Notes from Our 12/9/15 Meeting

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 ( and the Chair Academy (, 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.


2015 Conference Prompts “New Normal” Discussions, New Leadership

Seventy presidents, vice presidents, and other higher education teammates gathered at the Publick House Historic Inn in Sturbridge, MA on Friday, October 30 to discuss “the new normal” and how the New England College Council can better serve its members.

Continue reading 2015 Conference Prompts “New Normal” Discussions, New Leadership

Announcing Our 2015 Scholarship Winners

The New England College Council is pleased to announce that three outstanding students will be awarded NECC scholarships for the 2015-2016 academic year at NECC member institutions.

Eastern Maine Community College student Sara Clifford learned to work hard at an early age, and today she juggles three jobs to maintain her finances in addition to sustaining good grades at EMCC. Along with volunteering at various Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society and Student Success Center events, Sara spends quality time off-campus with local children as a volunteer Big Sister. She has a clear five-year plan to help others, beginning with earning an associate degree in early childhood development and a Behavioral Health Professional Certification, after which she will transfer her credits to the University of Maine Orono to obtain her teacher’s certification after an additional two years of coursework. She will then enroll for a fifth year of study to attain a master’s degree in guidance counseling for elementary schools, which she will apply to a career in helping children in the state of Maine. Sara’s instructor lauded her for encouraging, tutoring and mentoring her fellow students, and the judges wish her well on her ambitious and passionate plan to follow her dream of being an advisor and mentor for local youth.

In 2012, Jeanne Hallisey had to quit her supervisory job at a bank to nurse her husband, who had undergone his second stem-cell transplant, and to run her family’s household. For 25 years, Jeanne had worked in and risen through corporate ranks without a college degree, but that has become more difficult in today’s job market. She entered college for the first time last January at the age of 50 to attain an A.S. in order to pursue a new accounting position. Jeanne has already earned 43 credits toward her degree at Northern Essex Community College in Massachusetts and has earned a 3.95 GPA in addition to supporting her husband and children, working part-time at an internship, and serving on the board of the Amesbury Educational Foundation. Jeanne is proud of the example she is setting for her children by pursuing college and by working hard at it, and once her schedule permits it, she looks forward to continuing the extensive volunteering she had done in the Amesbury school system as well as at her children’s various sporting and school events. She was highly praised by her business professor for her impeccable work and for being a role model to other NECC students, and the judges found Jeanne inspiring and wish her the best of luck.

Sheyla Rivera, a student at Capital Community College in Connecticut, emigrated to the U.S. from Peru at 15. The experience of having to learn a new language and culture provided Sheyla with empathy to reach out to others in her situation, and for two years she taught English to immigrant adults in a local church to help them acclimate to the same new world. Despite many financial challenges and the hardship of having her mother deported, Sheyla has continued to develop and grow academically in her classes at Capital CC, professionally via a successful internship with Pepperidge Farm, and personally as the oldest child helping to run the household from a young age. She plans to obtain a bachelor’s degree in Accounting and gain experience as an exemplary banking employee until she can achieve the next step in her plan – creating a family business along with her father to aid community members with their taxes and finances. Her determination in the face of adversity, her strong desire to help people in and beyond her community, and her glowing recommendation from the accounting professor she had repeatedly impressed with her patience, professionalism, drive, and attention to detail convinced the judges to award Sheyla with a NECC scholarship.

Announcing Our 2015 Conference Speaker

The New England College Council is pleased to announce that Mark Milliron will be the 2015 NECC Conference keynote speaker.

photo of Mark Milliron courtesy of
Mark Milliron (photo courtesy of

Dr. Milliron is currently chief learning officer and co-founder of Civitas Learning, an organization committed to helping students learn well and finish strong on education journeys. An award-winning leader, author, speaker, and consultant, he has worked with universities, community colleges, K-12 schools, foundations, corporations, associations, and government agencies across the country and around the world. In previous roles, Dr. Milliron served as the founding chancellor of Western Governors University, Texas; as deputy director for postsecondary improvement with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation; as endowed fellow and director of the National Institute of Staff and Organizational Development at the University of Texas at Austin; as vice president for education and medical practice with SAS; and as president and CEO of the League for Innovation in the Community College.  He has been a member of numerous boards and advisory groups, and in 1999, the University of Texas at Austin’s College of Education named him a Distinguished Graduate for his service to the education field. In 2007, the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) presented him with its National Leadership Award; in 2011, the National University Technology Network (NUTN) named him the recipient of the Distinguished Service Award; and in 2013 he was inducted into the United States Distance Learning Association’s Hall of Fame.

The New England College Council would like to thank Mount Wachusett Community College President Dan Asquino for bringing Dr. Milliron to our attention. Dan recently caught Dr. Milliron’s standing room-only presentation, “What’s in Store for Community Colleges: Results of the 2014 CEO Key Trends Survey,” at the League of Innovation Conference and found him both informative and dynamic. For his part, Dr. Milliron looks forward to tailoring a presentation especially for NECC members as they face the challenge of leading in higher education in this age of the “new normal.”

The 2015 New England College Council Conference will be held on Friday, October 30, 2015 from 8:30 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. at the Publick House Historic Inn, 277 Main Street, Sturbridge, MA 01566. The cost will be $130 per person, and invitations will be sent by early May. NECC members are encouraged to bring teams of colleagues to participate in this conference.


Announcing Our 2015 Scholarship Contest

The New England College Council (NECC) will award three (3) scholarships in the amount of $750 for the 2015-2016 academic year to students attending NECC member institutions. Students will be notified by June 30, 2015.


Students must meet the following requirements in order to be eligible for this scholarship:

  1. The student must have completed at least thirty (30) hours of credit toward his or her associate degree by the end of the Spring 2015 semester. At least half of those credits must have been earned at the current member institution.
  2. The student must be returning to his or her current college for the Fall 2015 semester.
  3. The student must have achieved a cumulative grade point average of 3.30 or higher.


Students who meet the above criteria are asked to complete an online survey as an initial step in applying to this scholarship.


The following materials are required of all applicants:

  1. The student must have his or her member institution mail an official college transcript to the New England College Council at the below address, postmarked by May 15, 2015.
  2. The student must mail at least one letter of recommendation from a faculty or staff member of the student’s current member institution to the New England College Council at the below address, postmarked by May 15, 2015.
  3. In addition to completing this brief online questionnaire, the student must mail a personal statement of interest (no more than 1500 words) to the NECC, postmarked by May 15, 2015, at the below address.

Statements of interest must detail the following:

  • Your aspirations for attending college
  • Your reason(s) for choosing your field of study
  • Your goals and ambitions for the future
  • A description of civic, service learning, and/or college activities in which you have been involved.

Please mail your statement of interest, letter(s) of recommendation, and transcript to:

The New England College Council
c/o Annie Kennedy
Community College of Rhode Island
400 East Avenue
Warwick, RI 02886