on Education 



A Proposal for 
Fair and Equitable Distribution 
of State 
Education Aid

When School 
Expenses Rise, 
by Allen Larson





Community College Collaborations in Public Higher Education, summarized by Kathleen Schatzberg, President, Cape Cod Community College, for the Massachusetts Senate Task Force on Higher Education, November 4, 2004



          Let me begin by commending you on your work.  We are gratified by the support this signifies for our public higher education systems, and we are more than pleased to provide you with any information you may need for this vital work.

          It is a privilege to be able to outline here some of the community college collaborations that are abundant throughout public higher education in Massachusetts, and “outline” is indeed the operative word, for I could easily spend a couple hours and still just skim the surface.  Community colleges, embedded as we are within our communities, view collaboration as fundamental to our operations.  For today, I will briefly summarize some of the major types of collaborations, and offer to provide you with as much more detail as you may need. 

          Connect is a collaboration among five public institutions in southeast  Massachusetts:   Bristol, Cape Cod and Massasoit Community Colleges, Bridgewater State College, and U-Mass Dartmouth.  Driven by a board consisting of only its five CEOs, Connect has emerged as a model that is now being replicated, in various forms, across the Commonwealth.  The Connect collaborative, in just a few short years, has designed and implemented numerous joint projects.  Initially, we collected a list of all the collaborations involving our five institutions, and the list ran to twelve pages!  Here are just a few of the most major undertakings:

  • A shared middle-management professional training program (to which several other non-Connect institutions send their staff)

  • A transfer project with multiple facets to improve ease of transfer for our students, a byproduct of which is collaboration among our faculties

  • A brochure designed to inform area employers of our ability to respond to their workforce training needs

  • A regional (and cost-effective) facilities master planning process to which BHE and DCAM have enthusiastically subscribed.

  • Joint purchasing, taking advantage of a well-established U-Mass program

          Several regions around the state are also coalescing into similar collaboratives, although each region, of course, will be a distinctive response to the particular conditions and needs of that region.  You will also see the themes of this collaboration repeated in numerous ways throughout my report.

          Community College Leadership Academy (CCLA) is a professional development program developed by the 15 community colleges to identify emerging leadership in our institutions and “grow our own” future senior managers and presidents.  The first group of fellows completed the program last June, and the second has begun.  Each of the fellows has completed a project of importance to their own campuses, and aside from those projects, it is gratifying to see the ways in which fellows are exercising their leadership talents in stronger ways on their campuses, as well as keeping in touch with each other, forming a collaborative network that promises to have further impact as time passes and they advance their careers.

          Mass Colleges Online (MCO) is a collaboration among the 15 community colleges and several of the state colleges to make online courses more widely available across the Commonwealth.  Now four years since its inception, MCO offers more than 800 courses which are available to the students of any of our institutions.  In other words, one of my students on Martha’s Vineyard or living in Provincetown can take an online course that my college may not offer but that, say, Middlesex or Mt. Wachusett offers.  MCO is also working on a shared online Nursing program to address nursing shortages in the Commonwealth, and working with various state associations, online training programs for fire fighters, police officers, EMTs and other vital homeland security staff across the Commonwealth.

          Articulation of Degree Programs are typical of our operations.  Often this means a negotiated agreement between the four-year and the two-year program faculty to insure that students can easily transfer without loss of credit.  What is becoming more common, however, are shared degree programs that reside totally on the community college campus. 

  • At Cape Cod Community College, an hour or more from the nearest 4-year institutions, we host nine partners, both public and private, for 5 Bachelor’s and 9 Master’s degrees.  For the Bachelor’s, we deliver the first half of the program, while our partner delivers the second half on our campus; for the Master’s, we host the delivery of the degree by our partner.  Serving primarily working adults, these programs remove a major geographic barrier to career advancement for our region’s populations.  This began more than 12 years ago in response to our local superintendents’ call for graduate programs on the Cape  so their teachers could obtain salary and career advancement, and so the districts could “grown their own” administrators and specialists.

  • Mt. Wachusett Community College also hosts several degree programs, with both Fitchburg State College and private institutions.  In addition, MWCC and Fitchburg State College share an Institute Program in which students are jointly admitted to both institutions and move at the beginning of their first year into Fitchburg dormitories.

