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January 23, 2020

Dr. Larson’s January 2020 Report to the OCC Board of Trustees

OCC President Dr. Larson

Spring 2020 Colloquium

On Friday, January 17, 2020, the College community came together in the Grunin Center Theatre for the Spring 2020 Colloquium.  The theme was “Strategies on the Horizon for Future Growth and Innovation, 2021-2025.”  Five workshops were offered during the day for faculty, lecturers, and administrators.

During my State-of-the-College address, new employees and current employees who assumed new responsibilities since September 2019 were recognized, longevity awards were presented to employees who have served the College for twenty and thirty years, and recipients of the 2019 President’s Awards for Excellence were announced.  All of the recognized employees are listed in the attached copy of my comments.

Student Success

Ms. Kelli Brikowski is a student in the Ocean County College/Thomas Edison State University Partnership.  She and her young son are residents, soon to be graduates, of Dottie’s House, an Ocean County long-term, comprehensive program for women and children escaping domestic violence situations.

Ms. Brikowski grew up in Howell, New Jersey, and graduated from Florence Township High School.  After graduation, she attended Wagner University for a brief time but left before the birth of her son.   She spent many years in a domestic violence situation with her then partner and always dreamed of returning to college to complete the requirements for a degree in psychology.  Through the assistance of Dr. Margaret Maghan, College Lecturer II in Psychology and an intern at Dottie’s House, and the admissions team led by Dr. A.J. Trump, Director of Admissions and Enrollment Management, and Ms. Samantha Shinn, Admissions Representative, Ms. Brikowski has been able to realize her dream.

As a result of her hard work and determination, Ms. Brikowski is not only pursuing her education but is also a work-study student for OCC’s Veteran and Military Resource Center.  Upon graduation from college, Ms. Brikowski’s career aspiration is to work with and be an advocate for other survivors of domestic violence.

Both Ms. Brikowski and Dr. Maghan will attend Thursday’s Board meeting to talk about her educational journey.

Ocean County College Strategic Planning

The Core Planning Team, with Strategic Consultants Dr. Tim Coley and Dr. Jennifer Latino, has made great progress towards the development of the FY 2021-2025 Strategic Plan.  The twelve-member Core Planning Team has been working since October on crafting a plan that will continue and expand on the success the College has achieved under its current plan, while also considering future trends.  A series of focus groups and open forums have helped inform the Core Planning Team’s work. These events included:

  • A campus-wide kick-off
  • Two staff focus groups
  • Two faculty focus groups
  • Three student focus groups (including one at the Southern Education Center)
  • Two Board focus groups
  • A focus group with the Guiding Coalition
  • Two open forums

Based on the work of the team and input from the aforementioned events, the Core Planning Team has developed draft statements for the Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principles.  In addition, four themes emerged that shaped the development of draft Goals and Objectives by larger Goal Implementation Teams. These themes include:

  • Students
  • Enrollment
  • Organizational Effectiveness
  • Stakeholder Relations

All of the drafts were shared at a Spring Colloquium workshop, which afforded an additional opportunity for the campus to provide feedback.  Once the goals and objectives are solidified, a draft plan will be presented to the Board.  Throughout this period, the Goal Implementation Teams will continue to meet to identify projects and initiatives that will support each of the objectives.  The College is on track to have a strong plan, ready to be implemented for July 1, 2020.

Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education

Dr. Ali Botein-Furrevig, Director of the Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education, recently wrote an article, “Lessons from the Holocaust:  Educating Students on Moral Choices and Responsible Citizenship,” that will appear in the Sunday, January 26, 2020, Ocean and Monmouth editions of the Asbury Park Press as well as in Northern New  Jersey and Rockland County, New York.  This article is a follow-up to Dr. Botein-Furrevig’s July piece, “Lakewood’s Orthodox Community:  Education is the Key to Combatting Anti-Semitism.”

The article is attached for your information.

Academic Affairs

School of Nursing and Health Sciences

  • Ocean County College and Kean University received notice in December that its joint application to develop a generic 3+1 BSN program was approved by the New Jersey Board of Nursing. This BSN 3+1 program is the first in the State to be approved by the Board of Nursing, and members of the Nursing Board noted that it will be the first integrated generic Nursing program in the nation to be jointly delivered by a community college and a university.
  • Fifty-three students completed the Nursing program in December 2019 and are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN®). OCC’s licensure passing rate continues to be above the national scores.
  • Current Nursing students returned to campus on January 13, 2020, prior to the first day of Spring classes, to begin practicing for competency validation. All returning students are required to demonstrate competency in skills previously learned at the beginning of each semester.  Students are also required to complete orientation programs for each clinical agency they will be attending during the semester.
  • Ninety students will begin the Nursing program this Spring semester. Orientation for new students was held on January 7, 2020. During the orientation program, students were introduced to faculty, basic policies and procedures of the program, as well as strategies to enhance learning.

