MCCC People/Education Issues in the News

Now, and in the past, a very informal chronicle.

Higher Ed Enrollments Down 2012-2016


No progresss in contract talks for community college staff, Barnstable Wicked Local, Jan 14, 2016

The union representing teachers, counselors and librarians at Cape Cod Community College is sharply criticizing the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education for seeking to tie part of the union’s pay increase to factors such as graduation rates at community colleges statewide. read more


Bristol Community College union faculty
unhappy with contract talks. Jan. 10, 2016, South Coast Today

"We are very very frustrated with the pressures put on us to do more with less unlike
what has happened with other higher education institutions in the state." read more

Letter: Community college faculty, staff make reasonable
demands, Dec. 1, 2015, Liz Recko-Morrison, Berkshire Eagle

Members of the Massachusetts Community College Council (MCCC), the union
representing faculty and professional staff at the 15 community colleges across
Massachusetts, are engaged in contract negotiations which have dragged on now for
months. As the director representing BCC on the union's statewide board, I feel it's
important to share our concerns with the broader community read more

BCC faculty union employs job action to press for
contract settlement, Dec. 5, 2015, Jim Therrien

Casual conversations and presidential debates reinforce the important work we accomplish at
community colleges. Yet, the message coming from the state Board of Higher Education and
campus administration in Massachusetts is quite different. read more

Letter: Faculty, staff deserve respect
Posted: Friday, December 4, 2015 Norene Gachignard

Members of the Massachusetts Community College Council (MCCC), the union representing
faculty and professional staff at the 15 community colleges across Massachusetts, are engaged in
contract negotiations that have dragged on now for months. As the president of the local chapter at
North Shore Community College, I feel it’s important to share our concerns with the broader
community. read more

Community college professors seek investment
from board Dec. 3, 2015 Roberta Albano, Carol Giaquinto

Casual conversations and presidential debates reinforce the important work we accomplish at
community colleges. Yet, the message coming from the state Board of Higher Education and
campus administration in Massachusetts is quite different. read more

Valuing the Faculty
September 17, 2015

By Colleen Flaherty

Who needs the faculty? A new working paper by the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education, a coalition of faculty unions and other academic associations, asks that question and answers resoundingly that face time with faculty members is key to student success. Unfortunately, it says, colleges and universities continue to divert funds away from instruction in an attempt to cut costs -- a strategy that actually hurts them in the long run. Read More...




The union representing faculty at the state's 15 community colleges is questioning a proposal to make community college tuition free for Massachusetts residents, calling it a well-meaning plan that doesn't fully consider the needs of the schools or their students. Massachusetts Community College Council Vice President Donnie McGee told the Joint Committee on Higher Education Wednesday that the union believes community colleges need more state investment before free tuition is considered. She said the schools need resources and infrastructure to support their students, particularly the academically at-risk and non-traditional student populations that community colleges consider it their mission to serve. "We want to deal with the debt crisis, but we don't want to fail our students in the meantime," said McGee, a Bristol Community College English professor. The free community college bill is sponsored by Higher Education Committee chairmen Sen. Michael Moore and Rep. Thomas Sannicandro.Northern Essex Community College President Lane Glenn told the committee that changes to the policies around community colleges must not just encompass expanded access to the schools, but also ensure that students will succeed once they're enrolled. "Free community college may very well be a valuable and effective way to enroll more students in higher education, and help them get those credentials, and help create a knowledge base," Glenn said. "The presidents of the 15 community colleges are certainly committed to working with our legislators on the details of this bill to make sure, if it is enacted, that can happen in a way that is advantageous for both access and success." - Katie Lannan/SHNS

Posted on Boston Globe March 25, 2015
Costs, delays keep public e-mails
private in Mass.

By Nicole Dungca GLOBE STAFF

Former secretary of state Hillary Rodham Clinton's use of a private e-mail address shocked government watchdogs, because the practice could have blocked access to public documents. But in Massachusetts, even e-mails to and from government addresses are difficult to obtain. Agencies routinely charge high fees - often several thousand dollars or more - or delay responses, dissuading the public from requesting information that should be readily available. E-mails between state officials are usually subject to public records law. Read More...

Posted on Louisville Eccentric Observer May 21, 2014
(Kudos to our own Don Williams for having his photo published in a Lexington, KY newspaper this week.)

