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August 25, 2021

Dr. Larson’s August 2021 Report to the OCC Board of Trustees

OCC president Dr. Larson

Return to Campus Committee

On August 12, 2021, the OCC website was updated with information, protocols, and procedures applicable to the reopening of the campus for the Fall semester.  The webpage details the indoor masking requirement as well as the protocols for reporting positive COVID-19 cases and related quarantining requirements.  Information will continue to be updated as we move closer to the start of the Fall semester at  The location of the Colloquium on September 2, 2021, has been moved to the gym where social distancing can be achieved.  Masks are required, and faculty, lecturers, and staff are expected to attend in person.

Fall 2021 Colloquium

The Fall 2021 Colloquium is scheduled for Thursday, September 2, 2021, in the Gymnasium.  The theme of the Colloquium is OCC Flexing into the Future:  Combining Traditional Classroom Learning with the Online Flexibility of the 21st Century.

A continental breakfast will be available at 8 a.m., and the program will begin at 9 a.m. with my welcoming remarks and State-of-the-College address.  Concurrent workshops are scheduled for administrators, faculty, lecturers, and staff from 10:15 a.m. to 11:00 a.m. and from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  A $1 lunch will be offered at 1:15 p.m., and School meetings will begin at 3 p.m.

The following workshops are scheduled:

  • Workshop I New Retention Initiative
  • Workshop II Lead, Innovate, Learn – Flex to the Future at OCC
  • Workshop III Innovations to Maximize Affordability:  3+1 and 3+2 Programming
  • Workshop IV International Degree-Granting Partnerships – New Jersey Footprints in Egypt

Suicide Awareness and Prevention Month 2021

For over ten years, the OCC Counseling Center has worked to bring awareness and education about suicide prevention to the OCC community.  Annually, the International Association of Suicide Prevention designates September as Suicide Prevention Month, which is recognized on campus through various activities and events:

  • On Wednesday, September 15, 2021, the powerful exhibit, In Their Shoes™, will once again be displayed on the campus mall. Presented in collaboration with Student Life and Kean Ocean Student Activities, it is brought to campus by Attitudes in ReverseThis display notes, “Unless you have walked IN THEIR SHOES™, you would never know the overwhelming feeling of sadness, anxiety, and hopelessness that causes hundreds of young people to end their lives every year.”  The exhibit consists of shoes representing the New Jersey youth, ages 10 through 24, who lost all hope and ended their lives by suicide during the past three years.
  • On Monday, September 20, 2021, a virtual presentation is being hosted by world-class keynote speaker Mike Veny on Transforming Stigma in College, in collaboration with the Grunin Center’s Blauvelt Speaker Series, Student Life, and the School of Arts and Humanities.
  • On Wednesday, September 29, 2021, Hope Sheds Light, our community partner for the Supporting Students in Recovery Program, will present an informative session on Celebrating Recovery and Reducing Stigma, featuring talks and a visual banner display of recovery stories. This will be held on the campus mall, from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
  • An in-person and remote presentation on self-defense will be offered by Rachel Piazza, Women’s and Gender Studies, New Jersey City University.

The Center’s goals are to educate the community about suicide and mental health, to raise awareness of warning signs, and encourage help-seeking behaviors.  All of the activities are focused on reducing the stigma associated with severe mental health problems and suicide.  The campus-wide initiative invites all members of our community to support these goals and this work.

In support of these goals, the Board of Trustees will be respectfully requested to adopt a resolution proclaiming September as Suicide Prevention Month at Ocean County College.

At Thursday’s meeting, Student Intervention Specialist Susan Ebeling-Witte and Prevention Education Coordinator Katie Hueth will present information, statistics, and a comprehensive overview of the problem from a public health perspective, accompanied by a personal account of how this issue impacts the individuals and families served by Ocean County College.

