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February 24, 2022

Dr. Larson’s February 2022 Report to the OCC Board of Trustees

OCC president Dr. Larson

Academic Affairs

  • The Adjunct and Lecturer Institutes took place January 19, 2022, and were successfully offered remotely. The Adjunct Institute had 57 adjuncts in attendance, and the Lecturer Institute had 72 participants.  Although a majority of the workshops were the same in the morning and evening for both groups, some workshops were specifically designed for and offered to adjuncts.  In total, eight unique workshops were offered across both institutes, with three concurrent workshops taking place at any given time.

The most highly attended workshop at each institute was a panel discussion from Hyflex power users and their students about their experiences using the technology this past Fall semester.  Other workshop topics included utilizing library resources for course development, using GoReact in Canvas, Canvas collaborations for concurrent, culturally-responsive assignments, Canvas and WebEx basics, the START model, and the adjunct mentoring program.  Based on feedback from survey responses, hands-on training will be offered for using Hyflex equipment in the classroom, as well as offering support/training sessions on using Canvas.

  • Tutoring Center

    • The Tutoring Center held pre-semester training in January, welcoming 13 new peer tutors to the team. They will assist with a wide variety of content, including math, science, writing, and American Sign Language.  Peer tutors strengthen the tutoring schedule by expanding available tutoring hours.  Additionally, the professional and peer tutors are trained on the new Hyflex technology, which is integrated into all areas of the Center, and have increased access to writing workshops, drop-in tutoring events, and group tutoring sessions.
    • In response to instructor requests for supplemental support for their students, the Tutoring Center has formalized a process for instructors to request group tutoring sessions or in-class support for their classes. Instructors can access the request form through the Faculty and Staff Portal.
    • Professional writing tutor, Dr. Mary-Beth Brophy, represented OCC as part of the “Theory and Praxis: Digital Pedagogies in the (Virtual) Classroom” three-day working group at the 2022 Modern Language Association convention.  The focus of her presentation was an in-progress writing center project to create a flexible guided path through the process of researching and writing an academic essay that meets the needs of the broadest spectrum of students.
  • Center for Academic Success
    • The Grants Office and Center for Academic Success are partnering with Lakewood High School for the Upward Bound grant. The grant proposal was submitted on January 31, 2022.
    • The Center for Academic Success, in collaboration with the Engineering Department, hosted 70 Pt. Pleasant Beach High School engineering students on February 4, 2022. Students spent the day at OCC learning about aeronautic, civil, electrical, and mechanical engineering.  Volunteers from the Lakehurst NavAir division assisted by discussing with the students the various types of engineering pathways.
    • Toms River Regional Schools, Ocean County College, and Georgian Court University are exploring a Teacher Education Pathway program. Students would take courses at all three locations with the goal of obtaining a Teacher Education degree with a guaranteed teaching job within the Toms River School District upon degree completion.
    • College Lecturer II in Biology Lincoln Simmons and Dr. Henry Jackson, Executive Director of Academic Success, are participating in a key informant interview with Rutgers University. Rutgers has received a National Science Foundation grant and would like to include OCC as a community college partner.
    • This year’s College Readiness Now grant will provide students with access to an introductory course from one of the OCC certificate/degree programs. For the Spring 2022 semester, the College Readiness Now VIII grant will cover tuition for 22 Lacey students taking Environmental Sustainability and 22 students taking Introduction to Robotics at Lakewood High School.  Also being funded is a Hyflex MATH 158, Algebraic Modeling, course offered on OCC’s campus with eight College Readiness Now students attending remotely while sitting in a classroom at Lacey Township High School.
    • Discussion is underway with Donovan Catholic High School about becoming an additional location high school academy. Working with Perkins-funded high schools in the development and implementation of career academy pathways, each Perkins-funded program needs to offer nine credits of OCC coursework.  Assistant Director of Assessment James Marshall is working with the Center on general education assessment this Spring semester for a course in written communications and information literacy, which will include English and history courses.
  • School of Arts and Humanities
    • Assistant Professor of Humanities Lisa Cecere was interviewed to be part of a documentary film on Peter Callas, a renowned anagama wood-fire ceramicist.  Cecere was asked to discuss his work from a design point of view in comparison to Japanese wood-fired ceramics.  The film, which also features the artist’s assistant and former OCC student Jon Hem, will debut at the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona, California, next month.  Following that debut, the film will be shown on the NJ ARTS program on PBS.
    • Several School faculty and lecturers presented at the Adjunct and Lecturer Institutes:
      • College Lecturer II in History Justin Pfeifer presented at the January Adjunct Institute. His presentation highlighted the importance of the Adjunct Mentoring Program and particularly the self-assessment piece as a mechanism for positive professional development and skill building at OCC.  Using his experience as an adjunct faculty member, Mr. Pfeifer emphasized the vital role that College Lecturers played in mentoring him in the program, which contributed to his current success as a College Lecturer.
