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Board of Trustee Update: Sept, 2020

Submitted by on September 15, 2020 – 8:02 pm

NECC Prepares for Fall

Bill Heineman, vice president of academic and student affairs, shared the “herculean efforts” on the part of faculty and staff this summer to prepare for “what’s likely to be the most unique fall semester in the history of the college,”

The college decided in the spring to have a “max online strategy this fall”, meaning that any class that can be effectively offered online will be online.

The goal, according to Heineman, was to keep students and faculty safe, and prepare for minimal potential for disruption. “We wanted to start online and stay that way.”

This fall 90% of courses are online, with just over 50 courses taught on campus, primarily STEM and Health courses with a few human service and music courses. Over the summer 200 courses were converted from face-to-face delivery to online.

Courses taught on campus are either reduced in size or offered in a room large enough to accommodate a socially distanced class.

Several initiatives were started to make sure students are successful:

·         The college has a new laptop requirement and a fund to help support students who need help purchasing a computer. At the time of the trustee meeting, 550 students had reached out for financial help and more than half had been approved.

·         The college has a new team of peer ambassadors, who have been successful with online learning, and will be “triaging” NECC students who are struggling and directing them toward the appropriate support services.

·         Wi-fi hotspots have been created in parking lots on the Haverhill and Lawrence campuses, providing places where students can study.

When asked how faculty are feeling, Heineman said “It’s all over the map. We have faculty who believe in online and are energized. Most have worked all summer and are tired. People are stressed; there’s no doubt about it. I’m feeling confident, given the circumstances.”

“Please tell faculty and staff that we are rooting for them and supporting them,” said Trustee Anita Worden.

Return to Campus Plan

President Glenn reported that most faculty and staff will remain off campus until at least the end of the year.

Fall Enrollment

While the final figures won’t be in until next month, enrollments are down 11% in full-time equivalency for the fall and 7% in headcount. “We’re not unhappy with this,” said President Glenn. “It’s close to the 10% decrease that we budgeted for, and many colleges are experiencing decreases far worse than ours…20%, 25%, 30%.”

Annual Giving Update

Since joining the college as vice president of institutional advancement just over a year ago, Allison Dolan-Wilson has focused on increasing the number of donors to the college; building the donor pipeline and identifying major gift prospects; and increasing unrestricted support of Northern Essex.

“Six and seven figure gifts don’t fall out of the sky,” Dolan-Wilson told trustees. “That’s why we have been focusing on building our donor pool.”

This past year, $39,106 was raised from 288 donors for The NECC Fund, the college’s annual giving fund, through direct mail, email, and social media.

More than half of donors (57%) are alumni, and most are from the Baby Boomer generation, 56 to 74 years old.

Attracting younger donors, 25 to 35 years, is a priority for Dolan-Wilson and her team.

They will also be looking to increase the average donation, which went up from a median of $15 last year to $50 this year.

Dolan-Wilson believes there’s “untapped potential” in alumni giving and she wants to focus on broadening the definition of alumni to include all who have attended the college, not just those who earned a certificate or associate degree. Just over one half of one percent of the college’s alumni currently give and she wants to increase that percentage to 1 percent by 2023. For comparison, she shared that UMass Lowell has a 7% alumni giving rate and MIT, 24%.

This year the Institutional Advancement Office also solicited funds from March through May to support students impacted by COVID-19.  The NECC Emergency Fund raised $59,999 from 99 donors.

New Appointments

The following state-appropriated positions that were approved by the president of the college during the summer session were affirmed by trustees: Pamela Medina, HR Generalist; Gabriel Garcia, multi specialist/mental health clinician***; Shakira Moreta, academic counselor; Ariel Chicklis, admissions counselor****; Cheryl Tine, director of enrollment operations***; Audrey Ellis, director of student success management***; Scott Lancaster, interim dean of health professions**; Amy Callahan, dean of liberal arts*; Dermot Luddy, staff assistant; David McAskill, chief technology officer***; Anthony DeGregorio, director, fiscal services/comptroller; Patricia Gauron, executive director of human resources; Nancy Jordan, accountant III; Kelly Fisher, interim dean of nursing**; Ruben Quesada, deputy chief.

Linda Walsh-Romano** was appointed to the non-state appropriated position of interim director of education, corrections.

*Appointment is interim position to permanent

**Appointment is interim position

***Title change/salary increase


Trustees Delegate Authority for Hiring to President

Trustees voted unanimously to approve a motion giving the president of the college authority to hire without the need for trustee approval.

“Many colleges already do this,” said President Glenn.

After the motion was approved, Trustee Marianne Paley Nadel requested that trustees receive a report annually on the make-up of faculty and staff with a goal of ensuring diversity.