Leadership Academy Projects

Click on the appropriate link for information about past participants and their projects.

2020-2021 Participants and Projects
2019-2020 Participants and Projects
2018-2019 Participants and Projects
2017-2018 Participants and Projects
2016-2017 Participants
2015-2016 Participants
2014-2015 Participants and Projects
2013-2014 Participants and Projects
2012-2013 Participants and Projects
2011-2012 Participants and Projects
2010-2011 Participants, Projects and Photos
2009-2010 Participants, Projects and Photos
2008-2009 Participants and Photos

2021-2022 Projects

Tracey Trask, Administrative Operations Manager and Clery Compliance Officer

Bringing Required Clery Awareness and Training to NECC

The project is to develop Clery programs for incoming students and employees to raise awareness which focuses on domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Additionally, Tracey intends to investigate the best means for NECC’s 250 Campus Security Authorities to receive their annual training.  The project will benefit the college as the Clery Act requires all colleges and universities to promote awareness to incoming students and new employees. The Clery Act also advises that Campus Security Authorities receive training on an annual basis. Currently NECC isn’t doing any of these things. As such, we are running the risk of a $62,689 fine per violation in each of these areas by the Department of Education during a Program Review/Clery audit.

Lisa G Proctor, Financial Aid Counselor

Creating a Team through Culture and Connection

Creating a financial aid onboarding manual at NECC is more than just reviewing financial aid fundamentals and policies and where to find them. It is about fostering a sense of belonging to a unified team on two unique campuses, serving diverse populations. It is an everyday approach about learning and celebrating the simple things that make us an inclusive community, as well as setting up strategies to integrate NECC core values. When the team becomes the coaches, see what can be accomplished!

Maxine Rice, HR Operations Specialist

Finding a Way to Stay

Contending for adept workers is not ideal for any organization in this tight and competitive hiring market.  Maxine proposes a proactive retention strategy that focuses on individual employees & their direct supervisors to help avoid further, avertible turnover at Northern Essex. This approach will promote other benefits for the College in addition to talent retention. Her presentation will include best practices, reasons for implementation, a suggested pilot roll out and the potential costs of not realizing this initiative.

Jessica Rocker, Transfer Advisor, PACE

Finding Comfort in the Discomfort:                                                                               Courageous Conversations about Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

Jessica will be hosting sessions in the Center for Professional Development that encourage faculty and staff to get out of their comfort zones by having conversations about topics that are difficult and often uncomfortable. Topics that will be covered will include diversity, equity and inclusion. These sessions will create a safe space for faculty and staff to come find comfort in the discomfort by practicing having these types of conversations but also being able to ask questions and learn from our peers on how to navigate them. Practice makes perfect, the more prepared we feel about having these types of conversations the better equipped we will be when having these conversations with our students.

Dr. Patricia Portanova, English Professor

Faculty Support Group

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic both the Chronicle of Higher Education and Inside Higher Ed have reported on increasing faculty burnout signaled by elevated levels of frustration, anxiety and stress. Though the focus of institutional efforts have been, understandably so, on the student experience, it is clear that faculty members need additional support as well to navigate the myriad transitions and challenges created by the pandemic. This project explored and implemented a Faculty Support Group to serve as a safe peer space for full-time faculty. Informed by mindfulness practices and existing faculty spaces, this project sought to support the emotional well-being of full-time faculty.

Peter C. Maskaluk, Adjunct Faculty, English; Early College Coordinator; Adjunct Faculty Fellow

Community of Knowledge:                                                                                         Creating a Content-Sharing Space at Northern Essex

There are 42 academic departments at NECC, and although these departments vary greatly in content and approach, there is one commonality—the faculty in each department are experts in their field. As faculty, we have the unique opportunity to share that expertise with all members of the Northern Essex community, including our colleagues. Creating a space where faculty can share content and assignments with each other will facilitate connectedness and collaboration. It will allow us to be exposed to the knowledge and skills of each other’s academic fields. Most importantly, it will offer our students a broader and deeper education, one which will allow them to experience the crossover between academic disciplines. Through sharing our expertise with one another, faculty can further advance our ability to educate and empower our students.

Alejandra S. Méndez Irizarry, Librarian, Lawrence

The Tale of Two Libraries:
Creating an Equitable Space at the Lawrence Campus Library

The NECC Lawrence Library is a great educational space that strives to aid in academic success. Yet, it is a limited location on the lower level at the Dimitry building. The current project seeks to expand its floor plan by bringing the computer laboratory to the lower level, allowing fluidity and continuity in space. The expansion of the Lawrence Library should include the addition of quiet and group study spaces for students and offices for the library staff

Darla Lamanna, Director of Education, Essex County Corrections

Building Back What Makes a Community College Great

Darla’s project describes the opportunity to use stackable credentials with vocational trades using NCCER curriculum for unemployed, underemployed, and nontraditional students seeking industry credentials. These stackable credentials are credentials that can lead to a sustainable wage or continue towards an Associate in Science Degree.

Gabriel Jose Garcia, LMHC, Coordinator of Counseling

Why Are We Losing Students?

This project aspires to answer the question, “why are students dropping out.” by collecting first-hand accounts from students who have dropped out of NECC classes within the last year. Novel exit interviews will be conducted to identify shared themes, and this new information can help determine what future initiatives may benefit students most.

Kelly L. Fisher, PhD, RN, Assistant Dean of Nursing and Health Professions

Re-Ig-Knighting the Nursing Club

Goals for the Nursing Club are to enhance inclusion, retention, and governance; enhance communication with students, faculty, and administration; create a community through social and community service activities; fundraising to support student activities; and to assist in planning the Nursing Pinning ceremony.

Dermot Luddy, Academic Counselor, SOAR Program

Every Letter Tells a Story

Among the risk factors for student persistence and retention are administrative withdrawals and F-grades. This project focused on the F-grades received by the first cohort of students in the SOAR program and found that it is one of the greatest risk factors affecting persistence. The long-term goal of this project is to deploy invasive advising, case management, academic coaching and other supports to decrease the percentage of students who receive an F-grade in their classes.

2020-2021 Projects

Maurisa R. Charest

Public Speaking Mentor

Public Speaking Mentors (PSM) are current NECC students willing to volunteer their time coaching/mentoring  other current NECC students in need of assessment on a presentation for any class. There will be a training workshop to guide the PSM to effectively and efficiently offer kind words of encouragement as well a useful tips. This can be done via Zoom and face-to-face once classes resume on campus. Students helping students is a great way to create comradery, reciprocity and to build a solid sense of community on the NECC campus. 

Sheila Corsaro

Grief Support Group for PACE Program Students

Grief has tremendous impact on the ability of students to succeed. Providing students with a way to honor their grief with a grief support group can have a positive impact on their academic success and their all-around life.

Sharline Del Rosario

NECC’s ESL Programs: What can they do for you?

NECC has English as a Second Language (ESL) programs that offer seekers a variety of services depending on  students’ need. This project aims to highlight the different services available through a marketing campaign with the goal of better servicing the Latino population and increasing ESL enrollment numbers at NECC. The campaign will distribute digital tools as well as make changes to the website promoting NECC’s ESL programs. 

Vanessa Desani 

English as a second Language (ESL) Interest Group 

The ESL Interest Group celebrates NECC ESL students’ diversity and helps them to connect with all the different college areas. The ESL Interest Group is a safe and supportive place where students can discuss their struggles and needs, and get the support necessary to achieve personal, academic, and professional growth through education. 

