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March 30, 2015

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 March 30, 2015, Board Meeting

DATE:            March 25, 2015

Student Affairs

  • The 2014-2015 season was remarkable for Ocean County College Men’s Basketball Player Anthony Walker.  On February 16, 2015, Anthony became the sixth person in Ocean County College Men’s Basketball history to score 1,000 points.  He needed 21 points entering the game and hit 1,000 points late in the first half on a free throw on his way to scoring 45 points in the Vikings 121- 78 victory against Atlantic Cape Community College.

    This year, Anthony led the team in scoring, averaging 25 points per game.  He was voted Region XIX and Garden State Athletic Conference Player of the Year by the coaches and was named to the 1st Team All-Region XIX and GSAC.

    Anthony
    will join us at Monday’s meeting for recognition of his outstanding accomplishment.
  • Ocean County College students recently participated in Student Lobbying Day held in Trenton on Monday, March 9, which was organized by the New Jersey Council of County Colleges.  OCC was represented by students Austin Greitz, Davina Resto, Jason Rodd, and Jean Paul Steinberg.  They were accompanied by Team Leaders, Ms. Elaine Schardien, NJ STARS Coordinator, and Ms. Jennifer Fazio, Director of Student Life.

    Students had the opportunity to informally connect with legislators and policymakers as meetings were held with representatives from Ocean County’s legislative districts.  They learned about the type of support the College receives and were able to share issues of importance to our sector.  Specifically, students met with Assemblyman David Wolfe, Assemblywoman Dianne Gove, Senator Samuel Thompson, and Senator Kip Bateman.  The students were also invited to attend several meetings and hearings that were in session, including the State Assembly.

    Ms. Fazio and Ms. Schardien
    will attend Monday’s meeting with a few students to talk about their day in Trenton.

e-Learning and Enterprise Initiatives

  • e-Learning Partnerships - eLearning is currently working to secure partnerships with other like-minded four-year institutions offering fully online degrees.   Discussions are currently underway with Saint Leo University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, NJIT, Arizona State University, and University of Alabama, Birmingham.  Each of the partnerships has a different focus, but the main theme is collaboration on a four-year fully online degree

    e-Learning
    is attempting to secure a corporate partnership as well.  The focus has been on companies that are open to providing educational benefits to their employees, similar to the way Arizona State University and Starbucks have partnered.  Exploratory conversations have started with a number of companies, including CVS, Home Depot, Southwest Airlines, and McDonald’s.  While still in the early stages of discussion, the company representatives find the concept appealing.
  • Rosetta Stone - In the fall of 2015, the e-Learning Department is partnering with the world-renowned Rosetta Stone foreign language learning solution for integration into OCC Online’s new Foreign Language Centere-Learning plans to offer 20 foreign languages online at various levels, beginner, intermediate, and advanced.  The course development process is now underway.

    In summer 2015, French I, Italian I, and Spanish I and II will be offered online.  In fall 2015, e-Learning will offer French I and II, Hebrew I and II, Arabic I and II, Italian I and II, and Spanish I and II.  Next year, there are plans to offer online courses in Russian, German, Chinese, Portuguese, Greek, Japanese, Korean, Swedish, ESL, Vietnamese, Hindi, and more.
  • e-Learning Internship - Reacting to emerging data on the value of an internship in one’s academic career, as well as the long-term positive impact on an individual’s quality of life in all areas, social, community, professional, financial, and personal, the e-Learning Department initiated an “e-Learning Internship Program.”  The program is designed to provide OCC students and graduate student interns with real-world, hands-on experiences within a national distance learning program.  Interns rotate through the various functions of the e-Learning Department, including master course development, curricular quality assurance, document management, marketing, student recruitment and retention, data mining, research projects, academics, and the student experience.

    At present, the e-Learning Department has one graduate student intern from Monmouth University and two OCC student interns.  To date, they have conducted numerous research projects, learned new technologies, and presented innovative solutions to aid the e-Learning Department in student advising.  Their work to date has exceeded expectations; they are highly engaged and are very much enjoying the experience.

