Faculty and Staff Stories

manufacturingThe long-standing collaboration between MWCC, the North Central Massachusetts Workforce Investment Board, and industry is showcased as a model demonstrating best practices for building and sustaining regional partnership in a new video created by the Advanced Manufacturing Regional Partnership Academy (AMRPA).

MWCC, known for its well established partnerships with corporations such as Nypro and Bristol-Myers Squibb and the recipient of a recent $15.9 million, multi-state grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, is featured in the video along with the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, the North Central Workforce Investment Board and Nypro, Inc.

MWCC’s vice President of Lifelong Learning Jacqueline Belrose; Dean of Workforce Development John Henshaw; Kathleen Kirby, National Consortium Project Manager of of the TAACCCT-funded Advanced Manufacturing & Quality Consortium, are among the college officials interviewed in the video. The video was one of three unveiled during an AMRPA meeting in June.

The academy brings together manufacturers, workforce investment boards and academia to help regions throughout the state develop sustainable and effective partnerships that respond to industry needs.

Established by Gov. Deval Patrick in 2013 to accelerate the adoption of best practices, capacity building and industry engagement, the academy is a collaborative effort of the Advanced Manufacturing Collaborative, the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, the Executive Office of Education, the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, and the University of Massachusetts. The academy is funded by MassDevelopment through the Advanced Manufacturing Futures Fund.

 

 

Linda Coyne

Linda Coyne has enrolled in MWCC’s new Health Information Management program to blend her existing computer technology experience with her emerging interest in healthcare.

Mount Wachusett Community College is rolling out several new and revised academic programs to prepare students for a wide range of careers.

“We’re excited about these new opportunities for our students,” said Dr. Melissa Fama, Vice President of Academic Affairs. “The new and redesigned programs will serve needs expressed by local employers and students will be better prepared to enter the workforce or transfer, so this is a win-win for our region.”

Health Information Management, Hospitality, Cyber Security, Analytical Laboratory and Quality Systems, and Liberal Arts programs with STEM concentrations in biological science, chemical science, physics and pre-engineering are among the additional degree and certificate offerings available when the new academic year begins in September.

Existing programs that underwent changes to align with the most current industry trends include Graphics and Interactive Design (formerly Computer Graphic Design-Print/Web); Media Arts and Technology (formerly Broadcasting & Electronic Media); Energy Management; and Medical Coding.

As part of college initiatives focused on the STEM fields (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math), Mount Wachusett has added new concentrations in these disciplines to its existing Liberal Arts and Sciences programs.

The Liberal Arts Biological Science concentration provides students with the first two years of a typical biology program so they can transfer into a bachelor’s degree program as juniors. This associate degree may also be used as a pre-professional program for aspiring physicians, veterinarians, dentists, and pharmacists.

Similarly, the Liberal Arts Chemical Sciences and Liberal Arts with Physics or Pre-Engineering provides students the first two years of a standard college courses in preparation for transfer into four-year programs as juniors and ensuing careers.

In response to new federal laws regulating how medical records and medical coding structures are maintained, MWCC has developed an associate degree program in the expanding field of Health Information Management. Individuals working in HIM play a key role in ensuring that healthcare organizations are compliant with state and federal regulations regarding capture, storage, and release of all medical data.

This field is seeing rapid expansion that will require significant new hiring of HIM-credentialed people to meet workforce needs over the next decade. In this career, individuals with an interest in the medical field and information technology skills contribute greatly to the healthcare industry without being direct care providers.

Several certificate programs have been added to the college’s short-term academic programs. The Analytical Laboratory and Quality Systems certificate program prepares students to gain entry level positions as laboratory and quality technicians for manufacturing companies and other organizations. Example positions include quality inspectors, calibration technicians, quality control analysts, document control technicians and manufacturing production technicians.

The Cyber Security certificate helps students launch a career in information technology security. In this program, students learn how to install operating systems and applications and study networking topics, as well as learn how to secure and protect these technologies against possible exploits and attacks. Students may use this certificate as preparation for the CompTIA Security+ SYO-201 exam or as a foundation for ongoing security studies.