      • Jennifer Dellner, Professor of English, College Lecturer II in English Christine Cryan, and College Lecturer II in History Robert Marchie, presented at the Institutes. In addition, two OCC students, Gabriela Garcia and Kylie Smith, also presented at the session on “Hyflex Experiences from Teacher and Student Perspectives.”  This moderated student and faculty panel provided an opportunity for feedback from both faculty and students on their recent experiences with Hyflex technology during the Fall semester, as well as their ideas for how future best practices can be developed and shared.  This session also allowed time for the audience to pose additional questions to the panelists.
      • College Lecturer II in English Samantha Glassford’s presentation at the Institutes was titled, “Canvas Collaborations for Concurrent, Culturally-Responsive Assignments.” The presentation explored the use of the collaborations tool in Canvas to engage face-to-face and remote students in discussion.  Canvas Collaborations include the use of MS Office or Google docs to create shared documents and slides among students in the class.  The activities presented allow for cultural responsiveness in the classroom as students design and guide the discussion, with the instructor becoming the facilitator for student-centered, in-class work.
    • The first project of 2022 for the Sigma Kappa Delta National English Honors Society took place on February 8, 2022. The project, called “How Do I Love Thee? – A Valentine’s Day Inspired Literary Reading by the OCC Chapter of SKD,” featured readings of stories and poems that were recorded at the OCC TV studio and broadcast across Ocean County on cable TV.  Associate Professor of English Jayanti Tamm and Professor of English David Bordelon serve as advisors to this honor society.
    • On February 9, 2022, the Social Justice Series started its 2022 season with Rhapsody in Black. The powerful performance was written and performed by LeLand Gantt and explored Gantt’s personal journey to understand and eventually transcend racism in America.
    • On February 18, 2022, College Lecturer II in English Jason Molloy hosted a screening and discussion of the film, The Big Short, as part of the Social Justice Series.
  • School of Business and Social Sciences
    • Through the efforts of Dr. Margaret Maghan, College Lecturer II in Social Work, two networking events were offered for students. The first event, “Match Day 2022,” took place February 2, 2022, and matched students majoring in social work with over seven external practicum partners in the community.  The second event, “A Conversation on Mental Health and Policing,” took place February 10, 2022, at the Grunin Center.  In this event, students viewed the PBS documentary “Bedlam,” which focuses on criminal justice and mental health.  Afterward, a brief discussion took place with retired Toms River police officer and OCC’s Campus Security Training Officer Wayne Reed, as well as Principal Parole Coordinator Philomene Jean-Baptiste from the New Jersey State Parole Board.
    • The Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management (HRTM) program will run and operate the Grab & Go Café in the lobby of the Gateway Building, which has been closed since 2019. Students working in the café will participate in a credit-based apprenticeship, APPR-151-HRTM, which allows them to earn college credits while getting paid for their industry-related working hours.  This apprenticeship course and job opportunity promote learning in the area of how to run a food and beverage establishment and improve customer service skills.  The café will open the third or fourth week of February, with hours Monday through Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m.
    • The Fall 2021 semester marked a successful return to the business lab on campus. Bloomberg Certification was achieved by 18 students during the semester, bringing the total certifications since the lab began to 148 students.  Additionally, College Lecturer II in Business Ibrahim Moustafa’s management classes utilized the lab to study companies and their financial performance.  Business Studies College Lecturer II Sean Bips also took his marketing students to the lab to learn how the Bloomberg terminals could be used for research.  Finally, all of College Lecturer II Katherine Toy’s business students in economics became familiarized with using the lab through periodic visits and demonstrations.
    • Patty Gianotti, College Lecturer II and Chair of the Addictions Counseling Program, attended a graduation ceremony for the inaugural cohort of the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office (OCPO) Michael Camillus Project. Also in attendance was Ms. Kim Veith, LCSW, LCADC, Adjunct Professor in the Social Work and Addictions Counseling programs and Director of Adult Clinical Services at Bright Harbor Healthcare (formerly Ocean Mental Health).  The ceremony took place on January 19, 2022, at the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and was hosted by Ms. Renee White, Supervising Assistant Prosecutor and founder of the project.The Michael Camillus Project was made possible through a partnership with OCC via grant funding through the New Jersey Office of the Attorney General’s Operation Helping.  Its aim is to provide education about substance abuse disorder to members of the Ocean County law enforcement community.  The first OCPO cohort attended the program from the Spring 2021  through Fall 2021 semester.  The response to the pilot was so positive that Assistant Prosecutor White was granted an extension of the funding by the Attorney General’s Office, and a new cohort of OCPO students has been enrolled for the Spring 2022 semester.
    • Under the leadership of College Lecturer II in Student Success Stephanie Frattini and with the help of College Lecturer II in Political Science Jason Ghibesi, the Student Success Seminar will have new civics content incorporated within the themes of the course for the Fall 2022 semester. Inspired by “Citizen Power,” a book by Harry S. Pozycki, the course will include constructive compromise, active listening, communication, critical thinking, information literacy/research, and community outreach/engagement with regard to civic discourse.  Students will learn how to check the accuracy, credibility, and validity of information they read; propose an idea or introduce an issue in their community that they are passionate about; and create an action plan for the issue.  After proposing solutions, they will communicate how to put the solutions into effect and receive feedback on their presentations that incorporates constructive compromise.  If possible, students may put their action into practice within the community.
  • School of Nursing and Health Sciences

