Updates from the President
Progress on Many Fronts
Connecting with our diverse communities is a key to our success at MCC and I am excited that the Asian American Connections Center will be formally commissioned with a ribbon cutting on March 2. This space on the ground floor of the Cowan Center is part of our U.S. Department of Education AANAPISI (Asian American Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution) grant led by Dean of Students Pamela Flaherty. This grant will assist the college in better connecting with our diverse Asian-American communities. Assisting more members of this community to succeed will be a focus of the college in the coming years.
Working more effectively with technology tools and data to support student success is a key part of the MCC 360 (Title III) grant. Efforts in this area, led by Project Director Scott O’Neil, is gathering speed through a series of informative presentations by innovative companies. The MCC Advisory Committee has been deep into learning about cutting-edge student portals, analytics programs, CRMs, and much more. The products and services are complex, rapidly evolving, and demonstrate the potential to utilize predictive analytics to support our students. When implemented, these new technology tools will help us better serve our students and promote success and retention across the entire college.
The document imaging project (SoftDocs) led by Scott O’Neil, got off to a seamless start in December. We are now looking at ways to create fillable digital documents that will make it much easier for students to submit information and applications. This digital initiative will later expand to other departments and areas as we work to improve the efficiency of our business services at the college.
We are also moving toward a model of embedded technology support to better utilize our IT support staff. You will soon begin seeing IT Support Techs in the libraries as we work to provide direct support to students where they need the help.
Strategic Transformation Update
The major elements of the Strategic Transformation are moving forward. As outlined above, many initiatives to more fully engage the digital world are underway at MCC. We want to put better digital resources into the hands of our students, faculty and staff so that we can work more effectively to promote retention and completion.
Working with the FSA Technology Committee, we are seeking input on the best ways to update and configure teaching and learning spaces at MCC. Much work needs to be done, but we are committed to focusing resources in these core areas.
The work to balance the budget is difficult, but necessary. If we are to put the college on solid ground for the coming decade, we need to work through the necessary restructuring processes. Through all of this, we are working closely with MCCC and the FSA leadership to keep the dialogue open and professional. We all care deeply for the mission of this great institution full of dedicated educational professionals. My team and I will work honestly, openly, and strategically to put the college in the best position possible so that we can continue to serve our wonderfully diverse student body.
Support for Success
In the next few weeks there will be additional grant and positive funding announcements that will help us in our efforts to greatly improve teaching and learning environments across both campuses.
Also, I have negotiated two new student scholarships from community members who are looking for creative ways to help our students and build strong communities. Once the contracts are signed, we will formally acknowledge these generous community members.
And last, the Soupfest for Scholars, fueled by soup made by my wife Judy and myself, and three local restaurants, raised just over $5,000. A big thanks to Blue Taleh, Simply Khmer, and Athenian Corner for their support.
- March 1 – MCCF Scholarship Award Ceremony, 3:30 p.m., Bedford Campus Center
- March 2 – Asian American Connections Center Ribbon-Cutting, Noon to 2 p.m., Cowan Center, Lowell campus
- March 20-24 – Spring Break
- March 30, April 3, 4 & 5 – Advisory Board Dinners, Bedford Campus Center
- April 8 – Lowell Open House
- April 25 – Admitted Student Reception & Bedford Open House
- April 26 – 2017 Honors Poster Conference, 2-4:30 p.m., Café East, Bedford
- April 27 –Board of Trustees Meeting, 7:30 a.m., Trustees’ House, Bedford
- May 3 – Sports Recognition Ceremony, 5 p.m.
- May 5 – Assessment Day, Bedford campus
- May 5 – 29 Who Shine, 2 p.m., State House, Boston
- May 10 – All Club Celebration, 5 p.m., UMass ICC
- May 11 – Spring Fling, Lowell campus
- May 23 – Evening of Excellence (Pinning & Honors Night), 4 p.m., Lowell Memorial Auditorium
- May 25 – Commencement, 10 a.m., Lowell Memorial Auditorium
In The News
- MCC Designated One of the Top Military Friendly Schools Nationwide (January 19, 2017)
- In the era of Trump, Muslims put Faith in God and Fellow Americans (January 19, 2017)
- MCC Awarded Grant to Help Refugees Earn Health Credentials (January 25, 2017)
- A City Built on Refugees Looks at Trump’s Plan with Fear (January 27, 2017)
- Colorful Show at Mandarin Bistro (February 2, 2017)
- Grant Will Aid Asians at MCC (February 5, 2017)
- Middlesex Celebrates Nursing Program Graduates (February 6, 2017)
Opening of the Asian American Connections Center and introducing the new Director of Asian American Student Advancement Program
You are invited to attend a special ribbon-cutting celebration and reception to mark the opening of the new Asian American Connections Center on the Lowell campus. The ceremony will be held from noon to 2 p.m. on Thursday, March 2, on the ground floor of the Cowan Center. This will also be an opportunity to meet Virak Uy, Director of the Asian American Student Advancement Program. Virak has extensive experience working with the Asian community in the greater Lowell area, most recently as the Board President of the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (CMAA). He also has a background in education, marketing and finance. After earning a bachelor’s degree from Boston College, Virak received his master’s degree in education from UMass Boston.