    Toward the end of this spring semester, the interns will be asked to share their experiences with the trustees.  The two current OCC student interns would like to continue their internships into the summer, and seven new interns may join the program.   

Study Abroad

  • This summer, Ocean County College, with support from a U.S. Department of Education Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program grant, will offer Study Abroad in Morocco from May 24 to June 13.

    The program will begin with a week-long online orientation and introduction to the language and culture of North Africa/Middle EastParticipants will fly to Morocco for a three-week immersion program in language, culture, and history.  Upon their return, participants will engage in a week-long online conclusion to the course, which will be a time to reflect and share what they gained from the experience.

    While in Morocco, participants will live with Moroccan host families, engage in language instruction, participate in field trips to local cultural institutions, art exhibits, musical performances, and historical sites, and have the opportunity to visit the beautiful beaches and excellent restaurants.

    Both students and community members are welcome to apply to participate in this exciting program.  OCC faculty and administrators will participate as advisors and facilitators, with Dr. Maysa Hayward, Dean of Instructional Outreach, serving as the Program Director.
  • Also being offered this summer is an eighteen-day Study in Spain Seminar from June 26 to July 14.  Participants will live with Spanish families and be immersed in Spanish language, architecture, history, and culture as they travel to some of the most historic and iconic Andalusian cities in Spain.

    The students will engage in language course work each morning before touring villages and towns, hiking the Sierra Nevada Mountains, exploring underwater caves, enjoying the art and culture of “tapas,” and visiting Picasso’s hometown of Malaga.  They will also visit Mezquita de Cordoba, Cathedral of Isabella, a vineyard, olive grove, and Arabic tea shops and baths.

    Ms. Candice Bland, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Spanish Language
    , is providing the leadership for this course; she has visited Spain 15 times and was herself a student at the University of Granada. The program is offered to students and members of the community.

Academic Affairs

  • The Honors by Contract Program was officially launched this spring semester, and 100 student contracts were signed.  Some of those students will participate in the Scholarly Horizons Honors Conference from 9 a.m. to 12 noon on Tuesday, May 5, in the Gymnasium.  The OCC Foundation Board has provided more than $3,000 to recognize the top scholars, who will be selected by a group of OCC faculty members.  You are cordially invited to the May 5 Honors Conference to experience the excellent scholarly accomplishments of our students.
  • OCC is actively involved in the New Jersey Council of Community College’s Center for Student Success; four Student Success Innovation Mini-Grant applications were submitted on Tuesday, March 24.  The entire Academic Leadership Team participated in the state-wide conference on “Guided Pathways for Student Success.”  A comprehensive plan for student retention is currently being developed, and a college-wide committee is also being formed.

Finance and Administration

  • The Accounting Department has completed a review of FY15 operating budget expenses and identified spending categories that will be curtailed for the remainder of the fiscal year.  These categories include reservists, travel, and marketing.  This is necessary to offset the revenue shortfall that is expected due to lower than budgeted enrollment college-wide.
  • In accordance with the Board’s decision to invest cash reserves more actively, funds have been transferred to investment accounts with Ocean First and UBS Financial.  The transfer of the Auxiliary operating account to Investors Bank is also complete.  These funds will be carefully monitored, and the results will be reported to the President and the Board’s Finance Committee regularly.
  • Facilities – Under the leadership of Mr. Matthew Kennedy, Associate Vice President of Facilities, an All-Staff Meeting, which includes all Facilities Management, Office Services, and DTZ Custodial employees, is held twice a year.  Mr. Kennedy opened the recent March 4 meeting with the topic of “Who Are Our Customers?” and followed that with a discussion on the ways in which the campus will be adapting to new methods of learning in the future.  The meeting had an impressive turnout.
  • Public Relations
    • Senior Expo - Ocean County College’s Fifth Annual Senior Living Expo took place on Thursday, March 19, in the College Gymnasium. This exciting and rewarding community event attracted approximately 650 attendees and over 70 businesses from across Ocean County.  An initial review of the surveys completed by attendees and vendors expressed great satisfaction and appreciation for the Expo. 