Academic Affairs

School of Arts and Humanities

  • Justin Pfeifer has joined the School of Arts and Humanities as a College Lecturer II in History. Dr. Pfeifer previously taught history at OCC as an adjunct faculty member.  The School is looking forward to Dr. Pfeifer’s presence in this new role.
  • Jennifer Dellner, Professor of English, recently served as an outside consultant to the Interdisciplinary Programme at the University of Ottawa, working with two principal faculty member-administrators to modify or propose a new program or major at the university. Dr. Dellner also completed a week-long virtual class on August 6, 2021, in sustainable learning design at the Digital Pedagogy Lab Institute based out of the University of Colorado.
  • College Lecturer II in English Ameer Sohrawardy has been in preparation for the social justice series event, Shakespearean Female Whistleblowers, which will be held in October. He has been coordinating August dress rehearsals and has a late August film shoot scheduled for the event.
  • The OCC Repertory Theatre Company presented “The Fantastiks,” the longest-running musical in the world, live in the Grunin Center from August 19 to 22, 2021. This production, directed by College Lecturer II in Humanities and Fine Arts Paul Chalakani and choreographed by Associate Professor of Humanities Elizabeth Brierley, was thoroughly enjoyed by the audience.
  • College lecturers from the Schools of Arts and Humanities and Business and Social Sciences assisted Dean Heidi Sheridan, Dean Rosann Bar, and Ryan Luurtsema, Director of the Military and Veterans Resources Center, in preparing the NEH Planning Grant with Ms. Kayci Clayton, Associate Director of Grant Administration. Lecturers who participated included Mr. Robert Marchie, History Lecturer; Mr. Stephen Downey, History Lecturer; Dr. Justin Pfiefer, History Lecturer; Dr. Mark Westmoreland, Philosophy Lecturer; Dr. Christopher Ruth, Philosophy/History Lecturer; Ms. Charlotte Langeveld, Social Sciences Lecturer; and Mr. Jason Ghibesi, History Lecturer.  Adjunct Professor John Fraterrigo, Computer Studies, was also involved.
  • Deans Heidi Sheridan and Rosann Bar applied to host the Smithsonian’s Museum on Main Street traveling exhibit, “Voices and Votes: Democracy in America,” in partnership with the New Jersey Council for the Humanities (NJCH). According to NJCH, “The exhibit, which explores American democracy from the earliest days of the republic to today, will tour six sites in New Jersey between March 26, 2022, and January 8, 2023.”  This exhibit ties into the civics education initiative on campus.

School of Business and Social Sciences

  • Katherine Toy, College Lecturer II in Economics, announced that five students from economics and business are entered in the Federal Reserve College Fed Challenge. This team of students will create and enter a video that analyzes current U.S. economic conditions and will recommend an appropriate monetary policy.  The students met throughout the summer and are being advised and coached by Dr. Katherine Toy and fellow College Lecturer in Business Chris Bottomley and College Lecturer in Economics Marina Wassef.
  • Brandon Piserchia was awarded second place at the National Leadership Conference of the Future Business Leaders of America in the category of financial services.   The event ran from June 7 to 23, 2021; and the awards of excellence ceremony and competitive events awards were announced June 26 and 27, 2021.  All national winners were recognized in “Tomorrow’s Business Leader National Leadership Experience” special edition online.  Brandon has earned a certificate of completion in financial market analysis and was positioned to graduate with an Associate in Science degree in business administration this summer.

School of Nursing

  • There are 314 students enrolled in the Nursing Program for the Fall semester.
  • Students are returning to campus the week of August 23, 2021, for competency validation practice sessions. All returning students are required to demonstrate competency in skills prior to entering clinical agencies.
  • Orientation for new Nursing students will be held on campus August 24, 2021; 110 students are scheduled to attend. During the orientation program, students are introduced to the lecturers, policies, and procedures of the program, electronic textbooks, and strategies to enhance learning.
  • Orientation for new clinical instructors is scheduled for August 25, 2021. There are eight new clinical instructors joining the School of Nursing.
  • A meeting will be held on campus for clinical instructors on August 25, 2021. Information presented during this meeting focuses on clinical assignments, simulation and skills lab initiatives, and policies and procedures.  The lecturers also meet with clinical instructors to discuss plans and schedules for the semester.  There are 32 clinical instructors working with students this semester to provide education to 34 clinical groups.
  • Audrey Dvorak was promoted to the position of Office Manager, effective July 1, 2021. Ms. Dvorak began employment at Ocean County College in 2002 within the Registration and Records department. Prior to her promotion, she held the position of Administrative Assistant in the School of Nursing since 2005.
  • Michele Rettino, MSN, RN, will join the School of Nursing as a Nursing College Lecturer II on August 23, 2021. She is a graduate of the OCC Nursing program.   Rettino obtained BSN and MSN degrees from Thomas Edison State University.  She has numerous years of experience in acute care nursing and clinical nursing education.
  • Also joining the School of Nursing as a Nursing Lecturer II on August 23, 2021, is Danielle Pfeffer, MSN, RN. She also graduated from the OCC School of Nursing and then earned BSN and MSN degrees from Chamberlain College of Nursing.  She has experience in various health care facilities and has served as lab reservist and clinical instructor at OCC.
  • Elizabeth Stevenson, PhD, RN, Assistant Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences, and Teresa Walsh, PhD, RN, Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences, attended an educational program, ACEN Update: Program Completion and Program Option.  This virtual course reviewed the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing’s updated requirements for reporting School of Nursing student completion rates.
  • Nursing lecturers attended two virtual educational programs on August 2, 2021. These programs, Next Generation NCLEX Mindset and Clinical Judgment for the Next Generation Mindset, focused on preparing Nursing students for the updated licensure examination that will begin in 2023.
  • The Medical Residency program at Community Medical Center, an RWJ Barnabas Health facility, is collaborating with the School of Nursing to utilize the simulation center for educational experiences.  Medical residents who have graduated from various medical programs complete simulation experiences and lectures in the Hovnanian Health Sciences Building monthly under the direction of attending physicians. Future goals are to develop educational experiences that include medical residents and nursing students to support interprofessional collaboration.

