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November 7, 2019

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

OCC President Dr. Larson

Phi Theta Kappa

Tau Iota, OCC’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, has some very exciting activities underway during the 2019-20 academic year in support of its College Project.  The project addresses the lack of food security and overall general health among lower income areas in Ocean County.  The project goals include:

  • Establish and participate in the caretaking and upkeep of the American Legion/Boy Scout joint-initiative community garden;
  • Oversee the transport and regulation of partial crop yield to the on-campus Helping Hands Food Pantry;
  • Host and coordinate a week-long Health Fair, promoting health and wellness in everyday life, open to attendance by both the College and the public.

For the 2019-20 College Project, Phi Theta Kappa is working with the American Legion on a Victory Garden to provide fresh vegetables for the citizens of Ocean County and for Ocean County College students.  It is also continuing to work with the Helping Hands Food Pantry on campus, making the fresh vegetables available to our students.

The group also collaborated with the Student Nurse Organization to provide a Health Fair on October 29, 30, and 31, 2019, which focused on family health, nutrition, and wellness and health safety.  Additionally, an Honors in Action Project is being developed that involves Networks of Life.  This will require scholarly research into how organisms interact with their environments and transform each other.

Serving as advisors to Tau Iota are Professor of Mathematics William Rickert, Assistant Dean of STEM Carolyn Showalter, Professor of English Jennifer Dellner, and Adjunct Assistant Professor David Rickert.  Although the advisors are not available on Thursday because of class assignments, Tau Iota President Emily Josephson and members Josh Gallagher and Oladotun Aluko will attend the Board meeting to share information on the progress of the College Project.

Ocean County College’s Strategic Planning Process

The College’s Fiscal Year 2021-2025 strategic planning process officially kicked off on Tuesday, October 29, 2019, with a campus-wide presentation attended by over 30 college employees.  OCC is working with Dr. Tim Coley and Dr. Jennifer Latino, Strategic Consultants from Ellucian, to engage the community and develop the next iteration of our strategic plan.  Attendees of this event were able to meet Drs. Coley and Latino and learn about the planning process.  In addition to the kick-off event, the Core Planning team, comprised of 12 faculty, lecturers, and staff members, met for four hours over the course of two days.  Focus groups with employees and students were held, with well over 40 individuals participating.

The College is working towards an aggressive planning timeline, with the goal of having a draft Strategic Plan ready for campus review at the Spring 2020 Colloquium.  Dr. Alexa Beshara-Blauth, Executive Director of Research, Planning, and Compliance, is leading this campus initiative and will be coordinating the consultants’ visits in November, December, and January.  During these visits, Dr. Coley and Dr. Latino will continue to meet with the Core Planning team and stakeholders, including the Board of Trustees, students, faculty, and staff.

Academic Affairs

School of Nursing and Health Sciences

  • Members of the Nursing School and Student Nurses Organization (SNO) participated in the annual Making Strides against Breast Cancer Walk in Point Pleasant Beach on October 20, 2019, to raise funds to support breast cancer research. A total of $1,137 was donated to the American Cancer Society.

SNO held a Blood Drive in collaboration with the American Red Cross on October 3, 2019, in the H. Hovnanian Health Sciences Building; 25 units of blood were donated.

On October 18, 2019, SNO held a Career Fair in the H. Hovnanian Health Sciences Building with 14 health care facilities in attendance.  Nursing and Continuing and Professional Education students in health care received information about applying for positions following completion of their programs.  Information was also available to current Nursing Program students regarding applications for nursing assistant positions.  Kean University participated in the event, providing information to prospective students regarding the BSN Completion Program.  Over 70 students attended this event.

