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Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees
Minutes of Meeting (Official) – December 4, 2019

A meeting of the Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees was held in the Hartleb technology Center, room TC103A at the Haverhill Campus at 5:00PM.


Ms. Borislow
Mr. Cox
Mr. Guilmette
Mr. Linehan
Ms. Morin (arrived at 5:15PM)
Ms. Paley Nadel
Ms. Quiles
Ms. Worden

Also Present 

President Glenn


Ms. Cerasuolo-O’Rorke, Ms. Fernandez, Mr. Forman

Call to Order

Chairman Linehan called the meeting to order at 5:05PM.  Chairman Linehan and President Glenn introduced NECC’s newest Trustee Shalimar Quiles.  Ms. Quiles is a resident of Lawrence, a NECC Class of 2008 Alumni, and currently serves as Principal at the Hennessey School in Lawrence.  She noted that she is thrilled and excited to serve as trustee of Northern Essex.  The board welcomed Ms. Quiles.

Before moving forward with the remaining agenda, Chairman Linehan asked if Agenda Item 6a1 under Report of Board Committees could be moved up the agenda so that the item could be presented and discussed while the auditors from O’Connor & Drew were in attendance.   All Trustees agreed.

Report of Board Committees

  1. Audit and Finance Committee

    1. Motion to accept NECC FY2019 Audited Financial Statements (AFC-20-02)

      Trustee Paley Nadel noted that the college’s auditing firm, O’Connor & Drew had met with the Audit and Finance Committee to review the audit.  The college received the highest level of opinion from the audit which is always good news.  Topics covered in the review were the impact of the enrollment decline, the reduction of bad debt, student being able to pay their tuition bills, and working on increasing the endowment funds.  Because of some hard decisions last year, the college is in a better position financially than it was a year ago.  With that report, Trustee Paley Nadel asked for any questions.  With no questions, she asked for the board to consider and approve the motion before them.

On a Motion by Trustee Borislow, seconded by Trustee Guilmette it was voted unanimously to accept the Fiscal Year 2019 Audited Financial Statements as presented.

Approval of Minutes

On a Motion by Trustee Cox seconded by Trustee Paley Nadel, it was voted unanimously to approve the November 6, 2019 minutes as presented.


President Glenn passed around a thank you card to the board from Trustee Cerasuolo-O’Rorke for the flowers sent to her after the passing of her mother.

Also, President Glenn distributed a letter from President Gentile, Chair of the Massachusetts Association of Community Colleges and President Wong, of the Massachusetts Community College Council.  The letter was addressed to the Members of the FY19 Supplemental Budget Conference Committee.    President Glenn noted that the letter was written on behalf of the 15 community college presidents and the MCCC which is the union for the college’s faculty and professional staff. Specifically, the letter thanks the committee for their work, but encourages them to support funding for the Day Contract of the MCCC and reach an agreement as soon as possible.  

Trustee Morin arrived at 5:15 PM.

Unfinished Business

Introduction of Newly Hired Employees.  President Glenn noted that there were no new employee introductions this month.

Educational Report

  1. Using Navigate to Impact Student Success (ADM-3595-120419)

    President Glenn introduced Ms. Audrey Ellis, Assistant Director, Student Success Management Systems and Academic and Student Affairs who provided a presentation on using EAB’s Navigate software at NECC. 

    Ms. Ellis explained that Navigate is a product of EAB, a best practices student success research firm which invests and develops technology (like Navigate) to improve student success.  NECC has been working on implementation of Navigate for about a year as an enterprise-wide technology solution which links students to advisors and administrators in a coordinated network and proactively manages students’ academic needs.  The launch of the software focused on three key areas: 1) extensive communication and planning for students, 2) having a presence of student facing activities, and 3) expanding usage of the app by word of mouth.  Ms. Ellis noted that since the launch a year ago, there has been a steady increase in student use.  2,100 students have downloaded the Navigate app with about 50% of those students using it consistently. 