Gross income

The plight of adjunct instructors in Kentuckiana

By Sean Patrick Hill

For decades, well-educated - and expensively educated - adjunct or "contingent" faculty have slogged it out in American colleges and universities, public and private, for scant recognition, minimal pay, no departmental support and an increasingly tenuous existence entirely dependent on the whims of colleges, student enrollment and money. All too frequently, adjuncts have no access to computers or no office space at all, and it is rare for an adjunct to have any form of health benefits, let alone retirement plans. The very existence of these part-timers - many with PhDs - has largely gone unrecognized. The tragic case of Mary Margaret Vojtko changed all that.Read More...

posted on
Boston Globe Magazine, September 22, 2013


Jim Braude got it right: Student debt is a national crisis that needs serious attention at all levels, especially the state (Perspective, September 8). Since Capitol Hill is not seriously addressing college costs or student debt, Braude argues that states "should be the laboratories of affordability." Massachusetts is ripe for just such an approach. The state's recently created higher education commission must advocate for affordable education for all entering students, without compromising quality or ignoring the support services required by those most academically at-risk. Though educators, administrators, and students appreciate the significant increase in public higher education funding for the current fiscal year, when adjusted for inflation, the state's spending is still one-third lower than in the peak year of 2001. More full-time faculty and staff should be hired to create an experienced community of educators to serve all students effectively. Chopping college costs shouldn't hamper student success.

Diana [Donnie] McGee
Vice President, Massachusetts Community College Council

Educational priorities (Cape Cod Times)
Increase percentage of state funding for higher education

December 22, 2012 2:05 AM

Last Saturday, the Wall Street Journal published an article titled "Who Can Afford State U?"
The cost of attending public colleges is rising faster than the cost of private colleges, forcing middle-class families
to take out hefty loans.

Community colleges get short shrift (response to Cape Cod Times)

January 01, 2013 2:00 AM

Your Dec. 22 editorial, "Educational priorities: Increase percentage of state funding for higher education," was on target, but limited. Higher education includes not just the University of Massachusetts, but also the state universities and the community colleges, one of which we are lucky to have on the Cape. Read More...

Underground economy's inequity in plain view among adjunct faculty (Boston Globe Letter)

DECEMBER 12, 2012

SO, THE Patrick administration is launching a "first-of-its-kind study" to scope out the impacts of Massachusetts' underground economy ("Mass. to study stat'"s underground economy," Business, Dec. 5). This is a timely development indeed given the apparent shift in the economy to employment practices that too often result in "misclassifying workers as independent contractors," where they work in part-time, tenuous positions that lack benefits. Read More...

November 30, 2011

Letter to the Editor published in the Boston Globe



February 17, 2011 
"The Professor is In..." ad which ran on the Boston Globe op-ed page, the Worcester Telegram and Gazette, and the Springfield Republican, on February 17. Click on it for a bigger image.

Adjunct Professor in her Car, which serves as her office.


October 17, 2010
President LeBlanc led the Board of Directors in a visibility demonstration on Question 3 near city hall in Worcester during the Board meeting of Friday, October 15, 2010.
The Board of Directors Holding Signs that say "No on Question 3"
Photo: Don Williamson
Steve Proietti, Northern Essex, Karen Riedl, Holyoke, Dale LaBonte, Quinsigamond, Katie Durso, MTA Consultant to the MCCC, Margaret Wong, Quinsigamond, Rosemarie Freeland, Greenfield, Donnie McGee, Vice President, Bristol, Phil Mahler, Treasurer, Middlesex, Diana Yohe, Bristol, Joe LeBlanc, MCCC President, Northern Essex, Liz Recko-Morrison, Berkshire, Miles Stern, MTA Consultant to the MCCC, Paul Toner, MTA President.
Not shown, but present for the visibility, Clark Grain, Roxbury, Susan Dole, Bunker Hill (actually between Rosemarie and Donnie), Gail Guarino, Candace Shivers, Tom Kearns, Massasoit, Don Williamson, Communications Coordinator, North Shore, Roberta Albano, Springfield Technical.

Charlotte Belezos of Roxbury Community College is shown on the cover of the April-May 2010 issue of the MTA Today.
Unit Member on front cover of MTA Today, April 2010  Description of the picture

March 2010
MCCC Vice President Donnie McGee, left,  and Elizabeth Stassinos stepped up their game at a faux race event staged to  highlight the need for more state support for public colleges and UMass.  Massachusetts is near the bottom of the list in terms of the amount of state  funding allocated for public higher education. Donnie  is on the faculty at Bristol Community College in Fall River. Stassinos is on the  faculty at Westfield State College in Westfield, Mass., and also serves on the  executive council of the Westfield State College Chapter of the Massachusetts  State College Association.VP Donnie McGee runs a footrace on the Boston Common

The  race was one of several actions put on by the Public Higher Education Network  of Massachusetts to promote their campaign, “For A Great State of Mind: Invest  in Public Higher Education.”

The  event was held on Monday, March 8 on Boston Common, directly across the street  from the Massachusetts Statehouse.

