skip to main content
Search Button


April 6, 2020

Dr. Larson’s April 7, 2020 Report to the OCC Board of Trustees

OCC_President Dr. Larson

Phi Theta Kappa Middle States Convention

The Phi Theta Kappa Middle States Region planned to host a Convention on the weekend of March 13 to 15, 2020.  However, because of the current COVID-19 situation, the Convention was changed to a virtual Convention held online on Saturday, March 28, 2020.  Dr. William Rickert, Phi Theta Kappa Advisor and Professor of Mathematics, participated in the event with many members of OCC’s Tau Iota Chapter, along with members of the other 80 chapters in the Middle States Region.

Tau Iota received significant recognition at the Convention:

  • George Malgeri was inducted into the Chapter Member Hall of Honor.
  • George Malgeri was named the Most Distinguished Chapter Member in the Middle States Region.
  • Jess Pabon and Emily Gioberti were inducted into the Chapter Officer Hall of Honor.
  • Emily Gioberti was one of five officers to be named a Distinguished Chapter Officer for the Middle States Region.
  • The Tau Iota Officer Team received Honorable Mention as a Distinguished Chapter Officer Team.
  • Tau Iota was one of fifteen chapters to receive the Honors in Action Award.
  • Tau Iota was one of five chapters to receive the Honors in Action Theme 1 Award for the theme Networks of Life.
  • Tau Iota was one of fifteen chapters to receive the Distinguished Chapter Award.
  • Emily Josephson, the President of Tau Iota, is a Gold Scholar on the 2020 All-USA Coca-Cola Academic Team.
  • Finally, earlier in the week, it was announced on social media by the Middle States Region that Tau Iota is recognized as a Gold Chapter, a Reach Chapter, and a Five-Star Chapter.

We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of OCC’s Tau Iota Chapter and its members.  Sincere appreciation is expressed to PTK Advisors, Dr. William Rickert, Assistant Dean of STEM Carolyn Showalter, Professor of English Jennifer Dellner, and Adjunct Assistant Professor David Rickert.  As Dr. Rickert shared with me, it is refreshing to give you this positive news during this difficult period of separation.

OCC Operations in Response to COVID-19 Public Health Emergency

The next portion of my report is devoted to the impressive and praiseworthy response by the College community to the unprecedented COVID-19 public health emergency.  Under the leadership of Executive Vice President Sara Winchester and Vice Presidents Eileen Garcia, Joseph Konopka, and Jerry Racioppi and their respective staffs, Ocean County College has moved efficiently and effectively to a virtual environment that is continuing to serve both its students and employees with excellence.

Below is a summary of the many actions taken:

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

The e-Learning team began preparations for a potential college closure two weeks prior to the date of the actual closure.  A CANVAS training site was created for all face-to-face faculty.  Content was “chunked,” or separated into small sections, to make learning easier, and short videos were created to support the training.  Working with the Academic School deans, a plan was developed to designate three to six Canvas Super User Lecturers in each School to be the first team to assist face-to-face faculty (Level 1 support).  An e-Learning designer was assigned to each School to work directly with the Super Users if additional support was needed (Level 2 support).  Lastly, three individuals (faculty trainer, designer, and LMS administrator) were ready to assist if Super Users and their assigned designers could not solve a problem (Level 3 support).  The e-Learning designing team is tracking the number of cases being assisted.

Prior to the closure, a communications schedule was developed to keep the unit on track. Vice President of e-Learning and Learning Enterprises, Dr. Eileen Garcia, is meeting with her leadership team, consisting of Instructional Designer Melissa Bova, Dean of e-Learning Vivian Lynn, and Associate Vice Presidents of International Programs Hatem Akl and Maysa Hayward, on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays using Skype for Business.  These meetings, called “Rapid Fire” by Dr. Garcia, are designed to be thirty minutes long at the end of the day.  Each team member reports on the work being done in their areas so all are aware of the overall efforts of e-Learning.

Dr. Garcia also has longer, recurring meetings with the International subunit since preparations are underway for the expansion of Special Programs to be offered to additional universities in Egypt.  If, at any time during the day, there is a “fire” to put out, a virtual meeting is established to address and solve the problem.  Also being utilized are Skype for texting as well as Google docs and One Drive for document collaboration.

