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December 8, 2022

Dr. Larson’s December 8, 2022 Report to the OCC Board of Trustees

OCC president Dr. Larson

Fulbright Program

Dr. Rosann Bar, Dean of the School of Business and Social Sciences, completed her Fulbright International Administrators award to Germany in October, along with 14 American colleagues from across the country and 10 German educators.  Through lectures and visits to Humboldt University, the University of Potsdam, and Hochschule Ruhr West, Dean Bar studied Germany’s higher educational system, including three curricular models of apprenticeships available at universities of applied science.  She toured Siemens, which has a robust apprenticeship in the engineering program with Ruhr West.  The group also visited the seat of government, the Deutscher Bundestag, and met with Dr. Ralf Stegnar, a member of the German Parliament, who talked about transatlantic relationships and hope for a diplomatic solution to the Russian aggression against Ukraine.  Among the other highlights were a trip to the European Union House for a discussion of the history and future of the European Union, a lecture on Frederick the Great along with a visit to his Sans Souci Palace and grave, the Gasometer art and sustainability exhibit, and various World War II sites and the Holocaust Memorial in Berlin.

Dean Bar hopes to use what she learned by analyzing the apprenticeship models she observed and assessing their applicability here at OCC.  She has initiated new partnerships that she believes will lead to various global student learning opportunities.  These include a Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) project with OCC business students through Hochschule Ruhr West, a summer exchange program opportunity for students in immersive German language and culture through the University of Potsdam, as well as collaborative short-term travel experiences in American history (Civil Rights and Revolutionary War era) with an American colleague from Alabama.  A surprising takeaway for Dean Bar and her group was that while there may be differences between our countries, we seem to share the same challenges, funding, and mental health issues.  A sense of familiarity came from open dialogue with Dr. Bar’s German counterparts, which was certainly in line with the Fulbright mission of generating mutual understanding.

Holocaust and Genocide Studies

Dr. Justin Pfiefer, College Lecturer II in History, and Ms. Heather Sciarappa, Interim Dean of the School of Arts and Humanities, will briefly discuss at Thursday’s meeting how the topic of the Holocaust is addressed in History and other disciplines.   Specifically, Dr. Pfiefer will highlight Holocaust coverage in the History curriculum with examples from the courses he and his colleagues have taught in recent years.  Dr. Pfiefer has a Ph.D. in Modern German History with a specialization in Holocaust and Genocide Studies.

 Academic Affairs

School of Arts and Humanities

  • The first in a series of four recitals devoted to the masterworks of the Belgian composer Cesar Franck was held on October 28. 2022. Programmed in celebration of the 200th anniversary of Franck’s birth, this project has been a massive undertaking by OCC music faculty to bring to Ocean County classical music lovers a little-known repertoire that deserves a wider hearing.  This first performance in the series featured faculty members DoYeon Kim, cello, Jee Sun Lee, violin, and Brian Gilmore, piano, performing Franck’s violin sonata in A major and piano trio in f# minor.  Held in the Bosendorfer room for greater intimacy of experience, the recital was performed to a sold-out audience with extra seats added.
  • The Literature Club, led by English College Lecturer II Kristyn Stout, met to discuss Oscar Wilde’s short story, “The Canterville Ghost,” on November 7, 2022.
  • History faculty invited actor Ian Ruskin to perform his play, To Begin the World Over Again: The Life of Thomas Paine, at the Grunin Center Theatre on November 9, 2022. More than 250 people attended the event, and Mr. Ruskin stayed an extra hour for a Q&A segment after his outstanding performance.
  • English College Lecturer II Ameer Sohrawardy hosted an event that discussed gender inequities through the lens of Shakespeare’s play, All’s Well That Ends Well. This was the event’s second year as part of the Social Justice series, and Dr. Sohrawardy reports he had a great turnout of students.  The event began with a live polling session for the audience about women in the workplace, specifically how women are perceived and treated.   Sohrawardy then explored two scenes from Shakespeare’s play that show female resistance to misogyny and oppression.  A Q&A session focused on how those two scenes provide lessons for today’s audience.
  • On November 9, 2022, Dr. Shaun Harper, leading Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion expert, discussed solutions-oriented methods of prompting tangible progress toward bridging inequity gaps.   Harper’s presentation was free and open to the public.  OCC faculty members had the opportunity to join Dr. Harper for an equitable instruction-focused workshop.
  • The OCC Repertory Theatre Company, led by Director Paul Chalakani, College Lecturer II in Theatre, presented ‘Tis the Wind and Nothing More. Audiences traveled to some of the darkest corners inside Edgar Allan Poe’s mind, as some of his favorite tales and poems were blended to create a chilling excursion.  Performances took place on November 11 to 13 and 18 to 20, 2022, and all eight performances were nearly sold out.
  • On November 12, 2022, College Lecturer II in History Robert Marchie and Dr. Marilyn Kralik, Professor of Humanities, hosted a trip to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City for approximately 40 people.
  • The Global Education Committee, chaired by Dr. Ameer Sohrawardy, had an exciting lineup of events for International Education Week. They included:
  • Slow-Looking Workshop with Dr. Marilyn Kralik and College Lecturer II in Humanities and Fine Arts Stephanie Shestakow
  • Engaged, Resilient, Global: An English Department Panel, including Associate Professors of English Jayanti Tamm and Joaquin Rolon, Professor of English Jennifer Dellner, and Dr. Ameer Sohrawardy
  • Study Abroad Fair presented by Dr. Mary-Ellen Rada, College Lecturer II in Anatomy; Dr. Marilyn Kralik; and College Lecturer II in Business Sean Bips
  • Biryani Day at OCC presented by Dr. Ameer Sohrawardy

International Education Week, held from November 14-18 this year, is an opportunity for learning institutions to celebrate the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide.

