MWCC

MWCC has again earned a top spot among veteran-friendly colleges by Military Times.

Mount Wachusett Community College has earned national recognition for its support for veterans from several military-focused organizations over the past several years. On Veterans Day, Military Times again named MWCC to its Best for Vets: Colleges 2014 rankings.

Best for Vets provides service men and women a gauge by which to judge whether a school or degree program will truly benefit them. The rankings factored in service member enrollment, percentage of tuition covered by the GI Bill, and availability of specific programs to help service members. The organization placed a new emphasis on academic rigor this year when conducting and scoring the fourth annual Best for Vets: Colleges survey, a 150-question analysis of a school’s complete offerings for veterans.

MWCC was ranked fourth nationally for two-year schools. The full rankings include 120 four-year, two-year, online and nontraditional schools. The top schools in each category are being showcased in the November issue of Military Times EDGE magazine, the premier publication for military transition, and affiliated Gannet Company publications and websites, including USA Today and the newsweeklies Military Times, Army Times, Navy Times. Air Force Times and Marine Corps Times.

“Mount Wachusett Community College has a long history of serving veterans, and we’re delighted to be recognized for our commitment to those who courageously serve our country,” said President Daniel M. Asquino. “In recent years, we have enhanced our services through our Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, which is helping veteran students and their dependents transition to college life and receive ongoing support.”

The Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, initially established in 2010 through a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education, has helped MWCC create a culture of positive energy and enthusiasm for its military students, said Director Kristine Larkin. The center was among the first 15 in the county selected to serve as national models and has become a staple in the lives of student veterans at MWCC and a hub of activity on campus. Support services address the unique academic, financial, social and physical needs to veterans transitioning to college life.

Collaborating with nonprofit community partners and building strong relationships with student veterans are contributing to the center’s success in serving students, Larkin said. Community partners include the Montachusett Veteran Outreach Center, the Northeast Veteran Training & Rehabilitation Center operated by Veteran Homestead, Inc., the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services’ SAVE program, and local posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

MWCC is a designated Yellow Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. In addition, the college developed a First year Experience course designed specifically for veterans and many of the students are active in the veterans club on campus, which is affiliated with Student Veterans of America.

MWCC Broadcasting & Electronic Media studentWilfred Momo and classmates created a concert video and DVD featuring singer-songwriter Kellianna.

If you missed the free Kellianna concert at Mount Wachusett Community College as part of the college’s 50th anniversary events, you can soon see what you missed on local cable access TV.

Kellianna, an internationally recognized singer songwriter of Celtic myth and magic, is originally from Westminster. She graciously accepted an invitation from MWCC to present a full concert in the college’s theater in March, which allowed students in Audio Engineering and Video Recording to practice their craft.  As part of their course work, students recorded the concert and later edited the video and mixed the sound to create both a full concert DVD and a half hour television program. The DVD is enjoying international distribution to Kellianna’s fan base and the TV show has been released to local cable stations and others throughout the United States.

The aesthetic of the concert would not have been possible without the donated help of Jeff Boisseau, Technical Theater Director for Theatre at the Mount. All faculty, students and staff, who participated in the presentation and recording of the concert, donated their time to the event. Six video cameras and two multi-track recording systems captured the show.

Though the concert was recorded in the theater, several weeks of subsequent student training in the media facilities yielded the final videos. The DVD and TV show are also the first productions to come out of MWCC’s newly completed recording studio. The most intricate of the Mount’s five sound studios, it is being utilized by Broadcasting & Electronic Media students concentrating in Audio Engineering.

A three-year project to create the studio began in 2009 when MWCC acquired a Yamaha PM 4000 large format analog mixing console from Comcast SportsNet New England, in Burlington. Acoustical engineering and architecture for the new studio was commissioned to Lou Clark of Sonic-Space, in Portsmouth, NH, and construction is credited to MWCC’s facilities department. The room has custom made equipment racks by Dave Ruthardt of The Woodesign Company in Medway and is designed to serve as a recording/mixing facility as well as a teaching/learning space as recommended by MWCC faculty.

