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December 2013 Trustees Notes

Submitted by on December 16, 2013 – 3:53 pm

The One-Stop Center which will open in NECC’s new El Hefni Health & Technology Center in Lawrence will be named the “Mary Ellen Ashley Career Planning and Advising Center” in honor of Mary Ellen Ashley, NECC’s executive vice president.

Trustees voted unanimously to approve this decision which was supported by Ashley’s management staff, NECC President Lane Glenn, and the All College Assembly Executive Committee.

Ashley’s management staff wrote, “It is most fitting that NECC acknowledge Mary Ellen Ashley’s contributions to the college, the community, and our students by naming the Lawrence Campus One-Stop Student Center in her honor.  She is passionate about the one-stop student center concept, and has done so much to enhance the experience for our students in both Haverhill and Lawrence.”

Ashley has worked at Northern Essex for 17 years.  Under her leadership, Northern Essex’s Lawrence Campus was designated as the first Hispanic Serving Institution in New England in 2001.  As a result, the college became eligible for funding under the U.S. Department of Education’s Title V Developing Hispanic Serving Institutions Program.  The college received $2.2 million in 2002 to develop a One-Stop Center in Lawrence which is referred to as the Career Planning and Advising Center (CPAC) and $2.7 million in 2011 to enhance the services offered through the Lawrence CPAC and to create a Student Success Center to address the needs of the most at-risk students.

Faculty Report Back from Sabbatical Leaves

Ethel Schuster, computer science faculty, returned to campus this fall after spending a sabbatical year at the University of Sao Paulo in Brazil.

Schuster focused her sabbatical on researching successful techniques used in the writing of scientific papers and on exploring Massive Open Online Courses, known as MOOCS.

“Our students have to write lab reports and technical papers,” she said.  “I’m bringing back techniques that will help them write better scientific publications.”

While on sabbatical, Schuster took five MOOCs which are online courses with unlimited participation and open access via the web.  “My goal was to explore what it is like to design, create, and implement a MOOC, and how MOOCs may assist faculty in creating learning-centered environments in their courses.”

Schuster says her “dream” is to create a MOOC at Northern Essex.

Ken Langer, music professor and coordinator of the music program, spent last spring creating 14 books of original music using desktop music writing software that his students will be using in class.   The books are complemented by YouTube videos that allow the students to hear the music being played.

“I’ll be able to assign students my own works, and they can ask me, the professor and composer, questions directly in class,” he said.

NECC’s Deferred Maintenance Needs are Some of Highest in MA

Northern Essex is leading community colleges across the state in deferred maintenance, according to NECC President Lane Glenn.

When you look at the college’s net asset value, which measures the condition of a campus, the college is last in the state, falling in the “catch-up” stage which indicates that buildings need significant repairs.

“We have a $90 million deferred maintenance back log. It’s not that we don’t work at it, we do, but we need to have a more aggressive strategy as far as cost so we can address this.”

At $162 a credit hour, Northern Essex’s cost is the third lowest of the Commonwealth’s 15 community colleges.

“We’re one of the lowest cost colleges in the state, and we’re proud of this but it’s coming at a tremendous price,” said Glenn.

New Health Care Program is Added

Northern Essex will have a new health care option in the fall of 2014 after trustees voted unanimously to approve an Electronic Health Records Specialist certificate program.

The certificate program will prepare students to be medical records and health information technicians for hospitals, physicians’ offices, nursing care facilities, and home health services.

Employment opportunities for people trained with these skills are expected to increase by 21 percent from now until 2020 as the field transforms from paper to electronic health records, according to information which was given to trustees.

Students who complete the program will be able to continue on to the Health Information Technology Associate Degree at Northern Essex.

Three new Appointments are Approved

Trustees voted unanimously to approve Kathleen Pucci, assistant professor, Nursing; Angela Bowers, assistant professor, Medical Imaging, and Tina Favara, interim dean of enrollment services.