The Enterprise: At Massasoit in Brockton, these classes are definitely not by the book

Screen Shot 2019-01-07 at 9.36.35 AM.pngBy Joe Pelletier, The Enterprise

About 71 classes at Massasoit Community College offer free digital resources that replace costly textbooks.

BROCKTON — Alex Cotter remembers well the small horror of buying college textbooks.
After he dished out dough on tuition, fees and every other school-related expense, the Massasoit bookstore would ring up a number like $500 for a fresh stack of books each semester.

“It was always a gut punch,” said Cotter, a former student who is now the chair of the math department at Massasoit Community College. “Semester after semester, it was another couple hundred bucks out of your pocket.”

That financial punch can be especially gut-wrenching in a community college atmosphere, where many students are already tightening their belts to simply attend. It’s not unusual, Cotter said, for Massasoit students to forgo buying the textbooks because they have to put food on the table instead.

It’s not right, he and many others believe. And they are part of a growing army of Massasoit administrators and faculty members seeking to combat that problem with a 21st century solution.

Free digital textbooks.

It’s been a campaign that started brewing five years ago, and has found its footing in 2018 thanks to budding faculty support and several state grants. Today, Massasoit offers 71 classes (105 sections) that come with free digital textbooks and resources.

Take Cotter’s calculus class this semester, for example. In years past, there was a $200 textbook required of his students. This year, his class can get it for free right on their laptop or phone.

No bookstore gut punch necessary.

“I really think it’s a social justice issue,” said Jesse Schreier, Massasoit’s coordinator of instructional technology. “It’s about access to information and access to learning. For many of our students, buying a $200 textbook is cost-prohibitive. They’re trying to put food on the table, they’re trying to pay rent. To ask them to buy that book when that same information is available for free online is not right.”

About 56 faculty members now offer OER classes at Massasoit, nearly half of which joined the fold last year thanks to a $58,000 incentive grant from the state. The classes are all over the academic spectrum, from Cotter’s math classes to psychology, English and history.

The digital resources typically reside in the public domain or have been released under an intellectual property license that allow free use and repurposing.

The school hit a major milestone with OER materials this summer, too: an estimated $1 million saved in textbook expenses for their students. The gravity of that number wasn’t lost on Schreier, who helped organized a small celebration for the professors who made it happen.

“It was really meaningful to me,” he said. “These professors aren’t doing it for the small stipend they get to switch over to OER. They’re doing it because they want to save their students money.”
The school created an oversized $1 million check to celebrate the milestone, written out to “The students of Massasoit Community College.” Each of the faculty members involved in switching to OER classes signed it.

OER classes are a money-saver, students said, but also make student life easier. There’s no waiting in line at the bookstore to buy the book, no lugging it around to class and no worrying about its condition when you sell it back to the store.

And you can just pull it up on your phone at any time.

“You can do a lot more with online books,” said Jordan Palmer, a biology student from Brockton. “You can hit Ctrl+F if you need to search something, or you can send a screenshot to someone else on the computer.”

Some digital textbooks have interactive cells or worksheets to write in, or tools to highlight or bookmark certain sections. Most online books come with additional digital materials and links, too.

“It’s endless resources at zero cost,” said Jefferson Francois, a 2017 Brockton High School graduate and first-year mechanical engineering student at Massasoit.

More broadly, Cotter said, the online materials are also a step toward using modern technology to change the methods of education.

“In a way, we’re still teaching things the way we’re used to teaching them and trying to incorporate new technology into that,” said Cotter, a Brockton native. “We’re not taking full advantage of the technology because its difficult to let go of traditional teaching and learning. Once we fully embrace how technology is changing education, and what technology can do for us, I think the classroom is going to start looking very different than it does now.”

Cotter is a great example of the modern classroom — he’s created hours and hours of video content for his students. That calculus class he teaches this semester? There’s more than 100 hours of video available for students.