The new Hospitality certificate program provides students with a strong foundation in the hospitality industry. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, jobs in this field are projected to increase an average of 15.5 percent through 2018.

Faculty at Thoreau cabin

Faculty participating in the NEH Summer Academy tour a replica of Henry David Thoreau’s cabin at Walden Pond in Concord.

In late May, a group of 30 MWCC educators spent a day walking the trails at Walden Pond in Concord, where 19th century author, philosopher, naturalist and abolitionist Henry David Thoreau lived in a cabin for two years, two months and two days writing his most famous works.

The visit was part of a week-long summer academy to prepare for an upcoming year-long, multi-disciplinary learning project devoted to the author’s influence and relevance to students today. In 2013, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded the college a challenge grant of $500,000 to endow the “MWCC Humanities Initiative” to deepen and sustain quality humanities programming and curriculum in North Central Massachusetts. The grant will be matched with funds raised by the MWCC Foundation to endow the initiative over the next six years. Thoreau’s Walden or Life in the Woods is at the center of the Humanities Project first year’s theme. Other authors and topics will be selected in subsequent years.

“The summer academy was very successful,” said English Professor Michelle Valois, chair of the college’s General Studies department and coordinator of the NEH grant project. “Faculty had the opportunity to collaborate on teaching and learning and they had the chance to grow intellectually. For some, Thoreau was new ground and they embraced the chance to be a student again. We also explored active learning, developing new ways to engage students in class discussion, and collaborative group work.”

Thoreau considered himself as much a scientist as a poet, Valois said. His scientific observations and inquiries are still relevant today and have given rise to the “citizen science” movement. He was also deeply influenced by Eastern religious and philosophical thought at a time when globalization was not a buzzword. And of course, Thoreau, the creator of the modern concept of civil disobedience, provides a perfect vehicle for examining the power and responsibility of the individual citizen in a healthy democracy, she said.

The academy provided guidance and inspiration as participating faculty prepare to integrate Thoreau and his works into cross-college disciplines, including English, biology, business administration, nursing, sociology, graphic design, early childhood education, photography and math.

Summer Academy Walden group photo

Professor Michelle Valois, coordinator of the new MWCC Humanities Initiative, leads a discussion during a faculty visit to Walden Pond in Concord, where Henry David Thoreau penned one of his most famous works, Walden or Life in the Woods. The book will be the focus of the Humanities Project’s first year’s theme.

Guest speakers and faculty participants presented lectures throughout the week. Michael Frederick, executive director of the Thoreau Society, spoke of Thoreau’s views of eastern philosophy and non-violence. Thoreau Society board member Susan Gallagher, associate professor in the political science department at UMass, Lowell, presented “Mapping Thoreau Country,” which followed Thoreau’s extensive travels through New England. Corinne Smith, author of, “Westward I Go Free: Tracing Thoreau’s Last Journey,” spoke on “Thoreau’s Relevance for Today.”

Several events, which are free and open to the public, are planned for the upcoming academic year including book discussions, lectures, a presentation by a Thoreau re-enactor, student presentations and a fundraising walk replicating Thoreau’s 1842 ascent up Wachusett Mountain, which was described in his  essay, A Walk to Wachusett.

“Wachusett is, in fact, the observatory of the state,” Thoreau wrote in his essay.

“That’s quite an honor for our little mountain, just as the NEH grant is an honor for our college,” Valois said.

 -         Alexander P. Moore

Dental programs tour June 2014

Incoming dental hygiene freshmen Paulette Hachey, Jessica Charron and Monica Kwan check out an operatory during a tour of MWCC’s new dental programs center in Fitchburg.

MWCC’s dental programs moved to spacious, new quarters in June, giving students, faculty and patients plenty to smile about.

