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April Trustee Report

Submitted by on May 2, 2016 – 2:50 pm

The library of today looks quite a bit different than the library of the 20th century.

In today’s world, technology has become an important tool for accessing reading and reference materials, and, as a result, our libraries have evolved into technological hubs where patrons can access information in many new ways and collaboration is encouraged.

At the April meeting of the Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees, Mike Hearn, director of libraries, and Susan Leonardi, assistant librarian, shared recent changes to the college library in Haverhill, changes that reflect this trend.

In January, the college moved the computer lab which had been located on the 2nd floor of the B Building to the third floor of the library, a process which required extensive renovations and a dramatic restructuring of the library space.

The third floor, which used to be covered with book stacks and quiet study spaces, now has a 60-seat computer lab for students who want to work independently and a 30-seat computer classroom where information literacy classes are taught.  There is also an additional 36 study spaces for students to work individually or in small groups.  A welcoming library service desk, located between the classroom and the computer lab, offers students professional help with technology.

In creating the space, the college had to clean out its collection, decreasing it from 60,000 to 40,000.  A recycling company removed the 20,000 books that were culled from the collection which is now located on the first floor of the library.

“Our goal was to create a centralized library-based learning commons,” said Hearn.  “To be successful, our students need to have digital literacy and information literacy skills.   With this new space, our students will be better able to gain these skills.”

 NECC Ends Relationship with Higher Ed Partners

As reported at last month’s meeting, NECC is ending its partnership with Higher Ed Partners (HEP), which provides start-up capital and financing for community colleges.

Northern Essex began partnering with HEP in the fall of 2011.  This innovative partnership gave the college the resources to launch iHealth@NECC, which offers certificates and associates degree programs designed especially for busy adults who are preparing for new careers in health care.

Through iHealth@NECC, the college also has been able to respond quickly to employer needs, creating new programs such as Medical Laboratory Technology and Ophthalmic Assistant.

Although no longer working with HEP, the college will continue to offer iHealth@NECC.

“Our iHealth@NECC programs are meeting a tremendous need for both employees and students so we will continue to grow those programs” said Glenn. “

The dissolution of the partnership will take effect on May 31 and at that time iHealth@NECC will move out of the building which HEP has been renting on Franklin St and into other space, likely the 2nd floor of 420 Common Street.

Faculty/Staff Contract is ratified

President Lane Glenn reported that the Massachusetts Community College Council (MCCC) contract was ratified by members on March 23.

The contract between the MCCC and the Department of Higher Education (DHE) will give faculty and professional staff represented by the MCCC a 2* increase this year and 2.5* increases each of the next two years of the contract.

Glenn said he hoped funding will be provided after July 1 to cover the first year of raises.  Funding for the second two years is also being pursued but there is no guarantee the raises will be funded by the state.

NECC Strategic Plan is Shared in Boston

President Glenn and Strategic Plan co-chairs Wendy Shaffer and Mark Reinhold visited the DHE in Boston to share the college’s strategic plan.  The college’s strategic plan for 2016-20 will be finalized in June.  The college is also creating a technology plan.

College Considers Hospitality Program in Haverhill

Northern Essex is exploring the possibility of offering a hospitality program in partnership with Endicott College in downtown Haverhill.

“The college is now looking for state support, and for potential donors,” said Glenn.  “The soonest the program would be offered is the fall of 2017.”

Officers are Re-elected

The board voted unanimously to continue with the current slate of officers: Wendy Estrella, vice chair and Bill Cox, secretary.  The chair, Jeff Linehan, is appointed by the Governor’s Office.

Four Join College Staff

The board voted to unanimously approve the following positions: Michael Pierce, interim director of administrative services; Pamela Medina, administrative assistant II, Human Resources; Christopher Severance, administrative assistant II, Human Resources, and Alicia Blain, administrative assistant I, Quarrybrook*.

*This position is not state-appropriated.