    Students were polled before the fall 2019 semester commenced (Do you have any last minute questions before the semester starts?) and again 2 weeks into the semester (How is your semester going?).  Over 1,100 students responded to the first poll with nearly 20% of them having last minute questions. Those students were connected with faculty and staff within 24 hours so they could be provided assistance.  Just under 900 students responded to the second poll, with 3% of them noting they need help and another 10% noting that they had a few questions.  Similarly, faculty and staff were deployed to assist these students within 24 hours.

    Ms. Ellis noted that the Navigate app has a lot of useful features and can easily be set up by students.  The intelligence and analysis within the software (like heat maps and attendance graphs) provides faculty and staff with additional information on how to help students, but also helps to inform planning and budgets for future years.  The college is hopeful that the app will make advising a more transformational process while providing efficiency to the student experience as well as assisting the college leadership in planning for unenrolled or cancelled classes.  The plan is to develop a 2-year master schedule for students, and using Navigate, they can better plan their classes several semesters into the future

    President Glenn and the Trustees thanked Ms. Ellis for her report. 

Report of Board Committees

  1. Audit and Finance Committee

    1. Motion to Accept NECC FY2019 Audited Financial Statements (AFC-20-02)
      (See notes above)

Report Of Administration

  1. Mass Hire Cabinet Workshop (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that due to the college closings because of snow, the Mass Hire Cabinet Workshop was cancelled and will be rescheduled to the near future.

  2. NECHE 2020 Accreditation Self-Study & 2025 Strategic Plan (Verbal)

    President Glenn introduced Dr. Kelly Saretsky, Dean of Institutional Research and Planning to provide a report on the NECHE study and the upcoming strategic planning process.  Dr. Saretsky has been tasked with participating in the NECHE self-study but also with building our next strategic plan from emerging goals and priorities from the accreditation report.  Dr. Saretsky noted that the two processes (the self-study and the strategic planning process) are mutually beneficial to one another.  In preparation for the NECHE site visit in the fall of 2020, the college is reviewing its mission, vision, and values to ensure that they continue to be relevant and support our strategic direction. 

    Dr. Saretsky noted that the self-study process has been very inclusive.  For each standard, faculty and staff have been describing what the college does well under each standard, considering strengths, and building capacity to improve upon on those strengths as well as identifying challenges that the college will face in the near future.    As an example, Dr. Saretsky noted the recent work by the college’s leadership team and the BHE on the Equity Imperative.  This BHE priority is something that Northern Essex has already begun to work on even before our next strategic plan has taken shape.    In closing, Dr. Saretsky noted that this process is continuous which enables the leadership team to remain agile and to closely review and monitor resources as we progress through the process.

    With no questions, President Glenn thanked Dr. Saretsky for her report.

  3. Meeting the Equity Imperative” Challenge:  NECC Faculty and Staff Feedback from the Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities (HACU) Questions to Consider (Verbal)

    President Glenn introduced Dr. Kim Burns, Dean of Academic Innovation and Professional Development.  Dr. Burns noted that NECC is invested in learning how it can better live up to its role as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI).  As part of the Leadership Cabinet retreat last fall, the team met with staff from HACU who provided college leaders with a list of questions for consideration focusing on how to fully embody being an HSI.  Some of the questions considered were:  What role does language play at the college?  What is the role of the family for our students?  What does it mean to be an HSI?

    As a result of that review and discussion at the Cabinet level, the questions were also then the focus of a recent President’s General Staff meeting.  As NECC prepares for its accreditation and upcoming strategic planning process, it was clear that there is energy and desire to focus more on equity and professional development opportunities around equity at the organization.  Some input received at the President’s General Staff meeting was the desire to better integrate the Spanish language into our advertising, marketing, and enrollment management materials.  In addition, it was noted that the college needs to better involve students’ families in the application, enrollment, and financial aid processes.  The college already knows that families are really important in supporting our students, and that they provide a conduit in helping them succeed.    Dr. Burns noted that there is a lot of activity going on around the equity agenda already, and the leadership team will take all of these activities and the data culled from them, and align them for the biggest impact of student success in our next strategic plan.

