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Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees Minutes of Meeting (Official) – February 6, 2019

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


Ms. Borislow
Ms. Cerasuolo-O’Rorke
Mr. Cox
Ms. Fernandez Mr. Forman
Mr. Guilmette
Mr. Linehan
Ms. Morin
Ms. Paley Nadel

Also Present:  President Glenn

Unable to attend:  Mr. D’Orazio, Ms. Worden

Call to Order

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

Approval of Minutes

On a Motion by Trustee Guilmette seconded by Trustee Forman, it was voted unanimously to approve the December 5, 2018 minutes as presented. 


Letter Regarding Safety & Security @ NECC (ADM-3530-020619) 

President Glenn noted that a letter expressing concern around public safety and security on campus was addressed to the Trustees and received by his office, so he wanted to be sure all trustees received a copy.  President Glenn wanted to ensure that the trustees understand that the hired security personnel are not here for public safety, but mostly to assist with communication needs at the call centers, opening doors around campus, and typical monitoring of parking lots, etc.  He noted that the college will have more security staff at the call centers but less walking around the campus.  The college seeks to continuously improve campus safety and security.  While the college did increase public safety and security personnel on campus, there was a need last spring to roll back the number of staff a bit.  President Glenn noted that this is always a delicate balance of review, and the college now has a very capable and experienced Chief on board to help with staffing decisions and best practices.  Ms. Deb Crafts is continuously exploring ways to make our campus safer.  He thanked the trustees for their continued support.

Unfinished Business

President Glenn noted that there was one (1) new employee to introduce.  Ms. Meredith Gagnon-Dube is one of two new Recruitment and Enrollment counselors at NECC.  The Board welcomed Ms. Gagnon-Dube to Northern Essex.

Education Report 

STEM Update at NECC (ADM-3530-020619)

President Glenn introduced Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs William Heineman.  Dr. Heineman noted that over the last year, the trustees have heard reports about the Integrated Student Experience (ISE) project.  The ISE has been a very large initiative aimed at improving the student experience and overall student success by allowing students to reach their goals more quickly and with a more structured approach.  The idea is to make the college process a comfortable and engaging one.  The intent of the ISE is to create five (5) academic centers, and this presentation focuses on the STEM area which has achieved great success and synergy over the last year.  With that said, Dr. Heineman introduced Dr. Carolyn Knoepfler, Assistant Dean of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) who provided the education report.

Dr. Knoepfler provided an overview of the newly formed STEM division, the number of programs it includes and the number of people who work in the center as well as the number of students who flock to the center on a daily and weekly basis.  Dr. Knoepfler noted that the center received grant support from the TAAC-GP Stem grant consortium which provided initial support of stem majors. Now in 6th year, the STEM Starter Academy continues with support from the Amelia Peabody Foundation, National Grid, and the Women’s Fund of Essex County.  The summer programs support 6-12 graders in STEM activities, and supports faculty staying later in the afternoons to work with STEM students. 

Dr. Knoepfler also noted that other STEM activities like the Stem Speaker’s Series, Math Boot Camps and the week-long Summer Institute for 7-10th graders have been offered and delivered with great success. 

Lastly, Dr. Knoepfler talked about the new Center for STEM at NECC.  She noted that at the onset, there were long discussions about where the center could be housed.  Once the excitement grew, she and faculty worked together gathering used furniture and fixtures and providing a usable space that students are excited to be in.  She noted that some of the activities offered so far in the STEM Center have included a Calculus Party and speakers on topics like credit score, retirement, magic mirror and growing vegetables.  The center also hosted a CIS soldering event.   The presentation ended with a highlight of the STEM curriculum, and an overview of faculty, staff and student engagement in the program and a wish for a bright STEM future at NECC. 

President Glenn thanked Dr. Knoepfler for the great work she does year round with STEM students. 