School of Business and Social Sciences

  • As part of outreach efforts to Ocean County grade schools and highs schools, Business Department faculty and lecturers will be teaching at the newly established Business Academy Program at Peter School in Point Pleasant Beach. The Business Academy began on January 10, 2020, is limited to 8th grade students, and will run for seven consecutive weeks.  Session topics include:  Crafting a Business Plan; The Bill of Rights: An Elimination Challenge; Marketing Designed by You; Budgeting for Your Own Life; Fundamentals of the Stock Market; Hospitality Boot Camp 101; and a Field Trip to the Bloomberg Stock Market Lab on campus.
  • The Business Innovation Consortium (BIC) was created last semester to coordinate the efforts of the four existing student clubs for business majors. The four clubs that merged to form BIC include the Entrepreneur Club, the Hospitality Club, the Legal Club, and Phi Beta Lambda.  Each club will continue to maintain its own identity and membership within the BIC model; when needed, they will work together to improve efficiency and effectiveness.  The creative staff of OCC’s College Relations Department worked with BIC faculty advisors and student members in branding the club with a new logo:Business Innovation Consortium logo

School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

  • OCC is hosting the fourth annual Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium this Spring. Sponsored by the Department of Defense and the National Science Teaching Association, the symposium highlights the research papers of high school students as they compete for scholarship monies and the opportunity to compete at the national level.

Finance and Administration

  • The new Ocean County Vocational Technical School Performing Arts Academy (PAA) is now open here on the OCC campus. The PAA is a four-year public high school designed to provide a rigorous education for creatively gifted students, with curricula focused on theater, voice, dance, and audio engineering.   While in high school, the PAA students are also OCC students taking college courses; some PAA students will earn their high school diplomas and associate degrees at the same time.

PAA students have access to our campus, and there will be the opportunities for OCC to use the PAA building.  The building contains a dedicated dance space available to OCC students throughout the day. This will allow for the continued growth of OCC’s dance program and bring new collaborative workshops and master classes to both organizations.   The PAA students will be utilizing classrooms located off the Grunin Center gallery throughout the day, adding an air of excitement in the Center.   In addition, the new 210 seat versatile Gia Maione Prima Studio Theatre will open soon to allow for unique, intimate programs for PAA students, OCC students, and the community.

  • Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration, has been working with Ellucian representatives to update the products and services Ellucian provides to OCC through a modernization package. The College is moving from a one-year contract to a five-year term that will add several new software modules and retire other modules that no longer suit the needs of the College.  The modernization package provides a discount for the new modules and also reduces the annual rate increase.  The new contract is being recommended for approval at Thursday’s meeting.
  • A Request for Proposals (RFP) was released in December on behalf of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges Purchasing Consortium for an online bookstore vendor. The purpose of the outreach is to allow the College to reduce the cost of textbooks and instructional materials as well as to free up space in the Larson Student Center, which is often over-crowded.  The current bookstore space will be repurposed for student use.  A new contract is expected to be effective for the Fall 2020 semester.
  • OCC staff have worked with Barnes & Noble to reduce the cap and gown fee for graduating students from $45 to $35. The new gowns will be of similar quality and customized with OCC colors.


  • The OCC BlueClaws Alumni, Student, and Staff Picnic will be held on Thursday, May 28, 2020.  A new date and time have been selected during the spring season, and new food and beverage options will be available. Please save the date for this enjoyable evening.
  • The OCC Local Alumni Network launched on January 14, 2020, with Happy Hour at Artisan’s Restaurant in Toms River. The event provided a forum for alumni to reconnect with the College as well as to have an opportunity to network and socialize with one another.   Local Alumni Network events will continue throughout the Spring semester.