There are 303 students enrolled in the Nursing program for the Spring 2022 semester.

    • OCC’s 2021 Nursing licensure passing rate was 84%. A total of 150 graduates from Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 sat for the examination.  Scores remain above the national passing rate for all associate degree Nursing programs and all types of Nursing programs.
    • Marian Austin joined the School of Nursing and Health Sciences on February 7, 2022, in the position of Academic Affairs Technician. Ms. Austin received a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting from Rider University.  She is a certified substitute teacher and paraprofessional.  Prior to joining OCC, she was the Office Coordinator at Donovan Catholic High School responsible for coordinating various student services, including admission, recruitment, and scholarship funding.
    • Seventy-five Nursing students attended Dr. Sanjay Gupta’s presentation, “Chasing Life and Cheating Death,” at the Grunin Center on February 2, 2022. Prior to the presentation, students had the opportunity to meet with Dr. Gupta for a question and answer session.  Students stated they enjoyed the presentation, especially the question and answer session, and were thankful for the opportunity to attend the event.
  • School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM)
    • Sylvia Riviello, Dean of STEM, and Dr. Amir Sadrian, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, will present “Lead…Learn…Innovate: Flex to the Future” on April 30, 2022, at the American Association of Community Colleges’ annual convention, Community Colleges Take Center Stage.
    • Riviello will co-lead a team with Dr. Joseph Konopka, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Ms. Elizabeth Metzger, Director of Customized Training and Business Engagement, on a Center of Workforce Initiatives for NJ Pathways. Their focus is cybersecurity programming and software development.
    • The Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium (JSJSS) has chosen the top 16 papers for competition this year. Ten students will compete in an oral PowerPoint presentation, and six will compete in a poster competition.  The top five winners of the oral presentation will compete at the National Junior Science and Humanities Symposium later this Spring.  Once again, the Paper Selection Committee reviewed over 50 papers submitted.  Each year’s research papers progress into more and more advanced concepts and experimentation.  The finalists this year represent a wide array of categories, from environmental to medical to automated intelligence and machine learning, which is becoming the favorite among students.  The event will take place virtually on March 25, 2022.  Additional details are on the JSJSS webpage  at
    • Pam Bogdan, College Lecturer II in Engineering, will be participating in STEM Month in New Jersey.  To celebrate, the National Association for Community Colleges Entrepreneurship is hosting a STEM Expo on March 25 and 26, 2022.  The STEM Expo will introduce the community to OCC’s vast array of programs and allow students and parents to explore unique, hands-on STEM projects firsthand.

Ms. Pam Bogdan has the following events scheduled during the month of February:

      • Paper Airplane Competition on February 22, 2022
      • Speed Mentoring and Resume Workshop on February 23, 2022
      • Engineering Week Speaker’s Panel: Engineering Career Readiness on February 24, 2022
    • The School of STEM has created a group of power users. This core group of faculty and lecturers includes Ms. Pam Bogdan; Dr. Angel Camilo, College Lecturer II in Biology; Ms. Julia Kim, College Lecturer II in Mathematics; Mr. Marc LaBella, Associate Professor of Science; Ms. Vicki McMillian, Professor of Mathematics; Mr. Ken Michalek, College Lecturer II in Computer Science; and Mr. Sam Pinkava, College Lecturer II in Mathematics.  The power users assist all faculty and lecturers with technology issues related to teaching remotely.  Along with the power users, Dr. Angel Camilo is also working with Ms. Catherine Mancuso, Dean of Faculty Development and Learning Innovation, on a project that will provide two weekly sessions to assist with Canvas issues.
    • Assistant Professor of Science Christine Pericone is forming a committee to review Honors by Contract submissions from Fall 2021 and Spring 2022 for awards for outstanding work.  The committee will include two volunteers from each school; Dr. Toni Clay, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs; Mr. John Wallace, Library College Lecturer II; and Ms. Christine Pericone, Assistant Professor of Science.  Award recipients will be announced at the OCC Awards Ceremony prior to graduation. The winners will showcase their works at the Spring Honors by Contract program scheduled for May 4, 2022, at 12:30 p.m. on the fifth floor of the Gateway Building.

