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November 4, 2021

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

OCC president Dr. Larson

Aspen Prize

I am delighted to inform you that Ocean County College is eligible to apply for the 2023 Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence.  Based on the performance in student outcomes, including graduation rates, equity, and improvement over time,  Aspen Institute’s rigorous evaluation process has selected OCC as one of 150 community colleges, from over 1,000 nationwide, to be eligible for the award.  In fact, OCC is one of only two community colleges selected from New Jersey.   Applications for the award must be submitted by December 13, 2021.

The Aspen Institute is grant funded and this award process is utilized to learn about best practices at exceptional community colleges to ensure great outcomes for their students.  The $1 million Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence, awarded every two years, is the nation’s signature recognition for America’s community colleges.  The Aspen Prize honors colleges with outstanding achievement in five critical areas:  teaching and learning, certificate and degree completion, transfer and bachelor’s attainment, workforce success, and equity for students of color and students from low-income backgrounds.

Bellwether Award

Ocean County College has been accepted as one of ten finalists for the prestigious Bellwether Award in the area of “Planning, Governance, and Finance” for our submission entitled:  “Meet Reggie:  the AI Chatbot Transforming Ocean County College.”  The paragraph below is from the home page of the Bellwether College Consortium and describes the award and the competition.

Established in 1995, the Bellwether Award is a long-standing, respected award solely awarded to innovative community colleges.  The rigorous award competition is an integral part of the Community College Futures Assembly where the 30 Bellwether Finalists are invited to present their programs in a final round of competition among selected peer institutions.  The Assembly is sponsored by the Alamo Colleges District and focuses on cutting-edge, trendsetting programs that are worthy of scaling and replication given their evidence-based outcomes and indicators. The Bellwether Awards are given annually in three categories to community colleges with outstanding and innovative programs or practices.  Award categories are Instructional Programs and Services (IPS); Planning, Governance, and Finance (PGF); and Workforce Development (WD).

The Bellwether Award has been compared to football’s Heisman Award because it is competitively judged and is awarded by respected peers in leadership positions.  Recipients of the Bellwether Award have said that it has been a springboard for other types of recognition and/or funding.

Dr. Jerry Racioppi, Vice President of Student Affairs, Ms. Sheenah Hartigan, Executive Director of Enrollment Services, and Dr. Kate Mohr, Assistant Director of Enrollment Services, will attend the Bellwether conference in late January 2022 and will be prepared to offer an outstanding presentation on Reggie, which, I am sure, will be impressive.

OCC Tutoring Services

The OCC Tutoring Center plays an important role in helping students achieve their academic goals and persist in their selected programs.  At Thursday’s meeting, Dr. Amir Sadrian, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, and Ms. Brianna DeCicco, Associate Director of Academic and Tutoring Support Services, will be presenting on services offered by the Tutoring Center as well as the efficacy of the Center.  The presentation will specifically focus on the type of tutoring services offered, the modality of the services, the increase in the Center’s utilization rates in Fall 2021, and the success rates for students who took advantage of tutoring services in Fall 2020.

