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June 2, 2022

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

OCC president Dr. Larson

Phi Theta Kappa

On April 28, 2022, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) honored 38 students from the state’s 18 community colleges for being named to the 2022 New Jersey All-State Academic Team.  The students were recognized for their outstanding academic achievements and exceptional service to their communities and colleges as members of Phi Theta Kappa, the national honor society for community colleges.  The New Jersey Community College Scholars Celebration was held at the New Jersey State Museum in Trenton.  OCC’s honorees were Kaitlin Barrett and Sarah Wymbs.

Unfortunately, Kaitlin was unable to attend the celebration in Trenton; however, we are delighted she will be with us at Thursday’s Board meeting.  Assistant Dean of STEM and PTK advisor Carolyn Showalter will introduce Kaitlin and present her with her medal of achievement and certificate of honor.  Additionally, Congressman Andy Kim asked that we present Congressional resolutions to Kaitlin and Sarah in recognition of their All-State status.

Ms. Showalter will also report on other PTK activities:

  • Kaitlyn Barrett and Sarah Wymbs led the Honors in Action Project for this year. Their research topic is “Heirs of Our Ways,” which centers on the questions:
    • How does one’s background affect the decision to attend college?
    • Why would an individual choose not to attend college?
    • Why would an individual feel pressure into attending college or not?
    • Why would an individual feel out of place in college?

Kaitlin and Sarah read numerous peer-reviewed published articles and concluded they would create a survey for OCC’s current student body and faculty to find out who struggled with the decision to attend college, or if they even thought attending college was possible for them.  This project will continue into next year.

  • The chapter’s College Project was researched this year and will be presented in Fall 2022. Tau Iota chose to improve the outdoor gathering areas on campus with the installation of outdoor heat lamps.  Research is continuing to identify the safest and most efficient commercial model heat lamps considering quality, cost, size, and fuel source.

Academic Affairs

School of Arts and Humanities

    • David Bordelon, Professor of English, will report at Thursday’s Board meeting with an overview of his sabbatical project, a revision of the Canvas Course shell for ENGL 151, English I.
    • From April 22 to May 1, 2022, Community/Theatre College Lecturer II Paul Chalakani and the OCC Repertory Theatre Company presented Arthur Miller’s classic, The Crucible, in the Black Box Theatre. Every performance was entirely sold out.
    • On April 28, 2022, Justin Pfeifer, College Lecturer II in History, led the History Club and about 12 student volunteers at the Old Methodist Cemetery in Toms River to do cleanup and conservation work at the historic grounds. This is part of an ongoing effort spearheaded by club president and soon-to-be graduate Joseph Latshaw, with the hope that further efforts will be made to conserve this historic site through mapping, fundraising, and research.
    • On May 7, 2022, the Grunin Center main stage hosted the OCC Concert Band’s performance of The Great American Songbook. The performance was highly acclaimed.
    • Music Instructor Karin Gargone and Fine Arts College Lecturer II Brian Gilmore hosted a music open house on May 13, 2022. The event featured three recitals, Individual Focus Student Recital, Vocal Ensemble Recital, and Music Club Student Recital, and was open to the community for the promotion of the music program and student music performances.

On May 15, 2022, Ms. Gargone, who is an organ and piano accompanist, led a concert of patriotic music at the Presbyterian Church of Toms River.

  • The OCC music faculty chamber performance by Gilmore (piano), Beomjae Kim, Fine Arts Adjunct Assistant Professor (flute), DoYeon Kim (cello), Fine Arts Adjunct Assistant Professor, and Jee Sun Lee (violin) for the Perkins program showcase for high school students was held on May 20, 2022, and featured performances of “Spring Sonata” by Beethoven; “Trio” by Weber; and “Three Water Colors” by Gaubert. Also, on May 20, 2022, OCC students performed a pre-concert, with works by J.S. Bach, Mozart, Mendelssohn, Grieg, and Franck.
  • On May 25, 2022, OCC music student Ted Murolo will serve as the national anthem soloist for the OCC awards ceremony.
  • The Concert Band will perform at the OCC Memorial Day Remembrance Ceremony on May 26, 2022, at the OCC Veterans Memorial site; performances will include “King Cotton” and “The Stars and Stripes Forever” by Sousa; “National Emblem” by Bagley; and the national anthem, taps, and the Armed Forces medley.
  • From May 30 to June 1, 2022, Dr. Jennifer Dellner, English Professor, will present a paper at the Electronic Literature Organization’s annual international conference, taking place this year in Como, Italy. The paper’s title, which incorporates the titles of two works of electronic literature, is “How to Rob a Bank with These Waves of Girls while Flash is Dying.”  Paper proposals for this conference were blind peer reviewed and rated by two independent reviewers; the acceptance rate was 47%.  Dellner will discuss her teaching of ENGL 262, Digital and Electronic Literature, a new OCC course, during the time of the pandemic and fully remote learning.   She noted support for Flash on the internet was ending, and students, all of whom but one had no experience at all in digital environments or coding, used pieces of electronic literature themselves as platforms to explore and create in these emerging digital ecologies by tinkering under the hood of narrative, text, and reading.
  • On May 31, June 1, and June 2, 2022, auditions will be held for OCC’s July production of the Andrew Lloyd-Weber musical, Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