Milissa Duncan

Using Checklists to Support Student Success in CBE

This project is designed to help Competency Based Education (CBE) students meet expectations and stay on track with their academic responsibilities by using checklists. The checklists will be explained and introduced during CBE Orientation. Weekly checklists will be emailed out to CBE students, including special first week of class and end of the semester versions, along with text message reminders.  The CBE Learning Coach will follow-up with students during weekly check-ins.

Meredith Gagnon Dube

Streamlining the Transfer-In Admission Process

Streamlining the transfer-in admission process, is a project to simplify the enrollment process for all Transfer Applicants.  The updated admission process for all transfer students will allow: a single point of contact, smoother flow of application and transcripts, more event opportunities and an updated transfer webpage.  This revision will allow NECC to: increase transfer enrollment, provide accelerated customer service and allows staff to cross-collaborate with events.  

Shirley Lusty


Engaging employers and employees for a better future through breaking the stigmas of adult learning and sharing the path to post-secondary education with an emphasis on Credit for Prior Learning opportunities at Northern Essex Community College

Mike Rideout

Rethinking Transfer-in Service: increasing efficiency, competitiveness, and equity within the incoming transfer pipeline

Comparing the way NECC processes incoming transfer credits to the ways other colleges and universities in Massachusetts process incoming transfer credits, this project is designed to determine if a change in policy would be advantageous for enrollment and increase opportunities for access for students interested in enrolling at NECC.  

Kalyn Ryll

NECC Peace Garden – Bringing a Community Together

Peace gardens are spaces created to help bring communities together, foster discussions about what peace means and looks like for members of the community, and to help a community take an introspective look at their culture and environment – how do they treat themselves and others. By creating a peace garden at NECC’s Haverhill Campus, we can help further develop the welcoming environment we strive to provide for our students, staff, and faculty. Such a project will encourage engagement with all aspects of the college community, and bring together those who otherwise may not collaborate. The peace garden will further provide a tangible space where all of NECC’s community will be encouraged to find quiet, opportunities for reflection, taking a breath, and remembering and honoring important events and people in their lives. 

2019-2020 Projects


Leadership for the Rest of Us

Kathleen’s project focuses on developing a Leadership Course to address the personal insecurities and misconceptions of many students as they enter higher education. The goal is to change their perception of themselves so they feel empowered to access resources and advocate for themselves. The approach is not necessarily teaching them leadership skills, but teaching them to see themselves as leaders, each with individual strengths.


Creating an Adjunct Training and Mentoring Program

Adjunct instructors bring a wealth of expertise to our students. Supporting them with a training and mentoring program will help to maximize their effectiveness in supporting the mission of NECC and increasing student success.


Early College ConNECCtion Program

The Early College ConNECCtion pilot program takes place spring semester on the Haverhill campus and consists of a series of workshops over the course of 15 weeks. Early College students receive consistent support and guidance from the College Navigators on what is referred to as their “free days.” These are days when they must come to NECC but are not in class on Monday and Friday afternoons. Students experience a balance of “structured choice” where they participate in micro-workshops of 15-30 minutes, led by the College Navigators or guest speakers, for the first portion of the free day. They then choose where to go for the rest of the time such as tutoring, coaching, the library, Knight’s Nook, or elsewhere to study, relax, and socialize. Information from progress reports are used to create a suggested intervention plan for free days. Pre- and post-survey data were completed to assess the student experience.


Passport to Inclusion: A Multicultural Exploration of NECC

The Passport to Inclusion: A Multicultural Exploration of NECC will explore the rich diversity on the NECC campus through a celebration of what makes us all unique. It will allow the NECC community and surrounding communities the opportunity to share and learn from each other.


Professional Success Forum for Students

Kimberly’s project is to create a virtual (or face-to-face) Forum to assist minority, low-income, 1st year and under-served male students by providing mentorship and connections from people in the greater community, who have been positively impacted by their relationship with NECC. These mentees/volunteers will have either attended, completed, or supported programs at NECC and can testify to the benefit the relationship to the college. The Forum will be structured as one time per semester speaking engagements where volunteers will share their stories to encourage and guide students. Students will have opportunities for Q & A as well as connecting beyond the sessions. Professional networking may be provided by those wishing to further mentor as it relates to specific career paths and choices. I believe the value of my project is by providing solid, integral, scheduled opportunities for students to connect, it will provide additional encouragement as well as aide them in creating clear, realistic life goals. Having real-life examples of end goal success is empowering and supports the notion of giving back as a requirement of success.


Participatory Governance

The participatory governance in organizations needs to evolve and adapt to their ever-changing institutional structures and constituency needs. The internal participatory governance body at Northern Essex Community College is called the All College Assembly (ACA) and it gives authority to 5 standing committees, each with distinct directives and purviews, to consider and recommend institutional policy and the ongoing review of its implementation. Each committee; Executive, Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, Information Technology, and Finance; manages its activities according to the Charter. The Executive Committee additionally oversees the standing committees. In recent times, the Committee has observed the Charter does not adequately address our current state and needs. As chair of the Executive Committee, Sheila explored, researched, and interviewed local community college’s internal governance leadership to better understand their structures, methods, policies, and Charters. The Leadership Academy provided an opportunity to conduct this research that will develop best practices, which will be adapted to meet the specific needs of our campus and constituencies we represent.


Connecting the Unemployed with Special Programs at NECC

Solanyi is providing access to unemployed members of our community to connect to the NECC website through a questionnaire for prospective students to complete with answers to frequently asked questions. This will allow for students to locate this resource via through our website. This will also provide answers to students with questions that they may be hesitant to ask.


From Curb Cuts to Screen Readers: NECC Library Database Accessibility in the Digital Age

Imogen conducted an accessibility audit of Northern Essex Community College’s library databases, using the principles of universal design for learning.  She used a model outlined by Dr. Sheryl Burgstahler of Washington University to create an action plan for increasing the accessibility of these databases based on her findings. As part of the plan, she created an online LibGuide resource with information regarding available database accessibility features, standards for universally accessible database materials, and additional resources on digital accessibility. She also developed a reporting form for NECC community members to alert library staff of barriers to database accessibility and began work on an internal procedure for a core team of library staff to minimize or eliminate reported barriers.

2018-2019 Participants

Rachel Oleaga, Library

Library Archives

Rachel’s Leadership Academy project involved creating a web-based access point for the records of institutional history at Northern Essex Community College. A former archivist, Rachel (and several other colleagues) have spent time creating an Archive at NECC.  Her project allowed for the refinement of archival policies, reorganization of the digital archives, creation of a web page to provide information about the archive, and research about the history of the college. The site is available here: https://necc.mass.libguides.com/NECCarchive.          

Risobel Lourido-Rodriguez, Center for Adult Education

A Call for Continuous Improvement

The Center for Adult Education strives to engage in an ongoing, cyclical Continuous Improvement Process (CIP) informed by data with the goals of improving instruction, learning and student outcomes.  Efforts to integrate a continuous improvement process into our structure have been lost to day-to-day responsibilities, immediate priorities, and impending deadlines. Risobel’s project addresses this challenge, with the design, planning, and implementation of a CIP summit.  A facilitator will guide the leadership team – the Director, Coordinators, Advisors and Data Specialist to establish a continuous improvement process that will become part of the Center’s infrastructure.  The second part of the process will include the feedback, reflections, and recommendations of instructors and students.