      Sponsors
      for OCC’s Senior Living Expo included AAA, Community Medical Center/Barnabas Health, Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey, Blue to You, and New Jersey Natural Gas.
  • Grants Office - During the week of March 23, OCC’s Grants Office worked collaboratively with Ms. Sharla Trimm, the College’s Senior Grants Consultant from Ellucian, to host various meetings and training sessions focused on strengthening OCC’s policies, procedures, and practices relating to grants.  Sessions included two grant development training seminars for almost 40 faculty and staff and one compliance training workshop for personnel who oversee and implement grant-funded programs.  The Grants Office also met with area Vice Presidents and respective program directors to discuss grant priorities for the College and held planning team meetings for grant proposals under development, including a focus on identifying a clear action plan for funding programmatic strategies to support OCC’s STEM initiative.
  • Information Technology – In support of the grants received in 2013 under the Higher Education Equipment Leasing Fund (ELF), the Higher Education Facilities Trust Fund (HEFT), and the Higher Education Technology Infrastructure Fund (HETI), IT has provided the following update:

    An RFP was issued in February to upgrade the College’s wireless management infrastructure and introduce tighter security on wireless devices, which resulted in a contract award to Aspire Technology Partners for a firewall upgrade.
    •  Efforts are continuing with the Nursing Department and Laerdal Medical Corporation to complete the installation of the new manikins and simulators for Nursing student use.
    • The pilot and soft launch of the Ellucian Student Academic Planning program will take place in early April.  This new comprehensive software program provides web-based, self-service academic planning tools that assist students in managing all aspects of their academic programs and progress through to degree completion.
  • Auxiliary Services - Tickets are on sale for the 3 Sails Jazz Festival on Friday and Saturday, June 12 and 13.  The Festival will begin on Friday with Master Classes for interested musicians and residents as well as a jazz concert in the afternoon and evening.  The Festival continues on Saturday with all-day activities and concerts featuring performances by well-known, world-renowned musicians who are expected to draw audiences from the Mid-Atlantic region and beyond.

    The featured artists reflect different styles of jazz, such as classic, smooth, Latin, big band, funk, and contemporary.  Performances will include:
    • Paquito D’Rivera (Latin jazz legend)
    • Ellis & Delfeayo Marsalis (father and son duo known for traditional New Orleans jazz)
    •  T.S. Monk (jazz and R&B drummer/chairman of Thelonius Monk Institute)
    • Tuffus Zimbabwe (keyboardist for the “Saturday Night Live” House Band)
    •  Bernard “Pretty” Purdie featuring Frankie Cicala (legendary groove drummer)
    • Don Braden (swinging, soulful saxophonist)
    • U.S. Navy Commodores (premier jazz ensemble)
    • Blue Plate Special (bluesy tunes and tight vocal harmonies)
    • Lavay Smith and Her Red Hot Skillet Lickers (San Francisco-based sultry jazz diva)
    • DYAD (jazz duo honored as among the top 50 jazz recording artists)

      Ticket prices
      include admission and concerts onlyTwo-Day Adult Pass, $90; One-Day Adult Pass, $60; Two-Day Student Pass, $35; One-Day Student Pass, $18; Two-Day Child Pass, $20; One-Day Child Pass, $12.  A VIP Package is available at $250, which includes a Two-Day Adult Pass, access to the VIP Tent, performer meet-and-greets, recognition in the Festival program, and other benefits.
  • Human Resources - The reimplementation of the PeopleAdmin system is progressing rapidly.  The special project manager, Ms. Sandy Youssef-Abadir, is diligently analyzing current processes to identify gaps and best practice recommendations.  The statement of work with the vendor has been finalized, which includes the position description and the performance evaluation modules.  The reimplementation is expected to be completed by June 30.
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