  Academic Affairs and Tutoring Center

    • On April 28, 2022, Academic Affairs collaborated with RWJ Barnabas Community Medical Center on hosting Healthcare Career Discovery Day. OCC students had the opportunity to participate in a “speed-networking” event with healthcare professionals from Community Medical Center and discover non-traditional career opportunities in healthcare.  Students were able to chat and network with various RWJ professionals in cancer registry, medical social work, patient care, medical laboratory, and health information management.
    • Academic Affairs has embarked on piloting a program with RWJ Barnabas Health. Through this collaboration, employees of RWJ Barnabas Monmouth Medical Center South can learn about career and educational options open to them.  Employees are provided the opportunity to explore future career paths by assessing their skills, interests, and personalities.  Using the MyPlan career assessment tool, employees will collaborate with OCC’s Health Science Career Specialist, Taylor Dulemba, to identify a new career in healthcare.  The meeting with RWJBH employees was hosted by the chief administrative officer of Monmouth Medical Center and Monmouth Medical Center Southern Campus on May 11, 2022.
    • There are three concurrent initiatives that have been implemented to ensure that the first set of fully HyFlex courses in the Summer will run smoothly and give our students a great learning experience:
      1. Two orientation sessions were held for our HyFlex faculty and lecturers who will be starting the first set of fully HyFlex courses on May 23, 2022. These orientations were in addition to HyFlex workshops and one-on-one sessions held previously.  The orientation sessions covered student and faculty expectations and also provided time to ask questions and voice concerns.
      1. As part of assisting faculty and lecturers who will be teaching HyFlex courses for the first time, six HyFlex navigators will be hired to assist The HyFlex navigators are students who are good at technology and wish to work to supplement their income.  The navigators will be assisting with technology setup, monitoring WebEx sessions (chats, polls, etc.), as well as troubleshooting minor technology issues that could occur during class time.
      1. Dean of Faculty Development and Learning Innovation Catherine Mancuso has been working with IT to jointly test HyFlex classrooms from the instructor’s point of view to ensure that the technology is in working order for the Summer sessions.
    • Academic and Tutoring Support Services held an internal professional workshop series for the entire department on April 19, 2022, and concluded with a workshop on emotional intelligence facilitated by Reenie Castellanos, Coordinator of Academic Support Services, and American Sign Language Supplemental Instruction Leaders Melchior Fernandez, Michelle Malara, and Bonnie Barrett.
    • In collaboration with Assistant Professor of Humanities Kathy Basilotto, and the ASL Interpreting Program, students from the program were given an opportunity to earn experiential learning hours to fulfill the program requirements. The students’ skills were evaluated by ASL Supplemental Instruction Leaders and were given constructive feedback.
    • Reenie Castellanos, Supplemental Instruction Leader Phil Lingat, and Peer-Assisted Learning Leader Ashley De La Rosa-Hanlon attended and presented at the Accounting Symposium on April 21, 2022. Their presentation was entitled, “Academic Support for Accounting:  Supplemental Instruction and Peer-Assisted Learning.”  The symposium had a discussion panel, which included former Peer-Assisted Learning Leaders and Supplemental Instruction Leaders, who shared how their participation in the program assisted with their career success.
  • This Spring, a new course evaluation system, Watermark, began, which gives a richer set of features in disseminating the survey as well as reminding students who have not completed the survey. The course evaluation survey closed on May 16, 2022.  The response rates for both e-Learning and face-to-face courses have reached 50%, whereas in the previous several years the rates have been ranging between 9% to 17%.

School of Nursing

    • The School of Nursing held an advisory committee meeting on April 21, 2022. There were 22 participants representing various clinical agencies as well as members of the community, students, lecturers, and staff.  Program outcomes were shared with members, including licensure pass rates, program completion rates, job placement rates, student learning outcome survey information, and clinical agency satisfaction survey information.  Representatives from major acute care organizations spoke highly of OCC graduates and indicated they are hiring new nurses, many offering one-year residency programs.  Students expressed their satisfaction with the Nursing program and clinical agencies and thanked them for all the efforts made to ensure patient care experiences continued throughout the semester despite multiple surges in COVID cases within the community.
    • The Student Nurses Organization (SNO) sponsored a blood drive in collaboration with Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health on April 18, 2022, under the direction of advisors Mary Sue Gill, MSN, RN, Nursing Lecturer II; MaryAnn Kaufmann, Ph.D., MSN, RN, Skills, Simulation, and Student Retention Specialist; and Linda Simmons, MSN, RN. There were 25 units of whole blood collected.
    • The job placement rate for Fall 2020 was 100%. This data was collected in Fall 2021, one year following completion of the Nursing program as required by accreditation standards.  The response rate to this survey was 45%.
    • Program completion rates (defined as the percentage of students who complete the Nursing program within six semesters) for the class that began Nursing courses in Spring 2019 was 78%. The completion rate for students who completed the program within four semesters was 63%.
    • Dean Teresa (Tracy) Walsh, Ph.D., MSN, RN, was asked by representatives of Robert Wood Johnson Barnabas Health to serve as a member of the Community Health Needs Assessment Advisory Committee that represents Monmouth and Ocean counties. The first meeting was held on April 14, 2022, to discuss the community survey findings and provide feedback regarding survey data.  The survey examined the health status of the two counties, including social determinants of health; identification of community strengths, resources, and gaps; and exploration of priorities for action.

School of Business and Social Sciences

    • Katherine Toy, College Lecturer II in Economics, attended the virtual induction ceremony for Alpha Beta Gamma, the National Business Honor Society for two-year degree-granting colleges, where 32 business students from OCC were recognized.
    • Ellison O’Grady, a student of Toy, received first place in the Honors by Contract awards ceremony for her research paper in Dr. Toy’s Microeconomic Principles (ECON 152) course. Ellison is concentrating in mathematics at OCC, and her research paper was titled, “New Markets for Aspiring Writers:  Changing Competition in the Publishing Industry.”
    • Author Kevin Bales participated in a virtual Webex student discussion on April 19, 2022, for students enrolled in global issues courses. The discussion was facilitated by College Lecturer II in Political Science Jason Ghibesi.  All global issues students are required to read and analyze, Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy, by Bales as part of their coursework.  This discussion allowed students to interact with the author and gain valuable information to be used in their research papers.

Mr. Bales is the author of several works that focus on contemporary slavery, such as The Slave Next Door, Blood and Earth: Modern Slavery, and Ecocide and the Secret to Saving the World and Ending Slavery.  The film based on Disposable People:  New Slavery in the Global Economy titled, Slavery: A Global Investigation (TrueVision), which Mr. Bales co-wrote for HBO, won a Peabody Award and two Emmys.  Mr. Bales is the co-founder of Free the Slaves in Washington, D.C., and is considered the leading expert on contemporary slavery.  He is a professor of contemporary slavery at the University of Nottingham.

