Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees
Minutes of Meeting (Official) – May 6, 2020
A meeting of the Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees was held via a Zoom Teleconference at 5:00 PM.
Ms. Paley Nadel
Call to Order
Chairman Linehan called the meeting to order at 5:04 PM.
Approval of Minutes
On a Motion by Trustee Borislow, seconded by Trustee Cox, it was voted unanimously to approve both the April 1, 2020 regular meeting minutes and the April 14, 2020 Special meeting minutes as presented.
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Dr. William Heineman introduced Dr. Doris Buckley, Professor of Education and Psychology/Director of Career Pathways in Early Childhood Education who provided the education report on the Early Childhood Career Pathways Grant.
Dr. Buckley noted that the college’s Early Childhood programming is helping to meet a critical need in the Commonwealth as there is a shortage of well-trained early childhood teachers. The two goals of the grant, she noted, are to increase the credentials of those working with the Commonwealth’s youngest children and to increase the number of individuals seeking employment in the field of early education. These teachers, she notes, provide a strong foundation for learning.
The $502,000 grant provides support for coursework that helps improve the credentials of those working with young children by leading to EEC certification as Teacher, Lead Teacher and Director I and II. Funding also supports completion in the Child Development Associate certification (CDA) which is a nationally recognized credential in the Early Childhood field. The grant’s courses lead to an increase the number of early childhood educators working as family child care providers, early childhood center staff, and at public school pre-schools. In addition, the college focused this year on a specialized cohort of students and ESL classes. The grant was awarded to North Shore Community College which contracts it out to Northern Essex.
Dr. Buckley noted that the grant has supported program growth with slightly over 100 students enrolled last fall, more than 150 this spring, and over 170 students are registered for summer 2020 in a variety of classes. Recruitment and outreach efforts will increase, and a Teacher Training Program will start this fall.
With no questions, President Glenn and Chairman Linehan thanked Dr. Buckley for her report.
Report of Board Committees
Presidential Evaluation Sub-Committee Update (Verbal)
Vice Chairman of the Board, and Chair of the President Evaluation Sub Committee William Cox provided a brief update on the evaluation process. He noted that the committee conducted a full day of interviews of faculty, staff, and community members as well as carefully reviewing President Glenn’s self-evaluation. The committee also met with Dean Wendy Shaffer who will assist the committee in drafting the evaluation based on the input of the interviews. The first draft is complete, and the committee members will be reviewing it next week. The plan is to present the completed evaluation to the full Board at its June 3rd meeting for approval. Once approved, the evaluation will be submitted to the Commissioner of DHE.
Audit and Finance Sub-Committee
Motion to Approve the Security Services Contract (AFC-20-07)
Sub-Committee Chair, Marianne Paley Nadel noted that the Sub-Committee met to review and discuss the security contract selection process and how the college’s needs would be best met. The college went through an extensive bidding process which resulted in a total of seven (7) bids received. Three (3) bids were classified as complete, and of the three, SecureAmerica provided the best set of improved services that the past company had not been able to provide. With that said, Trustee Paley Nadel asked for a motion to approve the Security Services Contract recommendation.
On a Motion by Trustee Borislow, seconded by Trustee O’Rorke, on a roll call vote, the board unanimously approved the Audit and Finance Committee’s recommendation to approve the new security services bid from SecureAmerica as detailed in the accompanying attachments.
Report of Administration
President Glenn provided an update on the following items:
COVID-19 Campus Update (Verbal)
President Glenn noted the astonishing work of the NECC faculty and staff over the last 2 weeks as they converted their work spaces and classrooms into remote work, teaching, and learning spaces. About one-third of NECC classes were already online classes, but the remaining two-thirds needed to be converted quickly to remote learning platforms. With much coaching, technology assistance, study groups, and support groups, great progress was achieved in a very short period of time.
In terms of the future (summer and fall semesters) many colleges are still undecided but many are remaining online for the summer and taking serious consideration for the fall as well. It is difficult to plan right now, but it seems unlikely that the college will be able to have people on campus. President Glenn noted that the leadership team should have a decision on that sometime over next 10-14 days.
Meanwhile, President Glenn noted that he has been spending a considerable amount of time advocating for community colleges in particular since they are the least funded sector in higher education, getting hit the hardest financially, and tend to recover the slowest. President Glenn noted that he has been writing articles, columns and pieces to the legislative delegation and doing interviews to raise awareness of the needs around community colleges. Community colleges can help to reemploy people, but they need financial assistance to do so. Also, student access to the internet for remote learning has been challenging (especially for undocumented students) so the college is also looking to help strengthen that infrastructure.