  • Maryjean Natoli, MSN, RN, Nursing Lecturer II, presented on the implementation of electronic textbooks in the Nursing Program at the All-Schools Meeting on October 29, 2019. The conversion to electronic textbooks was initiated in 2015 in response to the Institute of Medicine Report on patient safety.  This report indicated the importance of health care providers utilizing technology in practice to assure patients receive correct medication and information.  Over the past four years, all electronic textbooks were incorporated into the curriculum to provide experience in utilizing these resources.
  • A Pre-Nursing Information Session was held on October 16 and 25, 2019, for students who intend to enter the Nursing Program. Mary Fennessy, Director of Program Services for Nursing and Health Sciences, collaborated with representatives from the Advising Department and Kean University to provide key information regarding the program.  Over 90 pre-nursing students attended the sessions.
  • Teresa Walsh, Ph.D., MSN, RN-BC, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, was the keynote speaker at the RWJ Barnabas Health Community Medical Center Nurse Residency Program Graduation on September 25, 2019. This program offers new graduates a year-long orientation to assist them to transition into professional practice.  Application to the Residency Program is highly competitive.  Of the 20 graduates, 9 in this second cohort were students who completed the OCC Nursing program.
  • An application was submitted to the New Jersey Board of Nursing in September requesting the development of a Kean-Ocean Generic 3+1 Nursing Program. Board of Nursing representatives visited the School of Nursing on October 17, 2019, to discuss the future program.  They noted that no other New Jersey institution was offering this type of innovative program and indicated their support. These representatives will present their findings to the Board of Nursing Educational Committee on November 8, 2019.  If approved by the Education Committee, the application will be presented to the Board of Nursing for a vote on December 1, 2019.
  • Members of the School of Nursing and Academic Affairs met with representatives of Community Medical Center on October 21, 2019, to discuss a potential partnership that would offer educational programs to its employees.

School of Business and Social Sciences

  • On October 24, 2019, Adjunct Assistant Professor Kathleen DiMario was honored with the Making a Difference for Women Award at the 16th Annual Ocean County Women’s Hall of Fame Dinner, which was hosted by Soroptimist International of Toms River Area, in partnership with Ocean County College. DiMario also serves as a consultant for OCC’s Displaced Homemakers Program.
  • Benny Castillo and Mr. Jason Ghibesi, both College Lecturer IIs in Social Sciences, accompanied a group of Global Studies, Homeland Security, and Political Science students to the 10th Annual Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) Back-to-School Event, Live! The World Next Week, on Friday, October 18, 2019, in New York City. Students participated in a live taping of the acclaimed podcast The World Next Week, hosted by Mr. James M. Lindsay, CFR’s Senior Vice President, Director of Studies, and Maurice R. Greenberg, Chair, and Mr. Robert McMahon, Managing Editor of  This particular episode featured special guest Deborah Amos, Princeton University’s Ferris Professor of Journalism in Residence and National Public Radio’s International Correspondent.
  • Jason Ghibesi led the effort to organize five events that are scheduled during International Education Week from November 18 through 22, 2019. Each presentation will address this year’s theme of Herstory: Women in the World.  Event presenters and presentation titles include:
    • Deborah H. Diament, a Clinical Psychiatrist in Shrewsbury – Reflections on Self and Self-Esteem
    • Marny Requa, Esq., Associate Professor and Chair of the Criminal Justice, Anthropology, Sociology, and Human Rights Department at Georgian Court University – Women’s Rights and Social Change: Abortion Law in Chile and Ireland
    • Howaida Wahby-Eraky, College Lecturer II of e-Learning, ESL and Applied Linguistics – Female Figures Under-Represented or Overlooked in History
    • Jayanti Tamm, Associate Professor of English and Literature; Mr. Joaquin Rolon, Associate Professor of English and Literature; and Dr. Jennifer Dellner, Professor of English and Literature – Global Women Authors: Powerful Visionaries
    • Charlotte Langeveld, Adjunct Faculty Member in Sociology – Challenges of Effective Humanitarian Aid Delivery in Complex Emergencies
  • On Friday, October 4, 2019, College Lecturer II in Psychology Margaret Maghan facilitated a joint effort between Kean-Ocean and OCC to hold a student discussion panel with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Ocean and Middlesex Counties. The panel discussion focused on the importance of advocacy in mental health and current career options for both associate and bachelor degree students in the field of psychology.
  • On Thursday, October 24, 2019, College Lecturer II in Psychology Patricia Gianotti facilitated a presentation on data gathered from those states that have legalized recreational marijuana use. The discussion focused on the ways in which it has impacted mental health and how it has financially benefitted the community.  This event was sponsored by Smart Approaches to Marijuana (SAM), an alliance of organizations and individuals dedicated to a health-first approach to marijuana policy.
  • On Wednesday, October 16, 2019, College Lecturer II in Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management (HRTM) Sean Bips accompanied his Hospitality Marketing class for a tour of the newly renovated Hotel LBI in Beach Haven for lunch and a full property tour of all banquet space, kitchens, restaurants, pool, spa and suites. As part of the course curriculum, students are required to develop new marketing proposals for Hotel LBI in order to promote its unique luxury family-style accommodations and services for both business and leisure guests.  All students were encouraged to submit their resumes to the hotel for current and upcoming job openings.

