MWCC e-News

Dec. 19, 2012

In This Issue
MWCC Receives Continued Accreditation from NEASC
Economic Development Secretary Tours Collaborative Training Site
Survey Shows Area Businesses Cautiously Optimistic for 2013
Traditional Pinning Ceremony Marks Achievements of Practical Nursing Class
Outgoing Trustees Recognized
Tributes for Newtown
Student Performing Arts Showcase Features Dance, Acting & Voice
7th Grade Talent Search Participants Attend Leadership Conference at MWCC
New Community Projects Launched by United Way Youth Venture NCM
Upcoming Events
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topMWCC Receives Continued Accreditation from NEASC

MWCCMount Wachusett Community College has earned continued 10-year accreditation from the New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), which commended the institution for its "extraordinary commitment" to students and the region, "entrepreneurial spirit," and dedication to learning and civic engagement under the leadership of President Daniel M. Asquino and an active and committed board of trustees.

In its report, the evaluation team determined that MWCC is meeting its mission of teaching and learning excellence, building on students' potential for success, maintaining a supportive learning environment, responding to the community with relevant and quality programs, and instilling in students a sense of civic responsibility.

"This is an outstanding report from NEASC and is a testament to the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff to our students and our community," MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino said. "We are proud and delighted that NEASC has granted Mount Wachusett accreditation for another decade. The commission commended us for a well written and candid self-study, our excellent inclusive and comprehensive planning model, and for the great support we receive from our trustees, foundation board members, and the community at large."

In a letter to President Asquino, NEASC Chair Richard L. Pattenaude noted that the college has made an extraordinary commitment to develop and maintain programs that are needed in the region and that are desired by the students. Pattenaude praised the college for its "highly committed and dedicated" faculty; data-driven strategic planning; financial strength and fiscal prudence; comprehensive, diverse student life programs; robust library; energy conservation and sustainability efforts; and partnerships with area high schools and other colleges and universities.

"With its dedicated faculty and staff, prudent resource management, and capable senior leadership team, the college is well positioned for future success," Pattenaude wrote.

Read more

Economic Development Secretary Tours Collaborative Training Site
Secretary Greg Bialecki and President Asquino
Secretary Greg Bialecki and President Daniel Asquino during the tour at Nypro.

Massachusetts Secretary of Housing and Economic Development Greg Bialecki and members of his team toured Nypro University on Dec. 11 to learn more about the unique academic and workforce training partnership between the Clinton-based manufacturer, MWCC and Fitchburg State University, as well as other economic initiatives in North Central Massachusetts.


Strengthening and accelerating the state's economic recovery by supporting job creation in every region is a top priority of the Patrick-Murray Administration, and manufacturing remains a key component in the state's goals for a 21st century innovation economy.


"For Massachusetts to be prosperous, you absolutely have to think of manufacturing as a critical aspect," Secretary Bialecki said. Read more


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Survey Shows Area Businesses Cautiously Optimistic for 2013
The outlook for hiring trends in North Central Massachusetts in 2013 was rated as "fair to good" by a majority of employers who participated in a recent business trends survey conducted by four area Chambers of Commerce and Mount Wachusett Community College's business department.

The online, confidential survey, conducted Nov. 1 through 23, targeted the owners, presidents and vice presidents that lead local firms and featured four key components: staffing; organizational culture; change management; and marketing. The survey was distributed to members of the Greater Gardner Chamber of Commerce, the North Central Massachusetts Chamber of Commerce, the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce and the North Quabbin Chamber of Commerce in conjunction with Dr. Michael T. Greenwood, chair of the business department at MWCC.
The "MWCC School of Business and Chamber of Commerce Executive Survey of Business Trends" was distributed to more than 1,000 chamber members, with 267 business leaders responding, including 82 percent who identified their organization as a business and 18 percent as a nonprofit organization. After analyzing the results, Dr. Greenwood reported that 51 percent of the businesses plan to hire new employees in the next year, for a potential total of 279 full-time and 374 part-time jobs. Most of the growth is anticipated in larger organizations. Read more
Traditional Pinning Ceremony Marks Achievements of Practical Nursing Class
PN Class of 2012
Practical Nursing Class of 2012

Friends, relatives and members of the college community gathered December 17 to welcome 46 graduates of MWCC's Practical Nursing program into the nursing profession during a traditional pinning ceremony.