Southeast Asia Conference – March 16-18
Middlesex will host a free three-day Southeast Asia Conference on the Lowell campus as part of the AANAPISI grant:
- Thursday at 6:30 p.m. the conference begins with a public talk by Peter Hershock, East-West Center, on “Climate and Compassion: Buddhism & Ethical Concern for Future Generations.”
- It continues Friday starting at 9 a.m. when Trude Jacobsen, Northern Illinois University, will speak on “Southeast Asia: History in Action and Engendering Southeast Asia.” Peter Hershock follows with “Buddhism in Southeast Asia: Transmissions and Transformations;” and Paul Lavy, University of Hawaii, Manoa, on “Art of Khmer Civilization in the Crucible of Southeast Asia.”
- On Saturday, Paul Lavy will discuss “Art of Cambodia: Continuity and Change through Crisis and Renewal,” and Teri Yamada, California State University Long Beach, will present on “Teaching Southeast Asia through Literature.”
The conference ends with a panel discussion on “Southeast Asia in the Undergraduate Classroom.”
New ELL Learning Specialist
ELL Learning Specialist Virginia (Ginny) Drislane joined Middlesex through the AANAPISI grant as an ELL Learning Specialist working in the Academic Centers for Enrichment (ACE) in February. Ginny comes to us with a master’s degree in foreign languages/TESOL from West Virginia University, and a Ph.D. in sociolinguistics from Universitaet des Saarlandes in Saarbruecken, Germany. Previously, Ginny has taught at international universities, as well as at Boston University and the Institute for English Language Programs in the Harvard University Extension School. Additionally, she has experience teaching in China, Hong Kong, Germany, Ukraine and Kuwait. In this new role and among other duties, Ginny will be providing professional development for faculty, learning specialists, tutors and SI Leaders who work directly with ELL students. We are very excited Ginny has joined our team.
News from the Divisions
Academic, Career & Transfer Department
The new Advising Institute was launched on Feb. 3 and is off to a great start. This six-week institute provides in-depth training for new faculty advisors on topics such a career advising, transfer advising, financial aid, academic progress, registration processes, advising strategies, tools and resources.
The Advising Centers have worked closely with members of Marketing, Academic Affairs, and IT to create a web portal for Academic Maps. This new website will provide members of the college community with up-to-date copies of Academic Maps based on catalog year. In addition to the portal, we plan to improve access to maps by having direct links to the portal in Degree Works and on the Middlesex mobile app. To view this new portal, visit: https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/advising/academicmaps/default.aspx
One of the biggest challenges for Middlesex students is scheduling courses. To assist with this process, MCC invested in College Scheduler, a dynamic web-based application that takes the guess work out of finding courses, and simplifies the registration process with an easy-to-use online interface. Access to College Scheduler was unlocked in late October. To date, we have had the following usage: total unique users: 2,211; total logins: 5,063
Over 500 reviews were completed by Academic Advising staff. In our review, we found that most students selected appropriate courses that supported their Academic Map and Degree Works audit. We also found that more than 60 percent of students who used College Scheduler registered for spring semester. Our next steps include marketing College Scheduler to the entire campus community, provide training sessions, and moving the application to the Middlesex app for smartphones and tablets.
To improve our access to students, the ACT Centers are piloting Walk-In Hours during the spring semester. Students can now stop in during select times to meet with an advisor to review their academic plan, inquire about changing their major program of study, and registering for summer courses. Walk-In Hours are: Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., and Friday 9 a.m. to noon on both campuses.
Members of the ACT staff are available to visit your classroom to provide an overview to students about advising tools and resources, including College Scheduler, Degree Works, Academic Maps, MassTransfer information, and much more. To schedule a visit, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
Save the Date! CareerCon: A College to Career Day, a career-readiness workshop, will be held March 29 from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Bedford Campus Center. This event will include:
- Career advice from industry experts
- Resume and cover – letter critiques and workshops
- Mock interviews • LinkedIn Lab (professional photos)
- Networking Nook with alumni and employers
Karen James and Melissa Welch have worked closely with members of the advising staff by providing overviews of career resources, including Focus2, Optimal Resume and other online resources. With improvements to the Focus2 assessment, they are working closely with IT and the vendor to bring this resource to the Middlesex mobile app.
Karen James is participating in a project with the Lowell Workforce Development Board – Youth Employer Services. Karen will appear in a video featuring area employers talking about soft skills to help high school students prepare for their annual job fair. Topics include interviewing skills, how to fill out job applications, appropriate dress, and professional correspondence. This video will run on all public monitors around different schools. Employers featured on the video include Lowell General Hospital, TJ Maxx, Target, Washington Bank and Middlesex Community College. Karen has also been working with the Lowell High School Career Resource Center on a collaboration to create a recent resume workshop for juniors and seniors.
