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April 30, 2015

Dr. Larson’s Report to the Board of Trustees

July 27, 2016

TO: Members, OCC Board of Trustees

FROM: Jon H. Larson, Ph.D.President

SUBJECT: Items of Interest for the April 27, 2015, Board Meeting

DATE: April 22, 2015


  • I am extremely pleased to share with you that Ms. Christine Kitchen, Associate Professor of Anthropology, School of Business, Social Science and Human Services, has been selected as a recipient of the League for Innovation in the Community College’s John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Award. Professor Kitchen is one of only three faculty members recognized from New Jersey. I will present Ms. Kitchen with her medallion and certificate on Monday.John and Suanne Rouecheare leaders in the community college field and early proponents of the idea that teachers have major responsibility for students’ performance in the classroom. Recipients of the Excellence Award exemplify exceptional community college teaching and leadership.Professor Kitchen has served the College for 12 years with devotion and distinction. She has led the Study Abroad to Mexico seminar for many years. Currently, she is the co-chair of the Study Abroad Committee that works tirelessly on improving all study abroad programs at the College.
  • Ms. Jayanti Tamm, Assistant Professor of English and Literature, was selected to serve as a judge for The Allegra Johnson Prize in Memoir and Novel Writing. The award is offered by UCLA in the hope of making a difference in the lives of promising Writers’ Program memoir and novel writing students by providing both formal recognition of their talents and financial resources to support them as they complete their manuscripts. The international award is merit-based and is given to one memoirist and one novelist in alternating years. It is an honor to have one of our faculty members invited to serve as a judge.
  • On April 10, 2015, OCC’s Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, Tau Iota, held its annual Spring Induction Ceremony in the Grunin Center Theatre. At that time, 155 students were welcomed into the organization. Dr. Jianping Wang, Vice President of Academic Affairs, spoke at this very meaningful ceremony on my behalf.At the Twenty-Eighth Annual Middle State Regional Convention on March 13, 14, and 15, 2015, Tau Iota Chapter and three students were recognized in the following ways:
  • Tau Iota was recognized once again as a Five-Star Chapter, the highest level of achievement possible for a chapter of Phi Theta Kappa
  • Dominic Addonizio was inducted into the Regional Hall of Honor for Chapter Members
  • Kayla Burciar was inducted into the Regional Hall of Honor for Chapter Officers
  • Christina Vardouniotis was inducted into the Regional Hall of Honor for Chapter Officers
  • Christina Vardouniotis was one of three chapter officers throughout the entire Middle States region to receive the Distinguished Chapter Officer Award. This award recognizes her for outstanding achievement as a chapter officer. Considering that there are approximately 600 to 650 chapter officers, it is a great honor to have an officer from Tau Iota recognized in this manner.

Also, Kayla has been named a Silver Scholar for the 2015 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team. She will receive a $1,250 scholarship and be recognized at Phi Theta Kappa Day in Trenton on May 7, 2015.

Kayla serves as the President of Tau Iota, and Christina is the Vice President of Publications. The College is indeed fortunate to have these outstanding students representing Ocean County College on the regional and international levels.

Three members of Tau Iota recently attended the annual PTK International Convention, NerdNation, from April 16 to 18, 2015, in San Antonio, Texas. This year’s theme was “Cool 2B Smart!” Students attended educational sessions fostering personal and chapter development that will help to help promote an engaged student body on campus.

The PTK advisors continue their excellent guidance to our Tau Iota members. Our appreciation is expressed to Dr. William Rickert, Professor of Mathematics; Dr. Jennifer Dellner, Professor of English and Literature; Ms. Carolyn Showalter, Assistant Professor of Mathematics; and Ms. Robin Weitz, Assistant Professor of Mathematics.

Dr. Rickert and Kayla Burcia will attend Monday’s meeting to update the trustees on all of Tau Iota’s achievements this past year.

Ocean County College Commencement Week

Ocean County College’s 48th Commencement is scheduled for Thursday, May 21, at 6:00 p.m. on the College mall. This year, we are pleased to have as our guest speaker Dr. Richard W. Schneider, Rear Admiral, USCGR (Ret.) and President of Norwich University.

Members of the College community will be invited to a reception prior to Commencement from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Performing Arts Center Atrium. At 5:00 p.m., the trustees and platform party will robe for the ceremony in the Boardroom.

