skip to main content
Search Button


January 25, 2023

Dr. Larson’s January 26, 2023 Report to the Board of Trustees

OCC President Dr. Larson

Academic Affairs

Partnership for Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst – Infinity Spark Innovation Laboratory

Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst’s Infinity Spark Innovation Lab and the Ocean County College School of STEM benchmarked two inaugural programs this year, solidifying a dedicated partnership.  The first program is a first-ever accredited degree program to accelerate opportunities for JB MDL Airmen to earn an A.A.S. degree from OCC, awarding them credits for their prior learning experience.  The second program is an Internship Capstone program for OCC Computer Science students to collaborate with Infinity Spark Software Subject Matter Experts on various projects.  These efforts have secured a commitment to legacy opportunities that promise continued growth between JB MDL and OCC.

Dr. Sylvia Riviello, Dean of STEM, will be joined by Master Sergeant Steven Hoare, Master Sergeant Dean Morton, and Technical Sergeant Andrew Chadbourn for a presentation on these programs at Thursday’s meeting.

Critical Thinking and Information Literacy

Critical thinking and information literacy are important skills for students to possess in navigating through modern times.  At the Board meeting, Mr. James Marshall, Associate Director of Assessment, Ms. Donna Rosinski-Kauz, Executive Director of the Library, and Dr. Rosann Bar, Dean of the School of Business and Social Sciences, will showcase how these two skills are embedded as learning objectives within courses, especially general education courses, offered here at Ocean County College.  These learning objectives are regularly assessed in a formal way to ensure that students are meeting OCC’s standards with regard to these skills.  Three courses in particular that are required for all students incorporate these skills in classroom assignments – ENGL 151, English I; ENGL 152, English II; and STSC 150, Student Success Seminar.  One of these, STSC 150, Student Success Seminar, will be highlighted to demonstrate how this is accomplished.  The role of the Library in promoting information literacy will also be discussed.

School of Arts and Humanities

Dr. Jennifer Dellner, Professor of English, participated in the 44th Annual Conference of the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies (AIS) held at Sonoma State University in California from November 9 to 12, 2022.  Dr. Dellner, President of the AIS, attended the board meeting and gave welcome remarks.  Based on work for a book chapter in progress, Dr. Dellner presented “Pedagogies of the Distressed: Interdisciplinarity and the Great Afterburn,” focusing on the return to campus after the pandemic lockdown phase and the shifts in student learning, practices of scholarship, and co-curricular life that have begun to emerge, and how remote and hybrid courses are finding new and uneasy places in the curriculum.  This interactive session examined interdisciplinary practices of teaching and scholarship as potential structures of pedagogies of care, liberation, and “radical hope.”  Dr. Dellner also moderated and participated in a roundtable session, “Beyond Interdisciplinarity: A Book Conversation with Julie Thompson Klein,” that sought to extend understanding and application of Thompson Klein’s theories of inter- and trans-disciplinarity.

On December 3, 2022, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Humanities Anthony Tafrow led OCC’s Concert Band performance of “A Children’s Holiday.”  The concert was a hit with audiences, with one audience member even noting: “The annual Christmas concert is a must-attend…Tony Tafrow makes it even better.  He provides a sense of community.  His music selections are so great, some familiar, and some always pleasant surprises.”

OCC’s Repertory Theatre Company, with Communications and Theater College Lecturer Paul Chalakani and Dr. Elizabeth Brierley, Associate Professor of Humanities, presented Broadway for the Holidays 2 from December 9 to 18, 2022.  With sold-out audiences singing and clapping along, the Theatre Company performed more than 20 favorite holiday songs from the Great White Way.

Assistant Professor of Humanities Kathy Basilotto, Instructor of Humanities Saundra Piscitelli, Adjunct Assistant Professor Becky Selden-Kelly, and Alyssa Gastelu led a spirited ASL Holiday Rock & Roll Show on December 17, 2022.  The show was well-attended by OCC students and the local Deaf community.  Several gift baskets were raffled off to audience members.  Proceeds from the event support the ASL Interpreter Training Program Club.