  • On November 18, 2022, Music College Lecturer II Brian Gilmore performed to another sold-out Grunin Center audience for the second installment of composer Cesar Franck’s recital series. Gilmore led listeners through the exploration and performance of the keyboard masterworks of Franck, including the two large-scale piano works stemming from the final decade of Franck’s life: Prélude, Choral et Fugue, and Prélude, Aria et Final.
  • On November 30, 2022, the last English Round Table was hosted by Dr. Madison Peschock, College Lecturer II in English. Her colleague, College Lecturer II Christine Cassidy, presented on using art and architecture to teach characterization and theme in A Streetcar Named Desire.  Adjunct English Professor Robin Witkowski presented on how to conduct character analysis in English 152, English II.
  • Madison Peschock’s proposal “Learning from Past Mistakes: A Look Back at F. Scott Fitzgerald’s Life in ‘Babylon Revisited,’” was accepted by the North Eastern Modern Language Association Conference, which will be held in Niagara Falls, New York, from March 23 to 26, 2023. Dr. Peschock will present at the conference in person.

The Tutoring Center

  • Academic Affairs will again use Watermark to collect course evaluation responses for face-to-face courses. Dean of Faculty Development and Learning Innovation Catherine Mancuso met with the Instruction Committee to work on the instrument questions and get feedback from campus staff and instructors.  The feedback was used to streamline the questions for students and added a section to receive student feedback about their experiences in HyFlex courses.   Bridgett Everett, Academic Affairs Executive Assistant, and Dean Mancuso have been working on ways to encourage more student participation in the evaluations, including utilizing announcements on Canvas and the OCC app, as well as having messaging shown on the TV screens throughout the campus.
  • Brianna DeCicco, Associate Director of Academic and Tutoring Support Services, and her staff have expanded their services and engaged students more than ever. In the first nine weeks of the Fall term, they provided their services to 10% more unique students than the previous Fall term.  They are receiving more group tutoring session requests from faculty and lecturers.  These group tutoring sessions are conducted in class in HyFlex modality.  The Tutoring Center’s QR codes connect students with the tutoring scheduling system and have been scanned over 688 times this semester.  This scheduling option was not available to students last Fall.  A student commented on his experience at the Center: “It was an amazing experience.  I received the exact help I needed, and scheduling an appointment was easy.”  The Center also continues to collaborate with the Veterans and Military Resources Center.  The tutoring staff has seen 28 veteran/veteran-affiliated students this Fall semester, totaling 208 visit logs.

School of Business and Social Sciences

  • Patrick Murray, Founding Director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, joined OCC on October 12. 2022, for a discussion on the significance of political polling and current polls being conducted by the Monmouth University Polling Institute relating to the midterm elections, presidential approval, and the most pertinent issues according to voters.  Mr. Murray also presented an overview of political polling, the mechanics of creating scientific polls, and some obstacles pollsters face when administering polls.Mr. Murray is a national pollster and frequent media commentator on politics and public opinion.  Under his leadership, the Monmouth University Poll earned an A+ rating from, one of only 5 polling organizations out of 373 nationally to receive this top grade.  This event was sponsored by the Governmental Affairs Institute and was facilitated by College Lecturer II in Political Science Jason Ghibesi.
  • On October 26, 2022, Mr. Jason Ghibesi and a group of international relations students attended a virtual discussion sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) that featured Zongyan Zoe Liu, Fellow for International Political Economy at CFR, on the topic of the “Global Economy.”  Students had an opportunity to participate in a Q&A forum, enhancing the material covered in our international relations curriculum.
  • College Lecturer II in Social Sciences Charlotte Langeveld and Mr. Ghibesi also attended another CFR virtual webinar, “Navigating Digital Equity,” on October 17, 2022. The webinar featured Dr. Mordecai Ian Brownlee, President of the Community College of Aurora in Colorado.
  • Margaret Maghan, College Lecturer II in Social Work, and the Social Work Club sponsored an event by the National Alliance on Mental Illness titled “Breaking the Silence” on December 5, 2022. The program included an engaging conversation on the warning signs of mental health and how to help loved ones who may be experiencing mental health issues.
  • College Lecturer II in Psychology James Indelicato, Advisor for the Psychology Club, organized a guest speaker, Dr. Matthew Stroebel, who presented a lecture and workshop titled “Psychology – Where Can it Take You” on November 16, 2022. The presentation discussed the various ways a student can benefit from a degree in psychology and included the training, degrees, and certifications necessary to engage in this work.  Dr. Stroebel also reflected on his experiences working with a number of unique populations and organizations, including children with explosive behaviors, political science think tanks, traditional sports and eSports, recreation departments, schools, social skills groups, and public health agencies.  In addition, Mr. Indelicato has been busy with the “Box of Socks,” a sock drive to benefit a local homeless shelter in Ocean County.   Indelicato and his students have collected 300 pairs of socks but hope to double that number before the drive ends this semester.
  • The Michael Camillus Project, spearheaded by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, trains police officers in addictions counseling. Recently, the Prosecutor’s Office has agreed to continue funding the program and send another cohort of officers to OCC for the six-course sequence required for the Addictions Counseling Certificate.  Interested officers can continue toward licensure by completing 3,000 hours of fieldwork.
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor in Social Sciences Vincent Petrecca has been busy organizing networking and enrichment opportunities for OCC criminal justice students. Police officers from Italy toured OCC’s crime and forensic lab and engaged with students in a discussion of crime scenes and evidence collection/analysis.  The crime lab has acquired a vehicle that is parked by the lab, which students are now using in addition to the mock apartment.  Students learn how to search and obtain evidence properly, conduct interviews to obtain information in developing a theory of a crime staged at the scene, and test evidence in the lab as needed.  This Fall, students also visited the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Forensics Lab and 911 Communications Center, where they learned about analyzing forensics and processing evidence.  At the 911 Center, students observed 911 dispatchers handling calls and dispatching police, fire, and EMS to assist citizens in Ocean County.  In addition, students toured the Ocean County Corrections Jail, where they learned about prison life and available career positions in corrections.
  • Under the leadership of Student Success College Lecturer II Stephanie Frattini, two special events were incorporated into the Student Success Seminar course. Officer Wayne Reed from Campus Security conducted active shooter training to prepare individuals for a hostile situation and provide them with the necessary tools to create an action plan for themselves.  Approximately 900-1,000 students participated in this presentation during the Fall semester.  A second event brought OCC alumni from the Spring 2022 semester, Donte Calabrese and Ellison O’Grady, to the Grunin Center to speak about their experiences at OCC and how OCC helped set them on a path to success.  The student guest speakers shed light on the valuable resources OCC has to offer students for success, especially the Honors by Contract program.
  • Stephanie Kroeger and Mr. James Hadley, College Lecturers in Business Studies, held the inaugural meeting of the Accounting Club on November 2, 2022. This kickoff meeting attracted 28 students.  Club officers were elected, and student input was solicited on the club’s agenda for the year.  The Accounting Club’s role in the larger Business Innovation Consortium (BIC) was discussed with the students by Business Studies College Lecturer II Christopher Bottomley, the Business Studies Program Chair.  The new club will significantly boost the BIC organization, enabling it to broaden its scope.  Plans were solidified for a guest speaker for the December meeting, Mr. Riley Osbourne, a former OCC student now working at a big-four accounting firm.
  • On November 8, 2022, OCC expanded its apprenticeship program by officially signing Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management (HRTM) student Chelsea Buro as the first State-approved apprentice in the field of “hotel worker.” Hotel LBI became an officially approved worksite for hotel apprenticeships for OCC HRTM students.  Ms. Julie Barlow, Hotel LBI General Manager, and Ms. Christine Mihalik, Hotel LBI Assistant General Manager, were on hand for the signing.  This apprenticeship was facilitated by the work of Business College Lecturer II Sean Bips and Ms. Jannette Ball, Manager of Apprenticeship Programs, under Ms. Kayci Clayton, Director of Grants Administration.  This opportunity builds upon the work done by Dr. Patricia Gianotti, College Lecturer II in Addictions Counseling, and Dr. Rosann Bar, Dean of the School of Business and Social Sciences, in developing credit-based apprenticeships for OCC students.

