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Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees
Minutes of Meeting (Official) – June 3, 2020

A meeting of the Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees was held via a Zoom Teleconference at 5:00 PM.

Present

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

Not Present 

Ms. Quiles

Also Present 

President Glenn   

Call to Order

Chairman Linehan called the meeting to order at 5:08 PM.    

Approval of Minutes

On a Motion by Trustee Guilmette, seconded by Trustee Paley Nadel, it was voted unanimously to approve the May 6, 2020 minutes as presented.

Correspondence

There was none.

Unfinished Business

There was none.

Education Report

a)    Sabbatical Report:  Higher Education in Prison – Fall 2019 (ADM-3619-060320)

President Glenn introduced Dr. Bill Heineman, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs.  Dr. Heineman noted that community colleges are primarily involved in the development of educational programming for incarcerated individuals, and NECC is very proud to be part of this type of work.  Dr. Heineman noted that he was thrilled when Professor Trish Schade, a veteran teacher and extremely talented educator proposed this work for her sabbatical, and he introduced Professor Schade.

Professor Schade noted that when she developed her proposal in 2018, she just wanted to help people who had made some mistakes.  After extensive research, she discovered that two-thirds of incarcerated individuals are re-arrested within 3 years of release and slightly over 80% end up back in jail within 10 years.  However, the research also noted that educational intervention not only greatly reduces recidivism, but also decreases violence within prisons and improves overall living conditions for the inmates.  This was the impetus for her project.

Soon after her research was complete and her sabbatical was approved, NECC’s Center for Adult Education was awarded a grant to implement and manage educational programs at the Essex County Department of Corrections.  Over the fall 2019 semester, Professor Schade conducted further research, attended workshops on incarcerated programming, visited other sites that have programming in place across the country and attended an extensive Middleton Correctional Facility Orientation.  She and Center staff developed the educational programming for the inmates, and she began administering alternative assessment test to inmates from October 2019 to January 2020.  Curriculum “Course Packs” were developed since inmates do not have access to the internet, and she taught Composition 101 in the Spring 20 semester.  Although the face-to-face teaching was cut short due to the pandemic, students were able to complete their work with their course pack.    Professor Schade was pleased to report that of the ten (10) students enrolled, nine passed the course with A’s and B’s, and one student received an incomplete.  Also, one of the ten students has since been released and transferred to her ENG 101 class in Lawrence where he has exceled and is currently enrolled for both summer and fall 2020 classes.  In closing, she thanked Vice President Heineman, President Glenn and the Trustees for the opportunity and for their time. 

Trustee Paley Nadel asked if there were other opportunities in the community (like the work done by UTech) to have with community-based experiences like this for young people?  Professor Schade noted that she had not yet considered that, but certainly would be open to that type of expansion in the future.  Education, she noted, is certainly the key to recidivism.  

Trustee Worden also thanked Ms. Schade for her report and work, and asked if this programming was only located at the Middleton location, and if so how would the college be able to support this type of programming at other correctional facilities?  Professor Schade noted that this program was funded through the Essex County Grant and only covered the Middleton location, but certainly other programming could be done if properly funded. 

With no other questions, President Glenn thanked Professor Schade for her report.

b)    Presentation on Professional Development Exchange Program (ADM-3620-060320)

President Glenn introduced Dr. Noemi Custodia-Lora who provided a report on the NECC Professional Development Exchange Program in the Dominican Republic (DR) that she has led over the last four years.

Dr. Custodia-Lora thanked President Glenn for the opportunity to lead the Exchange Program.  The program consists of a five-day intensive program immersing NECC faculty and staff into the Dominican culture.  As a Hispanic-serving institution, a majority of NECC minority students come from the Dominican Republic, and the exchange program helps NECC faculty to better understand the Dominican students and their culture.  Faculty and staff travel across the country and focus on several cultural competencies including awareness of social biases.

The exchange program, initiated in 2016, is divided into three sections:  1) a pre-departure preparation phase; 2) a travel experience to the Dominican Republic; and 3) post-travel implementation of a project that demonstrates cultural knowledge back at the NECC campus.  These projects also allow faculty to share their knowledge and expertise in their discipline with DR colleagues’, to help align curriculum with Dominican universities and pedagogy, and to be more aware of the cultural differences for a Dominican student. 

NECC faculty and staff who are interested may apply to the program, and currently twenty-two faculty and staff have completed the exchange program over the last four years.  Due to COVID-19, the program is temporarily on hold, but as the program continues to flourish, NECC will continue to collaborate with several Dominican colleges and universities.

President Glenn noted that we often speak about the equity imperative and closing gaps in student success by supporting our students, including how we, as faculty and staff, develop ourselves.  This program helps our faculty and staff with language and culture, and Dr. Custodia Lora has done a tremendous job helping build that cultural awareness.