Instructor of Humanities Karin Gargone, College Lecturer in Humanities Brian Gilmore, and several music adjuncts held a Music Open House that was very successful.  Students performed in three well-attended recitals on December 22 and 23, 2022.

School of Business and Social Sciences

Business Studies College Lecturers Chris Bottomley and Ibrahim Moustafa hosted a Marketing Symposium, GOOGLE Analytics, with Mr. Jim Mahlmann from NetCetra on November 17, 2022.  The program targeted eight sections of marketing classes and was hosted by OCC’s Business Innovation Consortium.  Mr. Mahlmann utilized case studies for two companies, Temple Real Estate from New Jersey and barbecue manufacturer Lang from Georgia, to showcase the power of market research and data analytics.  Students had an opportunity to witness live reports generated with the strength of cloud computing in the areas of real-time, audience, behavior, acquisitions, and custom forms.  They also participated in a Q&A forum.  The program had 192 attendees.

Mr. Sean Bips, College Lecturer II in Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management (HRTM), was invited on December 5, 2022, to become an official member of the New Jersey Advisory Board for Hospitality and Tourism.  Along with representing OCC’s HRTM program at the state level, there are several areas that the Hospitality and Tourism Advisory Board will need to address over time, which include identifying strategies to increase the number of students from underrepresented groups, strengthening the link between secondary schools and postsecondary institutions to increase credit-bearing opportunities, identifying current and potential apprenticeships for students enrolled in state-approved career and technical education programs in the field, and aligning new and emerging fields to current programs.  The Board’s immediate need is to discuss updates to the CTE Teaching Certificate Self-Evaluation Guides for the Hospitality and Tourism certifications, including Food Management, Travel and Tourism, Hospitality and Tourism, Baking, and Culinary Arts.

OCC’s Psychology Club held a semester-long donation drive in order to provide socks (the number one requested item in homeless shelters) to a local shelter.  The Box of Socks collection boxes were placed in multiple buildings around campus, giving students, faculty, and staff an opportunity to give to those in need.  According to Psychology College Lecturer II James Indelicato, who is the club advisor, the drive resulted in an impressive 555 pairs of socks for distribution.

Representatives from the Convention of States project, Ms. Sheila Molloy, Captain for Legislative District 9, and Mr. Todd Lund, Jr., Assistant Captain for the District, spoke with American Federal Government students on December 7, 2022.  This event allowed students to discuss how advocacy groups operate within the context of the American system.  The presentation was facilitated by Political Science College Lecturer II Jason Ghibesi, who is the Director of OCC’s Governmental Affairs Institute.

The Ocean Education Club, led by Dr. Nicole Kammer, College Lecturer II in Education, hosted a cookie and cardmaking event at the Larson Student Center on December 6, 2022.  OCC students enjoyed festival holiday cookies while designing a holiday card to distribute to children in the hospital.  All cards made for the event were sent to Cards for a Cause, a nonprofit organization dedicated to delivering comfort, encouragement, hope, and joy and easing the stress of a hospital stay through cards for children facing severe illness.  The Ocean Education Club also donated multicultural stuffed elves and books to children in kindergarten and first grade at St. Mary Academy in Manahawkin with money raised during the club’s November 15, 2022, bake sale.  The “book buddies initiative” aims to promote early literacy and encourage young children in Ocean County to read over the holiday break.

School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Fifty-eight students completed the Nursing Program in December 2022 and are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses, which is required to obtain licensure to practice.

Students returned to campus the week of January 9, 2023, to practice skills in preparation for the Spring semester.  All returning students must demonstrate competency in skills during the first week of classes before entering clinical agencies.  Over the course of six days, 216 students currently enrolled in the Nursing Program participated in two-hour sessions within the skills labs under the guidance and direction of lab personnel.

Ninety new students will begin the program in the Spring 2023 semester.  Orientation for new students was held on January 10, 2023.  During the orientation program, students met the Nursing lecturers and staff.  They were introduced to program policies and procedures, received information on the use of their electronic textbooks, and were offered strategies to support their success in completing the program.  Representatives from the Student Nurse Organization reviewed the organization’s goals and provided lunch to encourage introductions between students, staff, and lecturers.