Academic Affairs

School of Business and Social Sciences

  • As part of the Governmental Affairs Institute, Jason Ghibesi, College Lecturer II in Political Science, arranged for Dr. Benjamin Dworkin to present a lecture, “The State of State Politics: New Jersey’s Race for Governor and its Implications for America,” on October 13, 2021.  Dr. Dworkin serves as the founding director of the Institute for Public Policy and Citizenship.  Prior to launching the institute at Rowan University, Dr. Dworkin spent ten years as director of the Rebovich Institute for New Jersey Politics at Rider University.  Dr. Dworkin earned his M.A. and Ph.D. in political science at Rutgers University and his undergraduate degree from Princeton University.  He has presented his research and political analysis at numerous academic conferences across the country and has had his research published in the academic press.
  • Dean Rosann Bar reported that 13 of 15 students (87%) who chose to take the Challenge Exams for the Community Health Worker program, offered through the Workforce and Professional Education Department led by Kaitlyn Everett, Executive Director, and Ms. Mary Gibson, Title III Director, passed at least one test and received at least three credits. Six students (40%) earned all nine credits.  The three courses for which students can receive credit include  SOWK 191, Foundations of the Community Healthcare Worker; SOWK 192, Introduction to Community Healthcare Practice; and SOWK 194, Interviewing and Communication Techniques.  All three of these courses can be applied toward the Associate in Science degree in Social Work.
  • Margaret Maghan, College Lecturer II in Psychology, announced that on October 27, 2021, the social work practicum students held a Halloween-inspired event at the OCC library to promote the new location grand reopening of the Helping Hands food pantry. Participants were encouraged to wear costumes and many joined in the games.  Attendees also were asked to bring a non-perishable food item to donate for a chance to win a prize.
  • Through the Social Sciences Club, Margaret Maghan worked with Student Life and Student Support Services to help coordinate a Winter Wonderland event that will be held on December 16, 2021, in the Larson Student Center’s second floor student lounge. Students are asking for donations of unwrapped toys and clothes for children starting at under one year of age and up to age 18.  Donations can be dropped off beginning in November at the Student Life Office located on the second floor of the Larson Student Center.
  • Margaret Maghan announced that a presentation titled “NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness): Ending the Silence” took place on October 22, 2021, in the Bartlett Building as part of this year’s Social Justice Series, which has been organized in collaboration with the OCC Counseling Center.  The aim of the presentation was to help audience members understand the warning signs of mental health conditions and the steps to take if someone is showing symptoms of mental illness.  Attendees learned from NAMI field experts and young adults who shared their journeys of recovery.  OCC students were counseled and qualified to present the “Ending the Silence” program in Toms River schools.
  • Under the supervision of Katherine Toy, College Lecturer II in Economics, three OCC business students formed a team to participate in the Fall 2021 Bloomberg Trading Challenge. Kyle Fisher, Jaden Hudson, and Ashley De La Rosa-Hanlon select stocks and invest via Bloomberg’s simulated trading platform on the Bloomberg terminals in the business lab. They have been entered and coached by both Dr. Toy and Ms. Sharmistha Banerjee, Interim College Lecturer II in Economics.
  • Through the Business Innovation Consortium, Mr. Sean Bips, College Lecturer II in Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management, and Chris Bottomley, College Lecturer II in Business Studies, have partnered with Alumni Services and Career Services, to host “Networking into Your Future” on November 11, 2021, from 3:30 to 5:00 the Gateway Building auditorium.  This on-campus event will bring students together with local business leaders for an opportunity to meet and create business connections.  The event will be held in two sessions.
    • The first session, entitled “Introduction to the Art of Networking,” will include a general presentation on what networking is, how to do it, and why it is important in the business world.  The second session will entail an open floor networking session that offers students the chance to network with invited representatives from local businesses and make valuable connections that can lead to future potential employment opportunities.  Local business representatives who will participate in this networking event include Suzanne Stingo, Marissa Gorlewski, Julie Egbert, Steve Vetter, Denise Vetter, Kristine Novakowski, and Rick Norman.

School of Arts and Humanities

  • College Lecturer II in Humanities and Fine Arts Stephanie Shestakow has been selected as a reviewer for a new Modern Art textbook from Oxford UP.
  • Madison Peschock, College Lecturer II in English, organized a very successful Banned Books Week celebration with a day of readings by OCC faculty and staff on September 30, 2021, in the Larson Student Center.
  • Saundra Piscitelli, Instructor of American Sign Language-Interpreter Training Program, arranged for a workshop and show entitled “When Worlds Collide,” which was held October 4, 2021. The workshop and show by deaf-blind Rene Pellerin were an excellent experience for students and others in attendance.
  • Jennifer Dellner, Professor of English, addressed the 43rd annual conference of the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies (AIS) in her presidential welcome to all participants, “Wayfinding and the Capaciousness of the Field,” on October 14, 2021. The conference was hosted virtually by Southern Utah University in Cedar City, Utah, from October 14 to 16, 2021.  Dr. Dellner will be serving as president of AIS through October 2023.
  • Music Instructor Karin Gargone led a Performing Arts degree information session on October 18, 2021, where students were able to learn about the degree, course requirements, transfer auditions, and scholarships.  Participants had the opportunity to meet performing arts faculty, ask questions, and network with other performing arts students.
  • Assistant Professor of American Sign Language Kathy Basilotto shared fabulous news regarding two alumni from the Interpreter Training Program: Melchior Fernandez passed the national certification exam and is now a RID-certified interpreter, and Kathryn Tesch was hired to work for Overseas Interpreting International in Malta.
  • The Social Justice Series continued with three excellent events in October. English College Lecturer II Ameer Sohrawardy hosted “Shakespearean Whistleblowers: Ladies First” on October 19, 2021.  The event explored two scenes from Shakespeare’s plays and the ways in which those scenes relate to events today.  As a part of the Visiting Writers’ Reading Series and the Blauvelt Speaker Series, Anna Deveare-Smith captured the audience with her unique style of looking at contemporary issues from multiple viewpoints on October 21, 2021, in the Grunin Center.
  • Dean of Arts and Humanities Heidi Sheridan and Rosann Bar attended the second half of the Chair Leadership Academy in Atlantic City during the last week of October. According to its website, “The Academy for Leadership and Development offers The Foundation Academy with opportunities to acquire and understand major research and theoretical developments in leadership. This Academy seeks to facilitate a journey of discovery and development, one that invites participants to get to know themselves, find their voices, and develop confidence as change agents in their lives and organizations.  Participants have the ability to develop proficiency in selecting, integrating, and applying appropriate concepts from social and behavioral science and adult education, formulating and implementing approaches to leadership challenges, concepts, and practices.”