And in class, when he fills up his whiteboard with math equations, he makes sure to snap a picture of it on his cellphone and upload it online.

The push toward online resources will hopefully result in what’s called a zero-cost degree at Massasoit, Schreier said. That’s an entire degree that can be acquired without having to pay for a single textbook. A few colleges across the country (Tidewater Community College in Virginia is one of the leaders) already offer it.

That would be a major departure from the current national average of about $1,400 annually for course materials at two-year colleges, according to Collegeboard.

The zero-cost degree is a definite possibility at Massasoit in the next couple years, he said.

“I bet in 10 years, most courses will have no textbook,” Schreier said. “That’s my honest belief. With an option, students will flock to courses with free resources and just won’t enroll in classes that require a $100 textbook.”

To search for spring 2019 classes that require no textbook purchase, visit and choose No Textbook Purchase under Course Attributes.

Phi Theta Kappa Hosts Fall Induction

On Wednesday, November 7, Massasoit Community College’s Alpha Kappa Upsilon chapter of Phi Theta Kappa inducted its fall class of students.

Phi Theta Kappa recognizes and encourage scholarship among two-year college students. PTK has been present at Massasoit since the 1980’s and currently has over 2,000 members, including alumni. Students must have earned at least a 3.5 grade point average (GPA) to be eligible for membership, and must maintain at least a 3.25 GPA throughout their studies at Massasoit to remain a member in good standing. Along with strong academic achievement, PTK students regularly engage in civic, community, and charitable activities both on campus and beyond, as well participate in regional and international academic meetings.

Below, please find a list of some of this fall’s new members:

Gregory Abbott
Brianna Adams
Zoe Allard
Shawn Antoine
Raven Bernier
Nathalie Boucher-Giger
Theresa Coelho
Kayla Conroy
Brett Croke
Kristian Cunningham
Kate Curran
Elisa De Lima
Lara Deb
April Decarvalho
Jennifer Dicks
Emily Dillan
Quynh Duong
Cheyenne Farr
Judith Fongeallaz
Darlene Fonseca
Courtney Gold
Takeya Griffin
Brooke Hall
Caroline Hall
Robert Jolles
Brian King
Danielle Logan
Jillian Manning
James McCarthy
Theodore Misitsakis
Laura Nieske
Cherrell Palmer
April Parsons
Wolf Pierre
Abigail Pineiro
Samuel Pires
Melanie Rappoli
Manan Rathor
Antonio Salgado
Alexandra Santos
Elisabeth Sawelsky
Regina Schroedinger
Anna Sergienko
Andrew Simpson
Lily Sullivan
Cassidy Taglieri
Deqi Tao
Zachary Thuotte
Kendrick Vongsvirates
Catherine Vu
Ronethia Williams
Yehoshua Winter
Carly Worton
Lauren Yanchuk
Amber Yohn

Six Women’s Soccer Student-Athletes Named to All-Region 21 Teams

A total of six Massasoit women’s soccer student-athletes were named to the NJCAA All-Region 21 teams announced by the conference office.

Representing the Warriors on the all-region teams included, Samantha Baston (Carver), Alex Santos (Whitman) and Anya Welch-Batstone (Avon) with first team recognition, while Morgan Acorn, Betty Blake and Amanda Sesock, all Whitman natives, earned spots on the second team.

Baston produced a standout freshman campaign as a center midfielder for the Warriors. The Carver native led Region 21 in points (53) and assists (13) and finished second in goals scored to teammate Welch-Batstone. Baston scored a goal in 11 of 14 games, including a three-goal, five-assist performance vs Bunker Hill en route to earn NJCAA National Player of the Week honors on October 8. In addition, Baston’s 53 points marked the most in a season since Shelby Sprague tallied 66 points in 2016.

Welch-Batstone was another stellar freshman for head coach Jim Stapleton in 2018. The Avon native topped the region in goals (21) and finished second in points (51). The forward finished with seven multi-goal performances, including a five-goal effort vs Bristol in late October.