Lecturers and staff met with clinical instructors on January 12, 2023, to provide information regarding assignments, simulation and skills lab experiences, and updates to the School of Nursing’s policies and procedures.  This semester, there are approximately 36 clinical rotations with 32 instructors assisting lecturers within various clinical agencies.

Lecturers attended a video conference, “Next Generation NCLEX: Countdown to Launch,” presented by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing on January 9, 2023.  This presentation focused on preparing students for the new licensure examination, which goes into effect in April 2023.  The updated examination assesses the new graduate’s ability to think critically, measuring their clinical judgment to ensure they are competent and safe to enter the nursing profession as new practitioners.

School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Dr. Joe Brickley, Computer Studies College Lecturer II, will judge at the Congressional App Challenge.   Congressman Chris Smith will host the event, which is open to middle and high school students from throughout the 4th Legislative District.  This competition encourages students to get involved in science, technology, engineering, and math by creating and exhibiting software applications.

During December, Engineering College Lecturer II Pam Bogdan hosted a career panel.  Ms. Bogdan also reported that one of OCC’s engineering students was offered a part-time position at the Manchester Township Department of Inspections, Land Use, and Planning.

The Engineering Week speed mentoring event will be held on February 23, 2023.  During this event, participants engage with industry partner mentors in ten-minute sessions to discuss various topics, such as career insights, resume feedback, academic choices, and job recruiting.  OCC will have a registration form for both participants and mentors in the coming weeks at various STEM events.

The Robotics Competition held on December 1, 2022, was very well received, with more than 150 middle and high school students and their teachers participating in a day filled with team competition.

HyFlex Classes

In Fall 2022, 35 different HyFlex courses were offered in 65 sections in the Schools of STEM, Business and Social Sciences, and Arts and Humanities, more than double the number of HyFlex sections offered in Summer 2022.  Students in these sections decided the classes they wanted to join remotely or in person.

One of the initial concerns about allowing students to decide when to join remotely or in person was that they might stop coming to classes.  Data is now available to refute this notion, as many faculty and lecturers have seen it in their classes.  Of the courses, there are differences in remote attendance based on the subject, days, times, and faculty/lecturers.  However, on average, 14.4% of students joined remotely in any given class, based on nearly 1,300 students in these 65 HyFlex sections.

Also analyzed was the performance of these 1,300 students, of whom about one-third, or 466 students, did not join remotely at all during the entire semester and two-thirds, or 823 students, joined at least one class remotely.  The average score of those who attended the class remotely once or more was 79 vs. 73 for students who did not attend remotely.

OCC is committed to its HyFlex strategy to provide more flexibility to the students to help them achieve their educational goals.  Fall data suggest HyFlex contributes to better learning as measured by final grade, which would improve retention and persistence.  To that end, the number of HyFlex courses and sections is being increased to 63 and 95 for this Spring semester, respectively.  This semester, 13 courses are also being offered jointly between Toms River and the SEC in Manahawkin in 26 video-connected sections.

OCC Library

The OCC Library Modernization Project is underway.  There will be an upgraded classroom/multipurpose room, more individual and group study rooms, a collaborative workspace and learning commons area, and greater access to technology.  Several study rooms will be equipped with conferencing equipment, allowing for both in-person and virtual collaborative meetings and discussions.  Several rooms will be able to host presentations and film screenings and will be available to schedule for use.  The Podcast Station will have a new, dedicated space.

The project will begin on June 1, 2023, with all personnel in the Library building being relocated to other buildings on campus.  The Library will be in the Russell Building, where there will be a staffed computer lab for student use and several areas where librarians and other staff will be available.  Information Literacy classes will be taught in the classrooms or virtually, depending on the professor’s or lecturer’s preference.  Access to Library resources will be through the Library electronic resource collections; students, faculty, lecturers, and staff will be able to request print materials through the Interlibrary Loan service.  Library faculty, lecturers, and staff will also take the Pop-Up Library to multiple locations across campus and the SEC.