Finance and Administration

The Finance and Administration Division has responded to the COVID 19 pandemic in the following ways:

  • The Office of Information Technology is overseeing the distribution of college-owned Chromebooks to students who have indicated they do not have access to computers. The number of students is not yet determined, but a recent survey indicates student needs will be able to be met.
  • Security Officers continue to cover the campus twenty-four hours a day, seven days per week.  John Lopez, Director of Security, and with Mr. Matthew Kennedy, Associate Vice President of Facilities, have been working with Ocean County to set up a COVID-19 testing site on the OCC campus.  The site began operation on Monday, March 30, 2020.
  • From the start of the COVID-19 outbreak, Facilities staff have been carefully overseeing the work of the outsourced custodial services team and are ensuring that effective disinfectants were put into use and cleaning protocols expanded and updated to respond to the crisis. Essential staff are on rotating shifts to ensure that the campus remains operational and critical functions continue.
  • Payroll staff are considered essential and have been going into the office to process payroll. Going forward, as many functions as possible will be done remotely, but it will still be necessary for some staff members to go to the office to complete the payroll process every pay period.  The College is very fortunate to have staff members dedicated to ensuring that this critical function continues during the pandemic.
  • Finance staff are rotating their presence in the office to deposit and post student payments that are received in the mail. It is also necessary for staff to be in the office to process student refund checks.  Many functions, such as billing and collections, are continuing remotely.  Late fees will not be charged to students who are unable to make payments on time due to the pandemic.
  • Under the leadership of Chief Information Officer James Ross, the OIT Department has supported the College’s wholesale migration to online instruction and remote business processes. The IT team has worked tirelessly, both on campus and remotely, to ensure that the College continues to operate and serve students during the crisis. It is impossible to list the number and variety of tasks handled by the IT team, and the list grows every day.  IT has overseen the distribution of College laptops to staff as well as is ensuring that everyone has access to the software and systems needed to continue operations.  The Help Desk remains operational and has been handling a massive increase in call volume related to a myriad of issues.  We are extremely proud of the accomplishments of the IT team and grateful to each staff member who has contributed to the outstanding work that has taken place to date and that will continue into the future.
  • Continuing and Professional Education training programs have been adapted and moved to distance learning, thanks to dedicated instructors and staff. Many CPE processes and procedures have been revised to better serve students during this difficult time.

CPE continues to engage remotely with the community by participating in an assortment of professional development webinars, virtual meetings, and Affinity Group discussions resulting in community college responses, navigation of common obstacles, and sharing of best practices.

CPE Business Engagement is working feverishly to develop online and hybrid NJBIA-approved professional development for local employers and their workforce, as many industries are experiencing an unprecedented pause in services, remote work surges, and widespread workforce fluctuations.

All CPE events have been postponed through June, including the Ocean County Achievement Center Graduation.

  • Over the past two weeks, in response to COVID-19, the following adjustments were made to the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts schedule:
    • All shows between March 14 and May 26, 2020, have been rescheduled or cancelled.
    • Ticketed patrons were contacted via phone, email, and social media.
    • Schools were contacted to reschedule student trips.
    • Birthday parties and wedding events scheduled in April and May were cancelled.
    • A mobile box office was created to handle patron orders.
    • Working with Purchasing, payments for upcoming events were cancelled or rescheduled.
    • The marketing strategy was moved from specific shows to general Grunin Center/Novins Planetarium offerings.
    • New online arts/planetarium programs were developed to connect with local schools.
    • All staff are attending webinars focusing on their areas of specialty.
    • Weekly discussions are taking place with other Performing Arts venues in New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Pennsylvania.
    • Weekly Zoom calls are underway with Arts Ed Now New Jersey Steering committee.
    • Virtual adjudication was completed for Visual Arts, Literary Arts, and Film Making for the Teen Arts Festival.
    • New engagements are being explored with community partners for the performing part of the Teen Arts Festival.
    • Discussions are ongoing with funders to identify new revenue resources for economic sustainability.

Many patrons have been very understanding about necessary changes and are looking forward to returning for shows.

  • In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the OCC Foundation has updated all forms, including the SERF (Student Emergency Relief Fund) application to be available online. All scholarship applications for Fall 2020 and graduation awards for this current semester remain open and will be awarded as anticipated.

The Foundation assisted the College in donating all perishable food items to the B.E.A.T. Center of Toms River, an affiliate of Fulfill, as requested by Executive Vice President Sara Winchester, and is ready to distribute any/all frozen or non-perishable food items.  Additionally, the OCC Foundation was the beneficiary of the 100 bouquet give-away, raising over $500 in 30 minutes to benefit the Student Emergency Relief Fund on Saturday, March 21, 2020, at Narcissus Florals of Toms River.  The Foundation has also secured an additional $2,000 in ShopRite gift cards, already distributed to Student Life for students who express food insecurity.

The Foundation team has taken part in numerous peer-to-peer calls and webinars, including Community College Affinity Group calls, as it continues to hone its ability to work through this current challenge together.  The Foundation team and the Investment Committee also continue to navigate the portfolio of endowments through uncertain times to ensure long-term sustainability and fiduciary responsibility.

All Foundation events have been postponed through June 2020, and the Annual Scholarship Celebration has been rescheduled for August 7, 2020.

  • Human Resources continues to field employee and manager questions and concerns regarding COVID-19 and other matters.

Designated staff are reviewing new leave legislation to determine OCC’s employer obligations and comply as appropriate.

