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October 5, 2015

Dr. Larson’s October 2015 Report to The Board of Trustees

OCC president Dr. Larson

Finance and Administration

  • College Relations

TV Studio – Ocean TV20 has secured partnerships with several local high schools.  OCC TV announcements distributed to high schools to date focus on information sessions, open houses, and degree program promotions, the first of which highlights the performing arts degree.

The OCC TV Studio and Jackson Liberty High School will work together to cover the National Soccer Tournament scheduled in November on campus, with  Jackson Liberty’s production truck used to live stream and record games.  This collaboration will present a unique opportunity for high school students to observe the live broadcast capability of OCC TV20.

Donovan Catholic High School has asked the OCC TV Studio to participate in a “shadow” program wherein students will spend a portion of the school day at the studio to experience TV production and broadcast operations.  As a result of this collaboration, OCC looks forward to developing a closer relationship with Donovan Catholic students.

  • Grants

The Grants Office is proud to announce the official receipt of the following grant awards:

  • New England Foundation for the Arts ($5,000) -To support the Seldoms performance of “The Power Goes.”
  • Mid-Atlantic Arts Foundation ($1,000) – To support the DeTemps Antan presentation.
  • College Readiness Now Grant II ($28,703) – New Jersey’s College Readiness Now II proposal calls for an immediate collaboration between high schools and community colleges.  The program targets the 11th and 12th grades as the single best opportunity to help more students be college ready by the time they graduate from high school.
  • Continuing and Professional Education (CPE)
    • Allied Health – With the mission of the CPE Allied Health program to promote health and wellness careers, several holistic health and wellness courses are being offered this fall semester, including meditation, yoga teacher training, and professional development for maintaining state and national licenses in the health and the Medical Office and Medical Assistant fall programs are filled to capacity, providing fast track training for 32 students.  These students are benefiting from partnerships with area health care facilities that offer outstanding clinical externships and job shadowing experiences, including Health South, Lab Corp, Meridian Physician Offices, Monmouth Medical South, Quest Diagnostics, Preferred Home Care, and the Southern Ocean Medical Center.
  • Customized Training
  • On September 30, the College co-hosted the first Manufacturing Employer Summit on campus with NJIT, the Manufacturing Talent Network, Ocean County Vo-Tech School, and New Jersey Manufacturers Extension Program.  Over 53 participants from the manufacturing industry, education, and government entities attended.  The dialogue was focused on the needs of manufacturers in attracting skilled employees and then retaining them.

The panel of employers included:

  • Guest Speaker, Mr. Brian Neuwirth, President, Unex Manufacturing Corporation
  • Moderator, Mr. Ian Trammel, Executive Director, MechaForce
  • Mr. Michael Donahue, Corporate Human Resources Manager, Viking
  • Mr. Michael Kolibas, President, Komo Machine
  • Ms. Terri Bower, Human Resources Manager, PL Custom Body
  • Mr. Andrew Davidson, Vice President, Advanced Products, LLC, Manufacturer of Structural Railing Systems
  • Mr. Frank Robinson, First Vice President, New Jersey Business and Industry Association

Guest speaker Neuwirth began the Summit by challenging the audience and panelists on how to work together as a collective organization.  The subsequent discussion focused on many applicants’ lack of basic, technical, and computer skills, abstract reasoning, and work ethic, as well as the increasing failure by applicants on drug tests.

The Summit participants stressed the need to tackle these issues for the continuum of manufacturing in New Jersey.  They were assured that Ocean County College is poised to assist in addressing these problems through training programs and workforce grants.  If successful, these opportunities will be made available to all Ocean and Monmouth County manufacturers.

The Summit was a success on all levels; a follow-up will be scheduled within three months.  Ms. Pat Fenn, Assistant Vice President for Continuing Education and Professional Education, will provide a brief summary of the event at Monday’s meeting.

