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Board of Trustees Update: March 2020

Submitted by on March 9, 2020 – 1:54 pm
four theater students, theater teacher Brianne Beatrice, and Lane Glenn

At the Mar Trustee Meeting, NECC President Lane Glenn recognized the students who walked away with a record number of awards from the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival for Region 1.

Denis Boucher, program manager for the NECC Lupoli Family Hospitality and Culinary Arts Institute , wears a lot of hats.  He teaches four classes in the college’s Hospitality Management Associate Degree Program, is overseeing the construction and opening of the Institute in downtown Haverhill.; and is recruiting students for the new 29-credit Culinary Certificate, which starts this fall.

In his educational report, Boucher told trustees the Culinary Certificate is geared toward people who want to prepare quickly—in under a year—for careers in restaurants, hotels, and more.   Students will develop skills in applied culinary techniques, advanced baking, classic world cuisine, and more.

The certificate can be completed as a full or part-time student. Each student graduates with experience, thanks to the required internship.

Boucher said the college is accepting applications for the Culinary Certificate now and also the Associate Degree in Hospitality which the college has been offering.   A series of open houses at the new institute are planned, April through August.  Boucher encouraged those interested to come in and see the spectacular views of the Merrimack River and the state of the art culinary lab, baking lab, classrooms, and conference rooms.

Boucher is marketing the program enthusiastically, with plans to meet with high school groups and sponsor a booth at the Haverhill farmer’s market.  Building relationships with local farmers is important to Boucher, who champions the local food movement and food sustainability.

The NECC Lupoli Family Hospitality and Culinary Arts Institute will be located on the second and third floors of The Heights of Haverhill, a 10-story, mixed-use building under construction at 160 Merrimack St. in Haverhill on the banks of the Merrimack River.  “We hope to take possession of the space in April and be up and functioning by May,” said Boucher.

In addition to the Culinary Certificate and the Hospitality Management Associate Degree, both credit programs, the institute will offer noncredit cooking classes in many culinary topics, including food and wine pairing, Chinese cuisine, appetizers, and much more.

It will also house the MassHire Valley Works Career Center, which Northern Essex manages.  The career center is currently located on Northern Essex’s Haverhill Campus.

Trustees Vote to Arm Campus Officers

Twelve of the 15 community colleges in Massachusetts have armed police officers on campus, and Northern Essex will soon become the 13th.

Trustees voted unanimously on a motion “to approve arming the police officers that work for the Northern Essex Community College Public Safety Department.”

Northern Essex recently completed a comprehensive public safety assessment which recommended that the college implement its first police department, including armed officers.

Officers hired for the Northern Essex Police Department will go through personal background checks and screenings as well as initial and annual firearms training consistent with the training policies adopted by the Massachusetts State Police and Municipal Training Committee.

The goal is to “provide an additional level of security and protection to our campus community,” read the trustee motion.

Report of Administration


President Lane Glenn reported that the college is doing its own planning relative to the coronavirus.

The college has distributed educational information to faculty, staff, and students and faculty are prepared to teach classes online using Blackboard, the college’s online system, in case of a college shutdown.

Based on recommendations from Governor Charlie Baker, the college has also cancelled a study abroad trip to Italy which was planned for this spring.

NECC 2020 Strategic Plan

The college’s Career Services, most recently under academic affairs, will now report to Allison Dolan Wilson, vice president of institutional advancement.  “This is reflective of what’s been happening around the country,” said Glenn.   “There’s advantages to having our career center, the MassHire Career Center, alumni relations, corporate and community relations, and fundraising under the same umbrella.”

With the Academic Centers now up and running and the college’s Integrated Student Experience firmly in place, the college is making changes in the advising process, moving from a “generalized” to a “specialized” approach.

Up until now, most students received their advising in the advising center, but that will soon change.   Students with declared majors will receive advising in the academic center covering their major and students who haven’t decided on a major will visit the Student Success Hub where they will receive advising as well as services to help them choose academic and career goals.

Creating a Community Cultural Center in Lawrence

A Catholic Church in Lawrence, that has been empty for more than two decades, may become a community cultural center.

Northern Essex and the city of Lawrence are working with The Paramount Development Group to explore the feasibility of restoring and revitalizing the historic St. Anne’s Church and St. Anne’s Parish Hall located on Haverhill Street in Lawrence, according to President Glenn.

The partnership recently engaged Don Hirsch Design Studio, LLC, a theater consulting firm, to create a comprehensive plan for the restoration and sustainable operation of the center.   Four community forums were held recently to get public input and there is a 12-member steering committee that has been formed.

St. Anne’s is located two blocks away from the college’s Dimitry Building.   “Paramount is looking to give the property to the city,” said Glenn.  “There are a few different ways the college could be involved, including the potential to operate the center.”

Glenn Advocates for SUCCESS Fund

The Massachusetts Community Colleges are requesting $14 million from legislators in the FY2021 budget to create a new SUCCESS Fund (Supporting Urgent Community College Equity through Student Services) for community college students.   The fund would support wraparound supports and services that will improve outcomes for the most vulnerable populations, including low income students and students of color.

The dollar request is based, in part, on the success of Northern Essex’s PACE (Pathways to Academic & Career Excellence) Program.   A Student Support Services program funded by a TRIO grant from the US Department of Education, the PACE Program provides 250 low income and first-generation NECC students with support services such as peer mentors, academic skills workshops, field trips to 4-year schools, and targeted academic, career, transfer, and scholarship advising.

These extra services cost $1561 per student and they’ve proved to be very successful in helping students persist in graduating and transferring to a four-year college.   The success rates for PACE students are 20 to 30% higher than the overall student population.

New Hires

Trustees voted unanimously to approve three new hires: Taryn Capozzi, academic counselor, Center for Adult Education; Omar Nunez, career placement counselor, MassHire Career Center; and Denise Torrey, technical assistant III, Testing Center.