School of Nursing

  • The Student Nurse Organization held a Career Day on October 5, 2021, with representatives from 27 healthcare facilities in attendance. Students were provided with information on applying for positions following completion of the Nursing program as well as applying for nursing assistant positions while still in the program.  New Jersey City University and Kean University also participated in the event to offer information regarding the BSN completion program to 79 prospective students.
  • Pre-Nursing Information Sessions were held live on October 15, 2021, and virtually on October 27, 2021, for students who intend to enter the Nursing program. Mary Fennessy, Director of Program Services, collaborated with representatives from Advising and Registration and Records to provide key information regarding the program.
  • Students continue to attend hands-on practice sessions within the skills and simulation labs on campus and to provide patient care at various healthcare facilities. The School of Nursing works closely with clinical affiliates to assure the safety of all students and faculty.  Safety processes include medical clearance and fit testing for N95 masks as well as monitoring of COVID vaccines and testing results.

School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

  • On September 17, 2021, the Environmental Management Advisory Board, a Perkins-funded committee, met and discussed some exciting initiatives for the Fall and Spring semesters. Advisory Committee Board member Nabil Ghanem will design and deliver a technical writing short course for environmental management students.  Graduates must know how to write a technical report, outside of the standard college science report.  Also, Henry Jackson, Executive Director of Academic Success, is working on implementing a college readiness grant-funded course in the sciences for middle and high school students.  The next scheduled meeting will be in December.
  • The first in a series of speakers for Wednesdays with STEM took place on September 15, 2021. The lecture, “Culture of Innovation at Google,” featured Google Transformation Program Manager Waqas Akbar, PMP. On September 22, 2021, Mr. Max Schippe presented, “Advice from a Former OCC/Rutgers Engineering Student”; and on September 29, 2021, College Lecturer II in Mathematics Julia Kim presented “Music to Your Ears.”
  • Every month, the STEM adjunct faculty meet for TGIW. These informal get-togethers allow the adjunct faculty time to socialize and discuss happenings within the School of STEM.  Also, last month Dean Sylvia Riviello hosted an appreciation dessert reception recognizing the extraordinary efforts of all faculty during this unparalleled time in education.
  • Jon Weiss has been able to add OCC’s logo to the Community College Scholarship Initiative (C2SI) webpage; C2SI – EC-Council (, which is a testimonial regarding how the academia and C2SI program has impacted degree programs and the student experience.
  • Mary Ellen Rada presented “Reflections on Remote and Hybrid Chemistry Laboratory Experiences” at the third annual C2 Summit for Pedagogical Advancements in STEM, sponsored by Raritan Valley Community College.
  • College Lecturer II in Computer Studies Jon Weiss scheduled a virtual cybersecurity talk, which was held on October 8, 2021. “Cyber Threat Intelligence” featured Charlie Frick, a cyber researcher at Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Lab, who leads multiple research and pilot efforts for cybersecurity automation and machine speed information sharing initiatives.  He also provides technical leadership for research and sponsored efforts focused on operational survivability and resiliency from cyber-attacks.  Mr. Frick specializes in designing and piloting next generation capabilities for cybersecurity automation, machine speed cyber threat information sharing, cyber risk analysis, and vulnerability assessment for a variety of defense, government, and critical infrastructure networks.
  • As part of the Engineering Club budget, College Lecturer in Engineering II Pam Bogdan has paid for eight seats each month for students to participate in the Ocean chapter of the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers dinner meetings. As part of the dinner, Brian Van Norwick, P.E., CDM, will present “Getting the Lead Out in Trenton:  A Multi-Phased Approach to Achieving Lead and Copper Rule Compliance in NJ’s Capital City.”
  • On October 14, 2021, Pam Bogdan presented virtually at the Frontiers in Education 2021 Envisioning Convergence in Engineering education conference. Her paper is titled, “Applied Programming for All Majors:  A Contextualized Course Based on Inter-Disciplinary Curriculum Development.”
  • Pam Bogdan won a Catholic Guy Scholarship in the amount of $500. Working with Student Life, she intends to hand out envelopes with $5 enclosed to students on campus to promote the Engineering Club.
  • Ken Michalek, College Lecturer II in Computer Studies, has accomplished the following in the area of computer studies:
    • Attended Intel training during January and February for the new Artificial Intelligence for Workforce Program
    • Established a partnership with Intel and reviewed all materials for use in OCC courses
    • Developed a project plan for the implementation of the AI program at OCC while also developing the curriculum for a new Associate in Applied Science degree in Computer Science, Artificial Intelligence program.
    • Preparing to offer a new course in the Spring 2022 semester, CSIT 191, Introduction to Artificial Intelligence, while developing CSIT 192, Introduction to Machine Learning; CSIT 291, Computer Vision; and CSIT 292, Natural Language Processing.
    • Working with Intel/Sustainable Labs in content preparation and content review for all artificial intelligence courses.
  • Edmond Hong, College Lecturer II in Computer Studies, is teaching Google IT Support Professional Certification, a fifteen-week, non-credit course taught through Workforce Professional Education. This course is targeted to veterans and non-traditional students interested in changing their career paths.
  • STEM faculty and lecturers were asked by Congressman Andy Kim’s office to provide individuals to participate in the judging panel with three professors from Rowan for the Congressional Application Challenge in New Jersey. The Congressional App Challenge is a competition aimed at encouraging U.S. high school students to learn how to code by creating their own applications. The Challenge is intended to highlight the value of computer science and STEM education.