Hilmar von Strünck, Ph.D., Psychology 

Discover your NECC Colleagues: Faculty/Staff Biographies Template

Dr. von Strünck designed a template that will help to promote faculty and staff on the NECC’s website. It will help to promote our amazing staff and faculty and create a sense of belonging among faculty and students.

Pamela Hallock, Chemistry

NECC-UML Chemistry Partnership

The initial goal of this project is to establish a partnership between NECC and UMass Lowell (UML) Chemistry Departments that will give NECC students exposure to a four-year research institution and provide opportunities for UML graduate students to gain teaching experience working with the NECC students.  This project can serve as a model for other NECC partnerships with UML as well as a template to allow high school students to participate in NECC Chemistry labs.  The overarching goal of this project is to attract, support and retain students in STEM fields, specifically Chemistry.

Allison Gouveia, Student Life

Advocacy 101

Allison has designed a workshop to help students gain a clear idea of goals and objectives to guide them to issues that are important to them. Advocacy in all its forms seeks to give people the empowerment to have their voices heard and to defend not only their rights but, particularly, the most vulnerable in society.

Dianne Pappas,  Art

NECC Art Revisited: Vital and Practical

This project is at the intersection of data and student connection and is aimed at addressing and debating the future structure of the Art and Design Department. Dianne and the Art and Design faculty are deeply committed to student success and helping them achieve through the rigor and, frankly, the frustration of what it means to practice the discipline of creating art. The “vital” piece of our equation is the conviviality, critical-thinking, and self-confidence that can be carried through a lifetime. The “practical” component is making sure we have a sustainable program with the right balance of skill development and flexibility to help students achieve these goals.  Dianne’s project lays out a path to modernize the structural needs of Art and Design at NECC to best serve the students, with an emphasis on retention.  

Sharon Schoolcraft, Center for Corporate & Community Education

Empowering Our Work-Study Students

Work-study students sometimes need support with essential professional skills when starting a new position. This project provides easily accessible online learning for Work Study students that can be used during onboarding. Topics such as customer service, professionalism and conflict resolution can help our work-study students in their future career success.

2017-2018 Participants

Ariel Chicklis, Student Engagement

Peer Mentoring and the First-Year Experience

Peer mentors increase a college student’s self-esteem and academic self-efficacy, their perseverance in following their educational goals, as well as their achievement in higher education (Ferrari, 2004). Transforming the current Orientation Leader program into a peer mentoring model would ensure that peer connections made at orientation are lasting ones. These student leaders would begin their duties at orientation and remain employed throughout the year, providing guidance, outreach, and support to new students during their first year at the college.

Susan Leonardi, Library

Student Printing at NECC

Susan’s project explores student printing at NECC. By discovering why students print, where they print and what they print from Blackboard, we have an opportunity to learn more about how to improve student experiences and support the campus services that help students succeed.

Cara Forcino, Learning Accommodations Center

Peer Note Taker Blackboard Training

More than two decades ago, before the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), NECC was on the cutting edge of providing note takers to students who were enrolled in the highly sought after Deaf Cluster Program. Since the ADA Amendments Act of 2008 (ADA-AA) enactment, the scope of who is protected under this law has broadened, and accommodation requests for peer note takers has increased. In order to better fulfill requests, keep up with the changing times and the latest techno-savvy generation, it’s time to modernize how we train our Peer Note Takers. Using the power of NECC’s Blackboard technology, and in collaboration with CIT, Cara’s Leadership Academy project will do just that.

Cesar Gonzalez, Tellez Marketing and Communications

NECC Mapping Application

Cesar’s project creates a web tool allowing our college community to navigate any location in campus. Easily find food, the nearest defibrillator, location of buildings, and more.

Pamela Medina, Human Resources

The Hiring Process, Simplified

Pamela reviewed the current NECC hiring manual and created a simplified checklist for hiring managers to use when hiring new employees. This project will benefit the hiring manager, human resources and the new employee.

Erin Colstad, Health Education Support Center

NECC & CAE Healthcare – A Strategic Partnership

Erin’s project has been a hands-on experience strengthening NECC’s relationship with CAE Healthcare, a manufacturer of high-fidelity simulators used by students in health programs. Erin negotiated better terms for CAE maintenance and support agreements, resulting in financial savings. She is working closely with CAE Healthcare to become a “Partner of Choice” which will result in further benefits and cost savings to the college.

Marsha Parinussa, Flynn Adult Basic Education

Pathways to Academic Success

Marsha’s project addresses the incorporation of the Center for Adult Education Programs and Preparation (CAEPP) within the administrative structure of the Center for Student Success. By doing so, she contributes to the implementation of NECC’s model of the Integrated Student Experience (ISE). Marsha’s project strives to connect developmental education to the guided pathways effort of the ISE. This will assist new and underprepared adult students to navigate the complexity of the college, pass critical program gateway courses, allow a seamless transition into the college and successfully further their education.

Lorena Holguin, Student Success

Creating Identity Conscious Communities at NECC

This project explores opportunities to connect and re-engage faculty/staff at NECC. A small focus group was piloted to assess the needs and share ideas among employees who self-identified as faculty and staff of color and/or Latinx.

Katelynn Donnelly, Accounting and Finance

Emergency Evacuation Maps

As an individual who works directly with the Public Safety Department at NECC and is dedicated to the safety of faculty, staff, and students, Katelynn saw a need to have Emergency Evacuation Maps in every classroom and office on both the Lawrence and Haverhill campuses. Working together with facilities, she has researched ways of obtaining these maps. Her project is aimed at the importance of the maps, what steps are needed to post the maps, and options to keep them updated.

Sarah Courchesne, Natural Sciences, Faculty

First Year STEMinar: Meeting your Meta-Major

The current First Year Seminar (FYS) course aims to help students gain their footing at NECC, adapt to the new demands of college level work, and build fundamental skills in learning, self-advocacy, and resilience. The proposed First Year STEMinar does those things, and places them within the context of the STEM disciplines. Students will begin to learn math as the native language of our fields, establish principles of causal and statistical reasoning, and scientific habits of mind, and build a social and intellectual community with students in their cohort and in the larger group of the STEM Meta-Major.

2016-2017 Participants

Kristen Arnold, PACE

Kelly Boylan, Academic Preparation

Richard Brown, Facilities

Stephanie Bryszkowski, Student Engagement

Erika Callahan , Financial Aid

Paula Emerson, IT Client Services

Joanna Fortna, Liberal Arts

Jennifer Levesque, Tutoring Services

Brianne McDonough, Academic Affairs

Laura Mondt, Library

Christopher Severance, Human Resources

Vengerflutta Smith, Enrollment Management

2015-2016 Participants

Jenny Fielding, Lawrence Campus Library

Rick Ingham, Audio-Visual Services

Martha Bixby, Career Planning & Advising Center

Adam Cutler, K-12 Partnerships

Sue Tashjian, Center for Instructional Technology

Ingrid Polanco, Tutoring Center

Alicia Blain, Quarreybrook &

Courtney Newman, Admissions and Recruitment

Minh Le, Center for Instructional Technology

Ashley Moore, Career Connections

2014-2015 Participants

Ana Fraden, Academic Advisor, and Fiona Edwards, Admissions & Academic Counselor Designated School Official (DSO) for International Students

The Multicultural Student Alliance

The Multicultural Student Alliance (MSA) is a collaborative student retention initiative that will be instrumental in promoting students’ self and global awareness. The organization will offer programming and services that aim to increase diversity and cultural awareness at Northern Essex while also incorporating the importance of academic success and the NECC core academic skills. The MSA will create a safe space where students from all cultural backgrounds can come together and gain valuable knowledge and experiences that will contribute to their success at NECC and beyond. Eventually, we would like students to participate in the organization’s leadership. These students will be initially trained, encouraged, and supported by the coordinators. This creates an opportunity for students to foster strong leadership skills and self-advocacy. The plan is to have a Fall Kick-Off Event and organize a regular meeting time for the Fall semester.