The Seasons of Giving Sweets Holiday Event is scheduled for Thursday, November 21, 2019, in the Larson Student Center Cafeteria.  Mr. Sean Bips’ Special Events class is working with College Relations and Students Life to plan this event.  Twelve bakeries, chocolate shops, and restaurants will attend the event at the cost of $150 per table.  All of the table fee proceeds will go to the on-campus charity, Fulfill.  The event will also provide the opportunity for the businesses to sell their products.  Donation jars will be placed on the tables for additional donations.

School of Arts and Humanities

  • College Lecturer II in Music Brian Gilmore and College Lecturer II in Dance Catherine Mancuso are busy building audience engagement for music and dance within Ocean County. OCC students from music and dance classes have been performing in local schools and community centers to both engage the community with the arts as well as increase recognition for OCC’s programs.  These performances have allowed music and dance students to interact with potential OCC students and have garnered interest in establishing collaborative endeavors.  Events such as the Bosendorfer series and the Spring Dance Repertory performances have brought community members onto the OCC campus.

Mr. Gilmore and Ms. Mancuso are attending Thursday’s meeting to give a brief overview of their activities to promote the OCC music and dance programs throughout the county.

  • College Lecturer II Paul Chalakani and the Repertory Theatre Company will be presenting On Golden Pond from November 8 through 10 and November 24 through 27, 2019, in the Black Box Theatre.

Mr. Paul Chalakani and the Repertory Theatre Company will also be presenting a fun musical event entitled, Broadway for the Holidays: A Musical Review, from December 5 through 8 and December 12 through 15, 2019, in the Black Box Theatre.

  • The OCC Music Club, advised by Instructor Karin Gargone and Brian Gilmore, will be presenting The History of Fingerstyle Guitar on Friday, November 8, 2019, at 1:30 p.m. in the Instructional Building.

The Music Club is also sponsoring a bus trip to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra’s Rachmaninoff concert at the State Theatre in New Brunswick on Saturday, December 7, 2019.

  • Assistant Professor of American Sign Language Kathy Basilotto and Instructor of American Sign Language Saundra Piscitelli are bringing Nyle DiMarco’s Living Out Loud performance to the Grunin Theatre at 6:00 p.m. on December 2, 2019.
  • Arts and Humanities courses continue to be developed and revised. Catherine Mancuso, who created the course revision section of the Canvas course shell, has been assisting faculty and lecturers in this effort.  Some of the new courses include TV History and Appreciation, Live Sound Mixing and Sound Design, and Crime Literature.  Also being investigated are new program possibilities in Photography and Audio Technology.
  • Jennifer Dellner traveled to Amsterdam to attend the Association for Interdisciplinary Studies Conference as a presenter and board member from October 21 through 26, 2019. Dr. Dellner presented Interdisciplinarity and the Locative Imagination.
  • School Dean Heidi Sheridan attended the New Jersey State Arts and Humanities Grants Workshop through the office of S. Senator Cory Booker on Monday, October 28, 2019.  The event brought together various national and state groups, including the National Endowment for the Humanities, New Jersey Education Association, New Jersey Historical Commission, New Jersey State Library, and New Jersey School Counselor Association to discuss unique opportunities for funding in the arts and humanities.