Finance and Administration

Return to Campus

In order to strengthen protections against the spread of COVID-19 on campus, including the Delta variant, the Board of Trustees adopted a resolution at its October 7, 2021, meeting requiring all students, faculty, and staff who are not fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to be tested on a recurring basis.  Therefore, students, faculty, and staff who are not fully vaccinated before the start of the Spring semester will be required to be tested for COVID-19 on a weekly basis.  Individuals who work or study exclusively online and do not visit the campus will not be included in the testing requirement.

A free testing site has been operating successfully on campus since the beginning of the Fall semester.  This operation will be expanded and other systems put in place to ensure compliance with the weekly testing requirement.  Individuals who wish to be tested elsewhere at their own expense will be able to do so.

In addition, the College is in the process of reviewing systems to securely store test results and verify proof of vaccination.  Proof of vaccination information has been collected on a limited basis at the testing site and the information is securely stored.  However, because the volume of vaccination information to be stored and verified will rise dramatically, a more robust system is needed.  When that system is in place, students, faculty, and staff will be provided with instructions on how to upload their documents.  Any student, faculty, or staff member who has not submitted proof of vaccination prior to the start of the Spring semester will be treated as unvaccinated.

Seating Charts

In order to eliminate the need to quarantine entire classes when a student in a class tests positive, seating charts have been implemented.  Volunteers throughout the campus visited classes and documented seating in every section of every class.  The data was uploaded and made available to the Health Care Reporting team.  The seating chart project will continue as long as the quarantine requirements are in place.

Furniture Upgrades

The Facilities Department has undertaken a review of existing furniture, both indoor and outdoor.  Since reopening this Fall, student use of outdoor furniture has increased substantially.  Indoor furniture is being reviewed to identify needs to include:

  • Upgrading to flexible classroom furniture.
  • Creating convertible spaces that maximize the ability to adapt.
  • Storing health and safety equipment and supplies.
  • Expanding community, wellness, and waiting areas.

Funding from COVID-19-related grants will be used to increase outdoor furniture and upgrade indoor furniture.

Purchasing and Payables

The implementation of self-service in Colleague is continuing.  Payment Request entry is now available in the Colleague Self-Service Procurement module.

  • Initiators no longer need to submit signed paper Memo Invoice forms to Purchasing.
  • Initiators are now able to create a Payment Request and attach backup documentation directly to the request.
  • Payment Requests are entered using the same screen as requisition entry; a different drop-down selection is needed.
  • Current Purchasing and Payables policies have not changed.
  • Applicable approvers still need to be added to each Payment Request.

The Purchasing Department encourages all initiators to use the step-by-step instructions now available on the Purchasing section of the Faculty and Staff Portal, which address:

  • Accessing Self-Service Procurement
  • Creating a Payment Request
  • Multiple GLs on one line item
  • AMEX Order Form
  • Using updated Memo Invoice and Travel Forms as backup

Ocean County College Foundation


The Spring 2022 scholarship application period will open on November 1, 2021, and will remain open through Tuesday, January 4, 2022.  Once again, all qualified Fall term recipients need not reapply for a Spring term scholarship.  Their applications simply roll over;  continued eligibility is confirmed by the Foundation Office.


The previously approved technology upgrade by both the College and Foundation Boards is scheduled for early in the new year.  In addition, a Request for Proposals is being prepared to engage with a consultant to re-imagine the lobby/gathering space in anticipation of creating more of an interactive, science center experience.  Once the scope of work is determined, the Foundation and the College will work together on this capital campaign.

Golf Outing

Appreciation is expressed to the members of the Golf Committee and especially to the outing sponsors who stepped up to make this year’s event a tremendous success.  Over $66,000 was raised for scholarship support.

Annual Activity/Endowment Reports

All Foundation annual activity/endowment reports are scheduled to be distributed this month.  As in years past, custom reports will be created for each of the endowed funds with detailed financial information, including the distribution of funds.

