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November Trustee Notes

Submitted by on November 28, 2011 – 12:10 pm

Lawrence InTown Mall is Scheduled for Demolition

There will be some excitement on Common Street in Lawrence soon, when the InTown Mall is demolished to make way for the El Hefni Health & Technology Center.

Mary Ellen Ashley, the college’s executive vice president, is managing the project for the college. She informed trustees at the November meeting that the dilapidated InTown Mall will come down soon—likely in December—to make way for the 44,000 square foot facility that will house most of the college’s health care programs.

When completed in the fall of 2013, the $27.4 million building will house a Health Education Simulation Center, where health care students will receive hands-on experience in simulated environments such as a hospital intensive care unit and operating room, an ambulance, and a doctor’s office.  The building will also feature classrooms and computer labs and a Career Planning and Advising Center where students can receive academic and career advising. 

Achieving the Dream Addresses Student Math Challenges

Bill Heineman, Northern Essex’s vice president of academic affairs, told trustees “Math is the biggest obstacle to student success at Northern Essex.”   According to Heineman, many Northern Essex students struggle to complete math courses.

In recent years, thanks in large part to the college’s participation in Achieving the Dream, a national student success initiative, new strategies have been developed to help increase student success rates in math courses. 

Lynne Nadeau, coordinator of the Academic Resource & Tutoring Center, and Linda Murphy, developmental math professor, reported on a couple of these strategies, including the college’s new math centers and the use of supplemental instructors in college math courses.

Located on both campuses, the college’s math centers are open days and evenings and staffed with professional and peer tutors.  Research indicates that the strategy is working: in spring  of 2011, 72% of students who visited the math centers completed their courses with a passing grade as compared to 56.5% of those who did not visit the center.

Based on a successful program at the University of Missouri, the college also introduced supplemental instructors for key math courses two years ago.  These supplemental instructors or SI’s are students who have already successfully completed the course.  They are paid a stipend to attend the course they have already taken and then they lead a two-hour study session each week for students in the class.

Success rates of students in an SI course are being compared to those in a regular course and they are finding “predominantly better outcomes”, according to Nadeau.

There were 23 classes with SI’s offered this fall, a 228% increase over the fall 2010 semester, when just seven classes were offered.  In addition to math, SI’s are now being used in science and writing courses.

NECC is Compared to Peer Colleges Nationwide

In President Lane Glenn’s absence, Mary Ellen Ashley shared the IPEDS Data Feedback Report 2011, a national report which compares Northern Essex to similar colleges across the country in a number of key areas.

Ashley cautioned trustees that the report only measures first-time, full-time students which are just 10% of Northern Essex’s student population.  “If you get financial aid, you must follow the IPEDS guidelines but the information is representative of a small group of our students.”

Here is how NECC fared in key areas:

  • Northern Essex’s tuition and fees are lower ($3,384) than comparison colleges ($3,596)
  • Northern Essex awarded more certificates (341 as compared to 68) then its peer colleges and fewer associate degrees (652 as compared to 749)
  • Northern Essex students are slightly more diverse than those at the peer colleges (60% White as compared to 63%) and the college has far more Latino students than its peer colleges (28% as compared to 9%)

Donations to College Increase 7%

The college’s Institutional Advancement Office raised $728,962 in 2010/11 including $659,679 in cash and $33,282 in in-kind donations.  This is a 7% increase over last year when $682,606 was raised. 

Money raised came from endowed funds ($78,806), annual scholarships ($61,432), Women of NECC Funds ($28,806), The NECC Fund ($60,331), the Alumni Association ($11,523), private programs and grants ($176,849) and new Lawrence Building funds ($275,546).    When interest income ($2,386) and the in-kind donations are added to this list, the total is $728,962.

Eight Join the College Faculty and Staff

Trustees voted unanimously to approve the following full-time state appropriated appointments: Stacy Adams, assistant professor, medical laboratory technology; Jose Correa, maintainer II; Catherine Ferguson, director of financial planning & budgeting; Diana Gonzalez, staff assistant, vice president of finance; Alicia Grande*, senior admissions counselor; Lindsey Mayo, director of alumni relations; and Judith Zubrow, dean of foundational studies.  Joshua Abreu was appointed retention specialist/Student Success Center, a non-state appropriated position.

*from part-time to full-time status