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June Trustee Notes

Submitted by on July 17, 2017 – 8:56 pm


Mobile Advising Unit Meets Students Where They Are

Because Northern Essex students are busy people, often balancing their studies with work and family responsibilities, finding the time to visit one of the Career Planning and Advising Centers (CPAC) on the Haverhill or Lawrence campus can be a challenge.

That’s why advising staff launched a mobile advising unit in December of 2015.

With the mobile advising unit, advisors can set up where students are congregating, such as the Spurk Building lobby or the atrium in the Dimitry Building.  Students can register for classes and have program or course questions answered in between classes, making it much more convenient for them.

Jayne Ducharme, who is the coordinator of academic advising in Lawrence, presented on the college’s mobile advising to trustees at the June 14 meeting, along with Stephanie Wares, coordinator of academic advising in Haverhill.  The two say they discovered mobile advising after researching the best strategies for reaching students.

Since the launch in December of 2015, academic advising has conducted eight mobile advising sessions, four in Haverhill and four in Lawrence, and 225 students have been seen.

Added benefits include increased visibility for academic advising and more interaction between advising and faculty and staff.

Challenges include finding the resources to staff the mobile advising unit along with the CPAC centers and the difficulty of conducting in-depth advising sessions in a busy, open area.

Moving forward, mobile advising will focus on evening students, since this group seemed to get the most benefit.

Board Approves Operating Budget

The board unanimously approved a $44,566,482 operating budget for FY2018 which begins July 1, 2017.

Creating the budget was challenging, according to President Lane Glenn, who said that the college had half a million dollars less than they did last year, primarily due to enrollment dips, increased costs, and flat state support.

“We’re in the same pickle as our sister institutions as far as enrollments, which are trending down across the country,” he said.  “We’re focusing on doing a better job of attracting and maintaining our core students as well as increasing our outreach to high school students and international students and we plan to turn this around.”

To offset the budget shortages, the board voted unanimously on fees for the coming academic year, accepting the $9 per credit increase that was proposed by the Audit and Finance Committee of the trustees.

The increase will impact college fee-regular (from $168 to $177 per credit), the college fee-allied health courses (from $248 to $257 per credit), and the high cost course fee (fees currently range from $5 to $15 per credit and they will increase by $2 a credit).

“We don’t like to increase fees, which is why we kept the increase small and within the guidelines of the grant funds that most of our students receive,” said Marianne Paley Nadel, chair of the trustee’s Audit and Finance Committee.

Report of the Administration

Strategic Plan: Integrated Student Experience

Each month President Glenn highlights one of the four strategic goals of NECC 2020, the college’s strategic plan.  This month he provided an update on the Integrated Student Experience goal which is to design and deliver an integrated, structured, and inclusive student experience across campuses that maximizes student success.

Glenn reported that the college is planning to develop a single student support hub on each of the campuses that will co-locate student support services.

Plans are also in place to create five campus centers, each of which will focus on a specific major and invite students to gather and network, and a revamped orientation process that’s “deeper, broader, and more impactful.”

Haverhill Campus Update

The Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) is issuing an RFP for space in downtown Haverhill to house NECC’s Culinary Arts Certificate, planned for 2018, and Associate of Science Degree in Business Management: Hospitality Option, which is currently offered at the college.

The college recently received $2 million in state funding for this project in the FY2018 budget which is in addition to $1 million in the FY2017 state budget and $150,000 in Workforce Skills Capital Grants from Governor Baker’s administration to purchase equipment.

Learn more.

Lawrence Campus Update

The Dimitry Building (45 Franklin St, Lawrence) will be undergoing renovations October 2017 through December 2018. When complete, the building will feature new windows, new siding, parking lot improvements, and new and beautifully landscaped outdoor space. The renovation is anticipated to cost $6.5 million and it is being funded by the Massachusetts Division of Capital Asset Management.

To learn more about the Dimitry Renovation process, visit the website.

New CIS Option will Fill Student and Employer Need

Networking and security courses are the most popular course electives among computer science majors, and, starting in the fall of 2018, Northern Essex will offer a Networking and Security option as part of its Associate Degree in Computer and Information Sciences.

Trustees voted unanimously to approve the new major, which will address employment trends.  According to a Computerworld survey shared with trustees, the demand for security skills is expected to grow by 26 percent in the next 12 months and the demand for networking skills by 15 percent during the same time period.

Northern Essex is currently graduating students with these skills and this new program will make the pathway more clearly defined.

Three Faculty Hires

Trustees voted unanimously to approve three faculty hires: Kimberly Foisy, assistant professor, Nursing; Eileen Pappalardo, assistant professor, Nursing; and Dr. Hilmar von Strunck, assistant professor, Behavioral Sciences. All three are replacing recent retirees.