Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees
Minutes of Meeting (Official) – February 1, 2017
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. Daly O’Brien
Mr. Garcia (Arrived at 5:04PM)
Ms. Paley Nadel
Also Present: President Glenn
CALL TO ORDER:
Chairman Linehan called the meeting to order at 5:02 PM.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES:
On a Motion by Trustee Daly O’Brien seconded by Trustee Cox, it was voted unanimously to approve the December 7, 2016 minutes as presented.
On behalf of the entire college community, President Glenn extended his sincere condolences to Trustee D’Orazio on the passing of his wife Joanne.
Trustee Garcia arrived at 5:04PM.
President Glenn noted that there was one (1) new employee to introduce. Ms. Elizabete Trelegan is the college’s new Human Resource Generalist and Title IX Investigator. The Board welcomed Ms. Trelegan to Northern Essex.
Tracking and Intervention of Student Conduct/Student Grievance Procedures with Symplicity Advocate Software (ADM-3374-020117)
President Glenn introduced Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs William Heineman. Dr. Heineman noted that community college students in general are tough and resourceful people who sometime require assistance during their time here at NECC. The Student Services staff are a group of dedicated professionals work tirelessly to assist student in many ways. Dr. Heineman then introduced Ms. Tina Favara, Dean of Enrollment Services, who will provide an overview of the Symplicity Advocate Software tool that is currently used by the Student Services staff as they work with NECC students.
Ms. Favara explained that Symplicity Advocate is a case management tool which can handle the gamut of student-related issues. Student issues/cases were previously managed through an email chain which was an effective methodology, but left room for error. The Symplicity Advocate Software helps to eliminate the chance of error, and assists the institution in meeting compliance standards when dealing with student issues. Faculty and student conduct/student life staff are able to enter and monitor student information into the software which is secure and private. The software assists faculty and staff in monitoring at-risk students at a closer level which will increase their rate of retention.
Ms. Favara provided a brief overview of the Symplicity Advocate Software tool including the reporting forms, centralized case management/intervention tools, and the institutional benefits afforded by the software like compliance with federal laws including FERPA, Title IX and the Clery Act. Ms. Favara ended her presentation noting that this tool provides a holistic approach to student development and helps staff to better understand and monitor student behavior.
Trustee Acosta asked if the software is used for every student at NECC. Ms. Favara indicated that it is only used for those students who have a report on file. Student life/student conduct staff will reach out to students once identified to determine the best course of action and/or to assist. The college also has a Care and Concern Team that meets consistently to help faculty and staff in assisting students.
President Glenn thanked Ms. Favara and her staff for the great work that they do.
REPORT OF BOARD COMMITTEES:
Audit and Finance Sub-Committee
Mid-Year Financial Report (Verbal)
GW&K Investment Report (Verbal)
Motion to Approve NECC Investment Policy (AFC17-05)
Trustee Paley Nadel spoke briefly about the sub-committee’s review of the college’s mid-year financial report. She pointed out that, as expected, there has been a decline in enrollment which was monitored closely throughout the fall semester. A robust process for managing expenses has kept the college on budget. When asked about the increase in tuition and fee revenue with an enrollment decline, President Glenn noted that the trustee approved a modest fee increase last year.
Trustee Paley Nadel noted that the Sub-Committee received a brief presentation from the GW&K consultants regarding the college’s investments. GW&K’s report contained one recommendation for NECC which was to change to the asset allocation stated in the investment policy. They recommend that the maximum percentage weight in equities be changed from the current 70% to 75%.
Trustee Paley Nadel noted that the Audit and Finance Sub Committee recommends approval of the revised NECC investment policy. The policy was approved in September of 2011 and then again in 2014. The recent revision is provided to reflect current economic conditions.
On a Motion by Trustee D’Orazio, seconded by Trustee Daly O’Brien, it was voted unanimously to approve the Northern Essex Community College Investment Policy.
President Glenn noted that Chairman of the Nominating Sub-Committee Ron Guilmette called a meeting two weeks ago to review potential candidates for one Trustee seat that will be vacated by Trustee Estrella when she ends her second 5-year term in March. In addition, two current Trustees were submitted for reappointment to a second 5-year term. Trustees Rosalin Acosta and Mary Ellen Daly O’Brien were submitted to the Governor’s office and the Public Education Nominating Council (PENC) for approval. President Glenn thanked the Nominating Sub-Committee for their work and noted that he would notify trustees of the appointments as soon as they are announced by the Governor’s Office.
