On December 9, 2015, 45 higher education presidents, executive officers and administrators from around New England gathered at Champions Sports Bar at the Marriott Copley in Boston to discuss the future work of the NECC.
After everyone introduced themselves, NECC President Ellen Kennedy introduced herself as the newly-elected president and noted that the NECC is here to represent all of New England. She hopes everyone will continue to think of ways the NECC can be helpful to their institution or organization.
NECC Executive Director Jack Warner said he’s pleased to be working with the NECC, which has value to add for everyone.
Dr. Warner briefly summarized the robust discussions from the NECC’s conference held on October 30th, which resulted in themes, ideas, and focuses on professional development. Jack noted that there had been clear support of the NECC having a role, and he invited everyone to share tonight what they feel is important to focus on.
Some ideas raised at the conference were:
- Hold multiple conferences, convening affinity groups throughout the year such as chief academic officers
- Focus on themes such as student success (could hold specific conferences on emerging themes)
- Bring in national experts to work in-depth with teams
- Piggyback meetings and events on existing conferences like NEASC
- Address advocacy and policy categories
- Hold a best practices showcase event and invite vendors; teams can share what has worked
- Hold specific trainings on items such as Title IX
- Conduct strategic planning (Jack mentioned that he’d attended a great session on this today at NEASC)
These are the main themes that emerged during the conference, and professional development is a major part of the NECC’s mission.
Jack invited anyone interested to serve on an NECC professional development committee. This way, the group could be in regular contact to refine ideas and solicit feedback.
Committee volunteers so far include:
- Susan Dunton, president of NHTI, Concord’s Community College
- Adrienne Maslin, dean of students, Middlesex Community College (CT)
- John Cook, vice president of academic affairs, Manchester Community College (NH)
- Raelyn Lincoln, assistant to the president, Massasoit Community College
- Nicholas Gill, associate dean for institutional research & planning, York County Community College
- Yves Salomon-Fernandez, interim president, Massachusetts Bay Community College
- Mary Ellen Jukoski, president of Three Rivers Community College
Jack welcomed feedback from all present on additional ideas for the NECC to pursue.
Suggestions from dinner meeting attendees included:
- Factor cost into professional development opportunities so cash-strapped institutions can still participate
- Pool resources to provide better value
- Ensure that opportunities are participatory so attendees can have something to take back to campuses with them
- Hold specific trainings for new chairs, new deans of academic affairs, etc. and pool resources for cost-effective programming
- Ensure that professional development opportunities are New England-specific (opportunities are available in multiple places, so NECC should offer something that focus on what makes community colleges, especially those located in New England, special and different)
- Along with being New England-specific, consider why we’re like the rest of the U.S. We have similar challenges as TX and CA and FL, but they have a place at the table in conversations while New England often doesn’t. Let’s have our voices be heard – maybe try to get additional representatives on the AACC board.
- Explore more connections to the Community College Leadership Academy (http://www.masscc.org/) and the Chair Academy (http://www.chairacademy.com/), which offers a Foundation Leadership Academy and an Academy for Advanced Leadership. Both programs are fairly cost-effective. CCLA has monthly seminars that are hosted by rotating colleges, plus a four-day summer Residency College. Chair Academy offers an intensive year-long experience with a one-week residency and then on-campus mentorship, focusing on strategic planning, leading teams, etc. Share academy curricula among NECC members. (Cape Cod Community College will be hosting a leadership academy in January. Bill Hart will send out the link with information on how to enroll.)
- Gail Carberry was unable to attend tonight but had asked Ellen Kennedy to share her suggestion that the NECC author a white paper on a specific issue, such as how workforce development impacts the New England economy, and present it as a response to our region’s situation. Jack Warner added that he has a wonderful resource who can clearly and engagingly present statistics on workforce development and the economy if that’s a subject we want to pursue.
- Mary Ellen Jukoski, president of Three Rivers Community College but not yet an NECC member, noted that a recent presentation on appreciative inquiry by a teammate had been well received, and she suggested that the NECC explore holding a series of presentations that can be both low-cost and excellent resources for all, using our own banks of talented experts at our institutions.
Dan Asquino provided the NECC financial report, prefacing the report by noting that he and Cathryn Addy are the longest-serving NECC members, both having begun their presidencies together on August 1, 1987. He is still proud to serve the NECC, and he reported that as of December 3rd, the NECC broke about even on the October conference. The Council has $38,612 in savings and $13,814 in checking for a total of a little over $52,000, but it also lost some investment income in its CD.
Jack Warner stated that we have about 40 members out of New England’s 60 two-year-degree-granting institutions. The more who join, the better we can share resources and spread costs.
Jack thanked all attendees for their ideas and energy. Ellen thanked Barbara Brittingham, president of the NEASC Commission in Institutions of Higher Education (CIHE) for attending the NECC dinner meeting again this year, and Barbara in turn thanked everyone who had participated on NEASC standards, including Wilfredo Nieves and Bob Pura who had served on the commission.
Dr. Kennedy also suggested that we find more ways to speak with one voice as New England community colleges and to share experiences about how we have transformed lives. We know we add value; it’s time to tell our story both effectively and together.