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Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees
Minutes of Meeting (Official) – October 5, 2016

A meeting of the Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees was held in the Hartleb Technology Center at the Haverhill Campus at 4:00 PM.

PRESENT:

Ms. Acosta
Ms. Cerasuolo-O’Rorke
Mr. Cox
Mr. D’Orazio
Ms. Estrella (arrived at 4:55PM)
Mr. Forman
Mr. Garcia
Mr. Guilmette
Mr. Linehan
Ms. Paley Nadel

Also Present: President Glenn

ABSENT:
Ms. Daly-O’Brien

CALL TO ORDER:

Chairman Linehan called the meeting to order at 4:09PM.

SPECIAL PRESENTATION:

Chairman Linehan opened the meeting by thanking all of the trustees for coming to the extended meeting. President Glenn then began a special presentation on the state of the college entitled Growing Grads and Bucking Trends. He explained to trustees that most of the presentation was also delivered to faculty and staff at the college’s Fall Convocation. As a backdrop, the general consensus in the news is that higher education is at a cross roads. Student debt, demographic shifts, shrinking enrollments, and the students, families, and elected officials skepticism of the cost and value of a college education are all key issues to be addressed. But at the same time, there are other stories to tell and other good things happening in higher education and with community colleges in particular. “Community colleges are still the most affordable option for students, and they are well-positioned to respond to compelling workforce needs” he noted. “It is important to recognize these opportunities to grow grads and buck trends, but it will take all of us including our community supporters.” President Glenn then presented the following information:

  • Enrollment

  • – College enrollment in the United States steadily increased until 2010 due to an investment of resources by the federal government, the number of children being born, and the fact that these children were told that in order to be successful, they needed to attend college. Currently, the number of community college attendees is falling with nearly 820,000 fewer students since 2010. In Massachusetts, some of the community colleges had their lowest enrollments back in 2004, while others are experiencing the decline now (due to geography). However, from a statewide perspective, there are more students attending Massachusetts public colleges and universities today than there were in 2004 with the UMass system growing, state universities remaining stable, and community college enrollments shrinking. For Northern Essex, some of the reasons for the drop in enrollment have been the decrease in the unemployment rate (or an improving economy), competition from other schools, financial/state appropriation challenges and the changes in the ESL/ Developmental curriculum.

  • Student Success

  • – Dr. William Heineman, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs then provided a brief overview the trends and metrics of student success and how they interplay with NECC’s Achieving the Dream initiatives. He noted that the college focused its work on student success initiatives and had great improvements over the first five years (since 2012) but haven’t advanced much since. Math is one area that has made some progress. Students that had supplementation instruction were retained at a rate of 72% while those that did not were retained at 63%. However, overall retention still has gains to be made. Currently, NECC’s Fall- to-Fall retention rate is 63%, and the goal is to achieve 67%. He noted that retention has a much bigger impact on enrollment than economics, and the 67% goal is something the college should be able to achieve. Retention of Hispanic males is the most challenging cohort, so specific attention to that group will be made in the future.

  • Budget – How We Have Managed

  • – Mr. Michael McCarthy, NECC’s Vice President of Administration and Finance provided a brief report on the strategies and steps that were employed during 2013-16 to stay on budget and to keep institutional costs down. Mr. McCarthy noted that the strategies involved four major strategies:

    1. Managing human resources by offering retirement incentives, restructuring and merging of positions when possible;
    2. one-time revenue sources involving things like the energy rebate with National Grid, applying for grants and soliciting donations;
    3. information technology efficiencies like modifying the cycle to refresh college computer equipment, and
    4. other solutions like constantly looking at overall efficiencies of the organization and obtaining more value by consistently renegotiating contracts with vendors.

    Trustee Estrella arrived at 4:55PM

  • New Initiatives – Communiversity, K-12, International Students, Marketing/ Communication, Recruitment, NECC 2020 and the Academic Master Plan

  • President Glenn then asked several member of his executive team to briefly talk about all the new initiatives at the college all of which are designed to grow enrollments.

    Dr. Noemi Custodia Lora, Executive Director of the Lawrence Campus and Community Relations provided a brief update on the communiversity partnerships with Lyndon State College and Regis College. Both institutions are offering bachelor degree completion programs at NECC’s Lawrence Campus. Dr. Custodia-Lora also spoke briefly about NECC’s expanded high school/early college partnerships, and the PIES Latinos de NECC project which is bringing international students (mostly from the Dominican Republic) to the college. As part of that project, the ConnectDR initiative will assist students in the validation of their foreign credits, taking Accuplacer and securing scholarships to attend NECC either on site or online.

