May Trustees Update
At the May 8 meeting of the NECC Board of Trustees, Mary Farrell, dean of health professions, shared how the college successfully rebuilt its nursing program after passing rates on the NCLEX-RN licensing exam for registered nurses dipped five years ago.
Farrell attributed the lower scores to a number of factors including changes in the licensing exam that made it more difficult and the start of a hybrid (offered partially online) Advanced Placement Program for LPNs, which has since been discontinued.
When the college realized they were in trouble—the mean first-time passing rate for 2013-2015 was 68%–a series of strategies were immediately implemented to address the problem. Those strategies included tightening up the requirements for admittance to the Advanced Placement Program for LPN’s who want to earn an Associate Degree in Nursing and be eligible to sit for the licensing exam; building a review course for the licensing exam into the curriculum; and revising the curriculum to better align with the licensing exam.
The good news is that the results have been overwhelmingly successful, according to Farrell. In 2018, the licensing exam pass rate for nurses in the associate degree program was 88%; 100% for students in the Advanced Placement Option.
Also, all graduates who responded to a graduate survey reported that they were employed within one year of graduating.
As a result of the turnaround, the Board of Registration in Nursing gave the program full approval in the spring of 2019.
Northern Essex offers three nursing programs: Nursing Associate Degree; Advanced Placement: LPN to ADN; and a Practical Nursing Certificate. There are currently 60 students in associate degree programs and 30 in Practical Nursing.
The Practical Nursing Certificate Program has been ranked number one in Massachusetts for the past two years, based on its 100% licensing exam pass rate and 100% employment rate within one year.
FY20 Operating Budget is Approved
Declining enrollments and decreasing state support has made the budget process “difficult”, according to Mark Forman, chair of the trustee finance committee. The $42,749,678 budget, which trustees unanimously approved, accounts for a 5% decline in enrollment and a $6 fee increase, which was approved at the May meeting. Most community colleges are experiencing declining enrollments, which is typical during times when the economy is strong, according to President Lane Glenn.
Report of the Administration
President Lane Glenn reported that the Integrated Student Experience goal of NECC 2020, the college’s strategic plan, is moving along nicely. The college has opened five academic centers: Business and Accounting (C201, Haverhill), STEM (TC219, Haverhill), Professional Studies (C203, Haverhill), Liberal Arts (C209, Haverhill), and the Student Success Hub (Behrakis Student Center, Haverhill). “We’re still working on an exploratory center and a health academic center,” said Glenn, who added that the college hopes to duplicate the centers in Lawrence when funding is secured.
Each academic center is staffed with faculty who teach that subject and includes a variety of support services such as tutoring, academic advising, and financial aid counseling.
Contract for Prison Training
Northern Essex is entering a million dollar contract with the Essex County Sheriff’s Department to provide training for incarcerated individuals. “We will provide education within the walls of the prison,” said Glenn.
Lawrence Dimitry Building Nears Completion of Renovations
The college hopes to move back into the Dimitry Building this summer, said Glenn. Located on Franklin St, the Dimitry Building has been closed for extensive renovations since late in 2017. When complete, the building will feature new windows, new siding, parking lot improvements, and new and beautifully landscaped outdoor space. When the Dimitry Building reopens, the college will move out of the space it has been leasing at the Riverwalk in Lawrence.
Trustees voted unanimously to approve six full-time appointments: Kelly Chouinard, financial aid counselor; Kalyn Ryll, veteran’s service coordinator; Tracey Geary, staff associate/public safety; Maria Hernandez, staff associate/international student administrator and SEVIS coordinator; Scott Lancaster, assistant dean/health professions; and Allison Dolan-Wilson, vice president of institutional advancement.