Center for Academic Success

During Fall 2023, the STEM School, in collaboration with the Center for Academic Success and industry partner CompTIA, will roll out a Career and Technical Education-focused College Academy at Lakewood High School.  The CTE focus for the Lakewood Academy will be Computer Science (Artificial Intelligence and Cybersecurity), Engineering, and Health Sciences Technology.  Lakewood High School will select 25 rising eighth-grade students with overall GPAs between 1.85 and 2.4 to participate in the academy.  The goal of the program is to assist each participating student with achieving a high school diploma, an associate degree from OCC, and a bachelor’s degree from Kean University.  To support students in completing their degrees, the Lakewood Academy program will utilize the College Readiness Now model, which focuses on getting at-risk students college and career ready.

Curriculum and Program Development

Based on a comprehensive review of market and industry needs in Ocean County, the College has begun to focus heavily on new academic programs in the health sciences.  In particular, there is a need for Medical Laboratory Technicians.  To this end, in the Fall of 2022 an application was submitted requesting Hovnanian Foundation funds to develop this new program and create a new dedicated space for Medical Laboratory Technicians.  The funding application was approved.  The College has already begun preparations and hopes to offer the program to students in the coming year.

This project was researched and developed by Title III Director Mary Gibson, Executive Director of Curriculum and Program Development Susan O’Connor, Chemistry College Lecturer Maria Steblyanko, and Part-Time Data Research Specialist Amy Bobish in partnership with the School of STEM and OCC Foundation Executive Director Ken Malagiere.  In addition, the College is currently researching possible funding and program development in both Occupational Therapy Assistant and Physical Therapy Assistant in the near future.

OCC is thrilled to announce the launch of its new Viking Peer Mentor Program.  This Perkins-funded initiative aims to enhance the student experience for Career and Technical Education learners by linking mentees one-on-one with trained peer mentors.  The Viking Peer Mentor Program provides mentees the opportunity to be paired with someone invested in their success,  a fellow student who is ready to listen, inspire, help navigate challenges, and recognize opportunities, while mentors will build their networks and develop skills to become better professionals and leaders.  This program development was led by Ms. Kayla Stahl, Program Director of Technical Education Programs, with the assistance of Ms. Susan O’Connor.  Special thanks go to Ms. Eileen Schilling, Senior Liaison to the President for Institutional Initiatives; Ms. Brianna DeCicco, Associate Director of Academic and Tutoring Services; Ms. Veronica Guevara-Lovgren, Executive Director of Student Services; Ms. Mary Gibson; and all who offered their guidance in launching this exciting initiative.

Finance and Administration

COVID-19 Information for the Spring 2023 Semester

COVID testing is no longer provided on campus, but positive COVID-19 cases continue to be tracked and masks are available on campus.  Students and staff who are ill or receive positive test results should contact the Health Reporting Team.

OCC Audit

Work on the fiscal year 2022 audit is complete, and a draft audit report has been issued.  The audit cannot be finalized until the State releases pension numbers; however, there were no audit findings again this year.  Appreciation is expressed to the Accounting staff led by Ms. Mary Lancaster, Controller, and Ms. Kathleen Higham, Director of Financial Reporting, as well as the Financial Aid staff.

OCC Budget

As the College enters the second half of FY2023, it is apparent that enrollment will not meet budgeted projections.  Enrollment comprises almost 60% of College revenue; in order to remain in balance, expenses must be curtailed.  As a result, all vacancies are being reviewed prior to posting, and only essential positions will be filled.  In addition, we are looking at improving space utilization, which will allow the campus to be operated more efficiently.

The FY24 budget is currently being developed, and it is clear that increases to tuition and course fees will be recommended for next year.  Efforts will continue to improve enrollment and revenue from all sources, but expenses will need to be monitored closely for the foreseeable future.

Office of Information Technology

IT continues to focus on the security of the College’s systems, and preventative tools are the best way to guard against breaches.  Two-factor authentication to sign in to OCC systems is a security tool that has been a requirement for employees for some time.  Effective the week of February 6, 2023, this requirement will extend to all students.  Access to Ocean Connect, Canvas, and off-campus access to Office365 will require DUO authentication.  A no-cost token will be provided to students who do not have smartphones.  The IT Helpdesk will be available to assist students who need help getting started with DUO.

