News & Events
News & Events
August 25, 2014
TO: Members, OCC Board of Trustees
FROM: Jon H. Larson, Ph.D.
SUBJECT: Items of Interest for the August 25, 2014, Board Meeting
DATE: August 20, 2014
Fall 2014 Colloquium
The Fall 2014 Colloquium is taking place at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 28, in the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, at which time I will present my State-of-the-College address. Please join us if you have the opportunity.
This year’s Colloquium topic is “Charting Our New Course: Ocean County College’s Strategic Initiative.” Roundtable Discussions will occur from 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., with each being repeated from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. Each session will focus on specific initiative strategies:
Roundtable Breakout Session I
Moderators: Dr. Jianping Wang, Ms. Pat Fenn, and Ms. Pat Leahey
Strategy #2: Organize for Resilience: Change Culture and Reinvent Programs/Experiences
Strategy #4: Develop a Profound Understanding of Stakeholder Needs and Commit to Filling Them
Roundtable Breakout Session II
Moderators: Dr. Jon Larson, Mr. Matthew Kennedy, Ms. Sara Winchester, Ms. Mary Fennessy
Strategy #3: Strengthen Leadership at All Levels
Strategy #5: Create a Challenging, Supportive, and Sustainable Work Environment for Ocean’s Employees
Roundtable Breakout Session III
Moderators: Mr. Bill Marshall, Ms. Allison King, Mr. Hatem Akl, Mr. Rich Yankosky, Mr. Jeff Harmon
Strategy #6: Leverage Collaboration, Partnerships, and Sharing to Achieve Ocean’s Strategies
Strategy #8: Leverage Information and Results to Monitor Outcomes and Strategy Achievement
Roundtable Breakout Session IV
Moderators: Dr. Norma Betz, Dr. Bill Rickert
Strategy #7: Focus on Relentless, Continuous Improvement of Learning and Support Processes
An Evening Colloquium Program for Adjuncts is scheduled for Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m.
The Fall semester begins on Wednesday, September 3, and we are looking forward to another exciting and productive academic year.
At Monday’s meeting, I will provide a report on my attendance at the 3rd Universia International Presidents Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from July 27 to 29. The theme of the meeting was “The University of the 21st Century: An Insight from Latin America.”
Although brief, my trip was informative and interesting, not only as a result of connecting with several college and university presidents, but also from a cultural perspective. There is great interest in collaborative relationships between institutions to promote and enhance the dissemination of information through the Internet as well as to explore opportunities to serve international students.
Continuing and Professional Education
On Monday, Ms. Katie Calabrese, Community Programs Administrator, will give a report on the success of the Kids’ Camps and other youth programs offered this summer by Continuing and Professional Education (CPE). A wide variety of children’s programming was available for both fun and educational experiences. Sports camps, arts, robotics, dance, computers, foreign language, science, math, and creative writing are just some of the courses that were available.
Other noteworthy news from CPE includes:
Recovery New Jersey Talent Network Grant
In the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development awarded a grant to Ocean County College to be the lead agency and administrator for the Recovery New Jersey Talent Network (RNJTN) Grant, which provides access to businesses and jobseekers impacted by the storm. The grant was for the period April 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014; however, the Department of Labor has extended OCC’s program until December 31, 2014.
An update on the current activity includes:
School Relations and Academic Outreach
The Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce 50th Annual Awards Reception is scheduled for Wednesday, September 17, at the Eagle Ridge Country Club in Lakewood. The Chamber is honoring the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation as its Distinguished Organization of the Year, and Ocean County College has been selected to receive its Business Beautification of the Year Award for the addition on campus of the Gateway Building, which is certainly worthy of recognition.
Ms. Jan Kirsten, Executive Director of College Relations, and Ms. Heather Barberi, Executive Director of the OCC Foundation, the College’s representatives on the Chamber, are serving on the Awards Reception Committee for this event. We would be delighted if members of the Board would like to attend the reception. If so, please let me know.
The Facilities Department is working with representatives from Spiezle Architectural Group, Trenton, New Jersey, on a number of projects related to the Master Plan, including planning for the possible construction on campus of a Performing Arts Academy for the Ocean County Vocational School as well as preliminary design for a new Nursing Building.
Several projects, some of which are listed below, took place this month that were exceptionally successful due to the concerted efforts of our Facilities team and DTZ, the College’s custodial services provider; special commendations are due to Mr. Peter Tomko, Manager of Buildings and Grounds, and Mr. Eugene Caufield, General Building Maintenance Supervisor, for their efforts.
As noted above, the School of Nursing has moved back to the Health Science Building. The renovated facility is the home to state-of-the-art equipment and improved simulation labs. New items were purchased using funds from the Go Bond and the Perkins Grant. The equipment and labs will greatly enhance our student learning experience and position the College to expand its nursing and allied health programs.
We invite the trustees to tour the building after Monday’s meeting.
Ocean County College Bookstore
The Microsoft Surface Tablet is back by popular demand. Last year, the Bookstore introduced the tablet for sale at the low price of $250. It is expected that the tablet will again be a big seller, especially in light of the fact that students may use financial aid funds to purchase it. Students ultimately save money because they can purchase and download e-books, which are much less expensive than traditional textbooks.
