Past Messages from President James C. Mabry, 2020

President & Provost Message to the College Community on Accessibility
July 20, 2020

One of MCC’s long-standing missions has been to make quality education accessible to all. Following an inquiry from the Office of Civil Rights (OCR), it has become clear that the accessibility of some of the College’s electronic content needs to be improved. Additionally, the move to working and learning remotely has made the need for accessible content even greater. Now more than ever, MCC must make the creation and dissemination of accessible information an institutional priority.

To lead the institution in this important work, we have pulled together a group of cross-disciplinary employees from around the institution to form the Website Accessibility Task Force to take a holistic approach to auditing and remediating digital content. The task force will also work on developing College policies, support, and professional development opportunities for creating accessible electronic content.

Over the next two months, the task force will be sharing with the College an electronic accessibility policy, as well as a series of professional development trainings and resources to help support content creators remediate their existing web and LMS content – including videos, PDFs and social media content. Additionally, Roxanne McCorry and Daniela Loghin from Academic Technology & Distance Learning are infusing accessibility into faculty online fall course development training.

Middlesex has made a commitment to the OCR that by the end of the calendar year, the College will remediate content on 14 high-traffic web pages and develop a plan for the regular monitoring, assessment and creation of accessible digital content.

We acknowledge that the timing of such important work amidst a pandemic, declining enrollments, and a phased reopening is not optimal, but everyone’s participation and support for improving the accessibility of our electronic environment is vital to the success of the College’s mission of equity and inclusion.

Middlesex has always been an institution leading the way in the community college landscape. We are positive that with faculty and staff working together, MCC can be a model for other institutions by creating a web and digital experience that is inclusive and responsive to everyone.

Thank You,

James C. Mabry                                  Philip Sisson
President                                             Provost & Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs

MCC Website Accessibility Task Force (WAT) Members:

Darcy Orellana, Associate Director HR/ADA Coordinator
Joe Patuto, Chief Information Officer
Pam Flaherty, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs
Beth Noel, Director of Marketing
Davis Mirilla, Chief Information Security Officer
Ellen Ricca, Principal Manager of IT Apps
Peter Shea, Director of Professional Instructional Development
Roxanne McCorry, Director of Academic Technology & Distance Learning
Barbara Ahern, Coordinator of Disability Support Services



Presidents Message- Limited Return to Campus
July 16th, 2020


MCC Staff:

As a college community, Middlesex is facing unprecedented challenges and an unpredictable future. Enrollment for the summer is up but enrollment for the fall semester is currently down significantly. Despite huge efforts by many departments, the lag in enrollment is continuing, and it is necessary for the college to take additional steps designed to bolster fall enrollment.

One effort to reverse this trend requires MCC to begin a careful and limited opening of some services and a reintroduction of a limited number of employees back to campus. Although the college will continue to provide student services remotely to the greatest extent practicable through the end of the Fall 2020 semester, there are some students who will be better served in person.

Based on recommendations and extensive discussions, the President’s Cabinet has determined that Direct Student Services and other support areas will be open, with limited staffing, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday on both campuses starting Monday, August 3.

These services will be available to students on both campuses for defined and managed interactions to provide support through the enrollment process. All employees and students will be required to follow the college’s safety protocols with proper social distancing. Enhanced cleaning protocols will be maintained.

Managers are working with their teams to develop staggered and rotating schedules that will bring staff back to campus in limited numbers. The number of employees in an office/space at any given time will be regulated by what each space can safely accommodate within appropriate state guidelines.

The safety of our students and employees is a priority and this return to campus is being thoughtfully and carefully structured through the work of a cross-disciplinary team of college employees who make up the EMT Phasing Task Force. This group has been working diligently to create a plan and set of protocols that will meet or exceed the safety guidelines established by the Governor’s office. This plan is also being implemented in accordance with the Memorandum of Agreement, signed by both the state and the MCCC union.

