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February 1, 2016

Dr. Larson’s February 1, 2016 Report to The Board of Trustees

OCC president Dr. Larson


Instead of a final examination at the end of the fall 2015 semester, Ms. Jennifer Evans, College Lecturer II in Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management, assigned a special project to her students in HRTM 212, Conferences, Conventions, and Special Events.  The class was required to host a special event, assuming responsibility for every aspect of organization and management to ensure its success.

The students decided to host a toy drive to benefit Brandon’s Elves, a local nonprofit organization that honors the memory of six-year-old Brandon Holt, who died in a gun-related incident in 2013.  The students set a goal to collect 50 gifts.  Because of their enthusiasm, passion, and determination, they collected over 200 gifts and $70 in gift cards.  Following the toy drive, the class then hosted a gift organization party with a buffet, beverages, and decorations, and faculty and fellow students were invited to assist in sorting and dividing the gifts by age for distribution by Brandon’s Elves.

By all measures, this assignment was a wonderful success.  It not only benefitted many area children, but it became much more than a learning experience for the students.  To share more details with you, I have invited Ms. Evans and a few students to attend Monday’s meeting.

Trip to Egypt and Morocco

Our trip to Egypt and Morocco from January 8 to 15 was extremely fruitful, and we accomplished more than we had hoped for.  Joining me were Mr. Jeff Harmon, Associate Vice President of e-Learning and Learning Enterprises; Dr. Maysa Hayward, Dean of Instructional Outreach; and Mr. Hatem Akl, Chief Information Officer.  Their contributions during this important trip were invaluable, and we had a truly wonderful time.

Our very busy itinerary included:

  • Friday, January 8 – We departed for Cairo, via Egypt Air, and arrived on Saturday morning, January 9.  We were escorted by Dr. Sayed el Kouhly, Chairperson, Department of Management at Ain Shams University, to Mohamed Ali Castle and enjoyed a dinner cruise on the Nile River.
  • Sunday, January 10 – I gave a speech to about 150 business leaders and media at the Ministry of Investment Leader Development Center comparing U.S. and Egyptian education systems.  We toured the Pyramids and Sphinx, did a TV interview with an Arabic language station, held a press interview with the largest newspaper in Cairo, and went to dinner with Alaa el Khishen, President and owner of IMI, Inc., a training company in Cairo.
  • Monday, January 11 – The IMI partnership signing ceremony was held in which we presented our team, including Dr. Sophia Howlett, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs at Kean University.  We then toured the Maadi Call Centre Technology Park, visited the IMI corporate premises, the ECCO Company call center, and the ECCO Masr El Gadida branch site, and had dinner at Fairmont Heliopolis Hotel with about 20 professional staff of the Arab Academy of Science, Technology, and Maritime Studies.
  • Tuesday morning, January 12 – We traveled to the Cairo campus of the Arab Academy for a signing ceremony and presentations, had a meeting with the Academy leadership team, and toured the College of Language and Communication. In the afternoon, we scheduled a signing ceremony for our three-way partnership with NJIT, Kean University, and Ain Shams University.  Ain Shams is a large public university enrolling over 250,000 students.  We met with the Interim President and leadership team but postponed the signing ceremony until a new President is appointed.  We went to dinner with the Interim President and his staff.
  • Wednesday, January 13 – We held partnership discussions with Al Ahram Canadian University; met with the University President; enjoyed an ACU presentation about their institution, a private university based on the Canadian higher education model; and explored numerous partnership opportunities.  We held a signing ceremony, then departed for lunch at a unique restaurant in a skeet shooting club, and later had dinner at the Sequoia restaurant, which serves authentic Egyptian cuisine.
  • Thursday, January 14 – Mr. Harmon and I flew to Morocco for partnership meetings with Sana Education and IMI Groups that produced another batch of program opportunities teaching language proficiency with private elementary/secondary schools in Egypt and Morocco operated by Sana.
  • Friday, January 15 – We returned to the United States on Royal Air Maroc.

As a result of this, we accomplished the following in the MENA Region:

  • Ain Shams University
    • Dual degree program with Kean University
    • Dual degree program with NJIT
    • Executive Professional Certificates with Experiential Component (e.g., Risk Management and Insurance Certificate for Insurance Professionals in Egypt requested by the Director of the Ministry of Investment’s Leader Development Center, Dr. Asraf Ibriham)
  • Arab Academy for Maritime Science and Transport
    • Dual degree program with Kean University
    • ESL Placement Testing and Remediation in Math/English
  • IMI International/Sana and Saham
    • Expansion of the IMI Language Institute into other languages (French, German, Italian) in Egypt
    • Expansion of the IMI Language Institute into Morocco
    • Rosetta Stone Language Training for K-12 Market in Egypt and other MENA regions
    • Hybrid degree program offerings in Egypt and Morocco
    • ESL/ESP (English for Specific Purposes) in Business Studies, trip for 50 students to come to the United States in July 2016
    • Non-Credit Certificate (Hybrid) in Nutrition and in Teacher Education
    • USAID Grant opportunities as co-submissions with IMI and ITIDA (governmental agency supporting professional training of Egyptians)
    • Pilot establishment of private community colleges in the MENA Region
  • Al Ahram Canadian University
    • Dual degree program with Kean University
    • ESL and language training
    • Internships
  • OCC International General Projects
    • Ocean Global Institute
      • Center for International Internship Placement
      • Foreign Student University Admissions Service