    Next, Mr. Ron Taber, the college’s Chief Marketing Officer gave a brief overview on a number of new marketing initiatives geared toward attracting new students with integrated digital-based activities such as targeted emails, search engine marketing and online advertising which will drive students to our website. The analytics allow the college to measure and monitor the effectiveness of these strategies. He noted that the College’s social media presence is a critical piece of this ongoing marketing effort, and the college continues to track and monitor web site traffic, landing page traffic, and phone numbers of potential students. Mr. Taber noted that his handout provides trustees with additional detailed information on activities currently under way as well as those scheduled for the spring semester.

    Following Mr. Taber, Ms. Tina Favara, Dean of Enrollment Services gave a brief update on NECC’s Recruitment Plan which has evolved slightly over the last year. Ms. Favara noted that several new strategies are being employed under the five broad goals which include:

    • Goal 1: Convert more applicants into enrollees
    • Goal 2: Increase enrollment of target populations (minorities, adults, etc.)
    • Goal 3: Increase enrollment of traditional college aged students
    • Goal 4: Strengthen NECC Communiversity and Four Year Transfer Pipeline: and
    • Goal 5: Expanding international student recruitment with new opportunities for enrollment.

    Ms. Favara noted that the next steps are that the recruitment team will be drafting an annual plan each spring that ties to the upcoming year. Additionally, strategies will be developed to drive each goal.

    President Glenn then gave a brief overview of the college’s new strategic plan, NECC 2020. He noted that the goals focus on the integrated student experience, student career opportunities, professional growth for the college’s faculty and staff, and external partnerships. The Academic Master Plan (AMP) for 2016-2020 has also been developed to focus on student success and the first goal of the Strategic Plan – Integrated Student Experience. The AMP will better align student services such as coaching, mentoring, tutoring, supplemental instruction, early alert and orientation to drive the student success initiative.

    Lastly, President Glenn provided a brief overview of the college’s projected revenue and expenses from FY13 to FY25 based on the current situation and then a second scenario after implementing all of the strategies described tonight. He noted that if all of the initiatives and the Recruitment and Academic Master Plans are successful, then the college will “buck the current trends” drawing upon the partnerships and will hopefully see a surplus in the future.

Chairman Linehan thanked President Glenn and the staff for their presentations.

APPROVAL OF MINUTES:

On a Motion by Trustee Guilmette seconded by Trustee Cox, it was voted unanimously to approve the September 7, 2016 minutes as presented.

CORRESPONDENCE:

There was none.

UNFINISHED BUSINESS:

Chairman Linehan asked President Glenn to introduce newly appointed employees. President Glenn introduced the following new employees:

  • Jean Dyer, Interim Director of Nursing Education
  • Ellen Small-Davis, Staff Assistant/Public Relations
  • Lauren Erwin, Staff Assistant/Videographer
  • Thomas Ortiz, Admissions Counselor
  • Rachel Oleaga, Reference Librarian
  • Amanda Fregeau, Academic Counselor
  • John Pastore, Linux Administrator
  • Jacqueline Dick, Associate Professor/Program Coordinator for Public Health
  • Karen Hruska, Associate Director of Mental Health Counseling

The Board welcomed all the new employees to NECC.

EDUCATION REPORT:

  1. Sabbatical Report: The Writing Process in Long Form Fiction Projects (ADM-3360-100516)

  2. President Glenn introduced Dr. William Heineman, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs who noted that a couple of times each year Educational Reports are dedicated to reports on the sabbaticals that the Board had approved the prior year. Tom Greene, Professor of English then provided the board with a report on his sabbatical regarding writing his first novel “Sky Climber” which is a science fiction novel. Professor Green noted that he had obtained his Ph.D. in literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and had started writing when he was 16 years old. Last year, he welcomed the sabbatical where he wrote a manuscript of approximately 75,000 words. Each morning, Professor Greene would begin writing early in the morning, and the first draft of the second chapter alone took approximately 5 weeks to complete followed by weeks and weeks of revision. He noted that this was a very different process from his experience in writing short fiction, and his lesson to students would be that writing a lengthy manuscript can definitely be a continuous process that needs time and patience to mature.

    He noted that his novel has not yet been published, but it is his plan to do so. He is currently working on a synopsis for publishers that he hopes will be sent out in October.

    President Glenn thanked Professor Greene for his report.

REPORT OF BOARD COMMITTEES:

  1. Presidents Evaluation Subcommittee (Verbal)

  2. Subcommittee Chairman Forman thanked all members of the subcommittee which included Trustee Cox, Trustee Paley Nadel, Trustee Linehan and support staff Wendy Shaffer and Cheryl Goodwin. The Subcommittee met 3 times over the summer months and conducted extensive interviews of college staff as well as a review of the President’s goals and accomplishments relative to the Board of Higher Education’s Vision Project. Trustee Forman noted that trustees had received the full evaluation with attachments and asked for the full board’s support and approval in sending the evaluation and additional merit request memorandum to Commissioner Santiago.