Ocean County College Library


  • Library faculty and staff are working on the Library modernization project. They are weeding the collection in anticipation of new shelf space requirements in the modernized space and are developing programming to employ in face-to-face and virtual gatherings during the active part of the project.
  • The librarians are teaching more information literacy sessions than in previous years and are reaching students through face-to-face sessions, including at the Southern Education Center, and through virtual sessions.
  • The FIPSE Open Textbook Collaborative Grant is finishing the second year of a three-year grant. OCC faculty and lecturers are well-represented in the authorship of Open Educational Resource materials sponsored through the grant.

Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education

  • Ali Botein Furrevig, Director of the Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education, developed and presented a program memorializing Kristallnacht, “The Night of Broken Glass,” November 9 and 10, 1938, when Nazi leaders unleashed a program against the Jewish populations in Germany, Austria, and western Czechoslovakia, the event that ignited the Holocaust. The program included lectures, documentary clips, survivor testimonies from the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum and Yad Vashem, and a Q and A opportunity.
  • Botein Furrevig researched and wrote a draft course proposal, Introduction to Genocide Studies. She included a catalog description, objectives and outcomes, recommended texts and films, and a detailed topical outline based on a one-day course she presented to the community.  The draft proposal was sent to Dr. Justin Pfeiffer, History College Lecturer II, for content review and for research of comparable courses at other New Jersey community colleges.
  • Research and writing continued for a three-credit course proposal, Introduction to Human Rights. This course focuses on the concepts and foundations of international human rights since the 18th  century. It examines key philosophical, historical, and legal documents, including the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.  It will focus on human rights issues and violations, such as torture, human trafficking, recruitment and use of child soldiers, child slavery, genocide and war crimes, forced sterilization, and female genital mutilation.
  • Botein Furrevig participated in a workshop on Holocaust education hosted by Gratz College in Pennsylvania. Sessions included “Battling Indifference:  How We Teach the Holocaust” and “From Pogrom to Genocide: A Dialogue with Elisha Wiesel.”

School of Nursing and Health Sciences

  • On October 28, 2022, the Student Nurse Organization (SNO) held a Career Day, and 25 representatives from 20 agencies attended the event. Students were provided with information on applying for positions within various healthcare agencies after completing the Nursing Program.  Information was also available to students currently attending the program regarding application for nursing assistant positions while they continue their studies.  Seventy students participated in this event.
  • Under the direction of advisors MaryAnn Kaufmann, Ph.D., MSN, RN, Skills, Simulation, and Student Retention Specialist, and Mary Susan Gill, MSN, RN, Nursing College Lecturer II, the SNO sponsored a blood drive in collaboration with RWJ Barnabas Health on November 16, 2022. There were 33 donors.
  • On November 2, 2022, Ms. Amy Keefe of the New Jersey Sharing Network presented information to graduating nursing students related to organ and tissue donation. Students must attend a presentation discussing organ and tissue donation processes in New Jersey by the Board of Nursing as part of the Nursing Program curriculum.
  • Timothy Sperling, MSN, MBA, RN, CEN, Director of Corporate Case Management at RWJ Barnabas Health Network, met with students on November 2, 2022, who are preparing to graduate from the Nursing Program. Sperling discussed his journey in nursing, including positions he held as a staff nurse, clinical information systems analyst, educator, manager, and nurse leader.  He also discussed his experiences related to practicing as a male nurse in a predominantly female profession.
  • Also, on November 2, 2022, Donna Bonacorso, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President for Patient Care Services, presented information to graduating students regarding the Nurse Residency Program at Community Medical Center. Bonacorso discussed the application process and the schedule of events included in this year-long program.
  • Nursing lecturers attended the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion speaker series with Dr. Shaun Harper on November 9, 2022, hosted by OCC. They also attended the workshops following the presentation.
  • The School of Nursing submitted required annual reports to the following accrediting agencies: The Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing on October 13, 2022, and the New Jersey Board of Nursing and the National League for Nursing on November 16, 2022.  These annual reports focus on student enrollment, class and clinical requirements, and resources available for students, as well as student and faculty demographics.