With no further questions, Chairman Linehan thanked the presenters for their reports.

Report of Board Committees

a)    Audit and Finance Sub-Committee FY21 Budget Update (Verbal)

Trustee Paley Nadel provided a brief update to the full board from the Audit and Finance Sub- Committee meeting.  As it looks right now, the FY21 budget will reflect an 11% decrease from FY20.  Reductions will first be focused on operational expenses followed by necessary employee reductions.  President Glenn will provide more detail on the budget under his Report of Administration, however, the Leadership Team is beginning to lay the groundwork for those reductions which will be presented at a special Board meeting in July.  The budget continues to be more and more challenging after an already challenging two years.  Trustee Paley Nadel noted that President Glenn and the senior staff are looking at budget savings in a manner that best aligns with the college’s strategic plan and also with compassion for all faculty and staff who may be affected.  She thanked the leadership team for their work.

b)    Presidential Evaluation Committee (ADM-3621-060320)

Trustee Cox, Chairman of the Evaluation Sub-Committee, noted that the committee had met a number of times over the last few weeks to conduct President Glenn’s evaluation.  As part of the process, the Sub-Committee interviewed a number of staff as well as community partners to gather input on President Glenn’s performance and also reviewed his self-evaluation materials.  Trustee Cox thanked committee members Jennifer Borislow, Jeff Linehan, Sally O’Rorke, Marianne Paley Nadel, and Anita Worden as well as Dean of Development Wendy Shaffer and Chief of Staff Cheryl Goodwin for their assistance in the process.  He noted that President Glenn has done an excellent job in his leadership of the college and asked the full board for their approval of the evaluation. 

On a Motion by Trustee O’Rorke, seconded by Trustee Paley Nadel, on a roll call vote, the board unanimously approved the Presidential Performance Evaluation and Compensation Recommendation draft as presented.

President Glenn thanked the board for their continued support.

Chairman Linehan also thanked the committee for their work on the evaluation. 

Report of Administration 

a)    COVID-19 Pandemic Response and Recover (Verbal)

President Glenn provided an update on the work the college is doing around the COVID-19 Pandemic and Recovery planning including a Return to Campus Plan, a summer and Fall Instructional Plan, and a Marketing and Communications Plan.

1)    Return from Remote Work Campus Plan Michael McCarthy, COO/CFO provided a brief update on the return to campus plan.  He noted that the college has established a task force that is working closely with the CDC and Mass. Department of Public Health guidelines to plan for a safe return for faculty, staff and student.  Mr. McCarthy noted that the task force is  continuously updated and has developed a blueprint of action steps based on the specifics of the classes will initially come back (mostly health & lab courses).  He noted that the task force has set an initial date of July 1st to bring back some of the activity to campus, and once the finalized list of on-campus classes is complete, we will have support services also there to help students as well.  President Glenn also noted that the Governor has appointed a state-wide return to campus task force for higher education, and NECC’s work is aligned with their ongoing recommendations. 

2)    Summer and Fall Instructional Plan – Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs Bill Heineman noted that the college will be “MaxOnline” for the fall semester.  Roughly 80% of college courses will be online in the fall, leaving about 100 courses that will still need to be on campus (either completely or partly).  Those decisions grew out of our recognition that the way our campus is set up.  Staff recognized that it was going to be difficult to have the normal class sizes given social distancing guidelines and NECC’s classroom spaces.  Students also provided input and a majority indicated that they would prefer that courses be online from the start instead of starting in person and having to go online if there was a Covid-19 surge in the fall.  The faculty will be working over the summer to covert over 400 classes to a high quality, online format, and the administration will be preparing for a Fall Laptop Requirement Program for students to ensure that students have the technology they need to be successful in the fall and in the future.  Dr. Heineman and President Glenn both indicated that they were confident that the college will be well-prepared for the fall semester at both sites, Haverhill and Lawrence.

3)    Marketing and Communication Plan – Vice President of Institutional Advancement, Allison Dolan Wilson provided an overview of the marketing strategy and messaging for the fall.  The focus she said will be on high school seniors who may now be unsure of their academic future as well as current college students who may not be able to return for their second or third year.  A second focus will be on the unemployed workforce who are looking to change careers or need retraining.  She noted that the campaign will take a slightly different approach, and the marketing team wants the campaign to be bold, to be about quality, accessibility, and affordability of NECC.  The campaign will speak with one unified voice, and the same messaging will be repeated often to get the word out about what NECC has to offer. Ms. Dolan Wilson said that Trustees can expect to see increased advertising via digital media ads, radio, print, social media and TV commercials.  In addition, the marketing staff has partnered with admissions to enhance collaboration on messaging to high school students as well as guidance counselors.  One unique activity this spring was that a personalized letter was sent to every Lawrence High School student welcoming them to NECC.  She thanked Trustees for sharing NECC social media posts, referring students to the college and talking to friends and relatives about the benefits of NECC.   And lastly, Vice President Dolan Wilson played NECC’s new marketing video.