Spring 2016 Colloquium

The Spring 2016 Colloquium was held on Thursday, January 21, in the Grunin Center Theatre.  The day began with a continental breakfast at 8:00 a.m.  At 9:00 a.m., I presented my address, “The End of Work,” as well as recognized very deserving employees with Longevity Awards and President’s Excellence Awards.

Three workshops followed for faculty and administrators: From Theory to Implementation:  The Student Success Experience; Societal Trends and Factors Impacting Higher Education:  An Intellectual Dialogue; and The OCC Leadership Academy – Where Are They Now?  Adjunct faculty attended an evening program led by Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Carol Brown.

Attached you will find a copy of the Colloquium program as well as my address to the College community.

Student Affairs

  • For the third year in a row, Ocean County College has been named to the 2016 Military Friendly schools list.  This designation showcases the top 20% of colleges, universities, and trade schools in the country that embraces America’s military service members, veterans, and spouses as students, ensuring their success on campus.  Military service members, veterans, and student spouses can go to the website and not only select Military Friendly schools but also search employers, franchises, and cities that offer the most opportunities for the military. Mr. Robert Mather, Financial Aid Specialist, and Ms. Deeanne Gatta-Salter, Senior Financial Aid Specialist, have been instrumental in ensuring the continuation of Ocean County College as a Military Friendly school.  They will attend Monday’s meeting to share with you the plaque received by the College.
  • In keeping with the College’s Strategic Initiatives and in particular Strategy #7, Continuously Improve Learning Support Processes and Practices, a new process began in October called the Student Success Experience, the central idea of which is to integrate virtually and physically and strengthen the services that provide students the help, support, and structure they need to be successful in college.  The Student Success Experience will include a small physical footprint and a larger virtual One-Stop Shop for beginning and returning students in conjunction with an online self-service portal. Using a collaborative, communication approach within and across the campus community, the Student Success Experience will offer and ensure access to comprehensive programs and services designed to empower all students and to connect them reliably and easily with the resources they need to achieve their academic and personal goals. On Monday, the project coordinators, Mr. Keith Bunn, Enrollment Management Technical Administrator, Ms. Veronica Guevara-Lovgren, Coordinator of Academic Support, and Ms. Sheenah Hartigan, CRM Communications Administrator, will report progress to date and explain in more detail the plans and implementation process.
  • This year’s Student Leadership Development Conference was held on Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday, January 6, 7, and 8, at the Honors Haven Resort in Ellenville, New York, under the direction of Ms. Jen Fazio, Director of Student Life, and Ms. Alison Noone, Assistant Director of Student Life.  Attending were 32 impressive and enthusiastic students with 9 faculty and staff participants and 4 facilitators.  The faculty and staff commented on the responsiveness of the students to all activities and exercises held during the unique student development opportunity. Ms. Fazio and a student participant, Sean Newman, will give you a brief report on the Conference at Monday’s meeting.

Academic Affairs

As Academic Affairs begins the new semester, there are several new initiatives and projects that are helping to shape its direction:

  • Ocean County College will be submitting a U.S. Department of Education Talent Search Grant Application on February 5.  The grant award is $240,000 per year for five years.  The purpose of the Talent Search Program is to identify qualified individuals from disadvantaged backgrounds with potential for education at the postsecondary level and encourage them to complete secondary school and undertake postsecondary education.  A cross-institutional group led by Ms. Rebecca Feiler-White, Director of Alumni Relations, Development, and Grants, and Dr. Lisa DiBisceglie, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, with representatives from Academic Affairs, Student Affairs, and Finance, has been working on the grant concept and developing a budget.  The Program will focus on college readiness and include student mentoring, tutoring, financial literacy, college searches, and financial aid workshops as well as parent workshops. The grant has identified five Ocean County school districts to service, which include the following high schools and middle schools:  Barnegat High School, Russell O. Brackman Middle School, Lacey High School, Pinelands High School, Toms River High School South, Toms River Intermediate School South, Toms River High School East, and Toms River Intermediate School East.
  • The School of Nursing and Health Sciences is preparing for the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing site visit on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday, February 23, 24, and 25.  Under the leadership of Dean Tracy Walsh, the staff has prepared an extensive written review of its program as part of a continuous self-assessment that supports planning and improvements.  The process guides the School of Nursing and Health Sciences in developing appropriate educational objectives for its programs.
  • Under the leadership of Dr. Lisa DiBisceglie, a two-day College Lecturer Institute was held on January 12 and 20.  The topics of discussion included Understanding Generation Z, Writing across the Curriculum, and Classroom Assessment.
  • On Thursday, January 21, adjunct faculty had the opportunity to attend an evening workshop.  The workshop was led by Interim Vice President of Academic Affairs Carol Brown and focused on the implementation of classroom assessment techniques into teaching methodologies.
  • During the winter recess, students participated in two Study Abroad opportunities.  Under the leadership of Assistant Professor of Communications Gary Shaffer, students participated in Theater in London.  History College Lecturer II Robert Marchie led a group to France to visit sites that provided the background for a discussion on the History of France.