Blauvelt Speaker Series Update

The Foundation will be hosting Mr. Eric O’Neil on November 9, 2021, at 11 a.m.  He will speak on the topic of Cyber Security to conclude the Fall Speaker Series lineup.  The Speaker Series Committee is finalizing the upcoming Spring 2022 guest lectures and is looking forward to presenting another inspiring group of thought leaders for OCC students and the broader Ocean County community.

Thank You for Your Service Campaign

In partnership with Veterans Services, the OCC Foundation is raising funds through the month of November to support the newly established Operation Ocean Heroes Scholarship for servicemen, women, and their families.  Participants in the campaign may elect to give a gift in honor of their favorite veteran, which will be broadcast on the OCC’s Veteran’s Voices television program.


  • The Local Alumni Network is partnering with the OCC Business Innovation Consortium (BIC) to host “Networking into Your Future” on Thursday, November 11, 2021, at 3:30 p.m. This will be an in-person, on-campus event attracting current students, alumni, and local business leaders for a two-part program.  It will include a discussion about the art of networking and its importance, followed by a forum for participants to make connections with one another and for future professional opportunities.
  • The 100 Women Advisory Committee met to plan programming for the 2021-2022 academic year now that the campus has re-opened and in-person programming can be hosted. An impact report will be distributed to all 100 Women Campaign members that highlights the contributions the campaign has made to the Foundation’s scholarship program via the 100 Women scholarship opportunities and the number of students who have benefited from those scholarships.
    • The next 100 Women event will be an on-campus breakfast on Friday, December 10, 2021, at 8:00 a.m. featuring OCC alumna Tara Chalakani from Preferred Behavioral Health, and 100 Women member Victoria Magliacane from Investors Bank, who will talk about work/life balance, the impact the pandemic has had on women in the workforce, and social/emotional well-being.  The Advisory Committee will continue to meet regularly and develop more events and opportunities, including the annual holiday community service activity.

Grunin Center

  • The Grunin Center has had four sold-to-capacity events in the past month: John Pizzarelli and Catherine Russell; Neil Berg’s 50 Years of Rock & Roll; Assisted Living: The Musical; and The World-Famous Glenn Miller Orchestra.  Additionally, The Weeklings Beatles Bash, scheduled for Friday, November 5, 2021, is already sold-to-capacity.
  • This month, dancer Drew Dollaz and company were welcomed at OCC for their week-long IMPERFECT residency. While here, they are developing an anti-bullying dance piece as well as working with the Grunin tech team to develop the lighting for the performance. This NEA (National Endowment for the Arts)-funded program includes workshops with OCC dance classes, the Dance Club, and the Toms River High School North Dance Academy.  Drew will be presenting his anti-bullying message to all Student Success Seminar classes in November.

Workforce and Professional Education and Grants Administration

WPE Apprenticeship Programs

  • State-Registered Apprenticeship Programs beginning this Fall include cohorts in Community Health Worker (34 students) and Pharmacy Technician (3 students) programs. Community Health Worker students started their training in September and will complete their online competency course in February, to be followed by 2,000 hours of on-the-job training (OJT) with their employer to complete this State-registered apprenticeship program.  Due to the fully online course delivery, students live and work throughout New Jersey, and their employers range from smaller non-profits to the Ocean County Health Department – Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program.  Pharmacy Technician students registered for the apprenticeship program have just started the course and will be working with various local CVS locations to complete their 2,000 hours of OJT.

Adult Basic Education – Title II Grant

The Title II Grant, titled the Adult Education, Civics, and Workforce Preparation Program, has officially begun, with on- and off-campus student cohorts studying to improve their proficiency in English (ESL) and basic skills that will lead to successful completion of the high school equivalency exam, more stable employment, and further education or training.

Orientations were held in early September, where participants completed an intake and pre-assessment test.  Cohort programs, currently serving 217 participants, are located on campus as well as in Lakewood and Brick.  All locations offer programming during the morning, afternoon, and evening to accommodate participant scheduling needs.  The program will expand to additional locations, including the Southern Education Center, in January 2022. Over 110 participants are currently on the waiting list and scheduled to start the program in January.  An upcoming engagement event will occur at Family Literacy at Lakewood Library, November 12, 2021, from  2:00 to 4:30 p.m.

Grants Administration

Over the last month, the following grant award contracts were finalized:

  • The New Jersey Department of Human Services, Hunger Free Campus Grant, was awarded to OCC for $79,318. Alison Noone, Assistant Director of Student Life, will serve as the Project Director for the grant, which will run from September 1, 2021, through August 31, 2022.  This project will serve as support for the Helping Hands food pantry and related initiatives.
  • The Office of the Secretary of Higher Education Securing our Children’s Future Bond Grant was awarded to OCC for $2,104,752 and will run from October 1, 2021, through September 31, 2024. Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration, and others throughout the campus will serve as Project Directors.  This award, Project:  IDEA, is a capital grant to outfit and upgrade six new labs to build capacity and support technology-based education programs.