The Nursing Pinning Ceremony will precede Commencement on Tuesday evening, May 19, at 7:00 p.m., and the annual Awards Ceremony will take place on Wednesday evening, May 20, at 7:00 p.m. Both events will be held in the Theatre of The Jay and Linda Grunin Performing Arts Center.

This year, we are planning a rededication ceremony of the Veterans Memorial on the campus mall at 3 p.m. prior to Commencement. If you are so inclined and are available, we would be delighted to see you at the ceremony.

We look forward to another successful week of special events for our students this year.

The Displaced Homemakers Program

The Displaced Homemakers Program continues to provide its very important services to women who have lost their primary source of income through divorce, separation, death, or disability of a spouse, helping them to reach their full potential and become economically self-sufficient. The program is serving 113 clients in 2014-2015.

Currently, there are 26 clients enrolled in college, 21 of whom are here at OCC, 1 is attending Georgian Court University, and 4 are in the Kean Ocean Program. Five clients graduated from OCC in 2014, one from Georgian Court, and two from Kean Ocean.

Short-term training is also available to the clients through OCC’s Continuing and Professional Education offerings. This past year, 11 have completed CPE programs: 4 in Medical Assistant, 1 in Phlebotomy, 5 in Pharmacy Technician, and 1 in Certified Home Health Aide. These clients were trained through the federal Superstorm Sandy Social Service Block Grant (SSBG), which OCC has received for two years. In total, 23 clients completed job training with SSBG funds. Unfortunately, this program is ending on June 30 due to the termination of funding.

One particular program client has overcome many life circumstances, including being displaced from her home after Superstorm Sandy. After the storm, she enrolled in GED classes at OCC, passed the GED, enrolled in credit classes, and is graduating with an A.A.S. degree in Alcohol and Drug Counseling in December 2015.

Other highlights of the Displaced Homemakers Program include:

  • In partnership with a local church, Thanksgiving baskets were distributed to 20 families.
  • The first Pizza with Santa event was held this year for clients and their families.
  • In collaboration with the Ocean County Family Success Center and with donations from many OCC employees, a Women’s Clothing Closet was opened, which provides clients with clothing appropriate for interviews.

Dr. Kate Pandolpho, Director of Career, Employment, and Personal Counseling, and Ms. Eileen Budge, Community Services Specialist, will provide you with additional information on Monday. Following their presentation, the Board is requested to adopt a resolution to proclaim May 2015 as Displaced Homemakers Awareness Month at Ocean County College.

e-Learning and Enterprise Initiatives

Ms. Allison King, Vice President of e-Learning and Enterprise Initiatives, and Mr. Jeff Harmon, Executive Director of e-Learning, will give a brief report on the following:

  • Remedial Education Pilot – In fall 2013, e-Learning began its two-year longitudinal pilot study aimed at enhancing the online admissions testing and remediation issues of our students. The pilot will conclude with the end of the fall 2015 semester. To date, 789 online students enrolled for the placement test, and 437 have completed it.Between fall 2013 and fall 2014, 1,729 students have used the adaptive learning remediation software, My Foundations Labs, which is also in use in New Jersey’s College Readiness Now Program. An analysis of data for the first year pointed toward higher levels of student achievement and a shortened remediation timeline. Based on this success, Pearson posted a “Success Story” about OCC on its website, which is attached.
  • Sussex County Community College Partnership – OCC’s partnership with Sussex County Community College continues to grow. We will be delivering six new courses this summer and fall, for a total of 10.
  • New Jersey Council of County Colleges Mini Grants – Thus far, e-Learning has received one $500 “mini-grant” from the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC) for faculty professional development. This particular application was developed jointly by Dean of e-Learning Jack Kelnhofer and Graduate Intern Britni Epstein. The funds will be utilized to purchase several teaching/learning innovation webinars that will be broadcast for the campus community in the Gateway Lecture Hall.
  • Corporate Partnerships – e-Learning continues its efforts to develop partnerships with companies that offer tuition reimbursement programs for their employees. Discussions with CVS Health, Home Depot, UPS, Southwest Airlines, and Vail Resorts are showing the most promise, and the hope is to engage with at least one by fall 2015.