Lizzie Linn Casanave, Faculty, Philosophy

Helping Students to “Flourish”

I designed a lesson on the Science of Happiness as part of my philosophy course integrating the principles of positive psychology and how our students can change their perspective by focusing on gratitude.

John Pastore

Customizing Deployment of Computers with MDT

MDT is a technology that allows the college to customize computer deployment. By being highly customizable it automates many time consuming tasks during the deployment process that would normally have to be done by hand. This reduces the amount of mistakes that are made as well as reducing the time needed to deploy a fully working computer.

Ramon Suero, Computer Analyst – IT Client Services, Phil Wysocki, Network / Blackboard Administrator – IT NOC

Sign Me Up – Signage at NECC

Our project aims to correct, clarify and standardize signage on the NECC campus. The project was motivated by our observations regarding outdated, non-existent or erroneous signage. The scope of the project has increased to include the Lawrence campus as well as all building identification and direction signage. We will do the study and provide recommendations for products at different levels of pricing to the Comptroller’s Office.

Michele Simon and Charlene Woodard

Veterans at NECC: Improving Experience = Improving Student Success

Our collaborative project is on improving the experience of veterans at NECC. Michele was a student at NECC before she became a staff member, and through her experience as a student she met many other students but was moved by the sometimes sad stories and struggles of Veterans at NECC. She recognized that some of their experience could be fixed through better communications and understanding veterans and their needs better. As a staff member of NECC she connected with Charlene Woodard and they created this project. A survey was created to send to NECC veterans both past and present, and meetings were held between the Veterans Services and VSO Group leaders, and others. Through this project the Veterans Services section on the NECC website will be improved and updated, a section will be added to the Faculty and Staff website to help faculty and staff understand veterans and their needs better, suggestions were made for other improvements that will be implemented, and other findings and suggestions will be put into a report.

Louise A Michaud, Assessment Officer, Academic Placement & Testing

Centralized Tutorials for Test Prep

My Leadership Academy Project is associated with Test Prep for College Readiness and beyond. The focus is to provide a centralized menu of online tutorials for an assortment of compulsory exams in preparation to enter NECC and to further one’s career trajectory. This menu will be located on the Academic Placement & Testing Center’s web page that will be easily accessible. Those who will benefit from the tutorials are students who prefer to attend NECC on campus via in-person instruction as well as those students who intend to pursue a degree completely through distance learning. Tutorials will be available for the state mandated Accuplacer placement test in an itemized format, which will include specific elements related to each sub-test: reading comprehension, arithmetic, elementary algebra, college level math, sentence skills, and writing an essay. By reviewing these content areas prior to taking the academic skills assessment test, students have an increased opportunity to place directly into college level courses. The expectation is that students will not be placed into, and therefore must begin their studies in, developmental coursework, which will invariably prolong the completion of their Associates Degree by several semesters. Additional tutorials, as well as links to test prep materials, will be available for the TEAS V for AND, TEAS V for AH, CLEP, MTEL, Pearson Vue, and HiSet.

Sharon McManus, Center for Professional Development

NECC Well-being Council

The strengths- based campus culture is evident in a number of existing initiatives such as the (running club, etc. etc.). This project will establish a college wide “Well-being council” to enhance the culture of Well-being that thrives at NECC. Connecting current initiatives and the Five Essential Elements of Well-being to recognize, value and enhance our individual and community Well-being in support of the NECC mission and core values..

Brenda L. Perez-Goodrum, Faculty, Science M.Ed, MLT. CPR.

Engaging college scholars in STEM related fields through Imaginative Narratives

My project is geared to our scholars entering the world of characters through narratives of success even in times of adversity. The stories can be / may be of various characters specifically female minorities who succeeded in STEM courses to enter the world of science in the face of adversity with the assistance of people who may not have been thought of as allies. The stories will be portrayed around real life issues our current scholars’ face such as fear of the unknown, poor study skills, depression, homelessness, daycare issues, traveling, and finances, being told they would never be anything, abuse, anything our students in Lawrence and other cities may face, which prevents them from completing their studies at NECC. This is a project geared toward retention of student’s at the community college and even in High school. These stories will be developed to inspire, provide and offer hope and insight of another who succeeded when the odds seemed against them and how they managed to overcome the odds and succeed. Over time other stories will include others who also succeeded in college and STEM related fields all through the use of imaginative venerates. Engaging college scholars in STEM related fields through imaginative narratives based on those who succeeded. telling stories of success incorporating approaches, examples, and perspectives others have / done in dealing with real world issues can have our non-traditional college students of color who lack the confidence, skill sets, and self-esteem reflect and maintain their dream of succeeding. Scholars need other avenues of assistance and problem solving in order to develop confidence in their desired STEM fields and these stories will provide examples of others. Additionally, engaging scholars to be proactive, look for mentors to help them on their college journey in STEM related fields, can improve their attitudes toward their choices and themselves while providing stories of those who in the face of adversity still managed to succeed.

Deb LaValley, Administrative Assistant, Student Success

Toolkit for Student Success for Faculty and Staff

There are a great many initiatives and resources here at NECC to enhance student success. The focus of my leadership project is to address the need for faculty and staff to be fully aware of, and to easily locate, all these initiatives and resources to help students be successful. The vision is to create an inventory of all the resources in a central location that is easily accessible. Once this toolkit is created, the long range plan is to transform the Achieving the Dream webpage into the Student Success webpage with strategies and detailed data that is accessible and digestible to all.

Despina Lambropoulos, Financial Aid

Financial Literacy for NECC

My project for the Leadership Academy was to create a much needed Financial Literacy webpage on the Northern Essex Community College website. The webpage will provide information to current and prospective students on such topics as budgeting, credit card debt and loan borrowing. Current students will also have the option to register online for in-person workshops held by the NECC Financial Aid Office.

2013-2014 Participants

Lynne Nadeau, Director of Tutoring Services, Tutoring Center

Tutoring Center Feasibility Study: Developmental Math Embedded-Tutors Program

Research topic: Determine the feasibility of incorporating other programs into NECC’s Tutoring Center, using the developmental Math embedded-tutors program as a case study At NECC, it is fairly common for departments or individuals to hire students or professionals to provide student-support services to specified cohorts.