Each graduate, dressed in a traditional nurse uniform, was welcomed into the profession by having a nursing pin fastened to her or his lapel by a fellow nurse - a family member, friend or faculty member. MWCC's eight-star pin is imprinted with the words "Service to Humanity and the World" with the nursing symbol in the middle. The pin symbolizes the medal of excellence Florence Nightingale presented to the women who nursed the wounded soldiers of the Crimean War.

The ceremony also included the traditional recitation of the Florence Nightingale Pledge and lighting of a candle as a symbol of the care and devotion nurses administer to the ill and injured. Read more 


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Outgoing Trustees Recognized 
Trustee RecognitionDr. Francis Couvares and Raymond LaFond, outgoing members of the Board of Trustees, were recently recognized for their years of service and dedication to Mount Wachusett Community College.

"On behalf of the entire Mount Wachusett Community College faculty, staff and student body, we express our sincere thanks to Trustees LaFond and Couvares for their many years of collective service to the college," MWCC President Daniel M. Asquino said.
"Their efforts have resulted in countless improvements and changes to Mount Wachusett Community College that have enhanced the learning environment and the vital role that the college plays in the community that is the essence of the Mount."
Pictured: Outgoing members of the Board of Trustees Raymond LaFond, seated at left, and Francis Couvares, seated at right, were recently recognized by MWCC for their years of service and dedication to the college. Second row, from left: Trustee and immediate past chair Jim Garrison, Chair Tina Sbrega, and long-serving board member Jay Davis Drake.
Tributes for Newtown
Angels for Sandy Hook
Angel Project.

Whether they are sending a hand-made angel, a teddy bear, joining journalist Ann Curry's 26 Acts of Kindness movement, or paying tribute in any one of numerous other ways, members of the Mount Wachusett Community College community are honoring the memory of the 20 school children and six educators who lost their lives Dec. 14 in Newtown, Conn.


President Daniel M. Asquino reflected on the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in a poignant holiday greeting to the college community this week. "Somehow we will all go on, but this event will shape our emotional and moral fiber for years to come.  What I hope we can take away is a greater connection to one another, a greater respect for human life and a renewed commitment to stand together against violence of any kind."

The tragedy "has seemed to take the place of what, for many of us, is typically a season of joy," said Executive Vice President Ann McDonald. "While our hearts are heavy with grief for the families, teachers and friends of the victims of this senseless event, we deal with our own fears that surface as a result of this violent act. Nothing in our power can replace the lives lost or heal the shattered lives affected by this incident. But perhaps we can extend our sympathies through our expression of concern."

With that in mind, Executive Vice President McDonald and the Division of Student Services and the Student Life office are joining in the Angel Project initiative that is taking place throughout the country. Craft materials have been provided this week for students, faculty and staff to create an angel to send to the grief-stricken community, along with sentiments written in a book of condolences to let the members of the Sandy Hook Elementary School community know they are remembered.

In addition, MWCC's Center of Excellence for Veteran Student Success and its Commonwealth Corps Peer Veteran Liaisons are collaborating with the Worcester-based nonprofit Spectrum Health Systems, Inc., to sponsor a teddy bear drive for Sandy Hook elementary School. The bears will be sent to schoolchildren in Newtown to provide comfort and also to let the community know they are in the hearts and thoughts of so many.

The Angel Project will continue through December 21 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the cafeteria hallway. The teddy bear drive will continue through Friday, Dec. 28. New or gently used bears and other stuffed animals will be collected in room 141. To arrange a pick-up, call 978-630-9855. 


