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January 26, 2017

Dr. Larson’s January 2017 Report to the Board of Trustees

December 7, 2017


The Association for Institutional Research (AIR) is the world’s largest professional organization for institutional researchers.  It provides educational resources, best practices, and professional development opportunities for more than 4,000 members and is committed to building the institutional research capacity of America’s two-year institutions.

Ms. Mary Troy, Assistant Director of Institutional Research, was recently nominated for a Data and Decisions Academy Presidential Scholarship.  After a significant investment of time, completion of assignments, and interaction with mentors, Ms. Troy successfully completed two courses, which will assist in building a solid foundation of skill and knowledge to support data-informed decision making at OCC.

Ms. Troy will be presented with a certificate from AIR at Thursday’s meeting.

Spring 2017 Colloquium

The Spring 2017 Colloquium took place on Friday, January 20.  A continental breakfast was available from 8 to 9 a.m., as was the first Colloquium Poster Session.  Each of OCC’s eight strategies were displayed on posters throughout the second floor gallery of the Grunin Center for the Arts, with representatives available to discuss the strategies and the initiatives that will move them forward.   The posters will be displayed at the Board meeting on Thursday.  I have asked Ms. Alexa Beshara-Blauth, Executive Director of Institutional Planning, Effectiveness, and Compliance, to give a brief summary of the Colloquium Poster Session.

At 9 a.m., I presented the President’s Colloquium address, “Expanding Our Mission,” a copy of which is attached.  Also attached is a copy of the Colloquium program, which lists the informative workshops that were attended by faculty and administrators.

Academic Affairs

Academic Affairs implemented a new course evaluation product, CourseEval.  Toward the end of each semester, students are asked to evaluate their assigned faculty members/lecturers.  CourseEval allows students to electronically complete evaluations.  The evaluations are then shared with faculty and administrators.  During a two-week period in December 2016, over 3,000 evaluations were completed.

School of Arts and Humanities

The annual Theatre in London seminar took place from January 3-19, 2017, chaperoned by Mr. Gary Shaffer, Assistant Professor of Communications and Media Studies, and Ms. Jayanti Tamm, Assistant Professor of English.  Twenty-six students and community members attended plays at various venues, including the Royal National and West End theatres, and had the opportunity to meet and talk with actors, directors, and technical staff.

The Reading Club completed its African-American Literature theme in December with The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead.  The spring 2017 Book Club theme is Mexico.  Additional information is available from Dr. David Bordelon, Associate Professor of English.

The Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education finished the fall 2016 semester film series with The Lemon Tree.  The spring 2017 semester film series theme is religious conflicts across the globe.

The OCC Repertory Theatre Company will present two shows this spring, both directed by Lecturer II in Communications and Theatre, Paul Chalakani:

Smokey Joe’s Café, the songs of Leiber and Stoller, March 2 through 5, 10, and 11, 2017, on the main stage of the Grunin Center for the Arts

Scapino, April 20-22, 28, and 29, 2017, in the Black Box Theatre

Dr. Beth Brierley, Associate Professor of Humanities, is directing Charlie Brown through the Children’s Theatre Performance course on Friday, May 5, 2017, at10:30 a.m. and Saturday, May 6, 2017, at 12:00 p.m. in the Black Box Theatre.  The event is free, although they will be collecting donations for the Toms River Animal Shelter.

Lecturer II of History Rob Marchie will be leading a group of students on a study abroad trip to Mexico during the Spring Break from March 18-26, 2017.

School of Business and Social Sciences

Phi Beta Lambda students Avi Kotler, Crystal Pierce, Matt Yostpille, Brooke Jackson, Johnathan St. Clair, and Wyatt Holm participated this fall semester in the PBL Stock Market Game, placing first in the college division.  Ms. Kathy Toy, Lecturer II in Business, spearheaded this initiative.

Under the leadership of Education Lecturer II Jane MacDonald, students are collaborating with Big Brothers Big Sisters on a new volunteer program that will begin in February 2017.  They will be trained to work with autistic students, who will come to OCC to engage in learning activities, games, and social interactions.  There are currently ten student volunteers and five autistic children enrolled in the program.

