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Northern Essex Community College Board Of Trustees Minutes of Meeting (Official) – February 4, 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.


Mr. Cox
Ms. Daly O’Brien
Mr. Dulchinos
Mr. Guilmette
Mr. Linehan
Mr. Moynihan
Ms. Paley Nadel
Ms. Terry

Not Present: Ms Estrella, Mr. Forman

Also Present: President Glenn and Commissioner Richard Freeland

Call to Order

Chairman Moynihan called the meeting to order at 5:05 PM.

Approval of Minutes

On a Motion by Trustee Daly O’Brien seconded by Trustee Dulchinos, it was voted unanimously to approve the December 3, 2014 minutes as presented.


President Glenn noted that he had received a formal letter of resignation from former Trustee Lester Schindel. He thanked Mr. Schindel for his service.

President Glenn then introduced the College’s two new trustees. Mr. Joseph D’Orazio is a lifelong resident of Haverhill and President/Owner of GL Enterprises in downtown Haverhill. Mr. D’Orazio has given considerable time to the community as a coach, volunteer, and business leader. Ms. Marianne Paley Nadel, Owner of the Everett Mills Real Estate, LLC in Lawrence has been an avid supporter of the city of Lawrence and, as a business owner, has extensive experience in the real estate industry. President Glenn and Chairman Moynihan welcomed the two new Trustees and thanked them for their interest in serving on the Board. President Glenn then asked each Trustee to briefly introduce themselves.

President Glenn then noted that Chairman Moynihan had asked that agenda item 7a) Report on Massachusetts Public Higher Education System-Wide Initiatives by Commissioner Richard Freeland under Report of Administration be taken out of order. President Glenn then introduced Commissioner Richard Freeland. He noted that Commissioner Freeland has been a tremendous supporter of Massachusetts public higher education, and explained that the Commissioner is in the process of visiting all the public colleges in order to provide college boards with an update of the Vision Project and the current state of public higher education in Massachusetts. The Board welcomed Commissioner Freeland to the meeting.

Commissioner Freeland thanked the Board and noted that he very much appreciated the opportunity to meet with them. Commissioner Freeland welcomed questions or concerns during this time of transition (with a new Governor and his upcoming retirement). He assured the Trustees that decisions related to higher education would continue to be data driven and “will be fundamentally what is best for the state and the system as a whole.” The Commissioner has begun meeting with some members of the new administration and hopes to convey the importance of the community college system in particular. He went on to praise the work at NECC noting our particularly strong presence in Lawrence and meeting the need of the low income and Latino populations. He also noted that the college is doing an excellent job in meeting the workforce needs in the healthcare and STEM fields. “Through that prism, your numbers are very impressive as a Hispanic serving institution. You are clearly a top performer, and I appreciate the seriousness of using the data dashboard in evaluating your president in that regard. Our goal is to be the best in the country in terms of student success, so thank you for your continued work and success.”

Trustee Daly O’Brien thanked Commissioner Freeland for his thoughts. She noted that identifying students who need more assistance and encouragement has been critical to their success. “Our faculty are wonderful, and I give kudos to the NECC staff” she noted. She also noted that in terms of STEM and Nursing, the system needs to do a better job of transferring the coursework (2 year to 4 year) to get the next credential, particularly in “high touch” programs like nursing.

Commissioner Freeland agreed noting that there is currently an effort to create a better-aligned, system-wide agreement between lower level courses/divisions (first 2 years of college) and the last two years (bachelor’s degree) at public institutions. Trustee Linehan also agreed that these coordinated partnerships are important. He noted that enrollments are leveling off, and the staff at NECC are working hard at keeping students focused and aligned in their academic pipeline so they get good jobs in the workforce. In closing, President Glenn and Chairman Moynihan thanked Commissioner Freeland for his leadership, his service and his visit to NECC. President Glenn also introduced Jennifer Perkins, Director of Trustee Relations who was visiting NECC as well.

Unfinished Business

President Glenn noted that there were three (3) new employees to be introduced this month. They were:

  • Kim Burns, Dean of Academic Innovation and Alternative Studies
  • Linda Buckley, Staff Assistant in the Administration and Finance area, and
  • Solanyi Munoz, Clerk III in the Academic Advising area.

President Glenn and Chairman Moynihan welcomed the new employees to the college.