Our annual State Transfer Fair was held Feb. 15 in Bedford and Feb. 16 in Lowell. All four-year state colleges and universities were on campus to discuss transfer options for our students. The fairs were well attended and we appreciate faculty who brought students from their courses to these events or who gave students assignments related to these events. The spring fairs focused on our partnerships with public institutions, the Commonwealth Commitment, and the benefits of associate-degree completion utilizing MassTransfer agreements and pathways. The governor specifically mentioned the Commonwealth Commitment by name during his State of the Commonwealth address: “We’ve also made attending a public college more affordable. Through the Commonwealth Commitment, we’ve created a pathway for students to secure a bachelor’s degree from UMass or one of our state universities for half the price.” With eight students signed up, Middlesex has one of the largest ComCom cohorts in the state, thus far. With 10 additional transfer pathways on track for fall 2017 and a full year of marketing to prospective students, enrollment in the program is expected to rise statewide.
Business, Education and Public Service
Criminal Justice Department
Ron Brevard and Heloisa DaCunha are preparing a prep session for the Civil Service Exam. Ron and Heloisa have done this every two years when the exam is offered. The exam will be held March 25 and they have at least two 2 local police chiefs come in the afternoon for a three-hour session to prep students for the test, and the hiring process after passing the test. This is always a very successful event with high student attendance.
Students met with Ashli Ree in January and worked very hard to prepare/complete the prep work for the DECA regional competition at Johnson and Wales University. Unfortunately, the event itself on Feb. 2 was cancelled due to the snowstorm, but the Fashion Merchandising and Business students will work together in creating our own MCC competition this semester to show their work.
Human Services Department
The Mental Health Association of Greater Lowell was recently recognized for Project CARE (Child Assessment and Response Evaluation) and its commitment to offering trauma services to children who witness an opioid overdose by a parent or loved one. Julie Mirras is a long-time member of the MHA Board of Directors. Read the full article.
Lisa Higgins-Smith is coordinating the Children’s Behavioral Health (CBH) pilot in the Human Services Program and is helping coordinate informational sessions regarding CBH courses. Our grant allows the possibility for 10 credits in the field, including an internship, for qualified students this coming fall and spring. See the flier for details on the information sessions scheduled in Lowell on Feb. 27, and March 2 and 8.
Patty Lauziere developed a flier to assist with recruitment efforts for the Human Services Direct Support Certificate Program funded by the Department of Developmental Services (DDS). DDS provides scholarships to employees of agencies so students only pay $50 per course.
The Paralegal Program, under the direction of Halye Sugarman, is planning for the upcoming Paralegal Career Night on Wednesday, March 29. Confirmed speakers include MCC graduate Lynn Malburn and Vicky Samuels, from McLane Middleton, in New Hampshire
Professor Sugarman has also been busy authoring an article for the American Association of Paralegal Education technology publication “AAfPE Bytes,” titled “Technology and Metadata: The Face of Ethical Obligations in Modern-Era Document Review,” for the Winter/Spring 2017 issue due out later this month.
Professor Sugarman has also been asked to author a chapter as part of a new Massachusetts Continuing Legal Education (MCLE) book for paralegals. Congratulations on her continued recognition as an expert in the field of paralegal education.
First-Year Experience (FYE) Program
It Takes a College Community to Build a Successful First-Year Experience Program
The story of the First-Year Experience (FYE) at Middlesex began in spring 2012 and it continues! This high-impact practice is having a huge influence on student success, persistence and retention. But that’s not the entire story because there are so many more reasons why it is such an exemplary FYE Seminar and FYE Program. Most importantly, it is because an entire college community has come together to ensure that our students are getting what they need from every area of the college during their critical, first semester and first year. This ranges from engagement opportunities in and outside of the classroom made possible through Leadership and Engagement, and the Peer Champions/Mentors who attend the classes with the students throughout the semester, to the advisors and the creative, dedicated faculty who teach the seminars. These academically and socially enriching seminars are demonstrating how one college is preparing students for success by improving their academic grit – helping first-year students apply strategies to improve self-advocacy, educational commitment and academic and campus engagement. Since the seminars are linked to introductory General Education courses, these cohorts of FYE students also become better connected to the faculty in these courses and to each other. From the start, FYE students become part of a community of learners, and continue to receive the needed support from every area of the college throughout their time at MCC.
Judy Hogan and Dona Cady presented at the Community College for International Development annual conference in Houston, Texas, in February. They lead a two-part workshop on grant opportunities and practical grant-writing techniques. The event included leveraging past grants to win new grant opportunities, manageable timeline development, faculty recruitment, MOU creation, partner-communication plans, project management, understanding all elements of the grantor’s RFP, budget development, curriculum development, and travel logistics.
