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April 25, 2019

Dr. Larson’s April 2019 Report to the OCC Board of Trustees

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail

Phi Theta Kappa

At the Thirty-Second Annual Middle States Regional Convention held on March 15, 16, and 17, 2019, OCC’s Tau Iota Chapter and three Ocean County College students were recognized in the following ways:

  •  Tau Iota was once again honored as a Five-Star Chapter, the highest level of achievement for a chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.
  • Tau Iota was recognized as a Gold Chapter for exceeding the requirements for Five Stars. If Five Stars is considered an A, then being a Gold Chapter is similar to an A+.
  • Tau Iota was recognized as a Reach Chapter. Tau Iota was one of the highest chapters in the Middle States Region of 82 chapters in the percent of invited students accepting membership. As a Reach Chapter, Tau Iota is receiving special acknowledgment from Phi Theta Kappa in the form of 22 stoles to be worn by chapter officers and members at Commencement.
  • Sean Baker was inducted into the Regional Hall of Honor for Chapter Officers.
  • Grace Rochette was inducted into the Regional Hall of Honor for Chapter Officers.
  • Justin Saldarriaga was inducted into the Regional Hall of Honor for Chapter Members.

Three advisors and four students attended this year’s convention at the Hilton Harrisburg Hotel in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Students in attendance were Victoria Di Guilmi, Grace Rochette, Beth Witter, and Jeffrey Greenwood. Advisors at the convention included Adjunct Assistant Professor of Social Sciences David Rickert, Professor of Mathematics William Rickert, and Mrs. Lois Rickert. Assistant Dean of STEM Carolyn Showalter and Professor of English Jennifer Dellner also serve as advisors to Tau Iota.

Tau Iota advisors are extremely proud of the accomplishments of our chapter and its members and are happy to share these achievements with the entire campus community.

Phi Beta Lambda

On Sunday, April 7, 2018, the OCC Future Business Leaders of America – Phi Beta Lambda Team earned first place in the Phi Beta Lambda State Competition in the team categories of Hospitality Management and Business Decision Making. Students also placed individually in the categories of Marketing Concepts, Public Speaking, and Networking Concepts.

The 2019 Phi Beta Lambda State Competition was held at Rutgers University. OCC competed against other New Jersey community colleges as well as Rutgers University and Kean University. OCC winners included:

  • Tzvi Kassover, 1st Place, Business Decision Making (Team)
  • James Vitkuske, 1st Place, Business Decision Making (Team)
  • Daiana Conde, 1st Place, Business Decision Making (Team)
  • Brian Tartis, 1st Place, Hospitality Management (Team)
  • Jayme Luzzi, 1st Place, Hospitality Management (Team)
  • Uriel Bohorquez Gonzalez, 2nd Place, Entrepreneurship Concepts

The upcoming Phi Beta Lambda National Competition will be held from June 24 to 27, 2019, in San Antonio, Texas, where two-year and four-year colleges from across the country will be competing.

Mr. Sean Bips, Phi Beta Lambda Advisor and College Lecturer II in Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management, will attend Thursday’s meeting with two Phi Beta Lambda students, Tzvi Kassover and Daiana Conde, to report on their experience and receive congratulations for their successes.

Study Abroad – Germany

OCC’s 2019 Spring break study abroad trip, led by College Lecturers II in English Kristyn Stout and Mr. Sean Bips, enabled students to immerse themselves in the rich history and culture of six select cities throughout Germany. Students were able to choose one or both of the following courses: HUMN 252, a travel seminar focusing on the humanities (literature, history, art, and music) in Germany, or HRTM 240, a course centered on hospitality, tourism, and management.

Highlights of the trip included a Rhine River Cruise in Frankfurt, a tour of Heidelberg Castle, and a visit to the Goethe National Museum in Weimar. In addition, students received behind-the-scenes tours with staff at Schlosshotel Kronberg and the Waldorf Astoria and were treated to a walking foodie tour of Berlin.

Ms. Kristyn Stout, Mr. Sean Bips, and several students will attend Thursday’s meeting to share their experiences on the trip.

Arts on Campus

An invitation is extended to you to join the Arts on Campus Walk-Through following the Board meeting on Thursday, April 25, 2019, from 2:00 to 4:00 p.m. on the third floor of the Instructional Building. The installation has been completed, with hallways featuring amazing artwork and literary quotations. Students, faculty, and visitors have commented positively on the vibrant transformation of the hallway space. In fact, students have expressed awe over the artwork of their peers, excitement at seeing their own work displayed, and interest in the courses responsible for the various art pieces.