Preparation for a Personnel Agenda for the April 7, 2020, Board of Trustees meeting/retreat is underway.  While much hiring will be slowed or suspended, the College is proceeding on hiring and/or personnel actions as necessary.

The Department continues to function fully with recruiting, hiring, new hire orientations (remotely), employee relations, training, benefits enrollments, and issues resolutions.  Ms. Lisa Gruber, Assistant Director of Employee Pensions, has been going to the office several times a week to handle incoming faxes, review the mail, and disseminate documents as necessary.  Additionally, various projects are being assigned and completed by HR personnel.

A health-reporting email/telephone number is in service.  To date, several reports have been received through this venue; no positive COVID-19 cases have been reported yet for employees or students.

Annual Mandatory Compliance Training will begin in the very near future; working from home will be a great opportunity for employees to participate in and complete this important training.

Academic Affairs

School of Nursing and Health Sciences

Personal Protective Equipment was collected and provided to the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management (OEM) to support the COVID-19 emergency.  Ms. MaryAnn Kaufmann, MSN, RN, and Skills, Simulation, and Student Retention Specialist, who manages the student labs, assisted Dr. Tracy Walsh, Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences, to collect 750 masks, 100 gowns, and 2,000 gloves for OEM.  The School of Nursing has also notified the State of New Jersey of the availability of two ventilators and one BiPAP machine that may prove useful during the COVID-19 emergency, as required by Governor Phil Murphy’s Executive Order 109.

The Student Nursing Organization hosted a Blood Drive in collaboration with Robert Wood Johnson/Barnabas Health (RWJ/BH) on March 11, 2020.  There were 54 units of whole blood and 36 units of plasma collected.  Per RWJ/BH, the results were amazing since many blood drives were cancelled due to COVID-19.

School of Business and Social Sciences

The School of Business and Social Sciences recognizes the need to continue with the business of effectively teaching students through remote access, as well as the importance of staying connected in a time of social distancing.   Toward that end, the School divided all of its instructors into 14 content-related groups and held a separate WebEx meeting for each of them.  Based on conversations with attendees, it was ascertained who had a clear plan for finishing the semester and who needed assistance in moving to remote instruction.  Those needing guidance were assigned either a College Lecturer II content expert mentor/coach and/or a Canvas power user, depending on their individual needs.  Those not attending the remote meetings were requested to send a written plan for handling this transition.  Instructor activity in Canvas was also monitored, and mentor/coaches have already been reporting progress.  A secondary, yet vital, function of these meetings was social; attendees were happy to “see” each other and exchanged contact information to stay in touch.  The School recognizes and applauds all of those on the front lines working on its behalf during this pandemic.

School of Arts and Humanities

The School of Arts and Humanities has worked as a team to share resources and support each other and students during this time.  Of particular note is the ingenuity and dedication of those professors and lecturers who teach applied/hands-on courses. The dance instructor, ceramics instructors, music instructors, theatre instructors, public speaking instructors, video broadcast instructors, and American Sign Language instructors, to name a few, have revamped courses to find creative ways to interact with students and teach interactive lessons from afar.  Also of note, Assistant Dean Veronica Guevara-Lovgren led the charge in the School to provide Chromebooks for students without computer access, with the assistance of Student Affairs and IT.

School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

Despite the closure of OCC and the surrounding high schools, Dr. Mary-Ellen Rada, Director of the 2020 Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium (JSJSS), and her team were able to successfully complete the JSJSS competition as the presentations and judging were all done remotely.  In addition, the students submitted their posters along with short videos to describe them.  Transitioning all this in an almost impossible time frame was nothing short of genius, allowing our remote winners to participate in the now remote national competition.

The power users, the School’s STEM Canvas Team, have done an exemplary job in transitioning STEM faculty from face-to-face learning to remote learning.  The work accomplished during the Spring break was outstanding.  A PowerPoint presentation was created that includes links for faculty and students to access, providing them a plethora of resources, places to chat online, and other helpful items, which, hopefully, kept students from feeling isolated.

The faculty, lecturers, and adjuncts have displayed humanity in its truest form.  No complaints were heard about adjusting in an extremely short period of time, and they assisted each other in transitioning to live video classes and working through online assessments.

Student Affairs

The Division of Student Affairs has engaged in a number of new activities, as staff work to adjust to “the new normal” to advise and register students for classes.  All staff members are working hard to help students continue to engage with one another virtually and provide support when needed.  In addition, many of the leaders within Student Affairs are working in concert with staff from Academic Affairs and Information Technology (IT) to move forward with the implementation of a new retention and early alert system called Advise.