Dental Hygiene students joined Professor Donna Thibodeau and part-time faculty Peter Gangi in Boston at the Yankee Dental Congress, New England’s largest meeting for dental professionals seeking continuing education, dental products, services and resources. The MCC SADHA (Student American Dental Hygiene Association) club members collaborated with other dental hygiene students from New England, networked with dental hygiene professionals. and participated in team-building activities. MCC students won the review competition covering all dental hygiene topics. The day culminated in a vibrant preparatory session for professional licensing examinations.
During the Jan. 25 Pinning Ceremony, 26 proud MCC Nursing graduates celebrated completion of the associate in science degree. President James Mabry, Provost Phil Sisson, Dean Katherine Gehly, and faculty and staff from all areas of the college joined, family, friends and supporters to honor the newest group of graduate nurses. Student speaker Amanda Veader-Brooks represented her classmates and spoke about transformation. “The journey here at Middlesex to become graduate nurses has given us the knowledge, strength, confidence and courage we needed to become outstanding registered nurses … and the ability to see the world and make it a better place,” said Veader-Brooks. Congratulations to the January 2017 nursing graduates!
Humanities and Social Sciences
The Middlesex SoTL (Scholarship of Teaching and Learning) Community hosted its first Dialogue on Fake News in February.
Communications Chair Jen Bauer, Librarian Carrie Salazar and Social Media Specialist Tura Linderholm presented a provocative workshop, titled “Information Literacy: Helping Students Navigate Today’s Complex News Environment.” Faculty from Humanities, Social Sciences, Science, Legal Studies and Information Technology, and peer tutors and administrators from Academic Support Services participated in this timely discussion.
This workshop marks the first in the SoTL Community Dialogues series. Upcoming workshops will focus on the experiences of Middle Eastern students and LGBTQ students at Middlesex.
Middlesex Humanities Center to Host Community Poetry Festival April
La Guagua Community Poetry Festival will be held Friday and Saturday, April 21 & 22, in the Federal Building on the Lowell campus. Join us from 5 to 7:30 p.m. Friday, April 21, for a reception to honor the legacy of poet and translator Rhina P. Espaillat. Come back Saturday, April 22, for an all-day festival featuring readings by 20 poets from across the region, including public dialogue about the aesthetic, social and cultural aspects of their work. The day will end with a session that integrates artistic expression and musical performance. The festival’s theme, Voices and Translations, will be reflected in the work of poets writing in English, Spanish, Khmer, Vietnamese and other languages. For more information, contact Donna Colella at email@example.com
Student Literary Conference in April: The Middlesex English Department will host its second Student Literary Conference from 2:30 to 5:30 p.m. Thursday, April 6, in the Federal Building on the Lowell campus. Students will present analyses of literary works in panels organized by themes. Jane Unrue, novelist and director of the Harvard Scholars at Risk Program, will present the keynote address. For more information, contact conference director Kerrianne Gamache at firstname.lastname@example.org
A World of Music Concert Series events in March:
- Melodies Through Ages and Places: Music for Solo Guitar, and Two Guitars and Tenor — 8 p.m. Friday, March 31, MCC Concert Hall, Bedford campus. MCC faculty member Raley Beggs, guitar, will be joined by Austin Burns, tenor, and Jonas Kublickas, guitar and melodica, for a concert of trios by Samuel Barber, Charles Ives, Cole Porter and songs from the Traditional American Songbook. Beggs will also perform solo guitar pieces by Francesco da Milano, Enrique Granados and Claude Debussy.
Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics
The 12th Annual Women in STEM Panel will be held from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, in the Lowell Campus Cafeteria. You can register online or contact Michele Stein at email@example.com for more information.
On Jan. 20, a delegation from UMass Lowell visited the IT Department’s Cybersecurity data center to get a first-hand look at our new curriculum, classrooms and server room. Participating in the visit were Mike Cipriano, CIO; Steve Athanas, Director of Systems Engineering; and Jim Packard, Associate CIO & Information Security Officer. Present from Middlesex were Moe Moghimi, ITC Professor; Don Brady, Assistant Dean; Jeff Durand, networking engineer from the Technology Center; and student interns Amanda Bordenca and Brandon Thompson, members of the team of specialists that helps manage the Cybersecurity data center.
The UML team reviewed the growth of our Cybersecurity Program and expressed interest in pursuing an academic partnership between the two institutions, including the ongoing development of new curriculum. Our Cybersecurity Program, now with about 100 registered students, has undergone significant progress since it moved to its new location in Lowell last summer. State-of-the-art courses in cyber defense, such as “Virtualization and Cloud Infrastructure,” “Information Storage Management,” and “Advanced Networking Security” are now offered as several sections each year. The acquisition of NSX Software from VMware, and the addition of cloud services to our existing system in the data center, place MCC at the forefront of technology, and will enable us in the near future to offer our entire curriculum remotely.
Have you walked by the Biotech Lab in Lowell’s Talbot Building lately? You may have noticed that Biotech students and faculty are now proudly displaying “MCC Biotechnology” patches on their lab coats to promote our award-winning Biotech Program. The next project is to have biotechnology T-shirts available for purchase in the Lowell Campus Bookstore.