    • College Lecturer II in Criminal Justice Vincent Petrecca welcomed two police officers as guest speakers in his Criminal Justice System (CRIM 150) class. Captain Thomas Barstow, who retired from the Manalapan Police Department and is an Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Internship Program agent, spoke to students on May 2, 2022.  Captain Vincent Manco of the Manchester Police Department spoke on May 4, 2022.  Petrecca also invited retired Executive Assistant Mike Paulus from the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office to his Criminal Investigation (CRIM 281) class to talk to students about his twenty-five-year career, which included prosecuting homicide cases.  Mr. Paulus is now a homicide defense attorney.
    • Nicole Kammer, College Lecturer II in Education, and OCC student volunteers Ryan Mathews, Jackie Fox, Bella Lemley, Jake Tapia, Haley Montgomery, and Allysan Aquirre coordinated a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) Family Night at Ocean Gate Elementary School on April 29, 2022. The program provided over 20 STEAM activities for Ocean Gate students in grades K-5.  Highlighted experiences included children exploring animal habitats with augmented reality and block-based programming with Cubelets robot blocks, which are designed to help students build cognitive skills.
    • College Lecturer II in Business Studies James Hadley welcomed a representative from the New Jersey Society of Certified Public Accountants (NJCPA) as a guest panelist for OCC’s first Accounting Symposium, which was held on April 2, 2022. The business studies faculty and lecturers expect that NJCPA will be actively engaged with OCC’s accounting students beginning in the Fall 2022 semester.  Through this partnership, NJCPA will be supporting OCC’s new Accounting Club by providing guest speakers and other resources.  NJCPA collaborates with the majority of New Jersey’s four-year colleges and universities and, through this partnership, will offer OCC’s accounting students free membership, access to practicing professionals, and career planning guidance.  Following the symposium, several OCC students signed up for membership in NJCPA.  OCC is the only community college in New Jersey to have established this type of relationship with NJCPA.

School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

    • On April 16, 2022, College Lecturer II in Computer Studies Jon Weiss announced student Michael Mancini passed his CompTIA Security+ exam to achieve Security+ SY0-601 certification. Michael is the first OCC student to achieve this certification by successfully completing preparation via CSIT 200, Information Security Fundamentals, and being awarded grant money from OCC to pay for both practice tests and the exam voucher.  Three other OCC students are pursuing this path of opportunity and expect to be certified this Summer, but Michael is the first to take advantage of this element of OCC’s Cybersecurity curriculum and its path to professional accreditation.
    • For the third year in a row, and second time in those three years, Ryan Park of Millburn High School, representing the Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium, placed first at the National JSHS Symposium in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in his category Mathematics and Computer Science for his project,“Adversarial Neural Evolution for Variant Forecasting and Proactive Therapeutic Design.”  Ryan correctly predicted the coronavirus Omicron variant before it became apparent, as well as possible therapeutic resolutions.
    • College Lecturer II in Computer Studies Ken Michalek and Gretchen Stewart, Chief Data Scientist, Intel Public Sector, co-authored an article in eCampus April News: How to build the AI workforce through accessible education. The article highlights the new AI programs available at OCC that offer a certificate and two-year associate in applied science degree.  The degree and certificate are based on Intel’s AI for Workforce program.  These programs and courses are designed specifically to introduce and make AI skills available to students at community colleges to address the growing demands being experienced by industry in AI.
    • On May 13, 2022, students were able to experience industrial-type application of robotics. The activities included students utilizing the robotic arm simulation and controls software to explore the use of the robotic arm prior to the day of the event.  Students created programs for two activities, executed their agility program to manipulate the arm through the required movements, and executed their pick and place program to manipulate the arm to achieve the required movements.
    • The Engineering Career Day speakers from Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division Lakehurst were Karen McDonnell and Ms. Kristina Jones, both mechanical engineers in systems standardization and Packaging, Handling, Storage, and Transportation Branch (PHS&T). They spoke to students about packaging, handling, storage, and transportation and standardization.  Both speakers joined as part of OCC’s Educational Partnership Agreement with NAVAIR.
    • Engineering and Industrial/Technical Studies students are gearing up for summer career-aligned jobs. Examples of local industry partners giving students jobs,  part-time, full-time, and summer, include UNEX Manufacturing LLC; Morgan Engineering; FWH Engineering; Geo-Technology Associates, Inc.; and RC Burdick Engineers and Associates.  Acknowledging that the majority of OCC students need to work, the Engineering and Industrial/Technical Studies department is working hard to assist students with career-aligned employment as early as their first semester at OCC.
    • Two OCC engineering students, Tyler Whalen and Kody Huffert, were each awarded the $1,500 Anselmi Scholarship from the Construction Industry Advancement Program of New Jersey. This is the second year in a row two OCC students have been awarded one of the ten scholarships.
    • The OCC Engineering and Industrial/Technical Studies Department’s end-of-semester celebration was held on May 16, 2022, in the Larson Student Center. Annually, the department celebrates new students to the program; graduating students; transferring students; alumni, faculty, and administration; and local industry partners.  Winners for the Spring 2022 design competition, outstanding student awards, and the OCC Engineering Club awards were announced.
    • Assistant Dean Carolyn Showalter presented, “On Being Intentional,” at the April STEM meeting. She attended the Inside Higher Ed webinar on “Student, Faculty, and Administration Perspectives on Evolving Digital Learning in the Community College” on April 21, 2022.  On April 25, 2022, Showalter attended the virtual workshop, “Inspiring Courage to Excel through Self-Efficacy,” at the National Alliances for Partnerships in Equity Conference (NAPE).
    • Representatives from the School of STEM and OCC administration met with Daniela Shebitz, Ph.D., Executive Director at Kean University, on the initial stages of articulating OCC’s sustainability courses into Kean’s environmental science program.  Students from Kean have begun to register for these courses.  Initial articulation work is also being investigated with The College of New Jersey for OCC’s sustainability program.
    • The Perkins Grant-funded environmental management advisory board welcomed another new member, Karen L. Hershey from Atlantic Shore Winds.
    • The School of STEM is pleased to announce the newly named, “Dr. William J. Rickert Lecture Series” held throughout the month of April, was a big success. A total of 273 students attended one of the eight scheduled lectures.

Finance and Administration

  • The New Jersey Community College Business Officers Affinity Group held its Annual Conference at the OCC’s Conference Center on May 13, 2022. The agenda was developed by  Mary Lancaster, Controller, and current Chair of the group.  In addition to regular business, the agenda included educational presentations from professionals from Borden Perlman Insurance and CliftonLarsonAllen.