I understand that COVID-19 has created anxiety and stress within our community and that some of you may have concerns about returning to campus. The college is continuing to implement safety protocols that meet or exceed CDC and MA Department of Public Health guidelines and has made proper protective equipment available for employees when they return to campus. Employees who have requests for reasonable accommodations under ADA and/or FMLA, should reach out to Human Resources as needed. Employees with childcare issues should work with their manager to find a feasible schedule.

A year ago, we could not have imagined facing the challenges we face today, but our mission as an institution has remained the same. It will take all of us working together throughout the 20-21 academic year — not just over the next two months — to weather this storm. I am certain that with teamwork and a focus on student success, not only will we be able to help our students on their paths to a brighter future, we will also be positioning the institution to continue serving the Commonwealth with a focus on excellence for another 50 years.

James C. Mabry
President
MCC

A Message to the MCC Community
July 15th, 2020

MCC Community: SEVP Guidance Rescinded

Middlesex’s international student population is a critical and vibrant part of our college community. Whether instruction is held in person, online or both, the diverse perspectives, cultures and experiences our international students — shared both in and out of the classroom — makes MCC a richer place.

That is why I am pleased with yesterday’s decision to rescind last week’s guidance from the department of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to terminate international student VISAs for nonimmigrant students who are only enrolled in online courses for the fall.

Before the yesterday’s good news, I had joined with the MA Community Colleges, the UMass system, State Universities, and Mass. Department of Higher Education Commissioner Carlos Santiago, in sending a letter to Federal officials requesting the guidelines be rescinded. Additionally, MCC began taking steps internally to make sure that not only are our international students remaining supported but that as an institution, we are doing everything we can to keep them learning under shifting guidelines.

I want to thank the Provost’s Office and the International Affairs staff for their amazing outreach to, and work with, our international students over the last week. The college will continue to monitor the situation and keep students informed of any new guidance issued by the government. MCC will take whatever steps are necessary to keep our international students enrolled at MCC and on their path towards educational success.

Any international student with questions should email the International and Multicultural Office at IMoffice@middlesex.mass.edu

James C. Mabry
President
MCC

A Message to the MCC Community
June 25th, 2020

MCC Community:

The month of June is Pride month, dedicated to recognizing the broad impact that the LGBTQ+ (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer) community continues to have.  At Middlesex Community College, we strive to foster safe, inclusive LGBTQ+-friendly learning and working environments.

This June 28th marks the 51st anniversary of the historic Stonewall Uprising in Greenwich Village in NYC. What began as a protest against police brutality became a movement for gay rights and a catalyst for an ongoing movement to provide equal rights for the nation’s LGBTQ+ community.

Earlier this month, the United States Supreme Court upheld Federal civil rights law that confirmed protection from discrimination on the basis of a person’s sex for millions of gay, lesbian, queer, bisexual, and transgender individuals across the country. This landmark ruling is another step towards preserving equity for all citizens regardless of their sexual orientation and transgender status.

As president of Middlesex Community College, I am honored to be part of a diverse community of learners, faculty and staff. Our strength comes from the many perspectives, experiences and identities that make up our community. 

Part of the MCC mission is to advocate — and create an atmosphere of support — for all members of our learning community, no matter their sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression. Through collaboration between the Dean of Students Office and the Office of Human Resources, the college has developed resources, safe spaces and opportunities for our LGBTQ+ community and campus allies to connect, learn and support each other.

Our unique journeys and experiences are what makes MCC such a special place to learn and grow. I, along with college leadership, am committed to continuing to foster and develop specific opportunities and connections for our LGBTQ+ population and allies, making MCC a welcoming and thriving learning and working community for all.

James C. Mabry
President, Middlesex Community College

A Statement to the MCC Community

Friday June 19, 2020

MCC Community:

Yesterday, the United States Supreme Court voted to allow the continuation of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) policy. As an open-access institution serving one of the state’s largest gateway cities — equitable access to a quality education is at the core of Middlesex Community College’s mission. At MCC we witness the heroic efforts of our immigrant students who strive every day to become knowledgeable and productive members of our community. Our only wish is that all who strive for a better life through hard work and education have a clear path towards productive lives that will strengthen the social and economic fabric of our region.