Finance and Administration

  • College Relations
    • The Winter/Spring 2016 Edition of Ocean Views introduces Vidar the Viking to the alumni community, includes a feature on the “Behind the Scenes” work that occurs at the Grunin Center, spotlights how the TRIO Student Support Services Grant has transformed students’ lives, and features updates on the achievements of OCC’s talented students and alumni.
    • The Alumni Office sent out the 2015-2016 Alumni Annual Appeal in January as both a direct mail campaign and email campaign.  This year’s focus is to increase alumni participation by encouraging donations at any dollar amount.  Gifts to the Alumni Fund are dedicated to ensuring a stable base of resources for OCC to continue to place students first.
    • Grants – Ocean County College was awarded $8,000 to support the OCC Repertory Theatre’s Production of Dancing at Lughnasa in March.
    • TV Studio – A group of Lacey High School students recently participated in a workshop at the OCC TV Studio and were trained by Mr. Ralph Bertini, Television Production Director; Mr. Lee Kobus, College Lecturer II in Humanities and Fine Arts; and Mr. Paul Whitehead, Part-Time TV Production Assistant.  Nine senior and three junior students learned the skills/software (Adobe Premiere) needed to produce a show and other television projects.  Two students indicated their intention to enroll in OCC’s Digital Mass Media program in the fall semester, and four more are considering attending OCC in 2017.  The high school instructor provided positive feedback, stating that the students were very impressed with the TV Studio and OCC and are seriously considering continuing their education here at OCC. Appreciation is expressed to Mr. Bertini, Mr. Kobus, and Mr. Whitehead for their good work with the students and positive relationships with County high schools.
  • The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts
    • Approximately 400 patrons will attend the John Pizzarelli concert on Saturday, January 30.  In addition, 55 patrons will enjoy the Dinner and Show package in the second floor Gallery, which is being catered by Prime 13.Upcoming performances include:
  • Peter Yarrow (February 6) – This legendary musician weaves a narrative of his life in music and politics punctuating the major events with renditions of the iconic songs we all know and love, from his life in Greenwich Village in the 1960’s, to his connections with Bob Dylan and Pete Seeger, to his career as part of the trio Peter, Paul, and Mary.
  • Broadway’s Next Hit Musical (February 12) – This hilarious hit is the only unscripted theatrical awards show.  Master improvisers gather made-up, hit song suggestions from the audience and create a spontaneous evening of music, humor, and laughter.
  • Aaron Weinstein (February 17) – This young violinist virtuoso will be familiar to MidWeek Jazz audiences for his swinging work with Bucky Pizzarelli.
  • Home Free (February 20) – When country a cappella band Home Free was crowned Season 4 Champions of NBC’s “The Sing-Off” in 2014, the victory was a satisfying culmination of nearly a decade of hard work and commitment for these five country stars from Minnesota.
  • Renee Marie (February 26) – I Wanna Be Evil (with Love to Eartha Kitt) – Never before has there been a vocalist tipping the hat to the divine Ms. Kitt and her fiery, sensual, clever interpretations of songs.  With her incredible range, powerful emotional resonance, and strong independent streak, Rene is the right artist to conceive of this historic CD project.

On Monday, Mr. Mark Wilson, Interim Director of Cultural Affairs, will give you a brief summary of Grunin Center activities.

