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Headshot of Dr. Larson

November 2, 2017

Dr. Larson's Report to the Board of Trustees

TO:                  Members, OCC Board of Trustees

FROM:            Jon H. Larson, Ph.D.

                        President

SUBJECT:      Items of Interest for the November 2, 2017, Board Meeting

DATE:             October 27, 2017

Sign Language Society

Ocean County College’s Sign Language Society, advised by Ms. Kathy Basilotto, Assistant Professor of American Sign Language (ASL), functions as a bridge between American Sign Language students and the Deaf community.  The club organizes a variety of Deaf events to facilitate students becoming involved within the community in order to learn more about the culture as well as to practice their ASL skills.  

This past summer, current students and alumni teamed up to offer a pilot mentoring program for students in basic ASL courses.  The program experienced great success, with a majority of students participating.  Key players in this program included one of the club’s co-secretaries, Briana Minutillo, and two alumni, Jana Seigel and Melanie Fernandez.  The club hopes to continue the advancement of this initiative.

Although Professor Basilotto will be teaching at the time of the Board meeting on Thursday, Melanie and Briana will make a brief presentation about the mentoring program.

Ocean County College Athletics

Ms. Ilene Cohen, Executive Director of Judicial Affairs and Athletics, will attend Thursday’s meeting to report on fall season sports: men’s and women’s soccer, women’s tennis, women’s volleyball, and cross country.

Each year, the Collegiate Athletic Administrators of New Jersey (CAANJ) honors New Jersey’s best and brightest with its Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award.   For the second consecutive year, the CAANJ has honored two Ocean County College graduates in the Two-Year College category, Emily Dancisin (Softball), and Kieran Murphy (Men's Soccer).

Emily, a first baseman on the softball team, was a key factor in the Vikings winning the Region XIX championship and advancing to the National Championship in her freshman year.  She went on to serve as captain of the team in her sophomore year and was a positive, motivating force both on and off the field.  Emily graduated from OCC with a perfect 4.0 grade point average and was recognized by the NJCAA as a 1st Team All-Academic Award winner. 

Kieran Murphy, a standout defenseman on the men’s soccer team, played a pivotal role in the Vikings advancing to the NJCAA Region XIX playoffs in 2016, was named captain of the team in his sophomore year, and served as an organizational and motivational leader on his team.  Kieran carries himself well, is a great communicator, and is extremely hard working.  Upon graduation, Kieran enlisted in the United States Navy to protect and serve his country.

Study Abroad Program

From August 4 to 11, 2017, the College hosted the first Ireland Study Abroad trip with 18 participants from OCC, Kean Ocean, and the community.  The course focused on the history and culture of Ireland and included stays in both the Republic and the separate state of Northern Ireland.

Students experienced prehistoric art, farming and burial practices at Knowth, saw the transformation of Dublin from ancient Viking seaport village to thriving city, viewed the Book of Kells and Trinity College, and walked Giant's Causeway and the walled city of Derry.  Native Irish speakers presented on the influences of the Celts, Vikings, Norman, and English invasions, and the long history of resistance, rebellion, and revolution throughout Ireland today and provided insight into the cultural traditions that exist today.   Side trips to the Abbey Theater, the national theater of Ireland, and the picturesque town of Howth on the east coast were surprise opportunities that students enjoyed.  Dr. Rosann Bar, Dean of the School of Business and Social Sciences, and Dr. Maureen Reustle, Part-Time Teacher of Humanities, led the trip and were impressed with the level of student interest and engagement.  

Steven Jackson, Kean Ocean history/education major and OCC graduate, has prepared a brief Powerpoint presentation on highlights of the trip and student responses, which he will share with you on Thursday.  

Developmental Education

Last month, the Wall Street Journal ran an article, “Colleges Rethink Remedial Education,” which addressed remedial education and the move by many colleges to a basic skills model.  The article is attached to my report. 