College Relations

  • Jaimee Cali, Website Coordinator of Content and Visual Layout, collaborated with Student Life Coordinator Neal McHale, on the Student Life What’s Happening page to provide a dedicated web page for students, faculty, staff, and alumni to find Student Life events and activities and view ticketing policies and procedures. The page can be linked through emails, social media posts, and the Student Life app.  In the first 48 hours of its availability, the page was accessed by 100 individuals, who spent an average of 3 minutes, 16 seconds on the page.
  • Maureen Conlon, Associate Director of Web Services moderated a talk, “Insights from Analytics: Impact Your Digital Marketing Performance,” at the ClickZ Experience Conference on October 27, 2021. ClickZ, one of the world’s largest digital marketing communities, disseminates innovations and insights through articles, podcasts, webinars, and case studies to digital marketers across diverse industries.   The talk focused on the development of actionable insights from analytics and the alignment of data to a customer’s journey to purchase.
  • The TV Studio has undergone annual maintenance, and upgrades continue to be installed over the next few weeks.  Students will have the benefit of working with the latest technology related to broadcast operations.  As part of the TV Studio upgrades, a new remote camera system has been installed by TV Studio Director Ralph Bertini in the Grunin Center Theatre to stream live events, such as the Blauvelt Speaker Series.
  • Michael Leon, Graphic Design Manager, developed invitations for the November 10, 2021, OCC Fall Open House. The creative design invited students to tour the campus, enjoy refreshments/games, engage with faculty and staff, and learn more about OCC degree programs, career opportunities, and the affordability campaign. The campaign will reach 300 individual homes. Brochures and signage designs will highlight OCC departments and faculty and will be used across multiple marketing platforms.
  • Nicole Howard, Graphic Design Specialist, has been creating advertising materials, such as the 32-page booklet for the Grunin Center Spring 2022 events. The 7,500 booklets are expected to be distributed this month.  In collaboration with Ms. Jessica Zawerczuk, Assistant Director of the Grunin Center Marketing and Sales, Ms. Nicole Howard designed 15 posters featuring upcoming concerts and musicians, including Sweet Potato Pie, The Nutcracker, Ann Keiserman, and Chris Herbert.  They also created brochures, lobby signage, and advertisements that will promote the Grunin Center through Spring 2022.


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 September 17 through October 28, 2021.

Student Affairs


Transfer Events

Transfer Coordinator Laura Wills collaborated with Kean Ocean, Montclair University, Monmouth University, and NJIT to schedule Instant Decision Days in November and December.

Columbia University’s School of Graduate Studies, Rutgers University’s Newark School of Public Affairs, Rutgers University’s Division of Continuing Studies for Social Work, and Flagler College are also hosting virtual information sessions for OCC students in November and December.


  • NJ STARS Coordinator Jennifer Kipp reports that there are 345 NJ STARS students enrolled for the Fall 2021 semester. Of these 345 students, 146 are in their first semester and the other 199 are returning students.  There are also 39 potential STARS students enrolled; however, they have not been confirmed eligible yet due to outstanding documentation or financial aid verification.  Ten STARS students graduated in August.
  • In collaboration with the HUB, the Advising Office is utilizing Advise CRM for the NJ STARS program for two main purposes: 1) as an early alert system to identify students who have a course average below 80% in one or more courses and 2) as a tool to send targeted communications to STARS students.  So far this semester, STARS students have received a welcome email, graduation reminders, STARS II information, and a FAFSA completion reminder.

Advising Training

Associate Director Shirley Baker has collaborated with the Advising team to create a series of Advisor trainings this Fall.  These trainings benefit advisors across campus, as well as the staff who want to learn more about advising topics to strengthen their student interactions.  Session topics include Advising Using Student Planning, Advising for Pre-Nursing Students, Advising for Proactive Major Selection, Advising for Transfer, and Career Advising and the Job Market.

Student Information Sessions

The Advising Office is working to make information more accessible to students by hosting in-person and virtual information sessions during the Fall semester.  Session topics include Pre-Nursing Information; Transfer for Nursing; Transfer for Social Work; Transfer for Education; Transfer for STEM Majors; Spring 2022 Registration Preparation; Transfer:  Applying to Colleges; and Transfer:  Understanding how Credits Transfer.

Career Services

  • October has been a busy month for Career Services. Kirsten Bollinger, Career Services Coordinator, presented a virtual and 11 in-person presentations on Career Services to students and faculty.  Additionally, 62 student appointments were scheduled through You Can Book Me from September 1 to October 29, 2021, averaging approximately 7 students each week.  The topics discussed included career advising (41), job and internship search (8), and resume review (13); 48 of the appointments took place on campus, 8 were by telephone, and 6 were through Webex meetings.
  • Three virtual workshops were scheduled for students in October to discuss career and major exploration, resume writing, and job search strategies. All students will be able to RSVP for the workshops on Handshake.
  • To date, 23 employers have committed to having representatives available in the Larson Student Center throughout the semester to informally recruit and network with students. The employers represent the areas of business, hospitality, psychology, social work, healthcare, education, and the environment.  In total, employers will be on campus 27 different dates.