  • Continuing and Professional Education – Technology and Specialized Careers
    • Customized Training and Business Engagement
      • Customized Training has reserved 85 New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA) grant-funded courses through May 15 and is actively working to fill all courses.
      • Mr. Michael Forcella, Manager of Business Engagement, has been asked to participate in the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce Economic Development Committee, and he is also a member of the Tourism Sub-Committee.  Courses in Customer Service are being planned, and an Entrepreneurship Program is being developed.
      • Mr. Forcella has concluded discussions with the Borough of Seaside Heights to provide fee-based courses for its municipal employees.   The program will be introduced to Ocean County’s other 32 municipalities in the coming weeks.
      • Ms. Pat Fenn, Assistant Vice President of Continuing and Professional Education and Workforce Development, is collaborating with the National Association of Community College Entrepreneurs for programs and partnerships.
      • A co-sponsored Advanced Manufacturing Welding Training program with Brookdale Community College for the unemployed will take place weekends during the spring at the Ocean County Vocational School welding facilities.
      • Underway are plans for another Spring Employers Summit, an early Spring Training Fair at Lakewood Industrial Park, and IT training with NJIT.
  • The Academy for Lifelong Learning is planning its third senior program, the Spring Active Adult Session, “Irish History Celebration,” on April 5, 6, and 7.  This program will incorporate OCC’s Global Education “Irish Heritage Commemoration” and will acknowledge the 100th Anniversary of the Easter Rising.  A number of presentations will be offered:  “Celtic Medieval Art,” “Irish Genealogy,” “The Sons of St. Patrick in War: the San Patricios and the Irish Brigade,” “The Sounds and History of Irish Jazz Musicians,” and “Zen Doodle including Celtic Inspired Patterns.”  The program concludes with a Planetarium presentation of “Mythology and Astronomy of Ireland.”  Collette Travel will sponsor a lunch during which the beauty of Ireland will be highlighted.
  • TAACCT Grant Progress – Programming is being expanded to include career development and job placement assistance for all CPE Allied Health program students, not just funded students.  To date, 21 of 22 previously unemployed students were placed in new employment allied healthcare positions.  The targeted goal of 22 students for Year Two, from October 1, 2015, through September 30, 2016, is very close to being met.  Additionally, the grant is supporting three new CPE workshops throughout the spring and summer.
  • Career Programs – This spring CPE Allied Health Care will offer two new programs, Veterinary Assistant and Evening Medical Assistant.  Program completion can lead to national certifications/credentials and immediate job opportunities.
  • Security – The Security Department received a grant award in the amount of $13,493 from the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management to purchase a portable message board.  The funding, which originates from the New Jersey Department of Law and Public Safety, is the result of an application process completed by the OCC Security staff.  The message board will be used to direct students and the public during emergency situations.
  • Facilities – On Friday, January 22, a delighted crowd toured the impressive new Jon and Judith Larson Student Center and enjoyed refreshments provided by the new food service provider, Canteen.  The new building is being very well received by students.  A grand opening celebration for students and staff is planned for Thursday, February 25.
  • Office of Information Technology – OCC has joined the Development Partner Group (DPG) for Cloud Analytics for Recruitment.  Cloud Analytics will allow OCC to explore the data housed in Colleague, draw inferences, and make decisions by creating a data-driven Recruiting and Admission environment accessible at all levels.OCC has been researching data analytic systems for several years with the intent of procuring a stand-alone system that would require an interface to work with Ellucian Colleague.  Since Ellucian has now formed a DPG to create a system within Colleague, OCC will have the opportunity to help design the system as well as enjoy the added benefit of using the system at no cost while it is under development. The following institutions are participating in the DPG: Becker College, Duke University, Fordham University, Lourdes University, Ocean County College, Our Lady of the Lake University, Regis University, Seattle University, and University of Wisconsin Eau Claire. Ms. Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration, and Ms. Alexa Beshara, Executive Director of Institutional Research, will represent OCC in the development group.
  • Planetarium – Planning is underway to increase Planetarium attendance this summer and expose more children to the OCC campus.   Group tickets are being offered to OCC campers as well as other camps in the area that may be interested in a day trip to the Planetarium.  Two programs will be offered:  Stories of The Constellations and Our Solar System.  Both programs include brief explanations of the topics followed by hands-on activities that can easily adapt to different age groups.  With the show, lunch, and gift shop, the campers will have a full-day activity.  The goal will be to fill three shows a day, four days of the week, from July through August, for a total of 96 Planetarium shows.
  • Human Resources
    • The first Annual OCC President’s Awards for Excellence were presented at the January 21 Colloquium.  These awards replace the Employee of the Year Program and are intended to acknowledge and express appreciation for outstanding non-faculty accomplishments at the Department, Division, or College-wide level.  The program is aligned with the College’s Strategic Plan, Charting Our New Course, and specifically supports Strategy #5: Create a Challenging, Supportive, and Sustainable Work Environment.
    • Recognized employees received monetary awards and engraved cups, and they will enjoy lunch with the President.  More information on the winners and their accomplishments can be found in the attached President’s Colloquium Speech.
    • Cohort members of the Leadership Academy participated in a panel entitled The OCC Leadership Academy – Where are They Now? at the January 21 Colloquium.  During the session, they shared their experiences in the Academy to date, including the application process, the two-day kickoff event held in early December, and the 360 degree feedback process that is in progress.  Additionally, they shared their thoughts about things they have learned about themselves as leaders so far and what they hope to gain from participation in the program.
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