To keep you informed on the College’s efforts, a presentation will be made on Thursday on the ways in which Ocean County College is assisting its developmental student population based on data, research, and best practices.  Ms. Veronica Guevara-Lovgren, Director of Academic Support Services, will discuss OCC’s developmental students and the idea of an Accelerated Learning Program.   Mr. Dan Keiser, College Lecturer II of Mathematics, and Ms. Heidi Sheridan, Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, will share with you the actions being taken to assist students in mathematics and English, respectively. 

Carl D. Perkins Grant

In FY2018, the Carl D. Perkins Grant provided Ocean County College with $392,000 for the purpose of supporting its Perkins-approved programs.  These Perkins-eligible programs cross a variety of disciplines and reside in each of the academic schools.  The grant has proved to be a valuable component in increasing students’ access to new technologies and creating programs to improve retention and equity on campus.  Each year, the College purchases hundreds of items and funds multiple programs for our students through this grant.

There are a number of new Perkins-funded initiatives in FY2018, all with exciting prospects, some of which include:

  • Faculty and lecturers are working with students outside of the classroom to provide extra assistance both academically and in the form of mentoring.
  • An equity coordinator has been employed to work on a multitude of equity initiatives across campus.
  • The grant is funding:
  • A virtual reality police shooting simulator for the Criminal Justice program.
  • A second broadcasting studio for the Digital Broadcast program.
  • A Bloomberg Business lab with Bloomberg software programs, stock market ticker, and stock market status display for the Business program.

Ms. Susan O’Connor, Director of Curriculum Management, will provide you with more information regarding the Perkins grant at Thursday’s Board meeting.

Student Affairs

  • Student Services Operations

As you know, Ocean County College is moving towards the one-stop shop model for its student services.  In anticipation of the renovations to the Administration Building and the physical HUB, a virtual HUB site has been launched, which enables students to self-serve with the most frequently asked questions and transactions.  The virtual HUB site empowers students to complete their own financial aid, registration, payment, and admissions tasks from anywhere, using one easily accessible web page.


In addition, OCC is the first community college to launch a chatbot – a virtual assistant that uses augmented intelligence to serve its students.  Reginald, known to his friends as Reggie, will converse with students via text messages, engaging them in a way that OCC never has before.  With Reggie’s knowledge growing each and every day, students will build a relationship with the institution through questions and answers using human-like conversations.  

At Thursday’s meeting, Ms. Sheenah Hartigan, Director of Student Services Operations, will share with you the virtual HUB site as well as demonstrate Reggie, OCC’s chatbot.

  • Counseling and Student Development Services
    • Ms. Eileen Burdge, Community Services Specialist, and Ms. Kelly Petrolis, Student Intervention Specialist, have achieved the Licensed Associate Counselor designation and are continuing with the requirements to become Licensed Professional Counselors.
    • An increasing number of students are visiting counselors for services related to anxiety, depression, and relationship difficulties, which aligns with state and national trends.  In addition to individual appointments, counselors are providing weekly drop-in sessions on stress reduction, psychological well-being, and academic success.
    • Dr. Kate Pandolpho, Director, presented to high school counselors at the Admissions Department “Share the Knowledge” event.  Dr. Pandolpho also attended the annual ATIXA/SCOPE (Association of Title IX Administrators/School and College Organization for Prevention Educators) conference earlier this month in Philadelphia, which focused on best practices in Title IX compliance and discrimination prevention education for higher education.  Also in attendance at this conference was Ms. Tracey Donaldson, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources.
    • The Student Support Services program is preparing for the 2016/2017 annual performance report for the U.S. Department of Education.  For the 2018/2019 program year, there are 116 participants, with a number of students finalizing the application process. It is anticipated that the program will meet its requirement of 140 students by the end of this semester.  Students will visit Monmouth University and Rowan University as well as take a cultural trip to the Mutter Museum in Philadelphia.  The SSS Club hosted the annual Purple Bake Sale on October 18, 2017, with all proceeds going to local domestic violence programs. The Club will also host the annual Pizza with Santa event in December.
  • Advising, Transfer, and Career Services
    • The Advising, Transfer, and Career Services Office reached out to 64 first-time, full-time students who registered late for the fall semester.  These students are often academically at risk, and they miss the benefits of freshman orientation.  Of the 64 students contacted:
    • 35 students received a voicemail and/or email (55%)
    • 20 students spoke with an advisor (31%)
    • 2 students met with an advisor (3%)
    • 5 students had their classes dropped or are otherwise not enrolled (8%)
    • 1 student was e-learning and has recently been in touch with an advisor/1 student is starting in quick term (3%)
  • Representatives from the Advising and Counseling spoke with students in First-Year Experience Seminar (FYES 155) sections this fall, with the goal of:
    • Focusing on the College Success Factors Index results and interpretations and linking the results to course material and textbooks
    • Providing students with a refresher on concepts learned in New Student Orientation
    • Re-introducing them to advising at OCC and the services and resources available
    • Providing students with an advising syllabus and first-year advising timeline
    • Introducing them to the resources available in Advising 101 (Canvas)
  • In partnership with Student Life and the NJ STARS club, the office hosted a successful Transfer and Career Fair on October 5, 2017.  Eighty institutions were represented, and over 300 students signed in with at least one institution.  Coordinator of Transfer Services Laura Wills did an excellent job organizing and executing the fair.