Finance and Administration

The School Employee’s Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) Commission approved a contribution “holiday” for February 2022 applicable to all participating school districts and colleges, including Ocean County College.  Therefore, there will be no employee SEHBP healthcare premium deductions for the month of February 2022.  Deductions will resume the first pay of March.

    • Fiscal Year 2023 Budget

We are delighted to confirm that there will be no tuition increase in Fall 2022, expanding accessibility and affordability for students. The budget continues to support the OCC Strategic Plan and is consistent with the Five-Year Financial Plan.  The FY 2023 budget will be on Thursday’s agenda for approval.

  • Workforce and Professional Education and Grants Administration
    • New Health Professions Programs
      • The Workforce and Professional Education department received approval for the Certified Home Health Aide program by the Division of Consumer Affairs, Board of Nursing. The course consists of a 76-hour certification program and includes CPR.  The Certified Home Health Aide course will be offered for the first time in April.  It is a very cost-effective way for students to quickly train and enter the healthcare field.
    • On February 17, 2022, a virtual graduation was held for the second cohort of Community Health Worker Apprentices. This fully remote program is offered in collaboration with the New Jersey Department of Health. The cohort consisted of 27 students who participated in the training program from September 2021 to February 2022.  Students will continue on to 2,000 hours of on-the-job training with their employers, and some students will work towards an Associate in Science degree in Social Work at OCC after receiving up to nine credits from successful completion of their competency exams.
    • Career and College Preparation for At-Risk Youth

Since October, the Ocean County Achievement Center has enrolled 24 new participants and engaged 26 students with follow-up services.  During that time, 23 students enrolled and completed the Exploration of Career Pathways and Entrepreneurship Program, and 16 students completed a Cybersafe Awareness program.  In addition, a few participants have opted in to a weekly mentorship program to help them set and achieve goals, regardless of the barriers they may experience.  In addition, three completers enrolled in vocational school programs for Fall 2021, three students enrolled at Ocean County College in the Fall, and one student registered for the Spring semester as a new OCC student.

    • Adult Education, English Language Learning, and Civics

In December, 356 students registered for English Language Learning and High School Equivalency (previously GED) classes.  In January, 22 courses were offered – 15 in English Language Learning and 7  in High School Equivalency.  Classes meet at sites throughout the county, including Toms River (OCC main campus), Manahawkin (SEC), Lakewood Library, Point Pleasant Beach High School, and Brick High School, as well as remote synchronous classes.

  • College Relations

The College Relations web team collaborated with the Library on a social media campaign for “Library Shelfie Day,” which highlighted the Library’s Government Documents Collection.  The posts were viewed 2,424 times on Twitter and Facebook, and the photograph of OCC’s library team holding items from the collection was shared by the Federal Depository Library Program via email with their subscribers.