- SCHOLARSHIP FUNDS & DISCOUNTS – In early February, People Ready, one of MCC’s many industry partners, awarded a $2,000 scholarship to the Pathways Center for selected participating students (see photo). The Center continues to work to identify industry partners that are committed to helping us provide the various types of assistance our students need, including discounts at area merchants, such as Market Street Market.
- iPad TECHNOLOGY – The Pathways Center kicked off its pilot initiative to enhance student learning through technology. The iPad Class Integration Program received several applications from various STEM & Health faculty members last semester. The Pathways Center chose professors Ryan Fried and Robyn McDonough and their “Networking I” and “Statistics” courses (respectively) for the spring 2017 semester. Forty students from both classes were loaned iPads. They will be utilizing mobile technology to support learning through various apps relevant to each professor’s class curriculum, and that can support interactive classroom participation and engagement. Ryan and Robyn will also be participating in the SoTL Teaching Circles as part of this initiative.
- Participation in Pathways initiatives has increased this year from 79 visits in 2016 to 195 visits during January in 2017. The center hosted C++ Workshops during Winter Session, as well as Securitas and Verizon hiring events.
- The Pathways Center will be hosting a Career Fair on April 13.
Congratulations to the MCC Hockey Team, which finished its season last month with a respectable 5-6-1 record. Competitive October try-outs yielded 20 experienced, varsity-caliber players who have since represented the team with professionalism and great spirit – demonstrating tremendous pride in MCC. They played against strong teams, including University of Hartford, Mass Maritime, Sacred Heart, Nichols, Suffolk, Coast Guard, Babson, Dartmouth and WPI. Home games and practices were held at the Chelmsford Forum in Billerica. Led by talented Head Coach George Jacobs and Assistant Coach Phil Loranger, much of the team’s success is owed to these two exceptional individuals who bring an abundance of knowledge, passion and leadership to their team.
Office of International, Multicultural and Veterans Affairs
Green Zone Training
During Winter Break, Lonnie Armstrong and Richard Reppucci, coordinators in the Veterans Resource Center, presented a workshop on student veterans to more than 50 staff from Student Affairs. Green Zone training is for faculty, staff and administrators who wish to receive information about issues potentially facing active service members, student veterans, and their families as they transition to college. The goal of the training is to assist this population by lending a sympathetic ear and connecting them to the appropriate resources. Participants who complete the training will receive a sign to display in their offices and have their name listed on our website as having completed the training. Additional training will be available to the college community during spring semester.
January and February continued to be busy months in the Office of Admissions and Student Recruitment. While our primary focus was on enrolling students for spring semester, we also had a number of recruiting events. Camille Brown, Jason Reynolds, Alison Handy and Jen Migliozzi held On the Spot Admission events at Greater Lowell Technical High School, Nashoba Technical High School, Woburn High School, and for the first time at North Reading High School. While the format of these events varies from school to school, the end results are the same. We collect admission applications, hold one-on-one meetings with students, and advise them of their next steps in the Middlesex enrollment process. We currently hold these types of events at 12 of our feeder high schools, and anticipate adding two more in the near future.
We also attended a number of college and career exploration fairs.
- Jeff Tejada represented MCC at fairs at Methuen and Lawrence high schools, and Target Language School.
- Camille Brown partnered with Dean of Students Pamela Flaherty at Billerica High School’s Career Exploration Fair. Pam, a longtime resident of Billerica, brought her enthusiasm for the school and entertained the students with assorted games.
- Alison Handy braved the elements to meet with students at the Career Possibilities Fair at Medford Technical High School.
We also conducted events within the community. Jeff Tejada presented to the Abisi Lowell Adult Education program for day students. He had previously met with their evening students and hopes to expand to other communities in Lowell and Lawrence. Jeff also hosted 10 students on the Lowell campus from the Lowell Boys & Girls Club. This was the third part of a monthly series with the LBGC, which he visited in November and December.
Marilynn Gallagan and Jillian Freitas-Haley hosted the Community Colleges of Massachusetts Admission Counselors (CCOMAC) meeting in early February on the Lowell campus. Ken Tashjy, General Counsel for the community colleges, was guest speaker and provided advice and insight on several timely topics, such as immigrants in our student population, and the legalities of the recently imposed travel ban. These meetings are held monthly, rotating from campus to campus and allow admissions directors and deans the opportunity to share and benefit from each others’ experiences.
Lastly, Admissions Office staff participated in a recent retreat. Discussions included planning for future events, and enrollment successes, such as our Walk-In Admission and Enrollment Weeks, Winter Session, and Dual Enrollment.
Upcoming events include:
- Lowell Open House – April 8, 9:30 a.m.
- Admitted Student Reception – April 25, 4:15 p.m., Bedford (prior to Open House)
- Bedford Open House – April 25, 5:30 p.m.
- Pathway to Success Day, Bedford Campus – April 12.
The start of spring semester was very busy for Enrollment Management. Time was spent getting students ready and acclimated, while also preparing drafts for the summer and fall schedules.