A major part of the system design of this new studio is state-of-the-art functionality for mixing audio with motion pictures.  It is now one of only a few college sound mixing rooms in the country that can marry sound and high definition video together to such a capacity.  Connecting the room’s equipment together took hundreds of man hours by MWCC’s media specialists Chris Chouinard, and Ben Mertzic.  It is estimated that if separated and connected end to end, the amount of wire used to connect this system together would reach five miles in length.

This recent production and other musical performances previously recorded at the college, including  “The Oakmont Jazz Band,” “The Fine Tuners” and Scott Beddia’s “IndepenDrum,” give media students experience creating content in a way that is rare to most colleges. MWCC is fortunate to have the facilities, equipment, faculty and staff to offer experiences of production equal to current professional standards of music on television.  This concert was recorded live with no opportunity for second takes.

MWCC’s newest recording studio is the latest upgrade to the college’s media facilities, which are constantly maintained and updated to meet industry standards and curriculum advancements. In the summer of 2011, a renovation to convert the college’s video training facilities to high definition yielded a new control room system, editing systems and video cameras.  Four existing audio studios have undergone regular updates and improvements, and the creation of a sixth audio studio is under way. It will feature an all-digital audio recording/mix room with a digital mixing console and digital connectivity to all performance areas including the college’s theater.

MWCC’s Broadcasting & Electronic Media degree offers concentrations in Audio Engineering, Video/Film Production and Photography.  The department is planning the next musical production for students to capture.

- John Little

Assistant Professor John Little teaches audio engineering at MWCC and is the owner and operator of the award-winning, full-service recording studio Up-Side-Sound in Ashburnham.

MWCC has received a four-year, $317,388 federal grant to continue its Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS) program, which provide childcare subsidies and other support services to eligible students.

The grant, part of $9.2 million allocated in September by the U.S. Department of Education, was awarded to 58 postsecondary institutions in 28 states to establish or support campus-based child care services.

The grant program assists students with reliable child care needs so they can remain focused on their studies, said MWCC CCAMPIS Coordinator Deirdre Moran said. Established at MWCC in 2009, it is the only CCAMPIS program funded in Massachusetts.

“Child care costs are approaching $200 a week for many parents and CCAMPIS can help with those expenses. That’s a huge savings for our students,” Moran said.

The CCAMPIS program at MWCC provides childcare subsidies to eligible students who are enrolled part-time or full-time at MWCC’s Gardner, Leominster or Devens campuses. Participating students can select from more than 100 pre-approved childcare providers, all of which fall within a 15-mile radius of one of the three campuses. Other services provided to participants include academic advising, regular monitoring of academic progress, career counseling, employment information, and referrals to community support services.

Awards can be used for child care services for all age groups: infants, toddlers, and preschoolers, as well as before and after-school care for school-age children. Students eligible to receive services for their children through CCAMPIS must be eligible for Pell grants, which are awarded based on financial need.

Approximately 100 members of the North Central Massachusetts business community joined Mount Wachusett Community College to celebrate the second annual National Manufacturing Day on Oct. 4 and the opening of the Manufacturing Workforce Certification Center at the college’s Devens campus.

Mount Wachusett Community College hosted an open house and ribbon cutting ceremony at its Devens campus during the second annual National Manufacturing Day on Oct. 4 Pictured, from left Nashoba Valley President and CEO Melissa Fetterhoff, MWCC Devens campus director Julie Crowley, MWCC workforce development staff Bill Blais, John Henshaw, and Vice President Jacqueline Belrose, MWCC President Daniel Asquino, Liz Penney, director of member services and programs for the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, and Kerrie Griffin of MWCC.

The open house, also sponsored by Mass Development, Amp it Up, and the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce, also included exhibitions and displays as well as a presentation by Dr. John R. Mullin, associate director of the Center for Economic Development at UMass Amherst, sponsored by the North Central Massachusetts Economic Development Council in partnership with the Manufacturing CEO Roundtable.

The development of the center has been made possible through the Massachusetts Community Colleges and Workforce Development Transformation Agenda, which is funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor through its TAACCCT program. The center provides industry-recognized assessments to companies looking to evaluate current and potential staff in the areas of mechanical, electrical and programmable logic circuitry skills. Other assessments including the nationally recognized WorkKeys program are available to employers. Curriculum designed to meet specific incumbent worker training needs is also available, as is the ability to work with companies to develop grant proposals for training through the state Workforce Training Fund.