School of STEM

  • College Lecturer II in Computer Studies Joseph Brickley successfully defended his doctoral dissertation, “What Drives User Retrospective Confidence Levels toward Phishing Detection Behavior.” With his successful defense, Mr. Brickley has completed the degree requirements for a Doctorate of Science in Cybersecurity Leadership, Management, and Policy.
  • College Lecturer II in Chemistry, Dr. Maria Steblyanko, has had her paper on microscopy data published in Nature Communication. The paper is titled “The Immune Synapses Reveal Aberrant Functions of CD8 T Cells during Chronic HIV Infection.”
  • Biology College Lecturer II Lincoln Simmons reports OCC has successfully completed articulation agreements with both Kean University and New Jersey City University for the Sustainability Certificate. Kean Ocean has articulated the certificate and degree into its Bachelor of Science degree in Sustainability.  Students can earn the certification, enter the job market, then complete their associate and bachelor’s degrees while employed.  OCC has six students completing their certificates next semester; all received Foundation scholarships.  A plan is being implemented to ensure all graduates are successfully placed.
  • Biology College Lecturers John McElroy and Lincoln Simmons, with Laboratories Technician Emily Stone, have been awarded $4,000 for their Industrial Hygiene/Hazardous Materials Management/Sustainability Their project, submitted in the eighth round of proposal offerings, is to develop a laboratory manual and supporting course materials to serve in various environmental science courses that will reduce student costs by replacing traditional vendor-produced course materials.  This project is awarded by the Advisory Council of the Open Textbook Collaborative, a New Jersey higher education project funded by the U.S. Department of Education.
  • After a two-year hiatus, the Mathematics Department will again host the New Jersey Engineering Society’s “Math Counts” competition on February 4, 2023. The event has 80 junior high students in competition, with the winning team progressing to state and possibly national competitions.
  • Students from ENGR 198, Autodesk Inventor: 3D Design and Prototyping, took a field trip to the Infinity Spark laboratory at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst. The trip represents the first event of an ongoing program where students from this course will present their individual design proposals to members of the Infinity Spark lab and receive both feedback and mentoring as they continue to refine their products through various phases of prototyping.  In addition to visiting the lab, students toured a C-17 Globemaster III transport aircraft, which included a lecture in the cockpit.
  • Almost 200 middle and high school students and their teachers have registered to participate in the OCC Robotics Competition.  A new “open” category, design competition event, has been added as the plan is to upgrade this event next year to a more sophisticated robotics platform. It is hoped that the upgrade will also flow into OCC’s ENGT 127, Introduction to Robotics, course offered each Spring semester.
  • The Engineering and Industrial/Technical Studies Program and Career Services held its first of four career-focused events.  Each two-day event pairs a “Wednesdays with STEM” speaker panel with a job fair the next day.  October was Civil/Surveying/Construction Engineering. November/December is Mechanical Engineering and Manufacturing.  The two events in the Spring semester will be Aeronautical/Aerospace Engineering and Engineering and Industrial/ Technical Studies.
  • The Fall 2022 cohort for the Engineering Associate in Science Degree reached a new milestone for non-traditional students.   The percentage of female new students is approximately 24% (on par with the national average for female student graduates in engineering). Between 2018 and 2021, the maximum was 16%, and the minimum was 13%, indicating what appears to be a significant change.  Overall, the program reached 20% female students in Fall 2022.  The program continues to increase the number of Hispanic students, with 26% new students in Fall 2022 and 21% for the overall program.  Both numbers seem to be above the national average for Hispanic students graduating with an engineering degree, which is approximately 14%.
  • College Lecturer II in Business Sean Bips and Dr. Angel Camilo, College Lecturer II in Biology, are working with Student Life to set up a pilot hydroponics system in the Student Center. This system will provide herbs and greens needed by the Culinary Program.  It will also be a demonstrator for food security.
  • Sylvia Riviello, Dean of the School, presented at the OCC Foundation meeting to discuss STEM highlights this past year.
  • Assistant Professor of Science Christine Pericone prepared the Fall 2022 Honors by Contract student project showcase, which will be held on December 5, 2022, in the Atrium of the Instructional Building.
  • College Lecturer II in Mathematics Samuel Pinkava presented his poster on “The Benefits and Challenges of Adaptive Homework” to the annual conference of the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges. At the conference, Mr.  Pinkava also graduated from Project Advancing Community College Careers: Education, Scholarship, and Service.

Finance and Administration

Work on the audit for fiscal year 2022 is mostly complete but cannot be finalized because the State has not issued the GASB 75 Other Postemployment Benefit (OPEB) Plan audit.  This item is required to prepare GASB conversion entries for proper financial reporting and disclosures.  It is unknown when the New Jersey Division of Pensions will release the Plan audit.  Therefore, Mr. Bob Nehila, Auditor, will meet with the Audit Committee in December, and the presentation of the final audit to the Board of Trustees will be delayed until the OPEB information is received.

A projection for the remainder of fiscal year 2023 indicates that revenue will be less than projected in the budget.  This is due to enrollment falling short of the projections for the Fall semester.  To help cover the shortfall, a number of vacancies have been frozen.  This temporary measure will remain in place until Spring enrollment is known.

Human Resources

The process to select the next President of Ocean County College came to a successful conclusion.  The past few weeks have been full of search-related activities, and the entire campus community had the opportunity to be involved.  The Board’s selection of Dr. Pamela Monaco will be affirmed at Thursday’s Board meeting.  We look forward to welcoming Dr. Monaco in July of 2023.

College Relations

The Web

Ms. Sara Nusbaum, Social Media Coordinator, collaborated with Dr. Rosann Bar, Dean of the School of Business and Social Sciences, to create a campaign following Dr. Bar’s recent participation in the Fulbright Scholarship Program.  This campaign included multiple cultural and educational posts on a LinkedIn showcase page and an Instagram story highlight titled Dr. Bar Abroad.  The campaign allowed the College’s followers to view real-time updates of Dr. Bar’s travels and educational experiences throughout Germany.  Followers were encouraged to interact with the campaign by answering daily trivia questions from Dr. Bar based on her travels.  This campaign yielded over 6,000 organic impressions and received an engagement rate of 15.9%.

100 Women Campaign

The 100 Women Campaign members will volunteer at the Salvation Army Toy Shop on December 19, 20, and 21, 2022.  The members will also support United Way’s Warmest Wishes Coat Drive.  Additionally, the group is working with various campus partners to schedule a speed-mentoring event with the 100 Women members and current students in the new year.