In my report last month, I highlighted the work that has been done by College Lecturer II of Humanities Renate Pustiak, Assistant Professor of Computer Graphics and Photography Rich Fallon, Instructor of Visual Arts Nat Bard, and Assistant Professor of Ceramics Lisa Cecere to establish the Arts on Campus project. Appreciation is also expressed to the OCC Student Government and Director of Student Life Jennifer Fazio, Director of Graphic Design Scott Bruinooge, Dean of Arts and Humanities Heidi Sheridan, and especially donor Tom Zorojew for supporting the efforts to highlight such incredible work.

Ocean County College Commencement Week

Ocean County College’s 52nd Commencement is scheduled for Thursday, May 23, 2019, at 6:00 p.m. For the first time, the ceremony will take place on the lawn in front of the Gateway Building on the upper mall. This year, we are pleased to have as our guest speaker Congressman Andy Kim, representing the 3rd District of New Jersey.

Members of the College community will be invited to a reception prior to Commencement from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. in the Instructional Building Atrium. At 5:00 p.m., the trustees and platform party will robe for the ceremony on the fifth floor of the Gateway Building.

The Nursing Pinning Ceremony will precede Commencement on Tuesday evening, May 21, at 7:00 p.m., and the annual Awards Ceremony will take place on Wednesday evening, May 22, at 7:00 p.m. Both events will be held in the Theatre of the Jay and Linda Grunin Performing Arts Center.

Again this year, a ceremony will take place at the Veterans Memorial on the campus mall at 3 p.m. prior to Commencement. Please join us if your schedule permits.

As always, we are looking forward to an exciting week of recognizing and celebrating student achievements.

Finance and Administration

  • The Ellucian Live conference was held in New Orleans, Louisiana, from April 7 to 10, 2019. In attendance were Ms. Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration; Mr. JR Ross, CIO; Mr. Anthony Jordan, Enterprise Applications Director; Mr. Mathias Banner, Senior Buyer; and one member of the Student Affairs area. Ms. Winchester co-presented in a session entitled “Partnering for Success: IT Management and Grants Service.”

Ms. Winchester made the same presentation at the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) 99th Annual Convention in Orlando, Florida, from April 13 to 16, 2019. The session focused on the major progress OCC has made in the past few years in applying for and being awarded grants. The presentation also elaborated on the non-financial benefits OCC has realized as a result of new grant programs.

While at the AACC convention, Ms. Winchester networked with colleagues who have implemented a standard course fee in lieu of textbooks. Reducing the cost of textbooks at OCC is a focus for the coming year.

  • A new training program entitled “Budget Manager Basics” was presented by Ms. Christine Healey, Director of Purchasing and Payables, and Ms. Mary Lancaster, Director of Financial Reporting, for department managers who have the responsibilities of managing budgets, contracts, purchasing goods, and working with vendors.

The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts

Upcoming May shows include:

  • Alice in Wonderland – Saturday, May 4, 2019, at 11:00 a.m.
  • An American Salute – Saturday, May 4, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.
  • The Midiri Brothers Salute Benny Goodman and Artie Shaw – Sunday, May 5, 2019, at 3:00 p.m.
  • The Bronx Wanderers – Sunday, May 19, 2019, at 5:00 p.m. and 8:00 p.m.

College Relations

 TV Studio

The Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission, along with Ocean County College, the Ocean County Freeholders, and the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation hosted the 2019 Salute to Ocean County on April 11, 2019. The event was successfully recorded and broadcast live from the Grunin Center to the residents of Ocean County. The program showcased the best and brightest in art, performance, and digital media as well as honored residents who have made a major impact on life in Ocean County.


The 6th Annual Alumni, Student, and Staff Picnic will be held at the Lakewood Blueclaws Stadium on Friday, August 9, 2019, at 7:05 p.m. Tickets are $25.95 for adults and $17.95 for children, which includes a game day ticket and the picnic buffet.

The Alumni newsletter is better than ever and completely online. Included are electronic discount codes for Grunin Center and Planetarium shows. The newsletter has increased the number of visitors to the Alumni webpage as well as enhanced the presence of Alumni on social media.