The Purchasing Committee, led by Ms. Christine Healey, Executive Director of Procurement and Compliance, also participated in the conference and held a full day of educational sessions for purchasing professionals.

Return to Campus Update

COVID-19 cases on the OCC campus have been very low over the past few weeks.  The Health Reporting Team is continuing contact tracing, and Brio provided testing on campus on a daily basis until the semester ended.  Brio will be on campus once per week during the summer.  OCC’s COVID-19 protocols and protections will be revisited prior to the start of the Fall semester.


Office of Information Technology (OIT)

    • The process of updating the OCC Technology Plan will soon begin with assistance from Ellucian. A committee is currently being established to work on this project, which will require commitment for a considerable period of time.  The President’s Leadership Team will appoint representation from all divisions, and work will begin over the Summer.
    • OIT has a number of important projects on the agenda for completion this Summer, including deployment of CrowdStrike to improve cyber security. CrowdStrike is a single-agent solution to stop breaches, ransomware, and cyber attacks powered by world-class security expertise and deep industry experience.  In addition, the Summer term will be the pilot of the first Hi-Flex classes on campus whereby students may attend the courses either in person or remotely.  The success of both of these projects is critical, and several interns are being hired to work on these initiatives over the Summer.  The interns are recent OCC graduates who will have the opportunity to gain valuable experience in their chosen field.

College Relations

    • Michael Leon, Graphic Design Manager, with Mr. Stan Hales, Director of the Barnegat Bay Partnership (BBP), created the State-of-the-Bay Annual Report to be distributed along with the 182-page Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan (CCMP) as a roadmap to protecting and restoring the Barnegat Bay ecosystem for the next ten years. The booklets target environmental changes, measurable improvements, and restoration. The information is a collaboration among BBP, Brick Township, Stockton University, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, Ocean County, the U.S. Geological Survey, and 12 New Jersey working groups.  Mr. Leon’s report-designed layouts are used across print, web, email, and presentation collateral.
    • Michael Leon also created invitations and envelopes for the OCC Spring Open House. The creative design invited students to tour the campus, enjoy refreshments/games, engage with faculty/staff, and learn more about OCC degree programs and career opportunities.  The campaign reached 600 in attendance.  In collaboration with Ms. Sheenah Hartigan, Director of Enrollment Services, Mr. Leon designed brochures and signage that highlight OCC departments and faculty for the on-campus events.  The materials were used across multiple marketing platforms, including web, social, and television.  The event successfully reached 268 potential high school students.
    • As a contribution to Student Life’s Spring Day event, the web team launched the social media campaign, “Vidar’s Dance Challenge.” This was a multi-faceted campaign, in which students and community members were encouraged to interact with Vidar’s dance challenge video which was shared on OCC’s TikTok and Instagram accounts.  The video was viewed and engaged with 5,778 times; and, following this campaign, engagement on the College’s Instagram account increased by an additional 9% over the previous month.

Ocean County College Foundation

    • On behalf of the Foundation Board Chair, David Paulus, deepest condolences are extended to the family of Frank Gelormini as well as sincere appreciation for his service to the Foundation Board and College for many years.

This month the Foundation Board officially welcomed Ms. Anne Kraljic to its Executive Board team.

    • The Foundation extends its congratulations to all members of the Class of 2022. All Graduating and Nursing Pinning awards were finalized and funded.  The Office of Student Life and the School of Nursing and Health Sciences distributed these awards to some of OCC’s most deserving applicants.

Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion

Dr. Eileen Garcia, Vice President of e-Learning and Learning Enterprises, and Mr. Ken Malagiere, Executive Director of the Foundation, are working with the Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion (EDI) Steering Committee in creating a report to the Foundation and College Boards of Trustees.   While the committee does have a draft EDI Statement and action items, the report will be wide-ranging and introspective continuing process.  The statement currently reads:

At Ocean County College, we act with continued determination to support equity, diversity, and inclusion in our pursuit of academic excellence and to foster social, economic, and cultural growth.

National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship

Mr. Ken Malagiere will be involved with the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship as part of the leadership team for the College and as liaison to the Foundation.  The first conference will be held June 2 and 3, 2022, in Charlotte, North Carolina.  He will be attending with Dr. Joseph Konopka, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Dr. Rosann Bar, Dean of Business and Social Sciences.

New Jersey Symphony

The New Jersey Symphony (NJS, formally NJSO) will be welcomed back to campus on Tuesday, June, 28, 2022, at 8 p.m.  The Foundation will be the exclusive sponsor of the event for the College and broader community to enjoy.  Press releases for the Symphony have been distributed, and College Relations will begin promoting in the near future.

Gale G. Wayman Celebration of Life

A Celebration of Life will be held on July 15, 2022, from 6 to 9 p.m. for Gale G. Wayman at Vansant Park in Island Heights.  An email invitation will be sent to members of the Foundation and College Boards of Trustees.  Additional information is available by contacting the Foundation Office at

Summer Scholarship Celebration

The Summer Scholarship Celebration is being held on the College mall on Friday, June 24, 2022, at 6:30 p.m.  Please join us for a wonderful evening to support students and honor:

    • Rosann Bar, Ph.D. and Patricia Gianotti, Ph.D., LCADA, for their contributions to the Addictions and Counseling Program
    • Alison Noone, M.B.A., for outstanding dedication to the operation of the Helping Hands Food Pantry
    • The Wintrode Family Foundation

For the Establishment of the Roberta W. Wintrode Memorial Fund

Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts

    • Registration has opened for the return of Camps on Campus with oversight by the Grunin Center and Erik Stratton, Education and Community Engagement Coordinator. Week-long summer camps, for students ages 8-18, focus on STEM, arts, sports, and career/college preparation. Utilizing a new registration platform, CourseStorm, parents/guardians can register their students online for these camps.  Interested faculty and staff are encouraged to review the full schedule on the website at
    • Under the direction of Jaclyn Wood, Assistant Director of Education and Community Engagement, the Grunin Center finished the 2021-2022 Schools n’ Stage series with two great programs. On April 11, 2022, Vox Sambou, an MC, poet, and multilingual artist from Montreal performed to a full house of high school students and then joined the students at the Grunin Performing Arts Academy for a workshop in the recording studio.  Next, Miwa Matreyek, an international touring artist specializing in animation and live shadow silhouette art, performed in the theatre on April 21, 2022, and followed up her show with a presentation to Visual Arts Instructor Nat Bard’s art students.

