News & Events
News & Events
May 27, 2014
TO: Members, OCC Board of Trustees
FROM: Jon H. Larson, Ph.D.
SUBJECT: Items of Interest for the May 27, 2014, Board Meeting
DATE: May 21, 2014
The Faculty Center for Excellence, Innovation, and Creativity has been in operation for almost one full academic year. Under the leadership of co-directors Professor Jennifer Dellner and Lecturer II Robert Marchie and with the assistance from the Advisory Committee, much has been accomplished. In its new and beautiful location in Room 306 of the Gateway Building, the Center has been a home for scholarly gatherings, intriguing discussions, and passionate debates. Co-directors Dellner and Marchie have been invited to Tuesday’s meeting to share with us some highlights of the accomplishments of the past year.
The College began the “Honors by Contract” pilot program in the fall 2013 semester and continued it through the spring 2014 semester. Over the two semesters, more than 310 contracts were executed. Nine students will graduate with honors this year. Over the summer, the program will be finalized, with the hope of formally announcing it for the fall 2014 semester. On Friday, May 9, in the Gymnasium, the College hosted an Honors Scholar Conference to showcase the outstanding academic achievements of our honors students. More than 40 students presented at the conference. To better share with you the impact of this program, we have invited Ms. Paige Fisk, one of the presenters at the conference, to say a few words at Tuesday’s meeting.
Mr. Gary Shaffer, Assistant Professor of Communications/Media Studies, and Dr. Jianping Wang have been discussing ways to enhance OCC’s student newspaper, the Viking News. They anticipate the production of an award-winning paper in the near future, while making the newspaper a true learning lab for our students. I have invited Professor Shaffer to attend Tuesday’s meeting to share with you the plans that have been developed to date.
e-Learning – Ms. Susan O’Connor, Assistant to the Director of e-Learning for Advising, will be making a presentation to the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) on Thursday, June 5, as part of NACADA’s New Jersey State Drive-In Conference. The topic of her presentation is Technology as a Part of the Academic Advisement Process. Following the presentation, Ms. O’Connor will be hosting a round table discussion. On Tuesday, Ms. O’Connor will provide the Board with a brief synopsis of her presentation.
Ms. Pat Fenn, Executive Director of e-Learning and Continuing and Professional Education, and Mr. Jeff Harmon, Director of e-Learning, have just concluded the first semester of our partnership with Sussex County Community College. The partnership has proven to be both a positive revenue generator for Ocean and an educational advantage for the students of Sussex. The positive results have encouraged Sussex to continue the partnership through the offering of a summer course and the inclusion of additional courses in the fall 2014 semester.
e-Learning is enjoying a continuing increase in summer enrollment, which is up almost 9% over last summer, with the second five-week session yet to begin. This increase is attributable to our Science course offerings; almost 40% of the students enrolled are from out of the county.
Finance and Administration
Office of Information Technology - Funding from the Higher Education Technology Initiatives (HETI) grant was used to upgrade point-to-point connection between the Toms River campus and the Southern Education Center (SEC) in Manahawkin. This upgrade has resulted in faster and more robust Internet connection for students and faculty at the SEC.
The HETI grant also funded the recent installation of the second ISP connection with Comcast. This second connection provides resiliency of Internet access from on campus to external resources, such as Pearson LMS and Time Cruiser, and from off campus to internal resources, such as the OCC website, email services for employees, and online registration and bill payment. This improvement will ensure uninterrupted campus-wide access to these critical services.
Information Technology is working with members of the College community to convert paper forms to electronic format using Image Now, software that enables content from many different sources to be stored in an easily accessible database, thus simplifying the workflow and retention of information. Following the successful imaging implementation for all Financial Aid and Accounts Payable processing, a scanner has been installed in e-Learning for Financial Aid processing. The Registration and Records Office is now beginning this imaging process, which will allow direct connection to electronic student files.
College Relations – In an effort to better connect with students through technology, College Relations created an Instagram page to integrate our Twitter feed and Facebook timeline. Used during commencement, this technology allowed the College to share photos across all three networks in real time.