Ocean County College Foundation

  • Annual Appeal
    The 2022 annual appeal is in mailboxes, and supporting marketing materials have been created for emails and social media to raise additional scholarship funds.
  • Scholarships
    The coming Spring semester scholarship application will remain open through January 4, 2023.  Once again, all qualified Fall term recipients need not reapply for a Spring scholarship.  Fall applications simply roll over to the Spring semester, and the Foundation Office determines continued eligibility.
  • New Board Members
    Three new members have joined the Foundation Board, Mr. Ralph Aponte, Ms. Julia Maroney, and Mr. Michael Maschi, whose terms will officially begin on January 1, 2023.  The Foundation looks forward to their participation, collaboration, and new perspectives as it works to serve the students of Ocean County College.
  • Foundation Events
    The Foundation’s next scheduled event is January 20, 2023, when a miniature golf tournament will be hosted in the Larson Student Center.  This first-ever joint fundraiser with Community Medical Center Foundation promises to be a lot of fun as funds are raised and awareness is heightened for both organizations.  Visit to register.
  • Save the Date
    The 2023 Annual Scholarship Celebration will be held on Friday, June 23, 2022, when Ocean County College students will be celebrated.

Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts

  • On November 29, 2022, the Grunin Center held two School N’ Stage programs called Mexico Beyond Mariachi, and the theatre was full of students from schools around Ocean County for both performances. The Grunin Center hosted the Grunin Performing Arts Academy’s annual Fall play, “Clue,” on November 18 and 19, 2022.
  • The Grunin Center main stage was also utilized for various OCC-sponsored events during November and early December, including the Student Success presentation featuring Honors by Contract students, a one-person play with the History Club and Student Life, OCC Dance Club performances, and the OCC Band Winter Concert.
  • The family show, Jeff Boyer’s Bubble Bonanza, came to the Grunin Center on November 5, 2022, sponsored in part by the RWJ Barnabas Family Series. The orchestra was full of children who participated on the stage.  Additionally, the Mariel Bildsten Septet performed to a very happy audience on the main stage on November 20, 2022, as part of the Jazz on a Sunday Afternoon series.
  • The Grunin Center for the Arts winter mailer is being distributed to mail boxes by the beginning of December to promote shows between December and March 2023.

The Novins Planetarium

  • Planetarium Associate Director Cara Muscio was nominated to be the president of the Mid-Atlantic Planetarium Society.
  • The Not-So-Scary Halloween Laser show, created by Technician Kevin Molnar, has brought in over $10,000 in revenue for the Planetarium since its premiere in 2017. This show was created specifically for younger audiences, and it outperformed the vendor-provided Halloween laser show during the same period.  As a result of revising the show’s graphics during the Planetarium’s closure (to enable a more 360-degree view), per-show attendance has increased 165%, while overall attendance has doubled.
  • There have been several musical events in the Planetarium, including an album release party and a private party with a live DJ set. Novins staff provided custom, live digital and live laser experiences during these shows, representing a new revenue stream for the Planetarium.
  • Roman Zavada returned in mid-November, performing his original composition, Resonances Boreales, under a 360-degree film of the northern lights. Both performances were approximately 80% sold.
  • Winter holiday shows began Thanksgiving weekend and are selling well. The Planetarium will be open for several days over the holiday break this year.

Workforce and Professional Education

Grants Administration

  • Campus-Wide Training
    During the Fall, the Grants Office offered a comprehensive training series for current and potential grantees at OCC and a project director’s roundtable meeting for all current employees working with grants to collaborate and share best practices.  These training sessions, focused on supportive engagement in post-award compliance, will continue.
  • FY22 Funded Projects
    In FY22, the Grants Administration Office submitted over 20 competitive applications for funding, which resulted in just over $5 million in new grant awards and many new projects across campus.


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 of October 28, 2022, through December 2, 2022.

Student Affairs


  • Advise CRM Faculty CX (Instructor Alerts)
    OCC instructors are utilizing Faculty CX to submit student alerts for issues, including poor attendance, lack of participation, missed assignments, and low grades.
    As of November 27, 2022, a total of 28 instructors have submitted 1,155 alerts for 958 unique students.  The Success Coaches, supervised by Dr. Kathleen Mohr, Assistant Director of Enrollment Services, are responding to the alerts by calling students to discuss resources and strategies for success.
  • Transfer
    Kean Ocean and Transfer Services have partnered to create dual advising sessions for Ocean County College students.  These dual advising sessions are designed to ensure the essential coursework for the OCC degree and Kean transfer is completed to make the transfer process smooth and easy for students.  Students can submit applications, receive an instant decision, and discuss final steps at OCC and first steps at Kean.  Dual advising sessions were held every other week on the main campus and three times at the Southern Education Center during the Fall semester .

Career Services

  • Outreach
    • Taylor Dulemba, Career Services Coordinator, made 35 presentations to Student Success Seminar classes this semester. Her presentation included an introduction to Handshake and available supports to students through the department.
    • On November 8, 2022, Ms. Jan Kirsten, Executive Director of College Relations, introduced Ms. Debbie Kepics, Director of Career Services, at the Toms River Chamber of Commerce Board meeting. Debbie Kepics also attended the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce meeting on November 16, 2022, to meet with the leadership team and network with the multiple employers.
  • Education Guest Speakers
    • An introduction from Mr. Thomas Gialanella, Executive Director of School Relations, facilitated a partnership with Mr. Kevin McCann, Principal of Walnut Street Elementary School. Debbie Kepics invited Principal McCann and Ms. Dana Weber, Director of Special Education for Toms River Schools, to speak with Education College Lecturer Nicole Kammer’s Development of the Learner class.  They discussed their career journeys, interview tips and advice, as well as the paraprofessional and teaching positions available to the students.
  • Career Services will participate in Advising’s New Student Information sessions throughout December.
  • Training
    • Debbie Kepics and Ms. Taylor Dulemba are registered to complete the Certified Veteran Career Strategist training offered through the Professional Association of Resume Writers and Career Coaches.
    • Debbie Kepics attended QPR training on November 16, 2022. Ms. Taylor Dulemba and Ms. Maria Galindo, Advising, Transfer, and Career Services Administrative Assistant, will attend the training this month.