Upcoming student workshops and master classes for high school students include a songwriting workshop with the Americana band, Amanda Anne Platt & The Honeycutters. and a dance workshop with Ephrat Asherie.

    • Jaclyn Wood will be joined by College Lecturer II Brian Gilmore and his students for a presentation and performance at Holiday City Silverton, where they will entertain residents and share information about both OCC’s music program and the Grunin Center’s upcoming performances.

Robert J. Novins Planetarium

    • Under the direction and management of Planetarium Manager Cara Muscio, the Planetarium is meeting increased audience demand and providing engaging programming for the College, K-12 schools and groups, and the broader Ocean County community. Overall, the Planetarium exceeded its FY 2022 projections for private party revenue, with two-thirds of the 53 events booked in the past three months.   This Spring has also seen a surge in K-12 and camp bookings as the mask and social distance mandates were lifted for schools and organizations, with 70% of 148 bookings also in the past three months.
    • In March and April 2022, the Planetarium was closed for three weeks to upgrade its cove lighting and Zeiss star projector to LED lighting for improved performance and energy efficiency. The Digistar planetarium software was also upgraded to provide state-of-the-art possibilities for creation and delivery of STEAM content to the College and community.  The new digital projectors will be installed this Fall to complete this transformation.

Human Resources

    • During May, the Human Resources Department is conducting open enrollment for OCC’s Flexible Spending Account Plan, Section 125 Plan, and the Horizon Dental Plan. The Horizon Dental Plan was renewed at no additional cost to the employee or the College.

The School Employees’ Health Benefits Program (SEHBP) is offering the new lower cost Aetna Garden State Health Plan, which takes effect July 1, 2022, through a special limited enrollment period.

    • This plan will have 50% lower premiums than the Educators Health Plan.
    • Deductibles from this year will carry over into the new plan.
    • Members must select an Aetna Whole Health Network provider to be considered in-network.
    • By enrolling in the Garden State Health Plan, services must be received within New Jersey. Services will not be covered if a doctor is seen outside of New Jersey.

Presidential Search

The OCC President Search process is underway, facilitated by Bradley Ebersole, Ph.D., of the Association of Community Colleges (ACCT).  The internal search committee membership has been finalized as follows:

    • David Bordelon, Professor of English
    • Antionette Clay, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs
    • Tracey Donaldson, Associate Vice President of Human Resources
    • Eileen Garcia, Vice President of e-Learning and Learning Enterprises
    • Yessika Garcia-Guzman, Executive Director of Financial Aid
    • Tom Gialanella, Executive Director of School Relations
    • Veronica Guevara-Lovgren, Executive Director of Student Services
    • Henry Jackson, Executive Director of Academic Success
    • Daniel Keiser, Mathematics College Lecturer II
    • Jack Kelnhofer, e-Learning College Lecturer II
    • Christopher Petrich, Security Officer II
    • Wayne Reed, Campus Security Safety Officer
    • Sylvia Riviello, Dean of the School of STEM
    • Kim Samarelli, Adjunct Professor of Business Studies
    • Jayanti Tamm, Associate Professor of English
    • Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration

The committee had its first meeting on May 20, 2022, and were welcomed by Board Chair Jerry Dasti and me.  Several documents were reviewed, including the Charge to the Committee, Confidentiality Policy, Timeline, and draft President Profile.  The profile was developed with input from the open forums and the confidential electronic responses.  At the conclusion of the internal committee’s work, finalists will be recommended to the Board Search Committee for consideration; however, Board members are welcome to participate in all phases of the search process.


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 April 23, 2022, through May 27, 2022.

Student Affairs


  New Student Registration

  • The Advising Office is participating this Spring and Summer in high school specific and general express enrollment events.

When students sign up for these events, advisors register the students in advance of the event and enter advising notes for the students.  When the students attend the event, an advisor reviews the schedules and shares important information.  Finally, after the event, an advisor reviews each student schedule and follows up as needed to ensure that every student has an accurate schedule for Fall.  There are 13 high school events and 6 general enrollment events scheduled in Spring and Summer 2022.

The Advising Office is also managing, in collaboration with the HUB, new student registrations via the New Student Registration form.  Via this process, new students are able to request a Fall schedule, and an advisor registers the student based on the student’s major and preferences.  Advising also has processes to effectively manage new students who are veterans as well as new students in the Education degree program.  Advisor Deeanne Gatta-Salter is completing registrations for new veterans and then ensuring the students are connected with the Veterans and Military Resources Center.  Transfer Coordinator Laura Wills is managing registration for Education majors, as this major and required coursesvary widely depending on the student’s planned teaching area and transfer institution.  Ms. Wills is also working closely with Education Lecturer Nicole Kammer on these registrations.

Finally, the Advising Office is hosting eight virtual New Student Information Sessions this Spring and Summer.  Students can attend a session and receive all the information they need to start their first semester at OCC.


    • NJ STARS Coordinator Jennifer Kipp reports that, as of May 19, 2022, 106 returning NJ STARS students are enrolled for Fall 2022, and 102 potential STARS students are enrolled for Fall 2022. Information Technology/Enrollment Management have coded the potentially eligible incoming students based upon the junior list received from HESAA.
    • Congratulations are extended to the 246 full-time and 6 part-time NJ STARS students who made the President’s Honors List following the Fall 2021 semester, which represents approximately 83% of OCC’s enrolled STARS students.
    • Kipp hosted a NJ STARS Pre-Nursing Information Session in April, providing information to NJ STARS students who are pursuing nursing to help them navigate the Nursing program and NJ STARS eligibility requirements.
    • Kipp and Advisor Diane DeFilippo hosted a NJ STARS Information Session during the Open House in April and are also hosting five virtual NJ STARS New Student Information Sessions.
    • The NJ STARS Club raised approximately $600 this semester through a bake sale and a virtual Kahoot Night for a local charity, Emiliana’s Hope, that supports families of children who have pediatric cancer.