The Bookstore continues to compete aggressively with online retailers. A 10% store-wide Back to School sale is being offered in the store and online. A greeter will be distributing coupons to students upon entry, and a 99 cent supply zone will be displayed in the front of the store. The image below is on the Bookstore website and will be featured in all social media outlets.
In preparation for the fall semester, the Bookstore bought back 3,025 textbooks from our students which resulted in $153,000 returned to them. The textbook rental program for Spring 2014 increased 33 percent over last fall, with 745 books rented. The Bookstore remains competitive with Chegg.com, an online company that specializes in textbook rentals. As an example, Chegg is renting a Microeconomics book for $162.49; the same book will be available to our students for $90. The Bookstore continuously analyzes the retail price of every book by comparing selling prices at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Every attempt is made to keep prices low and maintain OCC’s position as one of the most affordable colleges in the country.
Ocean County College Theatre
Over 5,000 seats were sold this summer for two productions: OCC’s Sweeny Todd and Exit 82’s Legally Blond. Both were very well received by our patrons.
Tickets are selling for the Grunin Spotlight Series as far into the future as January 2015. As always, tickets can be purchased online at www.tickets.ocean.edu.
The Planetarium has seen a sizable increase in group orders this July and August over last summer. Total group sales increased 24 percent; this translates to an additional 919 in head count or 37 percent increase.
Mr. Rich Brady, programmer, operator and an adjunct faculty member, has completed the College’s first in-house production, The Life Cycle of Stars. Over the next few weeks, Mr. Brady will be training and rehearsing with the Planetarium staff in anticipation of opening the new show at the end of September.
Office of Information Technology
The firmware on the servers that run our virtual desktop environment (VDI) has been upgraded. This will permit IT to improve the virtual platform that is used within the classrooms and labs.
IT has developed a shortened URL (go.ocean.edu/webpage name) that will allow OCC to send out web links with a smaller web address. This will be particularly helpful as it is utilized in marketing campaigns.
On Friday, August 22, a team building session will be presented by the College’s Employee Assistance Program provider, Preferred Behavior Health, specifically for the Human Resources staff. In addition to team building, Ms. Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration, has been working closely with the staff members, holding weekly meetings and leading a task force to make improvements to the PeopleAdmin hiring system. The Human Resources staff is moving forward on several initiatives, including the updating of employee handbooks, streamlining and updating of hiring procedures, and new performance improvement plans.
On August 4, I met with Dr. Thomas Isekenegbe, President of Cumberland County College, and members of his staff to discuss the possibility of establishing an e-Learning partnership. Also in attendance were Ms. Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration; Chief Information Officer Hatem Akl; Ms. Pat Fenn; Mr. Jeff Harmon, Director of e-Learning; and Ms. Allison King, e-Learning Consultant. The meeting was extremely positive, and the Cumberland staff members were very impressed with OCC’s e-Learning program as well as with our existing partnership with Sussex County Community College. Discussions with Cumberland will continue as we move toward formalizing a new partnership.
Student Support Services Grant
In 2010, Ocean County College received a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Federal TRIO Programs, for Student Support Services for the purpose of increasing retention and graduation rates of disabled, first-generation, and low income students. The grant period runs through August 31, 2015.
The Student Support Services program has assisted participants in realizing their ability to pursue higher education. One of the program’s successes is Ms. Kaylen McCaffrey, who will begin her second year at OCC this fall. Ms. McCaffrey was one of 20 students selected from 1,000 applicants to participate in the 2014 Governor’s Hispanic Fellows Program. She was then chosen by her peers to be the student speaker at the program’s graduation ceremony.
An eight-week summer program geared toward leadership and professional development, the Governor’s Hispanic Fellows Program offers quality internship experiences for New Jersey’s Hispanic college students. Students work in a government, corporate or non-profit setting and participate in leadership training conducted by the Center’s staff, government officials, business professionals, current and/or former elected officials.
Ms. Susan Ebeling-Witte, Director of the Student Support Services program, and Ms. Amy Immordino, Program Specialist, will attend Monday’s meeting and will introduce Ms. McCaffrey to the trustees.
Commit to Complete Tuition Discount Program
In March of this year, the College agreed to support a national campaign to encourage students to complete their college education and established the Commit to Complete Tuition Discount Program. The program grants one tuition-free three-credit summer course to full-time students who successfully complete 30 credits between the fall and spring semesters of one academic year and part-time students who successfully complete 24 credits between the fall and spring semesters of two consecutive academic years.
The program was surprisingly successful this first year. Over 300 students made inquiries about the program, 264 applications were processed, and 194 were approved for a tuition-free summer course. On Monday, Ms. Elizabeth Clements, OCC’s Registrar, will report on the implementation of the program and the application approval process.
Honors by Contract
During the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters, the College piloted the Honors by Contract project. Preliminary data indicates that the program is a success:
Ms. Sherri Lareau, OCC student and Treasurer of Phi Beta Lambda, was selected to attend the Babson Entrepreneurial Program in Massachusetts for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs to explore a world full of opportunities and new pathways to success. Ms. Lareau was the first U.S. student who participated and was supported through a Santander scholarship. Ms. Lareau will be at Monday’s meeting to share her experience at the program.