Education Report

  • NECC Recruitment Plan Presentation (ADM-3252-020415)

    President Glenn introduced Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs William Heineman and Vice President of Institutional Advancement Jean Poth. Dr. Heineman noted that enrollments in community colleges nationally have declined since 2010. NECC has experienced a 6.5% drop since 2010 most of which is due to the economic recession. Northern Essex has been proactive in combating the declining enrollments by creating and implementing a Recruitment Plan. Jean Poth, VP of Institutional Advancement noted that the Marketing and Communication staff have been working closely with the Recruitment and Admissions staff in addressing the enrollment decline by recruiting and retaining more students. She then introduced Laurie Dimitrov, Director of Admissions and Recruitment and Ron Taber, Chief Marketing Officer who provided a brief overview of Recruitment Plan activities.

    Ms. Dimitrov noted that there are many challenges that will effect a positive outcome, so the key is to have a good plan in place with solid, attainable goals. One such strategy was to deepen the relationships with local high schools and to bring NECC faculty members to the high schools. Admissions staff continue to build those partnerships with the local high schools.

    She noted that the adult population is another key cohort of potential students, and the college works closely with local businesses and Valley Works to capitalize on these opportunities as they arise. Recruitment events are also being expanded at the Lawrence campus with open house events and “College for a Day” which is a great way for younger potential students to experience the campus. Mr. Taber noted that the Recruitment Plan also commands analysis and outcomes of these efforts by analyzing them for effectiveness and returning on investment. He reported that the college has data on the number of people who open recruitment emails and click the link within those emails. This type of data helps drive targeted recruitment efforts going forward. “Maximizing our effectiveness is key,” he noted, “and new strategies are continuously being looked at with an eye to being more innovative.” Mr. Taber then showed a brief recruitment video.

    Mr. Taber noted that social media, like Facebook and Twitter, are all ways in which the college communicates with prospective students. Going forward, the Marketing and Communication staff will be working toward making the college’s website more audience-based and user friendly with a push of marketing items that will capture students’ attention, hopefully resulting in higher enrollment.

    President Glenn and Chairman Moynihan thanked Ms. Dimitrov and Mr. Taber for their work and explaining the college efforts to increase enrollment in light of the downward trend.

Report of Board Committees

There was none.

Report of Administration

  1. Report on Massachusetts Public Higher Education System-Wide Initiatives by Commissioner Richard Freeland (Verbal)

    This report was taken out of order and provided immediately after agenda item #3 Correspondence.

  2. NECC Employee Recognition Award Recipients (ADM-3253-020415)

    President Glenn noted that college has three new award recipients for the first quarter in 2015. They are: Stacy Ayotte, Clinical Coordinator for the Clinical Lab Science Department, Duane Quinion, Faculty, Respiratory Therapy program, and Cheryl Wilson in the Center for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing. President Glenn noted that all three employees are very worthy of the recognition and thanked them for their continued service to the college.

  3. Commonwealth Magazine: Tracking Student Migration (ADM-3254-020415)

    President Glenn cited the article from Commonwealth Magazine and noted that in summation, the article notes that geography is destiny. He explained that NECC’s location which is close to the NH border is a primary reason that the college enrolls so many NH residents. He noted that approximately 17% of the college’s students are NH residents, and the tuition structure for these non-Massachusetts residents is such that the college is able to retain the revenue from their enrollment. The college will continue to expand its recruitment efforts into the NH border communities and beyond.

  4. U.S. Department of Education Experimental Sites Initiative (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that NECC has applied for and has been granted (if we choose to accept) recognition as an experimental site for competency-based education. He noted that the higher education credit-bearing system has been based on the farming economy for the last 100 years and is outdated. Financial Aid has also traditionally been awarded based on that system. Recently, colleges in southern NH have attracted several students with competency-based instruction, and NECC is also interested in looking at this alternative way of offering curriculum credit. As an experimental site, NECC will now have a way to extend financial aid to our students who choose this option. President Glenn noted that the initiative is just getting started, and there will be more information available to Trustees at a meeting in the very near future.