Ms. Jennifer Evans, Lecturer II in Business, traveled with e-Learning Associate Vice President Jeffrey Harmon to the Dominican Republic to foster educational partnerships and discuss the College’s Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management Program.  The service industry, particularly tourism, is the economy’s largest employer, and there is a need for better trained employees.

The Future Addiction Counselors of America Club, with direction from Mr. Jeff Lang, Lecturer II in Addictions, will offer Narcan training on Thursday, February 23, 2017.  Narcan is a medication used in drug overdose emergencies.  In addition, Mr. Lang, along with Ms. Jennifer Barnes, Lecturer II in Political Science, attended a forum sponsored by the Point Pleasant Borough School District administration, entitled “Heroin: A Crisis at the Jersey Shore – A Critical Forum for Parents and Teens,” on January 18, 2017.  The Governmental Affairs Institute will also host an Addictions Summit here at Ocean County College on May 9, 2017.

School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Nursing students were provided with information related to emergency preparedness by the Ocean County Health Preparedness and Planning Department in December.  Disaster management knowledge is required to successfully complete the state licensure examination.  The Department of Health is assisting faculty to incorporate emergency preparedness throughout the Nursing curriculum.  Currently, 32 students have volunteered to become members of the Ocean County Health Department Medical Reserve Corp (MRC), which establishes medical shelters during a disaster to assist residents who have medical problems should evacuation be necessary.

Faculty will attend an educational program titled, Outcomes in Nursing Education Using the NCLEX-RN® Test Plan,” on January 17, 2017, presented by HURST Review Services. The HURST Company provides all students with an NCLEX-RN® review course during their final semesters of the program as well as two educational programs for faculty during the academic year.

The School of Nursing will be writing its Self-Study Report for submission to the New Jersey State Board of Nursing in June 2017.  Collegiate nursing programs are required to complete a self-study report every seven years to maintain accreditation status.

Fifty-five students completed the Nursing Program in December 2016 and are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN®).  Licensure passing rates for OCC remain above the national average score.

Ninety new students will begin the Nursing Program in the spring 2017 semester.  An orientation was held on January 18, 2017; students were introduced to faculty, basic policies and procedures, and strategies to enhance learning.

Returning Nursing students were on campus on January 12, 2017, to begin practicing for competency validation.  All returning students are required at the beginning of each semester to demonstrate competency in skills previously learned.

A meeting for new and returning clinical instructors was held on January 19, 2017.  Information was presented on faculty assignments, simulation and skills lab initiatives, and changes in policies and procedures.  Faculty met with clinical instructors to discuss plans and schedules.  This semester, there are 38 clinical rotations, with 32 instructors assisting faculty within various clinical agencies.

Three new Lab Reservists began employment in December 2016.  We currently employ ten Lab Reservists to assist the Simulation, Skills Lab, Student Retention Specialist, and Skills Lab Assistant.  Lab Reservists work with students to practice skills required to complete the program.

In 2018, the first graduating class from the School of Nursing will celebrate its 50th anniversary.  The School, in collaboration with the OCC Foundation, will host a 50th Anniversary/Building Campaign, which will be celebrated in the new Health Sciences Building, scheduled for fall 2018 occupancy.

Three Holistic Health and Wellness courses are scheduled this spring semester, the Psychology and Physiology of Stress, Food and Healing, and Plants and Healing.

School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Dr. Caterina Gibson and Dr. Mary Ellen Rada, both Lecturer IIs in Science, recently presented a lesson on Genetics and Careers in STEM to a Manchester Middle School seventh grade science class.

On January 11, 2017, the College hosted 69 Toms River High School South juniors, who participated in two of four available STEM workshops:

Bouncing Balls conducted by Mr. Ramdeen

Crime Scene Evidence conducted by Toms River Police Department Detective John Turner

Wind Power conducted by Dr. Angel Camilo, Lecturer II in Science, and Mr. Edmond Hong, Lecturer II in Computer Science

Comets and Stars conducted by the Planetarium staff

From the 81 students who registered in December to participate in the 2017 Junior Science Symposium, 69 students submitted research papers for the competition.  The papers have been distributed to the SJSS reviewers; the highest-rated finalists will be announced in February.