The dental programs are now located at 326 Nichols Road in Fitchburg, adjacent to the original site at HealthAlliance Hospital, Burbank campus. The new facility is housed within the Community Health Connections’ newly opened, $20 million Fitchburg Family Community Health Center and continues a long-standing partnership with CHC that enables students to work with dentists and patients.

“It’s new and a pleasant, professional and inviting environment that welcomes students and patients alike,” said dental programs Director Anne Malkasian. “It’s a nice, welcoming facility to deliver good quality care in.”

The new space accommodates the growing dental programs, Malkasian said. In addition to containing the program’s seven operatories used for patient care, the new facility provides a larger classroom, designated space for space a dental materials lab, a library, offices and storage.

Students enrolled in the college’s part-time, evening dental assisting program will begin using the new facility this summer. Second-year dental hygiene students and freshmen entering the full-time, dental hygiene program in September had the opportunity to tour the new site on June 18 during their program orientation.

“The building is beautiful and we’ve all been very excited to start our second year here,” said continuing student Tasey Lemieux of Gardner.

Paulette Hachey of Fitchburg, who began her academic studies at MWCC as an English as a Second Language student, is excited to begin her dental hygiene program in the new facility this fall.

“It’s beautiful in here. It looks more like a dentist’s office than a school.

Malkasian, who plans to retire in the fall, said the move to the new location was a rewarding chapter in her career. She praised the CHC and its new chief executive officer, John DeMalia, for bringing the project to fruition and enhancing medical care for area residents.

“This is the medical and dental home for thousands of patients and it’s nice to have a beautiful facility for them,” she said.

During the past academic year, students in MWCC’s dental programs conducted fundraisers to contribute to the Community Health Connections Homestretch campaign to provide for additional clinical space and other building improvements. For more information about the campaign, visit www.thehomestretchcampaign.org.

Liane Jablonski and Robin Robinson COD award 2014

Massachusetts Colleges Online Course of Distinction Award recipient Liane Jablonski, left, with MCO chair Robin Robinson, Director of Education Technology and Interactive Media at Framingham State University.

MWCC instructor Liane Jablonski was recently recognized with a Course of Distinction Award from Massachusetts Colleges Online for her online course, “Introduction to Sociology.”

A resident of Rindge, N.H., Jablonski received the award during the consortium’s 10th annual eLearning Conference, held this spring at Bridgewater State University.

More than 2,600 courses are offered through MCO, a consortium of the 15 community colleges and seven members of the state university system in Massachusetts. The MCO Course of Distinction (COD) award is named after the Bay State’s unique association with the “Sacred Cod,” and the contributions that the fishing industry made to Massachusetts economy in the early years of its history.

“The award recognizes faculty from throughout the state who have developed and teach innovative and exciting online courses,” said Dr. Vincent Ialenti, dean of Academic and Institutional Technology at MWCC. “These courses are representative of the best uses of eLearning instructional tools to enhance student success.” The award’s name was selected to recognize the contribution that MCO’s members and eLearning make to the state’s economy in the 21st century.

In addition to accepting a cod fish replica pitcher and certificate at a special luncheon at the conference, Jablonski presented information about her course as part of the conference’s Best Practices Showcase.

MWCC Assistant Dean of Curriculum and Instruction Michele Paranto described Jablonski’s course as “Exemplary in its use of the learning modules to scaffold and facilitate student learning and engage students in the course material.”

In her course, Jablonski built discussion boards that encourage students to take ownership of their learning, to communicate and collaborate with each other and to master the content. In addition, she maximizes course communication to create and maintain a consistent instructor presence within the course that fostered positive online relationships with students, Paranti said.

Jay Bhatt, president and chief executive officer of Blackboard, Inc. delivered a keynote address to the 250 conference attendees, focusing on the role of online and classroom technology in education’s future, the impact on teaching and learning, and the expectations of 21st century learners.

 

2014 relay tv

President Daniel Asquino and other members of MWCC’s Relay for Life team were among the 2,155 participants in the 24-hour walk to raise funds for the American Cancer Society in support of research.