Examples include tutors working at the Technology Center to support Computer Science students during open lab hours, tutors hired by the Music Department to work with students outside of class on challenging course work, and classroom assistants supporting instructors during class time. This last example describes the embedded-tutor program developed by Linda Murphy for modular developmental Math classes. The purpose of this research project is to determine whether these types of services should be managed by NECC’s Tutoring Center and, if so, what resources would make this possible. The project presentation will consist of:

  • Statement of the project’s purpose
  • Definition of a Tutoring Center tutor: Who is this? What population does he/she serve?
  • Results of interviews
  • Current coordinator, administrative assistant, and assistant dean for embedded-tutor program
  • Supplemental Instruction coordinator and administrative assistant for Tutoring Center
  • Current and proposed revenue streams to support embedded-tutor program in future
  • Resources and personnel required annually
  • Conclusion: analysis of feasibility of embedded-tutors program in the Tutoring Center

Abby Thomas, ESL Coordinator, Dept. of Academic Preparation

New Curriculum Training for ESL

The ESL faculty has changed the ESL curriculum, integrating grammar study into the writing classes. The new curriculum will better help our students to use English in college classes, but it will require different methodology. Many of our adjuncts have been teaching the current curriculum for more than 10 years, and they will need to adapt to be able to teach the new courses. We rely heavily on these adjuncts, and we want to retain them, so I need to create a series of workshops to facilitate this transition.

Lori Smerdon, Staff Associate

Staff Engagement in our College Community

My project will be based on doing a staff survey with other colleges that have a well planned and executed employee campaign/involvement. Next, I am working on creating a survey to my college community asking for input with regard to their commitment to the college whether it be attending fundraising events, making an annual donation or other forms of giving. Then I would like to work on an outline which will inform and engage our employees by creating more of an interactive faculty/staff giving page; visitations; marketing strategies; emphasize the personal connection; make it convenient to give; and then finally making sure there is proper stewardship. Other thoughts with the campaign/project include asking for 100% participation (it’s not about the dollar amount they give); a t-shirt campaign; a logo for the campaign and other personalization to get to the heart of giving with regard to our employees.

Donna Felisberto, Coordinator, Academic Placement & Testing Center

FlexReg & Academic Placement & Testing Services – a web-based online payment system

My Leadership Academy project was to create an online payment option for services in the Academic Placement & Testing Center. This project involved faculty, staff & administrators from key areas. Payments by money order were the only option for students to pay fees associated with Academic Placement & Testing Services. This project was used to obtain a vehicle and a convenient option for students to pay online for fees; including CLEP/DSST Registrations, Accuplacer Fax/Email requests, Credit for Life Learning Evaluations, Proctored Testing Services and GED Transcript requests. I worked with key areas to create this project; including the Center for Corporate and Community Education (N0n-Credit Courses), Accounting & Finance, Bursar’s Office, Registrar’s Office, FlexReg Implementation Team, Banner (MIS) and Marketing & Communications.

Brandi Thomforde Enrollment and Planning

Beth Donovan, Strategic Initiatives

NECC High School Partnership Programs

One of the key outcomes of the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education Vision Project is to increase college participation, specifically focused on increasing the percentage of high school graduates who are going to college – and the readiness of these students for college-level work. Through the Vision Project, public institutions in Massachusetts are partnering with PK12 colleagues to support this effort. For our project we created a way for both internal and external audiences to access information on NECC’s PK12 initiatives. The newly designed NECC web pages showcase the PK12 partnership programs, project descriptions and contact information.

Maria Gonzalez, Academic Counselor-CPAC
Community Building- Faculty/Staff Collaborations

Community Building (developing faculty and staff collaborations)

Vision/Project-To increase faculty and staff collaborations

Description-This is a Community Building project for the betterment of the entire NECC Community.

This project is intended to develop and implement four Friday morning staff/faculty socials where staff and faculty can get to know one another, share important information about their department, and socialize in an informal setting. After the four socials, I will seek feedback from all attendees to see how they see Friday morning socials continuing in the future. The hope will be to continue the collaborations with faculty and staff for years to come. Outcomes-By doing so, we hope to build community. Benefits will not necessarily be measured quantitatively but I believe the benefits will spread across the college community.

  1. Personal Gains—People need personal connections. We are happier when we have personal connections. These collaborations will give faculty and staff a chance to socialize in an informal setting.
  2. Student Gains-Students will benefit when there is more of a collaborative approach to student support. With staff and faculty having closer relationships, it will allow us to provide more of a “wrap around service” and/or “helping the whole student” model.
  3. College Gains-While these are informal collaborations, I believe the college will see gains with this “Community Building” project. For example, a faculty/ staff collaboration may result in a discussion about the need for a new committee, or a suggestion that was share and brought back to ones existing committee. This area needs to be further defined…
Draft of Details

Friday morning socials, once a month from 9:00 to 10:00 am.

  • 9:00 to 9:15 am., introductions
  • 9:15 to 9:30 am., sharing new/exciting information, student stories, personal stories, department related or committee related news
  • 9:30 to 9:45 am., managers will share any important, relevant information about their respective departments
  • 9:45 to 10:00 am., the group will be encouraged to talk with someone they don’t know- ice breaker questions will be proposed to group.

**And maybe offer “Interest Groups” ie, Thursday night Salsa lessons at the senior center, president’s running club, book club, etc.

Marguerite White-Jeanneau, Assistant Professor and Coordinator of Lab Science Program

Using Appreciative Inquiry to Enhance Promotional Strategies for the Lab Science Program

The Lab Science program has gotten a lot of positive feedback from graduates, student externship hosts, and advisory board members. We’d love to be able to use this feedback to better promote the Lab Science Program to potential new students.

We do already pursue a lot of different promotional strategies: outreach with high schools, having a lab science faculty spend time helping with advising at the student success center over the summer, talks to ESL classes and social club, working with adult education at the college to develop a STEM academy to help prepare and direct people into the lab science program, giving talks to ESL classes and social club.

We also have some great promotional materials the PR department has helped us develop: a brochure, posters, and profiles of several of our graduates. I’d like to explore how we can enhance these strategies using appreciative inquiry strategies to work with our stakeholders (current students, graduates, advisory board members, externship hosts, faculty, etc.) to develop new material for promoting our program.

Joshua Abreu, Retention Specialist – Student Success Center

Bread Loaf – NECC Project

Our goal is to expand opportunities for ALL students, faculty and staff with respect to diversity and inclusion. In this effort, we have developed culturally-centered seminars and writing workshops with BREAD LOAF, a long-standing educational program in Lawrence. Robert Frost (a Lawrence High School graduate), in partnership with Middlebury College, was closely involved with the development of Bread Loaf, a think tank for scholars involved with literacy and effective learning practices.


Introduce NECC Faculty and Staff to the possibilities of creating a dynamic dialog in their own classrooms/professional areas and in all strata at NECC that is taken from the reality of the community. (2) Coach NECC Faculty and Staff on developing a philosophical basis for building community in a NECC classroom/with specific services and throughout the College.


This is an 8-hour Professional Development Program that consists of Culturally-centered Seminars and Writing Workshops. Final Project is a product that integrates 2 to 3 culturally relevant sources into lesson plans/services. Share these sources with the NECC Culture & Equity Libguide and other NECC pertinent venues.

Ricardo Rivera, EDP Systems Analyst in IT NOC
Lenin Tejeda, IT Client Services

Student Orientation Application

We are working to develop a mobile app that will encourage students to visit different locations of the college so they can learn about all the different services the college offers to students (i.e. Student Services, Book Store, Tutoring Services). We plan on encouraging the students to do this by rewarding points for every place they visit and in turn they could trade in the points for certain rewards; some rewards being worth more points and therefore requiring them to visit more places on campus.