In addition, the center provides space and tools to provide hands-on experience to participants seeking skills recognized by industry as critical to their success, as well as a venue for industry meetings and workshops and a resource to the region.

New short-term training programs that lead to industry credentials including OSHA certification and the National Career Readiness Certification were recently added to the Devens campus offerings. Applications for a new training session beginning this month are now being accepted.

The need for more advanced training in the area of analytical testing and quality control and assurance has been recognized by a recently announced award from the National Science Foundation to Mount Wachusett that will enable the college to develop programming that will lead to a new credit degree in Analytical and Quality Technology.

Discover MWCC & College Majors Fair will take place Thursday, Oct. 25 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Commons area. Learn about certificate and degree programs, explore college services, hear from alumni, meet with representatives from admissions, financial aid and career counseling, talk with professors and tour the campus during this free event. For more information, call the Admissions Office at 978- 630-9110 or email admissions@mwcc.mass.edu.

 

MWCC has been listed as a top military-friendly college by two organizations, including a new report that ranked MWCC No. 1 in a review of best career and technical colleges for veterans.

Public community and technical colleges accounted for six of the top 10 spots in a new survey of best skills schools for veterans by Military Times Edge, with MWCC taking the top spot among career and technical colleges. MWCC is being showcased on the Military Times and Military Times Edge websites http://militarytimes.com and affiliated Gannett Company publications, including the newsweeklies Army Times, Navy Times, Air Force Times and the Marine Corps Times.

In addition, for the third consecutive year, MWCC has been named a Military Friendly School by Victory Media, publisher of G.I. Jobs and other magazines. The 2013 list of Military Friendly Schools honors the top 15 percent of colleges, universities and trade schools that demonstrate outstanding services for student veterans. The 2013 list was compiled through research and a data-driven survey of more than 12,000 VA-approved schools nationwide. The full list of 1,739 institutions selected this year can be viewed at www.militaryfriendlyschools.com.

“Mount Wachusett Community College has a long history of serving veterans, and we’re delighted to be recognized for our commitment to those who courageously serve our country,” said President Daniel M. Asquino. “Most recently, we have enhanced our services through our new Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success, which is helping veteran students and their dependents transition to college life and receive ongoing support.”

The center, established in January 2011, and other services for student veterans have helped MWCC create a culture of positive energy and enthusiasm for its military students. Established through a Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) grant from the U.S. Department of Education, the center is among the first 15 in the county selected to serve as national models and has become a staple in the lives of student veterans at MWCC. Support services address the unique academic, financial, social and physical needs to veterans transitioning to college life.

“We’ve always been veteran-friendly, but now more than ever as we recognize the need to provide the support and services to our military service members and their families as they transition to college,” said Assistant Project Director Kristine Larkin, who oversees the center. Collaborating with nonprofit community partners and building strong relationships with student veterans are contributing to the center’s success in serving students, she said. Community partners include the Montachusett Veteran Outreach Center, the Northeast Veteran Training & Rehabilitation Center operated by Veteran Homestead, Inc., the Massachusetts Department of Veterans Services’ SAVE program, and local posts of the Veterans of Foreign Wars and the American Legion.

MWCC is also a designated Yellow Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Veteran Affairs. In addition, the college developed a First year Experience course designed specifically for veterans and many of the students are active in the veterans club on campus, which is affiliated with Student Veterans of America.

Dr. Stephen Grieco

Dr. Stephen Grieco, an accomplished composer with extensive experience in community college education, has joined Mount Wachusett Community College as dean of the School of Liberal Arts, Education, Humanities and Communications. Several new faces have also joined the college’s Division of Academic Affairs.

“We are delighted to welcome Dr. Stephen Grieco and all of our new faculty and staff members to Mount Wachusett Community College as we begin an exciting new academic year,” said President Daniel M. Asquino.

Prior to arriving at MWCC, Dr. Grieco served for five years as dean of Arts and Humanities at Montgomery County Community College in Blue Bell, PA. Previously, he served as assistant dean of Liberal Studies and Educational Support Services at the Community College of Philadelphia, where he also served as music department chair. He replaces former dean Dr. Vincent Bates, who accepted an administrative position at Northern Virginia Community College.

