February Trustees Notes
Bill Moynihan, chair of the Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees, opened the February meeting by introducing two new trustees, Joe D’Orazio of Haverhill and Marianne Paley Nadel of Chestnut Hill.
A native of Haverhill, D’Orazio remembers when the Haverhill Campus was built in the early 1970’s. “I’ve seen a lot of students graduate from NECC and continue on for further education.”
Paley Nadel, who owns and manages the historic Everett and Stone Mills in Lawrence, is “tremendously excited” to be representing Lawrence on the board. “The opportunities the college provides for Lawrence is unmatched. I’ve watched closely over the years and I’m delighted to be a part of it.”
MA Commissioner of Higher Ed Meets with Trustees
Massachusetts Higher Ed Commissioner Richard Freeland visited Northern Essex to converse with trustees about the current state of public higher education in MA, the new governor and his administration, and accountability and measuring student success.
On the bright side, Freeland shared that public higher education is receiving unprecedented support from the business community, the highest level of support that he’s seen in his 45 years of experience.
Employers are talking about the talent crisis, concerned that there’s a gap between the skills needed and the skills of the available workforce, said Freeland
“Addressing this issue will require some level of investment in higher education, and we want to be sure our new governor gets this message.”
Of all the metrics being set to hold colleges accountable, Freeland said that metrics measuring student success are the most important. “Everyone is looking for a silver bullet. In my observation, every successful program is a high touch program. All of that costs money; you can’t do it on the cheap.”
Freeland recently announced that he would step down from his current position in June after six years and teach at Northeastern University, where he formerly served as president.
In introducing the commissioner, President Lane Glenn said “he has done more to raise the profile of public higher education in the state than any person in recent history.”
Recruitment Plan is Unveiled
Enrollments at community colleges nationwide have been dropping since 2010, according to Bill Heineman, vice president of academic and student affairs, primarily due to economic factors and population trends.
Northern Essex doesn’t want to just sit back and accept declining enrollments, he says, which is why the college has developed a new integrated recruitment plan which involves the entire institution.
After being introduced by Heineman and Jean Poth, vice president of institutional advancement, Laurie Dimitrov, Enrollment Services, and Ron Taber, Marketing Communications, shared highlights of this plan with trustees.
One strategy adopted by the college to boost enrollments has been an expansion of collaborations and outreach activities with both high schools and local employers, according to Dimitrov. The college has also planned more campus events designed to get prospective students on campus such as open houses and the very popular College for a Day which is held in April.
Taber described new strategies being used to communicate with prospective students such as Facebook advertising, online paid search advertising, email blasts, and online display marketing. “It’s all about a call to action,” said Taber. “We want to drive people into the enrollment funnel and carefully measure our results.”
New Degree is Approved
Northern Essex offers 60 associate degrees, most of which are designed to transfer to a four-year college or university. While there are a wide range of options to choose from, students sometimes want to continue their education in a field that isn’t offered specifically at Northern Essex.
The new Associate of Arts in General Studies: Individualized Option, which was unanimously approved by trustees, will allow students to tailor their associate degree, working closely with an academic adviser to put together courses that will allow them to transfer to these programs as rising juniors.
Students who want to study for fields such as architectural design, exercise physiology, funeral home management/directors, plant and soil sciences, communication disorders, fashion design, interior design or per-veterinary, for example, could now complete their first two years at Northern Essex and transfer to a four-year college as a junior.
Three are Preparing for Sabbaticals
Trustees voted unanimously to approve sabbaticals for Ann Grandmaison, coordinator of library services, English Professor Thomas Greene, and Early Childhood Education Professor Gail Feigenbaum.
Grandmaison, who will be on full-time leave July 5, 2015 through January 2, 2016, will focus on creating a One Geographical Region Program for the college. She will research and plan a common read program and library-hosted events that all academic disciplines can use in their courses.
Professor Feigenbaum, who will be on sabbatical the spring semester of 2016, will study the Reggie Emilia approach to early childhood education, and, based on what she learns, make revisions to the Early Childhood curriculum. Reggia Emilia is an educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education developed in Italy after WWII.
Professor Greene will also take the spring semester of 2016. He will produce a manuscript for a novel and then seek to publish it.
Twelve Join NECC Faculty and Staff
New full-time employees include Scott Lancaster, associate professor, Paramedic Technology; Ariel Chicklis, assistant coordinator of student activities & engagement; Ireni Rose, staff assistant, Financial Aid; Rosalba Conde, financial aid counselor; Laura Mondt, reference librarian; Laurie Hillson, director of nursing education; Richard Bernhardt, director of paramedic technology; Nivedita Bagchi Williams, interim dean of student life; Clayton Ross, facilities engineer/project management; Mark Pearson, project manager for police training academy; Tyler Finno, administrative assistant I, Human Resources, and Patricia Ketabchi, EDP entry operator III.