  • CPE arranged for employees of DTZ, OCC’s cleaning service, to participate in an ESL course that was supported by Coalition 19 training grants.  OCC’s Facilities Department assisted in coordinating this offering, which, hopefully, will continue to meet the needs of DTZ employees.
  • Technology and Specialized Careers
  • Child Development and Early Childhood Education Program – Thirty-five students who registered for this program have done so through Grow NJ Kids, a State rating and improvement system designed to assess early care and education programs as well as provide training and incentives to improve them.  Grow NJ Kids provides $500 scholarships for child care providers working at early childhood centers.  This Child Development and Early Childhood Education Program, which will be offered on campus and at the Southern Education Center over the next few semesters, is needed for State certification by the Child Development Association.  Because State certification is now required for all child care providers, it is expected that demand for this program will increase.
  • Amazon Web Services Certificate Program – Amazon Web Services has asked CPE to participate in a BETA program for a new certificate for people working in Cloud Service Delivery.  Preliminary discussions have revealed that OCC instructors will receive no-cost training and free student training materials, and OCC will be listed on the Amazon Web Services Academy site as a regional training provider.  The College is partnering with NJIT on this initiative.
  • Facilities
  • The J. Philip Citta Center for Sailing and Maritime Arts and Sciences, located at Mill Creek County Park in Bayville, has two project phases.  Phase I, which included a dock and floating boat launch, along with landscaping and lighting, was completed in September; the OCC Sailing Club can now begin using the dock.  Fundraising is underway for Phase II, which includes a 1,400 square foot sailing boat house.  Mr. Mike Bruno, Associate Director of Facilities Planning, will present photos of the dock and boat launch at Monday’s meeting.
  • On September 16, the County of Ocean held a ribbon cutting ceremony for the opening of West College Drive.  The new road will provide the campus with improved traffic flow during peak hours and in the event of emergencies.  With the influx of Kean University students on campus, this long awaited third access road is a much needed improvement.  The College is indeed grateful for the time, effort, and funding extended by the County of Ocean to support a number of infrastructure improvements that have been recently completed on campus. In conjunction with Ocean County and the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection, 1,000 new trees will be planted on campus to augment the College’s inviting and environmentally friendly atmosphere.  Additionally, the water basin behind the Security Welcome Center will be landscaped this fall to make OCC’s front entryway more attractive.
  • The Athletic Field House, located near the OCEAN, Inc., Child Care Center, is being renovated to include restrooms.  This project is being completed by both in-house workers and external contractors.  Sewer lines were installed during the summer; plumbing, lighting, painting, and door replacements are currently underway.  This project should be completed by November 15.
  • Human Resources
  • The Office of Human Resources has joined two professional organizations:
    • College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) – This organization offers, among other things, legislative updates, the ability to stay abreast of developments in the world of higher education, national and regional conferences, chapter memberships, learning opportunities, tools and templates, job posting features, and compensation studies limited to positions in higher education. The institutional membership includes Human Resources staff.
    • Association of Title IX Coordinators (ATIXA) – This organization offers an abundance of information and learning opportunities on the very complex Title IX law and accompanying expectations.  In addition to training and a mechanism for colleges to share best practices, the ATIXA website has a comprehensive library of templates, policy and correspondence suggestions, and guidance on all things Title IX.  Ms. Tracey Donaldson, Assistant Vice President of Human Resources and Title IX Coordinator, and designated campus investigators will form the roster for OCC’s institutional membership.
  • Training/Meeting/Conference Attendance – Ms. Donaldson has completed training to be designated as a Supervisor of Certifying Officers for the Division of Pension and Benefits, State of New Jersey.
  • The Leadership Academy – The new Leadership Academy was introduced campus-wide at the September 3 Colloquium.  Applications for participation are being accepted through October 2. This year-long program is intended to provide selected high potential participants the opportunity to develop and hone the skills, knowledge, and behaviors, through various training methods, to manage and lead with confidence.  The program will include comprehensive feedback in the form of a 360 review and facilitated self-assessment through one-on-one coaching. The first Academy cohort will be led by General John DiNapoli, President of Spencer Ryan, a consulting practice that assists emerging and established leaders in developing and achieving their full potential.  General DiNapoli, who has over thirty years of leadership experience that spans both the military and civilian sectors, has developed his skills as a leader through formal training as well as real world experience. The Leadership Academy will begin with a retreat on December 3 and 4 and is expected to continue through the academic year with a variety of development opportunities and a capstone project.  Topics will include public speaking, emotional intelligence, coaching/mentoring, and more.
  • Accounting

The Student Finance area has implemented and tested the functionality for students to receive refunds electronically.  The processing of electronic checks began this fall semester, and students are excited to have this option as opposed to receiving paper checks.  The use of electronic refunds will provide savings to the College by decreasing expenses related to the printing, mailing, and reissuing of lost paper checks.  Additionally, electronic checks eliminate the need for tracking, follow-up, and reconciliation by the Accounting Office.

Flyers announcing this new option were distributed to students during the first week of the semester, and more than one hundred students have already signed up.  As word spreads about this convenient service, it is anticipated that many more students will take advantage of it.

For their efforts to ensure the success of this project, appreciation is expressed to Ms. Karen Papakonstantinou, Controller; Ms. Angela Stephen, Accounts Receivable Manager; Ms. Elise Barocas, Director of Accounting; and Ms. Kerry McEachen, IT Programmer.