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Student Performing Arts Showcase Features Dance, Acting & Voice 
Dance showcaseTheatre, voice and dance students showcased their talents in end-of-semester performances this month.
Students in Jerianne Warren's Musical Theatre Dance Styles presented a variety of dance styles and choreography, ranging from Broadway hits to contemporary artists, on Dec. 10 in the dance studio.
On Dec. 13, students in the Introduction to Acting class, taught by Michael McGarty, performed scenes and monologues in the theatre, and students in Becky Ufema's Voice class performed a recital in the Fine Arts Center lobby.
Pictured:  Student Clare Margand, right, enlisted the help of her sister, Nina Morgand, while performing a tap number to the Pink Panther theme song during the dance showcase.
7th Grade Talent Search Participants Attend Leadership Conference at MWCC 
Talent Search leadership conference
Performer and educator Michael Reyes leads seventh graders in a workshop activity.

More than 100 area seventh graders visited MWCC's Gardner campus for a leadership conference featuring nationally known spoken word poet, performer and educator Michael Reyes.


The students participated in two of the Division of Access and Transition's federally funded TRIO programs, Educational Talent Search in Gardner, Fitchburg and Leominster, and the North Central Massachusetts Talent Search for students at Mahar, Murdock, Athol and the North Charter Essential School.

Reyes led a humorous, insightful and interactive workshop for the students focusing on their dreams, goals, characteristics of leaders and critical thinkers, cultures, problems in their community and possible solutions. His workshops, keynotes and performances are a combination of interactive discussion and spoken word performances. Audiences are motivated to create solutions and actively discuss issues of self-esteem, social justice and cultural identity.


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New Community Projects Launched by United Way Youth Venture NCM
Parker Press
Evan Rist and Seth Penna of Parker Press.

Good things can happen in three! The month of December has been quite exciting for the United Way Youth Venture of North Central Massachusetts. After presenting their community service ideas to a panel of judges, three teams of area middle and high school students received approval and seed funding to launch their Ventures.


The students' projects ranged in scope, topic, and methodology, but all three teams exhibited commitment, unique ideas, and ardent attitudes about bettering their communities. Fagan Forhan, Director of the Center for Civic Learning and Community Engagement, sat on one panel. Other panelists consisted of local professionals from businesses such as Enterprise Bank and IC Federal Credit Union, as well as teachers and staff from area public schools and Mount Wachusett Community College, which oversees the program.


The United Way Youth Venture of North Central Massachusetts, a three-way partnership between the United Way, MWCC, and Ashoka's Youth Venture, encourages young people to initiate positive, lasting social change in their communities. Of all of the Youth Venture partnerships nationally, UWYV of North Central Massachusetts has the largest contingent of engaged students and teams. Since 2002, 165 teams have launched ventures, with 136 remaining active. In the past year, 40 teams have been launched across all partnering schools, which represents a 20% increase from last year. More than 2,500 students are actively engaged in the program and more than 8,000 students are exposed to it annually.

The new Ventures include:

C4C: Care for Children - Memorial Middle School, Fitchburg
Sixth graders Michaela Wakefield and Shauna Carlson both remember a lack of supplies, particularly art and creative supplies, at the day care centers they attended in Fitchburg as children. This inspired them to create a Venture to donate supplies, with an emphasis on art supplies, to needy day cares in Fitchburg. This year they will donate to Busy Bee's Day Care, which is near their middle school, and in future years they hope to change day cares in order to have a bigger impact on the community at large. To fundraise, they will sell wristbands, pencils, and erasers with their team name on them at school functions, starting with the school holiday fair this month. The team received $500 in seed funding from Youth Venture.