Ocean County College Foundation

The OCC Foundation Scholarship Celebration will be held on Friday, June 14, 2019, in the Jon and Judith Larson Student Center. This year, Gale Glendinning Wayman is being honored with the Humanitarian of the Year Award, and The Hirair and Anna Hovnanian Foundation is receiving the Distinguished Organization of the Year Award. Proceeds from this event will support the mission of the OCC Foundation to assist students in fulfilling their dreams of a college education.


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 March 20, 2019, through April 17, 2019.

Student Affairs


  •  The Advising Office hosted its spring in-service on Friday, March 22, 2019. Campus staff were invited to receive advising updates on various topics, such as the transition to 60 credit degrees, policy changes, transfer news, and career services. Four guest speakers attended the event and provided advisors with valuable information from their respective areas: Ms. Gina Zippo-Mazer, Coordinator of Accessibility Services; Ms. Maria Paradiso, College Lecturer II in Social Work; Ms. Patricia Carroll, Assistant Athletics Director; and Dr. Henry Jackson, Executive Director of Academic Success. In the afternoon, the advising staff attended training on e-Learning, QLess, and new student advising processes.

College Pathways

  • The Advising staff has concluded College Pathways advising and career presentations to eleven participating Ocean County high schools. Students were able to take and discuss the results of a brief career assessment, and they researched the connection of their results to various career pathways. Advisors discussed with students the concept of a career pathway and how their college majors are a part of their overall plans. This presentation was designed to be useful and informative for all high school seniors, regardless of their college plans. Students intending to come to OCC, or who were undecided as to their next steps, were also provided with information on how to enroll at OCC and the benefits of doing so. Students also received College Pathways guides to take home and share with family members. This resource includes information on Academic Advising, career exploration, transfer, and NJ STARS.

Transition to 60 Credit Degrees

  • The Advising Office organized the effort to create a campus plan for the transition to 60 credit degrees. In collaboration with Academic Affairs, a communication and action plan was put in place to effectively and efficiently manage this large-scale transition. The campus plan included a broadcast email to the campus community and a Canvas message to students, as well as direct communications from the Advising Office to campus staff and advisors. In collaboration with College Relations, a landing webpage with degree information and frequently asked questions was also published in an effort to create a consistent campus message regarding this change. In order to increase efficiency, and as a service to students, an automatic Catalog update was executed in collaboration with IT for over 3,000 students; the Catalog year for these students was updated with no action required by the student. Finally, Advising and Academic Affairs partnered to host four information sessions open to the campus community.

Enrollment Services – The HUB

  • The HUB has successfully implemented Q-Less, a queue service, into its daily operations in collaboration with Registration, Financial Aid, and Advising. Q-Less allows students to be placed in a virtual line for a Tier 2 issue, reducing physical lines and decreasing student wait times. The implementation has been successfully coordinated with the start of 2019 Fall semester registration.
  •  A case study on Reggie, Ocean County College’s chatbot, has been published and is viewable here. The case study documents the implementation process and the successes that OCC has seen with its virtual assistant. Ocean was the first community college in the country to utilize AI technology for enrollment purposes.
  •  Ms. Sheenah Hartigan, Director of Enrollment Services, will be presenting at the Smart Campus Conference in Philadelphia on April, 25, 2019. This conference discusses smart technologies, data, security and interoperability. Ms. Hartigan will be speaking about OCC’s implementation of AI technology for enrollment via the chatbot, Reggie.

 Southern Education Center

  • The Southern Education Center is focused on developing academic opportunities for students residing in southern Ocean County by adding courses for the 2019 Summer Sessions and Fall semester and expanding college-related services for students.
  • Six courses in Biology, Communications, English, and Mathematics are being offered to the students during the First Five-Week Summer Session. The Student Services staff is diligently marketing these courses to local students to allow them to maximize the available opportunities.
  • Additionally, eleven classes, not offered in past Fall semesters, have been added to the 2019 Fall semester course schedule. The Student Services staff carefully reviewed anecdotal student requests gleaned through advisements as well as research data to select courses tailored to match student needs for the completion of degree programs. The goal in expanding course offerings is to provide southern Ocean County students with the opportunity to move towards degree completion while remaining closer to home.
  • Representatives from both Kean Ocean and Stockton University have been on the SEC campus over the past month to advance the transfer opportunities of students.
  • College staff from various departments, such as Disability Services, EOF, and Library, have been regular visitors to the SEC to provide enrolled students with a broad spectrum of services available to them while at the SEC.