Counseling Center

  • The Counseling Center continues to be exceptionally busy this semester, providing individual services, campus presentations, training sessions, and ongoing support groups for recovery, grief and loss, and healthy relationships. This semester, the Center introduced the capability to request an appointment on the Counseling Center web page, and many students have scheduled their appointments using this new feature.
  • The counselors have worked with 401 unduplicated students for a total of 837 counseling sessions. The main issues continue to be anxiety, depression, housing and financial insecurity, and relationships.  These issues impact the ability of students to continue and succeed in their classes; the goal of the counseling interventions is to assist them to carry on successfully.
  • The Center partnered with Providence House Domestic Violence Services of Ocean County to recognize October as Domestic Violence Awareness Month. Students stopped by the on-campus tables to learn about domestic violence and services provided by Providence House and the Counseling Center.   Rachel Piazza, who teaches Women and Gender Studies at New Jersey City University, offered an Empowerment Self-Defense workshop on Tuesday, October 18, 2022.  International Survivors of Suicide Loss Day was held on Saturday, November 19, 2022, in partnership with the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.  Relax and Recharge sessions are conducted bi-weekly, virtually, and in person.  Two support and educational groups are conducted twice a month:  Living with Loss offers supportive workshops, and Level Up Your Social Game!, a workshop focused on empowering students to find meaningful friendships, is held on Tuesdays throughout the month.
  • As part of its ongoing commitment to suicide prevention, the Center has been offering Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) training to the campus community, and Student Affairs staff members are being trained. All Student Affairs staff will be trained over the next few months.  All departments and academic schools are asked to encourage staff, lecturers, and faculty to attend sessions.  Counseling webpage updates on this training will be forthcoming.Prevention Education Coordinator Katie Hueth and Student Intervention Specialist Kelly Petrolis are certified QPR instructors.  Ms. Darra Stack, Student Intervention Specialist, and Ms. Heather Mayer, Case Manager/Mental Health Technician, are completing the instructor training this month.  All four staff members have been or will be certified Mental Health First Aid instructors.  This training will be offered next year.
  • Presentations since the last report include:
    • A wellness presentation to the all-school faculty meeting on November 15, 2022, by Dr. Kate Pandolpho, Director of Counseling and Student Development, Ms. Kelly Petrolis, and Ms. Katie Hueth.
    • Kate Pandolpho presented at the Shades of Brown lunch hosted by the Organization for Black Unity (OBU) on November 16, 2022. More than 30 students and staff attended the open forum discussing students’ mental health, trends, concerns, questions, and services offered by the Counseling Center.  Changing the culture to eliminate stigma about mental health was also discussed.
    • Kate Pandolpho also presented at the annual Soroptimist International of Toms River Hall of Fame, where they recognized and presented me with the Advancing the Status of Women award.
  • The Supporting Students in Recovery Program has been funded for the fourth year. The financial and performance reporting for the previous program year has been finalized.  The Program outcomes show that students meet individually with the Recovery counselor and participate in the ongoing support group, and 189 students are enrolled in the non-credit Canvas course, which provides information, resources, and supportive activities.
  • There are 117 students participating in the academic support intervention program, Restore Your Score (RYS). All 117 students are enrolled in the non-credit Canvas course; they receive regular communications about important dates, academic success, and encouraging messages.Since mid-September, students have attended 63 sessions with RYS Counselor Kelly Petrolis.
  • This semester, there are 162 students enrolled in the Starfish academic support program in the non-credit Canvas course, and they receive the same communications as the RYS students. All are offered individual support by the RYS counselor as well. OCC’s Starfish program is named after “The Starfish Story,” written by Mr. Loren Eiseley, an American anthropologist, educator, philosopher, and natural science writer.  The Starfish intervention program follows the story’s premise to reach students before they find themselves in serious academic difficulty.

 “The Starfish Story”

One day a man was walking along the beach when he noticed a young girl picking up and gently throwing things into the ocean.  Approaching the girl, he asked, “Young lady, what are you doing?”  “Throwing starfish back into the ocean.  The surf is up, and the tide is going out.  If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die,” the girl replied.  The man laughed and said, “Do you realize there are miles of beach and hundreds of starfish?  You can’t make any difference.”  After listening politely, the girl bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the surf.  Then, she smiled at the man and said, “I made a difference to that one.”

  • The CARE Team has handled 305 reports since July 1, 2022. The team continues to see increased student mental health concerns, family issues, relationship breakups, and housing insecurity.  CARE reporting training was offered this month.
  • The Displaced Homemakers Program is working with 14 new and 99 returning clients who have attended computer skills training classes and workshops on financial literacy and employment skills. The program has continued to experience a decline in the number of clients referred by other community and governmental organizations; these agencies are also experiencing a decline in clients seeking services, which has been a steady trend across New Jersey since the pandemic began.  In response, the Displaced Homemakers Program staff has created and implemented a robust and innovative marketing plan to reach throughout the county for new sources of potential clients and to reinforce relationships with Ocean County organizations and agencies.  As part of the marketing plan, the Displaced Homemakers Program’s landing page includes a self-screening for eligibility for services.  The staff anticipates identifying new clients as a result of these marketing strategies.