School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)

  • OCC STEM programs were showcased for the New Jersey Council of County Colleges within the context of College Readiness Now by College Lecturer II in Engineering Pam Bogdan, College Lecturer II in Computer Studies Jon Weiss, and College Lecturer II in Science Lincoln Simmons.
  • Pam Bogdan accomplished another milestone in the execution of the School’s engineering and industrial/technology studies roadmap.  Mr. Ryan Hollywood of Jaktools responded to the request to machine some custom parts, which will allow the School to utilize existing equipment and save at least $600. Jaktools has taken on many roles as an industry partner, with engineering advisory committee membership, guest speaker, on-site visit host, job placement opportunities, and general technical advisor.
  • Pam Bogdan is also pleased to report the expansion and improvement of the A.A.S. Technical Studies – Industrial/Technical Studies degree program to become a flex-degree. Students will have more options for direct entrance to industry after successful completion of the degree.  Electives are available in civil, electrical, industrial, mechanical, environmental, and general technology.  This program also supports stackable credentials and certificates of completion in the areas of advanced manufacturing and mechatronics, technology leadership, and industrial hygiene/hazardous materials management.  The Engineering  Industrial/ Technical Studies department is working hard to provide students with both paid and unpaid experiential learning opportunities to strengthen their resumes.
  • This Fall semester, College Lecturer II in Science Caterina Gibson will be partnering with ReClam the Bay, a nonprofit environmental organization that promotes environmental involvement and education in a constructive and helpful way, to provide students with internships and research opportunities blending the sciences and arts. She is in discussions to have a science/art photography exhibit of natural habitats and species.

The research opportunities will involve water quality, growth rates at up-wellers, and biodiversity habitats.  Ms. Gibson reached out to OCC’s biology and chemistry faculty and lecturers to participate in these research/internship opportunities through honors by contract.  The following work-related skills will be accomplished:

    • Development of practical job-related skills as they relate to available projects
    • Identification of opportunities to observe, contribute, and rotate through various areas of an organization depending on interests
    • Networking/creating employer/industry connections
    • Development of field work experience
    • Mentorship from supervisors monitoring available projects
    • The School of STEM is working to create three new advisory committees in artificial intelligence, cyber security, and industrial hygiene/hazardous materials management sustainability. These committees partner with other academic institutions and community/ industry leaders.
    • STEM is initiating a pilot program, Incentivizing Student Visits to Tutoring, in the Fall semester. Instructors will explain to students the benefits of early tutoring at the onset of the semester.
    • In the Fall, the School of STEM will announce its new Wednesdays with STEM speaker series as part of its community outreach initiatives focused on bringing more value to Ocean County residents and businesses.  Throughout the semester, a wide variety of STEM topics will be presented for all ages and interests, ranging from STEM student-success techniques to the latest trends in industry and new/emerging technologies.  Presentations will be every Wednesday from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. and will be held in the Technology Building with live remote access.

Center for Academic Success 

  • Preparation for the Cybersecurity Camp is underway. A morning section is being added for Brick students that will be held on the OCC campus.  Academic Success is also working with College Lecturer II in Computer Science Ken Michalek and Dean of the School of STEM Sylvia Riviello on promoting the new OCC Artificial Intelligence program.
  • Infusing Career Exploration into College Readiness Now (CRN), Ocean County College was presented at the College Readiness Now workshop on August 5, 2021. The presentation focused on connecting CRN students to career track courses.  Information was presented on career-track programs, including artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, engineering, environmental science, and hospitality and tourism.  Presenting with the Center were College Lecturers Jonathan Weiss, Lincoln Simmons, and Pam Bogdan.
  • Scheduling is underway for pre-Fall semester meetings for new and existing embedded faculty and lecturers. Starting in Fall, all embedded faculty and lecturers will be required to submit syllabi.  The syllabi template for each embedded course offering has been updated.  The Center continues to work with additional locations to update new faculty and lecturers.  A meeting has been scheduled with Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Amir Sadrian and  Sylvia Riviello to discuss remote delivery of MATH 265, Calculus I, at Arborbrook Christian Academy in North Carolina.