  • Admissions and Disability Services hosted Point Borough students on Monday, April 15, 2019, for an OCC Campus Experience Day. Ms. Gina Zippo-Mazur discussed the advantages available from Disability Services at OCC and how to continue IEP or 504 plans at the College. The students were then given a comprehensive tour of campus by Ms. Kelsea Rowan, Admissions Representative, after which they were grouped by academic programs of interest to meet with staff members, program chairs, or professors/college lecturers:
  • Mr. Jerry Mangino, Career Pathways Coordinator, from the Continuing and Professional Education Department, provided a tour of the medical skills facilities in the Hovnanian Health Sciences Building, an overview of programs offered, and an introduction on enrolling in CPE courses. CPE also provided bags and informational hand-outs for all students in attendance as well as those who missed the trip.
  • Dr. Jane MacDonald, College Lecturer II in Education, discussed pursuing an education curriculum through OCC’s Liberal Arts program and upcoming developments in Academic Affairs regarding new program opportunities.
  • Ms. Renate Pustiak, Graphic Design Program Chair, gave an overview of the Graphic Design program and provided a Graphic Design Lab tour.
  • Mr. Paul Chalakani, Performing Arts Program Chair, took students on a tour of the Black Box Theatre and Grunin Center Stage and discussed OCC’s Performing Arts programs.
  • Mr. Gerald Cohen, Computer Science Program Chair, spoke with a student about the various offerings through the Computer Science programs and discussed possible degree paths.
  • Ms. Anna Regan, Director of Advising, Transfer, and Career Services, provided a career exploration workshop for undecided students and students who are interested in areas not represented at the event.

At the end of the day, the students and counselors were provided lunch in the Student Center cafeteria.

The Admissions Department, in collaboration with Academic Affairs and Athletics, has nearly completed the 2019 Spring Open House series. This year School- and Athletic-Specific Open House events were held in advance of the College-Wide Open House on Saturday, April 27, 2019. These events were attended by 254 people, as follows:

  • March 7, 2019 – School of Business and Social Sciences Open House – 32 Attendees
  • March 21, 2019 – School of Nursing and Allied Health Open House – 86 Attendees
  • March 25, 2019 – Athletics Open House – 40 Attendees
  • April 4, 2019 – School of Arts and Humanities Open House – 55 Attendees
  •  April 9, 2019 – School of STEM Open House – 41 Attendees

Almost 200 prospective students have signed up for the College-Wide Open House on Saturday, April 27.

Admissions attended and presented at multiple college and career events around the County. Thousands of prospective students and parents were able to learn all that OCC has to offer. Events included:

  •  Family Wellness Night at Walnut Elementary School – March 19, 2019
  • Rutgers High School Engineering Fair – March 20, 2019
  • Ocean County Achievement Center Presentation – March 20, 2019
  • Jackson College and Career Fair at Goetz Middle School – March 28, 2019
  •  Harbor House College Presentation – March 28, 2019
  •  RAISE Visit and Infosession – April 1, 2019
  • OCPGA Spring College Night at Toms River North – April 4, 2019
  • Substance Abuse Summit at OCC – April 4, 2019
  • Toms River East College Fair – April 5, 2019
  • Stockton University Open House – April 7, 2019
  • HRTM Connect Event at OCC – April 11, 2019
  • Pinelands Regional High School College and Career Night – April 16, 2019
  • Multiple HSEA Infosessions
  • Multiple Ocean County Library Presentations on “Making College Affordable”
  •  Multiple CPE Medical Coding and Billing Course Infosessions
  • Twice per Week Presentations at the Ocean County One-Stop Career Center

Upcoming events include:

  • SASS – A Day for Women Event – April 28, 2019
  • Home School Fair at Toms River Library – May 17, 2019
  • Workshops at the Pines on our Nursing and Healthcare programs – June 2019
  • Additional Ocean County Library Presentations and Workshops – April/May/June 2019
  • Wawa Education and Career Advancement Day – June/July 2019
  • Lakewood Blueclaws – June/July 2019
  • Planning for an OCC e-Learning Open House – Summer 2019

Admissions and Advising will host 16 high school-specific registration days through April and May. Three have been completed to date, including Donovan Catholic on April 10, Jackson Liberty on April 16, and Point Pleasant Beach on April 18, 2019. Students are invited to campus to enroll for the Fall 2019 semester all in one shot. Lunch and bussing are provided. The remaining 13 high schools will be scheduled in the near future.