Enrollment Services – the HUB

  • The Success Team completed 1,602 outgoing phone calls in October. In addition, the HUB team completed another 3,149 outgoing phone calls during the month.
  • Enrollment Services hosted a successful guidance counselor breakfast on October 21, 2022. The event was attended by 50 guidance counselors from across the county.  Counselors learned about various areas of the College, including counseling services, career services, early college updates, financial aid, and the NJ STARS Program.  A student panel provided insight from four 2022 graduates on their transition to college, which was very well received.  The counselors were also provided with breakfast and lunch.
  • Enrollment Services hosted the NJ STARS Virtual Information Session on November 17, 2022. Twenty-seven students attended a presentation by Outreach and Enrollment Coordinator Jim Campbell and Ms. Jennifer Kipp, NJ STARS Coordinator, who provided information on the NJ STARS Program and NJ STARS II Program at Kean Ocean.
  • Jim Campbell attended several events throughout the month to increase community awareness of Ocean County College, including the TD Bank Benefits Fair on November 15, 2022, and the Veterans Resources Fair hosted by VFW District 12 on November 18, 2022.
  • The Michael Camillus Project, under the Ocean County Probationary Office, was renewed for the 2022-23 academic year; the program increased students by over 20%.
  • Ben Hudnall Memorial Trust (BHMT) had 82 unique registrations for the Fall 2022 reporting term, the most registrations for a single reporting term since the College’s partnership with Kaiser Permanente began.
  • Archways, McDonald’s tuition reimbursement program, currently has seven employees attending Ocean County College for the Fall 2022 reporting term. This is the first time the College has tracked this program; it is under the supervision of Mr. Jim Campbell, Enrollment Services.
  • The College’s partnership with RWJBH and the New Jersey Council of County Colleges has continued to market the Community College Opportunity Grant. The College received 21 referrals this semester, which resulted in eight students enrolling.  All eight students are receiving some form of federal or state grant money.
  • The Ocean County Judiciary landing page has launched. The campaign aims to capture referrals from Ocean County Probation officers with clients between 18-24 who are not employed.  Since going live on October 31, 2022, the College has received two referrals through the landing page.
  • Collier High School students visited the College on November 11, 2022, to meet with Disability Services and receive a Pathways presentation. These students have disabilities that cannot be met in a public school environment, including emotional difficulties and other special needs.  Disability Services provided an overview of services and the accommodation request process.
  • The HUB had 784 transactions during October, with an average service duration of 4.6 minutes. The average wait time for service was 2.25 minutes.
  • The Success Team has been busy visiting Nursing I classes during both orientations and then again after first exams. On average, coaches have received about 50 faculty alerts per week from participating staff members and another 2-3 referrals per day from various other staff members.  The team is currently making calls to students, letting them know about withdrawal deadlines for students with low course averages.
  • The Success Team and members from the Enrollment Services Team assisted Student Support Services with one of their two annual financial literacy events in the form of the Game of Life, which was held in the Performing Arts Academy Cafeteria on October 26, 2022.

Office of Disability Services

  • The Office of Disability Services continues to increase outreach efforts and provides accommodation services to 528 eligible students during the Fall 2022 semester. This number represents a 17.8% increase from the Fall 2021 semester (448).  During this reporting period, the office conducted the following student and faculty activities:
    • Student Support Group Meetings – 4
    • Virtual Drop-In Sessions – 11
    • Student Contacts/Communications – 255
    • Faculty/Staff Consultations – 25
  • On November 4, 2022, staff attended the New Jersey AHEAD (Association of Higher Education and Disability®) meeting with guest presenter Jamie Axelrod, Director of Disability Resources at Northern Arizona University and Past-President of National AHEAD.  Axelrod presented a session titled “Legal Updates – Analysis of Recent Court Cases and OCR Letters of Great Significance.”  The presentation discussed common theories of liability under the Rehabilitation Act and Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the interactive process of communicating with students, remote class participation, and fundamental alteration of the curriculum.
  • On November 16, 2022, staff provided an overview of services to counselors from Point Pleasant Beach High School.
  • Staff continues to meet bi-weekly with a representative from Symplicity to customize the new accommodation software management system, “Accommodate.”  A soft launch is planned for Spring 2023 and will better serve the staff and students.

Southern Education Center

  • Registration is open at the Southern Education Center. The advising team reviewed enrollment trends and classes held in the past to finalize the Spring 2023 course offerings.  Since the Spring schedule was released, the team has done a terrific job responding to virtual appointments, walk-in visits, and phone inquiries about upcoming student opportunities.
  • Southern Education Center Advisors Jeff Kurz, Toni Ann DiPasquale, Jenna McAteer, and SEC Director Brian Schillaci hosted a Guidance Counselor Breakfast. This connection gave counselors from Lacey, Barnegat, Pinelands, and Southern Regional high schools the chance to visit and learn more about the SEC.  This opportunity enhances the ability of the guidance counseling teams to speak with their students about how the SEC operates daily.  The SEC staff appreciates the guidance teams visiting the facility and looks forward to continuing and building on these relationships throughout the year.
  • There were a number of days scheduled through November for OCC representatives from many of our College service areas to visit the SEC. This allows SEC students to gain a stronger understanding of the opportunities available to them closer to home.  Appreciation is expressed to Disability Services, Career Services, Library, Counseling, Student Support, and Student Life for connecting with students at the SEC.
  • The SEC Canvas Announcements are still an effective message board for students and staff. Announcements during November shared dates when various services would be represented at the SEC and kept students informed about opportunities throughout the College.  The analytics for Canvas Announcements indicate approximately 800 views during November.

Student Life

  • This semester, 746 students were invited to join Phi Theta Kappa, and the acceptance period is currently underway. OCC’s Tau Iota Chapter will induct all new members at the Induction Ceremony on Friday, December 9, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. in the Grunin Center Theatre.
  • The OCC Chapter of NSLS, the National Society of Leadership and Success, has had another great semester accepting new students to join the chapter. The enrollment period closed on November 17, 2022, with 137 students joining this Fall.  The students are at various points in the steps toward induction, as NSLS is designed to be an online experience for students to develop leadership skills and participate at their own pace.
  • Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week is an annual program where people come together across the country to draw attention to the problems of hunger and homelessness.  The number of people participating in Helping Hands programs during the week of November 12 to 20, 2022, was exciting. Five students and two staff members enjoyed a meal at JBJ Soul Kitchen while learning about the resources this program has to offer the community.  Fulfill Mobile Food Panty visited the OCC campus and helped distribute boxes of free produce and pantry staples to students.  Over 20 donors generously provided food items or gift cards to help create Thanksgiving Meal Kits for OCC students and families.  Thanks to everyone’s generosity, Thanksgiving meals were provided for 22 families, totaling 102 people.  Students also created handmade cards to include in the kits.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