MCC’s core commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion has always played a crucial role in the College’s ability to prepare our students to be thoughtful and socially conscious employees, neighbors, and community leaders across the Merrimack Valley and beyond.  As a community, we must continue to create College policies and practices that are equitable and foster a culture of inclusion and support for all students, staff and employees.

As President of MCC, I stand committed to the belief that our power as a community college lies in the diverse lived experiences of the people who learn, teach and work at our institution. We are stronger together.

Jim Mabry
President
Middlesex Community College

An Important Message to the MCC Community

June 02, 2020

Dear Students, Faculty, Staff, and Trustees:

Middlesex Community College is an institution focused on equity and the principals of social justice and it greatly saddens me to see our nation torn by racial strife.

May 25, 2020 was a sad and dark day for our Nation. The senseless and brutal death of George Floyd has left an indelible scar upon the people of this great country, the members of our community and the students we serve.  I am deeply saddened by this senseless act and my heart aches, not only for the Floyd family and the Black community of Minneapolis, but for all Black Americans who have been silenced and who live in fear of hate and oppression based solely on the color of their skin.

The pain stemming from this past week’s events is only deepened by the impact of the greatest health pandemic in U.S. history and the fear associated with the looming financial crisis. Both of which have had a disproportionate impact on the Black and marginalized communities that our college serves. If you are an MCC student in need of support during this time, please contact the Dean of Students or learn more about MCC’s Personal Counseling Services. Faculty and staff in need of support can access a variety of resources from the MCC Employee Assistance Program.

MCC is committed to providing a welcoming and safe community for all faculty, staff and students; a community that builds bridges, fosters equity and encourages open dialogue that strengthens our shared humanity. MCC does not tolerate racism in any form.

As a community, we must come together and demand an end to public policies that foster oppression and racism. As educators, we must keep equity and at the core of our curriculum and the center of our college’s mission. We ask that our students take what they learn in the classroom back to their families, to their communities, and to the polls — becoming voices of hope, fairness, and justice for all.

I ask that each and every one of you stand with me to support our Black faculty, staff and students during this trying time. We are stronger together and by supporting each other — and joining our voices as one, MCC will continue to be a powerful voice for equity and an institution where student success means success for all.

James C. Mabry
President, Middlesex Community College

An Update to the MCC Community, May 22, 2020

The MCC Community has made it to graduation once again, but this time the effort involved was more than we ever imagined. Once again, in the face of great adversity, this community of dedicated professionals stood up, rolled up their sleeves, and worked as a team to get our students through. We still have some work to do. Not everyone is finished. Not all were able to complete their courses.  But we have much to be proud of. From the rapid move to remote teaching, learning, and working to the wonderful virtual commencement ceremony, you showed every day your total professionalism and dedication to student success. I want to thank everyone at the college for your truly brave efforts and congratulate you on getting so many students through so much. It was an historic crisis and this college met that challenge with passion, energy, and creativity. You are simply the best!

Please read the following information carefully.

Governor Baker has outlined a Four Phase Reopening Plan and MCC is developing a congruent plan for each phase. https://www.mass.gov/doc/reopening-massachusetts-may-18-2020/download

The Baker administration is moving forward to reopen MA using a data based approach that tracks key public health indicators and uses that data to determine when the Commonwealth can safely move from one Phase to the next.

General workplace guidelines have been developed and guidelines for higher education are being developed.

The college is putting together plans for each Phase and these will be posted on the college Emergency Management site. 

Summer 2020

We are continuing to stay closed to the public and working almost entirely remotely until June 1.

Summer 1 semester is entirely online and much of the remainder of the summer schedule will be online.

Once Governor Baker moves the state to Reopening Phase 2, we will slowly begin bringing a limited number of people back to campus. To accomplish this safely, we are putting in place state workplace safety guidelines and consulting with individual areas. We are also putting necessary protocols in place and developing necessary signage and other measure to ensure safety.

Fall 2020

The Fall 2020 semester will have as many classes as practicable online. Consistent with MCC culture and past practice, these will be high-quality online courses that meet Quality Matters standards.