This year the fair included a career exploration piece.  Representatives from multiple career industries attended, including retail, hospitality, and tourism (Talent Network); health care (Ocean County Health Department); advanced manufacturing (Talent Network); transportation and logistics (Talent Network); and law enforcement (Ocean County Sheriff’s Office), as well as representatives from OCC’s Nursing, Business, Education, and CPE programs, to speak with students about career opportunities and pathways.

In partnership with Phi Theta Kappa, during Completion Week Ms. Wills hosted an information session on October 16, 2017, for students intending to transfer.  Students received a New Jersey Transfer tutorial, information on the New Jersey Statewide Transfer Agreement, and answers to specific transfer questions.  Ms. Wills is scheduled to visit the SEC several times during the fall semester to provide students with transfer advising.

  • The Office continues its tradition of a biannual e-newsletter to parents.  The e-newsletter, authored by Associate Director of Academic Advising Pamela Donohue, shares information such as registration for the quick and accelerated terms, student clubs, tutoring, campus events, graduation, academic deadlines, financial aid, scholarships, study abroad, and academic advising.

Academic Affairs

  • School of Business and Social Sciences
    • The Entrepreneurial Club, under the leadership of Business Studies Lecturer II Chris Bottomley, will host Mr. Frankie Edgar, a renowned mixed martial artist and Ultimate Fighting Champion from Toms River, who will discuss his experiences as an innovative entrepreneur.
    • Political Science Lecturer II Jason Ghibesi coordinated a Voter Registration Drive in conjunction with the Office of Student Life, the League of Women Voters, and SLAP (Students Learning about Politics, OCC's Political Science Club) on October 10, 2017.   Over 70 students registered to vote, and many more benefitted from the educational information provided to them.  Many volunteers assisted throughout the day:  Mr. Kyle Banner, Adjunct Faculty Member, Humanities and Fine Arts; Ms. Jennifer Barnes, Lecturer II of Political Science; Mr. Matthew Kennedy, Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management and Construction; Mr. Ed Kissling, Professor of Business Studies; Ms. Charlotte Langeveld, Adjunct Faculty, Sociology; Ms. Jane MacDonald, Lecturer II of Education; Ms. Christine O'Neill, Executive Assistant to the Vice President of Academic Affairs; Ms. Eileen Schilling, Executive Director of Academic Assessment and School Relations; Mr. Chad Sexton, Lecturer II of Sociology; and Ms. Jayanti Tamm, Assistant Professor of English and Literature.
  • The Global Education Committee, under the leadership of Mr. Jason Ghibesi, will sponsor a series of events in November celebrating International Education Week.  The theme of this year's series is "Bound to the Destiny of Others," which focuses on humanitarianism and inclusivity.  Many interesting events include:
    • A screening of the documentary, “Poverty Inc.,” hosted by Sociology Lecturer II Chad Sexton;
    • A candid discussion by U.S. Peace Corps volunteer, Mr. John Ramos, about his experiences living and working as an English teacher in Madagascar for twenty-seven months;
    • A lecture and discussion featuring Mr. Kevin Bales, author of the “Slave Next Door,” “Ending Slavery,” and “Disposable People,” required reading for all Global Issues students at the College;
    • A lecture and discussion by Dr. Maysa Hayward, Dean of Instructional Outreach, that highlights the role of women in the Muslim world;
    • A creative presentation by Professor Jayanti Tamm on “The Interpreter of Maladies,” Jhumpa Lahiri’s short story on the lasting impact of immigration and the search for belonging;
    • A poetry presentation by Dr. Sandra Brown, Professor of English, on “The Arts and Terrorism,” featuring Wislawa Szymborska's "The Terrorist, He Watches," and Seamus Heaney's "Anything Can Happen”;
    • A presentation by Dr. Joaquin Rolon, Associate Professor of English and Literature, entitled, "Harsh realities, harsh beauty";
    • An examination of cultural, familial and societal implications from Latino-American Sandra Cisneros' novel, “The House on Mango Street”;
    • A discussion of 2006 Icelandic film by Baltasar Kormákur, “Jar City,” based on the book by Arnaldur Indridason, presented by Dr. Jennifer Dellner, Professor of English and Literature; and
    • A presentation by cultural anthropologist Charlotte Langeveld, who has worked for ten years doing field work in Africa and Afghanistan.