  • Alumni
    • On Thursday, Ms. Kim Malony, Alumni and Advancement Director, will present the new Alumni Campus Banners that will be displayed on OCC buildings and monoliths throughout campus. The nine alumni displayed on the banners are a diverse group of successful OCC graduates who have pursued a wide variety of areas of study and professional paths.  For this project, College Relations graphic designers and Alumni staff worked together to arrange photoshoots and interviews while engaging and cultivating these alums, all of whom are proud of their OCC education .  They attribute much of their success to OCC.  The banners not only enhance the beauty of the campus but also serve as inspiration for current and future students who are pursuing degrees.  OCC alumni continue to serve as the College’s most valuable brand ambassadors and promote the value of an OCC education throughout the community.
    • The 100 Women Campaign hosted an event on Friday, February 4, 2022, in the Gateway Building, and it was offered virtually as well. Speakers included OCC alumna, Ms. Tara Chalakani (Nursing ’04), who is Deputy Chief Executive Officer at Preferred Behavioral Health Group, and Ms. Victoria Magliacane, Senior Vice President, Market Executive at Investors Bank, as well as an Integrative Health and Nutrition Coach and Owner of Lavender Lifestyles.  Both spoke about social/emotional health, work/life balance, and the impact the global pandemic has had on women.
    • Save the dates:
      • The Annual BlueClaws OCC Picnic for Students, Alumni, Faculty, and Staff will take place on Friday, August 5, 2022. Tickets will be available for purchase online soon and will include admission to the ballpark for an evening game and a buffet dinner.
      • The Annual SUP the River Paddle Board Race, co-hosted by the OCC Foundation and the Kiwanis Club of Toms River, is scheduled for Saturday, September 17, 2022, at the Toms River Yacht Club. The race is open to all OCC alumni and constituents as well as local community members.  All proceeds will support the OCC Foundation and Kiwanis Club.  Volunteer opportunities are available for anyone interested in getting involved.
  • Grunin Center
    Upcoming shows in March at the Grunin Center include:
    • Irish Comedy on March 3, 2022
    • Croce Plays Croce on March 4, 2022
    • Velocity (Irish music and dance) on March 8, 2022
    • Artrageous (family-friendly show) on March 11, 2022
    • Prima Studio Theatre Opening Celebration on March 19, 2022
    • 2 p.m. –   Free dance performances by OCC students and Carolyn Dorfman Dance (commissioned piece with music by Louis and Gia Prima) in the Prima Theatre. Tickets are limited; contact Ms. Shannon Mayers, Executive and Artistic Director for the Grunin Center, for VIP seats.
    • 5 p.m. – VIP Reception in the Prima Theatre and Lobby
    • 7 p.m. – Louis Prima Jr.
  • Security

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  January 22, 2022, through February 22, 2022.

Student Affairs

  • Advising
    • Transfer Events

Transfer Coordinator Laura Wills has organized a series of Instant Decision Days for Spring 2022.  These events give OCC students the opportunity to meet with an admissions representative and waive the application fee.  Students almost always receive an offer of admission at the events.  Participating institutions for Spring include Stockton University, Rowan University, Drew University, William Paterson University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Monmouth University, Montclair University, Kean-Ocean, and New Jersey City University.

Additional institutions, including Georgian Court University, Penn State University, Southern New Hampshire University, and Thomas Edison State University, will be on campus this Spring to meet with OCC students to discuss topics such as admission, transfer credits, and scholarships:


NJ STARS Coordinator Jennifer Kipp reports that 39 NJ STARS students graduated in December 2021.  Spring 2022 NJ STARS enrollment currently stands at 302 students, with a few other potential STARS students awaiting confirmation.

In Fall 2021, over 400 alerts were raised via Advise CRM for NJ STARS students who fell below 80% in one or more of their courses.  Students received email communications informing them of the status of their courses. Through these communication, students were encouraged to contact Advisor Diane DeFilippo to discuss academic resources and strategies. Students who continued to have courses below 80% for an extended period of time received phone calls as well.

Students who had more than one course below 80%, multiple times during the semester, were also identified in Advise CRM as “high alert.”  This status triggered additional outreach to discuss academic plans and ways in which they could strive to achieve their goals going forward. The “high alert” status was informative, in that it allowed for targeted outreach to students who needed assistance and a more proactive approach.  There were 32 students in Fall 2021 who were indicated as “high alert.”

NJ STARS students who fell below a grade point average of 3.0 in the Fall 2021 semester received letters informing them of their academic status and advising them to contact the Advisor Diane DeFilippo to discuss academic resources and strategies.  These students also received follow-up phone calls regarding their status.  Discussions with students focused on academic plans, study strategies, time management, critical thinking, tutoring services, degree programs, and transfer plans.

  • Advise

Advising, the HUB, Academic Affairs, e-learning, and IT have collaborated to implement Faculty CX, which allows instructors to raise alerts for students throughout the semester.  A pilot group of instructors is currently utilizing these alerts to identify students with attendance issues, lack of participation, missed assignments, and low assessments.  Automated communications are in place in addition to outreach from the Retention Team Coaches.  Forty-one alerts were triggered from January 29 through February 7, 2022, for six faculty members.  Of those alerts, 25 were attendance issues and 16 were for missed assignments.

An alert plan is also underway for the Spring semester, aimed at identifying and communicating with students with low course averages.  The first alert was triggered on Monday, February 7, 2022, for 1,022 students with a course average below 70%.  The Retention Team Coaches are evaluating these alerts and will reach out to students in order to assist them and connect them with campus resources.  A similar plan is running during the First-Accelerated Term, with alerts and communication dates modified to align with the shorter accelerated term.