Students, faculty and staff were supported through numerous activities, including:
- monitoring enrollments and opening of course sections
- processing final and Winter Session grades
- prerequisite checking
- handling room requests to better meet faculty and student needs
- awarding Fall 2016 graduates
- awarding transfer credit
- support in Registration/Advising sessions
- Special Registrations
- compilation of student evaluation results
- processing Admissions and Dual Enrollment applications
- Soft Docs implementation
- Degree Works maintenance
FALL 2016 GRADUATION — Congratulations to Steiny Gomez-Jimenez and Bintu Tucker of the Enrollment Management Center for earning their Associates of Science in Liberal Studies degrees. Bintu and Steiny are two of the 380 students awarded as graduates by the Registrar’s Office for Fall 2016.
SPRING 2017 REGISTRATION — Spring semester is well underway, thanks to the efforts of the staff from the Lowell and Bedford Student Information Centers and the Enrollment Management Center. The staff participated in promoting and outreaching to students to register for spring classes, as well as encouraging students to attend our Walk-In Registration/Advising hours and making follow-up calls pertaining to testing and registration appointments.
SUMMER 2017 REGISTRATION — Summer registration opened to students on Feb. 6! Through the efforts of the Registrar’s Office and the Academic Deans/Assistant Deans, the summer schedule was completed and opened for registrations much earlier this semester. A communications plan has been developed, and outreach to potential summer students is currently underway. Our new Summer QuickStart session is being promoted through the joint efforts of Marketing Communications, Information Technology website staff, and Enrollment Management. For more information on summer sessions, students, faculty and staff are encouraged to visit: www.middlesex.mass.edu/summer.
DUAL ENROLLMENT SUPPORT — Enrollment Management continues to collaborate with Ellen Grondine and Maria Cunha to support the Dual Enrollment program.
- On Jan. 6, Anatoly Levin, Kathrina Gaffron, William Kelleher and Katharina Lach provided a day of Accuplacer training to representatives from 13 local high schools. The purpose was to provide the high schools with a better understanding of Accuplacer, cut-off scores, and guidance and practices in administering the placement test.
- On Jan. 20., Lisa Gibson trained new faculty teaching in the Dual Enrollment program in policies and procedures pertaining to FERPA, withdrawals, grading, and the use of MiddleNet.
Financial Aid Office
New Attendance Verification process
To ensure federal compliance, the Financial Aid Office must review attendance for selected financial aid recipients. Our faculty email process for mid-term and end of term attendance verification has been revamped to use MiddleNet for a reporting process that more closely mirrors faculty grading.
Implementation of the college-wide Content management System: ETRIEVE
A content management system (CMS) is a software application or set of related programs that are used to create and manage digital content. A CMS facilitates collaboration in the workplace by integrating document management and records retention functionalities. The SoftDocs Etrieve system went into production in December, 2016 in the Financial Aid, Admissions and Enrollment Management areas. Etrieve is a fully functional browser based system that consolidates all financial aid documentation including parent, student, federal, state and institutional forms to a single portal, or electronic filing cabinet, for easy and centralized access, submission, review and verification. Etrieve will also facilitate greater customer service by offering completion of standard financial aid forms to our students in electronic format that employ skip-trace technology and presents mobile friendly applications.
Implementation of Early Award packaging for New Students
As a means to attract and encourage prospective students to enroll at Middlesex Community College, the Financial Aid Office will be providing new prospective students with an early estimate of their financial aid eligibility a full 4 months before our regular award letter notification process. Previously, award notifications were mailed in line with fall term billing notices, sometime in early July. In many cases, families and students had made their decision as to where they will attend long before then, given the generally wide acceptance by the prospective student and his/her family of the Admissions notification deadline date of May 1st. This effort will hopefully contribute to a positive increase in new student enrollment next fall.
Multi-office Community Events/Workshops
- Admissions and Financial Services Night: These sessions are available in Spanish as part of Latino Student Outreach Initiative: To provide comprehensive information about the process of financial aid, as well as type of financial aid, important financial aid facts, cost of attendance, basic information about student online financial aid tools. These sessions met once per month throughout 2016 summer.
- High School Visits and College fairs: In collaboration with The Office of Admissions and recruitment. Talked with students and/or families about general financial aid information such as the FAFSA application, deadline, requirements, award letter and the Financial Aid process in general.
- MCC Representative Lawrence High School FAFSA Days: To assist LHS seniors on completing their Free Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Additionally, available for any questions or concerns from students and/or high school counselors regarding a particular family situation or dynamics.
- Financial Aid presentation/workshop for FYE/IDS courses: Upon faculty request. Provided comprehensive information about the process of financial aid, as well as type of financial aid, important financial aid facts, spent a lot of time describing the Financial Aid Satisfactory Academic Progress policy, cost of attendance and additionally, instruction on how to use their MCC MiddleNet account.
- MCC Representative for Chapter School FAFSA Workshop: To assist Chapter School seniors on completing their Free Federal Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). Additionally, available for any questions or concerns from students and/or high school counselors regarding a particular family situation or dynamics.