  • To assist students who needed additional technology, the HUB partnered with IT to identify students who had Internet connections at home but no computer to access OCC’s systems. The HUB staff, in collaboration with Campus Security and IT, invited many students to campus (at specific times) to loan Chromebooks to them.
  • Fall semester registration begins April 7, 2020. Staff from multiple Student Affairs offices, including Advising, Admissions, Records and Registration, and the HUB, will interact with students via web forms, email, phone calls, and texting to provide the requisite support in the selection of courses and to assist them with registration.  The approach will vary depending on a student’s familiarity with College computer systems.
  • Next week, the Transfer Coordinator will deliver OCC’s first virtual transfer advising session. In addition, the Advising staff are working to complete 700 graduation audits for students who potentially could graduate in the near future.  When audits are completed, the advisors are reaching out to the students to advise them of the courses that are still needed and provide encouragement to complete them.
  • The Financial Aid Office staff has adjusted smoothly to the transition to remote operations and continues to be up-to-date in the processing of student aid applications and paperwork. They are using Microsoft Teams software to communicate with the HUB on a minute-by-minute basis to serve students effectively.
  • Tutoring has shifted to online delivery, managed through a single point of contact online, with staff monitoring activity and distributing the work to tutoring personnel as it comes in. This rapid shift in delivery was accomplished in partnership with staff from Academic Affairs and Student Affairs.
  • All sections of the Student Success course (STSC) have been migrated to the online version of the class, and teaching and learning continues.
  • Student Life has been leveraging several features within the OCC app to communicate with students directly. Direct messaging is focused on encouraging students to persist and succeed and is emphasizing that Student Services is able to provide the support they need.  Recently, Student Life launched a new service called Virtual Engagement and is utilizing it to create engagement opportunities while students finish out the semester remotely.  Clubs, such as the Student Government Association, are hosting meetings online to provide opportunities for students to connect.  Students who are facing food insecurity continue to be supported through Helping Hands with the Student Life-coordinated distribution of ShopRite gift cards, purchased by the OCC Foundation.
  • Career Services has continued serving students through remote operation, and the volume of appointments remained consistent with the pre-remote pace. Services provided include Career Counseling; Online Career Assessments and Review; Resume, Cover Letter, and LinkedIn Profile Writing; and Internship and Employment Opportunity Searches.
  • The Counseling Center staff have conducted check-ins with students with whom they had been working prior to Spring break and are reaching out to new referrals via telephone. Counselors are providing information and resources to students through the Canvas Mental Health course and the academic intervention Restore Your Score Canvas course.  Next week, the staff of the Counseling Center will resume the Relax and Recharge sessions via the Mental Health Canvas course, live.
  • The staff of the Veterans and Military Resource Center (VMRC) has been communicating with students and helping them adjust. A number of students are Reservists who have been activated for service; VMRC staff are assisting them in making good decisions and are working with faculty to ensure that the academic impact of the activation is minimal.
  • The Spring athletic season had barely begun before current events dictated the cancellation of all outdoor games. The Baseball team played four games; Men’s Lacrosse, two; and Women’s Lacrosse took the field for their inaugural game before having to wrap up.  Softball, Golf, and Men’s Tennis had yet to compete. Thanks to being able to play from home, OCC’s new E-sports team is still in action, battling colleges from across the country in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate every Thursday night.  The National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) has announced that all of the student-athletes who lost their spring seasons will have this year’s eligibility returned to them.  Hopefully, student-athletes who aren’t graduating this Spring will return to our fields, courts, and fairway for a fresh start.

The information above is a snapshot of how Student Affairs has adjusted to remote operations; all 18 departments are working together to serve students and help them through this time.