College Relations


The Alumni E-Newsletter was distributed last week to over 21,000 alumni email addresses. It highlights services and events for alumni, including all of the Foundation-sponsored events, such as Mini-Golf and the Blauvelt Speaker Series as well as professional development with WPE, Career Services, and Grunin Center programming.

TV Studio

Ms. Mary Granahan, TV Studio Director, recently led two workshops with Toms River Intermediate Schools.  In these workshops, the students had the chance to operate equipment and create short interviews about topics of their choosing.  The students were engaged, excited, and respectful of studio staff and equipment.  Many students expressed interest in enrolling at OCC to take advantage of the Digital Mass Media program.

OCC Foundation

The Foundation announced that it received a major gift from the Dover-Brick Beach First Aid Squad in the amount of $500,000 to establish the Dover-Brick Beach First Aid Public Health Scholarship Fund.  This expendable fund will be dedicated to scholarships and special grant support in health sciences with distribution available in both Fall and Spring terms as well as graduating awards, at the discretion of the OCC Foundation.  Additionally, funds may be used in a given fiscal year to support programming of educational value in the health sciences for enrolled OCC students and/or to benefit the public health of the broader Ocean County community.

The Foundation Board Chair and the entire Foundation team thank Trustee Harvey York for introducing this organization to the Foundation and for the opportunity provided to make a lasting impact through the Legacy Campaign.

Appreciation is expressed to all who participated in this year’s annual appeal, the most successful effort to date for this giving opportunity.  The appeal raised over $82,000 for the students of Ocean County College.  Thanks are also extended to all who participated in the Foundation’s first joint friend/fundraiser, a miniature golf tournament, with the Foundation of RWJ Barnabas Community Medical Center.  The event was held on Friday, January 20, 2023, in the Jon and Judith Larson Student Center.

This Spring, the Blauvelt Speaker Series will welcome Olympic Gold Medalist Mia Hamm on March 8, 2023, and Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss on April 25, 2023.  Seating is limited so seats should be reserved at  The full committee met to review possible speakers for the upcoming academic year.

Save the date of Friday, June 23, 2023, for the 2023 Annual Scholarship Celebration to celebrate the students of Ocean County College.

Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts

The holiday shows were a huge success in the Grunin Center.  The Vienna Boys Choir and Christmas with the Celts were especially successful.  Broadway for the Holidays in OCC’s Repertory Theater was completely sold out over two weekends in December.

The final Afternoon Recital Series event took place in December, featuring Jee Sun Lee, violin;

DoYeon Kim, cello; Brian Gilmore, piano; and guest artists Hyun Joon Shin, violin; and Mitsuru Kubo, viola.  They played Cesar Franck’s Piano Quintet in F minor (1879) and String Quartet in D major (1889).

The Nai-Ni Chen Dance Company will perform four School n’ Stage shows on January 25 and 26, 2023.  Many local elementary schools will attend the program, which highlights the Chinese New Year celebrations.

Interim Executive and Artistic Director Heidi Sheridan and Assistant Directors Jessica Zawerczuk and Jaclyn Wood attended the Association of Performing Arts Professionals conference in New York City in early January.  The conference included professional development, artistic showcases, and networking opportunities.

Novins Planetarium

December brought in Toms River’s sixth graders for Star talks and various educational programming.  The holiday shows were very successful, especially Noon Years and Let it Snow.

Workforce and Professional Education

Apprenticeship Programs

Since 2021, 115 OCC students have participated in Workforce and Professional Education Apprenticeship Programs, including 45 in FY2022 and 30 to date in FY2023.  The students are completing comprehensive on-the-job training (OJT) in Medical Assisting, Medical Billing and Coding, and Community Health Worker programs.  Recently, a cohort of 10 Certified Clinical Medical Assistants completed their 2,000 hours of on-the-job training following their OCC occupational training.  These 10 students finished their program with 38 industry-valued credentials and have moved straight to employment.

