Quincy Sun // Published January 24, 2019 // By Scott Jackson
Quincy College is expanding its online offerings, looking to add new academic programs, strengthening ties with local high schools and four-year college in the area – all steps that interim college president Michael Bellotti said show the school is moving in the right direction.
Bellotti, age 55, has served as the college’s interim president since November. His hiring came at the end of a tumultuous year for the college including the loss of the school’s nursing program and the resignation of the school’s previous president, Peter Tsaffaras, which led to Mayor Thomas Koch serving as the college’s principal executive for six months before Bellotti took the reins.
Bellotti, in a recent interview, said he anticpates the college will recieve state approval in the coming weeks to relaunch the the nursing program in the fall. The restoration of the nursing program, he said, is just one step the school is taking in the right direction.
“ I would say we’ve definitely moving in the right direction. There is a lot of great programs that have not been affected by the nursing program. There are incredibly faculty there and student services that are really second to none,” Bellotti said.
“ If you’re a student who isn’t sure what you want to do in terms of going off to a four-year school and you want to explore the possibility of higher ed, this is a great opportunity to start and you’re going to get all kinds of support. You’re going to get probably more majors than you anticipated and we have programs that will lead to employment within two years.
” I’d also say to them talk to alumni. Talk to some of the kids you know that are attending Quincy College and learn from them the type of experience they’re enjoying. “ Quincy College, founded in 1958, has an enrollment of about 5,000 full – and -part time students. The school is municipally owned but is funded independent of the city. Standard tuition for a full-time student taking four classes is $3, 259 a semester, or just over $13,000 for a two-year program, though some science, technology, and health care program have higher tuitions.
” It’s a reasonable educational option for folks who don’t want to overspend and want to get the same quality education, “ Bellotti said. ” We’re offering an educational opportunity at a reasonable price that folks can have confidence that those credits are transferable.“
As the college strives to move forward, Belllotti said it is looking to increase its online offering. The college is also working with high schools – in Quincy and beyond – to ffer dual-enrollment programs. “ We’re expanding our online programs, Bellotti said.” We’re there to provide quality community programming, and that means working with the high schools more closely.
“ We’re creating a dual-enrollment program where a high school (student) going into their senior year can enroll at the college and take a summer course. It’s $300 a class for a three-credit or $400 for four credits. That is because we want to start working more closely with the high schools in Quincy and neighboring communities to education them on what a greatoppportunity Quincy College is.”
Quincy College currently offers 34 Associate’s degrees and 24 certificate programs. The school’s Board of Governors earlier this month approved an additional Associate’s degree program in cyber security, Bellotti said, and more offerings could be forthcoming.
“ We’re also working to create majors and programs that meeting the needs of employers,” he said. “ Biotech is an area that we are looking to grow in. We’re looking at an insurance certificate program so that you can take five classes and work for Arbella or Quincy Mutual or be a customer service rep for an agency, because we’re noting a need there.”
“ We don’t just do this because someone thinks it’s a good idea. We talk to empoyers in the community. We’re starting to create more discussions with local employers to see what they need in terms of Associate Degrees and Certificate programs.” In January 2017, Gov. Charlie Baker approved a home-rule petition granting Quincy College permission to award Bachelor’s degrees. Bellotti said the school is eyeing four-year programs in business and criminal justice, but those remain at least two years away.
“ We’ve been statutorily approved to be a four-year college. We’re looking at criminal justice and business as potential majors for when we finally do offer Bachelor’s (degrees). That’s probably two to three years away because of the higher ed procedures you have to go through,” Bellotti said.
The college is also improving and inking articulation agreements with four-year schools in the area which allow Quincy College graduates to continue their education at those institutions. “We’re also strengthening and increasing our articulation agreements with four-year institutions in the area – Curry, UMass, Bridgewater,” Bellotti said.
“ We want to make sure that we formalize those relationships so that the students at Quincy College know they can finish their two years here and continue on in a four-year college.” Starting this week, Bellotti said students, faculty, and staff will begin working on a five-year strategic plan for the school.
