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Board of Trustees Update: December, 2021

Submitted by on January 4, 2022 – 5:26 pm

The educational report at the December meeting of the Board of Trustees focused on a virtual exchange program between NECC and two colleges in France, the Université Paris-Saclay and the Université de Lorraine.

Five Northern Essex faculty have been partnering with French faculty on interdisciplinary group projects, according to Melba Acevedo, director, instructional technology & online education, that they will launch with their classes in the spring semester.

“We are globally connecting teaching and learning,” said Acevedo. “The goal of these projects is to help students develop workforce skills while increasing their intercultural competence.”

Only one in ten undergraduate students in the United States participates in study abroad, Acevedo told trustees. “This program is not a substitute for study abroad. It’s designed to expose students, who may not have that opportunity, to the benefits of collaborating with students and faculty in other countries.”

Faculty who are participating include Emily Gonzalez, Anatomy & Physiology; Sheila Muller, Principles of Marketing; Liliana Brand, Calculus II; Habib Maagoul, Differential Equations; and Lis Espinosa, American Literature II.

Professor Sheila Muller’s marketing class, for example, will partner with an English class in France on a project that compares the shopping experience in France and the United States, using mystery shoppers.

“The experience is energizing my own teaching,” shared Muller in a video. “We come from different backgrounds but have the same challenges.”

Northern Essex is partnering with Gazelle International, a higher ed nonprofit focused on producing globally capable graduates, which provides training support and assessment guidance for faculty.

Reports of Board Committees

Audit and Finance

Trustees voted unanimously to approve the FY21 audited financial statement.

“The school is in amazing shape and our balance sheet is very healthy,” reported Bill Cox, chair of the sub-committee.

Alumni and Advancement

Allison Dolan-Wilson, vice president of institutional advancement, shared that the college has received five new planned gifts this year since the launch of the NECC William ’63 and Rosemary ’70 Planned Giving Society. Those interested in creating a planned gift or bequest, can contact Dolan-Wilson at

Equity Imperative

Chair Marianne Paley-Nadel reported that a decision has been made to re-open the search for a Chief Officer of Justice, Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.  The position was posted this fall and, after “a robust search process”, three finalists were selected and interviewed.

Report of Administration

President Lane Glenn began his presentation by sharing a video titled “How the COVID 19 Pandemic Affected NECC Students”, created by student Kyra McLean for Professor Isabelle Gagne’s Psychology 101 course.

In the video, McLean describes how the pandemic impacted her own mental health as well as highlighting resources at NECC available to students who are struggling with COVID-19.

The video was shared in a story on community colleges by Boston Globe reporter Laura Krantz on November 29 of this year.

Glenn also shared the following:

FY22 Budget Status Report

With enrollment on track, the college is “financially on solid footing.”

2021 Strategic Plan

The college community is reviewing the draft strategic plan, which will be finalized later in January. The plan will be connected with the budget process, so that initiatives identified in the plan will have resources allocated toward them, according to Glenn.

NECHE Re-accreditation

Board Chair Jennifer Borislow received communication from NECHE indicating that NECC’s accreditation has been continued for 10 years. The process included a comprehensive self-study, which involved nearly everyone at the college, and a virtual site visit in which a team spent four days speaking with faculty, students and staff and reviewing data. Areas that the college will be focusing on include financial and enrollment planning; diversifying the board of trustees and college faculty and staff; and assessment.