TV Studio

The TV Studio produced a promotional video for presentation at the University of Alexandria in Egypt.  The video reviews the benefits of our international collaborations from both an academic and global perspective.  Dr. Jack Kelnhofer, e-Learning College Lecturer II, and Instructional Designer Ashley Shanley present the many advantages of the existing partnerships between OCC, Kean University, and Ain Shams University, including the 2+1+1 program developed by OCC.  The video will be presented by Dr. Maysa Hayward, Associate Vice President of International Programs – Academics, during her next visit to Egypt later this month.

College Relations

  • In collaboration with Coordinator Ryan Luurtsema, College Relations designed a new brochure for the OCC Veteran and Military Resource Center. The brochure describes the services and benefits provided to veterans and their families as well as publicizes the College’s distinction as a 2020 “Best for Vets” institution.
  • Working in collaboration with A.J. Trump, new marketing materials were designed to promote the Early College Program at OCC. The materials include a brochure and a retractable banner for recruiting events at local high schools.  The messaging targets high school students taking OCC classes at their home schools as well as students visiting the OCC campus.

Training and Development

  • Human Resources continues to offer opportunities to employees for developing new skills. Recent workshops included:  Who Are Our Students?; Search Committee Training; College Relations; Problem Solving and Decision Making; and Managing One-on-One Performance.  This training is offered in support of Strategy #5, to “create a highly effective, challenging, supportive, and sustainable work environment.”
  • The Winter/Spring 2020 Training Catalog is available online.  A new category of workshops has been added on Innovative Teaching, which will assist faculty, lecturers, and adjunct faculty with teaching techniques and skills to support excellence and innovation.  Materials include information on how to motivate students to increase engagement and intellectual curiosity as well as how to develop probing questions and promote comprehensive class discussions.

Continuing and Professional Education

 Career Training

  • Three major health care employer partners, RWJ Barnabas Health, Atlantic Care, and Med Metrix, provided onsite interviews with CPE Medical Billing, Medical Coding, and Medical Assistant students, which led to immediate employment opportunities. All January CPE Medical Assisting graduates have employment offers upon course completion.
  • OCC was recently recognized as an approved Pharmacy Technician Training Program by the Pharmacy Technician Certification Board.

Career Advancement

  • Local educators can register for Summer Advanced Placement courses beginning in February.  The CPE Department is offering two weeks of programming this year, from June 29 to July 2 and August 17 to 21, 2020.
  • Individuals who are interested in adding to their credentials in the construction trades are eligible to participate in the State-approved 100% Tuition Remission Program this Spring. Courses and locations will vary, but Sub-Code Official and Technical Assistant Certification are two of the courses that will be offered.

Youth and Camps

  • Since October 2019, 57 at-risk, out-of-school youth have actively participated in Ocean County Achievement Center activities, and 47 participants are currently on follow-up services. In addition, 10 youth participants have earned their high school diplomas during our Summer Session and Fall semester, and 4 participants are active members of the Advisory Board Planning Committee.
  • A new cohort for the Career Exploration Work Readiness Six-Week Intensive Course starts on February 3, 2020. The sixth week of career exploration, recently added as a result of student feedback, will center on Youth Entrepreneurship.
  • Kids and Teens on Campus will be offering a four-week Sensory STEAM Camp for youth in the community with autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Each week the camp features various skill-building activities, such as coding, Lego bricks, and engineering. This camp will be taught by a local certified Special Education teacher who specializes in working with kids on the spectrum.  The OCC Foundation has supported the investment in supplies for this specialized Kids Camp offering.
  • Registration for all Continuing and Professional Education camps begins on February 27, 2020.

The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts

The Grunin Center has exciting shows scheduled for this winter:

  • National Geographic Live: View From Above – Thursday, February 6, 2020, at 7:00 p.m.
  • DinoLight – Sunday, February 9, 2020, at 1:00 p.m. and 4:00 p.m.
  • Mandy Harvey – Friday, February 21, 2020, at 8:00 p.m.
  • Afternoon Recital Series: Everette Jones – Friday, February 28, 2020, at 2:00 p.m.


In accordance with New Jersey Public Law 2015, Chapter 220, and College Policy #2332, Reporting of On-Campus Criminal and Fire Events, attached is the monthly statistics report of crimes, fires, and other emergencies on campus for the reporting period December 26, 2019, through January 16, 2020.

Student Affairs

Vice President of Student Affairs Jerry Racioppi, Director of Admissions A.J. Trump, Director of Enrollment Services Sheenah Hartigan, and Director of Financial Affairs Yessika Garcia-Guzman presented at the Middle States Commission on Higher Education Conference in Philadelphia on December 11, 2019.  Their PowerPoint presentation was entitled, “Effective, Proactive, and Intrusive Approaches to New Student Recruitment.”