  5. Strategic Plan Progress Update (Verbal)

    President Glenn reminded the Trustees that Dean of Development Wendy Shaffer who is also the Co-Chair of the Strategic Planning Committee provided the board with a new Mission Statement at the December meeting. The new Mission Statement has now also been approved by the Academic Affairs Subcommittee at the Board of Higher Education. The Board of Higher Education is scheduled to meet again in late February (due to weather-related delays) and should approve the Mission Statement at that meeting. Once approved, the Trustees will be notified.

  6. Lyndon State College and Regis College Partnerships (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted the college has made good progress in connecting students to 4 year pathways with partnerships with both Lyndon State and Regis College. Most of NECC students intend to complete a 4 year degree, he noted, and NECC is making every effort so that can happen faster. Lyndon State and Regis are the two 4-year partners that will have a presence at our Lawrence Campus. There is one minor detail that needs to be addressed regarding Lyndon State’s presence (as they are a non-Massachusetts-based institution), so the college is seeking permission from the Commonwealth so that they can offer classes at NECC. The intent is for both colleges to begin offering classes by the Fall 2015. President Glenn noted that he will keep Trustees updated on the progress of the agreements at each meeting.

  7. Lawrence Campus Update (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that the Lawrence Partnership is in the process of hiring an Executive Director. Funding for the position is coming from the Lawrence Partnership, but the college is incubating the process and will be a continued partner by offering an office space for the new Executive Director. The Lawrence Partnership continues its important work in downtown Lawrence and it is hoped that the new Executive Director can be on board in early March. This person will also be helpful in assisting the city and the college as they seek state and federal assistance in pursuing the Regional Public Safety Center in Lawrence.

New Business

  1. Personnel Actions

    1. New Appointments (ADM-3255-020415)

      President Glenn noted that there were twelve (12) new full-time personnel affirmations as listed in Addendum A previously approved by him during the 2015 semester intersession. President Glenn reminded the Trustees that they provided him with the authority to do so at the prior (December 2014) meeting. On a Motion by Trustee Guilmette, seconded by Trustee Daly O’Brien, it was voted unanimously to affirm the twelve (12) new full-time personnel action as listed in Addendum A.

    2. Approval of Sabbatical Leave (ADM-3256-020415)

      President Glenn noted that there were three (3) sabbatical recommendations at full time status for one-half year as listed in Addendum B. He noted that sabbaticals are generally offered once a year, are related to our core academic skills, and are carefully reviewed and supported by the Sabbatical Committee. On a Motion by Trustee Dulchinos, seconded by Trustee Cox, it was voted unanimously to approve the three (3) sabbatical leave as listed in Addendum B.

    3. Motion to Approve new Program Option: General Studies: Individualized Option (ADM-3257-020415)

      President Glenn noted that sometimes a program of study can have a rare or unusual focus such as architectural design, exercise physiology, funeral home management or pre-veterinary. This individualized option of General Studies allows students to work with their advisor in taking the appropriate curriculum that will provide the appropriate transfer gateway to their 4 year degree. On a Motion by Trustee Cox, seconded by Trustee Daly O’Brien, it was voted unanimously to approve Northern Essex Community College (NECC) Associate of Arts in General Studies: Individualized Option.

  2. Grants

    1. Massachusetts Department of Higher Education/Rapid Response: Project Gateway (ADM-3258-020415)

      President Glenn noted that this grant is part of the Rapid Response Incentive Program and will provide workplace English to local workers. On a Motion by Trustee Guilmette, seconded by Trustee Linehan, it was voted unanimously to accept a grant award of $71,599 from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education for the period through June 30, 2015.

Other Business

Trustee Guilmette congratulated NECC’s Executive Director of Workforce Development and Corporate Relations George Moriarty on his work in organizing the Police Academy that is being held on the Haverhill Campus. Trustee Guilmette noted that Mr. Moriarty was instrumental in organizing the 25-week program and worked very closely with local police departments to meet this community need. President Glenn also thanked Mr. Moriarty and the staff for their work in getting the Police Academy up and running. He noted that the college is hopeful that the academy can be transferred to Lawrence if the Regional Public Safety Center is funded and built.

In closing, President Glenn noted that he had received a communication from the Community College Legal Counsel indicating that it would be prudent for the colleges to create email accounts for all Trustees for use in college-related business. He noted that he would send the communication to all Trustees and would put the item on the March agenda. More information would be forthcoming.


With no other business, Chairman Moynihan adjourned the meeting at 6:28PM.

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