Alert and communication plans are also continuing for NJ STARS, Athletics, and Pre-Nursing, and a plan is designed to connect students in MATH 156, Introduction to Statistics, and ENGL 151/098, English I/Writing Skills Development, with tutoring services.

  • Athletics

OCC sophomore Jordan Viggiano was named “Female Athlete of the Year” for Ocean County College by the Garden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) and the New Jersey Association of Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (NJAIAW) at the 36th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Day, celebrated virtually on February 2, 2022.  Jordan, a two-sport OCC student-athlete who competes in Women’s Soccer and Women’s Basketball, earned both NJCAA All-Region XIX and All-Garden State Athletic Conference Team honors in her first year of Women’s Soccer and is currently nationally ranked in points-per-game and total points scored in Women’s Basketball. Jordan also excels academically, completing the Fall 2021 semester with a 4.0 GPA.  Jordan is currently planning on participating in one of the Spring sports as well, so we may have a three-sport standout this year.

  • Office of Disability Services
    • The Office of Disability Services participated in several virtual training and networking opportunities hosted by the national Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD) and the NJ AHEAD chapter. Topics of discussion included best practices for student documentation, testing center accessibility and procedures, STEM accessibility, and universal design framework.  Concepts discussed will be shared and applied throughout the campus community.
    • Assistant Director of Disability Services Jamie Arasz Prioli conducted an overview of Disability Services for prospective students and family members from Pinelands Regional High School and the Jackson School District. A combined total of 54 participants joined the virtual events which were conducted over the course of two days.  The overview included steps necessary for requesting accommodations at OCC and resources available during the college experience.
  • Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF)

In 2021, the New Jersey State Legislature designated April as Educational Opportunity Fund month to bring awareness about the many EOF support services offered to its scholars.  In April, OCC EOF staff and scholars will highlight the benefits and features of the state-funded program to the campus community.

In 1968, the Educational Opportunity Fund was established in the aftermath of the 1967 Newark, New Jersey, riots.  Then-Senator Thomas Kean created legislation to provide affordability and accessibility to low-income individuals interested in pursuing a college education.  Today the Educational Opportunity Fund provides outreach and academic support services at 28 public and 13 independent New Jersey institutions.

EOF@Ocean is a thriving program.  It supports low-income, first-generation college students who are motivated and committed to completing their degree programs.  While the program provides financial assistance, the greatest benefits are the services provided, which include monthly advising, academic coaching, and lifelong learning opportunities.  EOF staff annually facilitate leadership programming to enhance and develop leadership skills for its scholars.

Summers are active in EOF@Ocean.  First Experience is hosted to assist new EOF students in their transition to college.  For returning students, summer offers an opportunity to prepare for their return to campus.  EOF@Ocean serves as a community of learners and a network of support for students who are working towards the completion of associate degrees.  Whether students continue their education at a senior institution or enter the workforce, the goal for EOF students is to aim high and finish strong.

Ocean County College is proud to announce the formation of Alpha Alpha Alpha Gamma Psi, only the second county college to form an honor society recognizing first generation students, faculty, and staff.  A May induction ceremony is planned.

Each year the EOF Board of Directors and the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education recognize the highest achieving EOF students in the state.  EOF is pleased to present:

      • Two Distinguished Scholars – cumulative grade point average of 4.0
      • Mattalyn McCaffrey
      • Hailey Sadowski
      • Two Outstanding Scholars – cumulative grade point average of 3.5 to 3.99
      • Tori Benoit
      • Melissa Binoya
      • One Academic Achievement Award – cumulative grade point average 3.2 to 3.49
      • Leticia Lacerda
      • Outstanding Achievement Award (only one student may be nominated) – for the student who exemplifies the spirit and intent of EOF
      • Melissa Binoya

Sincere congratulations are extended to these outstanding EOF students.

