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State Grant Funds New Student Learning Initiative

Submitted by on October 5, 2012 – 7:52 am
Core Academic Skills Initiative

Core Academic Skills Initiative

Within two years, new students enrolled in all Northern Essex Community College associate degree programs will be required to complete at least one intensive course in each of six academic skill areas thanks to a $146,744 grant awarded to NECC from the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education’s Performance Incentive Fund (PIF).

This PIF grant will fund a new Core Academic Skills Initiative. Under this new initiative, every student who is enrolled in an NECC associate degree program will have to complete at least one course designed to be intensive in written communication, oral communication, global awareness, information literacy, quantitative reasoning, or science and technology.  The college’s faculty, in consultation with employers and four-year universities, has determined that these skills are vital for students to be successful in their further education, in their professions, and in their role as citizens.

A total of $4 million was distributed to Massachusetts community colleges to reward high performance and to continue support for increased skill training and workforce alignment and improved student learning outcomes and efficiency measures.

“We are thrilled that the state has made this commitment to and investment in the community colleges,” said NECC President Lane Glenn.
NECC faculty have already earned intensive designation for almost 100 courses.  For instance, the Business Department’s Introduction to Entrepreneurship course is intensive in writing.  This means it meets specific criteria aimed at developing learning outcomes related to writing, including creating a thesis, finding and using evidence to support it, and documenting that evidence.  Over the next year, the PIF resources will help faculty create more courses intensive in the Core Academic Skills through coaching, professional development, and stipends.

These community college grants awarded through the PIF deliver on Gov. Patrick’s pledge to invest in the state’s community college system. The additional resources will allow campuses to promote higher completion rates of degrees and certificates, be more responsive to the needs of local economies as well as of the state’s fastest growing sectors and adopt a system-wide standard core of course offerings.

“These grants will support our efforts to connect more of our students to meaningful work and will help provide more of those students with the educational and skill-building opportunities they will need to succeed in our knowledge-based economy,” said Education Secretary Paul Reville.