Continuing and Professional Education

  • Summer Camps – This summer’s offerings include 22 more camps than last year, representing a 20% increase. As a result, student registration is up; there are currently over 180 registrations this year as compared to 67 at this same point in time last year. New programs are focused on increasing STEM awareness to campers of all ages. In addition, a new Entrepreneurs Camp for budding business moguls is being offered.This year, a unique collaboration with our K-12 partners offered extensive advertising of the camps. Over 20,000 flyers announcing the summer offerings were sent to students’ homes through their “backpack” distribution program, and the flyer is posted on the school websites.Ms. Katie Calabrese, CPE Community Programs Administrator, will attend Monday’s meeting to speak about the many new offerings.
  • Customized Training – As the Recovery New Jersey Talent Network Grant ended, research and connections from this effort led to a strategic plan for developing a Customized and Contract Training initiative to reach out to the business community. Work continues with the New Jersey Labor and Workforce Development offices, the Ocean County WIB, and the New Jersey Council of County Colleges’ Workforce Development Program, now known as Coalition 19, to engage businesses to provide training and assistance for their employees.This year, OCC was very successful in its association with Coalition 19. To date, the College has exceeded its required $54,000 threshold in business programs by $40,000, for a total of $94,000 in booked revenue. CPE Business and Customized Training has offerings for company employees in areas such as Advanced Manufacturing, Basic Skills, Customer Service, and specialized technology training.Ms. Patricia Fenn, Assistant Vice President of Continuing and Professional Education and Workforce Development, will briefly discuss the above initiatives at the meeting.

American Association of Community Colleges Conference

Dr. Jianping Wang and Ms. Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration, presented at the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) Annual Conference in San Antonio on April 21, 2015. The presentation was entitled “Building Business Partnerships to Enhance Student Success.” The session highlighted the long and mutually beneficial partnership between Ocean County College and Ellucian Managed Services, with particular emphasis on how the partnership has benefited OCC students. The power point presentation is available on request.

If you are interested in reviewing the Ellucian “Retention and Student Success” whitepaper which highlights Ocean County College’s initiatives, the website link is:–Implementing-strategies-that-make-a-difference/.

The link to the OCC-Ellucian Student Success Forum site is:

OCC was invited to co-host an Ellucian-sponsored dinner at the conference, at which Ms. Winchester served as a guest host. She shared OCC’s experience with Ellucian-managed services, emphasizing the fluid and collaborative nature of the relationship, which has enabled the College to support students using current technology while, at the same time, dealing with the reality of limited funding.

New Jersey Council of County Colleges Best Practices Conference

Vice Presidents Sara Winchester and Allison King presented at the NJCCC 2015 Best Practices Conference on April 24, 2015. Their presentation focused on the following topics:

  • Review of Ocean County College’s e-Learning Programs
  • Review of Ocean County College’s Business Relationship with Pearson
  • Building Business Relationships to Enhance Institutional and Student Success
  • Review of Available Partnering Opportunities

It is hoped that other New Jersey community colleges will consider e-Learning partnerships with Ocean County College after learning more about the ways they can benefit from Ocean’s e-Learning expertise.

Finance and Administration

  • Facilities – The Facilities Department will be holding the first surplus sale of the year in May via provides an easy process to buy and sell used items at a fair local value without the expense of advertising or using an auction company.A listing of all auction items will be posted on the website in the near future. Some of the items to be auctioned include work stations, computer screens, and HVAC equipment. All revenue from the sale is received directly by the Accounting Department, with no cash involved.
  • Information Technology
  • Ms. Janine Dillard, IT’s new Trainer of Technology, has finalized content for several training sessions scheduled this month. A broadcast email was distributed to the College community inviting them to take advantage of training on various technology topics. Departmental workshops are available, as is individual training. New classes will be offered each month, and each session is one hour in length.As part of the Higher Education Technology Improvement (HETI) grant initiatives, IT is completing the establishment of a video conferencing infrastructure that will integrate with OCC’s existing CISCO telephone and networking infrastructure. Video conferencing is considered a pivotal tool to support the College’s growing online educational programs and partnerships. The video conferencing solution will have the capacity to combine classes at the Toms River campus and the Southern Education campus.
  • Auxiliary Services