Under a MOA signed with the MCCCPA, faculty will be compensated for adapting curriculum for online teaching by the start of the fall semester. The Academic Deans are working with each faculty member to develop an individual implementation plan.

If the Commonwealth moves to Phase 4, MCC may be able to have more activities on campus but that will be assessed at a later date. I believe it will be better to add more on campus activities if it is safe to do so rather than take them away if a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic occurs.

This is a new reality for all of us and we will continue to work together to find safe ways to meet our mission and serve our students. I believe that moving forcefully to a blended learning model will allow us the flexibility to support our students’ educational goals under a wide variety of circumstances. This investment in our capacity to teach and support students online will serve us well as we traverse this new landscape.

There is still much to do but I would ask that you all take a few moments over this long weekend to reflect on all the tremendous work you have done over the last few months and all we have accomplished as an institution. Enjoy some time with family, go outside and bask in the sunshine and we will be back next week to continue our mission. 

Stay safe and well.

Jim Mabry, President
Middlesex Community College



Commencement Message, May 01, 2020

Graduates of the Class of 2020,

Commencement has long been one of my favorite days of the year. It is a day of celebration and a day for new beginnings. That is why it saddens me greatly to have to cancel an in-person graduation ceremony this year. Based on guidance from Governor’s Baker’s administration, it is still not safe for us to gather in large numbers. Even MCC’s traditional venue, the Lowell Memorial Auditorium, will not be open for the foreseeable future.  

Cancelling Commencement altogether is not an option for MCC. This is why the college will be hosting a virtual ceremony on May 21 at 10:00 a.m. The pre-recorded ceremony will feature music, two student speakers, the reading of graduate names, and special video messages from faculty and staff across the college.

MCC knows that crossing the stage with family and friends watching is the highlight of the day for many of you. And even though you will have officially graduated, we want to give you the opportunity to wear your cap and gown and officially invite you to MCC’s 50th Commencement Celebration, next May 27, 2021.

As part of the college’s 50th Anniversary, MCC will celebrate both 2020 and 2021 graduates along with faculty, staff and alumni from across the College’s 50 year history.

Although we cannot celebrate together in person this month, I want you to know that — along with your professors and the employees of the college — I am tremendously proud of your accomplishments. Many of you have had to work multiple jobs, care for family, juggle schedules, and break down large barriers to get to where you are today. We are inspired each and every day by our students and are honored that we have played a part in your journey.

Congratulations and we look forward to seeing you crossing that stage next year!

Dr. James C. Mabry

President
Middlesex Community College


A Message to MCC Faculty and Staff, April 24, 2020

Summer 2020

At this time, the stay and home and social distancing protocols will need to stay in place, and we will remain in remote mode through the end of the Spring 2020 semester. It is uncertain at this point when social distancing restrictions will be lifted, but it will probably come in some sort of phased approach.

The three Summer sessions beginning May 26, 2020 have moved almost completely online. We have cancelled a significant number of on-campus courses in these sessions and added a number of new online sections to provide additional options for our students where possible/ practicable. Provost Sisson and his team have worked very hard to restructure the summer schedule. Please understand that this is still a fluid situation. We are hoping to get some critical teaching and learning back on campus this summer but cannot determine this with any certainty at this time.

Every Friday, college leaders from across the state have a conference call with Secretary Peyser, Commissioner Santiago, and Dr. Larry Madoff, the Director of the Bureau of Infectious Disease at the MA Department of Public Health. Last Friday, Dr. Madoff noted the following:


• MA has been very hard hit by COVID-19 pandemic
• We are near the peak of the surge and medical resources are stretched but holding
• The curve is flattening due to social distancing
• These efforts will lower overall mortality rates and reduce the peak surge so as not to overwhelm medical facilities
• But this will also extend the curve over a longer period of time
• Any relaxation of restrictions will be based on evidence and will come about gradually
• If the virus resurges, restrictions may have to be put back in place

When asked about the fall, both Dr. Madoff and Secretary Peyser said it was not clear yet when restrictions would be lifted and that predictions about the fall were premature.