Advising - The Advising Center planned, organized, and executed the first two Parent Orientations on April 16 and May 5. These two-hour sessions were offered in partnership with Student Life; Career, Employment, and Counseling Services; the Center for Student Success; Financial Aid; and Academic Affairs. Having been very well received by parents, additional orientations have been scheduled during June, July, and August. Ms. Anna Regan, Director of Academic Advising Services, will briefly talk about the Parent Orientations at Tuesday’s meeting.
Financial Aid/Veterans - I am pleased to inform you that the OCC Veterans Services Office has been presented with an Innovation of the Year Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College. The award was given for the submission, Veterans’ Services – From Helmets to Mortar Boards. A description of the project follows:
Ocean County is home to New Jersey’s largest veterans population. In 2012 Ocean County College established its Veterans Services Office (VSO) as a comprehensive enrollment services office to meet a growing veteran matriculation. The VSO’s objective was to create and implement industry best practices to further OCC’s mission. Enhanced services include one-on-one academic, financial, transfer, and disability advising. The VSO team assesses students’ needs from an enrollment perspective and helps them strategically plan how they can use their benefits to achieve their goals. Veterans advising sessions pair students and advisors together to open dialogue on goals and how the students want to achieve them. This initiative has been the catalyst for significant results in registered credits retained and completed and a large increase in transferring and graduating students. The VSO liaises with the local veterans mental health center and the local VA Vocational Rehabilitation office.
Established over thirty years ago, the League’s Innovation of the Year competition was devised to recognize significant innovations at Alliance member colleges. These innovations reflect capstone achievements and the continuing renewal of the spirit of innovation upon which the League was founded. Criteria for selection included quality, efficiency, cost effectiveness, replication, creativity, and timeliness.
For their recognition by the League for Innovation, and especially for their work with our veterans, congratulations are extended to Ms. Eileen Buckle, Director of Financial Aid; Ms. Deeanne Gatta-Salter, Senior Financial Aid Specialist; Mr. Gary Meder, Financial Aid Specialist; and Mr. Robert Mather, Financial Aid Specialist.
Fine Arts - Romeo & Juliet was presented by the College’s Repertory Theatre Company in the Black Box Theatre for six showings, five of which were sold out, representing in a 94% capacity rate. Upcoming shows for the summer months include Sweeny Todd and Legally Blonde.
With a grant provided by the Ocean County Tourism Bureau, Ocean County College advertisements were printed on placemats that were delivered to local diners and bed and breakfast inns to promote the Theatre and Planetarium.
Accounting - On Thursday, May 8, Ocean County College hosted the annual one-day conference for the New Jersey County College Business Officers’ Affinity Group. The conference was well attended by representatives from the 19 community colleges. Presentations were made by a number of auditing firms, colleagues, and Ellucian. This conference provides a great educational and networking opportunity for business officers throughout our sector. Ms. Elise Barocas, Director of Accounting, was instrumental in organizing and planning this event for the affinity group this year. Her efforts, resulting in a successful conference, are appreciated.
Ocean County College will be hosting the New Jersey Regional User’s Group (NJRUG) conference on Monday, June 19. This is a one-day conference for representatives from 18 New Jersey colleges and universities to share ideas and collaborate on the use of Ellucian (Datatel). Ms. Karen Papakonstantinou, Controller, is currently serving as the president of NJRUG, and Ms. Elise Barocas, Director of Accounting, is the secretary/treasurer. Both are very involved in the planning of the 2014 conference.
Purchasing – Ms. Barbara Myers has joined the Purchasing staff this month as a Graduate Student Intern. She received an associate degree from OCC and a bachelor’s degree from Kean University; she is currently pursuing a graduate degree in public administration from Nathan Weis Graduate School. This new Graduate Student Intern Program has been implemented to provide on-the-job experience to graduate students and to mentor them in various areas within the College administration.
Human Resources - To celebrate Administrative Professionals Day, Mr. Leslie Cohen, Vice President of Human Resources, conceived the idea of having a luncheon with the President’s Leadership Team serving the administrative professionals in two sittings. The luncheon was a fresh and innovative way to commend our employees, and numerous accolades were received from those who enjoyed lunch.