Mount Wachusett Community College students, staff and faculty were among the 2,155 participants who walked to raise funds for the American Cancer Society in this year’s Greater Gardner Relay for Life.

The 159 teams raised more than $444,000 during the 21st annual relay, held June 13 and 14 at MWCC’s fitness track. Participants and survivors walked to support loved ones battling cancer and in remembrance of loved ones who have passed.

MWCC’s relay team, chaired by Vice President of Finance and Administration Bob Labonte, Professor Susan Goldstein, and campus police Lt. Melissa Crouteau, received overwhelming support from students to walk the entire 24 hours.

LaBonte thanked the college community for supporting MWCC’s team, including Theatre Technical Director and Set designer Jeffrey Boisseau, who created the team’s giant television booth in keeping with the event’s television theme this year.

The MWCC Alumni Association also hosted a team.

“Every member of the Alumni Association Relay Team has experienced firsthand how cancer affects our friends and loved ones. On our team we had at least one cancer survivor and others who have been caregivers and all of us have known someone who has fought and won, or fought and lost, a battle with cancer,” said Mark Geoffroy, vice president of the MWCC Alumni Association. “I’m so glad that Mount alumni were able to come together for this great cause.”

Over the past two decades, the event has raised over $12 million making it one of the most successful relays in the country.

-          Alexander P. Moore

 

 

VFW scholarship donation to MWCC Foundation

Members of Ovila Case Post 905 Veterans of Foreign Wars recently presented a $1,000 donation to the Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation to support scholarships for student veterans. Pictured, from left, Commander Howard Sands, President Daniel M. Asquino, Service Commander Kenneth Fournier, board member and past commander Don Progen, and MWCC Foundation Executive Director Carla DeFosse.

The Ovila Case Post 905 Veterans of Foreign Wars in Gardner recently donated $1,000 to Mount Wachusett Community College Foundation’s Veterans Memorial Scholarship.

President Daniel M. Asquino and Foundation Executive Director Carla DeFosse accepted the generous donation from VFW Commander Howard Sands, Service Commander Kenneth Fournier and board member and past commander Don Progen, and thanked the post members for their continued support of MWCC and student veterans.

The scholarship was established to recognize the important role played by MWCC in ensuring that the sacrifices and service of veterans who served the country will not be forgotten.

Scholarship funds are awarded to new or returning full-time students who were honorably discharged from the U.S. Armed Forces or are currently serving in the Reserves or National Guard.

2014 MWCC Eve of Excellence Honors Program

Honors Program Coordinator Professor Sheila Murphy, left, with 2014 Honors Program graduates Sara Halloran, Tiffianie LeBlanc Nicole Pippert, Amanda Woods, Heather Rick, Sara Dwelly, Lourdes Abreu, Seth Pease and Jessie Bigwood. Not pictured, Kyna Bell, Cory Berndt, Lisa Ray.

Mount Wachusett Community College celebrated the academic accomplishments of extraordinary students at the annual Evening of Excellence awards dinner May 15 at the Doubletree Inn, Leominster. The students were honored with prestigious awards not only for their performance inside of the classroom, but for their contributions in the community as well.

In addition to curriculum awards and other recognitions, the MWCC Foundation presented a number of awards during the ceremony. The foundation has awarded $260,000 in scholarships during the 2013-2014 academic year.

To view photos, click here.