Report of Board Committees

  1. Audit and Finance Sub-Committee

    1. GW&K Investment Management Update (Verbal)

      Trustee Forman noted that the Sub-Committee received a brief presentation and recap of the college’s investments from the GW&K consultants. GW&K staff reported that investments are solid and stable, and no action is required by the board at this time.   

    2. FY19 Mid-Year Actual to Budget Report (AFC-19-04)

      President Glenn spoke briefly about the sub-committee’s review of the college’s mid-year financial report.   He noted that the college is running ahead from last year as a result of reduced spending and increased revenues.  In summary, he noted that the college is right where it should be at this point in time.  In addition, President Glenn provided a brief set of data on student spending for different segments of education (private universities, public universities, public state and community colleges and vocational schools).  He pointed out that community colleges spend the least per student for the most challenged student population in the higher education system.  He asked trustees to consider that information as the college begins the process of planning for its FY20 budget and priorities.  President Glenn noted that this context also is helpful as the leadership considers the recent review of key areas of the college (Institutional Advancement, Strategic Planning, Institutional Research and Information Technology) and as we continuously reallocate resources to build efficiency and effectiveness.  Later next month, he noted, the analysis of those reports will be presented to the Board.  He thanked the board for their continued support.

Report of Administration

President Glenn reported on the following agenda items:

  1. 1st Quarter 2019 Employee Recognition Award Winners (ADM-3531-020619)Z

    President Glenn noted that that there were three (3) employees being recognized.  They were:  Professor Rick Lizotte, Professor Kathy Welch-Hudson, and Associate Professor Brian MacKenna-Rice.  He and the board congratulated the award winners.

  2. Community College Legislative and Budget Priorities (ADM-3532-020619)

    President Glenn drew attention to the legislative priorities noted by the Massachusetts Community Colleges Office.  The office tries to identify a handful of priorities each year and the four items on the first page were highlighted for the next session and all fifteen community colleges will be advocating for them.  He noted that if trustees are interested in supported any of these priorities, they are welcome to share them with their colleagues.  Behind that page, he noted that there were also various budget priorities outlined and he noted specifically House Bill HD3408 on Police Education and Training.  This legislation seeks to require that students obtain an associate’s degree for law enforcement training moving forward. 

  3. Letter of Response to U.S. Department of Education’s Proposed Title IX Regulations (ADM-3533-020619)

    President Glenn notes that the letter to Secretary De Vos was crafted in consultation with our legal counsel Ken Tashjy.  Several years ago under the Obama administration, colleges received a “Dear Colleague” letter on this topic with no consultation, and there were some parts of those regulations which were challenging to enforce. This letter attempts to give some shape to the new Title IX regulations and to provide a better process for all involved as well as an outline of the issues that the colleges are concerned about.   He noted that if any trustees had questions after reviewing the letter, they could contact him.

  4. LIFT Campaign (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that commitments and pledges to the campaign are approaching $2 million mark, and the college staff continue to work hard at moving the campaign forward.  He noted many thanks to Vice President Jean Poth and Consultant Janet Nolan Bunnell for their continued work on the campaign.  He also noted that they are planning an event in March for the Lawrence Promise Program, and when they have more details, they will be sent along.  He thanked the trustees for their own donations, and looks forward to 100% participation.

  5. NECC 2020:  Strategic Plan Progress Update (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that he would touch upon the strategic plan update under the next agenda item, NECHE.    

  6. NECHE Accreditation (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that every ten years, the college is called upon to conduct a full reaccreditation study according to New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE) standards. It is time for NECC to prepare for our next reaccreditation which will occur in the fall of 2020.  A core NECHE leadership team has been developed to guide the process and will be led by Dr. Bill Heineman.  Pat O’Brien from NECHE spoke at this fall’s Convocation to launch the process.  The result and outcomes of this process will provide the outline and direction for the college’s next strategic plan.  President Glenn noted that trustees will be called upon at points throughout the process to provide input.  If any trustees have questions, they can contact President Glenn or Dr. Heineman.