Student Support Services

  •  Student Support Services (SSS) has been busy engaging students in cultural enrichment opportunities, including a trip to Washington, D.C., in March and a visit in April to The Franklin Institute Science Museum.
  • Eight students and two staff chaperones, SSS Specialist Helen Konz and SSS Technician Alexis Lopez, attended the March 29-30, 2019, trip alongside College Lecturer II in History Robert Marchie and several OCC students. The trip included a whirlwind tour of Capitol Hill, the Library of Congress, the National Museum of African American History, and several memorials. On April 29, 2019, SSS staff and 15 SSS students will visit the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to engage in science and technology exhibitions, complete with a tour of the “Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes” exhibit.
  •  On May 2, 2019, to coincide with Student Life Spring Day, the Student Support Services Club is sponsoring an SSS Vendor Fair. For a $20 donation to the SSS club, vendors can register to sell their products, such as jewelry, crafts, clothing, cosmetics, and signs. Additional information is available from Ms. Barbara McCormack, SSS Academic Coach.
  • Student Support Services is hosting its End-of-Year Celebration on Tuesday, May 14, 2019, at 12:00 p.m. in the Grunin Gallery, second floor, to honor program participants and on-campus program supporters. The celebration includes light refreshments and an opportunity to “see” the journey of the SSS students, their goals and dreams, major accomplishments and honors, through photos, artwork, and personal reflection. For those unable to attend the event on May 14, the display will be in the Gallery until the end of that week.

Counseling and Student Development Services

  •  Dr. Kate Pandolpho, Director, was elected Secretary of the Ocean County Mental Health Board.
  • Dr. Kate Pandolpho and Ms. Katie Hueth, Prevention Education Coordinator, attended the New Jersey Conference on Campus Sexual Violence on March 28, 2019, at which New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal announced an initiative requiring the County Prosecutors to work with colleges to address sexual violence.
  • On April 11, 2019, Ms. Susan Ebeling-Witte, Student Intervention Specialist, and Dr. Kate Pandolpho attended an all-day training on Early Identification and Management of Violent Behavior: Focus on Personal Safety and Organization Response presented by Mr. Steve Crimando, Director of Training for the Disaster and Terrorism Branch in the New Jersey Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
  • Ms. Katie Hueth participated in a five-day intensive training on Gambling Addiction. There is an increased concern that college-aged students are an at-risk population. Activities will be planned for the Fall semester to address this issue.
  • Dr. Kate Pandolpho recently attended training on suicide prevention and disaster planning with the Ocean County Emergency Response Committee. She is also working on the annual Silent Witness Project in cooperation with a number of local domestic and sexual violence organizations.
  • The annual Drug-Free School Compliance Act notification letter is being sent to enrolled students. This letter outlines college policies, relevant legal information, information about resources, and the impact of use and abuse of drugs on physical and mental health.
  • A Campus Needs Assessment was completed via student surveys. A total of 173 surveys were collected in the Larson Student Center over a two-day period. Topics included student concerns, use of tobacco products within the last six months, help-seeking behaviors, knowledge of OCC counseling services, student use of alcohol, and perception of peer alcohol use and abuse.

This data will be used for the prevention program and services development and to track effectiveness. The results include:

  • Over 2/3 (68%) of respondents report a level of stress that interferes with daily life.
  • Other prevalent concerns include financial stress, relationship problems, anxiety, depression, and academic difficulties.
  • Most respondents report they do not use tobacco products. However, of those that do, most use E-cigarettes/Vape/Juul and do not have an interest in quitting at this time.
  •  Less than 20% of the students reported moderate to high risk drinking behaviors.
  •  The help-seeking behaviors of students indicate that 63% do not seek any support for problems they may be facing, and just over half (52%) indicated a need for more information about access to counseling services on campus. Nearly 50% of the respondents indicated they knew about OCC counseling services.

Programming activities include:

  • Weekly mindfulness sessions are being conducted for the campus community, which address ways to manage stress and anxiety.
  • In recognition of April as Sexual Violence Prevention Month, the department co-sponsored a presentation on surviving childhood sexual abuse by international speaker Jennifer Nadler; more than 130 students, faculty, staff, and community members attended this dynamic event on April 15, 2019. Representatives from local sexual and domestic violence organizations staffed tables.
  • The Ocean County Health Department and the Toms River Police Department hosted the annual DUI Field Sobriety Tests demonstration featuring simulations for impaired driving and walking. Participants were able to experience the simulated effects of alcohol, marijuana, LSD, and other substances on motor coordination and skills.
  • In collaboration with College Relations, a campaign has been initiated to increase social media presence to raise awareness of mental health issues, reduce stigma, and provide access to simple self-care and wellness techniques.
  • A self-care seminar for approximately 60 student athletes took place on April 19, 2019.
  • Counselors are participating in the Holistic Health and Wellness Day on April 23, 2019, and are collaborating with Athletics and Student Life on April 30, 2019, Stress Relief Day.