Adult Basic Education – Fall 2022 Overview

In Fall 2022, adult basic education courses ran from September 10 to December 2, 2022, serving 476 students (68 adult basic education, 311 ESL, and 97 Integrated English Literacy and Civics Education).  During this time, 26 students began and/or finished the HiSET exam preparations, including 11 students who obtained their diplomas and 8 students who need to pass just one more subject to continue to prepare for their next exam in this program.  In addition, in the Fall, 80 new students were engaged in community activities by attending family literacy workshops and Hispanic Day events in Lakewood.


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 December 3, 2022, through January 20, 2023.

Student Affairs


Curriculum Tracks

Academic Advising is continuing to expand the piloting of Curriculum Tracks in Student Planning.  Curriculum Tracks allow advisors to enter complete course plans for students with the click of one button.  Benefits of utilizing Curriculum Tracks include:

    • Reducing the time needed for an advisor to complete a plan for a student.
    • Providing students with comprehensive plans from the beginning of their programs, highlighting course sequences, semester-specific courses, and timelines for graduation
    • Increased accuracy in advising and ability of more advisors for specialized programs.
    • Institutional ability to understand the courses students will need in a given semester.
    • Ability to create special tracks geared to transfer or specialized curricular areas.

Currently, Curriculum Tracks are created for 20 degree and certificate programs, with the goal of completing all programs by April 2023.   The Advising Office will be working to create full course plans for all new students in Fall 2023.  As part of this full implementation, the Advising Office will continue to offer training in using Curriculum Tracks to all campus advisors.  Additionally, the Advising Office plans to partner with Academic Affairs to connect with students via the STSC 150 course, Student Success Seminar, with the goal of teaching students how to understand and utilize their academic plans.

Advise CRM Instructor Alerts

Advising, Enrollment and Retention Services, Academic Affairs, and IT are continuing to collaborate to implement and expand the usage of Instructor Alerts (Faculty CX) via Advise CRM.

In Fall 2022, access to Instructor Alerts was expanded to approximately 70 face-to-face and e-learning instructors.  Instructors were trained on the utilization of the alerts, and the outreach plan for the Success Coaches was reviewed under the supervision of Dr. Kathleen Mohr, Assistant Director of Enrollment Services.  In Fall 2022, a total of 1,202 alerts were issued to 999 individual students by 26 instructors.  Missed assignments were the most utilized alert, making up 39% of all alerts.

A survey of participating instructors from Fall was conducted to assess training efforts and the efficacy of the alerts and outreach efforts.  The survey received a 73% response rate.  While 94% of instructors indicated that the alerts worked well, about half of the instructors stated that creating additional alerts would help them more accurately report concerns.  Subsequently, meetings with the instructors have been scheduled this month to compile more feedback and improve the alerts for Spring 2023.

Instructors may continue to have access to these alerts in Spring 2023, with adjustments made to participants in collaboration with Academic Affairs and e-Learning.  Training will be offered to new instructors or those wishing to review the information.

Career Services


On December 21, 2022, Dr. Debbie Kepics, Director of Career Services, presented to Certified Medical Assistant students on interview skills and how to be valuable employees.  AtlantiCare recruiting representatives also shared their opportunities and provided one-on-one interviews for students who did not have a placement yet.

On January 10, 2023, Dr. Debbie Kepics presented to 44 seventh grade students from Toms River Intermediate East on the exploration of careers.

Career Services connected Hard Rock and Borgata Casinos to College Lecturer Sean Bips and Manager of Apprenticeship Programs Jannette Ball for future internship, apprenticeship, and job fair opportunities for students.

Ms. Taylor Dulemba, Career Services Coordinator, and Dr. Debbie Kepics will be presenting to the January Medical Billing and Coding graduates on resume writing, interview skills, and negotiations.

Planning is underway for various major-specific career fairs and employer tables in the Larson Student Center.  Career Services will begin to have ongoing office hours in Advising, the Southern Education Center, and the Student Center for visibility to students.

To make it easier to schedule appointments with Career Services, a Q-Less will be implemented for student appointment requests.

Enrollment Services

On December 7, 2022, Deaf and hard-of-hearing students from Neptune High School visited and toured the campus.  They played the game Kahoot to learn more about the College and met with Disability Services.