  • On December 8, 2017, OCC will host, in conjunction with the New Jesey Counseling Licensing Board, a Train the Trainer session that will have in attendance representatives from all New Jersey colleges that teach Addiction Counseling classes.  This is the first time these educators will meet together to discuss recent upgrades to the required core curriculum for workforce development Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC) education.  Mr. Jeff Lang, Addictions/Counseling Lecturer II, is coordinating this event.
  • On October 31, 2017, the Future Addiction Counselors Club hosted Dr. Ed Redding, Director of the New Jersey Board of Marriage and Family Counseling, who provided students with an overview and advisement on the CADC post-course completion and application process.
  • On November 15, 2017, Ms. Kimberly Reilly, Ocean County Substance Abuse Coordinator, will speak to the Future Counselors Club on employment in county-wide addiction services.
  • On October 26, 2017, as part of the Governmental Affairs Institute, under the leadership of Ms. Jennifer Barnes, Ms. Linda Lajterman, Mr. John Ramaglia, and Mr. Rick Schmid shared their personal experiences about opioid abuse and overdoseMr. Jeff Lang served as the moderator.  On October 30, 2017, the Second Annual Ocean County Mayors' Panel was held, with mayors from 13 municipalities discussing the issues most affecting their hometowns.  On November 16, 2017, representatives from the Ocean County Health Department will address the opioid crisis, tick- and mosquito-related illnesses, and other health concerns
  • School of Arts and Humanities
    • Work continues on curriculum initiatives and planning events for the campus and wider community.  The Performing Arts faculty are working with faculty from the Ocean County Vocational Technical School Performing Arts Academy to ensure a smooth curriculum transition.  All program chairs are considering ways to market their programs.
    • Dr. David Bordelon, Professor of English, continued his book club series with readings from Shakespeare, this month with “King Lear.”  The participants meet the second Tuesday of every month at 3:30 p.m. in the Library Tower room.
    • For the NEA Big Read and in collaboration with Toms River Regional Schools, OCC hosted a panel discussion called “Station Eleven and Sandy: How Life-Changing Events Impact our Art” with “Station Eleven” author Emily St. John Mandel, Ms. Jayanti Tamm; Mr. Nathaniel Bard, Instructor of Visual Arts; Dr. Elizabeth Brierley, Associate Professor of Communications/Theatre; and Mr. David Bordelon in the Grunin Theatre.
    • Under the guidance of Ms. Karin Gargone, Instructor of Music, the Music Club held a Halloween Karaoke Charity Fundraiser for Hurricane Relief on Friday, October 27, 2017.
    • Under the direction of College Lecturer II of Communications/Theatre Paul Chalakani, the play “Proof” by David Auburn ran from October 19, through 29, 2017, in the Grunin Center Black Box Theatre.
    • On Monday, October 16, 2017, New York Times op-ed columnist, Charles Blow, spoke at the 11th annual Visiting Writers’ Reading Series in the Grunin Center, which was organized by Ms. Jayanti Tamm.
    • Dr. Madison Peschock, College Lecturer II in English and Literature, organized another round table for the English adjunct professors on October 26, 2017, at which the adjuncts shared ideas that work in the classroom.   
    • On October 31, 2017, the Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education presented a lecture called the "Jews of Shanghai" by Dr. Xiao-Ming Yang, Professor of English and Literature.  
  • School of Nursing and Health Sciences
    • The Student Nursing Organization (SNO) hosted a Blood Drive on campus in collaboration with the Central Jersey Blood Center on September 27 and 28, 2017.  A total of 48 pints was collected.  Students receive scholarship money based on the number of pints collected ($250 below 50 pints; $500 over 50 pints).
    • A Flu Clinic was held on October 3, 2017, in the Health Sciences Building.  The SNO collaborated with the Ocean County Health Department to administer flu vaccines.  The student nurses administered 25 vaccines under the direction of faculty and lecturers.
    • Members of SNO and Nursing lecturers participated in the annual Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk in Point Pleasant Beach on October 15, 2017, raising $425 for the American Cancer Society to support breast cancer research.
    • Ms. Mary Fennessy, Director of Program Services for Nursing and Health Sciences, and Ms. Cathy Anderson, Lab Reservist and OCC Nursing graduate, represented the School of Nursing at the Transfer and Career Fair on October 5, 2017.  Information was provided to students interested in the Nursing Program as well as to current students wishing to transfer to a BSN completion program following graduation.
    • The School of Nursing was represented at the Fall Open House on October 19, 2017.  Nursing Program information was provided by Ms. Mary Fennessy; Ms. MaryJean Natoli, Nursing Lecturer II; and Ms. Tracy Walsh, Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences.