The Robert J. Novins Planetarium is promoting several special events:

  • Saturday, May 2, at 12:30 p.m. – Returning to OCC is Puppy Power Presentation: Seeing Eye Puppies, at which children learn about puppies being trained as service animals for the disabled. This event is paired with The Stars from my Backyard and Big Bird’s Adventure.
  • Saturday, May 9, at 5:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. – Card Craft for children to make cards for their Moms, which is paired with Celebrate Mom, Pajama Night Party.
  • Saturday, May 16, at 6:30 p.m. – Armed Forces Day, a special presentation for Veterans, which will also include the Laser Spirit show. Veteran organizations will be invited.

The Grunin Center for the Arts is presenting Branford Marsalis on Saturday, May 30, at 8:00 p.m. Tickets are still available for this sensational evening of world class musical entertainment.

  • Ellucian Focus Group
  • During the months of January through March 2015, Ocean County College participated in a focus group with Ellucian to resolve issues with the Colleague Financial Aid award transmittal process. The project included weekly web conference meetings and the installation of software updates in a test environment. OCC’s participation in the focus group provided direct access to correct long-standing problems experienced with the process and associated software. After months of work by the participants, the software update was made available for general delivery to all Ellucian clients on March 30, 2015, and was installed on the College’s live system this month.The following OCC staff members participated in the focus group and were instrumental to its success:
  • Ms. Elise Barocas, Director of Accounting
  • Ms. Eileen Buckle, Director of Financial Aid
  • Mr. Keith Bunn, Enrollment Management Technician
  • Ms. Kerry McEachen, IT Systems Administrator
  • Ms. Karen Papakonstantinou, Controller
  • Ms. Angela Stephen, Accounts Receivable Manager
    • Human Resources – The Human Resources Department is offering training to all employees who serve on Search Committees. The purpose of the training is three-fold:1. All search committee participants will be appropriately trained in Affirmative Action issues, eliminating the need for the chair to find an Affirmative Action Officer to serve on each committee.
      2. The responsibilities of the chair and team members will be explained in a clear and specific manner.
      3. Timelines will be provided within the search process to avoid losing prime candidates.This one-hour training session is required for all Search Committee participants who have not been trained in this fiscal year. Human Resources will invite individuals slated to serve on search committees to their choice of several upcoming training sessions. Individuals who elect not to attend will not be permitted to serve. This training is currently offered face to face only, but it will soon be converted to an online course for convenience. Online training will be announced campus-wide when it becomes available.

Ocean County College Foundation

  • Ms. Heather Barberi, Executive Director of the Ocean County College Foundation, will attend Monday’s meeting with several announcements:
  • 100 Women Campaign – The Foundation is set to launch the 100 Women Campaign in early May. The 100 Women Campaign’s mission is to bring together dynamic, innovative, and accomplished Ocean County women who will support each other’s life and career goals, share their insights and experiences, and encourage women’s education through Ocean County College. The goal is to identify 100 women participants who will contribute at least $100 a year for five years, allowing the Foundation to provide annual scholarships to very deserving OCC students. Scholarships will be awarded in two categories: women entering STEM disciplines and women entering general academic disciplines.Beyond scholarships, the 100 Women Campaign seeks to support female students through mentoring. This program will provide a learning experience outside the classroom, with the opportunity for professional development, networking, and an exchange of ideas between experienced professionals and the next generation of leaders. In addition, there will be activities held throughout the year that will provide the opportunity for campaign members to make connections and build enduring, mutually beneficial relationships with fellow Ocean County women.
  • Annual Ocean County College Foundation Scholarship Celebration – The Ocean County College Foundation’s 2015 Scholarship Celebration is being held on Saturday, June 20, at 6:00 p.m. in the Health and Human Performance Center. This year, the Foundation is recognizing The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation for its outstanding support of the arts, education, and healthcare in Ocean County. The event co-chairs are Mr. Kenneth J. Malagiere and Mr. Domenick M. Servodio. All proceeds from the Celebration will benefit the Foundation’s mission to support the growth and development of the College through scholarships, endowments, and capital and special projects.Please join us this year to honor and congratulate The Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation and help support the Foundation’s mission. Gourmet food will be served, live music will be provided, and a silent auction will take place.
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