Ongoing Activities

Academic Affairs

School of Nursing and Health Sciences

  • OCC’s 2019 final nursing licensure passing rate was 97.62%; 126 graduates from Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 sat for the examination. The national passing rate for all ADN programs was 85.17%.  The national passing rate for all nursing programs was 88.18%.
  • The Nursing Advisory Council met on March 4, 2020. Council members included representatives from various clinical facilities, current students, alumni, and faculty, who shared practice issues, job availability, and clinical experiences within the clinical facilities.  Program outcomes, including licensure examination passing rates, completion, and job placement rates, as well as graduate satisfaction data, were reviewed and discussed during the meeting.  Clinical facilities continue to indicate positive experiences with students completing clinical rotations and new graduates hired within their facilities.
  • OCC Nursing III students and faculty attended the New Jersey Nursing Student Convention in Atlantic City on February 27, 2020. Seventy students had the opportunity to network with their peers from throughout the state and meet with potential employers.  Educational sessions were provided throughout the day related to preparing the student for professional practice.
  • On February 13, 2020, Elizabeth Stevenson, PhD, MSN, RN, Assistant Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences, participated in the Phi Beta Lambda professional panel discussion for students. Panel members discussed their professional careers and the processes that guided them to their current positions.
  • During February, the Student Nurses Organization (SNO) collaborated with Lisa Ryan APN, Nurse Practitioner from the RWJ/Barnabas Health and Wellness Center, to celebrate healthy heart month. Members of SNO provided information to students and staff on diet, exercise, and stress reduction to promote a healthy lifestyle.  This was done under the guidance of SNO faculty advisors Mary Sue Gill, MSN, RN; Barbara Hayles, MSN, RN; and Maryann Kaufmann, MSN, RN.
  • On February 27, 2020, several School members attended a presentation by Kate Gillespie, MBA, RN, NE-BC, and President of the New Jersey State Nurses’ Association (NJSNA), at the New Jersey Nursing Students Convention. The presentation, titled “The Role of the Nurse in Political Action, Advocacy, and Legislation,” discussed the importance of nurses and student nurses becoming involved in their professional organizations and legislative issues.  In attendance were Erin Vitale, MSN, RN, Nursing Lecturer II; Mary Sue Gill, MSN, RN, Nursing Lecturer II; Maryann Kaufmann, MSN, RN, Skills, Simulation, and Student Retention Specialist; Elizabeth Stevenson, PhD, MSN, RN, Assistant Dean of Nursing; and Teresa Walsh, PhD, MSN, RN-BC, Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences.  
  • Assistant Dean Elizabeth Stevenson was the keynote speaker at the RWJ Barnabas Health Community Medical Center Nurse Residency Program Graduation on February 26, 2020. Shane Barrett, RN, a Fall 2018 graduate of the OCC School of Nursing, was the Nurse Residency Speaker at the graduation.

The Residency Program offers new graduates a year-long orientation to assist them to transition into professional practice.  Application to the Residency Program is highly competitive.  Six of the twelve graduates in the program were students who completed the OCC Nursing Program.

School of Business and Social Sciences

  • On February 12, 2020, eight students from the OCC Hospitality Club traveled with Mr. Sean Bips, College Lecturer II, Hospitality, Recreation and Tourism Management, to Harrah’s Resort and Casino in Atlantic City for a full-site tour of the property and participated in on-the-spot job interviews. Students were provided with a guided tour of the meeting and banquet space, the kitchen and culinary department, and several luxury hotel suite accommodations. One student within the program, Dillion Simeon, was hired and will be starting as a front desk coordinator this summer.
  • On March 11, 2020, Mr. Ryan Edwards, Partnership Specialist from the New Jersey Field Division of the United States Census Bureau, conducted an information session for students about the importance of participating in the 2020 census, as well as provided a detailed overview of the critical elements collected from census statistics. The session was organized by Mr. Jason Ghibesi, College Lecturer II, Political Science and History.

School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

  • Maria Steblyanko, College Lecturer II in Chemistry and advisor to the Chess Club, hosted a trip on Saturday, February 29, 2020, to an Escape Room to promote team spirit and strategic thinking. A chess conference, “Fifty Years of Chess in Ocean County,” organized by the Toms River Chess Club with OCC’s Chess Club, is tentatively scheduled for April 18, 2020.
  • Co-advisors of the Math Club, Assistant Professor of Mathematics Kaaren Finberg and Mathematics College Lecturers Julia Kim and Vandana Saini, in collaboration with Student Government, held Pi Day on March 11, 2020. In addition, plans are underway for a Lecture Series with Phi Theta Kappa for Mathematics Awareness Month in April.  More information will follow as it becomes available.
  • The Victory Garden, sponsored by the School of STEM and located at the VFW on Church Road in Toms River, will be underway again soon. Also, the hydroponic high school research projects are reaching beyond the Toms River high schools and will also be involving Jackson and Brick high schools later in the year.  A grow tent was assembled in the Science Building by the Toms River students in preparation for their own assembly at their school.  This project will be ongoing for the foreseeable future.
  • Several certificate programs are under development:
    • A Sustainability Certificate Program is projected to be completed in early summer.
    • A Sustainability Management Certificate is being developed in partnership with the School of Business and Social Sciences.
    • Computer Science is working to complete a Cyber Security Certificate.

Additionally, two new courses, Introduction to Python Programming and Introduction to Cybersecurity, will be offered for the first time this summer.

  • As part of Engineering Week activities at OCC and through a generous donation from the Outreach Lecturing Fund grant, Dr. Divyaprya Govindaraj, visiting Fulbright scholar, lectured on “Applications of Nanomaterials to Remove Emerging Pollutants in Water” on Thursday, February 20, 2020.

