into a traditional program. It allows people to pursue interests that they couldn’t find elsewhere – NECC sounds like a great program.”
Trustee Daly-O’Brien asked if students transfer to four year colleges as juniors. Ms. Young noted that if students are sincere and work hard, they can usually enroll as a junior particularly if they are enrolling in a NECCUM Consortium college where agreements have been made in advance.
With no other questions, President Glenn thanked Dean Young for her work and presentation to the Board.
REPORT OF BOARD COMMITTEES:
Audit and Finance Committee:
Acceptance of FY2015 OMB A133 Audit (AFC-16-03)</
Acceptance of FY2015 Audited Financial Statements (AFC-16-04)
Committee Chairwoman Paley Nadel noted that the Audit and Finance Committee met and reviewed the OMB A133 Audit. The audit went very well and the issue of unfunded pension costs were discussed. Because of the changes to the Massachusetts laws, all community colleges now have to carry unfunded pensions on their books. Committee member Cox noted that this issue really cannot be resolved and is an unfunded liability affecting all institutions. The Commonwealth as a whole has an approximate $6 billion liability, and through the new GASB 68 common standards, they need to drill that down to the individual institutions. NECC’s portion was approximately $6 million, so the college’s unrestricted reserve went from a positive to negative. It was noted that many of the college’s sister institutions experienced higher expenses to the balance sheet. The only possible problem in the future would be if the college wanted to borrow money as the expense is now recorded on our balance sheet. Otherwise, the Auditors have noted that the college is in excellent financial shape and we continue to improve the assets of the institution.
On a Motion by Trustee Paley Nadel, seconded by Trustee D’Orazio, it was voted unanimously to accept the FY15 OMB A-133 audit.
Trustee Paley Nadel noted that O’Connor and Drew had conducted the annual full audit and provided the college with a positive management letter (enclosed in the Trustee packet) from the audit.
On a Motion by Trustee Cox, seconded by Trustee Estrella, it was voted unanimously to accept the FY15 audited financial statements and related material.
REPORT OF ADMINISTRATION:
President Glenn spoke briefly about the following items:
Institutional Advancement Report: Private Sector Fundraising (ADM-3307-120215)
NECC 2020: Strategic Plan Progress Update (Verbal)
Haverhill Campus Update (Verbal)
Lawrence Campus Update (Verbal)
Reminder: Dec. 8th MCCTA Meeting @ Mount Wachusett Community College, Gardner, Mass. @ 4PM (Verbal)
President Glenn introduced Vice President of Institutional Advancement Jean Poth who provided a brief update on private sector fundraising efforts. During FY2015, she noted, the college raised over to $750,000 from private sector donors and also received an in-kind donation (the Fournier Building) of over $1.5 million dollars for a total of just over $2.2 million in funds raised. The college starts each fiscal year with substantial donations to the college’s annual fund, and most of these funds are restricted. Vice President Poth also noted the generous support and fundraising efforts of the Women of NECC who gave out over $30,000 in scholarships and have raised over $200,000 in the last 20 years. She noted that the Foundation and Alumni groups also continue to be very generous in their support in providing donations and scholarships to needy students.
President Glenn thanked Vice President Poth and the entire Institutional Advancement staff for their continued work and support of the college and its students.
President Glenn provided a brief update regarding the Strategic Planning progress to date. He thanked the Trustees for participating in the SOAR Forums during the fall semester, and noted that the Strategic Planning Synthesis Team is currently sorting through several hundred intake forms from the SOAR forums which were offered several times over several weeks at both campuses as well as online. He noted that once the synthesis is complete, the team will present the themes to President Glenn for discussion. The NECC 2020 Draft Plan will be presented at the Spring Convocation which is scheduled for January 19th. More information will be sent to Trustees as it becomes available.
President Glenn reported that the college held an open forum earlier today about the Police Academy on campus. While the academy has gone very well overall, as with any new adventure, there have been a few growing pains during the first year (complaints of excessive noise and training exercises that have been viewed as violent). Given the concerns that were voiced, the college held the forum so that faculty, staff, and students could attend to ask questions, meet the Police Academy staff and cadets, and better understand how they fit into the college community. “There is definitely a lot of support for the Academy” President Glenn noted. “Today was about talking openly with our faculty, staff, and students about the academy, how common it is for these academies to be held on community college campuses, and their future integration with our Criminal Justice programming.” President Glenn noted that the forum went very well, and the hope is still to have the full Regional Public Safety and Training Center at the Lawrence Campus.
President Glenn also reminded Trustees that the Spurk building renovation will begin in just a few months. There is also a lot of progress on the top floor of Bentley Library with the removal of the book stacks and reconfiguring of the space. President Glenn noted that he recently conducted a presentation in Boston with Elayne Campos (DCAMM) and an architect on how community colleges are reworking space based on college needs. NECC was asked to participate in the presentation because we exemplify how to best manage space based on the changing nature of space and needs.
President Glenn noted that the Lawrence Partnership had another successful, annual event in November at Salvatore’s in Lawrence. The Lawrence Partnership is an economic development group which continues to build momentum for the city of Lawrence. MassINC has agreed to partner with the Partnership and will be hosting an event on December 8th. All local business and community leaders have been invited to attend.
President Glenn reminded the Trustees of the December 8th MCCTA meeting. He noted that he is unable to attend this meeting, but urged all Trustees to attend and asked them to let Cheryl Goodwin know by tomorrow if they will attend.
Also, President Glenn noted that the MCCC union has voted to go onto Work-to-Rule until a contract is finalized. Because of that, there are some meetings are not taking place right now on campus, and there will be some informational picketing as union representatives want to increase visibility. Some progress has been made during the negotiation process, and the college is hopeful that this will be concluded very soon. The delay is currently at the state level as we await additional salary information. President Glenn noted that as chair of the President’s Council, he will meet with Secretary Peyser to move this along and is very supportive of fair and equitable contract.
President Glenn also mentioned that he has been asked to join the Mass Public Higher Education Planning Committee relative to statewide capital planning. Funding from the 2008 bond bill is running out, so several community colleges may not get their previously approved projects completed. The Baker Administration would like to take a fresh look at the prior Capital Plan and deferred maintenance. The group is currently selecting a consulting firm to assist in the process which will most likely result in a new set of priorities. President Glenn will keep the Trustees updated on the progress of the committee.
And lastly, President Glenn noted that there is no meeting in the month of January. The next regularly scheduled Board of Trustee meeting is February 3, 2016.
New Appointments (ADM-3308-120215)
Delegation of Authority to Appoint New Full-Time Employees to Existing Vacancies during December, 2015 and January 2016 (ADM-3309-120215)
Chairman Linehan noted that there were two (2) new full-time personnel actions to approve.
On a Motion by Trustee Paley Nadel, seconded by Trustee Cox, it was voted unanimously to approve the two (2) New Appointments as listed in Addendum A.
President Glenn noted that the board customarily approves this motion every year so that the college can continue to hire full time faculty/staff during the months when the Board of Trustees do not meet. All new hires will be brought to the board in February.
On a Motion by Trustee Daly O’Brien, seconded by Trustee Cox, it was voted unanimously to approve the Delegation of Authority to the President to appoint new full-time employees during the months of December 2015 and January 2016.
President Glenn noted that Trustee Ron Guilmette was doing very well after his recent surgery and thanks everyone for all the cards and get well wishes. He wished the board members a very happy holiday season.
With no other business, Chairman Linehan adjourned the meeting at 5:55PM.