Santos was a do-it-all player for the Warriors during her second season donning the Green and White. The team captain played primarily on defense in her sophomore season, but still ended the year with nine goals and nine assists for a total of 27 points. For her two-year career, Santos finished with 22 goals and 13 assists.

Another strong freshman was defensive midfielder Blake of Whitman. In her first year, Blake finished with 12 goals and seven assists, starting all 14 matches for the Warriors.

After having her freshman season cut short due to injury, Amanda Sesock rebounded in 2018 with a solid sophomore season. Another Whitman native, Sesock netted seven goals and dished out nine assists, seeing time at both forward and midfield.

Rounding out the six all-region student-athletes is Morgan Acorn. A fourth all-region selection from Whitman, Acorn served as the backbone to the Warrior defense as team sweeper. The defensive anchor helped Massasoit post five shutouts.

Dr. Dariel “DT” Henry of Massasoit Community College Presents at NACADA Annual Conference

DT Henry

Dr. Dariel “DT” Henry was among a prominent group of participants of the NACADA Annual Conference that welcomed higher education professionals from around the globe. The national conference, which was held in Phoenix, Arizona, September 30 – October 3, was titled, “Life Stories: The Art of Academic Advising.” NACADA is known as the Global Community for Academic Advising.

Dr. Henry is Director of TRIO Student Support Services at Massasoit Community College in Brockton, Massachusetts. The TRIO Student Support Services Program’s mission is to continuously improve the quality and efficiency of services provided in order to maximize the opportunities of eligible students. Programs help low-income Americans enter college, graduate and move on to participate more fully in America’s economic and social life. Dr. Henry is also a professor of criminal justice, organizational behavior, and sociology.

DT has served numerous administrative roles in higher education, including academic advising, residential life, student activities, student support services, technology, and instruction. Prior to joining Massasoit, Dr. Henry was an academic advisor at Dean College where, in 2015, he implemented strategies that increased retention of football student athletes by 50%. He earned his doctoral degree at Johnson and Wales University in Educational Leadership in 2016, and his dissertation topic was titled Effective Strategies for Recruiting African American Males into Undergraduate Teacher Education Programs. His research interests include recruiting male educators, inclusion, cultural proficiency and relativism, social justice, and mass incarceration.

“There are numerous departments that help students get to college, however academic advisors are essential in helping students get through college,” said Dr. Henry.

Dr. Henry is a frequent speaker and presenter at numerous higher educational programs and conferences. In addition to presenting at NACADA, DT served as the closing keynote for the NACADA regional conference in Springfield, Massachusetts. In 2017, Dr. Henry presented at the NASPA Closing the Achievement Gap: Student Success in Higher Education Gap Conference in Washington, DC, and the Stonehill College 8th Annual Diversity & Inclusion Conference. In 2016, he presented for Honey Shine Mentoring Program and Beacon Charter School High School for the Arts.

Massasoit honors Retired Baseball Coach Tom Frizzell


Massasoit celebrated Tom Frizzell Day on September 13 to honor the longtime baseball coach on his retirement after 28 years leading the men’s baseball team.

Current and former members of the Massasoit baseball family spoke about Frizzell.

“We want to honor him for all of his commitment to the college,″ said athletics director Julie Mulvey to The Enterprise in advance of the event. “We just want to recognize all that he’s done for so many student-athletes and for the game of baseball in this region.

Frizzell’s number 13 was retired during the ceremony.  He was inducted into the NJCAA Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame in 2011 and the Massasoit Athletics Hall of Fame in 2017.

Kraig Kupiec Named Next Massasoit Head Baseball Coach


Kraig Kupiec, a former Division I player with eight years head coaching experience at the NCAA Division III level, was recently named the next head baseball coach at Massasoit Community College by Athletics Director Julie Mulvey.