Displaced Homemakers Program

  • The renewal contract for the 2019-20 program year has been received and is recommended for approval on Thursday’s Board agenda.
  • Program outcomes include: 77 new and 69 continuing clients are being served; 20 clients have become employed, and 8 clients participated in the recent 24-hour Job Readiness Program. Several other job search seminars and computer classes are scheduled for April and May.
  • The 10th Annual Celebration of Achievement will be held on Tuesday, May 7, 2019. The achievements of clients are showcased and celebrated, with their family and friends invited to join the celebration.

This year, several clients have completed degrees:

  • One client is graduating from Ocean County College.
  • One client is receiving an associate degree from Rutgers University in the dual degree Psychosocial Rehabilitation program.
  • Four clients are receiving bachelor’s degrees, one from Kean University, one from Rutgers University, and two from Richard Stockton University.
  • The Board adopted a resolution at the March meeting declaring May as Displaced Homemakers Awareness Month. Program staff will attend Thursday’s Board meeting to share information about the program and clients’ accomplishments. A current client will share her story and the ways in which the program helped her in her process to self-sufficiency.

Academic Affairs

School of Nursing and Health Sciences

  • OCC Nursing IV students and faculty attended the New Jersey National League for Nursing Convention in Atlantic City on March 28, 2019. Seventy–nine students had the opportunity to network with their peers throughout the state and meet with potential employers. Educational sessions were provided throughout the day related to preparing the students for professional practice.
  • Several Nursing College Lecturers attended an educational program, “If you Could See What I See,” during which self-reflection to enhance student achievement and success was discussed. Attending were Lecturers Juvy Ferriols, MSN, RN; Sharon Scrofine, MSN, RN; Viergina Bazile, MSN, RN; and Barbara Hayles, MSN, RN.
  • Additionally, College Lecturer II Sharon Scrofine, MSN, RN-BC, attended a program titled “Next Generation NCLEX (NGN) is Coming. What Should You Be Doing Now to Prepare?” This program focused on teaching strategies to prepare students for the new licensure examination.

During March, the Student Nurses Organization (SNO), under the direction of its faculty advisors Sue Gill, MSN, RN, and Barbara Hayles, MSN, RN, collaborated with Lisa Ryan, APN, Nurse Practitioner from the RWJ/Barnabas Health and Wellness Center, to celebrate National Colorectal Awareness Month. Members of SNO provided information to students and staff on screening for colorectal disease and diet to promote a healthy lifestyle.

  •  Ms. Christine Elassar, an OCC student who is in the joint program with Rutgers University for Psychosocial Rehabilitation is graduating in May and receiving the Clinical Excellence Award this year. Per Peter M. Basto, PhD, CPRP Director of the program, Christine “demonstrated the best clinical skills in her Clinical Practicum Placement at a partial care program for people who have psychiatric disabilities. She did a terrific job and is well deserving of the award.” The award is presented to one student in each program at Rutgers during convocation.
  • A Pre-Nursing Information Session was held on March 28, 2019, for students who intend to enter the Nursing Program. Representatives from the School of Nursing, Advising, and Kean University provided information regarding the program to 52 people in attendance.
  • The School of Nursing and Health Sciences, in collaboration with the Admissions Department, held an Open House on March 21, 2019. Staff, faculty, and students provided prospective students and their families with information on admission to the School of Nursing and Continuing and Professional Education for Healthcare Careers. Kean University representatives were also present to discuss the BSN completion program. There were 45 prospective students at the event and a total of 86 attendees.