The Library’s 2017 Weeding Project is underway.  Based on reports that Mr. James Marshall, College Lecturer II in Digital and Information Services, prepared using the Library’s Sirsi database, titles are being deaccessioned using guidelines such as circulation statistics, publication date, and currency of subject matter.  Deaccessioning out-of-date materials frees space in the Library and allows the Library staff to bring new resources into the collection.

The Library is working with Sirsi to develop a new search tool, Enterprise, which will augment searching for Library resources.  Ms. Janelle Varin, College Lecturer II, Library Systems, is leading this initiative.

Work continues on developing a new space for the Archives Collection.  Ms. Caitlyn Cook, Assistant Professor and the Library’s Archivist, is leading a team to deaccession out-of-date Government Documents.  When completed, a space will be developed to house the Archives Collection in the Technical Services suite.

College Readiness Now and College Credit Now Programs

The College Readiness Now program has tested 300 students to date, and Dr. Henry Jackson, Executive Director of Academic Success, is working with the remaining high schools to schedule additional dates and times for testing.  Lakewood High School is participating for the first time this year and will be conducting Accuplacer testing on January 19, 2017.

The New Jersey Council of County Colleges awarded OCC a College Credit Now Grant for spring 2017.  This program will allow 23 students from various county high schools with the opportunity to earn six college credits for free.  These students are enrolled at Manchester High School, Southern Regional High School, Lakewood High School, Toms River High School East, Toms River High School North, Toms River High School South, Jackson Liberty High School, Regional Alternative School, Point Pleasant Beach High School, and Point Pleasant Borough High School.

Dr. Jackson is exploring with Lacey Township High School representatives the development and implementation of a College Academy with a Liberal Arts degree focus.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

Mr. Jeff Harmon, Associate Vice President of e-Learning, traveled to the Dominican Republic on a partnership and outreach mission.  Joining him were Mr. Salim Hussein, Director of International Partnerships; Ms. Yessika Garcia-Guzman, Assistant Director of Financial Aid; and Ms. Jennifer Evans, College Lecturer II in Marketing.  They explored the potential for partnerships and on-the-ground operational capacity of CiberPark in Santo Domingo as well as partnership opportunities with the Global Foundation for Democracy and Development.

Here at home, the e-Learning team is busy preparing for the new semester.  OCC will be offering online courses in its traditional fifteen- and ten-week terms; and, this year, a cadre of courses will also be offered in sequential seven-and-one-half-week accelerated terms.  Capitalizing on the shorter terms, OCC is now advertising an online fourteen-month associate degree and recruiting students into this cohort-based model.

Recently completed by e-Learning is OCC’s newest online certificate in Fire Science.  A marketing plan is being executed locally and nationwide to attract firefighters, military personnel, and other first responders to the only online certificate program accredited by the Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) initiative in the United States.

Additionally, the e-Learning team will be offering the following training and awareness sessions in the Faculty Center for Excellence:

Training and awareness session

Finance and Administration


In December, an Ellucian consultant was engaged to review the Colleague finance module current practices, identify best practices, and make recommendations for improvement in the areas of Purchasing, Accounts Payable, Fixed Assets, and General Ledger.

The review took place over three days, resulting in the identification of potential workflow improvements that will be implemented over the next few months.  The sessions were well received by staff.

During January, the Accounting Department will be closing out and reconciling the 2016 calendar payroll, issuing W-2 forms, issuing 1098-T forms to students,and preparing the mandatory ACA 1095-C filings.  W-2 forms and 1098-T forms will be available online no later than January 31, 2017.

Human Resources

The second Annual OCC President’s Awards for Excellence were presented at the January 26, 2017, Colloquium.  The awards acknowledge and express appreciation for outstanding non-faculty accomplishments at the Department, Division, or College-Wide levels.  Recognized employees received monetary awards and engraved cups, and they will enjoy lunch with the President.  More information on the recipients and their accomplishments can be found in the attached President’s Colloquium Speech.