On December 8, 2022, senior students from a career class at Manchester High School met with Enrollment Services Advisors Melissa Sporer and Haley Abruzzese, toured the campus, as well as played a College 101 game.  They were interested in the Kean Ocean partnership and learning more about the programs available at OCC and Kean.

Dr. Sheenah Hartigan, Executive Director of Student Enrollment, along with Registrar Janine Emma, Executive Director of School Relations Tom Gialanella, and Advisor Haley Abruzzese, met with guidance counselors and supervisors from Brick Township and Brick Memorial High Schools to discuss the new online registration process for Early College classes.  It is anticipated that these two schools, with the Performing Arts Academy, will pilot online self-registration for the Spring 2023 terms through the use of Student Planning.

Enrollment Services Advisor Melissa Sporer visited the RAISE Academy on December 21, 2022, to present to interested students who recently earned their high school diplomas.  RAISE (Reasonable Alternative to Incarceration Through Self-Esteem) is a program that works with young adults who have terminated their high school education to prepare for and successfully complete the requirements for the High School Equivalency Exam.

In December, the Success Team completed 1,829 outgoing phone calls, and the HUB team completed 3,794 outgoing calls to support enrollment and retention efforts.

A memo of understanding was signed between Ocean County College and TD Bank, allowing employees at Ocean County banks to take classes at OCC regardless of the county in which they reside.  OCC will also be invited to attend resource fairs and other employee engagement events through the partnership.

Ben Hudnall Memorial Trust student enrollment is currently up for Spring 2023 as compared to both Fall 2022 and Spring 2022.

Enrollment Services completed 726 transactions in December, with an average service duration of 3.2 minutes and an average wait time of 3.23 minutes.  The customer service rating for the month was 4.7 stars, and 86% of responders rated the HUB as extremely helpful.

Unfortunately, the HUB cannot act on all of this month’s student feedback as “cigars and brandy served” in the lobby was a recommendation about mid-way through December.  However, several students appreciated that their visit to the HUB came “with a smile.”

Office of Disability Services

Disability Services continues to see an increase in students requesting accommodations and assistance.  Wrapping up the Fall 2022 semester, Disability Services served 533 enrolled students, reflecting an 18.9% increase from Fall 2021 (448 students).  The office provided several direct support services, including 13 support group meetings for students with ADHD and/or self-identified as neurodivergent and 47 virtual drop-in sessions.

On January 12, 2023, Ms. Rachelle Frable, Disability Services Technician, attended a panel discussion titled “Self-Advocacy Means Speak Up:  Do With, Not For People with IDD.”  The event was sponsored by New Jersey Self-Advocacy Network and included people with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (IDD).  Self-advocates shared their lived experiences, best practices in communicating with and about people with IDD, and how advocates and allies can encourage self-advocacy in all settings and address bias and microaggressions.

Southern Education Center

Shortly before the winter break, the SEC welcomed Barnegat High School students and staff involved with STEM courses to take part in several workshops offered by representatives from technology company CompTIA.  Executive Director of Academic Success Henry Jackson, Assistant Director of Academic Success Elaine Schardien, Student Services and Recruitment Specialist Jeffrey Kurz, and SEC Director Brian Schillaci connected with all participants to welcome them to the SEC/OCC.  The students and staff then worked with these industry leaders, learning about various opportunities in the tech field, including cybersecurity and artificial intelligence.  In addition to the real-world tech discussions, this visit gave Barnegat students and staff a chance to hear about opportunities offered to them at the SEC.

The SEC Canvas announcements continue to be an effective message board for students and staff.  Recent announcements have included the opportunity to register for Spring courses, dates when various services will be represented at the SEC, and various opportunities throughout the College.  There have been a number of days scheduled during the Spring semester for many OCC representatives to join the SEC in person.  This allows SEC students to gain a stronger understanding of the opportunities available to them closer to home.  Thank you to Disability Services, Career Services, the Library, Counseling, Student Support Services, and Student Life for continuing to connect with students at the SEC.

