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November 2, 2015

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

OCC president Dr. Larson


  • Phi Beta Lambda- Eleven student members of OCC’s chapter of Phi Beta Lambda (Future Business Leaders of America) placed first or second at the New Jersey Leadership Conference, which qualified them to compete at the 2015 National Leadership Conference in Chicago from June 24 to 27. I am pleased to announce that four OCC students became national winners:  Davina Resto, Nina Rogers, Danielle Wittman, and Chaya (Eti) Hayman.  This is the first time OCC students have placed in the Small Business Management Plan event at the national level, and it is their second victory in the Integrated Marketing Campaign competition.  Students also ranked in the top ten in the Social Media category. Associate Professor Katherine Dillon, Business Studies, herself a three-time winner of the National Adviser of the Year award, is the adviser to Phi Beta Lambda.  Professor Dillon and several students will attend Monday’s meeting to share their experience at the national conference.
  • Adjunct Assistant Professor Kathy DiMario – After retiring as a Social Security Manager, Mrs. Kathy DiMario attended graduate school and earned a Master of Arts degree in Psychological Counseling from Monmouth University. Ms. DiMario is an adjunct assistant professor who has been teaching psychology courses in OCC’s Department of Social Sciences since 2010.  She is the founder and owner of Second Acts Career Services here in Toms River.  She is also a consultant for the Ocean County Displaced Homemaker’s Program, where she conducts career workshops.  Along with her daughter, she is a published author of the children’s book based on Posha, her daughter’s rescue dog, “What Kind of Dog Am I?”The idea for the book comes from the fact that most people who meet Posha ask, “What kind of dog is that?”  Mrs. DiMario turned this oft-answered question into a teachable moment, explaining to children that putting a name on things is not nearly as important as loving and being loved.  She currently tours local elementary schools, sharing her philosophy and the popularity of Posha with kindergarteners through fourth grade students. Mrs. DiMario has been invited to the Board meeting on Monday.
  • Planetarium – The Robert J. Novins Planetarium has been offered a donation from Mrs. Tara Murtha in memory of her late husband, Mr. Robert Murtha.  This very generous donation of $2,000 will allow the College to lease the full dome movie “Let It Snow.”  The Planetarium will have the right to present this holiday movie for six weeks every year for the next fifty years. Mrs. Murtha will attend Monday’s Board meeting so we may formally thank her for this gift.