  • Northern Essex Community College partners in similar fashion with Salem State College to deliver Bachelor’s degrees in Nursing, Business and Social Work on the Northern Essex campus.

  • North Shore Community College  collaborates with U-Mass Boston to provide a local video-conference site for graduate courses, and partners with Lesley University to host bachelor’s level courses in Human Services and Early Childhood Education at their Lynn campus.

  • North Shore Community College and Northern Essex Community College partner with Salem State College on a National Coalition Building Institute which delivers training to faculty and staff, and to co-host the first-ever Peace College at Salem State College in Spring, 2004.

  • Greenfield Community College and the Mass College of Liberal Arts are collaborating on the development of a bachelor’s degree to be offered on the GCC campus beginning in Fall, 2005.  An interdisciplinary degree in English and Psychology, the program is designed for students planning to teach at the early childhood and elementary levels.

          Career Ladders are common collaborations in our institutions.  These articulated programs are designed to get people working in entry level jobs and at the same time, provide them with further education and an avenue to career advancement and higher-wage jobs. 


  • NUCLI and ECCLI (Nursing Career Ladder Initiative and Extended Care Career Ladder Initiative) are two such programs which used targeted state funding and partnership between healthcare systems and community colleges across the Commonwealth to create career ladders in the health professions while also addressing workforce shortages.

  • Cape Cod Community College collaborates with Mass Maritime, U-Mass Dartmouth, and technical high schools on the  Cape to deliver a career ladder in Environmental Technology.  Tech high schools train plumbers, electricians and building trades students for “green construction” and for transfer to CCCC, which trains technicians in fields ranging from water quality and coastal management to aquaculture and renewable energy, while the 4-year institutions deliver engineering at the baccalaureate and master’s level.

  • MassBay and Framingham State College are partnering to address the nursing shortage at the RN level and also to provide Master’s level training to RNs in order to increase the number of qualified nursing educators for Associate degree RN programs.  MassBay also collaborates with 10 area health care facilities to recruit and train certified nursing assistants who are ready to ladder into LPN or RN programs.

          Boston Higher Education Partnership (BHEP) is a cooperative effort of 30 Boston-area universities, colleges and the Boston Public Schools to support the academic achievement of young people in Boston.  BHEP focuses on six areas: 

  • Public Policy

  • Research

  • Pathways to College

  • Recruitment, Preparation and Induction of New Teachers

  • Mentoring and Support for New Teachers

  • Professional Development

          Among the BHEP partners are Bunker Hill and Roxbury Community Colleges, Mass College of Art, U-Mass Boston, and 26 other higher education institutions including  Boston College and Harvard.

          Pipeline STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) Grant Program provides funding as administered by BHE to improve the teaching of STEM disciplines in K-12 systems and recruit more students into associate degree, baccalaureate and advanced degree programs in these fields.  Virtually all of our community colleges are involved in the program which partners our colleges with K-12 systems and employers in science and technology fields.

          Other K-12/Community College Partnerships abound across the Commonwealth.  Here are just a few examples, which are typical of efforts at all of our colleges to respond to the professional development and workforce shortages in Pre-K and all of K-12 education systems:


  • Women in Technology is a partnership between Bristol Community College and their area K-12 schools.  Via Tech Prep federal funding, the program supports the advancement of women in technology careers and has garnered numerous awards.  Other Tech Prep program examples could be cited for all our community colleges.

  •  Merrimack Valley Partnership (MVP) between Northern Essex Community College and the Lawrence Public Schools, as well as Middlesex Community College and the Lowell Public Schools, provides professional development training for teacher aides and paraprofessionals in the public schools.  Likewise, a partnership between NECC and the  Haverhill Public Schools provides similar training.

  •  Community Partnership Councils (CPCs) between Northern Essex CC and several towns creates a seamless early childhood network responding to the needs of young children, parents, teachers, and the community as a whole.  Through an “Advancing the Field” grant and in collaboration with the CPCs, over 100 full-time early childcare providers have earned from a single Early Childhood education course to a complete Associates degree through NECC.   