School of Arts and Humanities

  • College Lecturer II in Communications and Theatre Paul Chalakani and the OCC Repertory Theatre Company presented Lovers in the Black Box Theatre from March 6 to 8 and 12 to 15, 2020. Lovers is a play in two parts written by Brian Friel.
  • At the School meeting on March 3, 2020, College Lecturer II in English Jason Molloy presented an Improv activity, during which he asked faculty to write down examples of problems they face in the classroom. Then, Mr. Malloy and Mr. Paul Chalakani acted out those scenarios in skit form.
  • On March 5, 2020, College Lecturer II of English and Literature Madison Peschock hosted an Adjunct Roundtable Meeting, at which College Lecturer II of English Heather Sciarappa and Assistant Director of the Writing Center Brianna DiCicco presented strategies for teaching English I.
  • Humanities and Fine Arts Adjunct Professor Kyle Banner presented at the Adjunct WebEx meeting on “Student-Driven Direct Instruction” in February, which was hosted by College Lecturer II Heather Sciarappa.
  • College Lecturer II of Philosophy and History Christopher Ruth attended the American Philosophical Association Conference in Chicago as chair of a panel session.
  • Assistant Dean Veronica Guevara-Lovgren attended the ESL Pathways Meeting at Middlesex County College on February 7, 2020.

Finance and Administration

  • The Bookstore Committee has reviewed the proposals submitted by vendors, and information gathering and follow-up work has been taking place over the last few weeks. A recommendation for award will be included on the April 7, 2020, agenda for the Board’s consideration.   The committee has concluded that this recommendation is in the best interest of the students and will significantly reduce the cost of attending OCC.

College Relations

The College Relations Department has relaunched its math and science digital ad campaign to attract visiting students from across the U.S. to OCC’s online summer offerings.  From March to August 2020, ads will be placed on Google, Facebook, and Instagram.  These ads will encourage students to bundle their 100- and 200-level math and sciences courses over consecutive quick terms to save on tuition and take one step closer to an early graduation.  A sample of the Instagram ad can be found below.

In order to increase the enrollment numbers for summer and potentially fall, College Relations has redirected its online advertising efforts to highlight e-learning opportunities.  Prospective students searching Google and frequenting Facebook and Instagram will be able to gain more information about OCC’s online offerings and enroll in the upcoming summer sessions.

Reggie, OCC’s web bot, was launched to provide student support and reply to student questions 24 hours per day, 7 days per week.  Also, a landing page has been created for remote student services, (, which provides students with contact information for each Student Services office.

In collaboration with Academic Advising, the development of an online advising process has begun; please see the form.  Efforts will continue with the Admissions team to develop a similar online registration process for new students beginning their education during the Summer sessions and Fall 2020 semester.

TV Studio

The TV studio is adding additional Ocean County PSAs regarding the 2020 Census to Ocean TV20 and to OCC’s website and social media outlets.

Working with Student Life, Digital Mass Media students have completed five half-hour shows now airing on Ocean TV20 and Fios channel 24.  The project, entitled, “Slice of Student Life,” is also available for viewing on Student Life’s social media page.

As you know, Ocean County College has been named Best for Vets by Military Times for 2020.  To showcase that honor, the TV Studio collaborated with the Veterans Center to produce the “Best for Vets” video.  The video highlights the financial benefits and services available to vets at the College and the grand opening of the OCC Veterans and Military Resource Center.


The OCC Local Alumni Network held its second event on March 10, 2020, at BJ’s Restaurant and Brewhouse to connect and engage alumni in the Ocean/Monmouth county area with one another and the College.  More events will be hosted in the future in partnership with the Greater Toms River Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals group and the Community Medical Center Emerging Leaders Council for an even broader reach.

In alignment with efforts of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, Ocean Views will add a section, Hometown Heroes, which will feature individuals in the community who have gone above and beyond during this current crisis.  The magazine will also focus on the little things, small steps, the Alumni staff have contributed to help our students continue to be successful during the Spring semester.


Special attention is being given to additional research to identify Federal, State and private relief funding for which OCC would be eligible to support students, staff, and the community.

Continuing and Professional Education

The Ocean County Achievement Center will continue to offer at-risk youth programs, activities, and resources virtually for current program participants.  Programs include Career Exploration, Job Readiness Skills Development, and High School Diploma Prep.  Recently, 16 participants attended Career Day, exploring a variety of career pathways, including construction, business, criminal justice, social work, and veterinary science.  Appreciation is expressed to Dr. Henry Jackson, Executive Director of Academic Success, and Dr. Angel Camillo, College Lecturer II in Chemistry, for motivational presentations to the students.

Student Affairs



  • As of February 20, 2020, OCC had approximately 302 enrolled NJ STARS students: 17 Spring 2020 incoming, 163 returning Fall 2019, 11 Spring 2019 returning, 108 returning Fall 2018, and 3 returning Fall 2017 students.
  • Forty-three STARS students graduated in Fall 2019. Approximately 80 NJ STARS students are eligible to graduate in May 2020, and approximately 10 students can potentially graduate in August 2020.
  • Beginning in Fall 2019, all new NJ STARS students were assigned for advising to NJ STARS Coordinator Jennifer Kipp. A survey was sent to these students at the end of the semester to assess their satisfaction with their OCC advising experience, as well as their satisfaction with the decision to attend OCC as part of the NJ STARS

Of the approximately 200 students surveyed, 51 students, or 25%, responded.  All of 51 students indicated they were satisfied with their decision to attend OCC as NJ STARS students.

