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NECC Alumna is the New Dean of Business and Professional Studies

Submitted by on June 3, 2022 – 9:09 pm

Haverhill and Lawrence, MA (June 3, 2022) – When Jody Carson ’02 was a student at Northern Essex Community College, she had a feeling she’d be back. “I had planned to be a Kindergarten teacher. But, I loved this campus and my NECC experience. I knew by the time I left that I wanted to return here to be an [Early Childhood Education] Professor.”

And that’s precisely what she did. Now, 20 years after she graduated with her associate degree and 15 years after returning to NECC to teach, she’s been named the new dean of business and professional studies.

jody posed slightly angled toward the camera, smiling over her left shoulder

Dean of Business and Professional Studies, Jody Carson

“NECC has been a central part of my entire adult life. The college has given me many opportunities to grow personally and professionally,” she said. “I strongly believe in the mission and work of community colleges, especially here at Northern Essex. I’m grateful for the opportunity to lead the Division of Business and Professional Studies so that I can support and give back to a community that has given so much to me.”

A first-generation college student, Carson went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development from Lesley University and a Master’s of Education in Child Development from Southern New Hampshire University. For much of that time, the Hampton, NH resident was also a preschool teacher. In 2007 Carson became an adjunct faculty member at Northern Essex and immediately began examining ways to make courses more accessible to students. In an email to faculty and staff, NECC Provost Dr. Paul Beaudin wrote:

A year later, she began advising Early Childhood Education (ECE) students and developed the first ECE online course. In 2010, she began managing a grant for ECE students at NECC, which was funded by the Commonwealth’s Department of Early Education and Care (EEC) that involved four local colleges. This collaboration launched Emerging Leaders in Fall 2014. In addition to teaching and grant management, she began working in NECC’s Center for Instructional Technology (CIT).

In 2013, Carson joined the Textbook Task Force to address students’ concerns over the cost of course materials. As a result, she and Sue Tashjian, NECC’s coordinator of instructional technology, started the initiative to bring Open Educational Resources (OER) to Northern Essex. OER are free, openly licensed educational materials that faculty can adopt in place of commercially published textbooks. Their work has resulted in several state-wide collaborations. They have also secured stipends for faculty to adopt and create OER and saved more than 19,000 students $2 million on textbooks.

In May 2020, Carson earned tenure as a member of the faculty and received a NISOD Excellence Award. She has been serving as the interim dean of business and professional studies since October of 2021.

“The search reaped considerable interest from candidates from around the country,” Dr. Beaudin commented, “and the committee recognized in Ms. Carson a creative leader, a kind person, a talented educator, and someone whose entire professional career has been tied to the care of the student. Our students and community are very fortunate that she has accepted our invitation to leadership.”

Dean Jody Carson is beginning her doctoral studies at Northeastern University. You can learn more about Business and Professional Studies by visiting the webpage.