  • Purchasing

Ms. Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration, attended several meetings of the New Jersey Community College Joint Purchasing Committee.  The committee is focusing on broadening the opportunities for procurement savings among the 19 New Jersey community colleges.  The strategies, engagement, and opportunities discussed included:

  • Finding/implementing big ideas and documenting successes
  • Improving communications with other affinity groups
  • Streamlining and documenting lead college efforts; starting processes earlier
  • The value of the forthcoming Joint Purchasing Committee website
  • The challenge of stricter Perkins guidelines

OCC is currently acting as the lead institution for a new initiative to lower the hourly cost of Ellucian professional services for all colleges.  OCC has taken advantage of several other joint procurement efforts, including Turn-It-In software, Accuplacer testing software, and gas and electric contracts.

  • Office of Information Technology (OIT)
  • The fall semester start-up activities dominated OIT’s endeavors for the last two months.  A renewed focus was placed on improving communication with key customers, faculty, and students.   These efforts included:
  • Publishing a newsletter for faculty to welcome them back to a new academic year.
  • Publishing a flyer for students to highlight the services available in labs and to remind them to use Ocean Connect.
  • Collaborating with Academic Affairs to ensure faculty announce the changes in the student portal and the new email system.
  • Having a table in the College Center to help students with basic technology questions and promote OCC’s open access labs and associated services.
  • Participating in the new faculty orientation held on August 24 to provide comprehensive training on classroom technologies and an introduction to OIT team members who manage Instructional Technology services and computer labs.
  • Learning Management System Selection – Because the College’s contract with Pearson terminates on June 30, 2016, Learning Management System (LMS) alternatives are being investigated.  A selection committee comprised of 11 members, 4 of whom are faculty members, has been established.  As a member of NJ Edge, OCC can take advantage of LMS consortium pricing; the four vendors selected by NJ Edge are Blackboard, WebStudy, Desire2Learn, and Canvas.Each of these vendors presented its solutions to the committee, with all presentations recorded for further evaluation by committee members.  Vendors selected as finalists will be asked to provide OCC faculty and staff with hands-on experience with their products.  The recommended vendor will be presented to the Board in December for consideration of a contract award.
  • Colleague Microsoft SQL Conversion – Work continues with Ellucian Managed Services on this important server conversion project.  A fifth round of end user testing took place the last week of September, with the project on track for a final conversion during the Thanksgiving weekend.
  • Password Expiration Notification – IT is requiring employee user passwords to change every 120 days.   Employees will receive email messages to change passwords within fifteen days of expiration dates, with reminder notices continuing every other day until they are changed.
  • Planetarium
    • On Sunday, September 27, sky watchers had the opportunity to witness a super moon with a lunar eclipse, which has not occurred in more than thirty years and will not happen again until 2033.  Members of the Astronomical Society of the Toms River Area (ASTRA) set up telescopes on campus from 8 p.m. until midnight to share views of the eclipse, planets, and stars, at no charge.  OCC was delighted to host ASTRA and sky watchers from throughout the area.
    • The Planetarium is planning a number of shows with a Halloween theme in October.   In addition to the Fright Light Laser Show, a new Halloween show has been developed using laser songs/music, scary constellation stories, and Halloween-related space images.  In addition, the publishers of the Macaroni Kid online site will host a Halloween event on Friday, October 23, with free pizza (for up to 100 people) and arts and crafts, such as pumpkin painting.
  • The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts

October will be filled with exciting performances at the Grunin Center.  The following shows are scheduled:

  • October 3             Danny Aiello
  • October 9             Art Garfunkel (sold out)
  • October 11           Neil Diamond Tribute
  • October 14           Bucky Pizzarelli
  • October 16           Alborada Spanish Dance Theatre
  • October 22           The Brubeck Brothers
  • October 23, 24     The Seldoms
  • October 29-31      William Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night

To encourage college community participation at events, the Grunin Center continues to offer free tickets to students (under limited conditions), and faculty and staff are entitled to tickets at half price (two ticket limit).  Also introduced this year is an option for dinner before select shows, whereby patrons dine at OCC on meals provided by local restaurants.

Student Affairs

  • Student Planning

The Student Planning program went live to staff and faculty on Tuesday, September 29, and all students will have access to the program on Monday, October 5.  Advising will continuously monitor the new system and will collaborate with IT, Academic Affairs, and Registration and Records to address issues promptly and to assist with the transition.  Training and resources will be available for faculty and staff, if needed.

Ms. Anna Regan, Director of Academic Advising Services, will demonstrate the Student Planning website on Monday.