Student Affairs

  • Athletics
  • Women’s Tennis – OCC students Emily Steinberg and Jasmine Ethridge qualified for the NJCAA National Championship Tennis Tournament.  Emily won the first singles flight from an unseeded position at the Region XIX Tournament and was named First Team All-Region and Region Champion for her efforts. The players traveled to Peach Tree Tennis Center in Peach Tree, Georgia, to participate in the NJCAA finals.  On Thursday, October 22, they won their first singles matches and first doubles matches in the morning and lost in the next round of singles in the afternoon.  On Friday, October 23, they played their next round of doubles but, unfortunately, they lost.  However, the players enjoyed competing on the national level. We are proud of their performance, finishing tenth in the nation at the tournament.
  • Men’s Soccer – Craig Smith was honored at the 2015 Region XIX Awards Dinner on Thursday, October 8, as the Robert Zifchak Male Scholar Athlete of the Year.  Craig epitomizes courage, service, and leadership.  As a veteran, he served two tours of duty in the Middle East.  Upon his return, he began his college career and continued his excellence.  His commitment to education was evident, as he graduated with honors in 2014 and received the Exemplary Academic Achievement Award from the National Junior College Athletic Association.  This past summer, Craig was also awarded the National Alliance for Two-Year Collegiate Athletic Administrators Male Scholar Athlete of the Year Award. As an athlete, Craig was one of OCC’s best.  As a captain of the team, he was always willing to provide assistance, he led the team to deep runs in the Region XIX Tournament in both seasons, and he spearheaded the team community service efforts to assist with a Habitat for Humanity project for a Super Storm Sandy home and raised funds for the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge.”  Craig was ranked the number two player in Region XIX as a defender/midfielder in the 2014 season.  He was named to the NJCAA All-American, All-Region, and All-Garden State Athletic Conference Teams. Craig is currently continuing his academic and athletic career at Georgian Court University.
  • Women’s Soccer – On Thursday, October 8, the 2014 Ocean County College Women’s Soccer Team was awarded the Region XIX Champions of Character Team Award.  The team exhibited excellence both on and off the field in 2014.  Academically, the team finished with an excellent 3.13 team GPA.  Three players were named to the NSCAA Scholar All-America Team, one of whom was named the Scholar Athlete Player of the Year.  Ten of the team’s seventeen players were named to the Academic All-Conference or All-Region Teams for the fall 2014 semester. On the field, the team finished with 17 wins, 2 losses, and 1 tie, winning the Region XIX “B” Championship and finishing fifth at NJCAA Nationals.  OCC’s Women’s Soccer, as the host institution of the National Tournament, was awarded the National Tournament Team Sportsmanship Award.  Three players were named NJCAA All-Americans, with two also named NSCAA All-Americans.  The team also boasted six players on the NJCAA All-Region XIX Team, with four voted top ten in the Region by the coaches.  The team set numerous school records, including fewest goals against in a season (9), fewest goals against average per game (0.450), and most shutouts (14).  The team earned no ejections and only two yellow cards all season long. Off the field, the team did great things as well, including initiating, participating in, and raising funds for such causes as the ALS “Ice Bucket Challenge”; a Habitat for Humanity project for a Super Storm Sandy victim; Breast Cancer Awareness; the Love Your Melon Foundation, which provides hats for children with pediatric cancer; and a bake sale to raise funds for a former OCC Women’s Soccer player who passed away from cancer.
  • Award Recipient – Ms. Ilene Cohen, Executive Director of Athletics and Judicial Affairs, was honored as the Garden State Award recipient at the 2015 Collegiate Athletic Administrators of New Jersey luncheon on Thursday, October 8.  Ms. Cohen possesses a passion not only for her student athletes to succeed in athletics, but also for them to excel in both their academic and career pursuits.  She joins a group of prestigious honorees as the 32nd recipient of the CAANJ Garden State Award, the organization’s highest honor that is presented annually to an individual who has made substantial and enduring contributions to the development of intercollegiate athletics in New Jersey. A graduate of Trenton State College (now The College of New Jersey) where she earned a Bachelor of Science degree and a Master’s degree in Education, Ms. Cohen was a standout softball player for legendary TCNJ coach Dr. June Walker.  She transitioned from a successful playing career to a career in collegiate coaching, first at Middlesex County College and then at Ocean County College, always maintaining the academic success of her players as the program’s top priority.  She was named one of the first female athletic directors in New Jersey when she moved to Ocean County College in 2001.  As you know, Ms. Cohen is an energetic and passionate administrator.  She has accomplished much while at OCC, such as creating an academic monitoring program for student-athletes and engaging OCC alumni in a number of different ways, including the establishment of the OCC Athletic Hall of Fame. A leader on the national, state, and conference level, Ms. Cohen has consistently devoted time and energy to various organizations, ranging from NJCAA Region XIX to the New Jersey National Association of Girls and Women in Sports. Congratulations are extended to Ms. Ilene Cohen for this prestigious accomplishment.
