Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees
Minutes of Meeting (Official) – March 4, 2020
A meeting of the Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees was held in the Hartleb Technology Center at the Haverhill Campus, Room TC103A at 5:00PM.
Ms. Paley Nadel
Call to Order
Chairman Linehan called the meeting to order at 5:05PM.
Approval of Minutes
On a Motion by Trustee Guilmette, seconded by Trustee Worden, it was voted unanimously to approve the February 5, 2020 minutes as presented.
There was none.
President Glenn introduced four NECC Theater students who recently competed in the Irene Ryan Acting Scholarship Competition at The American College Theater Festival. Two of the students (Sarah During and Gwynnethe Glickman) went to the semi-final round and then advanced to the final round. They were accompanied by their acting partners and fellow students Carlyle Bien-Aime and Zaida Buzan. In the final round, Gwynnethe Glickman won the award for Best Comic Actor. President Glenn congratulated each student and presented them with a small congratulatory gift.
President Glenn then introduced four new employees. They were: Esther Peralta, Academic Counselor/Academic Advising, Sharline Del Rosario, Special Programs Coordinator, Division of Business and Professional Studies, Kirsten Kortz, Director of Academic Policy, Curriculum and Assessment/Academic and Student Affairs, and Luisanna Crespo, Staff Associate in PK12 and International Studies. The board welcomed the new employees to NECC.
NECC Culinary Arts Programming (ADM-3605-030420)
President Glenn introduced Mr. Denis Boucher, Program Manager for NECC’s Culinary Arts Institute who provided a progress report on the Culinary Arts program as well as the new building/construction at Haverhill Heights.
Mr. Boucher showed several slides of the construction of the classrooms and labs noting that they are starting to take shape. He noted that the college will be taking possession of the space very shortly (in April), and by May, the spaces should be up and functioning, The spaces will be initially used as a recruiting center for the Culinary programming. The college currently has a 29-credit certificate program for students that wants to get into the industry quickly. Students don’t have to attend fulltime, and can take 1-2 courses at a time if they choose. Mr. Boucher noted that he will start recruiting for the program very soon by hosting open houses from April through August. He will also recruit and meet with groups of local vocational high school students who attend schools that have some programming that would feed nicely into our program.
All the equipment and spaces at the Institute are “state-of-the-art” and include classrooms, a culinary art lab, baking lab and conference rooms. All accreditations have been finalized, and the full program is slated to begin in September. Mr. Boucher noted that he will have a booth at the downtown Haverhill Farmers Market this summer in order to bring awareness to the program and to recruit new students. The market is also a way to build relationships with the local farmers he said. Mr. Boucher also provided architectural drawings of the finished spaces. While the 2nd floor is nearly finished and IT equipment installed, the 3rd floor (the lab and cooking spaces) are taking a bit more time, but will be complete in April. The health inspections are in process, and all furniture and equipment have either been ordered or have arrived and are ready to be installed. The college recently received a $250K Mass Capital Skills grant which will cover all additional necessary equipment.
Mr. Boucher also noted that he is working with Recycle Works to set up a waste stream process for materials coming out of the center. He noted that the college is always looking for ways to reduce its waste stream and hopes to recycle/reuse/compost at the farm to close that loop.
When asked if the program is looking for any sponsorship, he responded that the college is currently drafting sponsorship documents as part of the LIFT Campaign which will include many options and opportunities to name spaces, rooms, etc., and that large grocery chains are interested in donating.
Trustee O’Rorke suggested that the college reach out to the marketing folks at HC Media who could assist in advertising the program and help recruit students in the downtown. In addition, Trustee Fernandez suggested a downtown press release for those who live and work in the area, as people are very interested in the new building, but not everyone seems to know what’s going in there.
In closing, President Glenn noted that he will keep Trustees updated as events related to the project unfold.
Report of Board Committees
Nominating Committee Report (Verbal)
Chair of the Nominating Committee, Trustee Paley Nadel provided a brief update from the committee. Ms. Paley Nadel noted that the committee had met because there are two openings on the Board beginning in March of 2020. After a lengthy conversation regarding membership composition in terms of gender balance, community representation and educational background, the committee put forward two names for each position available to the Governor’s office. Trustee Paley Nadel thanked her committee members for their work and noted that the Nominating Committee will notify the full board when the Governor appoints a new member of the NECC Board of Trustees.
Report of Administration
Prior to addressing the agenda items noted, President Glenn spoke briefly about the college’s preparations regarding the recent Coronavirus. He noted that the leadership team has been working hard to follow all local, state, and federal updates on preparedness for institutions of higher education. Members of the leadership team recently participated in a state-wide conference call with the Mass. Department of Public Health. All travel abroad programming has been cancelled for the spring semester, and an NECC Early College high school student (who has not visited campus) but who recently returned from Italy is under self-quarantine. President Glenn noted that the college is following recommended protocol and instructing faculty to be prepared to utilize Blackboard to teach classes online in the event of a closure. While the risk to Massachusetts remains low, the college is preparing in the event of a closure due to the Coronavirus, and will keep trustees updated as necessary. The President then provided an update on the following items:
LIFT Campaign (Verbal)
President Glenn reported that with assistance from Senators DiZoglio and Finegold, he recently secured $100K from the state for our Promise Program, and hopes that the grant will be matched within a month or so. Also, President Glenn told trustees that they should be receiving an invitation to the March 26th Lawrence Promise event (5-7PM in the El Hefni Building) where the college will celebrate hitting an initial milestone and the success of the program. Commissioner Riley, Superintendent Paris and Mayor Rivera will all be attending as well as donors. He encouraged trustees to attend.