Kupiec becomes the seventh head baseball coach in Massasoit history, since the program’s first season back in 1969. He replaces Hall of Fame head coach Tom Frizzell, who retired following the 2018 campaign after 28 seasons guiding the Warriors.

“We are very excited to have Coach Kupiec be our next head baseball coach here at Massasoit” Athletics Director Julie Mulvey said. “Our baseball program has been a consistent winner with decades of success thanks to Coach (Tom) Frizzell and we believe Kraig can continue on that success. He is extremely organized and will hit the ground running on the recruiting trail for the upcoming season.”

Kupiec comes to Brockton after serving the last eight years as head baseball coach at Newbury College in Brookline, Mass. While with the Nighthawks, Kupiec tallied 132 wins, produced 21 All-New England Collegiate Conference (NECC) selections and was named the 2011 NECC Coach of the Year. Kupiec also coached two NECC Players of the Year and Rookies of the Year and one NECC Pitcher of the Year during his tenure at Newbury.

In his first season with the Nighthawks in 2011, Kupiec turned the Newbury program around in a hurry. The Nighthawks went 18-17 under Kupiec’s watch in his first season, as Newbury had only won 17 contests in the four previous seasons combined.

In 2012, the Nighthawks won a school record 23 games and finished runner’s up at the NECC Tournament and captured a school best 11 league victories that year. In addition, Newbury also made its first-ever postseason appearance, competing in the ECAC Tournament.

“I could not be more excited to be a part of a program with such a historic past and legendary coach in Coach Frizzell,” Kupiec said. “I have very big shoes to fill and I am excited to start this next chapter of my head coaching career at a college I have wanted to coach at for many years. This is an incredible opportunity and I am thankful to Athletics Director Julie Mulvey and the hiring committee for bringing me aboard to be the next baseball coach at Massasoit.”

In addition to his coaching duties at Newbury, Kupiec also served as assistant and associate athletic director, recruiting coordinator and student-athlete academic program (SAAP) coordinator during his eight-year tenure, taking part in a number of different avenues within the scope of athletics.

“I would also like to thank my former Athletic Director, Jonathan Harper, for allowing me to grow in my position both as a coach and as an administrator during my time at Newbury. It was a great eight years with the Nighthawks and I hope nothing but the best for the athletics department and baseball program moving forward.”

Prior to taking the head coaching reigns at Newbury, Kupiec spent three seasons as an assistant coach/hitting coach at nearby UMass Boston. He helped guide the Beacons to the Little East Conference Championship, NCAA Regional Championship and the College World Series in 2010.

For nine years before joining UMass Boston, Kupiec operated and served as the lead hitting instructor at Inside the Park, Inc. Indoor Batting Cages in Fall River, Mass. In 2006, a book written by Kupiec was published entitled “Hitting Made Simple: A Guide for Parents and Coaches” which brings to print his uniquely simple and successful philosophy on hitting.

A former standout at B.M.C. Durfee High School and 2012 Athletics Hall of Fame inductee, Kupiec played collegiately at Wake Forest University where he graduated with a bachelor of arts in political science in 1995. He later received his master of science degree from the University of Southern Mississippi in 1998.

Kupiec was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 1991 Major League Baseball draft, but opted to play in college at Wake Forest where he was a four-year outfielder. Kupiec was named ACC All-Scholastic in 1993 and spent a summer playing for the Wareham Gateman in the Cape Cod League in 1994.

A native of Fall River, Mass., Kupiec resides in Lakeville, Mass with his wife Melissa and two daughters – Maya and Chloe.

Massasoit Receives Third Skills Capital Grant from Baker-Polito Administration

This June, Massasoit was awarded its third Skills Capital Grant from the Baker-Polito administration in the amount of $494,671. The funds will be used to purchase equipment for a new Certified Nursing Assistant program, and upgrade the existing Nursing and Allied Health programs. The programs will provide training for adults seeking employment, a career change, or incumbent workers looking to advance their skills, and the college will recruit unemployed and underemployed adults with barriers to employment by working with education and healthcare partners, community-based organizations, and career centers. Finally, Massasoit will purchase pediatric and simulation manikins, instructional technology to record and assess student performance and replace outdated medical devices with current technology.

