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April 28, 2014

President's Report to the OCC Board of Trustees

TO: Members, OCC Board of Trustees

FROM: Jon H. Larson, Ph.D.


SUBJECT: Items of Interest for the April 28, 2014, Board Meeting

DATE: April 23, 2014


  • I am extremely pleased to share with you that Ms. Kathleen Basilotto, Assistant Professor of Language and the Arts, has been selected as a recipient of the League for Innovation in the Community College’s John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Award.  Professor Basilotto is one of only three faculty members recognized from New Jersey.  I will present Ms. Basilotto with her medallion and certificate on Monday.

    John and Suanne Roueche
    are leaders in the community college field and early proponents of the idea that teachers have major responsibility for students’ performance in the classroomRecipients of the Excellence Award exemplify exceptional community college teaching and leadership.

    Professor Basilotto
    provided the impetus for establishing and further developing the American Sign Language-English program at Ocean County College.  An Interpreter Training certificate program was approved in April 2002; and, because it was a widely recognized, sought-after program, the Board approved an A.A.S. degree program in 2005.

    In addition to Mr. Basilotto’s academic endeavors, she is deeply involved with the deaf community.  She is the advisor for the Sign Language Society Club, which hosts monthly meetings for Interpreter Training Program students and individuals from the community.  She also directs an American Sign Language Rock and Roll Show Fundraiser each year with ITP students and professors.  These exceptional shows are mesmerizing for all who attend.  Songs performed in the show are played by a DJ; however, students perform the songs using American Sign Language.  The concerts benefit several charities, the annual Deaf Awareness Day at OCC, and the annual senior trip to Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C.
  • On Monday, we will be recognizing one of the College’s Club Advisors, Mr. Michael Glenn Miller, for his outstanding commitment to Ocean County CollegeMr. Miller has served as advisor to OCC’s Studio Theatre for thirty years, beginning in 1984.  Since then, he has produced, directed, and sometimes written 60 consecutive shows, with participation by over 450 students throughout the years.

    Studio Theatre
    is one of the most highly attended club activities held on campus each semester.  It consists of short one-act plays performed exclusively by students.  Students are involved with acting, set and prop construction, on-campus promotion, lighting, sound, and other activities.  In recent years, a few plays that were produced included “Epic Proportions” by Larry Coon and David Crane, “God” by Woody Allen, and “Line” by Israel Horowitz.  The most recent production was on April 9, “There’s Something in the Lake,” which was written and directed by Mr. Miller.

    An Ocean County College graduate who earned a bachelor’s degree from Stockton College, Mr. Miller has also directed the summer musicals for Ocean County College’s Theatre Company for 27 years.  Additionally, he has acted, directed, and produced community and dinner theatre in Ocean County for forty-two years.

    We are appreciative of the time, effort, and dedication Mr. Miller has devoted to Ocean County College and its students, as well as his outreach in the community, and will recognize him on Monday for this wonderful thirty-year milestone.

Middle States Accreditation Visit

Dr. James Klyczek, President of Niagara County Community College and Chair of the Middle States evaluation team, and his team members arrived in Toms River on Sunday, April 6, and departed on Wednesday, April 9.  Members of the team met and interviewed many individuals and groups on Monday and Tuesday, and Dr. Klyczek presented the final exit report to the college community on Wednesday.  Overall, we had an extremely successful visit.

A draft report has been received for us to have the opportunity to correct any errors of fact or ambiguities.  When the final report is available, we will write a formal response, which the Middle States Commission on Higher Education must receive by May 21.  On June 3, Dr. Klyczek will present to the Commissioners a brief on the visit.  We should be informed of the Commission's action regarding reaccreditation by the end of June 2014.

I want to thank you, the trustees, for your personal commitment to this very important self-study process.  I also want to express appreciation to Ms. Janet Hubbs and Ms. Carolyn Lafferty, Co-Chairs of the Self-Study Committee; Mr. Jeff Harmon, who assumed responsibility for the Self-Study process following Ms. Hubbs’ retirement; Ms. Jan Kirsten for her planning of the on-site visit; all of the members of the Self-Study Steering Committee and task forces; as well as all of my colleagues throughout the campus who represented the College so well to the Middle States team.

Career Services and the Displaced Homemakers Program

Ocean County College has been providing career and employment services since its inception.  For the past fourteen years, staff and resources have been dedicated to assisting students with career and life decision-making, job searching techniques, and employer connectionsCareer Services has provided individual counseling and group workshops for Kean-Ocean students, Continuing Education students, high school students, and alumni, all with the ultimate goal of helping them realize there is a reason for persisting and succeeding in their educational studies.