Photo and text with permission of Sara Nathan, MTA

MCCC Lawsuit for Adjunct Health Insurance
- December 2010

About 30 attendees of the Higher Ed ConferenceMCCC Attendees at the December 2009 MTA Higher Ed Conference

Article about Mt Wachusett CC - click to load a text version

February 6, 2008

The NEA Higher Education Emerging Leaders Academy,
Class of 2008 included MCCC members
  • Mike D'entremont, BHCC, bottom row 3rd from left,
  • Joe O'Neill, MBCC, back row 5th from right,
  • Claudine Barnes, CCCC, back row, 2nd from right.
Congratulations to these MCCC leaders!
Group of Emerging Leaders

November 6, 2007

Lois Martin, Professor of Mathematics at Massasoit Community College, was one of eight national winners of the Teaching Excellence Award, given every two years by the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges ( in a national competition among two-year college math educators. The award was presented by AMATYC President Kathy Mowers in Minneapolis November 1, 2007.

June 3, 2007
Vice President McGee's Guest Opinion printed in the Fall River Herald News, entitled Many Different Stories to Tell.

Globe OpEd MCCC Congratulates Deval Patrick

  MCCC Congratulates Deval Patrick, Governor Elect

  OpEd Page Boston Globe November 17, 2006
  Read It

Community College Times (American Association of Community Colleges) April 25, 2006, has an article by President Daniel Asquino on graduation rates in our community colleges. Read it here.

Community College Week, Jan 2,16, 2006 has an article about biomass use, and other energy saving strategies, at Mt. Wachusett Community College. Here's the article.

Nancy Dempsey, Professor of Criminal Justice
Cape Cod Community College

from the Cape Cod Voice, November 2005

Article about Nancy Dempsey

Article about Nancy Dempsey, part 2

As reported in the Boston Sunday Globe, May 23, 2005:

Howard Tinberg, 2004 Outstanding Community College Professor of the Year

As reported on page 20 of the June/July 2005 MTA Today:

Math team a big plus for Massasoit

Advisor calls standings 'record-breaking for us'

The Massasoit Community College Math Team has won the 2003-04 Northeast championship in the competition sponsored by the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges.

It marks the first time since 1995-96 that a college outside New York has captured the Northeast title. In 1995-96, the winner was Cape Cod Community College.

Massasoit students Mark Lowell and Chris Canavan ranked first and third, respectively, in the competition.

"These are record-breaking standings for us," said Math Team advisor and professor of mathematics Lois Martin.

Competition scores are determined by tests given on participating campuses.

The 18-member Massasoit team was honored at the college's Honors Convocation on June 2.

Jay R. Ducharme, Professor of electronic media at Holyoke CC, was in the January 6, 2003 edition of the Springfield Union-News, "Theme park love sparks virtual tour". Ray spent last summer creating a virtual tour of Lake Compounce, a theme park in Bristol, Conn, "the oldest theme park in the United States". The tour is on a CD Rom. Jay and Karen Ducharme have their own web site at where you can view Ray's model roller coaster among other things.

Holyoke Community College Professor Jay R. Ducharme removes snow yesterday from the model roller coaster he has in the back yard of his home in Westfield.

President Andrew M. Scibelli of Springfield Technical CC has a long opinion piece "Community colleges can spark entrepreneurship" in the March 18, 2003 issue of the Community College Times. This issue also has an article "Romney proposes plan to reorganize higher ed" which never mentions that part of the plan is to raise tuitions.

President Scibelli's article talks about experiences and programs that inspire and educate potential business creators, using STCC's own programs in entrepreneurship, and the colleges Technology Park, opened in 1996.

Ken Czuchra, Professional Staff at Springfield Technical CC, and MCCC Chapter Treasurer, was in the 3/28/03 Edition of the Springfield Union-News (The Republican as of 4/6/03).

...scientists have been scanning the skies for more than four decades in search of radio signals that might be from intelligent beings elsewhere in the universe. ...

An intense four-year effort to find communications from space, which made use of the combined computing power of millions of idle home and office computers to analyze billions of signals that reached earth, has found nothing promising. ...

One of the 166 signals re-examined last week originally was processed by Kenneth J. Czuchra, a lab coordinator and technician at Springfield Technical Community College, who enlisted 45 computers at the college and elsewhere in the region to help on the analysis for the project.

... "There is some disappointment," Czuchra said. "You wish that something extraordinary had happened. These days it would be kind of nice if it did." "In the grand scheme of things, it seems like it would be an awful waste of space if there was nothing else out there in the universe. It's too big for our little old Earth to be the only lively place. There's got to be something more," he said.

MCCC Secretary Phyllis Barrettm Holyoke CC, is featured on the MTA "goodschools page in April, 2003. ... view, "borrowed" from the MTA Web Site.