President Glenn then reviewed the current budget situation at the state and local level.  The state budget deficit prediction has now crested at $6 billion and will affect all state budgets.  He noted that whatever shortfall happens, it will happen everywhere.  With those projections, the college leadership is making plans along with guiding principles that will be used in the college’s response to recover from the pandemic and the budget situation.  Decisions will be guided with the best data available and the college’s response will also reflect its strategic priorities.  At the July meeting, President Glenn estimated that Trustees will be asked to approve a budget with slightly more than a 10% ($4 million) reduction.

Dr. Glenn noted that several steps like restricting all non-essential operational spending, restricting travel, and delaying employee searches are being used in an effort to reduce the number of layoffs.  Any reductions, he noted however, are going to be painful given the college has an already very trimmed workforce.  In addition, faculty and staff will be asked to consider a Voluntary Unpaid Leave plan and an Early Retirement plan by this Friday to hopefully assist in fewer staff reductions overall.  All staff who will be impacted by layoffs will be notified by June 17th.    The FY21 budget will then be brought before the board on July 1st and a modified/ supplemental budget will be brought forward to in the fall.   President Glenn noted that if state support is higher than anticipated and/or enrollments increase, the impact to staff will be lower. 

With no questions, President Glenn thanked his Leadership Team for their dedication and difficult work right now, and he expressed his continued appreciation for the support of the Trustees.

b)    Board Meeting Dates for 2020-2021 Academic Year (ADM-3622-060320) 

President Glenn noted that the schedule for Board meeting dates for next year are included in the Trustee packets.

New Business

1. Personnel Actions

1. New Appointments (ADM-3623-060320)

President Glenn noted that there were four (4) new appointments for consideration. 

On a Motion by Trustee Cox seconded by Trustee Forman, by roll call vote, it was voted unanimously to approve the four (4) new full-time personnel appointment as listed in Addendum A.

2.  Appointment of Department Chairpersons and Program Coordinators(ADM-3624-060320)

President Glenn noted that there was a list of thirty-two (32) Department Chairs/Program Coordinators listed in Addendum B in the packets awaiting Trustee approval.

On a Motion by Trustee Worden seconded by Trustee Forman, by roll call vote, it was voted unanimously to approve the thirty-two (32) Department Chairpersons and Program Coordinators as listed in Addendum B.

2. Grants

Chairman Linehan noted that the Trustees generally approve all grants collectively in one vote.  All Trustees agreed.

On a Motion by Trustee Cox, seconded by Trustee Borislow, by roll call vote, it was voted unanimously to approve Grant items #8b1 thru #8b14 as noted below.

1.   City of Lawrence/Merrimack Valley Workforce Investment  Board     (MVWIB):  MassHire Merrimack Valley Career Center (ADM-3625-060320)

2.   Essex County Sheriff’s Department (ECSD) Education Services  Program  (ADM-3626-060320)

3.    Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care/North  Shore  Community College: Career Pathways (ADM-3627-060320)

4.    Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:   Adult Basic Education Grant Projects (ADM-3628-060320)

5.    Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education: Early College Designation Implementation Grant with Whittier (ADM-3629-060320)

6.   Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:   High School Equivalency Test Center Grant (ADM-3630-060320)

7.    Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education:   Perkins Postsecondary Allocation (ADM-3631-060320)

8.    Massachusetts Department of Higher Education: Commonwealth Dual Enrollment Program (ADM-3632-060320)

9.    Massachusetts Department of Higher Education: Massachusetts Inclusive  Concurrent Enrollment Initiative (MA ICEI) Program for  Students with  Disabilities (ADM-3633-060320)

10.   Massachusetts Department of Public Health: Family Sign  Language  Instruction (ADM-3634-060320)

11.    Massachusetts Skills Capital Program: COVID-19 Health and Economic Response Program: High Demand Micro- credentials In the Health Professions and Dental Assisting (ADM-3635-060320)

12.    National Science Foundation/Northeastern University: S-    STEM  Student Pathways Opening World Energy  Resources (S-POWER)  (ADM-3636-060320)

13.    United States Department of Education: Student Support Services Program (ADM-3637-060320)

14.    Pending Proposals for External Funding (ADM-3638-060320)        

Other Business

There was none.

Adjournment

6:17 PM

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