  • Athletics Website – The Athletics Department is pleased to announce the launch of its new website at  All community members can now view team schedules, rosters, bios, statistics, box scores, live and archived video streams, and much more.  A mobile app is also under development for up-to-the-minute scores and news updates; it is scheduled for release on Tuesday, November 10. Mr. A.J. Trump, Director of Athletics, will present the new website to you on Monday.
  • Advising
  • Late Registration Outreach – The Advising Office performed outreach to first-time students who registered during late registration.  This group of students is an academically at-risk student population, as late registration often results in students missing key information.  These students also frequently have schedules that are not conducive to success, as classes are scheduled based on which classes are open versus which classes work best for the students.  Advisors contacted these students to inquire as to how their semesters are going and to see if the students needed any information or assistance. The Advising Office personally contacted 165 students.  An advisor spoke on the phone with 64 students.  Another 87 students received a phone or email messages. Advisors were unable to reach 10 students.
  • Transfer Programming – The Advising Office, in partnership with the NJ STARS Club, hosted the 2015 Transfer Fair on Thursday, October 1.  The event was well attended despite the rainy weather.  Ninety-five institutions participated, and close to 200 students signed in with at least one institution. Transfer Coordinator Laura Wills has offered several transfer services to students this fall.  Ms. Wills has visited the Southern Education Center each month to help students connect with transfer services at OCC.  Students can make appointments online to get their transfer questions answered at the SEC.  Additionally, Ms. Wills provided support for Commit to Complete by offering students lessons on NJ Transfer and navigating the transfer process. Many colleges and universities are continuing to visit OCC throughout the fall semester, including Wilmington University, Marymount Manhattan, William Paterson University, Centenary College, Seton Hall University, University of New Haven, and Villanova University (School of Nursing).  Additionally, Montclair University, Monmouth University, and NJIT will host Instant Decision Days on the OCC campus this fall.  Farleigh Dickinson University will also be back on campus in November to assist students with transfer to their programs with a 40% tuition discount for OCC graduates.
  • NJ STARS – On Friday, October 16, NJ STARS Coordinator Elaine Schardien organized and hosted a Partners Workshop for high school counselors.  This annual event brings a HESAA representative to campus to share information.  Several members of the OCC staff participated, including Ms. Lisa Kasper, Director of Admissions; Ms. Ilene Cohen, Executive Director of Athletics and Judicial Affairs; and Ms. Anna Maria Harrison, Financial Aid  Specialist for NJ STARS.  Ms. Sharon Austin participated as the HESAA representative, and OCC NJ STARS student Katarzyna Wac served as the student speaker.  Ms. Wac was extremely poised and articulate, and her speech was very well received.  The event was a success, with 48 individuals attending.  After the event, Toms River East High School and Manchester High School invited Ms. Schardien and a student to their campuses to speak with the eligible NJ STARS students.
  • Pre-Nursing Advising – In conjunction with Records and Registration, the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, and Kean University, Assistant Director of Academic Advising Pam Donohue organized two pre-nursing information sessions.  Prospective nursing students had the opportunity to hear from Ms. Bridget Root in Nursing Admissions, Ms. Mary Fennessy in Nursing, and Ms. Tara Higgins from Kean University.  Over 70 students attended these sessions.
  • Advising Resources and Training – The Advising Office has made several resources available to staff and faculty advisors across campus.  Campus advisors have access to a comprehensive Advising Manual, online presentations on four common advising topics, a video tutorial on NJ Transfer, and the Advising Hotline for questions.  Advising also hosted several update/training sessions for campus staff and faculty

