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Board of Trustees Update: May, 2020

Submitted by on May 12, 2020 – 5:03 pm

State Grant Helps NECC Train and Recruit Early Childhood Educators

The early years have a tremendous impact on child development which is why the education a child receives before elementary school is so important.

A shortage of well-trained early childhood teachers is making it difficult to deliver the level of care required to provide a strong foundation for learning, according to Doris Buckley, director of Northern Essex’s Early Childhood Career Pathways Grant, who presented the educational report at the May meeting of the Board of Trustees.

While the situation is challenging, Northern Essex is helping provide solutions, thanks to a grant from the Massachusetts Department of Early Education and Care.

The grant gives the college $502,000 a year to improve the credentials of those working with the youngest children and to increase the number of early childhood educators working as family child care providers, early childhood center staff, and at public school pre-schools.  The grant was awarded to North Shore Community College, which contracts it out to Northern Essex.

The college has developed a series of contract courses that are offered for free to early childhood educators.   These courses help teachers move up the career ladder from teacher to lead teacher to director I and II.

This year, the college created a cohort for nonnative English speakers that is addressing a particular need.   This group is developing English language skills so they can enroll in college courses, and some students have already done so successfully.

There were 104 students in the fall of 19, 156 this spring, and 173 students are registered this summer in eight different classes.

“Our reach is growing,” said Buckley.   “Our numbers are second in the state.”

For more information, contact Buckley,

College Chooses New Security Company

The college’s board of trustees voted unanimously to approve a bid from SecureAmerica to provide security services on the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses.

The three-year contract is approximately $1.1 million per year and it will begin June 30, 2020.  It includes two optional one-year renewals through 2025.

Seven security companies responded to the bid, including the current provider EIS, but four of the bids were deemed “non-responsive” and, as a result, were not considered.

The finalists, DPC, SecureAmerica, and Securitas, were evaluated on a variety of criteria including price, financial strength, references, the quality of the proposal, finalist presentations, and value added services.

“We were impressed with SecureAmerica for many reasons,” said Lane Glenn, NECC president.  “Most importantly, they were able to provide technology and training that the others weren’t able to provide.”

In March of this year, after hearing recommendations from a comprehensive public safety assessment, Northern Essex trustees voted to approve arming campus police officers.   At that time, 12 of the 15 community colleges in Massachusetts had armed officers on campus and Northern Essex was slated to become the 13th.

Report of the Administration

COVID-19 Campus Update

Northern Essex administrators and faculty are focused on making a plan for the fall, in light of the pandemic, which they hope to announce in June.

“What colleges are thinking about doing is all over the map,” said President Lane Glenn.   “Our response will be informed by the best available data, expertise, and professional guidance.”

What’s worrying Glenn most now is the college’s budget.  Northern Essex has received $3,271,644 in CARES Act funding from the federal government.   Half of that will go directly to students who have been impacted by the virus, and the rest will help the college fill its funding gaps, created by lost revenues and additional costs, though the costs will be much higher than the relief the college is receiving.

Glenn has been busy advocating in the media and on his blog for increased funding at the state and federal levels in recent weeks, including appearing on a livestreamed discussion focusing on community colleges with Senator Ed Markey.

“I have spent time advocating for community colleges because I’m frightened of what the future will bring,” he told trustees.   “We are the most overlooked sector in higher ed.   Every time there’s a slowdown we get hit the hardest and I’m trying not to have that happen again.”

While Glenn is hopeful the state will “hold community colleges harmless” as much as possible in next year’s budget, college leadership is creating scenarios for 5, 10, and 15 percent declines just in case, though he hopes to avoid them, since they will involve staff reductions and reduced programs and services.  The FY21 budget, which will be brought to the trustees in July, is delayed this year because of all the uncertainty.  Typically, trustees approve the budget in June.

NECHE Site Visit Moved to April

For the past couple of years, Northern Essex has been preparing for its 10-year reaccreditation by the New England Commission of Higher Education (NECHE).   A comprehensive self-study has been reviewed extensively by the college community and the finishing touches were going to be finalized over the summer, in anticipation of a NECHE site visit team that was scheduled for October 4-7.

Due to COVID-19, the site visit has been rescheduled for April, with a specific date to be determined.

Co-chairs of the NECHE 2020 self-study are Kim Burns, dean of academic innovations and professional development; Scott Lancaster, associate professor, EMS, and Mike Hearn, director of libraries.

College Hires New Dean of Students

Jonathan Miller, who is currently dean of students at Delta College in Saginaw, Michigan, will be joining the college as dean of students after unanimous approval by the board of trustees.

Trustees also voted to affirm the hiring of two staff members who were previously approved by the president, using the delegation of authority that trustees gave him in April.   Those employees include Elizabeth Teoli, reference librarian, and Terry Williams career placement counselor, MassHire Career Center.