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April Board of Trustees Notes

Submitted by on April 8, 2015 – 12:58 pm

New Certificate Program


Beginning in the fall of 2016, Northern Essex, in cooperation with Greater Lawrence Technical High School (GLTHS), will begin offering a one-year, two-semester Automotive Technology Program Certificate.

The NECC Board of Trustees voted unanimously Wednesday, April 2, to accept this new academic certificate. Chuck Phair, the dean of technology, arts, and professional studies, explained that NECC worked with faculty of GLTHS to design a certificate program that would prepare students to sit for certification exams, enter the workforce, or transfer into an automotive technology associate degree program like those offered at Nashua Community College and Massachusetts Bay Community College.

The technical courses like Introduction to Automotive Technology, Brakes and Steering, and Suspension and Alignment will be taught at Greater Lawrence both day and night at a much higher level than high school academics, Phair said. The remaining courses including Introduction to Entrepreneurship, English Composition, Applied Technical Math and Cooperative Education will be offered at NECC.

NECC President Lane Glenn later noted that this partnership with Greater Lawrence Follows former Governor Deval’s Patrick push for greater partnerships between the state’s vocational schools and community colleges. He added that while nothing is definitive, NECC is working with Whittier Regional Vocational Technical High School to possibly create a culinary program that would be tied to Haverhill’s downtown redevelopment.

This type of partnership is a common practice at community colleges across the country, Glenn said.

Information Literacy Lab

 Last November Northern Essex opened an Information Literacy Lab on the Lawrence campus. Mike Hearn, NECC’s director of library services, and Jenny Fielding, coordinator of library services on the Lawrence campus made a Power Point presentation to the Board outlining the evolution of the lab.

The lab was born of creative thinking as NECC wrestled with the “two campus challenge”  – while Haverhill has 15,000 square feet dedicated to library services, Lawrence had just 3,200.

Hearn said they looked at how they could offer the same level of service on the Lawrence campus in one-fifth of the space. An architect’s initial design called for connecting the existing basement library location with the upstairs. This was cost prohibitive so instead the library took over the former day care center space and created the Information Literacy Lab. This is a dedicated space for librarians and faculty to teach students about finding and evaluating information, and support student research with expert guidance and technology help. Located in Room L151 it includes expert assistance from librarians and technology assistants, 24 computers with the full Microsoft Office Suite, printing at 10₵ a page, Dual-screen projection for teaching, Media Viewing Room with laptop hookup and DVD/VCR player, Group Study Room (can accommodate groups from 2-8 in size), Skype capabilities (with laptop), and access to NECC library digital collections.

Fielding said that information literacy is so important in today’s job market that one recent study determined it was the fourth ranked skill employers are looking for in new employees.

“Information literacy applies across the curriculum,” Fielding said. “We help them find information and we help them use it.”

Budget Update

New Governor Charlie Baker has submitted a budget that includes a 3* increase for community colleges, said President Glenn. “The good news is that it’s an increase and not a cut. The bad news is that more than half of that would be offset by the 9C cuts already made.” He said he hopes to have more information next month. He expects NECC’s budget to be set without significant fee increases.

New Name for ArtSpace  

The Board unanimously voted to rename the ArtSpace in the Harold Bentley Library on the Haverhill campus, the Linda Hummel-Shea ArtSpace. Hummel-Shea was assistant dean of library services when she retired last summer.  

Hummel-Shea had worked at Northern Essex for 35 years. Early in her career she envisioned a space for faculty, staff, and students to showcase their artwork. Through her work with the college’s Gallery Committee, the ArtSpace was created when a small area of the library was transformed into a gallery.

In his recommendation to the board, President Glenn wrote, “Her appreciation and dedication to the college’s students, faculty, and staff was unwavering, and her outstanding contributions to the library and its staff were a testament to her personal and professional belief of developing a welcoming atmosphere for study, research, and reflective thought.”

New Appointments

The Board voted unanimously to approve two new full-time personnel; Derek Mitchell was appointed executive director of the Lawrence Partnership and Faust Kery was appointed EDP Entry Operator II.

Emeritus Recommended

President Glenn recommended three NECC retirees be awarded the status of emeritus during NECC’s 53rd graduation on Saturday, May 16, 2015 at 11 a.m. The Board voted unanimously to present the following with emeritus status: Michael Broughton, professor emeritus of computer information science; Francine Pappalardo, professor Emerita of Nursing; and Linda Hummel Shea, assistant dean emerita, college libraries.

The awarding of the rank of emeritus is an honor given by the college to those individuals who are particularly deserving.  It may be conferred upon recommendation of the President with the advice of an appropriate committee and by vote of the Board of Trustees.

Food Concerns

Student Trustee Kelsey Terry, who had reported on students’ dissatisfaction with the current food service last month, reported that a survey has been distributed to 1500 students. A total of 1300 have been completed. She explained that once she has all the surveys completed the information will be compiled and presented to the Board of Trustees.