While working on his doctoral studies at Arizona State University, Dr. Grieco began teaching at local community colleges including Phoenix College, the oldest community college in Arizona. An offer to fill an unexpected vacancy teaching music theory and music history led to a permanent, full-time position at the college, where he expanded the program to include composition and music technology and served as department chair.

Dr. Grieco’s academic work with data and analytics has been recognized at numerous conferences and organizations including the American Association of Community Colleges, EDUCAUSE, Blackboard Analytics, and the League for Innovation. His work as an academic dean and ability to make systemic positive change using analytics was recently published in the EDUCAUSE Review Online.

As a composer, his works have been commissioned and performed in Europe and throughout the United States by numerous ensembles, including the Cleveland Chamber Symphony Orchestra, the United States Army Chorus, Arizona State University Symphony Orchestra and award-winning organist Kimberly Marshall. His work has garnered awards from Pro Musica, the North American Artists’ Foundation, Meet the Composer, the MidAmerican Center for Contemporary Music, Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Arizona State University, Bowling Green State University, Contemporary Music Society and the Victoria Bohlen Award.

At MWCC, Dr. Grieco plans to focus on ways to enhance and coordinate opportunities in the creative arts and media arts, building upon the existing strengths of the college’s Broadcasting and Electronic Media, Art, Theatre and Computer Graphic Design programs.

“There’s a real opportunity here for students to take advance of resources that you don’t see at most four-year institutions, and I want to build upon that. There’s outstanding technology here and we have faculty members who are professionals in their fields.”

Dr. Grieco holds a doctorate in Musical Arts from Arizona State University, a master’s degree in Music Composition from Bowling Green State University, and a bachelor’s degree in Music Composition from the State University of New York at Fredonia.

Others joining MWCC’s Division of Academic Affairs include:

Kara Roche, a former adjunct in the English department and an academic advisor at the college, has joined the English department as a full-time faculty member; Aliza Miller, who previously taught math at the Community College of Vermont and other Vermont colleges, joins the math department as a full-time faculty member; Dr. Cheryl Ann Wilson, who previously taught honors science courses at Belmont High School,  is the new chair of the Clinical Laboratory Science program; and Dr. Gary Ackerman has joined MWCC as the new director of the Center for Teaching and Learning. He previously taught information technology courses and served as a technology coordinator in Vermont.

In addition, Emily Cabrera, who previously served as a clinical nursing facilitator at Becker College, joined the nursing faculty in the evening program. Debra Boucher, formerly MWCC’s director of advising, is the new director of student success. She will continue to oversee the Advising Department. Liza Smith has joined MWCC as assistant director of advising. She is a former coordinator of career and academic planning for web services at Quinsigamond Community College.

Gateway valedictorian Megan Reiser and Pathways valedictorians Thomas Elbourn.

Whether they came to MWCC to accelerate the pace of their education or to get back on track after a problematic high school experience, the 44 graduates of the Pathways Early College Innovation School and the Gateway to College program have this in common: this spring they each reached a milestone.

Students enrolled in the two programs, which are offered in partnership with the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District, were recognized during a May 23 graduation ceremony in the college’s Raymond M. LaFontaine Fine Arts Center theatre. As dual-enrolled students, the graduates all completed the requirements for their high school diploma while simultaneously earning college credits or a degree.

Thomas E. Elbourn, the Pathways innovation school valedictorian who is transferring to Assumption College to continue his studies in psychology and counseling, shared that his faith and experiences inspired him to speak on the most important truth he’s learned in his young life.

“I firmly believe that the purpose of life, its deepest fulfillment, lies in that basic love and care and kindness to one’s fellow man. We live in a world of endless pursuits, infinite beauty, unbelievable experiences and 7 billion characters to play along with – don’t waste this chance, this life, on the mundane. Don’t waste it on the trivial. Don’t waste it by getting hung up on anger and sorrow and selfishness. Waste it on love,” he said.