Dalisa Diaz, Administrative Assistant

Sustaining Leadership at all Levels Through SSDI

I will be introducing VIA Character strengths in conjunction with the Gallup StrengthsQuest tool to strengthen the participants’ self-awareness so they can become their authentic self in the workplace, leading to the development of their own leadership at NECC. SSDI was instituted to meet NECC’s goal of “leadership at all levels” and it allows for support staff to explore their own leadership as well as investigate the roles of leaders around them in the workplace while learning more about various leadership styles. Being a graduate and shadowing this year’s SSDI program, while a participant in the NECC Leadership Academy, has given me the ability to envision the further development of the SSDI program. My experience with the first group of SSDI was a very rewarding one and I am looking forward to the opportunity to continue this work and how support staff members can learn about their own character strengths as well as how we see one another as a whole.  

2012-2013 Participants

Dina Brown, Director, Student Engagement Center and New Student Orientation

Online Orientation

The Student Engagement Center & New Student Orientation Department set forth a goal to require orientation for all incoming students at Northern Essex Community College. While this goal is ideal, it is somewhat idealistic to think that we will be able to bring all new students to the campuses of Northern Essex. Only about 63% of our student population has been able to attend the in-person orientation. As a result, the creation of an alternative orientation becomes more crucial; hence, an online orientation becomes an excellent opportunity to reach many more students.

Al Hitchcock, Maintenance Supervisor, Receiving and Inventory

Transition to School Dude I was asked by my supervisors to take the lead in changing the way that maintenance work orders were processed at NECC. This is the first major change in 15 years and, with the introduction of School Dude, I will be working with a pilot group of staff and facility workers to learn the changes necessary to use this product in the way it is intended.

Elizabeth Lewis, EDP Systems Analyst II, IT Client Services

Online Orientation Video Tutorials

The development of an online student orientation raised the opportunity to proactively address many frequently asked questions by the students. The materials created in my project (to be included in the Blackboard orientation) will provide straight-forward instructions to questions that are commonly asked at the helpdesk and basic introductions and tips to using online resources. These tutorials will be available on a self-help basis and accessible to students at any time. By creating videos we will reach students who are visually oriented and those who have other challenges in understanding written instructions.

Michael Nickels, Instructor, Natural Sciences

Course Redesign for iHealth

My project was to redesign a traditional 15 week Microbiology course and make it work as a hybrid 8 week iHealth course. My course includes extensive hands on lab work that would need to be integrated into a once a week course meeting. In my presentation I will describe the challenges of adapting my course for student success.

Nancy Nickerson, Professor and Department Chair, Mathematics

The Caring Teacher

Educators and leaders need to use “wholesight” in which their vision unites mind and heart. Inspired by Parker Palmer’s “To Know as We Are Known,” I have always sought to weave the two sides of teaching, the academic side and the human side, in order to create a practicing community of truth. Balancing the intellectual rigor with the ethos of trust facilitates a community of open dialogues. Yet, Palmer reminds his readers that educators sometimes view matters of the spirit with skepticism. In my presentation, I will offer the challenge of caring for our students in newer and deeper ways to create meaningful change.

Jodi Paris Anastos, Procurement Analyst, Accounting and Finance

Planting the Seeds of Civility

My focus is on the importance of civility for all of us at NECC. By practicing civility in our classrooms, workplaces, and in all aspects of our lives, we can make a positive difference in our lives and the lives of others. By increasing our awareness of the rewards of civility, we can reap the benefits of a more respectful environment for everybody. As a result of my project, a segment on civility will be included in orientation at NECC.

Glennys Sanchez, Job Coach/Designated Official for International Students, Student Success Center

Job Shadowing: “A Day in the Shoes of…”

The Job Shadowing Program will provide students with career exploration opportunities by allowing them to spend time with a professional to observe their daily activities and to gain insight about the skills, knowledge, and level of education required for the job. The program also allows students to build interviewing skills and gain valuable networking contacts. Prior to the job shadowing experience, students will be required to attend a series of career workshops including resume writing, MBTI, and a job shadowing orientation session. Students will evaluate their experience by reflecting on the extent to which the job shadowing opportunity helped with career exploration. A pilot program was launched in March to assess the intricacies of placing students.

Orquidea Taveras, Academic/Senior Financial Aid Counselor, Career Planning and Advising Center

Tax Filing Workshop

The Financial Aid Department at Northern Essex Community College is going to offer a series of workshops on financial literacy. As part of this series, I am offering our students a tax filing workshop that will help them save money, teach them a life skill, and improve their Financial Aid process at Northern Essex Community College or any other institution.

2011-2012 Participants

Frank Dushame, EDP Systems Analyst, IT Client Services
Victor DeJesus, EDP Systems Analyst, IT Client Services

Inventory Process, Collection and Reporting

Our collaborative project was to design a mobile application that would allow for better inventory accuracy, organization and collection to be shared throughout the NECC community. This App would be useful for anyone involved in Asset Inventory Control and Retrieval. This App will standardize NECC assets organization which will provide for a much more efficient reporting and audit strategy than we have had in the past.

Duane Quinion, Assistant Professor, Respiratory Care

The Unintended Consequences of “Express Yourself”

It was the spring of 2011. I had the occasion to walk to the college parking lot with a colleague of mine. We had been involved with the College Success program at NECC in both similar and complementary roles during the academic year. From my experience in College Success and involvement with the Learning Community Committee, I became convinced that a key to college success and indeed life success lies in developing the ability to communicate effectively. This project is a retrospective analysis of the unintended consequences of our venture to develop and deliver a course call “Express Yourself” for students who enter NECC with knowledge and or skill deficits in basic writing. I am delighted to present our findings as it turns out that efforts like our venture bring unanticipated benefit to not only the students but also to those who teach the course.

Karletty Medina, Coordinator, Supplemental Instruction (SI)
Lawrence Academic Resources & Tutoring Center (ARTC)

Researching Tutoring Services

NECC’s Academic Tutoring Centers are undergoing a process management. As a result, they are looking at different tutoring models used at other community colleges in the area. The team will be visiting a few colleges and, as part of my project, I’ll be looking at the colleges the team is unable to visit, but would like to learn more about. My project will concentrate on the tutoring model used at the following four community colleges: Springfield, Bunker Hill, Bristol and Mount Wachusett. Specifically, my project will look at how tutoring fits into Academic Support Services at each of these institutions. The information gathered in this project will be used when evaluating NECC’s tutoring services.

Tricia Butler, Administrative Assistant, Secretarial Support in Academic Affairs

Division Website for Faculty and Staff

There are a great many dates, procedures, forms, and information faculty and staff must be cognizant of in order to fulfill their responsibilities within a division. The focus of my Leadership Academy project was to create an information hub in the form of a division website for the Law, Education, and Social Professions’ faculty and staff to further assist them. A fall survey was sent to divisional faculty and staff to determine the specific goals for the website, information and links needed, and how the website should be organized. 81% of the faculty and staff replied with great detail on their hopes for this new website. From this feedback and with the assistance of several college staff a new division website was created and now exists on the College’s Faculty/Staff section. Future aspirations for this site include an opportunity for a discussion board/blog to further improve communication among faculty and staff.

Gail Feigenbaum, Professor and Program Coordinator, Early Childhood Education

The Learning Accommodations Plan for Practicum/Clinical Placements

As the ECE Coordinator, I am responsible for assigning practicum placements in local early childhood programs. Students in practicum placements must meet specific program requirements and National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) Accreditation Standards. All practicum students are expected to plan curriculum and implement learning activities in the assigned placements. Through collaborative efforts with Learning Accommodations we have identified specific guidelines The Learning Accommodations Plan for Practicum/Clinical Placements, to inform students, LAC staff, and ECE faculty of appropriate accommodations for practicum placement experiences.