- FAFSA Day: For over ten years, Middlesex Community College has been a site for FAFSA Day Massachusetts, a non-profit, volunteer-driven program providing free assistance to students and families seeking to complete the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. The MCC Financial Aid Office hosted this year’s event on Sunday, February 12, 2017 for the greater Lowell community.
- FAFSA Workshops: The Financial Aid Office offers on Wednesdays on both the Bedford and Lowell campuses during the month November, December, March, April. The workshops are designed to assist students and the community in completing their academic year FAFSA application. Financial aid counselors are available to help students through the process.
Implementation of SALT
SALT is a multi-channel platform, combining online financial tools with personalized outreach and counseling to help students learn money skills for life. The SALT offerings are intended for use across the entire campus community and is not for use exclusively with financial aid applicants. The SALT platform for financial literacy contains self-paced financial education curriculums designed from the student point of view and hundreds of articles, videos and interactive lessons that offer money management, scholarship and career advice. For those intending to borrow as a means of covering the cost of higher education now or in the future, SALT empowers students with the knowledge needed to borrow smart, borrow less and repay well. SALT provides proactive outreach to all students who are entering repayment, have postponed repayment or are facing delinquency.
MCC Alumni Association
On Tuesday, Jan. 31, the first meeting of the MCC Alumni Association Board was held at Trustees’ House on the Bedford campus. The Alumni Association, established under the auspices of the MCC Foundation, will provide formal leadership and a voice for MCC alumni while working in close connection with the Foundation. The 22-member Association Board consists of MCC alums from the first MCC graduating class of 1972, the most recent alumni class of 2016, and a broad variety of years in between. President Jim Mabry and MCC Foundation Chairman Jim Henderson participated in this first meeting. The board elected the following Officers: Gail Tuzzolo ’75, president; Sheri Denk ’90, vice president; Diego Leonard0 Garcia ’16, secretary; and Scott Weisman ’13, treasurer. The Alumni Association will work to engage MCC alums with the college and focus on projects such as: planning social and networking events for alums, fundraising for MCC Foundation funds, and career mentoring for alums and students.
MCC Foundation Scholarship Award Ceremony – 3:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 1, Bedford Campus Center. The MCC Foundation will honor the 2017 student scholarship recipients as well as the scholarship donors at a ceremony in the Bedford Campus Center. All faculty and staff are welcome to attend the ceremony. Thank you to all who served on the scholarship committee and who wrote student recommendations.
Have You Remained Connected with Alumni? – Everyone who works at MCC has had opportunities to meet remarkable students throughout the years. Many of you have stayed in touch with these students, celebrating their successes. The Advancement Office would like to hear from faculty and staff who are able to provide information about MCC alumni, their careers, and life accomplishments. We appreciate the good work performed by alumni and want to encourage long-lasting relationships with the college. Please help us maintain accurate alumni data by telling the Advancement Office about the impressive alumni you know. They could become Commencement speakers, Distinguished Alumni Award recipients, Advisory Board members, classroom presenters, student mentors, and ambassadors for Middlesex Community College. Contact Dennis Malvers at firstname.lastname@example.org or Amy Lee at email@example.com.
Corporate and Community Education & Training
Community Education & Training
Caitlin Campopiano of Community Education, and Denise Garrow-Pruitt and Angel Pepin, of Allied Health, recently collaborated with a number of community partners to offer a 75-hour Home Health Aide training certificate over January intersession for 18 students. This provided training for a refugee population that is being assisted by the International Institute of Lowell.
Corporate Education & Training
Corporate Education and Training offered CPR, First Aid, and Medical Administration Program classes for LifeLinks. Courses are conducted at MCC, to provide employees exposure to taking classes in a college setting.
Adult Learning Center/Links Programs
Debra Szylvian and Kathy Innis from the Adult Learning Center recently attended two full days of training for the STAR (Student Achievement in Reading) program at Quinsigamond Community College in Worcester. STAR is a nationally developed professional development program focused on building the reading skills for intermediate level (4 to 8.9 grade-level equivalent) adult learners. The STAR approach is supported by the U.S. Department of Education and years of research in reading methodology which has concluded that mid-level adult learners struggle with one or more of the following skill areas: alphabetics, fluency, vocabulary, or comprehension. This initial training session focused on using the Diagnostic Assessment of Reading, which is the basis for explicit reading instruction. Debra and Kathy will be attending four more days of training this spring to become proficient in Evidenced-based Reading Instruction, which integrates findings from reading research with practitioner wisdom to inform instructional decisions.
Creating Community via Social Media — Members of the Marketing Communications team recently presented “The New Social Media Mission” at the Council for Advancement & Support of Education (CASE) District 1 Conference in Boston. Jennifer Aradhya, Director of Marketing Communications, and Kathy Register, Senior Writer/Editor, presented on the ways we engage students to interact with us – and each other – through a variety of social-media initiatives. For example, thanks to our competitions, challenges and special promotions, MCC’s award-winning Facebook page now has almost 10,000 followers. CASE is an international professional association serving educational institutions and the advancement professionals who work on their behalf in alumni relations, communications, development, marketing and allied areas.
