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Board of Trustees May Update

Submitted by on May 19, 2023 – 3:35 pm

Haverhill, MA (May 3, 2023) – The May meeting of the Northern Essex Community College Board of Trustees started with a moment of remembrance for Trustee Anita Worden. She passed away at her home in North Andover, MA, on April 12th after a valiant four-year battle against ovarian cancer.

A moment of silence was held for NECC Trustee Anita Worden

“She was a visionary in our community,” remarked NECC President Lane Glenn. “She left a mark on a lot of places, and we’re sorely missing her. I feel privileged to know her as a friend and collaborator.”

“She was an amazing person who touched so many lives,” added Board President Jennifer Borislow. “She loved this school, and she loved this board.”

Worden was appointed to the NECC Board of Trustees in 2017. Read more about her life and legacy here.

Educational Report

Director of Transfer Articulation and Academic Center Advising Michelle Sunday presented an update on transfer-related programming and initiatives at the College. This academic year, NECC participated in and completed a transfer intensive with the ASPEN Institute in collaboration with Salem State and North Shore Community College, signed Joint Admissions Agreements with both UMass Lowell and Emmanuel College (RN- BSN), and will be finalizing an agreement with Salem State University in the coming weeks.

Sunday said they’re already seeing promising outcomes from these agreements. For example, 165 students have opted into the UMass Lowell partnership since the agreement was signed in February. All they need to do is check a box on their application to NECC.

“It opens access to a lot of students because indicating that you intend to transfer when you apply to community college sets in motion that model. We’re very excited about that.”

Sunday said they are planning another transfer fair for students in the fall. This past fall, they had 45 colleges participate.

Report of the Administration

President Lane Glenn shared that he, along with other members of the Lawrence Partnership, recently visited the Massachusetts State House at the invitation of State Senator Paval Payano (D. First Essex). “We had a well-rounded conversation around workforce development, affordable housing, and childcare. There was a real willingness to hear from the members of the Lawrence Partnership and how people are using the funds out there to help the people of the city.”

Read more about the Lawrence Partnership here.

President Glenn then introduced Patty Gauron, executive director of employee engagement and chief people officer. Gauron shared some data on how the “great resignation” is affecting higher education and specifically Northern Essex. Prior to the pandemic, the typical employee turnover rate was 12%. Currently, it’s 17%. “It’s not catastrophic, but it’s noticeable,” said Gauron. She noted that the college is looking at ways to boost retention, such as offering more frequent orientations, mental health training, and opportunities for remote work when possible. “We want to offer flexibility- we’re doing the best we can. We need to be sure that when our students and staff need us, we’re here.”

Gauron’s own role is changing as part of the effort to retain more employees. She was previously the Executive Director of Human Resources and is now serving in the newly-created role of Executive Director of Employee Engagement and Chief People Officer.

The next meeting of the NECC Board of Trustees is scheduled for June 14 on the Lawrence Campus. Read past meeting minutes and get updates by visiting the webpage.