Deirdre Budzyna, Professor, Early Childhood Education and Psychology

It’s Not How Smart You Are; It’s How You Are Smart: Using MI Theory to Impact Teaching

My project focuses on how knowing your students’ strengths and knowing your own strengths can impact teaching. Using Howard Gardner’s Theory of Multiple Intelligences as a guide I am working with three science professors to help them plan classroom instruction that best meets the needs of their students. Both students and instructors have taken an MI assessment and I have collated the data. Professors have been given charts that outline their students’ strongest intelligences. This information will help them teach in a differentiated way.

Paula Richards, ESL Instructor, Academic Preparation

Interventions to Accelerate ESL Students’ Success and Improve Retention

Our ESL students come to us with hopes of achieving their dreams in the United States. They bring with them diverse cultural and educational backgrounds. Some have previously demonstrated their academic skills when they earned college degrees in their native countries. Others learn about college expectations and develop their academic skills as they progress through one to as many as five levels of ESL before they even reach the “developmental” courses. How can we bring the attainment of our ESL students’ dreams closer to them? Models that other colleges have developed to bring each ESL student closer to his/her goal of earning a certificate or degree from a U.S. college will be explored with the hopes of implementing a model that will contribute to the retention and success of NECC’s ESL students.

Liliana Brand, Assistant Professor, Mathematics

Taking the Best of the Math Emporium Model to Improve Face-to-Face, Hybrid, and Online Teaching

The Math Emporium Model is based on the premise that the best time to learn math is when the students want to do it, instead of having an instructor teaching it. This model lets the students customize the course by using instructional software, in a way that best fits their learning styles. The software includes video lectures, tutorials, homework problems, quizzes and tests. I have used the instructional software and the emporium techniques to teach and assess students in my face-to-face, hybrid, and online courses. As a result of the increased flexibility in the course, there is a greater email interaction between my students and I, the passing rates have improved, the students are more motivated to learn math, and they are more responsible about doing their homework.

2010-2011 Participants

Christine DeRosa, Administrative Assistant II, Professional Development
Sharon McDermot, Staff Associate, Academic Affairs

Growing Professional Development for Support Staff

The focus of our Leadership Academy project was to explore what professional development opportunities currently exist for support staff and identify ways in which resources and training might be expanded. Compared to other groups on campus, support staff have fewer opportunities for training and development. We developed a survey of interests and needs and invited all AFSCME support staff to complete the survey. Our survey completion rate was 50%. We also tried to determine why staff may not be engaging in current offerings and the best days and times for future programs. The data we collected will provide useful information to the Office of Faculty & Staff Development in determining the direction for growing sustainable opportunities for professional development for support staff on campus. We are planning the first annual convocation meeting for AFSCME academic support staff in the fall 2011 semester with a long-term objective of offering similar workshops to all members of support staff. We would like to develop similar staff professional development projects that exist presently for faculty. Some of these projects might include a support staff professional day conference or support staff open forum meetings like collegial conversations, and perhaps host a support staff in community project similar to Teaching in Community. It is our ultimate hope that, through the work of this project, the professional development of support staff will be woven into the fabric of NECC’s college community.

George Medelinskas, Professor, Computer Science and Yoga

College of Older Learners (CoOL)

We are a group of learners 50+ years of age. We are a member driven, bottom up group, led by a 5 member Council. We offer seminars each semester led by our members. Seminars generally meet for 2 hours per week over 6 weeks. Our motto is “Learning for the Joy of Learning”. We advocate the stretching of our brains by encouraging the learning of new things. Seminars involve active learning and discussion. Ideas for seminars come from our members. We recognize the importance of community amongst our members. The concept for CoOL was developed during my Sabbatical of 2009-2010.

Marie Burchell, Accountant II
Tracy Fitzgerald, Accountant IV, Payroll Office

Payroll Manual: Basic Instructions for Completing the Bi-Weekly Payroll

Payroll encompasses more than just getting people paid. While insuring employees’ needs are met regarding their payroll is vital to the organization, the process behind payroll is a very involved and complicated one. Currently, the two of us serve as payroll coordinators and manage the payroll function within the human resources department. In an effort to create a back-up system within the office, our project focused on the creation of a payroll manual. The manual will be a continuously evolving guide that will incorporate updates and changes to the policies and procedures involved with the processing of payroll. The main objective of our project is to help other staff in human resources, whose role is not primarily payroll, to be able to perform the duties necessary to execute a bi-weekly payroll system if needed. The manual provides detailed instructions on tasks such as entering hours, balancing payrolls and entering different information into the HRCMS payroll system. It also includes appropriate flow charts, check lists and job aid materials as well as contact information for state agencies should further assistance be needed. It is our ultimate goal, as payroll professionals, to insure that employees will be served in a manner where they can rely on the payroll function of human resources to pay them on time and accurately so that they can live their lives without interruptions.

Margaret Pothier, Acting Coordinator of the Writing Center
Clare Thompson Ostrander, Assistant Professor, Developmental Education

A Comparison of Centralized Versus Decentralized Models of Tutoring Writing in Developmental Education

Northern Essex Community College has a centralized developmental education program located in the Department of Academic Preparation, with professional tutoring support services in Math, Reading, Writing and ESL. Our leadership project focuses on developmental writing programs, with an emphasis on how the writing center functions inside centralized and decentralized models. We compared our centralized developmental writing program with other centralized and decentralized developmental writing programs in the Massachusetts community college system. While comparing our center to other centralized and decentralized models, we asked: How are these models different? How are they similar? What can we learn from these other models? How can we improve our own model? From our research, we have generated a set of observations and recommendations that may improve the services we offer our students in the developmental writing program. We have also examined implications of potential changes that could be made to our current method of delivering support services to writing students in the developmental writing program. Our project’s goal is to critically examine our current model, compare it to other models, and to suggest improvements that we hope will ensure the ongoing success of future developmental writing students at NECC.

Judith Ciampi, Professor and Coordinator, Paralegal Program

Paralegal Coordinator Handbook

In addition to their teaching responsibilities, Coordinators and Department Chairs are responsible for a multitude of administrative duties necessary to run their programs or departments. However, until now, there was no listing of all the specific tasks that must be accomplished. For my leadership project, I created a Paralegal Coordinator Handbook. This manual consists of a monthly listing of the administrative tasks that the Paralegal Coordinator must accomplish separated into four different categories (American Bar Association, Faculty, Students-Graduates, and Other). The handbook also contains an Exhibits Section which provides copies of the documents (or NECC website links) required to accomplish each task. The goal of this project is to provide the Coordinator with a reminder system of important tasks as well as a planning tool for monthly activities. This handbook is available in paper (3 ring binder) and in electronic form. It is hoped that other Program Coordinators and Department Chairs will be able to adapt this manual for their own use.

Paul Marshall, Instructor, Natural Sciences

Lawrence Family Development Charter School 5th and 6th Grade College Experience

Over the course of the 2010-2011 academic school year, in coordination with staff and administration at both the charter school and Northern Essex Community College, I have helped 5th and 6th grade students participate in science activities and 6 th graders experience learning on our college campus. To make this possible requires teamwork and coordination of many people and materials. It is hoped that students participating in this program will be inspired to graduate high school and achieve a higher education.