Look for Middlesex ‘Ads’ in New Locations — In our continuous effort to promote the college to new audiences, Marketing Communications has placed “ads” in a couple of innovative new locations:
- Showcase Cinemas – Check out our “digital posters” in the lobby of Showcase Cinemas in Lowell and Woburn. Targeting spring and fall enrollment periods, lobby posters will run mid-March to June, and October to January 2018.
- RMV – Middlesex messaging will soon be looping on monitors in the Lowell RMV office. We are the only educational provider allowed to market to this audience in the Lowell office.
Don’t Be Shy: Send Us Your News! — We are always looking for “good news” to include in news releases and social media. So, don’t be shy: Please let us know when you or your division/department receive an award or grant – or any other good news about students, faculty and staff. Submit an online Marketing Communications Request Form to request a news release. Include the WWWW info – who, what, when & where – with your Request Form. We will do our best to share your good news with the wider community.
Did you know?
You can read a monthly compilation of Middlesex news articles from local media outlets in This Month at MCC, posted on the website.
Government & Community Relations
Patrick Cook took part in the exciting Lowell Waterways Vitality Initiative Action Plan meeting at the Luna Theater in Mill No. 5, along with several dozen other leaders in the Lowell community. The mission of the Lowell Waterways Vitality Initiative is to enhance the everyday experience of people in Lowell by making the city’s historic waterways more accessible, active and vibrant. For MCC, that means breathing new life into the area behind the college’s Cowan Center in downtown Lowell. The Lower Locks is the confluence of the Pawtucket and Eastern canals, just before the canals merge with the Concord River, and eventually the Merrimack River. The college looks forward to partnering with the city of Lowell, the Lowell Heritage Partnership, and Lowell National Historical Park to explore opportunities for the open space in the plaza on the banks of the two canals.
Cook also joined President Mabry and Chairman of the Board of Trustees James Campbell on a trip to Washington, D.C., to meet with federal legislators to rally support for the college. The trio met with senators Elizabeth Warren and Edward Markey, and U.S. House members Niki Tsongas, Joseph Kennedy, Katherine Clark, Michael Capuano, James McGovern, and Richard Neal. Chairman Campbell made a pitch for future funding opportunities for MCC’s Cybersecurity Program. President Mabry inquired about potential internships for Biotech students with companies in Tsongas’ 3rd district. Cook also asked Tsongas to help the college explore regional transportation issues to make getting to MCC more accessible for students outside of Lowell or Bedford. Sen. Warren, in particular, spoke at great length about fighting for year-round Pell Grant funding for community college students.
Cook met with Lowell Sun Chairman Kendall Wallace to discuss a fall fundraiser for the Paul Sullivan Leadership Institute. Sullivan, a former MCC business professor, passed away 10 years ago this September. Plans are underway for a fundraiser to help support the Leadership Institute in Sullivan’s name. The event will also look to bring together the more than 100 students who’ve previously participated in the program for an alumni reunion event.
Director of Public Safety Daniel Martin hosted the monthly Community College Chiefs Meeting and discussed: Active shooter training; snow cancelation policy; elevator entrapment response; and designing a spreadsheet for all chiefs outlining various topics/items that other colleges use that would be helpful for all community colleges in Massachusetts.
Martin once again took part in the bi-monthly Violence Prevention Coalition meeting, working with Bedford police, Bedford town manager, personnel from Hanscom Airforce Base, and town clergy to formulate plans to reduce incidents of violence within the community. This ongoing effort plays a positive role in maintaining a level of safety within the community and on campus.
Director of Compliance Alisa Chapman has been updating and crafting new policies and procedures. In addition, she and Abby Vergados have been assisting the Health Programs and Continuing Education with CORI and SORI checks for clinical placement.
Chapman and Martin are partnering with Bedford Youth & Family Services to assist them in developing specialized bystander-intervention training. This work will continue through the spring and we are hoping other agencies will join to develop customized training for their constituents. Bystander-intervention training is designed to empower people to interrupt behavior that is, or could lead to, inappropriate language, drug and alcohol abuse, violence, and or sexual violence.
Lowell Campus Resource Officer Tom Hickey assisted LPD detectives with ongoing larceny and motor vehicle B&E investigations, and assisted two MCC employees regarding the application of restraining orders. Officer Hickey also spoke with a female student regarding a report of a male suspect following her in the downtown Lowell area. Officer Hickey distributed information from the report to MCC Security. The MCC Security Team played a role in a drug possession arrest of two males during an evening shift in late January. Officer Hickey distributed information to the MCC community about police examination sign-ups and a police exam prep class via Newscaster.
Bedford Campus Resource Officer Craig Naylor continued to help with parking enforcement, as well as speeding issues on local roads leading to campus. Officer Naylor also met with local residents to discuss issues of street parking.