“ There really isn’t a two-, three-, four-, or five-year strategic plan in place at Quincy College so starting January 22 we’re going to put a strategic planning committee together and start working with all the stakeholders in and out of the college to come up with a plan that allows for smart growth to continually meet the needs of students and local employers to create the right program. That’s going to be a little bit of a process,’ Bellotti said.
We’re going to look at a five-year plan on how to increase enrollment, a five-year plan on our finances so that we have a better idea of how the school is going to grow in those areas, but most importantly creating and fashioning education programs around the needs of the students and employers.”
Bellotti credited Koch for his leadership of the school last summer. He also lauded Gerald Koocher – who Koch hired in July as the school’s first provost – for his work. “ We appreciate the mayor’s leadership in the summer as he made some very difficulty decisions to change the direction of the school, in terms of where it was at,” Bellotti said.
“ Gerry Koocher is another example of how the school is moving in the right direction. He brings an incredible resume and experiennce in higher ed. that instills confidence in all the stakeholders, including faculty, staff, and students. ” Bellotti said the partnership between Koocher and himself has worked well.
“ It’s great because he is so focused on the academics, the deans, and the programs. I’m working on the enrollment – on increasing international students, for example – on hopefully creating an endowment, on expanding the reputation and the reach of the college, ” Bellotti said. It’s been a good partnership.“
Quincy College currently operates out of Saville Hall and Presidents Place in Quincy Center, and Cordage Park in Plymouth. The school leases about 90,000 square feet of space in Presidents Place and 57,000 square feet of space at Cordage Park. Koch has voiced his support for finding a permenant home for the college’s Quincy campus, suggesting a new building for the school could be built as part of the redevelopment of Quincy Center. Bellotti said he had yet to discuss the issue with the mayor, but would be open to the idea.
“ We don’t really have any formal communication regarding that. When the City Council and the major formally include us in the discussions, we’re certainly open to that idea. No one has really approached us formally,” Bellotti said.
Presidents Place he added, has served the school well, but the college could be better served in a new location. “ I think Presidents Place has served us well, but the opportunity to develop and moveinto a new campus would be even better,” Bellotti said. Dormitories for students would likely not be included in the plan for a new facility.
“ No, because I t hink that goes beyond our mission,” Bellotti responded when asked about dormitories. We’ve got to stay within our mission. We’re an open enrollment school that allows opportunities for students who find us economically resonable. I don’t know we’re ready to move beyond that mission.”
Quincy College started an athletics program in recent years. The Granite face off against other schools in the region. “ We look at athletics as much as an academic opportunity as an athletic opportunity for students, ” Bellotti said. He noted one player on the basketball team will continue his career – in the classroom and on the course – at Norwhich University in Vermont next fall. “ He’s wrapping up his second year and he plays on the basketball team. I think for him he’s your typical student who trying to figure out what his move was in terms of higher ed.”
“ He was open to Quincy College. He has a great academic career – a couple bumps in the road in terms of student supports and tutoring. Now he has a chance to play basketball at Norwhich and that’s because of the academic and the athlteic ability. That’s a good story. ”
The school currently has men’s basketball and soccer teams. The school is adding a women’s soccer team and a cross-country program starting in the fall. Bellotti said the school could look to add more programs in thee future as the college looks to increase it’s enrollment. “ It’s about creating opportunity for kids to come here and play sports who otherwise might now have played sports atht e college, but more importantly to get the degree. And it increaases our enrollment, ” Bellotti said. “ Everything we do right now is tied to increasing enrollment because we’re not subsidized by the city. I don’t know if people understand. We’re completely tuition based. ”
When the Board of Governors hired Bellotti, for the sheriff of Norfolk County, as the shcool’s president last fall, it gave him an 18-month term. Bellotti said the board has created a presidential search committee led by Katherine Craven. Craven was appointed to the Board of Governors last year; she is an administrator at Babson College in Wellesley and the forrmer executive director for the Massachusetts School Building Authority. Bellotti said he was uncertain if he would seek to continue on as college president.
“ I’m here at least 18 months. We’ll see what they’re looking for in a president. If it seems like it’s a fit, then I may or may not apply. I’m going to take this kind of as it develops.” Bellotti said.