Goals for Nets
Zayna Basma of Goals for Nets.
The Parker Press - Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School, Devens

Sophomores Evan Rist, Ting Voung, and Seth Penna noted the lack of school newspaper at Parker and thought it would be a great learning experience for aspiring journalists and business managers, as well as an important outlet for community building for students and readers, to have one. Together, along with a larger team of writers, designers, and staff, they led a Venture to create a school newspaper - The Essential Word - that would be free, have monthly issues, and be sustainable for years to come. To finance the monthly printing cost, they will ask local businesses and school departments to sponsor a month, and ask parents and students to buy "messages," such as baby pictures, Happy Birthday, etc. The team received $1,000 in seed funding from Youth Venture. The Parker Press launched its first installment of the paper last month, and will use the funding they received to continue printing monthly installments.

Goals for Nets - Francis W. Parker Charter Essential School, Devens
The Basma siblings - seventh graders Rayna and Adam, and junior Zayna - have all been positively affected through playing soccer. They decided to capitalize on their love for the game and also help alleviate the Malaria epidemic in Africa. They decided to create and run a soccer camp in June and July 2013 for 8 to 10 year olds. $10 of every $40 camper camp fee will go toward buying a life-saving malaria net through the organization, which pairs with the United Nations to send nets directly to Malaria affected regions in Africa. Their goal is to send 100 nets by the end of the summer. The team received $1,000 in seed funding from Youth Venture.


Kimberly Coates

Youth Venture Partnership Specialist



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Upcoming Events 

MWCC is hosting a series of advising and registration events to provide new and prospective students with a one-stop opportunity to streamline the enrollment process in preparation for the upcoming spring semester. During the Smart Start Registration events, newly accepted and prospective students will receive academic advising, assistance with course selection, information about financial aid and academic technologies, assessment testing and more. The half-day sessions will take place at noon on Jan. 7, 8, 9 and 11 at the Gardner campus. For more information or to register for a Smart Start event, contact the Office of Admissions at 978-630-9110 or


The Gateway to College program at MWCC is accepting applications for the spring semester and has scheduled information sessions for prospective students. The program is for Massachusetts residents ages 16 to 21 who have left high school or at risk of leaving high school without a diploma. Home schooled students are also eligible to apply. Gateway to College is funded through school choice funds from the Ralph C. Mahar Regional School District and is administered by Mount Wachusett Community College. The program covers the cost of college courses and textbooks, and the courses count toward high school and college credits. Applicants must attend a three-day information session to be considered for the program. An information session will take place Jan. 8, 9 and 10 at the Gardner campus. To register, call 978-630-9248.


Orientation for New and Transfer Students will take place Thursday, Jan. 17 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Gardner campus. The orientation will include a general information session, academic and student success sessions and more. For more information, contact the office of Student Life at 978-630-9142.


Mount Wachusett Community College has been selected to host a FAFSA Day event on Sunday, Jan. 27 at 1 p.m. at the Gardner Campus. The event, one of 30 taking place statewide, will provide students and families with free assistance applying for financial aid for college. FAFSA Day Massachusetts, a College Goal Sunday Program, is a non-profit, volunteer driven program in its ninth year providing free assistance to students and families seeking to complete the FAFSA, the Free Application for Federal Student Aid. Students, families, and adult learners who want help applying for financial aid for the 2013-2014 academic year should attend. For more information, call 978-630-9110 or visit 

MWCC is offering Information Sessions on several academic programs. Upcoming sessions will take place on the following dates: Associate Degree in Nursing: Jan. 22, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner Campus, room 204; Dental Hygiene Programs: Jan. 30, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner Campus, room 204; Clinical Laboratory Science: Jan. 28, 3:30 p.m., Gardner Campus room 214; Physical Therapist Assistant, Feb. 7, 2 to 3 p.m., Gardner Campus, room 205. Prospective students interested in attending an information session are asked to call the Admissions Office at 978-630-9110 (TTY 978-632-4916), or email  

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Janice O'Connor
Director of Public Relations
Mount Wachusett Community College