    • A Pre-Nursing Information Session was held on October 12, 2017, for students who intend to enter the Nursing Program.  Ms. Mary Fennessy collaborated with representatives from the Advising Department and Kean University to provide key information regarding the program.  Seventy-one pre-nursing students registered for the session.
    • Ms. Barbara Hayles, MSN, RN, Nursing Lecturer II, attended a program sponsored by RWJBarnabas Health titled, "The Disease of Addiction: Bridging Prevention to Recovery," on October 18, 2017.
    • Students from Lacey Township High School visited OCC on October 13 and 25, 2017Students interested in nursing or the health care field toured the Health Sciences Building and equipment utilized to prepare students for the clinical setting was demonstrated
    • Nursing lecturers will be submitting articles to e-notebook regularly on health-related information.  Ms. Mary Sue Gill, Nursing Lecturer II, contributed to the October edition with an article titled, “Be Protected This Flu Season.”   
  • School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
    • Dr. William Rickert, Professor of Mathematics, and Ms. Kaaren Finberg, Assistant Professor of Mathematics, conducted a Math Anxiety workshop open to all OCC students. Approximately 35 students attended the workshop, which included topics on anxiety symptoms and methods to alleviate anxiety before and during math exams. 
    • Dr. Angel Camilo, Lecturer II of Biology, Dean Paul Silberquit, and OCC Maker’s Club students Dakota Wade and Alex Chuderski attended Toms River Schools’ annual Jersey Maker’s Fest event.  The Maker’s Club students presented two items to attendees: 1) an interactive video game using a multipurpose handheld programmable device, called Makey-Makey, aluminum foil, and connecting wires; and 2) memory wire that can be heat treated in a set configuration which, after being bent into another configuration, returns to the set configuration when again exposed to heat.
    • Dean Paul Silberquit conducted an evening workshop for STEM full-time and part-time faculty and lecturers on the Canvas Gradebook
    • OCC was selected to participate for a second year in the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (JSHS) high school science research competition.  The title for this year’s symposium has been changed to the Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium (JSJSS).  The schedule for this year’s JSJSS events is:
      • Registration and abstracts due December 5, 2017
      • Research papers due January 5, 2018
      • Announcing the finalist – TBD
      • Finalists Orientation – TBD
      • Rehearsal - February 23, 2018
      • JSJSS – March 22 and 23, 2018
  • Finance and Administration
    • A special Board of School Estimate meeting was held on October 18, 2017.  The Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders approved the funding plan for the construction of a Performing Arts Academy High School on the OCC campus.  The high school will be owned and operated by the Ocean County Vocational Technical School, but the building will be used by OCC students as well.  The building is currently under design, and the ground lease and operating agreement are in the process of being finalized.  Both the College and OCVTS are excited to see the project moving forward and grateful to the County of Ocean for its support.
    • Ms. Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration, was interviewed for an article that appeared in the October 6, 2017, newsletter for Academic ImpressionsAcademic Impressions is a higher education training company that is known as a trusted resource for administrative and academic professionals learning to solve challenges across campuses.  The article is entitled, “How One College Used the Business Model Canvas to Boost Enrollment and Develop New Academic Programs Quickly.”  The link to the article is https://www.academicimpressions.com/how-one-college-used-the-business-model-canvas-to-boost-enrollment/.
  • Continuing and Professional Education
    • Customized Training/Workforce Development
    • Urgent Care of Toms River is currently participating in ten Professional Development classes through December.  The company has committed to have every employee trained in Customer Service. 
    • Work has begun with Rampson Foods Inc., owner of 15 Dunkin' Donut franchises, to provide Professional Development and Customer Service training at various locations.
    • CPE coordinated with Civil Service for 300 students to take the Police Sergeant Test on campus on Saturday, October 28, 2017.   First-Level Fire Supervisor Testing for 150 will be given on Saturday, November 18, 2017.
    • Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCT) Grant