Counseling Center

    • The Counseling Center concluded the Spring semester with increased services and programming to students and the OCC and Kean/Ocean communities. The impact of COVID and other stressors on the mental health of the students continues to be recognized; there was an increase in the number of students who were assessed for psychological distress and crisis.
    • Kelly Petrolis, Student Intervention Specialist, and Ms. Katie Hueth, Prevention Education Coordinator, completed Train the Trainer for Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) and are now certified instructors. Both will become certified trainers in Mental Health First Aid in August.  This was through a collaboration with the New Jersey Council of County Colleges and New Jersey Mental Health Association.  These activities help to keep OCC in compliance with state and federal laws.
    • Katie Hueth has been selected as a speaker at the annual New Jersey College Counselors Association conference; she will be speaking about Current Topics in College Counseling – Addressing Substance Use Among College Students, with a focus on opioids. About 100 counselors from across New Jersey usually attend this conference.
    • Additional training is being offered in Question, Persuade, and Refer (QPR) and Mental Health First Aid. Table events have been conducted for wellness activities in collaboration with the Veterans and Military Resources Center and with Disability Services.   Darra Stack, Student Intervention Specialist, has been meeting with students at the Southern Education Center.  Stress Relief Kits were provided to the Library to give to students when they return books.  A Sunset Meditation session was held in collaboration with the Planetarium.
    • The Displaced Homemakers Program is working with 44 new clients and 79 continuing clients. Two clients graduated, one from the Nursing program, which demonstrates the impact of the Displaced Homemakers Program on supporting clients in their journeys to self-sufficiency.  Four clients continue their training in Workforce and Professional Education classes and are expected to complete in June.  Computer skills classes are mostly virtual, with the exception of the beginner’s class.  Maureen Conlon, Associate Director of Web Services, continues her excellent instruction in all Displaced Homemakers Program computer skills training classes.
    • The Recovery Support Program, under the direction of Katie Hueth, provides services and information to students in support of their recovery. There are currently 189 students participating in the program, and activities and services continue throughout the Summer.  The second quarter performance report was submitted to the State funding agency.
    • The academic support program, Restore Your Score, provides services and information to the 60 students on academic probation from the Fall 2021 semester, 35 of whom have worked individually with Kelly Petrolis, Student Intervention Specialist, for a total of 86 appointments. The academic support program, Starfish, provides information to the 377 students who are on academic warning status from the Fall 2021 semester.  Both programs use Canvas to provide their services.
    • Heather Mayer, Mental Health Technician, assumed responsibility for the processing of SERF applications. Ms. Mayer works closely with the Foundation staff on these applications, to be sure they are processed accurately and expeditiously.
    • Since July 1, 2021, the CARE Team has handled 871 CARE reports. This is 85 more reports than in the same timeframe in 2020-2021; there were a total of 816 reports from July 1, 2020, through June 3, 2021. Susan Ebeling-Witte, Student Intervention Specialist, handles most of the counseling related CARE reports.  The CARE Team thanks members of the campus community for their diligence in reporting concerning behaviors and students who are experiencing challenges that impact their academic success.

Educational Opportunity Fund and Center for Access and Equity

    • EOF is proud to announce Hailey Sadowski, EOF State Academic Achievement Award winner with a perfect 0 grade point average, is also Valedictorian 2022.
    • EOF is preparing for its First Experience summer program, face-to-face for the first time in several years. The 2022 theme is Expand Your MIND, Fuel Your BODY, Feed Your SOUL.
    • EOF’s program on Wednesday and Thursday, August 17 and 18, 2022, includes workshops on academic preparation, college expectations, team and community building, and preparation for transfer. On day two, participants will meet in the morning at Cattus Island.  Both incoming and returning students are eligible.
    • Preliminary funding news for EOF FY 2023 is positive and may include an increase in the grant to $800 for full time-enrollment. Additional EOF Article III resources for FY 2023 make it possible to provide EOF undergraduate and graduate students with a $150 per semester increase in the maximum EOF grant award for the academic year.
    • OCC’s EOF 2023 graduates are:
Name Honors / Distinctions
Hailey Sadowski 4.0 GPA, EOF State Academic Achievement Awardee, Valedictorian
Alexus Anderson
Sandra Arias
Tori Benoit EOF State Academic Achievement Awardee
Nicholas D’Elia
Maven Dossous
Meredith Fabozzi
Katelynn Kappock
Dmytro Kushka
Leticia Lacerda EOF State Academic Achievement Awardee
Mattalyn McCaffrey 4.0 GPA, EOF State Academic Achievement Awardee
Mattalyn McCaffrey

Enrollment and Retention Services

    • Executive Director of Enrollment Services, Dr. Sheenah Hartigan, presented at the Spring Conference for the New Jersey Chapter of the National Organization of Student Success at New Jersey City University, Fort Monmouth location. The presentation, on behalf of Vice President of Student Affairs Jerry Racioppi, was titled, “A Different Way of Thinking,” which detailed OCC’s new, innovative retention efforts.
    • The Spring Open House was held on Wednesday, April 27, 2022, on campus. In attendance were 268 potential students and 100 new students enrolled in classes for the Fall 2022 term.  Students were treated to campus tours and engaging demonstrations by faculty and staff, met with non-academic and academic student support services, and enjoyed refreshments and swag.  Over 600 students and guests were on campus for the successful event.
    • Sheenah Hartigan presented at the 2022 Annual Conference for the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) in New York City on Saturday, April 30, 2022. The title of the presentation was, “Ocean County College’s Unique One-Stop Drives Enrollment.”  The session was standing room only, and attendees had positive feedback and reactions to the presentation.
    • To date, there have been 12 high school specific Express Enrollment Days with area high school students coming to the campus to enjoy presentations in collaboration with Academic Advising. Students were provided with campus tours and lunch and left with their student ID cards,  Fall schedules, and swag bags full of goodies.
    • On May 18, 2018, Jim Campbell, Coordinator of Enrollment and Outreach, met with the Ocean County Municipal Managers Association and discussed partnership opportunities. Twelve municipalities were represented at the meeting.
    • During April 2022, the average wait time in the HUB lobby of the Student Enrollment Building was 53 minutes. There were 774 in-person transactions, and the average duration time was 2.63 minutes.  The busiest day and time were April 28, 2022, at 10 a.m.
    • Student surveys given after service in the Student Enrollment Building indicate an average rating of 4.9 out of 0 stars. The surveys, sent via text message through Survey Monkey, indicate whether students would return to use the HUB services, as well as whether they would recommend the HUB to a friend.
    • Kathleen Mohr, Assistant Director of Enrollment Services, and Dr. Sheenah Hartigan, along with Dr. Jerry Racioppi, presented a virtual version of the award-winning Bellwether presentation on May 19, 2022, through the Bellwether Consortium Innovation Series.