  • Ocean County College Mascot

On Monday, Ms. Jennifer Fazio, Director of Student Life, and Ms. Lisa Kasper, Director of Admissions, will present a brief overview of the 2015-2016 Viking campaign to launch the unveiling of the College’s new mascot.  They will address student participation and enthusiasm, the Name the Viking contest, and Viking initiatives planned for the remainder of the academic year and summer 2016, including participation in the Toms River Halloween Parade, a Viking-themed spring lecture series, and the culmination of Viking pride, Viking Day on April 14, 2016.  In addition, a large-scale initiative is scheduled for next summer, tentatively titled the “Quest for Mjolnir” (pronounced MIOL-neer), a scavenger hunt throughout the county.

Academic Affairs

With the start of the school year, the Academic Affairs Division began classes and worked on the development and enhancement of several initiatives. These included:

  • During the week of September 28 to October 2, the Global Education Committee, in collaboration with the School of Arts and Humanities, the Writing Center, and the Library, had several events focused on the topic, Banned Book Week.  There were read-ins and presentations on challenged and banned books that included “The Handmaid’s Tale,” “In Cold Blood,” “Huckleberry Finn,” and “Where the Sidewalk Ends.”  Mr. Paul Chalakani, College Lecturer II of Communications and Theater, and his students presented on Censorship in Theater; and there was a discussion in the Faculty Center for Excellence on Censorship and How It Affects Us All led by Ms. Erica Carboy, Lecturer II of English.
  • Ocean County College Study Abroad Seminars have been finalized for the 2015-2016 academic year.  These experiences provide students with the opportunity to understand cultures and build awareness of global perspectives.  The seminars are led by faculty, lecturers, and administrators and are open to students and community members.  Students can apply for OCC Foundation Scholarships when they are available.  This year’s seminars include Theater in London, History in France, The World of the Maya in Mexico, Morocco, and Spain’s Language and Culture.
  • The School of Nursing and Health Sciences is preparing for an on-site re-accreditation visit by the School of Nursing Accreditation Committee for Education Nursing (ACEN) from February 22-24, 2016.
  • With the support of a grant from Investors Foundation, a team that includes faculty, administrators, and the Grants Office Director has begun the process of creating a STEM Academy.  The focus is to design a program that creates awareness about STEM and engages elementary, middle school, and high school students in STEM experiences.

e-Learning and Enterprise Initiatives

e-Learning and Enterprise Initiatives continues its forward progress on a variety of new and exciting opportunities:

  • The utilization of Rosetta Stone language software has enabled OCC to partner with IMI, a management training company in Cairo, Egypt.  This organization provides management and employment training services to call center industries in Egypt, South Africa, and England.  Within this partnership, which is now in the implementation phase, OCC will deliver technological services and instructional content, coupled with facilitator training, to IMI’s trainees.  The first student cohort is expected to begin with English as a Second Language training in November.  Dr. Maysa Hayward, Dean of Instructional Outreach, and Mr. Jeff Harmon, Executive Director of e-Learning, will be traveling to Cairo in two weeks to complete the facilitator training portion in advance of student engagement.  This represents OCC’s first complete international partnership.
  • Other opportunities in Egypt are also being pursued.  A three-way partnership agreement with OCC, Kean University, and Ain Shams University has been signed by OCC and Ain Shams and has been delivered to Kean University.
  • Under the leadership of Dean of e-Learning Jack Kelnhofer, OCC will take aim at a National Science Foundation Grant to assist in the development of a degree in cybersecurity.  Discussions on partnering with NJIT for this project are currently underway.
  • Under the direction of Dr. Hayward and through the UISFL grant obtained last year, OCC will send its second cohort of study abroad students to Morocco in the summer of 2016.  We anticipate being able to subsidize 25 students for this trip.  Additionally, the OCC Middle East Studies Center will soon emerge as a new opportunity for our students.  This project, a part of the UISFL grant, will result in a physical space in the Library building for students to participate in various projects, presentations, and discussions about topics relating to the Middle East and Northern Africa.
  • Through the collaborative work of Academic Affairs and e-Learning, OCC has substantially increased its hybrid course offerings for the Fall Quick Term, providing another modality of learning for the students of and around Ocean County.  With on-campus classes, online classes, and now a rich offering of hybrid classes, the College is maximizing its efforts to meet the needs of the modern scheduling demands of students.  Marketing and outreach to current and potential student populations have also been engaged to ensure the word gets out about all of OCC’s flexible learning options.
  • Lastly, there are currently 18 distinct opportunities in the business development pipeline. These range from four-year institutional partnerships and preferred provider pursuits, to employer-sponsored degree and certificate training programs, international partnerships, and much more.
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