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December Trustee Notes

Submitted by on December 15, 2014 – 7:30 pm

College has New Mission Statement

Northern Essex’s mission statement has stayed the same since it was created in 1992 to align with the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education’s mission statement.

At the December meeting, trustees voted unanimously to approve a new mission statement for the college, one that was created after a college-wide process that included input from faculty, staff, and students. The new mission statement was also endorsed by the Executive Committee of the All College Assembly.

“It’s good practice to review your mission statement from time to time,” said President Glenn. “We canvassed opinions from the college community in many different ways, and there are new dimensions to the statement that was created as a result.”

The new mission statement will now be sent to the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education for their review and approval.

The New Mission Statement as proposed:

At NECC, our mission is to educate and inspire our students to succeed. We provide a welcoming environment focused on teaching and learning—strongly committed to unlocking the potential within each student and empowering our diverse community of learners to meet their individual goals. We are a community college dedicated to creating vibrant and innovative opportunities that encourage excellence and enhance the cultural and economic life of our region.

The Previous Mission Statement (1992-2014):

The mission of Northern Essex Community College is to serve the people of the Greater Merrimack Valley as a caring and comprehensive center of educational excellence that offers high quality, affordable adult and post secondary education through the Associate Degree level, as well as a broad range of occupational programs and community services which enhance the social, cultural and economic life of the region.

Team Completes Study for Public Safety Center in Lawrence

In August, Governor Deval Patrick announced $400,000 to fund a study of public safety needs in Lawrence and determine the feasibility of creating a regional public safety center in the city.

That study has now been completed, according to President Glenn, who served on the planning team with representatives from the city and the state. The plan is to build a 100,000 square foot facility on the site of the current station and on property nearby owned by the college.

The facility will house a new police station for the city, a permanent location for ongoing basic recruit training provided by the Massachusetts Municipal Police Training Council and Northern Essex; and an expanded NECC criminal justice program for the college. In addition the facilities, which will include a firing range and situational training maze, will be available for rent to municipal and state police, sheriffs’ departments, homeland security, and private contractors.

Funding for the $63 million facility would come from public and private contributions.

Educational Report: Accelerated Courses Help Developmental Students Succeed More Quickly

One of the biggest challenges that Northern Essex has is the number of students who arrive underprepared for college level work, said Bill Heineman, vice president of academic and student affairs.

To help address this issue and prepare developmental students for quicker entry into college-level courses, Northern Essex has been experimenting with accelerated learning options for developmental students, according to Janice Rogers assistant dean, Foundational Studies and Liberal Arts & Sciences, who presented at the trustees’ meeting. Rogers shared details on several of the college’s recent initiatives:

“Fusion Courses”

In “fusion” courses, which are available to students who test into developmental math, writing, and English as a Second Language courses, students take a developmental course at the same time as a college level course. For example, students who placed into developmental writing or English as a Second Language Advanced Integrated Writing Skills would take those courses during the same semester as English Composition I. The classes are small by design, allowing for additional student support, and students can complete both developmental and college-level courses in a single semester. The college has been offering Writing Fusion for three semesters and introduced Math Fusion this fall, said Rogers, and results, which are being carefully measured, look promising.

Modularized Developmental Math Courses

In 2012 the college introduced modularized developmental math courses, which give students the opportunity to move forward at their own pace. Since they only pay for one course, they save money as well as progress more quickly as they master the material, according to Rogers. To date, 71 students have completed more than one course in a semester.

Integrated Reading and Writing

Offered for the first time this semester, the Reading, Writing, and Reasoning course allows developmental reading and writing students to take a single, integrated skills course in one semester and advance to English Composition I the next semester. Students who successfully complete the course are exempt from taking additional reading courses.

ESL Redesign

As of this fall, the college has redesigned its English as a Second Language Program, decreasing its length from five levels to four and reducing the number of credits required for each level. The introductory level that was eliminated is now available as a non-credit course through The Center for Adult Education Programs and Preparation (CAEPP) at Northern Essex, said Rogers. The benefits of this new design include preserving financial aid for ESL students and helping students develop their writing skills in a more effective and efficient format, better preparing them for college-level work in less time.

Math Pathway for Non-STEM students

The college has developed an alternate math pathway for non-STEM majors who test into developmental math. Rather than taking basic algebra, non-STEM majors now have the option to take a new course “Math Literacy for College Students” that leads directly to a college-level Statistics, Quantitative Reasoning, or Mathematical Ideas course.

If this all sounds like a lot, Rogers would agree. “My head is spinning,” she said. “Once this all settles out, we’ll look at data to see how our students are doing. I’m excited about the possibilities.”

Endowment Reaches $4 Million

Jean Poth, vice president of institutional advancement, reported that the college raised close to $800,000 from the private sector during the most recent fiscal year which ran from July 1, 2013 to June 30, 2014.

The largest source of private funding was in the private programs/grants funded category followed by Lawrence building funds, endowed funds  and annual scholarships. Other sources of funding include the Women of NECC, the NECC Fund, and the Alumni Association.

The college’s endowment, which generates interest that is used to fund scholarships and other college initiatives, is now $4 million, according to Poth.

Three Appointments are Approved

Trustees voted unanimously to approve three new state-appropriated appointments, including Linda Buckley, staff assistant, Administration & Finance; Kimberly Burns, dean of innovation & alternative studies, Academic & Student Affairs; and Solanyi Munoz, clerk III, Academic Advising.