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December Trustees’ Report

Submitted by on December 19, 2016 – 1:52 pm

Professor Discusses Sabbatical

Early Childhood Education Professor Gail Feigenbaum waited 30 years to take a sabbatical, but, as trustees learned in the educational report at the December meeting, what she gained from the experience was well worth the wait.

During her spring 2016 semester sabbatical, Feigenbaum immersed herself in the Reggio Emilia approach to early childhood education, a philosophy that promotes learning based on building relationships with children, families, and the community,

She took a course at Lesley University, observed classrooms at local early childhood programs that incorporate the Reggio approach, and attended an international conference in Reggio Emilia, Italy where the philosophy was founded after WWII and continues to thrive.

“In Italy, I got the global perspective, interacting with 300 teachers from 41 countries,” she told trustees.  “We have some things in common and some differences.”

What impressed her most about the Reggio approach was the respect for children, who are encouraged to take the lead; the trust given to teachers; and the use of recycled materials for student projects.

Feigenbaum has already begun sharing resources and applying concepts she gained during her sabbatical to the Early Childhood Education curriculum at Northern Essex.

Fundraising Brings In More than $3.5M

Jean Poth, vice president of institutional advancement, reported on the college’s successful fundraising efforts.

From July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016, the college raised more than $3.5 million in private, public, and in-kind donations and grants.

Private sector funds totaled over $700,000 and came from endowed funds, annual scholarships, the Women of NECC, the NECC Fund, private grants, and events.

In-Kind donations totaled $29,817 and ranged from bookstore gift cards for scholarship recipients donated by Follett Higher Education Group to tablets donated by Dell Inc.

Close to $2.8 million in public sector grants were awarded to the college last year.

New Policies are Unanimously Adopted

Trustees unanimously approved two new college policies that were instituted in response to recent changes to the Massachusetts laws regarding marijuana usage and public accommodations.

Since Northern Essex is the recipient of federal funding, the college is required to follow federal law which prohibits the possession, use, distribution, and/or cultivation of marijuana at educational institutions.  Here’s a link to the college’s new policy.

Changes to the state’s public accommodations law led to changes in the college’s bathroom and locker room use policy.  Students now can utilize bathroom or locker room facilities on campus that are designated as gender-neutral or that are consistent with a student’s sincerely held gender identity.   The college is in the process of defining additional bathrooms on both campuses that will be designated as gender-neutral bathrooms.   The new policy replaces the current policy which allowed students to use bathrooms or locker rooms on campus that are designated as gender-neutral or those that are gender specific based on the gender designation contained in the student’s college records.