The Baker-Polito Administration awarded $10.9 million in Skills Capital Grants to 33 high schools and educational institutions in their June round of awards, enabling the schools to acquire the newest technologies to educate students and expand programs. The Baker-Polito Administration has awarded more than $48 million to 157 different programs over the past three years. Massasoit’s previous two Skills Capital Grants partially funded the new state-of-the-art veterinary technician and engineering lab spaces on the Canton campus.

Skills Capital Grants are designed to help high schools, colleges, and other educational institutions invest in the most up-to-date training equipment to give their students an advantage when they continue in their chosen field or a particular area of study. Skills Capital Grants cover a broad array of fields, from construction and engineering to healthcare and hospitality.

“The equipment purchased by high schools and colleges over the past three years through Skills Capital Grants has directly impacted the educational experience for thousands of Massachusetts students to better prepare them for the workforce,” Governor Charlie Baker said. “This program has had a positive impact on students in the Commonwealth and we look forward to working with the Legislature to include $75 million worth of funding for Skills Capital Grants as part of the Economic Development bill we filed in the spring.”

“By giving our students the opportunity to learn on the newest technologies, we are ensuring they will be better prepared to succeed when they graduate from high school,”Lt. Governor Karyn Polito said. “We look forward to continuing our work with these 33 high schools and previous awardees to enhance their programs and develop a skilled workforce ready to meet the needs of the Commonwealth.”

The competitive grants are awarded to educational institutions that demonstrate partnerships with local businesses, as well as align curriculum and credentials with industry demand, in order to maximize hiring opportunities in each region of the state.

“Schools that receive these competitive grants are giving their students a head start by creating relationships with local employers who provide input and expertise about the skills and knowledge they will need to be successful in the future,” Education Secretary James Peyser said.

“Massachusetts’ continued low unemployment rates, coupled with job and labor force gains, has also created a tight labor market in which more and more employers are finding it difficult to recruit workers with the skills necessary to fuel their growth needs,” said Labor and Workforce Development Secretary Rosalin Acosta. “The Workforce Skills Capital grant program has had great success in closing those skills gaps and ensuring that the next generation of workers in the Commonwealth has the training necessary to access our high demand job sectors.”

“Massachusetts is a national leader in life sciences, healthcare, technology, and manufacturing sectors,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash. “These grants will help ensure a strong pipeline of talented workers throughout the Commonwealth to support these key industries. A skilled workforce is essential for Massachusetts to have an edge in attracting employers in these sectors to locate and expand here, and for adding great jobs now, and in the future.”

The Skills Capital Grants are awarded by Governor Baker’s Workforce Skills Cabinet. Governor Baker and Lt. Governor Polito created the Workforce Skills Cabinet in 2015, bringing together the Secretariats of Education, Labor and Workforce Development, and Housing and Economic Development in order to align education, economic development and workforce policies, and to strategize around how to meet employers’ demand for skilled workers in each region of the state.


Massasoit Announces Donation of Mobile SimLab for the Paramedic Program

DSC_0549On June 20, Massasoit welcomed the 2018 paramedic graduates to the Middleborough Center for their pinning ceremony. Following the graduates’ pinnings, the Massasoit Foundation formally accepted the donation of a mobile SimLab from the Carrico-Walo families in memory of Bruce A. Carrico, Jr.

Bruce Carrico was a Rockland firefighter who passed away in 2015. His wife, Kelly, is a Massasoit employee in the Academic Affairs office. His stepson, Doug Walo, is the dean of Massasoit’s Middleborough location.

The College gratefully accepted this generous donation in Bruce’s memory.