The SEC team welcomed students back Monday, January 23, 2023.  Academic Advisors Jeff Kurz, Toni Ann DiPasquale, Jenna McAteer, and Director Brian Schillaci personally greeted students as they arrived for their first days of class.  In addition to OCC planners, pens, and highlighters, students were welcomed with bagels and bottled water to kick off the new semester.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

General Meeting – Spring 2023

The e-Learning Department hosted its semi-annual Faculty General Meeting on January 17, 2023.  The theme of the meeting was, “Is it Fake or Real?  How to Identify Fraudulent Students and Coursework in a Virtual Classroom.”  The e-Learning administrators explained how students might use artificial intelligence to commit financial aid fraud.  Faculty and lecturers were trained to assess a student’s participation in the class and document and report suspicious student behavior.

Immediately following the general meeting, two breakout sessions were facilitated by the e-Learning team members.  Breakout Room I: e-Learning Highlights and Infomercials featured a virtual tour for the faculty and lecturers of the new e-BreakRoom.  The e-BreakRoom is a digital repository of educational resources and course setup documentation to assist with implementing the department’s best practices and standards for teaching an online course.  Also, updates were given on Simple Syllabus and Honorlock initiatives.

Breakout Room II:  Maximize Your Presence in the Virtual Classroom explored ways to encourage and strengthen student engagement through the following educational strategies:  using the course interactions to drive student engagement and aligning instructor methodology to promote student success in an online class.

Seventy-seven faculty and lecturers attended the meeting and breakout sessions.  e-Learning will continue to offer its monthly training this Spring and beyond.

Student Orientation Mandate

Starting this Spring 2023, e-Learning online classes will require all students to complete the proctored “Get Started Orientation Quiz” through OCC’s proctoring vendor, Honorlock.  The quiz will require each student to take a photo and present their government-issued identification to verify and authenticate the student’s identity to access the course content.  The content in the course will not populate until the student completes the orientation.

The e-Learning Department is collaborating with Student Affairs to notify the students of this new mandate.  The mandatory quiz information is posted in the class syllabus and announcements, which students can access and review five days before the official start date.

This change, plus student Duo sign-on, mandatory for all students starting February 6, 2023, should help minimize the number of fraudulent students encountered by faculty and lecturers in their online classes.

e-Learning Programs

The e-Learning Department has collaborated with the Academic Deans, Workforce Development, Student Services, and College Relations to build, market, and promote 7.5-week degree educational programs and certificate offerings for the 2023 Fall term.  These plans will provide students with a recommended series of courses (avoiding toxic combinations) to complete their coursework within two years.

Open Educational Resources

Every time a new course is developed, OER is the primary source of scholarly work used in the development.  There are 47 online courses with OER content across all academic subject areas, which equates to 24% of the online courses being offered.  The department plans to have over 40% of the online courses using OER material by the 2023 Fall semester.

Simple Syllabus – January 2023 Phase II

In the 2022 Fall term, Simple Syllabus was fully implemented in all e-Learning sections.  Simple Syllabus is a centralized template-driven platform that allows students to create and publish interactive class syllabi and allows online students access to their course syllabi five days before the official course start date.  The Fall online syllabi were viewed more than 38,000 times by over 5,100 duplicated students.  For Spring and beyond, e-Learning will continue exploring ways to maximize the use of this tool.

International Programs

International Programs is preparing for the start of the Ocean/Kean/Badr program by getting the proposal approved in Egypt, training personnel, and recruiting students.  Badr University will start recruiting students for the OCC/Kean Business program this Spring for cohorts beginning in Summer/Fall 2023.  In addition to this current partnership, e-Learning is also working to process the proposals for separate bridge programs (1+3 and 2+2) with Badr University.

In December 2022, Egypt’s homeland security approved the OCC/Al Alamein University/William Paterson University partnership memorandum of agreement (MOA).  The approved MOA is now forwarded to the Supreme Council of National Universities for approval of the programs academically.

From January 30 through February 4, 2023, Al Alamein International University President Dr. Essam El Kordy and Board of Trustees Chair Dr. Rushdy Zahran will visit OCC’s campus.  The visit will include meetings with William Paterson University, Kean University, and Rutgers University-Camden representatives.  It will also include discussions about the logistics of the consortium between four National Universities in Egypt and OCC and its affiliates for agreements on six programs to be offered for academic year 2023-2024.

Text Link