Transfer Events

Ms. Jennifer Kipp, Transfer and Career Services Counselor, administered the proactive advising protocol to all new NJ STARS students this Fall.  In addition, Ms. Kipp attended pre-nursing information sessions to answer questions that NJ STARS students had regarding the best way to utilize the NJ STARS scholarship while working towards the Nursing program.

The NJ STARS Club participated in several fundraising and community service activities, including a Beach Clean Up and assistance at both the Veteran’s Ruck Walk and the Student Support Services Winter Wonderland.

Southern Education Center

  • The SEC students, under the leadership of Katie Grofik, Student Services and Operations Coordinator, proudly wrote over 500 holiday cards that were delivered to the two Veterans Administration Hospitals in New Jersey. Dr. Sarah Campbell’s Student Success Seminar class raised over $1,500 for Pets for Vets; and, as in past years, students collected toys for a local charity.
  • The student body continues to provide insight for improvement at the Southern Education Center campus, which is valuable in planning for upcoming semesters. One suggestion was to add classes that offer a variety of electives and extend learning towards degree completion.  To meet this request, the SEC will offer seven classes not offered in prior semesters.  Also, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Office will host Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) training at the SEC this Spring.

Financial Aid

  • During the second phase of the College Pathways program, which started in October, the Financial Aid Department staff conducted financial aid literacy presentations to high school seniors during the day and Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) workshops for parents and students at night. The department completed 81 financial aid literacy presentations.  Additionally, 373 families from these high schools received assistance in the completion of the FAFSA and the New Jersey Alternative Financial Aid Application.
  • The Opening Pathways to Education Now (OPEN) program is in its eleventh year holding sessions on our main campus to assist with the completion of FAFSA paperwork and discuss the basic concepts of financial aid. OCC completed its Fall 2019 OPEN series in December after serving over 112 students, parents, and guardians.

Student Support Services Program

In December 2019, the Student Support Services (SSS) program submitted its Annual Performance Report (APR) for 2018-2019 to the New Jersey Department of Education.  The SSS program exceeded the project’s approved objectives in all criteria, earning 15 out of 15 prior experience points in the areas of Funded Number of Students, Persistence, Good Academic Standing, Associate Degree or Certificate Attained, and Associate Degree or Certificate and Transfer to a Four-Year Institution.  Of the 142 students served, 102 (72%) were first-generation and low-income college students and/or students with disabilities who are also low-income.

Appreciation is expressed to the SSS team for outstanding program results:

    • Helen Konz, Project Specialist
    • Alexis Lopez, SSS Technician
    • Barbara McCormack, Academic Coach
    • Megan Miskin, Director
    • Six SSS Tutors

The SSS team is currently finalizing a proposal for submission to the New Jersey Department of Education to renew this grant for 2020-2025.  Assisting with the proposal are Ms. Kayci Clayton, Grants Manager; Mr. Joe Rua, Institutional Research Analyst; Mr. Keith Bunn, Student Services Information Systems Administrator; and members of the Ellucian team.

The SSS program assists and encourages first-generation college students, low-income college students, and college students with disabilities through the completion of a credential, while operating in a holistic, inclusive, and collaborative environment.  It immerses students in a challenging and engaging college experience and emboldens them to be self-driven, discover their own barriers, seek out solutions, and develop a positive mindset in their journey toward success.

Counseling Center

  • In collaboration with the Planetarium, a Meditation under the Stars was held in December 2019 for more than 50 attendees. Feedback has been very positive; another session is planned during the Spring 2020 semester.
  • The new intervention program for students who are academically at-risk, Restore Your Score (RYS), was implemented. A pilot program was developed in collaboration with Institutional Research, and 128 students were randomly assigned to a control group or an intervention group.  The 60 students in the intervention group were enrolled in the program through a Canvas course.  Nearly one-third of these students responded to the communications, and 12 students met with the RYS counselor at least one time during the semester.  Of the 12 students who attended individual appointments with the RYS counselor, 5 returned to satisfactory academic standing (GPA 2.0 or greater), 8 students have a higher cumulative GPA compared to their GPA at the beginning of the Fall semester, and 5 students have registered for the Spring 2020 semester.
  • An external mental health services provider will be identified to be on campus for students who need more intensive services or who require more appointments than the number of sessions provided by the OCC Counseling Center.
  • From July 1 through December 30, 2019, 157 CARE reports were filed. Most reports concerned student behavior, including disturbing writing, changes in behavior, troubling disclosures by students, excessive absences from class, missing assignments, failing to respond to professor communications or conduct issues.  Counselors responded to the majority of these reports.

