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Spring Semester Opens with Convocation

Submitted by on January 27, 2016 – 6:15 pm
It was near capacity at NECC's spring convocation held in the Hartleb Technology Center on the Haverhill campus.

It was near capacity at NECC’s spring convocation held in the Hartleb Technology Center on the Haverhill campus.

Northern Essex Community College has a clear vision of the future.

That was the message delivered under the title “NECC 2020” during the Spring convocation in the Hartleb Technology Center on the Haverhill campus, Tuesday, January 19, the day before the beginning of the 2016 spring semester.

Administrators and faculty shared the podium to update the hundreds of faculty and staff present on the current and future state of academics, programs, and opportunities.

NECC President Lane Glenn led the morning’s activities which outlined a clear vision of the college’s role in preparing its students for the future.

Here are a few of the highlights:

NECC welcomed a host of new hires during spring convocation.

NECC welcomed a host of new hires during spring convocation.

New Hires

The first order of business was introducing and welcoming a number of new employees to the college community. They included, Vanessa Desani, academic support services, articulation & transfer; Daniel Richer, director of admissions and recruitment; Vengerflutta Smith, admissions counselor; Jillian Knox, staff assistant in enrollment services: learning accommodations; Revathi (Rae) O’Neal, technical support analyst; Adrianna Neefus, administrative assistant, Gallaudet University Regional Center; Fred Curty, staff assistant, computer lab, library services; Susan Leonardi, assistant librarian, academic technology and instruction; Daniel Malave, director of student conduct; Janel D’Agata-Lynch, coordinator of civic engagement and service learning; Lorena Holguin, success/career coach; Jay Fallon, coordinator of the advanced manufacturing program; Jason Termini, instructor, computer information sciences dept.; Patty Bradford, human resources generalist; and Katelynn Donnelly, staff assistant for public safety & transportation.

The college also bid farewell to Nita Lamborghini, dean of student life, and Jorge Santiago, professor of sociology.

Patricia Schade, Liliana Brand, Tricia Butler, Patricia Willett, and Jack Davidson (not in photo) are this year's recipients of the NISOD Award.

Patricia Schade, Liliana Brand, Tricia Butler, Patricia Willett, and Jack Davidson (not in photo) are this year’s recipients of the NISOD Award.

NISOD Winners

Each year, a number of NECC faculty and staff are nominated for the annual NISOD Award. This year was no different. Five NECC employees were nominated and selected to receive the national distinction. They are Liliana Brand, math faculty; Tricia Butler, Administrative Assistant for the Division of Technology, Arts and Professional Studies; Jack Davidson, human services faculty; Patricia Schade, reading coordinator; and Pat Willett, radiologic technology faculty.


Bill Heineman gave a brief overview of the state of the campus renovations currently underway in preparation for the closing and renovation of the Spurk Building which will go offline at the end of the spring semester.

Spurk has more than 88,000 square feet of space. To date, nearly 17,000 square feet of swing space has been created to accommodate those displaced classrooms and offices. He acknowledged that while the completed project in July of 2017 will result in a building that “looks better and feels better” as a result of upgraded heating and cooling systems, air quality, and safety improvements, there will be some growing pains while renovations are underway.

“Everyone on campus will have less space. Everyone will be inconvenienced and irritated and will be challenging for our students,” he said. “Let’s channel what could be negative energy to helping our students.”

Intersession Success

Heineman reported that the second consecutive year of offering intersession courses proved fruitful for NECC. In the winter of 2015, NECC offered six sections for a total of 30 students. NECC offered 24 sections for the winter session of 2016 for 400 students.

He said NECC will continue to look at the winter intersession as an area of growth for the college.

Coming Up

Heineman also noted that NECC is currently writing a new academic master plan, the process of which, he promised, will be “far more informal and fun”.

Without offering details, he also suggested everyone mark February 16, for a program promising to examine “Dialogue Across Differences”. He noted that the current political discourse is filled with “red, hot rhetoric focusing on differences.”

Invest in College Success

Alexis Fishbone, NECC director of financial aid.

Alexis Fishbone, NECC director of financial aid.

Alexis Fishbone, NECC director of financial aid, reported on the Invest in College Success initiative being offered for the second year to income and asset eligible Northern Essex students. NECC is just one of three Massachusetts community colleges to offer this program, in partnership with The MIDAS Collaborative, uAspire, and the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston, to up a student’s financial literacy while putting money in their pockets as well.

Students who complete a 12-hour financial literacy program who also can manage to save $750, can earn an additional $1,500 that can be used toward educational expenses including tuition, fees, books, supplies, and even study abroad opportunities.

Keeping Fit

Faculty and staff can now use the Lawrence YMCA free of charge thanks to a new voucher program. Vouchers can be obtained from Patty Bradford in NECC’s Human Resources office. Bring the completed voucher along with the risk and consent form and your NECC Employee Id to the member services desk at the Lawrence YMCA. Employees will be entered into the system as a trial member. Following a third visit, they will become a valid enrolled member.


A shout out was given to the NECC employees currently involved in the 8th Leadership Academy. They include Martha Bixby of Career Planning and Advising Center; Alicia Blain, financial aid; Adam Cutler, admissions and recruitment; Jennifer Fielding, Lawrence campus library; Rick Ingham, audio/visual; Minh Le, Center for Instructional Technology; Ashley Moore, Career Connections; Courtney Newman, admissions and recruitment; Ingrid Polanco, Tutoring Center; Sue Tashjian, Center for Instructional Technology, and Jeidy Urena, LCPAC.

Anyone interested in the Leadership Academy can apply.

Career Preparation

An overview was given of the steps NECC is taking to improve student career preparation. These steps include the NECC internship program, nearly 50 college and career readiness workshops, CandidCareer.Com videos, NECCLink, which connects some 150 NECC students with more than 800 local employers, and an NECC Networking Night – which this year is May 19.

Next up? Better integration of career exploration tools; increased collaboration with faculty in bringing alumni or industry professionals to engage with students through career panels, alumni informational interviews, and resume review days; expansion of career development professionals and continued growth of the internship program.

Strategic Plan

President Glenn and Strategic Plan co-chairs Professor Mark Reinhold and Dean Wendy Shaffer attended the DHE conference in June where the new criteria for strategic plans was outlined. As a result of that meeting, NECC decided to again use Appreciative Inquiry to move the strategic plan forward. With this in mind, NECC trained 12 Appreciative Inquiry Facilitators who oversaw the table workshop during the fall 2015 convocation. The notes from those 27 table summaries were synthesized and strategic themes were identified. That information along with 200 questionnaires gathered at SOAR Forums has been used to develop strategic priorities and goals. In December Reinhold and Shaffer reviewed the timeline and touchpoints with the DHE. Core values include student engagement, collaboration, personal and professional growth, respect, culture of inclusion, access and opportunity, and excellence. Strategic priorities were identified as students, campus, faculty and staff, and community. The strategic goals were outlined as integrated student experience, student career opportunities, professional growth, and external partnerships.

Other planning efforts that need to be addressed are technology and safety and security.