REPORT OF ADMINISTRATION:
President Glenn reported on the following agenda items:
NEASC Letter on NECC Expansion of CBE Courses (ADM-3375-020117)
NECC 2020: Strategic Plan Progress Update (Verbal)
Haverhill Campus Update (Verbal)
Lawrence Campus Update (Verbal)
Update on Statewide Committee on Police Education and Training (Verbal)
Update on Merrimack Valley Comprehensive Economic Development (MVCEDS) (Verbal)
Update on BHE Statewide Assessment Task Force (Verbal)
Update on Commonwealth Summit Retreat (Verbal)
President Glenn noted that he and Dr. Heineman had received a letter from NEASC related to the Commission’s action on NECC’s substantive change request. NECC will be submitting a revised proposal for expanded Competency Based Education (CBE) options given its recent grant from the Mass. Department of Higher Education related to CBE in the field of Early Childhood Education. President Glenn reminded the Trustees that the college launched its first CBE certificate in Computer Science which received a lot of attention statewide. The college seeks to expand CBE offerings and understandably, NEASC had a few questions to ensure they understood the level of expansion and any anticipated changes. NECC’s possible funding opportunity in partnership with Middlesex Community College will be confirmed in February. President Glenn noted that he will keep Trustee informed as process moves along.
President Glenn noted that a portion of the strategic plan has to do with integrating student services. Given the challenging budget environment, the college has begun the process of a program audit with Gray Associates. The audit process has provided the college with an opportunity to look much deeper into the NECC’s certificate and degree programs as well as Department of Labor data relative to the programming. The tools provided by Gray Associates has assisted college leaders to look at enrollment trends, employment prospects, salaries, etc. which assisted in the conversation around programming with faculty and deans. As a result, a list of healthy programs was developed as well as a list of programs that can grow, ones that we may want to add, and some that may need to be significantly changed or closed. President Glenn noted that Dr. Heineman has structured a well-reasoned approach to the process, and has also assessed the financial aspect of program costs to educate a student for a particular degree. It’s important to note that not all programs offered may make a profit. Sometimes programs (such as health care) meet important employment needs, but the college doesn’t make a lot of revenue.
As a result of this first pass, the data review designates 5 new programs to launch, 6 programs to grow, and 16 or so that need adjustment. Another 15 programs are being reviewed for possible closure. In closing, President Glenn noted that a full slate of recommendations will be finalized in the next few weeks. He thanked Dr. Heineman for his leadership of this process noting that program audit is one of the most challenging processes a provost can do. Trustees will be provided with more details as the process is completed.
President Glenn noted that the Spurk renovation is better than halfway done. The project continues to be on time and on budget. The college will take occupancy in the early spring as scheduled, which will be just in time to prepare for the Dimitry renovation. With that renovation complete, the college’s two largest classroom buildings will be in terrific shape for the future.
President Glenn noted that WCVB Channel 5 will be at Coco Ray’s restaurant tomorrow to film a “Five for Good” segment on Sal Lupoli and the Revolving Test Kitchen at 420 Common Street.
The college’s Nursing Program recently went through a site visit. The visit was scheduled after several years of consecutive decline in the nurse test pass rate when the program was scheduled in a hybrid model. The college learned from that experience that the model didn’t work as well as planned and has since revamped the program, and it now receives a 93% pass rate on the first try.
President Glenn noted that this ad hoc committee is about half way through their work. The group which consists of police chiefs, public safety coordinators and criminal justice professionals, is reviewing data in an effort to make recommendations for police officer training across the Commonwealth.
President Glenn also noted that the college has welcomed the 4th police academy with 52 recruits. The ambition is for the college to fully integrate the academy with our Criminal Justice programming and will tie in with the work of the ad hoc committee mentioned above. As more information becomes available, he will notify the trustees.
President Glenn noted that the college recently hosted a MVCEDS meeting and he is also the chair of that group. The group has started a refocusing process with a goal of launching a new economic strategy process with a new rebranding effort as well. He notes that the group brings resources and attention to large infrastructure projects in the Merrimack Valley and should help with workforce development for the area.