Professional Development Yearly Summary

  • Overview
    The e-Learning Department promotes the understanding that education never ends for OCC online faculty and administrators.  e-Learning’s continued Professional Development (PD) efforts primarily aim to empower and equip the faculty and lecturers with effective pedagogy best practices to support and encourage students to succeed in their educational pathways.  The department offers specialized training to enhance faculty skills and knowledge in response to the evolving changes in instruction and emerging technologies.  Each online class at OCC is a virtual community where students can learn anywhere while cultivating relationships with their peers within their virtual courses.  In 2022 Spring, Summer, and Fall, 15,725 students enrolled in online courses.  This number includes fully online students, traditional face-to-face students, and visiting students.  Therefore, developing and supporting quality education for students is a fundamental mission.  OCC’s dedicated faculty and lecturers must be prepared with the necessary tools and resources to facilitate effective instruction in the classroom.Online learning pedagogy requires a different methodology from traditional classroom instruction.  The e-Learning Department has 211 active online teaching professionals, of which 74% are part-time adjuncts, and 26% are OCC full-time faculty/lecturers and employees.  The e-Learning administration has created specialized trainings, resources, and tutorials that have relevant topics tailored to online instruction and course design, which include the following:
  • Center for Instructor Empowerment: Online instruction knowledge base repository
  • Online Instructor Training: Self-paced training for teaching online courses utilizing online pedagogy best practices
  • Content Developer Training: Self-paced training on the effective tools to design an interactive quality online course
  • Adjunct Faculty Round Table: Faculty training and professional development hosted by the e-Learning Assistant Dean on the third Thursday of each month
  • e-Professional Development Series (PDS): Formal workshops and trainings facilitated by e-Learning administrators and faculty
  • Check-in Chats Virtual Office Hours: Real-time drop-in Webex faculty-led open discussion forum with the e-Learning Assistant Dean

Professional Development Assessment

  • The e-Learning Department deploys a survey to evaluate the effectiveness of the training, workshops, and resources following each session. Teaching professionals are asked to provide other training suggestions.  As a result of the surveys, an on-demand training approach has been implemented to address faculty training needs and preferences.  Additionally, survey suggestions provide topics for the Adjunct Round Table workshops.  e-Learning has established a community where all online teaching professionals can network and share best practices to assist student engagement and retention.Below are a few comments from the surveys:

“The Adjunct Roundtables were very interesting.  I enjoyed all the presenters.  There was also a fun and friendly atmosphere at the meetings, and it made it enjoyable to attend even though I was logging in on my iPhone and not on my laptop.  Thank you.

“The trainings are skillfully planned, and the networking is much appreciated.  As an adjunct, you live in a silo-this type of event creates community!  Thank you for having them!”

“I have attended all the PD activities and workshops provided by the OCC e-Learning department, and I find them to be a valuable tool for my success.”

Feedback from the various results led e-Learning to provide professional development in the evening instead of traditional office hours.  As a result of this change, over 728 faculty members have actively participated in professional development.  In addition, sessions are recorded and distributed to the active online faculty, which assists those that cannot attend a session.

The training facilitated over this past year:

      • Turnitin Workshop
      • Faculty Panelists for Best Practices
      • Using Technology to Engage Students in an Online Course
      • Time Management Seminar in e-Learning Courses
      • Spring Fling, 10 Ways to Spring into Action in Your e-Learning Courses
      • Student/Instructor Communications and Improving Dialogue in Your Distance Learning Courses
      • Summer Retreat Edition, “Building a Professional e-Learning Community Among Faculty
      • “Fall” Into e-Learning with Intentional Engagement, a Virtual Networking Event for e-Learning Faculty
      • Don’t Lose Your Head! It’s Easy with Voice Thread!
      • How to Maintain Student Engagement During the Most Wonderful Time of the Year for e-Learning Faculty
      • Lift Off, Master Course Developer Training and Kickoff Meeting
      • Simple Syllabus Overview
      • Honorlock

Also, access to the Center for Instructor Empowerment (located in Canvas) is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year, for 58 trainings facilitated by OCC faculty, staff, and educational partners.  In addition, there is an array of topics to support anyone teaching online or teaching a traditional face-to-face class.

e-Learning Pedagogical Approach to Learning

For this continuous training to be available, e-Learning leadership has made it a high priority.  All administrative team members must be proficient in their respective roles by promoting participation in professional development by Quality Matters Consortium, WCET, and the Instructional Technology Council.

  • Over the past year, e-Learning team members have attended the conferences and institutes listed below and many more:
    • Online Learning Consortium (OLC) Innovate 2022 Virtual Conference
    • In addition to attending, Design and Academic Team Members presented on “Rethinking Course Design for All Terms: Mastering the Calendar”
    • Quality Matters Training
    • Applying the QM Rubric
    • Improving Your Online Course
    • Peer Reviewer
    • OCC Adjunct and Lecturer Institute
    • Academic team members presented on “Best Apps for Student Engagement”
    • InstructureCon Online 2022
    • OLC Accelerate 2022 Virtual Conference
    • Adobe MAX 2022 Virtual Conference (Instructional Design and Technology team only)
    • Accessibility: Designing and Teaching Courses for All Learners (Instructional Design and Technology team only)
    • Learning Enterprises College Lecturer II was a panelist at the TESOL International Association Conference
    • LinkedIn Training

International Highlights

  • The Ocean County College, Kean University, and Ain Shams University’s (ASU) program continued in the 2022 Fall semester. New students are projected to graduate in 2024 with three degrees; one associate degree and two bachelor’s degrees in business.
  • Maysa Hayward, Assistant Vice President of International Programs, recently traveled to Egypt to finalize a partnership agreement with Badr University, explore additional partnership opportunities with the Egyptian Ministry of Education, and work to recruit the next cohort of students.
  • Two ASU students completing a semester abroad at Kean University recently visited OCC’s campus for the first time as alumni.
  • As a trained mentor, the involvement of Ms. Lauren Remenyi, e-Learning College Lecturer II, with TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages) will enable her to provide leadership and guidance to help develop online courses for ESL students. Also, as a standing committee member of the Governance Developmental Education Committee and Global Education Committee, Ms. Remenyi will collaborate with the college stakeholders.  In this committee, she will work to explore native cultures and languages in the ESL classroom setting and enhance language learning.  Finally, she will evaluate trends that impact language acquisition and student success.  These topics were addressed and presented at the recent TESOL conference, impacting OCC’s domestic and international students.
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