Linda Comeau, Associate Director, Enrollment Services (Lawrence)

Improving the Enrollment Flow at the Lawrence Campus

As a long term employee at Northern Essex Community College I have been able to see the progress made in providing Enrollment Services. In my leadership project I will take you through the history of the Enrollment Process at Northern Essex Community College. Then I will discuss the recent changes we are making at the Lawrence Campus to improve the Enrollment Flow and where we are headed for the future when we move into a newly renovated building. The Enrollment Process is changing ongoing as factors influence our process. As we identify an area of concern, we create a solution. With a full team effort success is insured.

Habib Maagoul, Assistant Professor, Mathematics

Using Cumulative Assessment to Impact Students’ Attitudes, Learning and Retention

My discussion begins with several questions designed to help promote a deeper level of thought towards cumulative assessments.

  • Do cumulative assessments impact students in entry college courses? If so, in what ways does it affect them?
  • Do they foster a positive attitude toward the course or the assessments?
  • Do they cultivate an enriched learning environment?
  • Do they ultimately impact retention?

I will address these questions by sharing the outcomes from an on-going research project that began in 2009 on the use of cumulative assessment that was designed to address the effects on attitudes, learning and retention. The result from attitudinal surveys, grade analysis, student enrollment, and student interviews will be shared. Two key aspects of the project were that the assessment carried a greater weight and that the materials on the assessments were cumulative. Finally, I will discuss the use of cumulative assessments on both pedagogy and student-teacher interaction.

2010 Photos

Shown (back row, left to right): Marie Burchell, Tracy Fitzgerald, Christine DeRosa, George Medelinskas, Margaret Pothier, Clare Thompson Ostrander and Linda Comeau Shown (front row, left to right): Paul Marshall, Habib Maagoul and Linda Comeau
Six participants siting at a table.
From left to right: Margaret Pothier, Marie Burchell, Sharon M., Christine DeRosa, Linda Comeau and George Medelinskas
Five participants outside in front of a lake.
From left to right: Tracy Fitzgerald, Mary Chatigny, Clare Thompson Ostrander, Margaret Pothier and Christine DeRosa
Five participants kneeling or sitting around two coffe tables.
From left to right: Tracy Fitzgerald, Judy Ciampi, Paul Marshall, Clare Thompson Ostrander and Habib Maagoul
Paul Marshall
Paul Marshall
Margaret Pothier
Margaret Pothier
Marie Burchell
Marie Burchell
Habib Maagoul
Habib Maagoul


2009-2010 Participants

Paul Cavan, Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

Early Intervention Leadership Project

The Early Intervention Leadership Project is designed to improve completion and retention rates of students enrolled in sections of Introduction to Criminal Justice (CRJ 101). Currently CRJ 101 is an “Open Enrollment” course, the first class typically taken by students in the criminal justice curriculum. On average, over 35% of the students registering for this course have either tested into basic reading and/or writing sections, or have not taken the NECC assessment placement tests. These students face an uphill battle in the college environment since they often lack the necessary reading, writing and organizational skills to be academically successful. Early Invention Strategies will be implemented to provide needed support and guidance for students identified in the first two weeks of the semester as being at risk for not successfully completing course work. The current completion rates for CRJ 101 sections at NECC are 59%. It is the intent of this project to improve these rates and create a model for early intervention strategies for all 100 level criminal justice courses.

Jayne Ducharme, Academic Advisor

Advising the Late Student

Academic Advisor Jayne Ducharme and Enrollment Counselor Analuz Garcia reflect on their experience advising students registered in the spring 2010 pilot Late Start Classes. Practicing an Intrusive Advising Model allowed them to learn more about why students register late for classes and what level of support these students need to be successful. Jayne and Analuz will share recommendations on how to increase the completion and retention rates of this fragile population.

Lynda Gagnon, Adjunct Professor of Developmental Reading

Socratic Circles

Socratic Circles are designed to foster classroom discussion based on a previously read passage. Socrates believed that through the exchange of ideas in a “disciplined conversation”, deeper understanding would result. Student preparedness is of great importance to the success of this activity. Students sit in two circles, an inner circle and an outer circle. Only the students sitting in the inner circle participate in the conversation/discussion. Students in the outer circle observe the body language and the content and quality of the discussion. After 15-20 minutes the students change positions, whereby the inner circle becomes the outer circle and vice versa.

Analuz Garcia, Enrollment Counselor

Advising the Late Student

Academic Advisor Jayne Ducharme and Enrollment Counselor Analuz Garcia reflect on their experience advising students registered in the spring 2010 pilot Late Start Classes. Practicing an Intrusive Advising Model allowed them to learn more about why students register late for classes and what level of support these students need to be successful. Jayne and Analuz will share recommendations on how to increase the completion and retention rates of this fragile population.

Jim Murphy, Assistant Professor of Theatre

Check back for details.

Maureen O’Leary, Marketing Manager

Marketing Communications Website

We all deal with last minute and unplanned projects. But what if we could minimize these unplanned projects by communicating the services that we offer – and the time required to utilize these services? My leadership project was to create a marketing communications website to be used as a tool for the internal audience to better understand the resources that marketing communications offers, and how to best access them. The goal is for improved efficiency and effectiveness and better results for us all.

Patricia Schade, Assistant Professor of Developmental Reading

Reading for Understanding: Staff and Faculty Inquiry Group

Inquiry starts with noticing, and at NECC, what many of us have noticed is our students are challenged and overwhelmed by reading at the level that they need to in order to succeed. Many students practice “surface reading” very similar to the type of reading they do online, but they don’t use self-checking metacognitive skills to adjust their reading strategies in order to read and understand difficult texts, unwrap word problems or essay questions, or even answer multiple choice questions on exams. This cross-curricular group investigated how we can help students become more proficient and independent readers. We created a survey to assess how, what, and if students read. My goal in chairing this SFIG was to heighten awareness campus-wide of the crucial role reading plays in student success, to provide professional development on mentoring students in reading, to improve student reading and support metacognitive conversations about reading between students, faculty, and staff.

Ken Thomas, Professor of Biology

My Leadership Project or “How I Spent My 2009-2010 Academic Year”

This presentation illustrates the process that I experienced as I developed this Leadership Project. It takes the viewer through my journey as I struggled to remain true to my ambitions and goals as a student oriented professor, while working to form a support group for our liberal arts biology students.

Photos and Comments

Fall 2010 Retreat Photos
Shown (left to right): Analuz Garcia, Patricia Schade, Lynda Gagnon, Maureen O’Leary, Jayne Ducharme, Ellen Grondine (Planning Committee), Ken Thomas, Mary Chatigny (Planning Committee) and Jim Murphy
From left to right: Ken Thomas, Jayne Ducharme, Analuz Garcia and Ellen Grondine
Partial Group Photo. From left to right: Mary Chatigny, Lynda Gagnon and Maureen O’Leary
From left to right: Mary Chatigny and Judith Kamber (both Planning Committee members)
Paul Cavan

2008-2009 Participants

Participants at the Fall 2008 Retreat (from left to right):

  • Donna Bertolino, Coordinator of Student Assessment
  • Thomasine Corbett, Systems Analyst II
  • Gisela Nash, Associate Director of Title V
  • Jane Gagliardi, Program Coordinator of Social Professions
  • Niurka Aybar, Associate Director of Community Relations