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Quarter of NEC’s full-time faculty take early retirement

More than a quarter of the full-time undergraduate faculty at New England College has accepted voluntary, early retirement packages offered by the private, Henniker-based school.

The early retirement option is one of several steps the college is taking to ensure it is innovative and sustainable over the long term, according to a written statement by NEC spokesperson Dia Kalakonas.

“As a proactive response to changes in the marketplace, we are in the process of enhancing our undergraduate model,” she said.

Almost all of the 19 full-time faculty members who took the package will still teach at the college in adjunct roles. Under the terms of the package, the retirees received one to two years’ pay and other benefits depending on the length of service, Kalakonas said.

Before the retirements, NEC employed 68 full-time faculty members who taught roughly 85 percent of classes, according to the school’s website.

“We’re adjusting to the future,” said full-time NEC professor Inez McDermott, who has been teaching art history at the school for 15 years. “The faculty remains really enthusiastic about continuing to be a great place for students.”

In another step, the school will consolidate and reposition some of its degree programs that have seen a decrease in student enrollment, Kalakonas said. The specific program changes have not yet been formalized.

“This will help shift resources to growth areas where we can further enhance our programs and respond to the needs of students,” Kalakonas said.

The most highly enrolled fields at NEC are business and education, both at 13 percent, followed by biology/health sciences at 9 percent and psychology at 8 percent, according to an NEC fact sheet. The school offers 32 undergraduate majors and enrolls approximately 1,127 undergraduate students and 890 graduate students.

In a third measure, the college will evaluate and strengthen each of its programs’ core curriculum, Kalakonas said.

“We are certain these actions will position New England College for strong growth in the years ahead,” she said. “The incoming undergraduate class numbers for fall 2014 are meeting our admission goals and we expect all NEC students will benefit from our strategic enhancements and improved curriculum.”

(Allie Morris can be reached at 369-3307 or at amorris@cmonitor.com.)

going back at least 40 years NEC meant "Not Exactly College"

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