  • Southern Education Center
    • The video-connected (VC) immersive synchronous classrooms have now been instructionally operational for a full month. These rooms use an advanced technological system of large screen televisions, wireless microphones, and camera systems, with Webex connectivity to allow students to engage in classes simultaneously on the Toms River campus and the SEC.  Additionally, the Workforce and Professional Education Department is conducting two remote-learning High School Equivalency classes from the SEC.  Currently in a pilot model, reports from students studying in the VC course have stated they would continue to register for VC classes from the SEC as the time and money saved in the commute from Southern Ocean County is significant.
    • As registration has started for summer courses, the VC idea will be further utilized to assist students in registering for, then completing, course work at the SEC.  In planning for the Fall 2022 semester, 14 VC classes have been proposed, which will give southern county students a wide variety of additional class opportunities as they work toward degree completion.  The staff of the OCC IT Department are recognized and commended for their attention in assisting faculty and lecturers to use the VC system to provide instruction.
    • Kashonna Garcon and Ms. Toni Ann Di Pasquale, both SEC Academic Advisors, virtually attended the Rowan University 5th Annual First-Gen Symposium on February 2 and 3, 2022.
    • The SEC Student Services Office staff continues to assist the main campus Academic Advising Offices by handling the Academic Advising email in-box.
    • The SEC Canvas shell continues to be used as a message board to alert students to the many services offered at the College. Recent announcements have been posted to alert students to Tutoring Services, the recent NJ Virtual College Transfer Fair, and Career Services.  Since the SEC’s opening for the Spring semester, there have been over 1,000 views of the announcements.  The OCC App is now also being programmed with direct messages to students on the SEC tab.
    • The SEC has a full-page ad in the Southern Ocean Chamber of Commerce 2022 Land and Sea publication. The College Relations team has been very helpful in publicizing the opportunities available at the SEC to the Long Beach Island and southern county communities.  The ad can be seen here:
    • The SEC Food Pantry has been re-stocked and is now available to assist any students who are experiencing food insecurity. Appreciation goes to Ms. Katherine Moreno, Coordinator of Student Basic Needs, and the funding provided to re-establish the SEC Food Pantry from the Hunger-Free Campus Grant.
  • Veterans and Military Resources Center
    • February has been engaging and innovative for the Veterans and Military Resources team. The Veterans Engaging Teachers and Students (VETS program) started this Spring semester with student veterans interacting with classes on campus and at Toms River High Schools.

Eleven OCC faculty members and lecturers have requested student veterans to engage their classes, which provides the opportunity for veteran students to reflect on their experiences and for non-military students to hear veterans’ perspectives as they return to college.  The veteran students have been invited to visit social work, English, business management, history, and sign language classes.

    • The VMRC Work-study Program also began in February, with four fellow military and veteran students now employed at the Center. These students will advocate for socioeconomic opportunities in event creation and production as well as brainstorm with the staff to provide mentorship and guidance to support the student veterans.  Military and veteran students can learn more about the Work-Study program by contacting Mr. Ryan Luurtsema, Assistant Director of the Veterans and Military Resources Center, at
    • Veterans Program Assistant Rachelle Bertholf has been working on developing workshops in partnership with Career Services Coordinator Kirsten Bollinger. Workshops include Scholarship How-To, Resume and Cover Letter Translation, Chat and Chew with Assistant Director Ryan Luurtsema.
    • In early May, the VMRC will host an inaugural, old-school Drive-In Movie Night on campus. The outdoor pop-up theatre will be located in the overflow area of Parking Lot #2, with Ghostbusters: Afterlife being presented as the first movie.

All are welcome; admission is free and open to the public.  The parking lot will open at 5 p.m., and the movie will begin at 6 p.m.  Refreshments will be provided from 5 to 7 p.m. by a food truck, Good Food=Good Mood.  If interested in attending, contact Ms. Rachelle Bertholf, at or 732.255.0400, ext. 2080.

    • With the overwhelming success of Green Zone Training (GZT) in November 2021, the VMRC hosted the first Spring semester Green Zone Training on February 16, 2022. GZT is an on-campus training workshop offered to faculty, lecturers, and staff  by the VMRC team that provides a military and veteran cultural understanding to increase proficiency and situational analysis when interacting with the military and veteran community.  Two more opportunities for the training will be offered this Spring:
    • Wednesday, April 6, 2022, from 2:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. in Bartlett Hall, Room 203
    • Friday, April 8, 2022, from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. via Webex

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

  • Academics

The e-Learning Department continues to plan the online course schedule to maximize efficiency and increase student enrollment. The department completed a comprehensive analysis of enrollment data for the last four academic years to develop the Spring 2022 schedule.  Following are the results of the analysis:

    • The course section offerings are now evenly distributed among the various sessions, allowing students to register throughout the academic semester.
    • The number of courses offered was reduced from 315 to 268, which is a 15% decrease in course sections from 2021.
    • The number of registered credit hours is 5.3% higher than the 2021 Spring reporting totals. These numbers will fluctuate until both the Spring Quick Term and Spring Accelerated 2 Session close.
    • The data has shown an improvement in average class size and total capacity: the average class size in the Spring 2021 and Spring Accelerated 1 sessions was 21 students, and the courses ran at 63% capacity.  In the same sessions in Spring 2022, the average class size is 27 students, and the courses are at 85% capacity.
    • e-Learning has reduced the cancellation rate from 22% in Spring 2021 to less than 1% in Spring 2022, a 97% decrease in the e-Learning cancellation rate.
    • Lastly, the number of sections running at the reduced rate (less than ten students at census) has decreased from 22% in 2021 to 11% in 2022.