School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

  • HOSA – Future Health Professions hosted a trip to Children’s Specialized Hospital in New Brunswick on Friday, October 25, 2019. The group is also planning a blood drive and a CPR course for Spring 2020.
  • On Friday, November 1, 2019, HOSA, in conjunction with other clubs, collected donations for the Extra Life-Fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network, Board games, video games, two virtual reality setups, an escape room, and a D&D game running were available for students in the Student Center, and Microsoft also set up a room for games.   Chris Carbone, Career Services Specialist, reached out to local gaming stores and Microsoft as well as coordinated this successful student event.
  • The Math Club began the academic year on October 4, 2019, by enrolling 40 members, 10 of whom were able to attend the first meeting. The club will meet the first Friday of every month.  The members held a bake sale on October 29, 2019, to fund their trip to New York City on November 16, 2019.
  • The Engineering Club, Makers Club, and Computer Science Club began this Fall semester with a student-industry mixer. The evening began with introductions, followed by students socializing with engineering and computer science professionals.  A weekly table-topics series has begun where students are given real world problems to solve.  The first student engineering team is fixing a commercial grade sewing machine for the Textile section of the Makers Space.
  • Assistant Professor of Mathematics Kaaren Finberg and William Rickert, Professor of Mathematics, will discuss Mathematics Anxiety with interested students on Thursday, November 7, 2019, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Instructional Building.
  • William Rickert will also give a lecture entitled Gosh Numbers and Mathematical Magic on Tuesday, November 19, 2019, from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. in the Instructional Building.
  • STEM was well represented at the OCC Open House held on Saturday, October 26, 2019, with demonstrations from the Science, Engineering, and Makers Clubs to attract potential students.
  • OCC was requested to enter a second review for the Office of Naval Research White Paper Grant Proposal, a three-year, $750,000 grant in the areas of Advanced Manufacturing and Mechatronics, which, if awarded, will assist in launching a Degree Apprenticeship Program in these areas. This project will include continuous conversations with student participants and staff, keeping their career goals and entrance into higher education at the forefront of their minds. The proposed project uses four approaches: 1) academic programming, 2) social/cultural connections, 3) work experience and industry exposure, and 4) hands-on training and experiential learning.  This proposal directly answers the Navy’s call to produce higher caliber STEM graduates.  More students will be engaged in STEM fields and receive the support necessary to continue through certifications, degrees, and the transition to civilian careers in support of naval operations and national security.
  • A proposal has been submitted to the National Science Foundation for Advanced Technological Education, a $300,000 three-year grant in the area of Hydroponics. Through this project, OCC will develop a cutting-edge hydroponics program that uses hands-on learning techniques and positions students to choose entrepreneurship, research, workforce placement, or continued education upon certificate completion.  The project also ensures that students completing the certificate program earn transferable credits towards a bachelor’s degree while simultaneously learning the hands-on skills employers need to fill current workforce needs.
  • The STEM School has been proactive in the area of Open Educational Resources (OER), with several of the science and engineering courses using free materials for the students. The goal is to have 25% of all STEM course resources at no cost or low cost by Fall 2020.  In addition, the School is currently piloting low-cost courseware (under $40) in Chemistry courses with very favorable results.  Preliminary reports show an increase in retention and an improvement in assessments.

Finance and Administration

Ms. Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration, and Ms. Christine Healey, Director of Purchasing and Payables, gave a presentation on Joint Procurement at the Community College Business Officers (CCBO) annual meeting in Fort Worth, Texas, on October 29, 2019.  The presentation focused on the success of the New Jersey Community College Joint Purchasing Consortium (JPC) and the leadership provided by Ocean County College.  It is estimated that JPC has saved New Jersey colleges $5.8 million over three years; techniques used to achieve these savings were shared with the group.

Continuing and Professional Education

  • A $12 million HealthWorks Scaling Apprenticeship Grant, funded by the S. Department of Labor, was recently awarded to a consortium of 14 New Jersey community colleges, managed by Bergen Community College. OCC’s sub-contract award is $660,080 over four years, with $165,020 for Year One.  Continuing and Professional Education will place students in non-credit apprenticeships in the health care industry.  The four-year project period is July 15, 2019, through July 14, 2023.

‘White collar’ apprenticeships such as these are an innovative approach to upskilling students while matching them with local, gainful employment in industries new to the apprenticeship model.  A Career Pathways Coordinator will help students navigate course selection and completion, while ‘beginning with the end in mind’ regarding short-term and long-term employment options.

  • National Medical Assistant Recognition Week, October 21 to 25, 2019, was celebrated by over 30 OCC Certified Clinical Medical Assistant students, staff, and instructors. Students enjoyed both daytime and evening recognition events prepared by the CPE Healthcare Team.  The Medical Assistant program is one of the approved career tracks for the HealthWorks Apprenticeship Grant.
  • Continuing and Professional Education is currently administering the Law Enforcement Exam (LEE). The LEE began on Saturday November 2, 2019, and will continue for six Saturdays through December 14, 2019, utilizing eight classrooms on the third floor of the Bartlett Building.  Over 500 candidates per day are expected to take the three hour, forty minute exam.  Potential revenue generation is approximately $30,000.

The LEE is only administered every three years and is a requirement for consideration for Civil Service law enforcement employment.  There are 30,000 candidates scheduled to take the test at 9 New Jersey community colleges.