President Glenn noted that across the country, as of a few weeks ago, college presidents were unsure of what the enrollment declines will be.in the fall. Many colleges are considering layoffs and furloughs given they may be facing a 10% enrollment decline or more. While the Cares Act does provide some funding, it will not cover all of the college’s losses and additional expenses due to COVID 19. NECC will receive nearly $3.3 million, half of which will go directly to students for displacement issues. The remaining funds will help to cover expenses, but will not cover all of the expenses nor the tuition revenue loss due to declining enrollments. President Glenn noted that he does not anticipate any 9C cuts from the Governor, however, there will be reductions in the FY21 budget allocation.
President Glenn noted that the college is developing a Return from Remote Working Plan for faculty, staff and students. The first draft of the plan will be ready for trustee review by the June meeting. He noted that the first priority will be to keep faculty and staff safe and to meet the unique needs of a community college campus. The leadership team will be soliciting support from federal, state, local, and philanthropic entities, and the FY21 budget will reflect these priorities and align with the decisions made around college operations and activities (strategic plan, academic centers, streamlined pathways, equity imperative).
Lastly, President Glenn noted that the college will need to be particularly flexible and responsive over the next few weeks as things can change on a daily basis. The college will most likely lose some enrollment, but staff are also conducting heavy recruitment strategies to students who had planned to go out of state or to four year institutions but now may not be able to do so. A worst case scenario would be that the college’s doesn’t return to normal face-to-face instruction until 2021. All of these uncertainties will be demonstrated in the proposed budget presented for FY21. Since the budget development has been delayed due to pandemic, a special trustees meeting will be scheduled for July 1st. This will allow the state to develop a draft budget. College leadership can then draft NECC’s budget based on their estimated reductions. Between now and July 1st, college leadership are estimating the necessary human resource reductions and reviewing union agreements as we will need to honor those contracts.
Trustee O’Rorke noted that she had been informed that the Governor’s office may not have budget by end of year (December 2020), so the board might need to meet later in July. President Glenn acknowledged the uncertainty of the timeline and noted that the college will need to be flexible.
Trustee Paley Nadel thanked President Glenn for his advocacy efforts, and also asked if the college’s admissions staff is coordinating with local high schools to recruit for NECC. President Glenn responded that the student service staff are working hard to get the NECC message out there. The Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Jennifer Mezquita noted that the team has been busy converting NECC recruitment efforts to remote efforts with a real emphasis and focus on that personnel connection. Counselors and staff are available to assist students with the application and registration process either with a phone call or via email.
Trustee Borislow asked how the other community colleges were navigating through this pandemic. President Glenn noted that the fifteen community college presidents meet daily and are trying to coordinate, share information, and help one another as much as possible. He noted that there is a lot of talent across the system, and the shared leadership has been evident.
NECHE Accreditation Update (Verbal)
President Glenn noted that the fall 2020 NECHE site visit has been rescheduled for April 2021 due to the COVID 19 pandemic. He noted that trustees will be provided with more detailed updates at a later date. The college will need to provide a brief addendum to the completed NECHE report which will include important ways the college has been affected by pandemic.
NECC 2020: Strategic Plan (Verbal)
President Glenn referred to his campus update on COVID 19.
Haverhill Campus (Verbal)
President Glenn noted that the college is collaborating with Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School in hopes of having some of their Engineering programing on the NECC Haverhill Campus. Also, President Glenn noted that the downtown has become a busy walking spot during the pandemic, and looks forward to offices and businesses being back open.
Lawrence Campus (Verbal)
President Glenn noted that the college has applied for a Mass Capital Skills Grant for equipment for the NECC Dental lab and expanding short term certificate programs.
New Appointments (Affirmations) (ADM-3614-050620)
President Glenn noted that there were two (2) affirmations for trustees to approve.
On a motion by Trustee Cox, seconded by Trustee O’Rorke, on a roll call vote, it was voted unanimously to affirm the two (2) full-time personnel actions as listed in Addendum A and previously approved by the President.
New Appointments (ADM-3615-050620)
President Glenn noted that there was one (1) new appointment for trustees to approve.
On a motion by Trustee Fernandez, seconded by Trustee Worden, on a roll call vote, it was voted unanimously to approve one (1) full-time personnel action as listed in Addendum B.
MCCC/MTA Reappointments & Tenure (ADM-3616-050620)
President Glenn noted that there were 84 actions of MCCC/MTA reappointment and tenure for trustees to consider for approval.
On a motion by Trustee Cox, seconded by Trustee Borislow, on a roll call vote, it was voted unanimously to approve the eighty-four (84) personnel actions as listed in Addendum B.
- Massachusetts Higher Education Safety and Security Grant (ADM-3617-050620)
- Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development/City of Haverhill: Urban Agenda Grant Program (ADM-3618-050620)
Chairman Linehan noted that the vote for both grants would be entertained.
On a motion by Trustee O’Rorke, seconded by Trustee Linehan, it was voted unanimously to accept the two (2) grants 1) Mass. Higher Education Safety and Security Grant and 2) Mass. Exec. Office of Housing and Economic Development/City of Haverhill: Urban Agenda Grant Program.
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