    Trustee Paley Nadel asked how much NECC is engaging with community partners who might already be doing some of this type of work.  Dr. Noemi Custodia Lora noted that she has already started to align some of that work with non-profits in both Lawrence and Haverhill, and in the past, the college has been most successful when we bring the families to the campus. 

    With no other questions, President Glenn thanked Dr. Burns for her report.

  4. Haverhill Campus (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that discussions with the YMCA has begun in anticipation of partnering with them to develop a new facility/community center on campus.  He noted that he met with stakeholders today to commence a formal planning process.  He noted that there are no other updates at this early stage of engaging stakeholders, but more information will be conveyed as the project moves forward.

    President Glenn also noted that the Haverhill Heights project is taking shape. Pictures and details on building progress were recently released after a walk-through in November with the Lupoli team.  The Heights will house NECC’s culinary arts programming as well as Mass HIRE offices.    More information will be brought forward as progress move along.

    Lawrence Campus (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that he had helped convene a group of city leaders who would like to explore the possibility of turning St. Ann’s Church into a Lawrence Performance Arts Center.  To that end, a consultant has been hired and is in the process of conducting a feasibility study to determine whether and how an $18 million dollar facelift could change this structure into a Performing Arts Center.  President Glenn noted that there are still some logistics to be worked out, but they hope to have the feasibly study completed in approximately 90 days.  Mayor Rivera and Senator Finegold have offered their support of the project.

    President Glenn also noted that the Lawrence Partnership Annual Event was recently cancelled due to snow.  It has been rescheduled to December 18th and encouraged all board members to attend.   

    Lastly, President Glenn noted that the college had a very successful Giving Tuesday.  The office of Institutional Advancement met the goal of doubling the number of contributors from last year and exceeded the total dollar amount taken in.   President Glenn thanked VP of Institutional Advancement Allison Dolan Wilson for her team’s work.    

New Business

  1. Personnel Actions

    1. Delegation of Authority to Appoint New Full-time Employees to Existing Vacancies during December 2019 and January 2020 (ADM-3596-120419)

      President Glenn notes that the Trustees do not meet in the month of January, but hiring needs still need to be processed.  This motion allows the President to approve new fulltime hires during the months of December and January, and Trustees are provided an opportunity to affirm those hires at their February meeting. 

      On a motion by Trustee Borislow, seconded by Trustee Cox, it was voted unanimously to approve the delegation to the President of the College the authority to appoint new full-time employees during the months of December 2019 and January 2020.

    2. New Appointments (ADM-3597-120419)

      President Glenn noted that there were three (3) new personnel actions for consideration. 

      On a motion by Trustee Cox, seconded by Trustee Worden, it was voted unanimously to approve the three (3) full-time personnel appointments as listed in Addendum A. 

  2. Grants

    President Glenn noted that one grant from the Mass Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in the amount of $17,196 was included in the Trustee packets for consideration.  However, since the agenda was mailed to Trustees, the college also received a second grant from the Mass. Department of Higher Education for Early College funding in the amount of $87,422.97, and he is asking for approval of both grants.  A copy of that motion for approval was provided to each Trustee in hard copy.   Chairman Linehan asked for approval of the following two grants:

    1. Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:  Adult Basic Education Supplemental Funds (ADM-3598-120419)
    2. Massachusetts Department of Higher Education:  Early College Funding (through CDEP/Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program) (ADM-3599-120419).

      On a motion by Trustee Borislow, seconded by Trustee Guilmette, it was voted unanimously to accept both grant awards in the amount of $104,618.97 from the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education and the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education through June 2020.

Other Business

President Glenn wanted to extend thanks to the board and wished everyone a very merry holiday season.


With no other business, Chairman Linehan adjourned the meeting at 6:05 PM.

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