Finance and Administration

  • The County of Ocean has confirmed that the Chapter 12 bonds for the new Administration Building will be sold this month, August 2021. The architectural plans are being revisited; once the design is finalized, the process of preparing bid documents will begin.  The temporary relocation of offices will also be discussed. Once the bid is awarded, the project is expected to take approximately 18 months to complete.
  • A financial model for the OCC partnership with William Paterson University (WPU) in Egypt to deliver special programs has been prepared by Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration. The model was shared with WPU financial staff to assist them with making their own projections and related decisions as the partnership moves forward.
  • Christine Healey, Director of Purchasing and Payables, has utilized a State contract to bring vending back to campus. OCC will receive a commission of 33% of all sales.  The machines have been delivered and are in the process of being stocked.  Now that there is no vendor in between OCC and the vending company, the College is able to better meet the needs of the campus community.  For example, the vending company will deliver an assortment of drinks and snacks to the Veterans Lounge in the Larson Student Center.  The vending company will supply the pantry items at cost then subtract the cost from OCC’s commission payment each month.  This is a creative way to provide snacks to our veteran students at no cost to them.

Ms. Healey is also working with the new food service provider, Bubbakoo’s Burritos, to ensure that it will be ready to begin serving the campus on day one of the Fall semester.

  • The Purchasing staff has also been working hard to ensure that the campus will be well stocked with various types of masks, including N95 and clear masks, to meet the needs of the campus community. Other personal protective equipment (PPE), such as hand sanitizer and wipes, has also been ordered.  The PPE is stocked in the warehouse and delivered by Facilities to offices on request.  This is highly efficient as employees do not have to submit requisitions and then wait for the order to be processed.

Ocean County College Foundation


The Fall 2021 Scholarship Application period officially closed on August 16, 2021.  The Foundation team will be distributing application packets for committee review next week.  Each member of the committee will be assigned a review group and make recommendations for all of the named awards that will be considered.  Recipients will be notified of their award status by the start of the semester.

SUP the River

The Stand-Up Paddleboard race on September 18, 2021, will be hosted at the Toms River Yacht Club in a collaborative effort by the Foundation and the Greater Toms River Kiwanis Club.  This effort promises to be a great stakeholder engagement event and a beautiful morning on the Toms River.  To register, please visit

New Jersey Symphony Orchestra

The New Jersey Symphony Orchestra was back on campus for an Evening Under the Stars on August 18, 2021.  Appreciation is expressed to all who worked to make the evening such a special event.

Blauvelt Speaker Series Update

The Fall Blauvelt Speaker Series will begin on Thursday, September 16, 2021, with Misty Copeland, followed by Mike Veny on September 20, 2021; Doris Kearns Goodwin on October 6, 2021; Anna Deavere-Smith on October 21, 2021; and Eric O’Neill on November 9, 2021.

In addition to the Blauvelt Fund and the Wintrode Family Foundation, sponsors for the coming year include Helen M. Earles; Judi and Stephan Leone; NJNG; Novins, York, Jacobus, and Dooley; and Arlene and Frank Dupignac, Jr.  Additional opportunities are available to join the growing list of sponsors and supporters for this tremendous series.

If you have not yet registered for these lectures, you are encouraged to do so. Tickets and information are available at

Planetarium Technology Upgrade

The Foundation is working with the College on preparing a contract to bid for the necessary technology/software upgrade in the Planetarium.  A full proposal will be presented to the Foundation Board at its meeting next month.  This proposed 50/50 cost share of a nearly $500,000 project would also be used to kick-start a capital campaign for future facility and technology upgrades.  The Planetarium is a vital source of outreach to our neighboring school districts, camps, enrolled students, and broader community. The technology has not been upgraded in the facility since the last capital campaign over ten years ago.

Golf Outing

Preparations for this year’s 20th Annual Golf Outing on Tuesday, October 12, 2021, are well underway.  The committee met in July, and three new committee members were welcomed:  Ms. Jessica Egger, Ms. Cheryl Macera, and Mr. David Paulus.  We are delighted that Mr. Michael York is once again chairing this year’s outing.

College Relations


The 7th Annual Alumni, Student, and Staff Picnic at the Jersey Shore BlueClaws stadium was held on August 5, 2021, at First Energy Park.  There were over 60 OCC guests in attendance with beautiful weather, food, and boardwalk game vouchers as well as a guest appearance by the Phillie Phanatic.  After the event had to be cancelled in 2020, the guests were excited to gather in person for a family-friendly OCC event.