The situation is still very uncertain, and I recognize that this uncertainty creates speculation and anxiety within our community. My goal in sharing this information — and college leadership's interpretation and response to the changing situation — is so that you know how we are thinking about and preparing a path forward for MCC. Based on what I am hearing at this time, I believe that at the appropriate time, we will see a phased lifting of the restrictions, and we will resume operations on campus in a limited way. Our first priority will always be the safety of our college community and we will not bring people back to campus unless we think it is safe.

Dr. James Mabry
President 
Middlesex Community College

A Message to MCC Students, April 06, 2020

MCC Students:

We have made it to week 12 of the semester but the last few weeks have seen tremendous changes at MCC, and I know this has impacted you and your classes. You have had to learn new technologies and develop new skills along with your content learning.  I am proud of your resilience as students, and I acknowledge that your role as an MCC student, is only one of the many roles you play in your lives.

The next few weeks will be very difficult in our region as the number of reported infections and fatalities are expected to peak. Please make sure you all stay safe and take care of yourself and your families.

Below you will find critical information for the next several weeks as we prepare to finish the semester. 

  • Remote learning: The college will be teaching classes through remote methods for the rest of the semester.  You should continue working and communicating with your faculty member through your individual courses in the way your faculty member has established.  It is critical that you check your MCC email frequently as this will continue to be the official communication tool for the college. If you are without technology, connectively or any other road block, preventing you from being successful you should be reaching out to DEANOFSTUDENTS@middlesex.mass.edu
  • Financial needs: If you are a student who has experienced significant financial changes and are in need of assistance I encourage you to reach out to our Director of Students accounts, Chris Fiori at: Fioric@middlesex.mass.edu
  • Withdrawal: The final date to officially withdraw from full-semester classes will be May 8th, 2020, and the final date to officially withdraw from Mini-Mester II classes will be May 8, 2020. Due to extraordinary circumstances and our move to remote teaching and learning, this extension will allow students and faculty additional time to become accustomed to remote teaching and learning strategies.
  • Graduation: Based on government and public health advisories, the College has decided to celebrate commencement differently this year. Because of COVID-19 and the need to practice social distancing, MCC will not be hosting a live graduation event. Instead, the college will celebrate your accomplishment through a virtual celebration on May 21. We will be working hard to find ways to continue our favorite traditions, student speakers, student faculty connections, honors and recognition of each individual graduate.   We will continue to update the college graduation web page with ongoing details. Please visit: https://www.middlesex.mass.edu/graduation


Staff from around the college will be making individual phone calls to students that will provide you with an opportunity to check in, get assistance and work through any barriers in your way, so that you can finish your semester successfully.   I encourage you to answer the incoming unknown calls over the next several weeks.

Thank you for hanging in there and being such great students.

Stay safe and well.

Dr. James Mabry
President 
Middlesex Community College

A Joint Statement from Public MA AANAPISI Institutions, April 02, 2020

In the wake of the COVID‐19 virus outbreak, Asian communities in the Greater Boston area and across the United States have experienced heightened xenophobic reactions. People perceived to be of Chinese or Asian descent have been targeted with discriminatory acts or endured general harassment. 

Misinformation and politicization of this illness have caused anxiety and lasting economic harm to our Asian communities. As we watch the rampant course of COVID‐19 through Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and North America/U.S., we know that it observes no national or ethnic boundaries. The fear of this destructive virus has magnified the divisiveness within our society and our nation. Only our care for one another can mitigate our fears; only our compassion for everyone safeguards our society.

As the Asian American Native American and Pacific Islander Serving Institutions (AANAPISI) of Massachusetts public institutions ‐ Bunker Hill Community College, Middlesex Community College, and the University of Massachusetts Boston stand together to affirm our faith in the humanity of all people. We repudiate racism and all forms of discrimination. We celebrate the unique cultural wealth and strengths of our Asian American communities.

Please report any incident of discrimination to college or university officials or local law enforcement. Please keep one another safe through these turbulent times.

Dr. James C. Mabry
President
Middlesex Community College


Read the joint statement here. 