  • On Friday, March 13, 2020, the Advising and Transfer Services Office, in collaboration with the OCC School of Nursing and Health Services, Registration and Records, Academic Affairs, and Kean Ocean, hosted a Pre-Nursing Information session. The session was coordinated by Advisor Lauren Humphrey.
  • The following institutions hosted Instant Decision Days at OCC in February and March, during which representatives met with OCC students to provide admissions counseling and on-the-spot admissions decisions:
    • Wednesday, February 12, 2020 – Stockton University, 23 students
    • Wednesday, February 13, 2020 – Rutgers University, Newark School of Business, 1 student
    • Friday, February 14, 2020 – Rutgers University, New Brunswick, 17 students
    • Wednesday, February 19, 2020 – Seton Hall University, 2 students
    • Thursday, February 20, 2020 – Rowan University, 9 students
    • Friday, February 21, 2020 – NJIT, 18 students
    • Wednesday, February 26, 2020 – Kean Ocean, 6 students
    • Thursday, March 5, 2020 – Fairleigh Dickinson University, 6 students
    • Wednesday, March 11, 2020 – Kean Ocean, 9 students


  • Over the past month, Admissions has taken on multiple recruitment initiatives, including continued work on the formalized business partnership program, early college student recruitment initiatives, and high school registration events. Planning and promotion of the 2020 Spring Open House has continued with the hope that the College’s remote operations will not extend and impact the event.  If remote operations continue and schools and businesses remain closed, remote recruiting workshops, webinars, and events will be delivered utilizing technology that the College already owns.
  • During March, Admissions hosted and attended a number of on- and off campus events including:
    • RISE Program Group Visit – ten students and two chaperones visited the OCC campus and engaged in an OCC TV20 studio tour. These students also were provided a career/transferrable skills activity and a presentation from Admissions and Disabilities Services.
    • Admissions attended the Stockton Open House and promoted the Stockton Pathways partnership with many prospective students.
    • The entire Admissions team presented at the Ocean County and Monmouth County Director of Counseling Good Ideas Conference at Georgian Court University. The topic of the presentation was “The Undecided Student:  How Community Colleges Can Help.” Counselor feedback following the presentation was very positive.
    • Admissions collaborated with Continuing and Professional Education, Financial Aid, Disabilities Services, and Veterans Services to attend the first-ever Pinelands Regional High School College, Career, and Veterans Night. The event was well attended; OCC staff made a positive impact by reviewing the College’s varied offerings with many families and prospective students.
    • Admissions, in collaboration with Student Life and College Lecturer II Sean Bips, is developing workshops that include mobile labs to promote OCC’s Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management and other business programs at the high schools. A few collaborative presentations took place later in the month with good response.
    • A group of Donovan Catholic students, a Vice Principal, and a Counselor visited OCC for the showing of “Danu” at the Grunin Center. The group was treated to a campus tour, admissions presentation, and lunch by Admissions staff.  The positive relationships and collaboration between the Grunin Center and Admissions have assisted in creating many more opportunities to engage potential students.
    • The final NJ STARS Infosession of the academic year took place the evening of Thursday, March 12, 2020. Thirty families attended and were treated to presentations by Admissions and Kean Ocean.
    • There was a large increase in the number of campus tours this past month; at least 10-15 families requested personal tours.
  • Many other activities have been ongoing:
    • Ocean County Achievement Center – Presentation and Tour of OCC
    • How to Make College Affordable – Presentation at the Ocean County One-Stop Center
    • A Tabling Event at the Ocean County Mall Expo
    • Attendance at the Ocean County Juvenile Medium Security Facility Black History Month College Fair
    • Hosting the Ocean County Directors of Counseling Meeting
    • Ocean County School Counselors Executive Committee Meeting

Southern Education Center

SEC students continued to receive support services throughout March, including Title III Academic Coaching, Disability Services support, Career Counseling, research assistance, and transfer advising. Additionally, representatives from both Student Support Services and Educational Opportunity Fund Program were on site to educate students regarding opportunities in both programs.  Kean Ocean and Stockton University had Admissions representatives at the SEC to assist students with more detailed and specific transfer needs and instant decision opportunities. SEC-based students also had the chance to gain employment as representatives from Allies, Inc., and U.S. Census 2020 were offering jobs for interested and eligible students.  Finally, Microsoft had representatives on campus offering students tutorials on LinkedIn with the goal of better preparing students for future career openings.

The SEC Food Pantry was a key resource in providing students and local families with food assistance. Designed and supported by Ms. Katie Grofik, Student Services and Operations Coordinator, and Ms. Michele Marcum, Senior Student Services Technician, the pantry provides food items to students in need.  The recent weeks have seen a greater request for this assistance, and the SEC staff was prepared to assist.