College Relations recently implemented an automated ADA compliance system, Siteimprove, which integrates into OCC’s existing content management system to identify opportunities for improvement in ADA compliance, quality assurance, and search engine optimization.  Ms. Jamie Arasz Prioli, Interim Coordinator of Disability Services, and Ms. Maureen Conlon, Associate Director of Web Services, will present Siteimprove and discuss ADA compliance requirements at Thursday’s meeting.

Mr. Nicolaus Burr, Social Media/Web Developer, collaborated with Enrollment Services on the development of a series of fun and engaging short videos published on TikTok and Instagram reels that inform prospective students how to register and pay for Fall semester classes and remind current students that enrollment services are available to assist them in person.  The campaign was viewed by 11,823 individuals.

 Grunin Center

  • Marketing and sales efforts are ongoing for Fall events. The Grunin Presents series officially begins on Sunday, September 26, 2021, with John Pizzarelli and Catherine Russell presenting a tribute to Frank Sinatra and Billie Holiday.
  • The Grunin Center will be offering screenings of In the Shadow of the Towers as part of the 9/11 Commemoration on September 9, 2021. There will be a special screening for the Performing Arts Academy students.

Workforce and Professional Education

Career Exposure Continues through the WRAP Grant

The Work-Related Activities contract between Ocean County and Ocean County College for Youth Services through the Work Readiness Assistance Program Grant has been extended for an additional year.  The award for the grant is $450,000 and will run October 1, 2021, to September 30, 2022.

The Work Readiness Assistance Program (WRAP) Grant supports many of the services offered to Ocean County Achievement Center participants, which targets at-risk youth and young adults, ages 16-24.  The WRAP Grant engages participants in activities that support their growth and future success, in addition to offering guidance and wrap-around services to address many of the barriers these students face on a daily basis.

Program activities include a six-week career exploration and job shadowing training, work skill development, mentor pairing, industry-valued credential attainment, leadership development, community services projects, basic life skills development, and post-secondary exposure.


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 July 15, 2021, through August 23, 2021.

Student Affairs

On August 19, 2021, Vice President of Student Affairs Jerry Racioppi participated as a member of an online panel and presented to viewers on Enhancing the Student Lifecycle:  How Tech Plays a Role in 2021 and Beyond.  Dr. Racioppi had the opportunity to share details about OCC’s use of technology to engage both prospective and current students during the pandemic and the ways these methods and systems were utilized to produce impressive student recruiting outcomes.


  • The Advising Office is continuing to offer appointments to students both remotely and in-person. Students are able to schedule advising appointments online or with assistance from the HUB.  Advisors also serve students on a walk-in basis.

The demand for remote advising has remained high since the return to campus.  From July 7 to August 19, 2021, almost 1,000 remote appointments have been booked by students.  Of these appointments, 8% were made with individual advisors, 6% were student veterans, 6% were career-related, 3% were NJ STARS students, and 77% were general advising appointments.  It should be noted that these numbers do not reflect remote appointments for transfer, which were made outside of the appointment booking software.  These remote appointments are in addition to in-person appointments and walk-in advising.

  • Pamela Donohue, former Associate Director of Academic Advising, is working with Advising on new student registrations. Ms. Donohue is currently serving in a Reserve Advisor role to assist and register new students who request a schedule online.

Counseling Center

Counseling Center staff members have been very busy planning activities for the Fall semester.  Both in-person and remote programs and services are being offered.

  • On August 19, 2021, a seminar was presented for faculty, lecturers, and staff, in collaboration with Jennifer Garcia of Veterans Affairs, Ms. Jamie Arasz Prioli, Interim Coordinator of Disability Services, and the OCC Veterans and Military Resources Center. The seminar focused on recognizing and dealing with veteran students’ mental health distress and challenges as well as information about the VA’s VITAL Program on campus.
  • Student retention is always a major focus of the Counseling Center’s work. Kelly Petrolis, Student Intervention Specialist, has been revising the academic intervention program, Restore Your Score (RYS), which now includes a financial incentive program funded by the OCC Foundation.  There are 206 students with this academic probation sanction from the Spring 2021 semester, and they are eligible to participate in RYS.  Individual letters were sent to all 206 students, introducing the RYS program and inviting them to meet with Ms. Petrolis to begin their participation, a required part of the incentive program.  So far, 27 students have responded, and 8 attended the initial planning seminars.  The Starfish program, which is designed for students with academic warning status, will be implemented when the Fall semester begins.  This program provides support and information to students using the non-credit Canvas course.
  • The Counseling Center staff has been participating in professional development activities:
    • Director of Counseling and Student Development Kate Pandolpho attended Addressing the Mental Health Needs of Community College Students, which was sponsored by the New Jersey Council of County Colleges. Pandolpho will be working with the Council’s group of community college counselors on issues directly related to the mental health of community college students.  She also completed training on legal issues related to marijuana.
    • Susan Ebeling-Witte completed training on Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), which is used for a variety of mental health issues.
    • All of the Counseling staff completed the Center for Deployment Psychology’s Tier One: Military Culture and the Deployment Cycle training and will be continuing subsequent training as offered.
    • Katie Hueth completed training on peer recovery and will complete certification as a Train the Trainer for peer recovery specialists, which will be offered to OCC students.
  • The Displaced Homemakers Program begins it new program year without staff members; searches are currently underway for filling two positions. There are 3 new clients and 80 continuing clients; services include remote computer skills training and career seminars.