Approximately three years ago, OCC received a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, Employment, and Training Administration, known as the TAACCT Grant.  This was a consortium grant of New Jersey community colleges that focused on allied health careers and job development.

This grant will end in March 2018, but it has been extremely beneficial to the College.  It funded a Counselor, Job Developer, and Grant Director who provided essential services for Continuing Education Allied Health students.  In addition, the grant provided for the evaluation of nine non-credit Credentialed Health programs for credits that students can use to further their careers at OCC.

At Thursday's meeting, Ms. Pat Fenn, Assistant Vice President of Continuing and Professional Education and Workforce Development, and Ms. Kaitlin Everett, Director of the TAACCT Grant, will highlight the many benefits this grant opportunity has afforded to OCC and its students.

  • Human Resources
    • Performance Management – Human Resources is working with IT to move towards the implementation of Talent Management, a module within the PeopleAdmin software suite, which will simplify the process of appraising performance and enable collection of training and development needs for future training courses. 
    • In-and-Out Processing – Led by Ms. Rosemarie Fiscus, Director of Human Resources, the Benefits Unit is resurrecting group in-processing in order to efficiently collect enrollment and other critical new hire documents, with the goal of shortening processing time.  These in-processing sessions are the first step to an orientation program that is being developed, which will also include much more involvement from the new employees’ departments.
  • College Relations

Ms. Jan Kirsten, Executive Director of College Relations, is pleased to report that team members won two bronze awards in the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations’ Medallion Awards competition, the first for the College’s “Affordability Campaign – ‘Oh. Owe.’” in the Advertising/Digital Ad category, and the second for the “Ocean County College Class Schedule” in the Digital/Electronic Media (Electronic Catalog, Schedule, Viewbook, Annual Report) category.  

The National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR) is a professional organization for individuals involved in marketing, communications, public relations, and enrollment management at community, junior, and technical colleges.  NCMPR provides professional development opportunities, advocates on behalf of the profession and the institutions it serves, and recognizes professional excellence.

  • Security

In accordance with New Jersey Public Law 2015, Chapter 220, and College Policy #2332, Reporting of On-Campus Criminal and Fire Events, attached is the monthly statistics report of crimes, fires, and other emergencies on campus for the reporting period September 21, 2017, through October 25, 2017. 

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