School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

  • Ms. Julia Kim, Mathematics College Lecturer II, and the OCC Math Club held a fund-raising event on March 14, 2019, titled “Pi Day – ‘Pi’ Your Professor and Have a Piece of Pizza Pie.” Students made donations to throw or place a whipped cream pie on a faculty member. Nine STEM members participated in the event: College Lecturer II Pam Bogdan, Instructor Krista Camilo, Assistant Professor Kaaren Finberg, Instructor Ted Gordon, Associate Professor Mike Pezzimenti, College Lecturer II Sam Pinkava, Professor William Rickert, Dean Paul Silberquit, and Ms. Kim. The event was held to re-introduce the Math Club to OCC students, faculty, and staff. Seven students signed up for the club during the event.
  • College Lecturer II in Biology Angel Camilo, College Lecturer II in Computer Studies Edmond Hong, and members of the OCC Maker’s Club provided assistance with designing and fabricating poster stands for the Equity Awareness event. Posters were placed throughout the College mall and the Jon and Judith Larson Student Center. The club also provided assistance to students participating in the Sink-or-Swim innovation event. Members of the Maker’s Club assisted participating students by developing prototypes of innovative items that students presented to judges.
  • The 2019 Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium was held on March 21 and 22, 2019, in the Grunin Theatre, OCC gymnasium, and the Toms River Ramada Inn. Competitions were held during the two-day event, and awards from sponsors were presented to winners at each event.
  • Students with the top ten rated science research papers participated in a presentation competition.
  • The next five rated students (11-16) participated in a table-top poster session competition at the evening banquet.
  • The remaining students (17-90) were invited to participate in a tabletop poster session competition.

The top five winners from the presentation competition advance to the Junior Science and Humanities Symposium that will be held in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Appreciation is expressed to all OCC faculty and staff who assisted in making the 2019 Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium a great success.

School of Arts and Humanities

  • The Music Club sponsored a musical performance entitled, “The African American Spiritual: Journey to the Promised Land.” This rich musical performance featured Director of Cultural Affairs Mark Wilson on bass and Instructor of Music Karin Gargone on piano.
  • On April 5, 2019, as a part of the Afternoon with the Bösendorfer concert series, classical pianist Alexander Lo performed magnificent works by Schumann and Prokofiev on the Bösendorfer Imperial Grand Piano. College Lecturer II Brian Gilmore has organized this series.
  • Associate Professor of English and Literature Jayanti Tamm organized a wonderful Visiting Writers’ Reading Series with events on March 26, 27, and 28, 2019. The events focused on Vietnam and the Vietnam War.

College Lecturer II in Humanities and Fine Arts Stephanie Shestakow kicked off the events with a screening and discussion of “Maya Lin: A Strong Clear Vision,” a film that looks at the construction of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial. Tyree Annick-Hyle shared a photographic journey through Vietnam, and Professor of English David Bordelon gave a lecture entitled, “Truth or Consequences: The Relevance of Political Narratives in ‘The Things They Carried.’” Professor of Social Sciences Lynn Kenneally and College Lecturer II in Political Science Jason Ghibesi’s students participated in a session exploring the long-term impact of the Vietnam War on veterans from New Jersey and the impact of the war on Vietnam. Adjunct Faculty Member in Humanities and Fine Arts Kyle Banner followed with a lecture entitled, “Vietnam War: The Draft and Resistance.”

These informative and thought-provoking events led up to the centerpiece of the series, two highly engaging and well-attended presentations by author Tim O’Brien on his award-winning book, “The Things They Carried.”

  • Mr. Richard Carr and Ms. Christine Bryant, both English College Lecturer IIs, organized the OCC 2019 Poetry Festival on April 15 and 17, 2019. The feature event was a poetry reading by renowned poet Michael Waters. OCC students continued the festival with a lively Open Mic Poetry Reading on April 17, 2019.
  • Dr. Madison Peschock, College Lecturer II in English and Literature, attended the National Eastern Modern Language Association Conference in National Harbor, Maryland, on March 22, 2019. She presented a paper entitled, “Mrs. Hitchcock’s Coming Out Party: The Injustice to Women in Hitchcock’s Life Revealed on Films.” Dr. Peschock’s paper has been accepted for publication in the book, “Critical Hermeneutics, Metacognition, and Writing,” which is being published by Vernon Press.
  • Assistant Professor of Communications Gary Shaffer spoke at the 23rd Annual Conference of the New Jersey Communication Association at Montclair University. His presentation was called “Haiku Review,” wherein he discussed using Haiku to help students drill down to key concepts and takeaways after viewing a specific text. The theme of the conference was Fun and Games.
  • Professor David Bordelon and the Community Book Club met on April 8, 2019, to discuss “West with the Night,” the memoir of aviatrix, adventurer, and racehorse trainer Beryl Markham.
  • Assistant Dean of Arts and Humanities Veronica Guevara-Lovgren and Dean Heidi Sheridan attended the ACE Women’s Leaders Advancing in Higher Education summit, at which they had the opportunity to network among women from all over the state.
  • Interpreter Training Program events included a six-hour workshop on March 30, 2019, hosted by the Sign Club on team interpreting in the medical field. On April 1, 2019, the Sign Club hosted a Police Forum with the Deaf Community. After students from our program became involved, OCC now has the privilege of hosting the Forum here for Ocean County police officers and the Deaf Community.
  • American Sign Language-English Interpreter Training student Kate Tesch was accepted into Gallaudet University’s bachelor’s Interpreter Training Program. Kate will be graduating from OCC’s program in May. Mel Fernandez, OCC alumni and former student trustee, also was accepted into Gallaudet’s Interpreter Training Program.