A Message to the MCC Community, April 05, 2020

MCC Community:

The last few weeks have led to profound changes at MCC and I want to thank everyone in the MCC community for all they have done to allow us to continue our mission of access and excellence. It has been a tremendous effort and the can-do spirit of MCC has shone brightly during this dark and troubling time.

The next few weeks will be very difficult in our region as the number of reported infections and fatalities are expected to peak. Please make sure you all stay safe and take care of your families. We will get through this pandemic together and please know that if anyone needs help, they should contact their manager or the HR department. We will do everything we can to help our team get through the COVID-19 crisis.

This last week saw the college move almost entirely to remote teaching and learning along with remotely managed support services. We have quickly adapted new technology tools and methods that will help us stay connected with our students and help them stay engaged with their key faculty and staff members. The work you have done to make this possible is truly amazing and I cannot say enough about this tremendous group of education professionals. From remote teaching pedagogies, to remote advising and support systems, to virtual small group and large group meetings, we have found new ways to keep moving forward together.  

At this time, we are planning to remain in remote mode until the end of the semester. Please let your students know that the semester will be taught remotely. There may be opportunities to do some on campus near the end of the semester where it is critically important but for most classes and most students, the remainder of the semester will be through remote modalities. We will be sending messages to students this week to help them better understand this reality.

Based on government and public health advisories, the College has decided to celebrate commencement differently this year. Because of COVID-19 and the need to practice social distancing, MCC will not be hosting a live graduation event. Instead, the college will throw a virtual celebration on May 21, complete with student speakers, music — and of course, the reading of graduate names. More information will come out this week and students will be notified directly as well as information being made available on the graduation web page. 

Thank you for all you are doing to help our students stay on their path to success. Please stay safe and well.

Dr. James Mabry
President 
Middlesex Community College

A Message to the Community, March 26, 2020

MCC Community:

I hope this finds everyone in the MCC community safe and well. I know many of you and your families are adjusting to new routines and a new work/life balance.

Everyone on the senior leadership team understands that this pandemic will get worse before it gets better. Our first priority is always protecting the health and safety of our college community. To that end we have, in a very short period of time, transitioned more than 95% of college employees to remote work. We are doing everything we can to move off campus what can be done off campus.

We have previously communicated that we will be working almost entirely remotely until further notice, but we anticipate and are planning to be working remotely through the semester. At this time, we are not considering bringing employees back to campus. As this situation evolves, we will continue to assess our plans and communicate with the college community. Additional details will be forthcoming.

A few employees remain on campus to maintain critical services and facilitate the necessary move to remote work. All employees who need to come to campus have been informed about practicing appropriate social distancing and safety measures.

Our second priority is meeting our mission of access and success for all students. I cannot adequately express how impressed and grateful I am for how quickly everyone was able to adjust to our new reality. The speed with which we have moved to remote teaching, learning, and working is quite stunning. This amazing pivot has only been accomplished through the sustained creativity, hard work, and collaboration by everyone at the institution. What we have learned and what we have accomplished in the last few weeks has given the institution new and different ways, to serve our students.

I acknowledge that moving the operations off campus has been full of challenges. Senior managers have worked diligently to address and overcome each of these challenges, one by one. Every day, more people get connected so that they can perform work functions remotely. This includes the distribution of 60 laptops and 150 network access tokens so that additional staff members can work remotely. We have another 150 laptops on order and are continuing to identify and implement additional ways staff to connect to the college.

To provide student support, the MCC 800 number has been redesigned to direct inquiries to the appropriate individuals who are now able to assist from remote locations. Each day, additional campus and support services are adjusted, redesigned and reconnected in new and creative ways to support our community. Additionally, this week, the College began distributing 250 ChromeBooks to students who need a computer to complete their academic studies. Together with all you have done, we are confident that we will be able to help our students complete their courses.

Thank you all for your dedication to our mission and support for student success. And thank you for supporting each other and our entire community. We will get through this together.

Please stay healthy.

Jim Mabry
President
Middlesex Community College





Last Modified: 7/30/20