Disability Services

  • Interim Coordinator of Disability Services Jamie Arasz Prioli recently attended the 2021 Equity and Excellence Conference: Access in Higher Education. The event is an annual conference through the Association on Higher Education and Disability® (AHEAD). This event showcases best practices and provides disability leaders and professionals from across the nation with the opportunity to learn from one another and to network.
  • The Office of Disability Services continues to provide proactive outreach to students and local high school personnel focusing on accessing reasonable accommodations at OCC. This proactive approach includes providing technical support and assistance to OCC staff, faculty, and lecturers to ensure equal access for students with disabilities.  Disability Services continues to review new student requests for reasonable accommodations as identified under the Americans with Disabilities Act, with a goal of reviewing all requests prior to the start of the Fall semester.
  • After a successful pilot implementation of Ally for Canvas last semester, Ally is now activated in all OCC courses this Fall. Ally is an integrated tool built directly into Canvas that supports diversity, equity, and inclusive learning in a way that equally benefits both faculty and students.  As a result of full Ally activation, Disability Services recently initiated virtual “drop-in” support sessions for faculty and staff to learn more about Ally or request technical assistance.  The virtual “drop-in” days are held each Friday through October and are open captioned.  No appointment is needed and all are welcome.
  • Disability Services staff conducted several training sessions for the Security Department focusing on disability awareness. Officers received an overview of effective communication techniques and best practice skills to assist individuals with disabilities.
  • Staff conducted an overview of Disability Services for staff from Enrollment Services, the Tutoring Center, and Advising.  The overview included best practices for supporting students with disabilities, including effective communication skills, organization tools, and other resources.
  • On August 16, 2021, Ms. Jaimie Arasz Prioli attended an all-day training titled Introduction to Military Culture and Deployment. The training was sponsored by the Center for Deployment Psychology and targeted professionals who treat and serve military personnel, veterans, and their families.  The training introduced participants to military culture, including core values, terminology, branches of the service, and military operations, including the impact of deployment on families and challenges in post-deployment reintegration.
  • On August 17, 2021, Ms. Jamie Arasz Prioli served as guest speaker at an event hosted by the Ocean County Department of Human Services. The event, Disaster Preparedness for the Whole Community, recognized upcoming National Preparedness Month and addressed how individuals with access and functional needs, including seniors, those with disabilities, and families, should prepare for an emergency or disaster.


  • Enrollment Services has been offering Express Enrollment Events to facilitate new student registration throughout the summer in June, July, and August. Students were given a registered schedule from Academic Advising, provided a campus tour, and were able to participate in a Financial Aid Workshop or a New Student Information Session.  They were also able to meet with representatives to discuss various student support services in the Student Center.  A ‘hole-in-one’ opportunity was offered by the Ocean County College Foundation where winners received a $10 gift card to Barnes and Noble.  Events in July averaged 60-70 new students, and the final event took place on August 18, 2021, at which there were over 100 respondents.
  • Between January and June 2021, Reggie reached 18,969 students across both web conversations and text messages. OCC’s average engagement rate of 36% was higher than the national rate of 30%.  Reggie automatically answered 17,784 messages, saving approximately 297 hours of staff time (assuming one minute per answer per question).
  • Enrollment Services, with Academic Advising, has registered 852 students, to date, using the New Student Registration form. The students answer a variety of questions via an internet-based form and then the academic advisors complete the first semester schedule for the students.  New, incoming students are then invited to on-campus and virtual events to learn how to use Ocean Connect, make schedule changes, and utilize the online LMS environments.
  • With the Center for Academic Success, the Enrollment Services staff welcomed Lacey Township freshmen to campus on August 17, 2021, for an orientation for the College Academy. Students received a campus tour, swag, and their student IDs in addition to attending multiple pertinent presentations.
  • The Enrollment Services staff conducted presentations to Performing Arts Academy freshman students, as well as their parents, on August 18, 2021, to share information on upcoming classes and registration deadlines, payment options, and grant opportunities.
  • A new queue system, QLess, is up and running in the new Student Enrollment Building. Students can make appointments from their homes or add themselves to a walk-in queue when arriving on-campus.  Students are able to wait on a virtual line instead of a physical line.  Both Academic Advising and Financial Aid are offering appointments, as well as meeting with walk-in students.  The HUB manages the queue and assists with the Tier 1 enrollment transactions.