Academic Affairs

The Academic Affairs Division has been moving forward with a number of projects and initiatives:

  • Southern Education Center – The Southern Education Center will be holding a Career Exploration Night to allow students the opportunity to learn about programs that are available for their consideration.
  • School of Nursing and Health Sciences – The School of Nursing and Health Sciences sponsored a Flu Fair with Student Life, the Student Nurses Organization, and the Ocean County Department of Health on Thursday, October 8.  This activity allowed students, staff, and the external community to prepare for the coming winter season by receiving flu shots. Pre-Nursing Information Sessions were held on Thursday, October 8, and Wednesday, October 28.  Students who indicated an interest in the Nursing program were able to learn more about the requirements to enter the program. The Student Nurses Organization held a Blood Drive on Monday, October 19, which will be followed by a Health Fair on Thursday, November 19.
  • School of Arts and Humanities – This fall semester, a book club was instituted which will highlight specific books each month.  The October selection was “Life and Times of Michael K by J. M. Coetzee. On Wednesday, October 7 and 14, the Music Club held an informal open Mic and Jam session for students and staff. On Friday, October 11, Ms. Karin Gargone, Humanities Professor, and 15 of her Music Appreciation students attended a classical chamber music concert performed by the American String Quartet. On Wednesday, October 21, the Global Education Committee and the Music Club sponsored a presentation titled, “The Art of Portrait in Painting, Literature, and Music,” by Ms. Patricia Kennedy, former Assistant Professor of Humanities; Dr. Sandra Brown, Professor of English; and Ms. Karin Gargone. Global Education also sponsored a number of events that included presentations on Censorship in Theater by Mr. Paul Chalakani, College Lecturer II in Communications and Theater, and his students. The Visiting Writers’ Reading Series sponsored lectures by Ms. Keira Parrott on Tuesday, October 20, and Mr. Matt Phelan on Thursday, October 29.  Seascape hosted a Halloween event, also on October 29. The OCC Repertory Theatre Company will hold performances of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night” in the Black Box Theatre on October 29, 30, 31, and November 1, 6, 7. Students in the Interpreter Training Program visited Gallaudet University on Friday and Saturday, October 23 and 24.  Faculty and second-year students attended a program, toured the campus, and interacted with native users. The Sign Club and Student Life are co-sponsoring a trip to see the Broadway play, “Spring Awakening.” The cast, including its lead Marlee Matlin, are deaf. The History Club sponsored a trip with Student Life on Saturday, October 24, to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. The group will be holding a Canned Food Drive from November 2 to 19.
  • School of Business and Social Sciences – On Monday, November 16, Mr. Jason Ghibesi, College Lecturer II in Political Science and History, and his Global Issues class will present “Roam around the World.”  Students will demonstrate infomercials and group presentations shedding light and insight on issues associated with education across the world.  This event will provide the opportunity to introduce the Global Studies degree program.
  • Library – Librarian Caitlyn Cook is currently the President of the Document Association of New Jersey.  She will be offering a webinar through the Federal Depository Library Program website, “Incorporating Federal Social Media Accounts into Reference and Instruction: Tips, Tricks, and Potential Pitfalls,” on Wednesday, November 4. Technical Services Specialist Ashley Carvagno is currently the President of the New Jersey Library Association‘s Technical Services Section.  She will be hosting a book repair demonstration, “Back from the Dead: Making Old Books Look New,” with Ms. Kim Avagliano on Monday, November 2.
  • School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics – On Monday, November 2, the School will be hosting the High School Robotics competition in the OCC gym under the leadership of Mr. Neil Schiller, Professor of Engineering.  On Wednesday, November 4, there will be an OCC Math Student competition sponsored by the American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges.
  • e-Learning – Dr. Maysa Hayward, Dean of Instructional Outreach, and Mr. Jeff Harmon, Executive Director of e-Learning, have made a donation of Egyptian art and artifacts to the Middle East Studies Center.OCC has conducted the first training with its new international partner, IMI, International Company for Human Resources and Management Development.  Dr. Hayward and Mr. Harmon trained 13 IMI facilitators over the course of one week on the utilization of OCC’s technology, including the learning management system and Rosetta Stone language software.  This group of facilitators will aid in the training of approximately one thousand students in Level One of ESL by the end of 2015.  This represents an important acceleration of the progress in OCC’s first international partnership.
  • Student Success – Staff and students made three presentations at the 5th Biannual Conference of the New Jersey Association of New Student Advocates held in Atlantic City on Friday, October 23.  The theme of the conference was “United for a Common Goal, Campus-Wide Initiatives for First-Year Success and College Completion.”

OCC’s presentations at the conference were:

  • Empowering Developmental Writers through a Non-Traditional Approach to Academic Assistance:  An Inter-Institutional Collaborative (presented with Monmouth University).  OCC participants included:
    • Ms. Erica Carboy, College Lecturer II of English
    • Ms. Veronica Guevara-Lovgren, Coordinator of the Writing Center
    • Ms. Lynn Kraemer-Siracusa, Assistant Professor of English
    • Ms. Heidi Sheridan, Assistant Professor of English
  • Students with Disabilities in the First Year:  Supporting Students, Faculty, and Staff in Community College Settings through Universal Design.  Ms. Gina Zippo-Mazur, Coordinator of Disability Services, was the presenter. Ms. Melanie Fernandez was awarded the NJANSA Community College Student Scholarship in recognition of her outstanding work as a first-year college student. The College Readiness Now II program has completed the first round of testing at Jackson Liberty, Jackson Memorial, and Manchester High Schools.  This will be followed by diagnostic testing in November.  Students will then be able to complete ten-week, brush-up course work and take their end-of-program placement tests at their high schools in the winter.  Many students are using the program to meet high school graduation requirements as well as for college readiness.

