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September Trustee Notes

Submitted by on September 22, 2016 – 7:58 pm

Two new trustees, Rosalin Acosta and student-elected trustee Klinbert Garcia, were introduced to the board.

Acosta of Amesbury has been working in wealth management for 30 years, currently with Enterprise Bank of Lowell.  She is the mother of five, and she says four of those five children “have come to NECC in some way or another.”

Originally from the Dominican Republic and now living in Methuen, Garcia is a business major at Northern Essex.  He says he’s “passionate about education and its ability to empower people.”

Professor Mike Cross Shares Experiences as an Undercover Student

The September educational report was given by Chemistry Professor Mike Cross who recently supplemented his PhD in chemistry with an associate degree in liberal arts, enrolling at Northern Essex as an “undercover student” while continuing to teach full time.Cross said he decided to enroll at Northern Essex in the spring of 2015 while attending the Annual Awards Convocation, honoring students for academic achievement and extracurricular involvement.

“I started thinking about why some students succeed while others fall through the cracks,” he said.

Cross wanted the full student experience so he did everything a regular student would do, including applying for financial aid, taking the Accuplacer assessment test, and enrolling in the First Year Seminar course.

While his goal was to learn more about his students and the challenges they face while pursuing an education, he also learned from his professors, “I saw how different disciplines teach and got outside of my silo.”

He says he stills get teary-eyed about a writing award he received for a paper he wrote for Professor Suzanne Van Wert’s English Composition II class.  “In all my years, I have never once been told I’m a good writer.  I still get choked up.”

Here are some take-a-ways from his experience as a student that Cross shared with trustees:

·         As a full-time employee and parent of three, online courses worked best with his schedule.  Accessibility is important in reaching adult students

·         Winter intercession courses which compress the typical 14-week semester into just three weeks, are intense

·         Textbooks are expensive and some students in his classes had to get through class without a textbook due to the cost

·         NECC offers “fabulous” student services in both Haverhill and Lawrence.  Cross was surprised to find a full library in Lawrence and a writing center, and to learn that, as a student, he could work out for free at the YMCA.

All College Assembly has Productive Year

Despite challenges from contract negotiations and preparations for renovation of the Spurk Building, the All College Assembly had a “good year” and covered “many important issues on campus”, according to Professor Amy Callahan, who reported to the trustees as chair of the Executive Committee.

The Academic Affairs committee reviewed 94 proposals and approved 88 of them.

The Finance Committee made several recommendations including directing more resources toward marketing and paying attention to retention in light of enrollment decreases.

And the Student Affairs Committee focused on issues of student concern such as how to best co-exist with the police and sheriff academies on campus and gender use of bathrooms.

The Information Technology Committee is a new committee that will be focusing on communication policies.

Two Faculty Sabbaticals are Approved

Trustees voted unanimously to give two faculty members, College Reading Professor Marilyn McCarthy and English Professor Paul Saint Amand, sabbatical leaves for the spring semester of 2017.

Professor McCarthy will explore best practices for teaching students on the Autism Spectrum.

“The number of students on the Autism Spectrum is growing at the college and many faculty and staff do not feel well-enough equipped to serve these students well,” wrote McCarthy in her sabbatical leave abstract.

Once her research is completed, McCarthy will develop practical strategies for working with students on the Autism Spectrum in collaboration with Learning Accommodations.

Professor Saint Amand plans to spend the spring semester writing a book and scholarly article on NECC’s very successful Peace Poetry project which he started eight years ago.

Over the years, he has received requests from other colleges with an interest in developing similar programs, which provide an opportunity for building relationships with K-12 schools.

Each year Northern Essex solicits original poems on the subject of peace from students from kindergarten on up.  Selected poems are published in a book and read at a Peace Poetry Reading held in May at Northern Essex.

16 New Positions are Affirmed

Trustees affirmed 16 full-time personal appointments that were made during the summer of 2016.

State appropriated appointments include Jacqueline Dick, associate professor program coordinator, Public Health; Amanda Fregeau, academic counselor, Academic Advising; Maria Hernandez, academic counselor, Academic Advising; Jennifer Levesque, temporary academic coordinator, Tutoring Center; Rachel Oleaga, reference librarian; Thomas Ortiz, academic counselor, Admissions; Ireni Rose, financial aid counselor; Karen Hruska, associate director of mental health counseling, Student Affairs; Jean Dyer, interim director of nursing education; Pamela Medina, staff assistant/Human Resources; John Pastore, Linux administrator; Gary Cooke, integration specialist, Information Technology; Ellen Small Davis*, staff assistant/public relations, Marketing Communications; Lauren Erwin*, staff assistant/videographer, Marketing Communications; Lindsay Graham*, director of scholarships, alumni & community relations, Institutional Advancement.

Non-state appropriated position includes Maria Medina, academic coordinator, TAACT Grant.

*part-time to full-time status