Office of Disability Services

    • The Office of Disability Services continues to provide outreach to programs and schools throughout Ocean County. Outreach events allow an opportunity for prospective students to inquire about services, including accommodation requests, available at Ocean County College.  During May, outreach events were conducted for the following schools and programs:
      • MOCEANS Center for Independent Living, Inc.
      • Ocean County Vocational Technical School (OCVTS) – Brick Location
      • Lakewood High School
      • Lacey High School
    • On May 5, 2022, Office of Disability Services staff attended the 2022 Law and Disability Conference sponsored and hosted by the New Jersey State Bar Foundation and presented by the Community Health Law Project. Topics presented included integrated and holistic care through partnerships, services available to individuals with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, and jail diversion for individuals living with mental illness.
    • The Office of Disability Services collaborated with the Counseling Center to host three days of wellness activities encouraging students to take time each day to care for themselves. Students were encouraged to stop by for resources and events scheduled on the main campus and the Southern Education Center.
    • On May 20, 2022, staff attended a meeting hosted by the Ocean County Commission for Individuals with Disabilities, a County commission responsible to the Ocean County Board of Commissioners and to the Office of Individuals with Disabilities (OID).   Jamie Arasz Prioli, Assistant Director of Disability Services, serves as an appointed commission member. Commission members serve in an advisory capacity providing information regarding the needs and status of Ocean County residents with disabilities.
    • The Office of Disability Services continues to provide accommodation and support services to eligible students under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.  The office also provides consultation to OCC faculty, instructors and staff. To date, the office records a 6% increase in new student eligibility requests between Spring 2021 and Spring 2022.

Southern Education Center

    • The Southern Education Center welcomed Jenna McAteer, Academic Advisor, to its staff. Ms. McAteer joins the SEC with experience in high school counseling and undergraduate admissions.
    • The Spring 2022 semester at the SEC closed with a few student life events. During the last week of classes, students enjoyed donuts or pizza as they also heard details regarding Summer and Fall registration opportunities.   Jamie Arasz Prioli, Student Disability Services, and Ms. Darra Stack, Student Intervention Specialist, co-hosted a Wellness Day event at the SEC.  Students enjoyed sub sandwiches while hearing about the critical support both the Disability Services Office and the Counseling Center can provide students.
    • Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Amir Sadrian, Dean of Faculty Development and Learning Innovation Catherine Mancuso, SEC Director James Hauenstein, and SEC Academic Advisor Toni Ann DiPasquale collaborated to conduct a connection test of the main campus HyFlex classroom technology with the video-connected classroom at the SEC. The successful trial ensures the ability to connect the classrooms at the two campuses virtually to expand course offering opportunities to students residing in Southern Ocean County.  The SEC will be co-hosting nine video-connected classes with the main campus for the Fall 2022 semester.
    • As the Spring semester concluded, the SEC Canvas Announcement shell continued to be an effective message board for students attending classes at the SEC. May’s Canvas Announcements informed students of an information session with Stockton University and the Kean Ocean Instant Decision Day, student life events, Wellness Day hosted by Disability Services and the Counseling Center, the Displaced Homemakers program, the OCC Foundation Fall 2022 scholarship program, and Summer/Fall registration information.  Analytics indicated over 1,900 student views of these various messages during May.  For the Spring 2022 semester, the Canvas shell SEC Announcements had over 9,000 student views.
    • The SEC staff has completed training in the functionality of the QLess system, thanks to James Campbell, Coordinator of Enrollment and Outreach.  QLess is now fully functioning at the SEC.  The SEC staff continues to support the overall mission of Academic Advising by handling incoming emails to the advising email inbox and offering virtual appointments.
    • The Workforce and Professional Education program is continuing to use the SEC as an additional location for Adult Basic Education, specifically the English as a Second Language program, with evening classes through June 2022.

Student Life

Ms. Jennifer Fazio, Director of Student Life, is pleased to share the updates for OCC’s honor societies this semester:

    • Psi Beta, Psychology Honor Society, inducted 30 new members at the virtual induction held on April 29, 2022.
    • Alpha Beta Gamma, the Business Honor Society, welcomed 30 initiates this Spring semester.
    • OCC’s Tau Iota Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa inducted 75 students during the induction held virtually on April 22, 2022.
    • The Social Work Honor Society inducted 20 students at the induction held virtually on May 5, 2022.
    • Sigma Kappa Delta, the National English Honor Society for two-year colleges, welcomed 117 inductees on May 11, 2022.
    • SALUTE, the Veterans Honor Society inducted two initiates during the ceremony held on May 13, 2022.
    • OCC’s new honor society for first-generation college students, Tri-Alpha, inducted 50 members and honorary members into the Gamma Psi Chapter on May 18, 2022, at its chartering induction ceremony.
    • NSLS, National Society for Leadership and Success, has 142 students who joined this semester. The new initiates are in various steps toward induction, with 12 students being inducted this Spring.