Finance and Administration

  • Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers – Ms. Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration, attended the annual Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers meeting held on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday, October 11, 12, and 13, in Philadelphia.  Ms. Winchester joined with Dr. Don Norris and Dr. Tim Gilmour of Strategic Initiatives, Inc., to present a session entitled, “Building a Resilient and Higher Performing College:  Preparing for Disruptive Times.”  The session was a case study of OCC’s Charting Our New Course initiative, which provided the audience insight into the comprehensive process used to develop OCC’s new strategic plan.  The session was well attended and showcased OCC as a leader in the adoption of a strategic planning process designed to guide the College through disruptive times.
  • College Relations
    • Affordability Campaign – Pursuant to our ongoing partnership with Kean University, OCC and Kean are launching an affordability campaign.  The campaign will run from November 2015 through April 2016, highlighting the cost and convenience of attending Ocean County College and then transferring to Kean University rather than attending a four-year institution.  The advertising will target Southern New Jersey and run within various media mediums, such as billboards, print, radio, and social media.  Plans are underway to expand the campaign locally as well as online. Ms. Jan Kirsten, Executive Director of College Relations, and Ms. Maureen Conlon, Assistant Director of Web Services, will discuss this campaign with you on Monday.
  • TV Studio – OCC has signed an agreement with NJTV to become a partner/southern bureau of NJTV.  This collaboration will provide OCC with an increased presence in the state and afford our students the opportunity to observe a professional news operation in action on our campus.  It should provide a unique opportunity for students in the Digital Mass Media program to make contacts which could lead to internships and eventual employment possibilities.  NJTV will be taping its “Newsmakers” show in OCC’s TV studio six times during the year, which will provide an invaluable experience for the students to see a professional crew producing a five-minute news program.  Comcast will also provide OCC with the opportunity to appear on “Newsmakers” to promote the College and its programs.  As a result, OCC will have a broader reach in Ocean County, especially where Ocean TV 20’s signal isn’t broadcast on the Comcast system.
  • Continuing and Professional Education – Technology and Specialized Careers
  • Unified Construction Code (UCC) Program, New Jersey Department of Community Affairs – The Annual Partners Workshop was held on campus in October to establish the statewide network of inspector courses offered by community colleges.  UCC hybrid online classes are being developed, and a pilot program is currently underway this fall semester.  The hybrid format will make it easier for individuals who are at a distance from the campus to participate, making the program available to a broader demographic.
  • Ready to Work Grant from COALITION 19 – CPE is preparing courses for eligible students. The grant will pay student tuition for classes related to business and healthcare, including Project Management Prep, Lean Six Sigma, and Pharmaceutical Technician.
  • OCC/CPE has been invited to be a member of the new Economic Development Committee of the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce.  The Committee is represented by a cross section of Ocean County businesses.
  • On Wednesday, October 14, Ms. Pat Fenn, Assistant Vice President of Continuing and Professional Education, was one of the keynote speakers at the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship in Houston, Texas.  The session was centered on Best Practices in Generating Alternative Revenue on Your Campus.  Ms. Fenn presented with Ms. Julie Kirk, Director of the Office of Innovation and Entrepreneurship, U.S. Department of Commerce, and Dr. Barbara Jones, President, South Arkansas Community College.  The conference was centered on creating and promoting entrepreneurship opportunities for students, job seekers, and business start-ups through partnerships.
  • Facilities
  • On Wednesday, October 14, the Facilities Department held its semiannual all-staff meeting.  This meeting enables management the chance to connect with staff and gives staff members the feeling of being involved and invested in and valued for the work they do for the College. Mr. Matthew Kennedy, Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management and Construction, began the discussion with department updates, highlighting new and essential topics.  A session was then presented on the topic of effective communication, which focused on listening as an essential skill that is just as important as speaking and writing.  With the tools provided, the hope is to build positive morale, promote teamwork, and increase productivity.
  • The Facilities Department will be holding the next Surplus Sale from Monday, November 9, through Friday, November 20, online at  A listing of the auction items will be posted on the website for customers to view.  Some of the items that will be auctioned are computers, laptops, projectors, and electronic signs.
  • Ocean County College Foundation – As mentioned at our last meeting, the Ocean County College Foundation held its 14th Annual Golf Outing on Monday, September 28, at Pine Barrens Golf Club in Jackson.  The event attracted 100 golfers and raised nearly $50,000 to assist the Foundation in its mission to make higher education accessible to Ocean County residents through scholarships, awards, and special projects.  Special thanks are extended to the Event Chair, Mr. Michael B. York of Novins, York & Jacobus, the event’s Major Sponsor, Perlmutter Family ShopRites, and all the sponsors, golfers, committee members, vendors, staff, and volunteers that made the event possible.
  • Office of Information Technology
  • OIT worked with NJEDge.Net, facilitator of productive use of technology across the academic enterprise, to successfully broaden the Comcast internet connection to Philadelphia, giving us added diversity.  Two internet connections are now available from two different vendors, Verizon and Comcast.  Having two different ISP vendors is an important step to ensure internet reliability.NJEDge.Net reduced its cost per quarter while including additional services to guard against denial of service attacks.
  • OIT Vision, Mission, and Core Values compilation efforts are in process, with processes and procedures currently being documented.  Ms. Sandra Abadir, a reserve assistant, is helping to keep this important initiative on track.
  • Ms. Crissy Coley, the Principal Strategic Consultant of Ellucian Managed Services, held an IT Project Prioritization Workshop on Wednesday, October 21.  Senior leaders of the College engaged in a half-day working session to assess the current state of IT project prioritization and review best practices in use at other institutions. As a result of this review, the following institutional documentation is under review:  IT governance structure, IT strategic plan, IT annual plan, IT project request form, and IT project monthly snapshot/report.  In approximately two weeks following the workshop, the consultant will deliver a written summary of findings and recommendations.