College Relations

  • The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Campus Safety and Sexual Harassment Awareness Training was recorded live with help from the OCC TV Studio and the Digital Mass Media Club.  The video will be used by the Prosecutor’s Office for additional training and for broadcast on Ocean TV20.
  • The College Relations team collaborated with Adjunct Professor of Music Dave Marowitz to create CD labels and case covers for the OCC Jazz Band’s live 2019 album. The labels highlight the band members and feature a sleek, modern design.

The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts

October was Arts Education and Humanities Month, and the Grunin Center had a major focus on arts education programs throughout the county.

  • Two puppeteers from the Grand Pistachio shared their work on immigration on October 16 and 17, 2019, exploring the immigration stories of the Irish, Italian, and Eastern European Jewish populations. Students in multiple K-12 grades across Ocean County had the opportunity to explore their own family stories.  Students were able to write their stories on wallpaper and have them applied to a public wall for others to read.  Appreciation is expressed to the Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission and the Ocean County Freeholders for their funding to make this program possible.
  • Hip Hop Artist Amirah Sackett visited with high school students at the PAA and Toms River North High School to give them a master class on Hip Hop dance. Sackett visited with OCC’s Musical Theatre and Ballet classes to work with students in workshops.  She spoke with the Dance Appreciation, Women in Society, World Religions, and Introduction to Sociology classes on topics ranging from Hip Hop culture, choreography, and the misconceptions about Islam.   The Arts and Humanities Department and the Dance Club helped to make this program possible.
  • On October 22, 2019, Resilience Educator Brooks Gibbs shared his knowledge of Social Emotional Learning with students from Lacey, Point Pleasant Beach, Lavallette, Jackson, Brick, and Bradley Beach. He gave them real life examples on how to be resilient when faced with bullying.  With assistance from Thomas Gialanella, Executive Director of School Relations, teachers were provided with a professional development opportunity.  Mr. Gibbs was able to impart a full array of resources for these school districts working on harassment and bullying programs.  Additional funding to support this program was received from the Provident Bank Foundation, OCC Foundation, and the Office of Strategic Partnerships.
  • As noted last month, visual artist Kevin Reese spent two weeks working with students on creating miniature maquettes. He will be returning to Ocean County College in Spring 2020.  This program was made possible through the generous support of the NEA.

The College is deeply grateful for the sponsors and partners who support the Mobilizing Our Community program:  Ocean First Bank, Matus Law Group, The Days Hotel, Appel Farm, OCC Student Life, Causeway Ford, Southern Ocean Chamber, and the For Art’s Sake Fund (OCC Foundation).   Because of their generosity, these arts education programs are available to students who would otherwise be unable to participate due to economic barriers and geographic limitations.

  • The Grunin Center has many exciting shows scheduled for this Fall semester, including:
    • An Evening with Cowboy Junkies – Thursday, November 7, 2019, at 7:30 p.m.
    • Max Weinberg’s Jukebox – Friday, November 22, 2019, at 8:00 p.m.
    • The Ten Tenors – Tuesday, November 26, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.
    • Natalie MacMaster, A Celtic Family Christmas – Friday, December 6, 2019, at 8:00 p.m.
    • Vienna Boys Choir – Wednesday, December 11, 2019, at 7:00 p.m.
  • RWJ Barnabas Family Shows for the Fall semester include:
    • Christmas Carol – Saturday, December 7, 2019, at 1:00 p.m.
    • The Nutcracker – Saturday, December 14, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
    • Angelina Ballerina: The Very Merry Holiday Musical – Sunday, December 22, 2019, at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.

Novins Planetarium

  • Improvements to seating in the Planetarium have been completed. In September, accessibility seating was doubled to four permanent spots with companion seats.  In addition, Kevin Molnar, Planetarium Technician, created a seat map for high volume shows, allowing customers to purchase their choice of seating.  This provides awareness to the customers of any seating limitations before purchasing their tickets. Temporary seat and row labels are currently being used; permanent labels will be ordered in the near future.
  • The Planetarium staff created a show entitled Novins Academy Presents: Astronomy of Harry Potter, which premiered in February 2019. The two-hour interactive show and reception have been offered three times since then.  In only eight months, the show has educated 1,500 individuals about astronomy in what visitors deemed a highly entertaining and engaging manner.  Eighty-one survey respondents rated the event 68 out of 5 stars, and 98.3% stated they learned new information from the show.  Also, 32% said they had never visited the Novins Planetarium before this show.


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 September 10,  2019, through October 31, 2019.