Veterans and Military Resources Center

    • Military Spouse Appreciation Month is celebrated during May by the Veterans and Military Resources Center. A message from Assistant Director Ryan Luurtsema can be viewed on the Veterans and Military website at
    • Ryan Luurtsema was invited to participate in a ground-breaking ceremony for the highly anticipated Toms River Veterans Administration: Community-Based Outpatient Clinic (CBOC). This clinic will be replacing the Brick CBOCin early 2024 by doubling its size to 68,000 sq. ft. and offering new specified resources for women health needs.
    • The VMRC hosted its inaugural Movie Night Out on May 4, 2022. This successful event presented Ghostbusters: Afterlife, with over 90 people in attendance.  Food was provided by the Center of Excellence for Student Veteran Success in partnership with the food truck, Good Food=Good Mood.
    • VMRC staff member Rachelle Bertholf has been promoted from Center of Excellence for Student Veteran Success Program Assistant to Data Research Specialist.  Bertholf will be researching best practices within higher education to assist, develop, and report on service members transitioning out of military service as well as military-connected members of the community such as veterans, spouses, and dependents.  Ms. Bertholf will also serve a unique role within the VMRC to track and analyze incoming students; determine the ways the Center serves the students, retention, and enrollment; and the success rates of all military-connected students.
    • Congratulations are extended to the 43 military-connected students graduating in 2022. The graduates are transferring to Princeton University, Kean University, Montclair University, Stockton University, University of Kentucky, Rowan University, Rutgers University, Cornell University, and Seton Hall University.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

Student Course Evaluation

The e-Learning Department has updated the survey for online student opinions of instruction.  In the survey, students can share their e-Learning experiences and evaluate course content in terms of design, instruction, and technology. This Spring, the new survey was distributed with the assistance of a new software adopted by the institution called Watermark.  Watermark provides a platform for students that is easy to use, can be accessed via their mobile devices, and includes automatic reminders to students prompting students to complete the evaluations.  Over 41% of the online students participated, which is a big improvement from previous student participation.  Finally, the data gathered from the evaluations will provide great insight into the dynamics of e-Learning courses and give insight into the perspective of the e-Learning students.

Faculty Evaluation

In Spring 2022, the e-Learning Department implemented a standardized procedure for maintaining faculty evaluations using Smartsheets.  Smartsheets is a project management software platform that allows the e-Learning team to work and collaborate, in real-time, to manage the entire adjunct pool comprised of 211 active members.

The new process allows the department to seamlessly search and track pertinent information regarding the adjunct pool. Some features include attaching copies of communications, setting alerts, tracking internal notes, online course assignments, and tracking evaluations.  This Spring, e-Learning College Lecturers and administrators completed nearly 100 course evaluations with the help of this new tool.  Additionally, the department recently digitized the form used to evaluate adjuncts.  With this new form, the evaluators can:  1) provide constructive teaching feedback to the adjuncts, 2) connect with adjuncts and assist them with strategically implementing the course learning outcomes, and 3) maximize the learning and success of the students we serve.

Simple Syllabus

The e-Learning Department is on track to launch a Simple Syllabus pilot for the 2022 Summer term.  The software will assist with efficiency by automating the syllabi requests for online students. Simple Syllabus is a centralized template-driven platform that will provide the ability to create and publish interactive class syllabi for its online courses.  The software will give students immediate access to research courses before registration and identify required course materials and expectations.  With Simple Syllabus, course information is easily accessible in web, mobile, and print formats automatically integrated within OCC’s LMS system, Canvas.  The software will also allow faculty to personalize specific information for their courses.

Discussion Rubric

e-Learning is excited to launch a new and more simplified discussion rubric in this upcoming 2022 Accelerated 4 Summer term.  This rubric will streamline the grading of discussions and improve students’ understanding and expectations in distance learning.  The rubric was carefully designed with over a year of academic discourse and research, integrating many of the components other top institutions use to guide engaging discussions.  The students will find the rubric, as an assessment tool, easier to understand, and the faculty will be able to grade with ease.  The Discussion Rubric is a new criterion for the e-Learning Department that will benefit the students by providing them with a quality learning experience.

e-Learning Professional Development Series

Quality Matters – QM Improving Your Online Course

In April 2022, e-Learning College Lecturers and the Instructional Designers team completed a QM “Improving Your Online Course” workshop.  The workshop focuses on applying the essential Specific Review Standards of the Quality Matters Rubric to online courses.  As a result of the training, the e-Learning Department will evaluate online courses to meet the QM Rubric standards.

Adjunct Roundtables

The 2022 Spring Professional Development Series is coming to an end.  Throughout the Spring, Dr. Meredith Riddle, Assistant Dean of e-Learning, has addressed valuable topics, such as promoting best practices to support student success and effective communication in online learning.

Check-in Chats

In addition to the Adjunct Roundtable meetings, the e-Learning Department has initiated informal virtual office hours for adjunct faculty via meetings called “Check-in Chats.”  Dr. Meredith Riddle launched this opportunity where faculty are welcome to discuss course design, student communications, and the challenges that impact student learning in an informal and private setting.

Software Training

The e-Learning Department has expanded Honorlock proctoring for third-party courses.  As a result, the department offered workshops on May 10 and 17, 2022, to advise faculty on using Honorlock proctoring for third-party assessments in their online courses.  During this training, faculty and lecturers learned how to set up Honorlock to proctor quizzes and exams in Canvas.  The training also discussed how instructors could support their students to enable Honorlock while taking third-party quizzes and exams in their e-Learning courses.

Instructional Design and Technology

The Instructional Design Team has completed the Summer and Fall 2022 course development schedule.  The Instructional Design team has done a fantastic job designing and developing universally accessible, interactive, engaging distance learning courses that serve OCC’s mission and vision.  This month, the Instructional Design team began the last workshop of Quality Matters on peer reviewing.

International Programs

In April, Dr. Eileen Garcia, Dr. Maysa Hayward, and Dr. Howaida Wahby-Eraky traveled to Virginia with me to meet the CEO of Badr University, Dr. Hassan Elkalla.  The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the development of a “Bridge” program that will be offered in partnership between OCC and Badr University in Cairo beginning in Fall 2022.  The International Programs team has since been working to bring that concept to fruition; and Associate Vice President of International Programs, Dr. Maysa Hayward, will return from a visit to Egypt on May 25, 2022, where she was scheduled to continue the conversations about this project with Dr. Elkalla.

International Programs welcomed Dr. Shahira Zaki, Executive Director of International Relations and Academic Collaboration Sector of Ain Shams University, during the week of May 23-27, 2022.  Dr. Zaki met the International Programs faculty and staff, toured the campus, and attended OCC’s Nurses Pinning Ceremony and commencement.  She also visited Kean University and attended Kean’s commencement the prior week.

The International Programs team is working to refine the tracking of student progress, performance issues, tuition payments, and communications through SmartSheets and Microsoft Lists.  This new system will streamline the student services provided to international students.

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