Disability Services

  • Assistant Director of Disability Services Jamie Arasz Prioli conducted an overview of Disability Services for faculty, lecturers, and staff from the School of Arts and Humanities. The overview included best practices for supporting students with disabilities, such as effective communication skills, organization tools, and other valuable resources.
    • An overview was also presented to members of the Workforce and Professional Education (WPE) program.  In addition, an informational session was presented to incoming students enrolled in WPE classes detailing services available for students with disabilities.
  • Weekly virtual “drop-in” sessions continued to be hosted for students interested in services or who required additional support with accommodations. They were held each Friday through October 22, 2021, and were open captioned.
  • To promote community engagement and support, Disability Services continues to collaborate and serve as chair of the Ocean County Core Advisory Group – Emergency Preparedness for Individuals with Disabilities. A monthly meeting was hosted by Disability Services, with community members attending virtually, to discuss trends within the community indicating barriers and resources for individuals with access and functional needs.
  • Staff participated in several professional development opportunities, including a three-day virtual training academy for disability resources personnel. The AHEAD Start 2021 Academy, hosted by the Association on Higher Education and Disability (AHEAD), offered the foundational experience to disability resources professionals who continue to increase their fundamental knowledge and skills.  Topics included:
    • Disability as a civil right: An examination of the history of the disability rights movement, discussion about disability in society today, and how it informs service delivery.
    • Legal concepts from Section 504, the Americans with Disabilities Act, case law, and settlement agreements: The interactive process, “reasonableness,” fundamental alteration, undue burden, and direct threat.
    • The interactive process: Student interview, documentation, and decision-making in context.
    • Accommodation design and coordination.
    • Outreach and consultation: Campus leadership and influence.

Student Enrollment Services, the HUB

  • Enrollment Services, along with many volunteers from across campus, hosted 55 Barnegat High School juniors on Monday, October 11, 2021. The students played Ocean’s Game of Life, with a goal of fiscal literacy.  Students were given $1,000 in play money and had to make decisions about spending priorities similar to college students on their first day of school. Students went to several tables where they experienced various situations that required them to either receive additional funds or spend money based on their priorities.  At the end, students who had funds remaining were able to trade in their play money for prizes and Ocean swag.  Students also were treated to a campus tour and refreshments.
  • In September and October, the Enrollment Services team visited nine high schools for the College Pathways “College 101” presentation and met with over 1,900 high school seniors throughout the county. During these visits, students are guided through the college enrollment process, as well as OCC’s application.  The team also conducted multiple Early College presentations for both students and parents during the day and in the evening and assisted the Financial Aid team in conducting workshops at the high schools for the 2022-23 FAFSA.
    • As part of Pathways, college planning information sessions have also been offered for parents at Point Pleasant Borough, Lacey Township, Pinelands Regional, and Toms River South high schools.
  • Enrollment Services sponsored the bags at the Ocean County School Counselors Association College and Career Fair on Thursday, October 7, 2021, in the evening. OCC was represented along with 130 other colleges and schools and had the opportunity to meet in-person at Toms River East High School with several hundred students.
  • Between September 1 through 30, 2021, the HUB completed 2,294 in-person transactions. The average service duration was 2 minutes, 38 seconds, with a 10 minute, 9 second average wait time.  The HUB also responded to 3,096 emails within the same time frame.