Southern Education Center

  • With installations completed and connectivity established, the Southern Education Center now has two classrooms and one small group instructional room/conference room ready for immersive synchronous instructional opportunities. These technology-enhanced classes will be fully operational for the Spring 2022 semester and provide southern area students with greater opportunities to receive instruction in specific degree programs while remaining at the SEC and connecting with the main campus virtually.  Collaboration between Academic Affairs and the SEC staff has begun to identify the classes which are best suited to be paired through technology using a Webex connection.  The goal for the Spring 2022 semester will be the implementation of technology-enhanced classes as a pilot test from scheduling to registration to instruction.
  • In preparation for the Spring 2022 semester course schedule, James Hauenstein, Director of the SEC, has met with each of the Academic Administrators to develop the master schedule of all classes to be offered at the SEC, including those utilizing the immersive synchronous classrooms.
  • The Promoting Learners to Achieve Now (P.L.A.N.) program was reviewed this summer with the Guidance Departments of both Pinelands Regional High School and Barnegat High School.  Last spring, both high schools endorsed the program to assist their students in achieving 24-30 OCC credits prior to graduating from high school.  This collaborative effort is continuing as we enter the Fall 2021 semester through Early College opportunities.
  • Michele Marcum, Senior Student Services Technician, continues to assist the HUB via remote channels in responding to student inquiries.
  • Students who have attended the Express Enrollment events through July and August had the opportunity to meet with the SEC staff.  The goal was to establish connections with incoming students residing in Southern Ocean County and to inform them of the instructional and support opportunities at the SEC as the facility re-opens for the Spring 2022 semester.  Over 60 students received SEC information at the events.
  • The SEC Canvas shell continues to prove to be an effective messaging center for southern area students.  In July and early August, messages designed to alert students to registration and scheduling options and opportunities available through the OCC Foundation received almost 2,000 views.

Veterans and Military Resources Center

  • The Veterans and Military Resources Center (VMRC) is collaborating with the Veterans Administration on creating pathways to training and job equity for OCC military and veteran graduating students. Some areas of interests are STEM, Human Science, Biology, and Nursing.
  • On August 11, 2021, Mr. Ryan Luurtsema, Assistant Director of the Center, was invited to attend a closed meeting with Secretary Denis McDonough of the S. Veterans Administration. Topics included suicide awareness, OCC military and veteran students, and veterans transitioning out of service, food scarcity, job employment placement, as well as disability and compensation.
  • Representatives from VMRC, Student Enrollment, and Academic Advising are attending the first annual Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst Enrollment and Education Fair on August 18, 2021. Hundreds of service members are expected to attend the event.
  • VMRC completed the fifth episode of Veterans Voices. The featured guest was Navy Petty Officer Third Class Ray Boutwell, who served in World War II.  Topics of discussion included:
    • Joining the military instead of being drafted
    • Life in WWII
    • Transitioning out of service
    • Starting a cupcake bakery business at the age of 95, with more goals to meet
  • The VMRC will be expanding its team with the hiring of a Program Analyst, whose role will be to develop student engagement and student activity as well as assist with developing assessment tools for the VMRC and Centers of Excellence for Veteran Student Success Program Grant. The anticipated start date will be in September.
  • With the transition of Colonel Wes Adams as the new Joint Base Commander, the VMRC was invited to a community relations briefing to showcase the resources available on campus to ensure a pathway to success for all military-affiliated students.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

e-Learning Design

  • The Instructional Design and Technology team has completed Fall 2021 Course Developments. Lead Instructional Designers and Instructional Design Specialists are developing a plan to review and assess current e-Learning Master Courses within their academic areas (Arts and Humanities, Business and Social Sciences, and STEM).  This thorough review will provide the team and department with information on which Master Courses may need to be updated or redesigned.

Course development with NJ Edge Instructional Designers remains in progress, and the seven current courses have a completion date of September 30, 2021, for a Spring 2022 start.  NJEdge will begin working on an additional three courses (BUSN 163, Transportation Systems; CRIM 152, Introduction to Law Enforcement; and PSYC 273, Adolescent Psychology) beginning mid-September for a completion date of March 1, 2022, for Summer 2022.