Veterans Day

Ocean County College has two Veterans Day ceremonies scheduled on Wednesday, November 11, one on the Toms River campus and one at the Southern Education Center.

The campus ceremony will take place at noon at the Veterans Memorial on the College mall.  A brief reception will follow in the Library Tower Room.  The event will remain at the Memorial in the event of rain.

This year’s guest speaker will be Captain Christopher Bergen, Deputy Commander, Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, and Commander, Naval Support Activity-Lakehurst.  He is a graduate of Virginia Military Institute with a Bachelor’s degree in History and International Affairs, and he earned a Master’s degree in National Security for the Middle East and Southwest Asia from the Naval Postgraduate School.  He was commissioned in May 1992 through the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps program.

During his long career, Captain Bergen served on the USS John F. Kennedy, the USS John C. Stennis, the USS Ronald Reagan, and the USS Enterprise.  He was deployed in support of Operation Noble Eagle following the attacks of 9/11 as well as in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation New Dawn.

Captain Bergen’s individual military decorations include Defense Meritorious Service Medals, Meritorious Service Medals, Air Medals, a Joint Commendation Medal, Navy/Marine Corps Commendation Medals, Navy/Marine Corps Achievement Medals, and various unit commendation and service campaign awards.

The Manahawkin Veterans Day ceremony will be held at OCC’s Southern Education Center at 10:00 a.m.  The program will feature keynote speaker Lance Corporal Audrey Kobliska, USMC, VA Peer Support Specialist; vocalist Elizabeth Weidenhof, OCC Class of 2015; and the Southern Regional High School R.O.T.C. Drill Team.  Light refreshments will be served.

Please join us for either of these always poignant Veterans Day ceremonies.

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