The Displaced Homemakers Program continues its success; in fact, it has been recognized by the State as an exemplary program.  Following Super Storm Sandy, an additional $60,000 was awarded to the program to provide direct services to affected displaced homemakers.  With the additional funding, two part-time staff members were employed and short-term training programs and direct assistance are being offered to clients.

This year’s Women’s Career and Life event, held on March 29, attracted over 50 women and men.  The Displaced Homemakers Program also offers workshops, seminars, and computer skills training to help clients develop economic self-sufficiency for themselves and their families.

In recognition of the significant impact and success of this program, it is respectfully requested that a resolution be adopted on Monday to proclaim May 2014 as Displaced Homemakers Awareness Month at Ocean County College.

Dr. Kate Pandolpho, Director of Career, Employment, and Personal Counseling, and Ms. Eileen Budge, Community Services Specialist, will provide you with additional information during a brief presentation on Monday.


  • Ms. Kathryn Caro, Administrator for Nursing and Allied Health, was selected to present at the Best Practices Conference at Mercer County Community College on Friday, April 25. Her presentation is entitled “A Formula for Success: ‘A Mix and Match’ Approach to Non-Credit Certificate Completion.”

    Ms. Caro’s presentation
    addressed the many Continuing Education students who are working to complete fast-track certificate training programs in order to secure employment.  Non-credit certificate programs are offered either totally online or in a traditional classroom setting.  OCC’s Continuing and Professional Education Healthcare Division has developed three non-credit certificates with interchangeable online and classroom courses in medical billing, coding, and electronic health records, which offer the same flexibility as credit students to “mix and match” their learning delivery systems to better meet their personal and professional schedules.  Mr. John Knight and Ms. Marilyn Knight, both of whom are Continuing and Professional Education instructors, assisted Ms. Caro in developing this presentation.
  • On April 23, School Relations hosted 114 students from 5 different school districts at our 15th annual Cardboard Canoe Race.  As always, it was an enjoyable day for the students as they revealed their boat designs and found out exactly how sea worthy they were during the races in the swimming poolContest winners received $500, $250, and $125 scholarships toward tuition at Ocean County College.

    Many people
    on campus contributed to the success of this event:  Ms. Eileen Schilling, Executive Director of Academic Outreach, coordinated the event; volunteers from Academic Affairs, e-Learning, Continuing Education, and Recruitment served as judges and timers; and Mr. Tom Lorenzen, Ms. Ilene Cohen and her staff, and Mr. Steve Bungay, all assisted in the preparation and organization of the Cardboard Canoe Race.

Academic Affairs

  • The Ocean County College Library now has access to more than 150,000 eBooks through two new databases: Springer and EBSCO eBooks.  Springer eBooks offers content wherever you need it, at home, at the lab, in the Library, at the office, or through handheld mobile devices, with unlimited downloading and printing capabilities

    EBSCO eBooks
    offers two collections:  the eBook Academic Collection contains 125,000 multidisciplinary eBook titles representing a broad range of academic subject matter and is a strong addition to any academic collection.  The eBook Community College Collection focuses on the academic and trade information needs of community colleges with a collection containing more than 51,000 titles, including over 4,100 Workforce Development titles in subject areas such as the Humanities and Social Sciences, Business, Science and Technology, and Literary Criticism.  Both databases can be accessed on the Library’s website and from Ocean Cruiser
  •  Ms. Mary Ellen Carr, Professor of English, has long been a champion for women’s leadership.  With her direction and assistance from the Planning Committee, OCC will be hosting the Women’s Leadership Conference on Wednesday, April 30, in the Black Box Theatre.  The Conference will focus on opportunities and challenges women face in their work environment.  The day-long event features the following workshops topics:
    • Career and Family Balance
    • Leadership through Creative Ventures
    • Mentorship
    • Women Entrepreneurs
    • How to Resolve or Negotiate Conflict 

This event is free and open to OCC and Kean personnel.  We have invited Professor Carr to share with us on Monday her passion for women’s leadership and the exciting event the Committee has planned for the campus community.

Sussex County Community College Partnership

On April 24, a number of representatives from Sussex County Community College spent the day on the OCC campus meeting with our staff to review our Ellucian Colleague system.  The day was extremely productive, with the Sussex staff viewing the system in a live environment and seeing first-hand how mature OCC’s use of the system has become.  Sussex has already expressed interest in moving toward a formal relationship, and we are working closely with Ellucian to develop a workable business model.  This project is expected to continue to evolve rapidly.  I am very pleased that OCC is actively pursuing this partnership, another non-traditional revenue stream.