NECC 2020: Strategic Plan Progress (Verbal)
President Glenn provided a brief update on the Career Center. The Center, under the direction of Ashley Moore, has been relocated under the Institutional Advancement area. This move is reflective, in part, of the trend of clustering college career centers with alumni offices and help place students in cooperative education. The career center and alumni staff are excited about the prospect of working together.
Also, President Glenn provided a brief update on the Integrated Student Experience (ISE) part of the strategic plan. The ISE, he noted, is about ensuring that all students receive the best quality education they can. At the heart of this effort was a key change on how the college advises students. It is most important that students receive content- specific advising by a specialist in those areas. In order for this to be successful, academic centers have been created where most students will now be receiving their advising. This shift was a big deal for the institution, and the Navigate software has heavily impacted the process to benefit students. Student Trustee Courtney Morin agreed that the Navigate app has been helpful by providing reminders for academic deadlines and helping with tasks like advising and scheduling.
Haverhill Campus Update (Verbal)
President Glenn noted that he recently met with Ken Taylor, proprietor of Plum Island Kayak, who will be working with the Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce on access to the Merrimack River in downtown Haverhill. In addition, as part of the renewed focus on the clean-up of the Merrimack River, NECC will also have some students doing water quality testing as part of this project.
Also, President Glenn noted a recent meeting with Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School. Staff from NECC and Whitter met to discuss the possibility of a partnership where a couple of Whittier programs would be moved onto NECC’s campus (if the programs lead into an associate degree). Whittier currently has an extensive waiting list to enroll students, so this partnership may free up some of their classroom space, enabling them to grow enrollment and creating a pathway between Whittier and NECC. To begin the collaboration, the plan is to run their graphic design and engineering classes here at NECC with an eye toward manufacturing and CAD in the future. At the onset, he noted, these programs probably enroll about 70 students total, so it is a good way to increase our future capacity as well.
Lastly, President Glenn noted that he recently attended a “beam placement” ceremony at the new YMCA of the North Shore location in Gloucester. Given NECC’s recently collaboration and discussions with the Y, he noted that he hoped to celebrate a similar event here on NECC”s Haverhill campus in the future. He noted that conversations on the feasibility of a future shared building/space with the Y has started and could be a possibility someday. The college is exploring this exciting possibility and will continue to hold these meetings and talk within the community about the possible needs.
Lawrence Campus Update (Verbal)
President Glenn noted that the college is working with a consultant to assess the feasibility of renovating St. Ann’s church in Lawrence into a performing arts center. Paramount Development is looking closely at the feasibility study. This is an enormous and beautiful space, he noted. So far, the study has included four (4) focus group sessions with a consultant, and a steering committee has been formed to begin to develop a business plan. In the meantime, other partners are sorting through other items like the possibility for funding and tax credits that might help bring this to fruition. President Glenn noted that no final decisions have been made. NECC will play some role in this facility, but we are not yet sure how the college might manage this facility in collaboration with the City of Lawrence as an operator. The college is currently exploring that possible relationship now, and he noted that it would be a beautiful space for performances, weddings, conferences, etc.
President Glenn noted that Trustees should save the date for:
- Tuesday, May 12 for the NECC Student Academic Awards ceremony at 7PM in the Sport and Fitness Center, and
- Saturday, May 16 at 11AM for NECC’s 56th Commencement Exercises.
He thanked trustees for their continued support of our students.
In closing President Glenn noted that he had two additional items:
- President Glenn presented a handout on the FY2021 Community College Budget Priorities. He noted that, in short, these pieces of legislation will provide additional resources to students on community college campuses. The President noted that the $14M SUCCESS Fund would channel additional resource services to students on the NECC campus. He noted that the college’s PACE program is a good example of how these services can benefit students. Similarly, the SUCCESS Fund is based on a cost of $1,561 per community student in the Commonwealth. He noted that he would email the budget priorities document to trustees immediately following the meeting and include some suggestions on how trustees can advocate for the college with the legislative delegation. “I meet with Legislators regularly,” he noted, “but it would be help if they hear from you as well that you support this legislation.” President Glenn noted that the $14 million is for the entire state, and would be split by all 15 community colleges. Trustee O’Rorke asked where these priorities were in the budget process now. President Glenn noted that they already exist in some form now, but may not be in one budget (House or Senate) or the other. In the end, they should all be in the budget in some form. President Glenn thanked the Trustees for their continued support.
- Lastly, President Glenn noted that next Tuesday, March 10th, Dr. Sonya Christian, President of Bakersfield College in California will be on campus. President Christian will be chairing the college’s NECHE Visiting Team in the fall, and it is customary for the chair to make a preliminary visit to campus. In addition, on March 24th, Trustees will receive a near final draft of NECC”s 100-page self-study for review. Before the self-study document is finalized, the college distributes it to trustees for review and input. President Glenn noted that trustees will have 5-7 days to review and provide feedback before it goes to print. Again, he thanked Trustees for their support.
Motion to Arm NECC Police Officers (ADM-3606-030420)
President Glenn noted that he had reported to Trustees on several occasions over the last few months that this motion was coming. NECC is the 13th of the 15 community colleges to request to arm their Police Officers. President Glenn thanked the Trustees for their continued support.
On a Motion by Trustee Guilmette, seconded by Trustee O’Rorke, it was voted unanimously to approve the motion to arm NECC Police Officers.
New Appointments (ADM-3607-030420)
President Glenn noted that there were three (3) new employees slated for approval, and he asked Trustees for their support.
On a Motion by Trustee Cox, seconded by Trustee Paley Nadel, it was voted unanimously to approve the three (3) full-time personnel actions as listed in Addendum A.
There was none.
With no other business, Chairman Linehan adjourned the meeting at 6:09 PM.