Center for Student Success

  • Linda Verheyen, Academic Administrative Assistant, completed twenty hours of training to receive Ocean County Community Response Team Certification. The training was held n campus and was a collaborative effort among the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management, OCC Disability Services, and Campus Security and Safety.
  • Gina Zippo-Mazur co-authored an article, “Evaluating the User Experience of Patrons with Disabilities at a Community College Library,” which is published in Library Trends.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

  • e-Learning and Learning Enterprises anticipates an exciting Spring semester as it makes the professional development of online faculty a top priority. Through a series of webinars on student retention, adjunct promotion criteria, and academic integrity, the team aims to improve student success and increase engagement among instructors.  The instructors will be trained on how to maximize Dropout Detective, the online retention software.  With assistance from College Relations, e-Learning is also creating a LinkedIn group for OCC’s online learners so students can network and feel connected to the College community.  Additionally, e-Learning is expanding its pilot of Examity, proctoring software, from 17 to 56 sections this Spring to ensure academic integrity in online courses.
  • The Instructional Design and Technology Team reports that 22 course developments have been started for Fall 2020; four courses have full OER texts. An additional 11 courses are quickly approaching the Summer 2020 development due date.
  • Thirty-seven students in Cohort four of the existing OCC/Ain Shams/Kean partnership have completed their first semester and are ready to enroll for the Spring 2020 semester. The e-Learning team is working with Alexandria University to replicate the OCC/Ain Shams/Kean Business programs this Spring.

Dr. Maysa Hayward, Associate Vice President of e-Learning, Academics, and Dr. Howaida Wahby Eraky, e-Learning College Lecturer II, are traveling to Egypt in the next two weeks to deliver training workshops for both Alexandria University and Ain Shams University students and faculty.

  • OCC will be offering the American community college curriculum in the form of Special Programs within the Governmental Universities using a 2+1+1 model with an American senior institution similar to the OCC/Ain Shams/Kean program. Twenty degree programs, listed below, have been identified to be offered as Special programs in Egypt.
Program/Certificate OCC Degree or Certificate 
Game Design and Development A.S. in Computer Science, Option in Game Development and Design
Computer Science – Information Technology and Cloud Computing A.A.S. in Computer Science, Information Technology Option; and Certificate of Completion in Cloud Computing
Computer Science – Cybersecurity Option A.S. in Computer Science, Cyber Information Security Option
Software Development and Information Management A.S. in Computer Science, Software Development; and Certificate of Completion in Data Management.
Hotel Recreation Tourism Management A.S. in Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management
Digital Mass Media – Journalism A.A. in Digital Mass Media, Journalism Option
Digital Web Marketing A.A.S. in Web Marketing
Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination A.S. in Accounting; and Fraud Examiner Certificate of Completion.
Digital Multimedia Technology A.S. in Computer Science
Artificial Intelligence A.S. in Computer Science
Data Science Analytics A.S. in Business Administration
A.A.S. in Computer Science, Data Management Concentration
Graphic Arts, Design, and Media A.S. in Graphic Arts, Design, and Media
Financial Technology (Fin-Tech) A.S. in Business Administration
Business – Marketing A.S. in Business Administration
Business – Human Resources A.S. in Business Administration
Accounting A.S. in Business Administration
Management A.S. in Business Administration
Sports Management A.S. in Business Administration
Health-Science Administration A.S. in Business Administration
Health Studies ( suggested by WPU)  A.S. in Health and Human Performance
  • Memoranda of Understanding have been signed with Kean University and New Jersey City University to participate in the Special Programs project in Egypt. A third agreement with William Paterson University is currently under review.  It is anticipated that the Special Programs will begin in Fall 2020 in partnership with four Egyptian Host Universities, Ain Shams University, Helwan University, Alexandria University, and Beni Suif University.
  • An inaugural operational plan is currently being finalized with Lviv Polytechnic National University in Ukraine for a 2+2 degree program in Business Administration. On January 13, 2020, Marshal Botkin, who is assisting with the Ukraine partnership, accompanied a group of students from St. Petersburg State University, Russia, to visit OCC to learn about the College and the American community college system.
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