Student Affairs


  • Laura Wills, Transfer Coordinator, planned and executed the 2019 Transfer Fair on October 2, 2019. Although the Transfer Fair is typically held outside, the unseasonably warm October weather forced a move to the indoor location of the Gymnasium.  Approximately 300 students attended and spoke with at least one admissions representative.  This year a number of faculty and administrators came to the fair to connect with OCC’s four-year partner institutions.  In particular, College Lecturer II in Chemistry Scott Farrell was able to meet with representatives from the University of the Sciences and Rutgers School of Environmental and Biological Sciences.  Both institutions will be back on campus this year to meet with students and present important information about transfer through the Science and HOSA Clubs.

Partner institutions, such as NJIT, Kean-Ocean, and Stockton University, continue to help students by meeting with them on the OCC campus.  Upcoming events include presentations by the School of Business at Rutgers University and the Rutgers Continuing Education Division, as well as Instant Decision Days scheduled with Monmouth University and Montclair State University.

Veteran and Military Resource Center

  • Ryan Luurtsema, Coordinator of the Veteran and Military Resource Center (VMRC), was interviewed by the Comcast Newsmaker team on October 14, 2019. The interview is being shared online and broadcast on cable networks to upwards of 150,000 homes in Ocean County and surrounding regional areas.  The interview was also shared on the Verizon Channel 24 News Network, showcasing an international viewpoint of the interview.  The purpose of this opportunity was to shed light on OCC’s mission to create an environment of education advocacy, mentorship, and professional transitional expertise to all veteran- and military-affiliated students.  The interview took place in the OCC TV Studio, under the direction of and in partnership with Mr. Ralph Bertini, Television Production Director.

To date, 528 visitors have stopped by the Center, including students, spouses, dependents, and military and veteran community members.  To encourage even more interest, Mr. Ralph Bertini and Mr. Ryan Luurtsema, are assisting Comcast studio producers of the Freedom Newsmaker Team and anchor, Ms. Jill Horner, in creating an ongoing multi-purpose news segment that will incorporate the Veterans Experience.  This segment will allow OCC to be a host to not only OCC student veterans expressing their success on national television, but to also invite local organizations to create opportunities for veterans to transition back to civilian life.  When this project is developed, it will create a regional and national platform to recognize Ocean County College as a transitional collegiate center of success for veteran and military community members.

  • Ocean County College was ranked #18 in the country by Military Times Magazine in its list of two-year college Best for Vets: Colleges 2020 ranking.  OCC is the highest ranked two-year college in New Jersey.  The ranking system is based on a 150 question survey that measures college culture, student support, academic policies, academic outcomes/quality, and cost and financial aid.  Culture and student support carry the greatest weight in the magazine’s evaluation.  The establishment of OCC’s Veteran and Military Resource Center and the numerous supports for students within it as well as the addition of a dedicated full-time staff position to serve Veteran and Military members were important factors in our ranking.  This significant recognition will bolster OCC’s stature in the Veteran and Military community. Visit the Military Times page to learn more about ranking.

Mr. Luurtsema will share the interview video with you on Thursday as well as provide more information on the outstanding efforts being made to reach out to military and veteran community members.

Southern Education Center

  • College staff from various departments have been visiting the Southern Education Center throughout October. Counseling Services, Disability Services, EOF, Student Support Services, and Career Services have all scheduled appointments to broaden the college experience of the SEC-based students by informing them of the valuable supports each provides.   Ken Malagiere, Executive Director of the OCC Foundation, and Ms. Sherri Bray, Manager of Foundation Special Events and Development, were on site during the week of October 28, 2019, to enlighten students to the opportunities afforded them through the OCC Foundation.  Library Services continues to visit weekly to assist students with research and writing.  Additionally, Ms. Laura Wills was at the SEC to assist with transfer options, and Kean-Ocean held the first of three Instant Decision Days.
  • Important information relevant to SEC students is now being broadcast through two platforms; the SEC Canvas page and the sign board messaging system. Both are fully operational, thanks to assistance from e-Learning, IT, and College Relations.


Ocean County College’s Women’s Tennis team recently returned from Peachtree City, Georgia, where it competed in the NJCAA Division III Women’s Tennis National Championship tournament.  Five of the team’s seven players were named to the 2019 All-Region XIX team a week earlier.  With strong performances across the board, from singles to doubles play, the Vikings ended the tournament ranked sixth in the nation.