“Whether this love is shown by living with the poor in Africa, the poor in New York or the poor in spirit next door, whether it is shown by the kind, encouraging word spoken to your friend or to your enemy, whether that love is shown by forgiveness and healing, whether that love is toward family, friends, a significant other or a stranger, or as Emerson stated, a little garden patch that you nurture, I urge you to love extravagantly.”

Elbourn thanked the college, the Mahar district and his classmates “for an unforgettable and unbelievable” two years. “We all became adults together, and I think that was – and is – something marvelous.”

Gateway valedictorian Megan Reiser said the program and its staff and faculty were instrumental in helping the graduates overcome adversity to achieve their goal.

“The education we have received here has helped us open doors full of new and exciting opportunities. We have all had our ups and our downs. However, we have reached one goal today receive a high school diploma. That is something that no one can take away from us, we have each earned it. There is no doubt that more struggles may come our way at times, but I leave you with this quote by Ralph C. Mahar to help you persevere throughout your lives:

“May you always have faith in yourselves whatever hardships may develop in the years ahead. May you be the individuals in the sense that you make up your minds, that you think straight and that you stand on your own two feet. May you have a sense of social conscience which shows concern for your fellow man, and yet, may I urge you to beware of the philosophy of those who advocate something for nothing.”

Mount Wachusett Community College has received the gold Circle of Excellence Award from the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education (CASE) in the Public Relations and Community Relations category for the multi-faceted “Catch the Wind at MWCC” communications project.

The communications effort highlighted the activation and dedication of MWCC’s two 1.65 MW wind turbines, as well as the college’s decade-long commitment to renewable energy and energy conservation; sustainability awards received from state and national agencies for the wind project; and leadership role in the national campus climate commitment movement.

Further, the effort showcased MWCC’s integral role in the Massachusetts “Leading by Example – Clean Energy and Efficient Buildings” program.

The story of MWCC’s wind energy initiative became an integrated, cross-college concept, sparking excitement and interest throughout the campus and involving the Marketing & Communications Division, the President’s Office, Institutional Advancement, Facilities Management, Media Services, Student Life, faculty, students and student clubs. The project combined in-house communications efforts in the areas of public relations, social media, website, and photography with service-learning projects for students majoring in Computer Graphic Design and Broadcasting and Electronic Media.

Aspects of the project included ongoing media relations; graphic design projects for signage, banners, turbine pride t-shirts sold to raise funds for student scholarships, and a car wrap; social media projects including posts to Facebook, YouTube and the college’s Green on Green Street blog; video projects and photography. The project also created opportunities for others. For example, key state agencies, Congressman John Olver, and environmental organizations such as the U.S Department of Energy, posted news and videos on their own websites, blogs and Facebook pages.

“This gold recognition is a great tribute to everyone at the college for stepping up to the challenge of incorporating new ways to communicate and bring greater visibility to our college,” said President Daniel M. Asquino. “The wind project was a complex one, with many other sustainability efforts being implemented at the same time. Our communications team did an outstanding job of building a campaign that tied all these efforts together, and bringing not only local, but national recognition to Mount Wachusett Community College.”

Robin Duncan, MWCC Vice President of Marketing & Communications commented, “I am very fortunate to work with a great group of people, and I am especially proud of this recognition as it truly showcases the diverse and cutting-edge talents among team members. This project was a collaborative college-wide effort and the communications strategy was a successful one. That’s what we do, here in our office – spread the good word about Mount Wachusett Community College! But it’s nice to be acknowledged by our colleagues for doing our jobs well, across all kinds of media – traditional and new.”

Advancement professionals from a number of higher education institutions, including Columbia University, Dartmouth College, Mount Holyoke College, Rutgers, Seton Hall University and Tulane University, served as judges in a wide range of categories for the 2012 CASE awards, which focused on work completed in 2011. MWCC joined silver award winner Duke University and bronze award winner Thomas More College as the top winners in the PR/Community Relations category.

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. CASE helps its members build stronger relationships with their alumni and donors, raise funds for campus projects, produce recruitment materials, market their institutions to prospective students, diversify the profession, and foster public support of education. The Circle of Excellence awards celebrate programs that measure up to high standards, contribute to a growing body of knowledge and add substance and insight to the profession and its practitioners.