The following awards were presented:

OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

All USA Academic Team Nominees: Bryan Sanderson and Kathleen Craigen

Visions Program Award: Monica Medeiros

RX Award: Tasey Chartier

Best of English 101: Asia Traffie, Leah Trudeau and John Mossey

Sandy Signor Award: Heidi Lupien of Gardner

Jean Tandy Award: Dylan Safford

2014 Newman Civic Fellow Award: Kathleen Matson

Service Learning Scholarship: Roxanna Figueroa and Bryan Nolan

 

CURRICULUM AWARDS

Art: Thomas Hill and Melissa Agin

Automotive Technology: Benjamin Brookman

Biotechnology/Biomanufacturing: Laura Calix

Broadcasting and Electronic Media: Tiffianie LeBlanc

Broadcasting and Electronic Media – Photography Option: Samantha Skinner

Business Administration Career: Nina Margand

Business Administration Transfer: Carly Mongeau

Clinical Laboratory Science: Casey Gallant

Complementary Health Care: Paul Campbell

Computer Graphic Design: Jennie Laronga

Computer Graphic Design – Web Concentration: Sara Dwelly

Computer Information Systems: Kendra Killian

Criminal Justice: Elizabeth Reiser

Dental Hygiene: Lauren Phillips

Early Childhood Education Career: Paula Rocheleau

Early Childhood Education Transfer: Rachael O’Neil

Fire Science: Zechariah Matson

General Studies: Amanda Woods

Human Services: Bryan Sanderson

Liberal Arts & Sciences: Erin Leamy

LPN to ADN Bridge: Cory Berndt

Medical Assisting: Kelsey Toomey

Natural Resources Technology: Seth Pease and Angela Wyman

Nursing: Lani Cabral and Krista Shell

Paralegal: Heather Rick

Physical Therapy Assistant: Alissa Zbikowski

 

MWCC FOUNDATION, INC. AWARDS

Alumni Scholarship: Linda Patterson

Barbara Chaplin Memorial Scholarship: Caroline Flagg

Barnes & Noble Scholarship:  Rachel Kalagher, Briana Cullins and Sarah Croce

Carl Tammi Award: Bryan Nolan

Carrie Progen Memorial Scholarship: Leandro Lopez

Craig Hamel Scholarship: Pranee Terry

Edith Baldyga Scholarship: Caroline Flagg

Ellen Daly Dental Hygiene Scholarship: Tasey Chartier

James D. Murphy Scholarship: Jillian Johnson

Jonathan C. Craven Scholarship: Amanda Gorrell

John Burton Award: Shane Williams and Melissa Agin

Joseph B. Ruth Scholarship: Eveliz Rivera-White

Joseph S. Baldyga Veteran’s Fund: Michael Feeley

H. Marilyn Kiosses Scholarship: Katelynn O’Brien

Melissa Herr Marsh Scholarship: Jessica Johnson

Michael & Christine Greenwood Business Scholarship: Marissa Lacruz

Millie McGuire Foundation: Sandra Bushey

Mount Observer Scholarship: Tiffianie LeBlanc

Nashoba Valley Healthcare Fund: Jane Crowley and Julie Sullivan

Robert Weibel Scholarship: Jennifer Potvin

Robert H. Gilman Memorial Scholarship: Suellen Dias

Roberts Scholarship: Micaiah Bushnell

Sara Kajel Award: Lindsay Howard

Sharyn Rice Scholarship: Moises Ramos

MWCC Veteran’s Memorial Scholarship: Bryan Sanderson

 

MEMORIAL AWARDS

Aspasia Anastos Award: Yamileyka Rojas

Judge Moore Award: Seth Pease and Heather Rick

Peter J. Trainor Leadership Award: John Day

 

HONORS SOCIETY RECOGNITION

Alpha Beta Scholarship: Mary Burns and Kathleen Matson

Honors Program: Lourdes Abreu; Heather Rick; Nicole Pippert; Amanda Woods; Cory Berndt; Tiffianie LeBlanc; Seth Pease; Jessie Bigwood; Sara Dwelly; Sara Holloran; and Lisa Ray

 

29WS 2014 Greg & Kathy NC

Kathy Matson, with her mentor, Associate Dean of Students Greg Clement, during the 29 Who Shine awards ceremony.

The Massachusetts Department of Higher Education kicked off the 2014 commencement season on May 8 by recognizing recipients of the 29 Who Shine award. The annual ceremony at the State House honors one graduate from each community college, state university and University of Massachusetts campus for their academic achievements and civic contributions to the Commonwealth.