OCC’s Men’s Cross Country team was among the region’s best all season, with two first place and two second place results among its five meets, culminating in a second place finish at the Region XIX Championship. The team then traveled to Holyoke Community College to compete in the 2019 NJCAA National Tournament, where all seven team members set new personal bests, ultimately earning an impressive sixth place national ranking for the program.

Several members of both the Women’s Tennis team and the Men’s Cross Country team will attend Thursday’s Board meeting to share their experiences at the National Championship tournaments.

Student Support Services

On Saturday, October 26, 2019, Student Support Services took a group of students to see the New Jersey Symphony perform Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince live in concert at NJPAC, in Newark.  The students watched J.K. Rowling’s sixth book on the big screen while the Symphony played composer Nicholas Cooper’s score.  Student Support Services sponsors cultural enrichment opportunities like this because many of the program participants (first-generation, low-income, and/or college students with disabilities) have never had the chance to attend in the past due to a lack of access or funds.  Occasions like this also allow students to connect with their peers and create a support system among those who may share similar experiences.

Counseling Center

  • The Counseling Center, in recognition of October as Domestic Violence Awareness and Prevention month, hosted a program in collaboration with the Francis Counseling Service Sexual Abuse and Assault Prevention Program. Nearly 100 individuals attended the presentation, which featured Ms. Tabitha Comery, a local advocate who shared the story of the tragic loss of her sister due to domestic violence, and a panel discussion featuring OCC Title IX Official, Assistant Vice President Tracey Donaldson, OCC Security Officer Robert Moser, and representatives from Providence House Domestic Violence Services, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, and the Ocean County Batterer’s Intervention Program.  Ms. Katie Hueth, Prevention Education Coordinator, and Ms. Kelly Petrolis, Student Intervention Specialist, coordinated the program and served as facilitators of the presentation.  The powerful Silhouettes display, which depicts stories of Ocean County residents, law enforcement, and pets, who lost their lives due to domestic violence.  The program received excellent reviews by the students, faculty, staff, representatives from partner organizations, and community members who attended.
  • Kate Pandolpho, Director of Counseling Services, Ms. Katie Hueth, and Ms. Kelly Petrolis worked on the annual Silent Witness Program, which spotlights domestic violence and was held on Friday, October 18, 2019, in the Ocean County Mall. Featured speakers included Ocean County Freeholder Virginia E. Haines and Ocean County Prosecutor Bradley D. Billhimer, and there were performances by the first- and second-year students of the Ocean County Performing Arts Academy.
  • The Center’s prevention program continues to expand across the Toms River and Manahawkin campuses. Katie Hueth presented two sessions to OCC athletes on college students and mental health.  She also visited the SEC on two occasions where she presented to classes about the services of the Counseling Center and staffed an information table.  Ms. Katie Hueth and Ms. Susan Ebeling-Witte, Student Intervention Specialist, will present College Students and Mental Health at the SEC two times in November.
  • In collaboration with Grants Manager Kayci Clayton, the Center has applied for a New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services grant to provide campus recovery programs and services. Notification about the grant is expected by the end of November, with a January program start date.
  • The fifth Question, Persuade and Refer (QPR) training by the New Jersey Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services was conducted in September with 35 participants; over 150 OCC and Kean faculty, staff, and students have been trained this year. We are scheduling at least one more session for the Spring 2020 semester.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

An e-Learning meeting was held on October 23, 2019, and over 50 online instructors and staff attended the virtual meeting.  The topics during the meeting included academic teaching assignments, OCC standards and online learning best practices, academic dishonesty, and student services.

Thirteen instructors and staff registered for Online Instructional Training from October 8 to 28, 2019; 11 of the participants passed the training.

e-Learning is pursuing online proctoring with the following companies:

  • The exam proctoring software system Examity initiated a Fall 2019 pilot,  encompassing 17 online courses, which will conclude in December.  The e-Learning team will create standardized processes for the students and faculty members before the Spring 2020 pilot.  There are 64 projected online courses for the Spring pilot.
  • The Honorlock exam proctoring software system contract is currently being reviewed. In Summer 2020, 5 courses are scheduled for the Honorlock pilot.

A Virtual Professional Development Series will be launched by e-Learning this month.  The virtual workshops scheduled are:

  • November 20, 2019, at 8 p.m. – OCC Academic Standards and Online Best Practices
  • January 29, 2020, at 8 p.m. – Academic Dishonesty
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