  • Continuing and Professional Education
    • CPE stepped in to serve the students who were enrolled in the now defunct Star Academy and Serve Fast Computer School.  Customized course options are under development that will afford these students competency-based skills training and the opportunity to test for a national credential.
    • A credentialed Veterinary Assistant Program has been overwhelmingly received, with a full inaugural class in the fall and a quickly filling spring class.
    • A partnership with Brookdale Community College and the Ocean County Vocational-Technical School resulted in a Welding Program being launched in the fall.   The program enabled more than 20 long-term unemployed individuals to secure employment.  Recruiting for the spring cohort is underway.
    • A specialized program for the autism community, Sensitivity Super Powers, is underway.   The local autism community, one of the largest in the nation, has expressed gratitude for the program.
    • The first graduation from the Child Development Associate program was celebrated in December 2016, with 18 graduates receiving certificates.  This grant-funded program is jointly administered by CPE and the Education Department.  The grant has been extended through June 2017.

  • Information Technology
    • The College has undertaken a comprehensive review of technology policy and governance.  Process updates include working with key stakeholders to establish an IT governance structure as well as to refresh the IT Strategic Plan.  Throughout the upcoming year, several IT committees will be established or refreshed, and the charter of each committee will be reviewed.  This work will help establish IT priorities, eliminate redundancy, and help OCC move forward faster.
    • IT is using Amazon Web Services to host redundant instances of, which will ensure that all users continue to successfully access the various cloud-based services, such as Canvas and Office 365, even if OCC’s data center goes offline.
    • IT is working with various departments to upgrade the College’s room and resource scheduling solution, R25, to the latest version, R25Live.  Building and room inventories are currently being updated to ensure accuracy.
  • College Relations
    • TV Studio
  • The School Outreach Program sponsored by the OCC Foundation includes two high schools, Toms River North and Toms River East.  The students will be participating in TV Broadcasting, Theatre/Performing Arts, and Journalism classes.  On Thursday, March 9, 2017, at 10 a.m., the Theatre/Performing Arts students will attend the Smokey Joe’s Café show and take a backstage tour during warmups.  The TV Production (Advanced TV 21) students will film the show using OCC TV studio facilities.
  • Alumni
  • The Winter/Spring 2017 Edition of Ocean Views is now available.  This edition highlights OCC’s Nursing faculty, seven of whom are working on doctoral programs, and it introduces “She Said, He Said,” with this edition featuring faculty members taking on the challenge of chess.  Other articles include the achievements of OCC’s talented students, athletes, coaches, and alumni, including alumni Board of Trustees representative Danielle Robleski, student government president Dan Moran, and OCC Foundation scholarship recipient Casey Astalos.
  • College Relations
  • OCC will be partnering with the Toms River School District to prepare advertising for a grass roots effort highlighting OCC’s affordability campaign.  The media items include internal banner advertising, internal arena concourse skybox advertising, and website advertising on the Toms River School District’s home page and on the parents’ portal.  This campaign will run from February 1 to June 1, 2018.
  • OCC has signed an advertising agreement with Innovare Medical Media and the RWJ Barnabas Health System targeting an audience interested in health-related academic degrees and training certifications.  OCC has placed advertising on large format, commercial grade LCD panels in high traffic locations throughout the hospitals.
Start a career
  • The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts

On Friday, January 13, 2017, local elementary school students filled the Grunin Center for Doktor Kaboom: Live Wire.  Creatively blending theater arts with scientific exploration, Doktor Kaboom delighted the young students while sparking their interest in science.   A third evening show was open to the general public.

Upcoming February shows:

  • The Sons of Serendip – Friday, February 10, 2017, at 8 p.m.
  • Sierra Leone Refugee All Stars – Monday, February 13, 2017, at 7:30 p.m.
  • Ricky Riccardi – Wednesday, February 15, 2017, at 8 p.m.
  • Disney’s Choo-Choo Soul with Genevieve! – Saturday, February 18, 2017, at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m.
  • Planetarium
    • The Planetarium was buzzing with activity during fall 2016.  Some of the exciting events included Pajama Night featuring a book, Host A Little Ghost and The Story of the Mystical Mums, read by the authors Lillian Stulich, Kevin McCormick, and the illustrator Bill Dishon, while the pages of the book were projected on the dome in the Planetarium theatre.  Also added for the season were a Laser Fright Fun show for the younger audience and Scary Stories in the Stars, a star talk with frightening tales associated with constellations.
    • The Planetarium will be hosting an Educators Partnership Event on February 4, 2017, wherein K-5 educators have been invited to view shows and provide feedback to assist in strengthening the offerings to the school systems.  Also during February, there will be special Valentine events and a Scout Day.
  • Bookstore

A successful first semester under the management of Barnes & Noble College has just been completed.  Students were able to take advantage of the various book options, from purchasing books, renting books, or having access to digital books.  Many students took advantage of the online ordering process, with their orders ready within 24 hours for pick up in the store.