An on-line article was written by Women’s Voices Magazine about Ms. Bridget Everett, Human Resources Staffing and Recruiting Technician. Ms. Everett received an associate degree from Ocean County College, and she has set a goal for herself to earn a master’s degree in public administration in five years. The article reflects on Ms. Everett’s past and the adversity she overcame to receive an education as well as the work she does mentoring adults and children on how to “develop their personal and professional skills; recognize leadership skills; and, most of all, challenge themselves by embracing new mindsets.” The attached article is representative of the dedication and intensity we find so valuable in our employees. Please take a few minutes to read Ms. Everett’s story. You will find her to be truly inspirational.
Zone Maintenance - The Facilities Operations and Maintenance organization has initiated a new zone approach to maintenance, wherein technicians take personal accountability for specific zones on campus. Three new technicians (Mr. Kevin Adams, Mr. James Heatley, and Mr. Michael Mancini) have recently joined OCC as Zone Maintenance Mechanics; they will provide services as needed and address immediate operational and/or safety concerns.
Work Control/Increased Service Levels – Facilities is now operating on a 24 hour a day schedule, with the exception of Saturday nights and Sunday mornings, with no increase in operating costs.
Recycling Plan - Efforts are being made to increase recycling by the strategic placement of recycling cans and a reduction in the size of trash cans. A campus-wide public relations campaign will be developed in the future to emphasize the need to recycle.
Strategic Initiatives - The Charting Our New Course initiative has continued to move forward. Dr. Don Norris and Dr. Tim Gilmour, Strategic Initiatives, Inc., were on campus from May 14 to 16. A subcommittee assisted in formulating eight Strategy/Action Teams, and each group met during their visit. The campus response to our call for volunteers was overwhelming; unfortunately, every volunteer could not be placed on a team. However, those who were not assigned to a team are being asked to serve on Advisory Support Teams (AST) for each of the Strategy/Action Teams; they will assist in creating fully articulated strategies, action plans, and measures to be completed by December 2014.
The Chairs of the Strategy/Action Teams follow; the members of each of the teams are listed on the attached roster.
The Guiding Coalition
Organize for Resilience: Change Culture and Reinvent Programs/Experiences
Strengthen Leadership at All Levels
Develop a Profound Understanding of Stakeholder Needs and Commit to Fulfilling Them
Create a Challenging, Supportive, and Sustainable Work Environment for Ocean’s Employees
Leverage Collaboration, Partnerships, and Sharing to Achieve Ocean’s Strategies
Focus on Relentless, Continuous Improvement of Learning and Support Processes
Leverage Information and Results to Monitor Outcomes and Strategy Achievement
e-Learning Partnership Updates
Essex County College - On May 9, a Distance Education team from Essex County College met with the OCC e-Learning team to discuss collaboration possibilities for offering DL courses. OCC courses, master course concepts, and assessment methods using the Pearson Learning Studio LMS were demonstrated. Essex is very interested in our methodology; the next step will be discussing the possibilities of shared services.
Fairleigh Dickinson University - On April 29, Fairleigh Dickinson University Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and the FDU Distance Learning team visited OCC to discuss potential collaboration with our e-Learning Program. Following a brief discussion of vision and growth at both institutions, OCC staff demonstrated the robustness of the e-Learning operation, including a deep exploration of the rich assessment infrastructure in use within OCC’s online courses. The message was well received by FDU, and future meetings will be planned to shape a potential partnership.
Dr. Ali Botein Furrevig, Associate Professor of English and Literature and Academic/Program Advisor for the OCC Center for Peace, Genocide and Holocaust Studies, was awarded a full summer Fellowship to Israel to conduct research though major Israeli universities and on site in Mea She'arim, one of the oldest Jewish neighborhoods in Jerusalem. This Fellowship was awarded by a consortium of universities in Israel in partnership with the Jewish National Fund to support her research project on the culture and politics of the Orthodox population.
Unfortunately, Dr. Botein Furrevig had to decline this Fellowship opportunity due to her husband’s illness. However, it is certainly an honor for Dr. Botein Furrevig, as she was one of only ten individuals chosen for this award from over 250 worldwide applicants.