  •  SEEM Collaborative is a partnership among North Shore, Middlesex, and Northern Essex Community Colleges with area K-12 systems to serve children with severe special needs under the mandate of the federal No Child Left Behind legislation. 

  • Teaching Our Professional Staff (TOPS) Program partners  Northern Essex and the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council to recruit and train child care workers.


          Northern Essex and Amesbury Public Schools have partnered for several years to provide teleconferenced, online, and courses located at both Amesbury High School and an elementary school.  Currently, up to 35 high school students are enrolled in courses they select with the advice of their guidance counselors and some 25 paraprofessionals are enrolled in courses leading the Early Childhood Education Associate’s degree, consistent with the federal “No Child Left Behind” law.

          Building Careers in Early Childhood is a program in which Mass  Bay Community College partners with 22 Metrowest childcare providers and agencies to provide childcare workers with a route to the Associate’s degree at  Mass Bay. 


          ACCCESS, the Adult Collaborative of Cape Cod for Education and Support Services, is a collaboration among  Cape Cod Community College , area K-12 districts, the Literacy Council of Cape Cod, and the Wampanoag Tribal Council to deliver a region-wide coordinated system of Adult Basic Education (ABE), English for Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL), and General Equivalency Diploma (GED) classes.


          Western Massachusetts Collaboratives also abound, many similar to those already cited.  To name just a few of the partnerships:

  • The Western MA Professional Development Collaborative offers programs to train the colleges’ faculty and staff.  In addition, “Best Practice” meetings are held by discipline to discuss pedagogy in foreign languages, math, English and Education.

  • The Human Resources Departments of the colleges collaborate to host an Adjunct Job Fair and 10 of the colleges jointly advertised openings in the Boston Globe’s special Higher Education issue and the Globe’s diversity issue.

  • Holyoke, Greenfield, and Mt. Wachusett Community Colleges are working to implement a consolidated hosting site for their three institutions that would make more efficient use of IT resources for these three colleges who use the same student information data software.

  • Joint student leadership programs are shared among the Student Development Departments of the member colleges, and plans are underway to extend student privileges among all four public colleges for such opportunities as use of athletic facilities and participation in student social events. 

  • Alumni and Development Departments are hosting a joint alumni event targeted for nursing alumni.

  • A joint video-based distance learning program is offered in Pharmacy Tech between Holyoke and Bunker Hill Community Colleges, with plans to bring Mt. Wachusett into the partnership.


          One more example of one of the many ways in which the colleges share expenses for common needs:


Shared Legal Counsel among the 15 community colleges includes a chief counsel who is authorized by the Attorney General to represent the community colleges in all legal matters.  Joined by three other attorneys, and with costs equally borne by the 15 community colleges, our Counsel’s office, for more than two decades, has provided legal training for our staff and represents us in labor and employment law, contracts, immigration, tort, and in state and federal law compliance.  In 2001, a group of our community college CFOs estimated that this shared system saves the Colleges (and the Commonwealth) $800,000 per year.


          And finally, a pitch for you to consider a program of immense value which was lost in the wake of the recent economic crisis:  

         The Dual Enrollment Program, funded through the Department of Education, enabled high school juniors and seniors to enroll with the advice of guidance counselors, in college courses that satisfied high school graduation requirements and enabled students to earn as much as a semester’s worth of college courses that they could transfer to virtually any college in the country.  Many, of course, went on to enroll at our own institutions.  Students accelerated into college work, families saved money on college costs, and transition to college was facilitated for many students who might never have considered college, an effect that certainly impacted the future workforce of the Commonwealth.  

          When the state tragically cut funding of this program, many of us kept it alive in various ways with local scholarship money and the support of school districts, but gradually our fiscal crisis and the scholarship needs of our own college-age students have diminished these programs to a fraction of what they once were.  We urge you to consider ways of restoring this highly effective program.


          I could go on at great length, I assure you, to catalogue all of the myriad of ways in which our public higher education institutions partner with each other, with K-12, and with area employers to better serve the Commonwealth and its citizens.  Each one of our institutions could no doubt provide a list as lengthy as the one I present today, which merely skims the surface.   I would be happy to elaborate or answer any questions you might have.  Thank you.   ***

CONNECT Part I