  • On August 31, 2021, Lead Instructional Designers and Instructional Design Specialists will be presenting Enhancing Your Online Course Using VoiceThread and Canvas Features during the e-Learning Department’s General Faculty/Lecturer Meeting. During this presentation, the Instructional Design and Technology team will discuss how faculty can utilize VoiceThread and certain features in Canvas to enhance learning and the student experience in distance learning courses, while bringing in their own voices and personalization to the Master Courses.
  • Rachel Doss-Block, Director of e-Learning, and Mr. Scott Cuthbert, Part-Time Instructional Designer, met with Academic Affairs deans, faculty, and lecturers who participated in the Summer 2021 Face-to-Face Skeleton Template Pilot on July 23, 2021. During this meeting, participants provided feedback on their experience utilizing the template during the pilot program. Modifications were made based on the information received, and a second pilot will take place in Fall 2021.  In the second pilot, new and current faculty and lecturers will utilize the revised template and provide feedback during a future meeting.  Six faculty and lecturers will be participating in the Fall 2021 Face-to-Fact Skeleton Template Pilot with 19 course sections.

e-Learning Professional Development

  • e-Learning is transitioning from Dropout Detective to Ellucian Advise. Eric Daniels, Educational Technologist, has partnered with Student Affairs to build student retention communications related to below average performance and lack of class participation, as well as congratulatory messages for exceptional performance.
  • Planning for the 2021-2022 e-Learning Weekly Professional Development series has begun. In response to the call for proposals, various session options have been received from vendors, staff, and faculty.  Sessions will take place weekly on Wednesdays throughout the Fall and Spring semesters.
  • The 2021 e-Learning General Meeting will take place on August 31, 2021. A variety of sessions will be presented by e-Learning staff and faculty/lecturers.  The first session will concentrate on faculty responsibilities related to Honorlock Online Proctoring.  All participants will receive guidance on how to enable Honorlock assessments in their courses and apply appropriate rules, as well as how to access Canvas content related to Honorlock in their courses.

During the second half of the meeting, participants will break into two sessions.  The first session will be provided by the Instructional Design team and will discuss ways for educators to enhance their courses using VoiceThread and Canvas features.  The second session will be presented by Ms. Vivian Lynn, Dean of e-Learning; Eric Daniels, Educational Technologist; Jack Kelnhofer, College Lecturer II; and Ti Peng, College Lecturer II.  It will provide orientation for newly hired educators on matters related to course and student issues, grading, teaching resources, and instructor evaluations, as well as training and support offered to e-Learning faculty and lecturers.

e-Learning Personnel

The e-Learning Department welcomes Ms. Caroline Brittain as the e-Learning Academic Administrator.  Currently, searches are underway for an Assistant Dean, LMS Administrator, Part-Time Instructional Designer, and Part-Time Graduate Intern.


July Egypt Visit

Dr. Eileen Garcia, Vice President of e-Learning and Learning Enterprises, Dr. Maysa Hayward, Associate Dean of International Programs, and I traveled to Egypt on July 4, 2021, and conducted several successful meetings with the Minister of Higher Education, his senior deputies, and university presidents.  The meetings discussed the current program with Ain Shams University and future programs with governmental universities (Ain Shams, Alexandria, and Helwan), national universities (El Galala and Al Alamein), and private universities (Badr and the Arab Academy).

Dr. Sue Henderson, New Jersey City University (NJCU) president, and her team accompanied us on the trip to finalize the requirements of NJCU Egypt, where OCC will be delivering the first two years of instruction in four pilot programs. The NJCU extension will begin once a decree is issued by the Egyptian President.  Currently, NJCU and MES submitted the IBC required file to the revision committee for a final review.

Current Program: Ain Shams University/Ocean County College/Kean University

  • During our visit, a special program committee meeting was held at Ain Shams University. Lamont Repollet, Kean University President, joined virtually, and the meeting covered the plan of continuing the program in Business and expanding the collaboration with other programs in Humanities.
  • On August 9, 2021, the Ministry of Higher Education held an informational exposition introducing special programs in Egyptian universities to potential freshman students. Representatives from Ain Shams, Kean, and Ocean were present, and over 100 students expressed interest in the program.

Special Programs

While in Egypt, we met with Dr. Ayman Ashour, Executive Deputy to the Minister of Higher Education.  Dr. Ashour suggested that the special programs be proposed under a consortium wherein the four-year affiliate universities propose interdisciplinary programs, with OCC delivering years 1 and 2 and the affiliate university delivering years 3 and 4 with the support of local industries for future hire.  A consortium proposal is being drafted by Dr. Maysa Hayward; Ms. Eileen Schilling, Senior Liaison to the President for Institutional Initiatives; and Dr. Howaida Wahby Eraky, Assistant Dean of e-Learning for International Programs.

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