The department has taken the same approach with the Summer 2022 schedule and is projecting an increase in the student registered hours and class size.

    • e-Learning Professional Development Series
      • Turnitin

The Spring 2022 Professional Development Series began on February 2, 2022, with training on Turnitin plagiarism software.  e-Learning partnered with Turnitin representative Gabriella Singh, Product Growth Manager, who led an interactive activity on effectively using Turnitin for Canvas assignments, modifying Turnitin settings, and viewing the Similarity Report results when grading.  Fourteen faculty and lecturers attended the training.

      • Quality Matters Certification

In February 2022, e-Learning faculty, lecturers, and staff completed Quality Matters Applying the QM Rubric training.  Quality Matters is the global organization leading quality assurance in online and innovative digital teaching and learning environments.  It provides a scalable quality assurance system for online and blended learning used within and across organizations.  In this training, e-Learning personnel learned and mastered the QM Higher Education Rubric, which consisted of the following eight standards:

          1. Course Overview and Introduction
          2. Learning Objectives (Competencies)
          3. Assessment and Measurement
          4. Instructional Materials
          5. Learning Activities and Learner Interaction
          6. Course Technology
          7. Learner Support
          8. Accessibility and Usability

In completing the training, the e-Learning staff learned how to enhance the quality of distance learning courses using QM and e-Learning standards to create a rich experience for OCC’s students.

      • Roundtable for Adjuncts
        The e-Learning Roundtables for Adjuncts began on Thursday, February 17, 2022.  These meetings provide online instructors with networking opportunities and the chance to discuss best online teaching practices.  In the February session, a panel of OCC e-Learning experts presented on how to succeed in e-Learning.  The Adjunct Roundtables are held on the third Thursday of every month, except for March due to OCC’s Spring Break.  The March Roundtable will be held on Thursday, March 31, 2022, at 6 p.m.
    • e-Learning Personnel

Dr. Eugene de Silva, e-Learning College Lecturer II in Science,  was awarded by the Advisory Council of the Open Textbook Collaborative (OTC) with a New Jersey higher education project funded by the U.S. Department of Education.  The project aims to develop two OER Chemistry textbooks for Organic Chemistry I and Organic Chemistry II to reduce the overall cost for students enrolled at higher education institutions using traditional publisher course materials.

    • International Programs

On February 6, 2022, Dr. Maysa Hayward, Associate Vice President of International Programs, traveled to Washington, D.C., to meet with Dr. Essam Elkordi, President of Alalamein International University (AIU); Dr. Richard Helldobler, President of William Paterson University (WPU); and Dr. Guillermo De Veyga, Vice President for Strategic initiatives and University Relations at WPU.  The purpose of the trip was for the three parties to discuss partnerships.  The meeting took place in the Embassy of Egypt with Dr. Ali Masood, the Embassy’s cultural attaché.

On February 25, 2022, Dr. Hayward will travel to Egypt with Dr. Antonio Tillis, Chancellor of Rutgers University Camden, and me to meet with Egyptian National University delegates to discuss potential partnerships with OCC projects in Egypt.

Upon my departure from Egypt, Dr. Hayward will remain and will resume her face-to-face efforts to recruit students.  Dr. Hayward will attend the Egyptian EDUGATE college fair on March 14, 2022, and she will also visit potential Egyptian high schools to meet students and parents.

OCC’s International team is currently preparing digital and physical marketing materials to assist Dr. Hayward in her endeavors in Egypt.  The team consists of Dr. Howaida Wahby Eraky, Assistant Dean of e-Learning, International Programs; Ms. Lauren Remenyi, e-Learning College Lecturer II; and Ms. Marwa Khalifa, e-Learning Academic Administrator.


Board of Trustees Meeting February 24, 2022

The following has been prepared for presentation to the Ocean County College Board of Trustees, for its regular meeting. This report consists of all offenses defined as reportable crimes under the federal Jeanne Clery Act, fires, and other emergencies, which occurred on campus during the reporting period of January 22 through February 22, 2022

1.)     A count and classification of all criminal incidents (defined as reportable crimes under the federal Jeanne Clery Act) which occurred on campus and which were recorded by campus security, campus security authority (CSA) or local police departments.


2.)     A list of campus alerts, threats or emergencies which occurred on campus


3.)     A count and classification of all fire incidents which occurred on campus and which were recorded by campus security and local fire departments.



Sydney Stroman
Assistant Director

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