School of Business and Social Sciences

  • In recognition of National Social Work Month, students in Social Work College Lecturer II Maria Paradiso’s Introduction to Social Work class had the opportunity to listen to several guest speakers from outside agencies talk about numerous topics, including industry best practices, today’s and tomorrow’s workforce needs, and announcements regarding upcoming job opportunities. Industry leaders from these outside provider agencies included Providence House; Allies, Inc.; The Family Resource Network; and Rutgers School of Public Health’s Community Living Education Project (CLEP).
  • Ms. Paradiso and 16 social work students participated in a volunteer event held on Sunday, April 7, 2019, at the Providence House. She and her students assisted Providence House staff in numerous tasks as they prepared for their annual fundraising event. Providence House Domestic Violence Services of Catholic Charities provides comprehensive services to victims of domestic abuse and their children.
  • The 3rd Annual Substance Abuse Summit, coordinated by Political Science Lecturer II Jennifer Barnes and Dr. Jane MacDonald, was held on Thursday, April 4, 2019. This one-day event, sponsored by the OCC Governmental Affairs Institute, in partnership with OCC Counseling Services, Kean University, and the DART Prevention Coalition of RWJ Barnabas Health, set out to bring more awareness to the ongoing substance abuse epidemic in Ocean County.
  • On Friday, April 19, 2019, Mr. Sean Bips and the OCC Hospitality Club traveled to New York City to the famous Pierre Hotel where they were given a behind-the-scenes tour and further insight into the roles and experiences of working in the luxury hotel industry. Students had a Q & A session with members of the Pierre Hotel management leadership team, including the Hotel’s General Manager, Director of Catering, Director of Learning and Development, Director of Human Resources, and the Executive Sous Chef.
  • On Thursday, April 11, 2019, the second annual HRTM Connect event took place on the fifth floor of the Gateway Building. Local and state businesses in the hospitality and tourism industry that participated in this successful career fair and networking event included Hotels Unlimited, Hotel LBI, Holiday Inn Manahawkin, Chick-Fil-A, Hard Rock Hotel, Wawa, Southern Chamber of Commerce, Jenkinson’s, NJ Amusement Association, Mr. Mike Forcella, Ocean County Office of Tourism, Bubbakoo’s Burritos, Six Flags Great Adventure, Ocean Resort and Laurita Winery. In addition to bringing in these top hospitality and tourism companies to connect with students, HRTM Connect also allowed students in Mr. Bips’ Conferences, Conventions, and Special Events Management class to plan, organize, and run an actual hospitality event.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

  •  The e-Learning academic area reports that reserve evaluators have been hired to assist in its effort to revise the evaluation process for online instructors. All of the reservists have completed training in the evaluation of instructional staff, with the training being conducted by Dr. Al Longo, College Lecturer II in e-Learning and Interim Dean of e-Learning.
  • Ms. Rachel Doss-Block, Associate Director of e-Learning, reports that the process of building, redeveloping, and updating Master Courses for Fall 2019 continues. Four courses will be added to the list, Elementary Spanish I and II, Elementary French I, and Elementary Italian I, which are the highest enrolled online language courses. These courses will be reviewed by Subject Matter Experts, after which they will be moved to a self-paced version. The self-paced version of Spanish I will be offered by Continuing and Professional Education in Fall 2019. These self-paced course versions will continue to have Rosetta Stone integrated, but all assessments that were graded by a facilitator will be removed, such as assignments, reports, and discussions; module quizzes will be updated to provide a more robust question bank.

Examity, an online proctoring service, continues to be piloted, and other programs that can combat academic dishonesty are being investigated. This includes modifying course test banks, assignments, and discussions on a more frequent basis.

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