Southern Education Center

  • Plans for the re-opening of the Southern Education Center in advance of the Spring 2022 semester are in full swing.  The anticipated opening is Monday, November 8, 2022.  Student service walk-in appointments for academic advising, enrollment, registration, and other services will be available as the SEC re-opens; virtual appointments will also continue.  Messaging to inform the College community and the southern area students of the re-opening through OCC channels, social media, and updates to the edu SEC website are now in the planning stages. This student outreach will also occur via email, Canvas Announcements, Reggie, and calling campaigns. College Relations and Enrollment Services are working in collaboration with the SEC staff to develop the communications.  A full schedule of classes will be offered for the Spring 2022 semester.
  • Outreach regarding a variety of student service programs continues through the SEC Canvas shell Announcement page.  Announcements have been posted alerting students to services available from the Tutoring Center, Counseling Center, and Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF).  Most recently, students were provided with the details of upcoming Academic Advising workshops. The number of student views for these specific announcements exceeds 1,300, bringing the total Fall semester views to almost 4,000.
  • As the SEC moves to re-open, James Hauenstein, Director of the Center, has collaborated with Ms. Gina Opauski, Director of Community and Workforce Development (WPE), to implement Adult Basic Education (ABE) courses at the SEC through the OCC Title II grant.  The ABE classes are scheduled to commence in January 2022.
  • On October 11, 2021, James Hauenstein and Ms. Kayla Stahl, Enrollment Services Advisor, Early College, presented a workshop to over 100 Barnegat High School juniors.  The presentation offered two components.  The first was entitled “Do You Speak College?” which focused on the vocabulary used in the collegiate world to create the foundation for future post-secondary discussions.  The second part was centered on the P.L.A.N. (Promoting Learners to Achieve Now) program as the juniors in attendance would be able, through dual enrollment courses at Barnegat High School or by taking classes at the SEC/OCC, attain 24 or more credits prior to high school graduation. Approximately 60 of these students then took a field trip to the OCC main campus for tours and the Game of Life activity, as previously described.
  • The Spring 2022 SEC master course schedule is in the final design phase.  It features a few courses utilizing the immersive class design, which pairs classes on the main campus and at the SEC in a synchronized time format.  To encourage Early College opportunities at the SEC, the schedule will also feature three classes offered at 1:00 p.m. for southern area high school seniors.
    • In preparation for the start of courses at the SEC utilizing the newly installed immersive synchronous class environment that will pair instructional opportunities between the SEC and Toms River classes, Mr. James Hauenstein completed the seven online modules focused on HyFlex Learning as developed by Academic Affairs and presented through the Canvas shell in conjunction with Discovery Education.
  • James Hauenstein and Ms. Sheenah Hartigan, Executive Director of Enrollment Services, met with the Lead Counselor of Southern Regional High School’s Guidance Department to discuss opportunities OCC can provide to Southern Regional High School students through the OCC Pathways program and begin conversations outlining the advantages of the P.L.A.N. program.

Veterans and Military Resources Center

  • The Veterans and Military Resources Center is hosting the third annual Veterans Town Hall in collaboration with Congressman Andy Kim on November 11, 2021, from 5:30 to 7:00 p.m. at the Grunin Theatre. A panel of three veterans with diverse backgrounds will showcase experiences and times-of-reflection to Ocean County community members.
  • The VMRC is in the beginning phase of planning a campus-wide movie night (Elf) to be hosted at the Grunin Theatre in December.
  • Veterans Program Coordinator Kencis Kleinschmidt secured the guest speaker, Retired Marine Corps Colonel Alan Smith, for the upcoming Veterans Day Ceremony on campus.
  • The Center has held a dozen student engagement activities thus far this semester and has a dozen more planned for November and December. During these activities, veteran and military-affiliated students are able to learn about resources available to them, network, socialize, and support one another.  The VMRC has been utilized by veteran and military-affiliated students over 135 times since the beginning of the Fall semester.
  • The VA-VITAL Representative Jennifer Garcia continues to make visits to the VMRC, assisting students with valuable resources. With great success, Garcia has been able to assist with medical appointments, veteran benefits literacy, counseling services, and morale among student veterans.
  • VMRC staff presented in Margaret Maghan’s practicum class regarding Combat Trauma and Veteran Transitioning Experience. This discussion led her class and the Student Veteran Organization (SVO) to initiate collaboration on an upcoming event in support of the Afghan refugees.
  • The VMRC will be conducting two Green Zone trainings in November. Green Zone refers to a safe and protected place.  This is the first time Green Zone will be offered at OCC, with the objective to help faculty and staff support military-affiliated students on campus.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

The Instructional Design and Technology team, e-Learning College Lecturer IIs, and selected administrators will be participating in two Quality Matters (QM) trainings in 2022, “Applying the Quality Matters Rubric” and “Improving Your Online Course.” The QM program provides professional development trainings that are geared towards improving the quality of online and blended courses. Additionally, it provides the QM Higher Education Rubric, consisting of 8 general standards and 42 specific criteria, that is used for designing, developing, and reviewing online and blended courses to ensure they meet quality standards for higher education.


The e-Learning department welcomes Ms. Daphnee St. Val, Part-Time Instructional Designer, to the Instructional Design and Technology team.


  • The International team has completed a series of marketing webinars that occurred every Tuesday and Friday from the last week of August until the last week of October, which resulted in the recruitment of the 6th cohort of students of the Ocean/Ain Shams/Kean program. Online orientation sessions have been given to Cohort 6 students to prepare them for their first semester at OCC, which is the 2021 Fall Accelerated 6 term.
  • Eileen Garcia, Vice President of e-Learning and Learning Enterprises, Dr. Maysa Hayward, Associate Vice President of International Programs, and I left for Egypt in early October to continue working on the potential partnerships with public, national, and private universities that started during the last visit in Summer 2021. Dr. Garcia and I returned on October 24, 2021, while Dr. Hayward will be in Egypt until November 8, 2021.  Dr. Hayward is currently working with Badr University and Al-Alamein University on mapping courses so OCC International Programs can start the first cohort with both institutions in Spring or Fall 2022.
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