    On a Motion by Trustee Linehan, seconded by Trustee D’Orazio, the Presidential Evaluation Subcommittee Report was unanimously approved and requested to be submitted to Commissioner Santiago for approval as presented.

    Chairman Linehan also thanked the subcommittee again for their time and commitment.

  3. Audit and Finance Committee

    • Fiscal Year 2017 Revised College Budget (AFC-17-01)
    • Trustee Paley Nadel noted that the Audit and Finance Committee recommends that the Board approve the revised FY17 budget of $45,017,792 as detailed in the Summary Report. She noted that the changes reflect an enrollment decline of 7% instead of the original 5% which reflects a decrease of approximately $800K. She also noted that the information attached to the motion provides the detailed changes and thanked the administration and finance staff for their work on this budget.

      On a Motion by Trustee Cox, seconded by Trustee Cerasuolo-O’Rorke, it was voted unanimously to approve the Fiscal Year 2017 Revised College Budget of $45,017,792.00 as detailed in the Summary Report.

    • Fiscal Year 2017 Revised Student Activity Fund Budget (AFC-17-02)
    • Trustee Paley Nadel noted that the request to revise the Student Activity Fund budget was similar to the college budget. At the June meeting, the board approved the SAF budget with the understanding that it would be balanced by the October 2017 meeting.

      On a Motion by Trustee Estrella seconded by Trustee Garcia, it was voted unanimously to approve the Fiscal Year 2017 Revised Student Activity Fund Budget of $562,908.00 as detailed in the motion.

REPORT OF ADMINISTRATION:

  1. Achieving the Dream Report for NECC (ADM-3361-100516)

  2. President Glenn referred Trustees to the letter in their packet from Dr. Karen A. Stout, President and CEO of Achieving the Dream. He noted in particular that Dr. Stout mentions that the college’s enrollment and resource situation may require additional work, particularly as related to programmatic review and relevancy. President Glenn noted that the college is responding to the situation as evidenced by the recent closure of the Health and Information Tech program and the current research for a new culinary program.

  3. NECC 2020: Strategic Plan Update (Verbal)

  4. President Glenn noted that a majority of this report was covered in the earlier presentation. Goal Teams are actively engaged and moving forward to gather data and start the work identified.

  5. Haverhill Campus Update (Verbal)

  6. President Glenn noted that he recently met with Endicott staff and an RFP for space in the downtown Haverhill project is moving forward. Updates to this project will be provided to the trustees throughout the year.

  7. Lawrence Campus Update (Verbal)

  8. President Glenn noted a handout that provided information to trustees regarding the restaurant space at 420 Common Street (Napolitano’s) which is owned by Sal Lupoli. The space and equipment is being donated to the college. In collaboration with the Lawrence Partnership, Lupoli Companies and the city of Lawrence, the college will be offering a revolving test kitchen as an incubator for food entrepreneurs. The first vendor has been picked and will receive support from all the partners to build their business. More information will provided as the project evolves.

  9. Campus Safety and Violence Prevention Conference (Verbal)

  10. President Glenn noted that he and several NECC staff members recently attended the state-wide campus safety conference. He reminded trustees that the Department of Higher Education recently put out new recommendations relative to campus safety, and this event provided an opportunity for all Massachusetts campus staff to come together to hear about best practices. Vice President of Administration and Finance Michael McCarthy will now use the information gained from the conference to enhance our campus safety plans and procedures. More information on our plan will be offered at a future trustee meeting.

  11. Student Loan Default Rate (Verbal)

  12. President Glenn noted that typically, student loan default rates are not the best indicator for NECC students regarding student loan debt. During the recession, loan default rates climbed to nearly 20%. This year, NECC’s loan rate has declined to 13% due to the work of our financial aid staff in better educating students regarding borrowing. He noted that unemployment is also a driver of the default rate which nationally is 11.3%. NECC is slightly higher than that rate, but, he notes, we are below the national community college average of 18%.

  13. Reminder: October 28th Statewide Trustee Conference (Verbal)

  14. President Glenn reminded Trustees that the annual Statewide Trustee Conference will be held on October 28th at the University of Lowell Inn and Conference Center. When registration information becomes available, it will be forwarded to all members of the Board. He encouraged all trustees to attend.

NEW BUSINESS:

There was none.

OTHER BUSINESS:

There was none.

ADJOURNMENT:

With no other business, Chairman Linehan adjourned the meeting at 6:04PM.

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