MWCC Business Administration Major Kathleen A. Matson, who has served this academic year as the student representative on the state Board of Higher Education, was among the recipients. Matson also serves as president of the college’s Student Government Association and holds numerous other leadership positions in campus organizations.

“The 29 Who Shine represent the best and the brightest of our public higher education system,” said Secretary of Education Matthew Malone. “I’m inspired by how these graduates are giving back to their communities and at the same, for many, also working full time to support their families. And even with all they have going on these students achieved high academic honors. These are the types of people who you want as your neighbor and I’m very proud of each of them.”

Each of Massachusetts’ 29 public college and university campuses selected its own honoree for the 29 Who Shine awards based on criteria established by the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education.

“Our public college and university graduates are ‘here to learn and here to stay,’” said Richard M. Freeland, Commissioner of Higher Education. “These outstanding individuals are citizens of the state who plan to build their lives and livelihoods here in Massachusetts. They have delivered a big return on the taxpayers’ investment in their education and we are delighted to honor their achievements.”

The ceremony also included recognition of each honorees’ faculty or staff mentor. Matson selected Associate Dean of Students Gregory Clement as her mentor. Singer-songwriter Whitney Doucet, a 2013 graduate of MWCC, also represented the college with her performance of “America the Beautiful” during the ceremony.

Additionally, publishers of most daily newspapers across the state have donated full or half-page advertisements to honor the students as a group on May 8. Central Massachusetts of the 29 Who Shine Publishers Campaign include The Gardner News, The Sentinel and Enterprise and the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.

 

Business Lunch & LearnMWCC’s summer business luncheon series returns this year with a variety of professional development, supervisory and management sessions. The college’s Division of Lifelong Learning and Workforce Development has bundled several of its popular course offerings for entrepreneurs, small businesses, nonprofits as well as corporate staff.

On June 6, the session “Creating a Collaborative Workplace” will introduce the fundamental aspects that drive effective coaching and mentoring programs in organizations. Participants will learn ways to improve leadership and reduce key employee turnover, and be introduced to the critical skills needed to conduct coaching conversations, adapt one’s coaching style to fit changing situations, and become familiar with developing a coaching plan for business.

On June 20, “Human Resources and Business Staffing Fundamentals” will provide insights into ways to protect your business, your employees, and yourself from legal liability. In this session, participants will receive practical legal business advice from hiring to firing from a legal advisor and private sector human resources executive.

On July 18, “The Art of Giving a Performance Appraisal” will provide new and seasoned middle managers with tips to constructively and effectively inspire greater involvement, innovation, and business results from staff members Participants will learn about “the management by objectives process” as one example to support the appraisal process.

On Aug. 1, “Making the Transition to Management” will provide an overview of three leadership skill sets necessary to ensure individual and organizational performance. Participants will learn ways to adjust their management style to empower employees to find their own answers to business challenges and discover why coaching employees is essential to ensure maximum performance, motivation and retention.

On Aug. 15, “Negotiating to Win: Persuasive Communication” will cover essential techniques and approaches to positively influence and persuade customers, colleagues and stakeholders for a mutually desired outcome, such as resources for a project, funding for a new initiative, or establishing a team initiative to support a new product or service.

The luncheon series will conclude on Aug. 22, with an information session on the Massachusetts Workforce Training Fund. Information about obtaining training grants, as well as recent changes to the program, will be provided.  The Workforce Training Fund is a state fund financed entirely by Massachusetts employers. Its purpose is to provide resources to Massachusetts businesses and workers to train current and newly hired employees.

All sessions take place from 12 to 1 p.m. in the North Café at MWCC’s Gardner campus, 444 Green Street. The cost for each session is $15 when pre-registered or $17 at the door and includes a complimentary lunch. Seating is limited and available on a first-come, first-served basis. Register for one or more sessions online at  http://mwcc.edu/wf/business-luncheon-series, by phone at 978-630-9575, or email training@mwcc.mass.edu.