Strategic Transformation Update

The Project Management Team (PMT) finalized the project name, Charting Our New Course.  A values statement was drafted and provided to the Guiding Coalition for its input.  The Management Team also reviewed and forwarded a “working paper” to the Guiding Coalition.  This document outlines the Strategy/Action teams, their chairs and co-chairs, and their initial charges.  A formal charge for each Strategy/Action team is under development.  At the open session, these teams and their leaders were announced, and volunteers from the College community were solicited.  In addition, a broadcast email message was distributed to announce the teams and more broadly solicit volunteers for the project.

We expect to have the charges developed, with the teams fully assigned and ready by the May on-site meeting.  The consultants will begin working with each team individually during their May visit.

OceanFirst Charity Challenge

The Ocean County College Foundation is part of the OceanFirst Charity Challenge.  As such, the Foundation is competing in a contest for a $10,000 Grant from OceanFirst Foundation.  This past academic year, the Foundation distributed $500,000 in scholarships to over 500 students.  We are asking all College employees and friends of the College to consider donating to help us win this Challenge to enable the Foundation to award as many scholarships as possible.  Every donation makes a difference, no matter how small.

To donate, please follow the link below:

Only online donations will count towards this Challenge.  If you need assistance accessing the page or for more information, please contact the OCC Foundation.  The Challenge ends on May 9.

New Jersey Higher Education Assistance Authority Audit

In February, the New Jersey Higher Education Assistance Authority (HESAA) conducted an on-site management review for Compliance with Tuition Aid Grant (TAG) and Educational Opportunity Programs for academic year 2012-2013.

On March 13, HESAA provided a report that contained seven findingsOCC responded to these findings and provided a corrective action plan where necessary.   Overall, the review of OCC’s administration of State student aid programs was extremely positive given the fact that in FY2013 OCC distributed $2,897,027 in State funds to 2,325 students.  The Financial Aid Department will implement the corrective actions and take the steps necessary to ensure that the identified errors do not recur.

Higher Education Bond Update

  • ELF (Equipment Leasing Fund) – The College was approved for funding of $1,549,603, primarily to be used for classroom technology and nursing equipment.  A fully executed grant agreement was received in February.  The College is responsible to pay 25% of the debt service, with the first interest payment due on November 1.  The implementation team meets regularly, and equipment is being requisitioned.  The target date for the equipment to be in place is August 1.
  • GO Bond (Building Our Future) – OCC was approved for funding of $11,400,000 for the purpose of renovating the Instructional Building.  We received a fully executed grant agreement earlier this month.  The grant agreement is for $8,550,000 (75%), with the County of Ocean providing a 25% match of $2,850,000.  Thus far, we have contracted for architectural services for the renovations.HETI (Higher Education Technology Infrastructure) Bond – The College was approved for funding of $1,319,532 to be used to develop our technology infrastructure.  We received a fully executed grant agreement in February.  The grant calls for a 50/50 split; the State will pay 50% and the College will match 50% using fund balance.  The implementation team meets regularly and software and equipment are being requisitioned.  We have completed one billing cycle with the Educational Facilities Authority.
  • HEFT (Higher Education Facilities Trust) Bond – The College applied for funding of $1,692,769 to be used for the reconfiguration of the HVAC system in the Nursing Building as well as the purchase of Nursing equipment.  We were notified in July 2013 that the grant application was approved, but the grant agreements have not yet been executed for this bond.  We do not anticipate bond agreements being received for a few months.  However, since the project is critical in timing, the College is supporting the projects until the grant agreement has been received and executed.  The Authority will be billed after the agreement has been received and approved.   The HEFT Bond has no match requirement.

Ocean County College Commencement Week

We are fast approaching Ocean County College’s 47th Commencement, which will be held on Thursday, May 22, at 6:00 p.m. on the College mall.  As always, in the event of rain, the ceremony will be moved to the Pine Belt Arena on Old Freehold Road in Toms River.  We are quite fortunate that Dr. Joel Bloom, President of New Jersey Institute of Technology, will address our graduates this year.

The Nursing Pinning Ceremony will precede Commencement on Tuesday evening, May 20, at 7:00 p.m., and the annual Awards Ceremony will take place on Wednesday evening, May 21, at 7:00 p.m.  Both events will be held in our Theatre in the Arts and Community Center.

Members of the College community will be invited to a reception prior to Commencement from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Arts and Community Center Atrium.  At 5:30 p.m., the trustees and platform party will robe for the ceremony in the Boardroom.

We congratulate our 2014 graduates for their perseverance and academic achievements.