For the spring 2017 semester, Barnes & Noble staff worked with faculty and staff to implement a totally online book adoption system called FacultyEnlight; this system helped to streamline the book adoption process, making it more efficient and effective.

  • Security

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 December 3, 2016, through January 18, 2017.

Student Affairs

  • Advising

The Advising Office completed nine informational videos, which are now posted to the Advising website (

  • Welcome to OCC Advising
  • Student Planning
  • Who is My Advisor?
  • NJ STARS (
  • NJ STARS Advising
  • New Student Orientation
  • Choosing a Degree Program
  • Transfer
  • Campus Resources

The Advising Office hosted Monmouth University and NJIT for Instant Decision Days in December.  In addition, ten Instant Decisions Days are scheduled for the spring semester.

  • Career, Employment and Counseling Services
    • Career planning and development sessions were presented to 47 sections of the First-Year Experience Seminar; nearly 700 students were registered and completed assessments on the online career planning system, Kuder Journey, which they used for their class report on careers.
    • In collaboration with RWJ Barnabas Institute for Prevention, DART Prevention Coalition, and the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, two informative seminars about marijuana were presented.  More than 240 students, staff, and faculty attended the seminars.
    • Dr. Kate Pandolpho, Director, Ms. Susan Ebeling-Witte, Career Counselor, and Ms. Ellie Horgan, Brookdale Community College, presented “Suicide Awareness and Prevention” at the New Jersey Community College Counselors’ Association Fall Conference, which was hosted by OCC.  Topics included an overview of the Madison Holleran Suicide Awareness Act and interactive planning sessions to develop strategies and an action plan to meet the requirements of the law.
    • Fifty Step-by-Step Program sessions were conducted for 270 students who were required to attend due to their academic sanction status.  The Step-by-Step Program includes a two-hour intervention seminar, as well as follow-up calls to and meetings with the students.  Student feedback indicates that the seminars and follow-up activities have been beneficial.
    • The federally-funded TRIO Student Support Services Program completed its first year in the new funding cycle, and it exceeded all program goals:  135 students participated, with 87.22% achieving good academic standing, a persistence rate of 86.43%, and a graduation rate of 68.97%.  Twenty SSS students graduated in May 2016.
    • The state-funded Displaced Homemakers Program continues to be recognized for its excellent programming and services to clients.  Seventy-nine clients are currently participating: 12 are enrolled in OCC credit courses; 7 are enrolled in Kean Ocean, and 1 is at Stockton University.  Twelve clients completed or are entering short-term CPE training programs, including pharmacy technicians, bookkeeping, medical assistant, certified home aide, patient care technician, and medical coders.
    • Students from the Student Support Services Club coordinated the annual “Pizza with Santa” at the Planetarium for children of clients of the Displaced Homemakers Program.  The event included a holiday show, with tickets donated by an SSS student’s mother, Ms. Tracy Gocklin, owner of WildBirds Unlimited.  Pizzas were donated by Papa John’s; and food, desserts, and beverages were donated by Counseling and Career Department staff.  Boscov’s department store donated a special present for each child, which was given to them by Santa Claus and his elves.  Appreciation is expressed to all who made the evening special, including students Morgan Murphy, Crystal Ramirez, Victoria Bodei, Dayna Raczek, Stephanie Pease, Liana Ortiz, Jalisa Vazquez, Jackie Carrer, Nick Davis, and Pat Vliet, as well as Ms. Amanda Boyle, Planetarium Manager, and the Planetarium staff members.
  • Registration and Records has sent out over 10,000 transcripts through the National Student Clearinghouse to date this academic year; 57% were sent electronically.
  • Student Life

During the fall 2016 semester, 150 students were inducted into OCC’s Tau Iota Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the International Honor Society for two-year colleges.

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