Notes from Our 12/10/14 Meeting

On December 10, 2014, the following NECC members met at Champions Bar and Grill in the Marriott Hotel in Boston: Daniel Asquino, President, Mount Wachusett Community College (Gardner, MA); Anthony Benoit, President, Benjamin Franklin Institute of Technology (Boston, MA); Ronald Cantor, President, Southern Maine Community College (South Portland, ME); Ray Di Pasquale, President, Community College of Rhode Island (Warwick, RI); Susan Dunton, President, NHIT, Concord’s Community College (Concord, NH); Pam Eddinger, President, Bunker Hill Community College (Boston, MA); Barbara Finkelstein, President, York County Community College (Wells, ME); Alicia Harvey-Smith, President, River Valley Community College (Claremont, NH); Richard Hopper, President, Kennebec Valley Community College (Fairfield, ME); Elizabeth Roop, Interim President, Housatonic Community College (Bridgeport, CT); and Charles Wall, President, Massasoit Community College (Brockton, MA).

The meeting was also attended by Barbara Brittingham, President, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC); Annie Kennedy, Special Projects Coordinator, Community College of RI (Warwick, RI);
Greg Lamontagne, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Community College of RI (Warwick, RI); Ann McDonald, Executive Vice President, Mount Wachusett Community College (Gardner, MA); and Patricia O’Brien, Senior Vice President, Commission on Institutions of Higher Education (NEASC).

All present introduced themselves and were invited to include any information on recent successes or challenges in their respective states or at their respective institutions.

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The members then discussed the purpose and future direction of the NECC. Mount Wachusett Community College President Dan Asquino, whom Ray credited for handling and growing the New England College Council for years, reported that the NECC has at least 40 members and represents between 300,000 and 400,000 associates degree students enrolled in New England. The NECC has potential to support NEASC and be recognized by associations such as the AACC.

President of the NEASC Commission on Institutions of Higher Education Barbara Brittingham added that there are approximately one million students the NECC can reach, and that the council has partnered with NEASC on many events in past years. She added that NEASC, which relies on volunteers to operate, has recently received government interest. For example, the Accounting Office chose to observe one of their accreditation visits (which took place at CCRI and was led by NECC member Carole Cowan).

Other NECC members who spoke up during the discussion agreed that the NECC could be vital for partnerships and resource & information sharing and that the council provides members with an opportunity to exert power, ideas, and influence.

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A financial report provided by Dr. Asquino showed that the council is in good shape to try professional development for its members. Dues have not been raised for some time, and he suggested that the council consider raising membership fees in order to pursue a half- or full-time staff member to support initiatives.

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The NECC website is being redesigned in WordPress. Annie Kennedy invited NECC members to participate in a rotating membership spotlight, in which a different institution would be featured each month with a banner photo and feature article with an overview of or news update from each spotlighted college. Annie welcomed suggestions for other news and information that NECC members would like to see on the website.

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The council discussed professional development opportunities and plans to hold a conference in the fall of 2015 for presidents and their senior teams. Several members volunteered to be part of a conference planning committee, which will aim to meet in January to start that process. Additional suggestions included obtaining good regional data upon which to inform decisions, good information on national trends, and focus on strengths of commonalities and information sharing among New England council members.