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Faculty and Staff Receive National Honor

Submitted by on February 7, 2019 – 8:50 pm

This year’s NISOD recipients are (l to r) Alicia Iola, Paula Richards, Attorney Judith Pollock-Ciampi, Dr.Patricia Machado,  and Mark Clements, Ph.D. not in photo.

Five Northern Essex Community College faculty and staff members were recently named recipients of the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Awards for Excellence, a national honor that recognizes outstanding faculty and staff in the country’s community colleges.

This year’s recipients include Alicia Iola of Bradford, administrative assistant in the International Studies, PK – 12 Partnerships & STEM Center; Mark Clements, Ph.D., of Wakefield, associate professor of biology; Paula Richards of Salisbury, associate professor of English as a Second Language and English; Dr. Patricia Machado of Dracut, professor of economics; and Attorney Judith Pollock Ciampi of Chelmsford, professor and faculty lead for the Center for Business & Accounting.

Since 1978, NISOD has been dedicated to the professional development of faculty, administrators, and staff; and to the continued improvement of teaching and learning, with the ultimate goal of student success.

Here is additional information on each of the recipients:

Mark Clements, Ph.D.,  began teaching at Northern Essex in the fall of 2011. He was nominated by Carolyn Knoepfler, assistant dean of STEM, who praised him for being an “extremely devoted educator” as well as one who is “constantly finding new and innovative ways to teach our students.”

He is an active researcher, publishing his work on a consistent basis. Data driven by nature, he has explored and discovered impressive data sets using the Zogotech program and thought of new ways to look at the data, wrote Knoepfler.

“Every semester he looks deep into his students’ learning and tries to improve it in any way he can.  He has collaborated with other educators across the country trying to find what works best,” she wrote. “Although Mark is quiet and many may not know him, he contributes to the college in significant ways.”

Alicia Iola, who started at the college more than 10 years ago, has worked in a number of positions part and then full-time. She was also nominated by Knoepfler, who praised her for balancing a number of tasks.

“Alicia has worn many hats…I have been impressed how she can take a long list of information and seemingly in an instant create a useable spreadsheet,” Knoepfler said. “She takes on tasks large and small without hesitation… Alicia has spearheaded College for Kids and our Summer STEM academy all with an ease and an attitude that is remarkable.  Alicia balances many different tasks at once and efficiently gets the job done. She is a remarkable coworker…”

Dr. Patricia Machado, who has taught at Northern Essex for 11 years, was nominated by Judy Zubrow, dean of liberal arts. She praised Machado as both a skilled advisor and teacher.

“Trisha is recognized as someone who sets high standards in the classroom and is committed to helping each student achieve success,” Zubrow wrote. I’ve had the pleasure of observing her classes, and she is gifted at making complex concepts of economics engaging and understandable for our students.”

Amy Callahan, NECC communication/journalism professor, and Dr. Steve Russell, an NECC history professor, supported the nomination

Judith Pollock-Ciampi, who started working at NECC in 1994 on a part-time basis, has held several positions including program coordinator, educator, and most recently innovator in the Center for Business & Accounting. She was nominated by Kelly Sullivan, dean of business and professional studies.

She wrote, “Judi has been a valued member of the Northern Essex community for over 20 years. She was originally hired to coordinate the paralegal program, which she successfully led for over fifteen years… she was the only full-time faculty member in the program, so she advised all of the students herself. Her students were quite successful, and they continue to work in offices and agencies throughout the region…Judi changed focus and became a faculty member in the business and accounting area. As an attorney, she was the perfect choice to teach Business Law, which she also developed into a popular online course.”

She will continue to use her legal skills as she develops an online hospitality law class for the business: hospitality program.

“She has served as the faculty lead for the Center for Business and Accounting…and created a welcoming Center…Registration for business and accounting students was up 10% last spring compared to the prior spring. This year the center has blossomed. There are always students working with faculty, getting tutoring, grabbing a snack or participating in a planned event.  It is exactly what we pictured a successful center would look like.”

Paula Richards, who began teaching as an adjunct in 2000, was hired full time in 2008. She was nominated by Janice Rogers, associate dean of liberal arts.

“Paula meets all of the criteria for the award,” wrote Rogers. “She demonstrates a passion for teaching and for the success of her students…As a strong advocate of service-learning, Paula works to create meaningful learning experiences for her students and is passionate about graduating NECC students who are active, informed and civically engaged.  She provides leadership to other faculty … through the Service Learning Fellows program she established…Paula is also a thoughtful practitioner who has brought innovative curriculum to the college. For her NECC Leadership Academy project, she researched and developed an accelerated English model for English as a Second Language students, the first in the state. She has created online course components to support accessibility and student learning and has shared this curriculum with her colleagues.”

Colleagues Retired English Professor Paul Saint-Amand, Professor Rick Lizotte, Janel D’Agata-Lynch, coordinator of civic engagement, service-learning and community resources, and Amy Cameron, ESL curriculum coordinator, supported the nomination.

For additional information, contact Sharon McManus, director of professional development, at