President Glenn noted that the group had not recently met, so there was nothing to report at this time.
President Glenn noted that he recently attended the Commonwealth Summit Retreat which is organized by the Boston Foundation and hosts a variety of top local officials in the state. Paul Grogan, the Executive Director of the Foundation, has been a strong supporter of community colleges over the last couple of years touting the value of community colleges during the Patrick Administration. The Summit provides an opportunity to meet and talk with many leaders from a diverse set of backgrounds regarding many topics including education, gateway cities and the state’s economy to mention a few.
In closing, President Glenn mentioned a few other announcements. The college’s Commencement will be held on Saturday, May 20th at 11AM. All Trustees will receive more detailed information as we get closer to the date.
The June Board of Trustee meeting has been moved from June 7th to June 14th with the end-of-year dinner immediately following the meeting.
President Glenn also mentioned the passing of Attorney Herb Phillips. Mr. Phillips had a long history of working with NECC’s presidents. He was also an adjunct faculty member here at NECC for 14 years, and a consistent donor to the NECC Fund.
Motion to Approve Culinary Arts Certificate Program (ADM-3376-020117)
President Glenn noted that the college has offered a hospitality program before, but this new program focuses more on the culinary aspects of hospitality. He noted that York Community College in Maine was very helpful to NECC in the development of this program.
On a Motion by Trustee Acosta, seconded by Trustee Daly O’Brien, it was voted to approve a new Culinary Arts Certificate in the Business Department. Trustee Cox abstained from the vote.
New Appointments (ADM-3377-020117 AMENDED)
Sabbatical Leave (ADM-3378-020117)
President Glenn noted that there was an amended agenda item 8b1 relative to new appointments. He noted that there were five (5) new full-time personnel appointments to affirm as listed in Addendum A. These appointments were approved by him during the December 2016/January 2017 intersession. President Glenn reminded the Trustees that they provided him with the authority to do so at the December 2016 meeting.
On a Motion by Trustee Acosta, seconded by Trustee Daly O’Brien, it was voted unanimously to affirm the five (5) new full-time personnel actions as listed in Addendum A.
President Glenn noted that from time to time, faculty apply for a sabbatical leave as a way to study new methods of teaching, to conduct research, or to write for professional development. Professor Kristi Arford has applied for a Spring 2018 sabbatical to develop a Cultural Anthropology textbook for the intensive course as part of the Core Academic Skills in Global Awareness coursework.
On a Motion by Trustee Daly O’Brien, seconded by Trustee Cox, it was voted unanimously to approve the one (1) sabbatical leave as listed in Addendum B.
Massachusetts Department of Higher Education: Performance Incentive Fund Grants (ADM-3379-020117 AMENDED)
President Glenn noted that there was an amended agenda item 8c1 relative to this grant from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. The funders have increased the second grant (Competency-Based Pathways in Early Education and Care) by $17,365 (to a total of $180,000) in order to add a position for a part time external evaluator.
On a Motion by Trustee Acosta, seconded by Trustee Cox, it was voted unanimously to accept two grant awards, if funded, totaling up to $305,000 from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education for the period from February 10, 2017 through August 31, 2017.
President Glenn noted that at the last Board of Higher Education meeting, the issue of student homelessness and hunger was raised and the discussion revolved around what some campuses are doing to assist students who are facing issues of homelessness and food insecurity. Some institutions have been successful in assisting students in secured housing and other institutions have begun outreach to local food pantries to build a pipeline for students. Currently, NECC has convened a group know who our students very well and are looking at these issues for our population. The group is looking at appropriate levels of service around these issues as related to our mission. Dr. Heineman and Mr. McCarthy are currently looking at institutional resources for our campus and have already identified some resources (a food truck on campus) that might be feasible to implement with little to no cost to the institution. It will also be critical to continue to connect students to local social services agencies when they need assistance. President Glenn noted that he will keep Trustees informed as the college works on these student issues.
President Glenn also briefly noted that he has not yet heard of any student who has had any negative direct effect from President Trump’s Executive Order on Immigration. He noted that the college’s staff is ready to assist students in navigating the system if/when issues arise.
With no other business, Chairman Linehan adjourned the meeting at 5:52PM.