During the week of March 9, 2020, students were provided a mid-term snack break courtesy of Student Life.

Finally, the staff is designing outreach correspondence to students to encourage earning credits during the Summer First-Five Week session at the SEC.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

Ms. Vivian Lynn, Dean of e-Learning, reports, from the academic side, that the School Deans have created a standardized process to review adjunct applications for promotion.  Eight adjuncts have submitted e-portfolios for consideration.

The Academic Team has trained Athletic Department personnel to use Dropout Detective, the student retention software, to monitor students’ progress in online courses.  Now that the process has been digitalized, online instructors are no longer required to complete each student report manually.  Starting April 2020, the online instructors will receive automated email notifications about their students’ progress.

e-Learning is working in collaboration with the Finance Department on a request for proposals (RFP) for another proctoring partner.  There have been an array of customer service issues with Examity that have impacted the overall online experience of students.  Also, faculty do not have immediate access to technical support, which has resulted in untimely delays.

e-Learning has four active search committees:  College Lecture II positions in math and science, an Instructional Designer, and an LMS specialist.  The searches should conclude by the end of April 2020.

e-Learning continues to work with the OCC Library and deans to create Open Educational Resources for traditional and online courses.

From the International side of e-Learning, the trip to Egypt from March 5 to 13, 2020, by Dr. Maysa Hayward, Dr. Sue Henderson, President of New Jersey City University (NJCU), and me was very productive.  During this visit, we met with many of our partners and higher education officials in Egypt and discussed two projects, the International Branch Campus Private University and the Special Programs in Governmental Universities.

For the first project, Dr. Henderson and I were presented with a new opportunity by Modern Educational Services (MES) to establish an International Branch Campus of OCC/NJCU in the new Egyptian Administrative Campus.  Dr. Hayward, Dr. Henderson, and I visited the MES campus site and explored the first building currently under construction.  MES would like to start operations in the Fall of 2020.  The estimated number of students in year one is 200, which will reach 1,000 students by year five.

The MES initiative was also discussed in a meeting with Dr. El Shenawy, Chair, Supreme Council of International Universities, who explained that Egypt has a great need for the participation of American Universities in branch campuses; in this initiative, NJCU will be the first to participate.  Students will be recruited from the Middle East, Africa, Europe, and the U.S.

MES is not the first company to approach OCC for a branch campus, as OCC and NJIT are already working with Tatweer Misr on establishing a private university based on the Egyptian International Branch Campus (IBC) law.  The plan for this project is to start classes in Fall of 2021.

Dr. Henderson and I also had meetings for the second project, Special Programs in Governmental Universities.  OCC will be offering several programs for 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.  OCC developed a portfolio of 22 programs to be offered as Special Programs, listed below.

Dr. Essam El Kordi, President of Alexandria University, is sponsoring OCC’s Special Programs proposal and, on behalf of OCC, submitted the Special Programs portfolio to the Supreme Council of Universities, while Dr. Mohamed Lotayef, Supreme Council Treasurer, sent OCC’s proposed Special Programs curricula to the specialized committees for review.  Dr. Henderson and I signed two MOUs for the Special Programs with Ain Shams University and Helwan University.

Efforts continue on recruiting qualified U.S. universities to partner with OCC in Egypt.  In March, a conference call took place with representatives from the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC) to explain the Special Program in Egypt.  The UMGC representatives were very interested and may join us in Egypt in some capacity.  Similar meetings and discussions are being pursued with Southern New Hampshire University and Penn State World Campus.

A list of the Special Programs:

Program/Certificate OCC Degree or Certificate
Health Studies A.S. in Health and Human Performance
Game Design and Development A.S. in Computer Science, Option in Game Development and Design
Software Development and Information Management A.S. in Computer Science, Software Development; and Certificate of Completion in Data Management.
Digital Multimedia Technology A.S. in Computer Science
Artificial Intelligence A.S. in Computer Science
Graphic Arts, Design, and Media A.S. in Graphic Arts, Design, and Media
Business – Professional Sales A.S. in Business Administration
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
Business – Marketing A.S. in Business Administration
Business – Human Resources A.S. in Business Administration
Accounting A.S. in Accounting
Management A.S. in Business Administration
Forensic Accounting and Fraud Examination A.S. in Accounting; and Fraud Examiner Certificate of Completion
Digital Mass Media – Journalism A.A. in Digital Mass Media, Journalism Option
Data Science Analytics A.S. in Business Administration

A.A.S. in Computer Science, Data Management Concentration

Sports Management A.S. in Business Administration
Entrepreneurship A.S. in Business Administration
Supply Chain A.S. in Business Administration
Hospitality Management A.S. in Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management
Finance A.S. in Business Administration
Digital Web Marketing A.A.S. in Web Marketing
Text Link