  7. Haverhill Campus Update (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that the downtown culinary building is starting to take shape.  The college is in the process of hiring a Project Manager for the site.  The college is also expanding its athletics programs by starting a soccer program at the Haverhill Campus.

  8. Lawrence Campus Update (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted he and VP of Administration and Finance Mike McCarthy met with Lawrence City officials regarding the proposed Regional Public Safety Center.  He noted that there is some new support for the project since the Merrimack Valley explosions.
    In addition, the Revolving Test Kitchen will soon have a new tenant which is the 3rd entrepreneurial effort in that space.

  9. Merrimack Valley Comprehensive Economic Development Strategy (MVCEDS) (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that he continues to chair this group which recently completed a new CEDS plan.  The theme throughout the plan is resiliency.  Mayor Rivera and others involved in the gas explosions have shared what worked well during the crisis, what not so well, and how businesses were able to rebound.  It was clear, he noted, that cities and towns in the area have come together to share resources.

  10. ACCT National Legislative Summit, Feb. 10-13, 2019 (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that he and Chairman Linehan will be travelling to Washington, D.C. next week to attend the legislative summit.  He and the Chairman have several meetings scheduled with representatives and will be lobbying on behalf of the state and the college.

  11. Reminder:  Statewide Trustee Conference, Thursday, March 28, 2019 @ Doubletree Hotel, Westborough, MA (Verbal)

    President Glenn noted that the annual Trustee conference will be held on March 28th.  Please let Cheryl Goodwin know if you will be attending.

New Business

  1. Motion to Approve Guest Speaker Policy (ADM-3534-020619)

    President Glenn noted that the attached policy was guided by the College’s legal counsel, Ken Tashjy.  NECC has processes in place on campus for guest speakers, but not a policy.  While the college needs to protect free speech for faculty and speakers, this policy also outlines what we cannot do.  This policy has been reviewed by campuses across the state and has been the topic of discussion at President’ Council meetings as well.  NECC wants to be proactive and out legal counsel supports the idea that we should all be protected. 

    On a Motion by Trustee Fernandez, seconded by Trustee Paley-Nadel, it was voted unanimously to approve the NECC Guest Speaker Policy.

  2. Personnel Actions

    1. New Appointments (ADM-3535-020619)

      President Glenn noted that there were four (4) new full-time personnel appointments to affirm as listed in Addendum A.  These appointments were approved by him during the December 2018/January 2019 intersession.  President Glenn reminded the Trustees that they provided him with the authority to do so at the December 2018 meeting.

      On a Motion by Trustee Cerasuolo-O’Rorke, seconded by Trustee Borislow, it was voted unanimously to affirm the four (4) new full-time personnel actions as listed in Addendum A.

    2. Sabbatical Leave (ADM-3536-020619)

      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 Diana Mele has applied for a Fall 2019 sabbatical to develop a DVD to help provide learning opportunities for sign language interpreters in mental health settings.  Professor Patricia Schade has applied for a fall 2019 sabbatical to research, develop and teach a co-requisite model writing fusion/English Composition I course to incarcerated individuals.  And lastly, Professor Elle Yarborough has applied for a spring 2020 sabbatical to conduct a literature review on feedback processed to develop new ways in providing feedback with a focus on student success.

      On a Motion by Trustee Fernandez, seconded by Trustee Forman, it was voted unanimously to approve the three (3) sabbatical leaves as listed in Addendum B.

    3. Grants
      1. Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care/North Shore Community College:  Career Pathways Planning Grant (ADM-3537-020619)
      2. Massachusetts Department of Higher Education/Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:  Early College Designation Haverhill Planning Technical Support Grant (ADM-3538-020619)

President Glenn noted that there were two (2) grants for Trustees to consider for approval.

On a Motion by Trustee Borislow, seconded by Trustee Cox, it was voted unanimously to accept both grant awards, if funded, from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care and the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

Other Business

There was none.


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


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