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NEWS & EVENTS

April 22, 2020

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

OCC_President Dr. Larson

TO: Members, OCC Board of Trustees

FROM: Jon H. Larson, Ph.D., President

SUBJECT: Items of Interest for the April 23, 2020, Board Meeting

DATE: April 20, 2020

Finance and Administration

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, CARES Act funding has been allocated to Ocean County College in the amount of $4,265,169.  Of that, $2,132,585 is earmarked for direct distribution to students.  This funding has been prioritized by the federal government in order to get money in the hands of students in need as quickly as possible.  These funds are to provide students with emergency financial grants to help cover expenses related to the coronavirus and offset lost wages/income.  The CARES Act provides institutions with significant discretion on how to award this emergency assistance to students.

OCC is currently developing its own system and process for determining the way in which to allocate these funds.  The only statutory requirement is that the funds be used to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the coronavirus, including eligible expenses under a student’s cost of attendance, such as food, housing, course materials, technology, health care, and child care.  The OCC application process is being designed to prioritize awards to students with the greatest need but, at the same time, to establish a maximum funding threshold for each student to ensure that these funds are distributed as widely as possible.

The College has one year to distribute the money to students.  Because this crisis will not be resolved quickly, the funding will be divided into three separate applications.  The first will cover students registered in the current Spring semester and upcoming Summer sessions; the second will be for Fall 2020; and the third, Spring 2021.  All students will be eligible for funding, including non-credit and high school students who are normally excluded from financial aid programs.  Executive Vice President Sara Winchester is moving quickly to have the application available to students as soon as possible and to begin awarding funds before the end of April 2020.

Bookstore

Ms. Sara Winchester is working with Barnes & Noble to craft a new contract and operations model to be effective July 1, 2020.  The cost of textbooks and instructional material is now embedded in tuition, and out-of-pocket costs to students will drop dramatically.  In addition, the footprint of the Barnes & Noble store will be reduced.  Associate Vice President of Facilities and Construction Management Matthew Kennedy has begun working with Barnes & Noble staff on the concept that will provide more seating space in the Larson Student Center.  Academic staff are working with Barnes & Noble on the new adoption process for Fall 2020.  OIT and e-Learning staff are also engaged in developing a new process for electronic course material to flow to courses in Canvas.

Payroll

Payroll staff successfully transitioned all employees to direct deposit and processed the first fully remote pay cycle on April 10, 2020.  Thanks to support provided by Continuing Education and Financial Aid staff, CPE instructors and student workers are now receiving direct deposit instead of paper checks.

Cashier’s Office

Refunds continue to be processed remotely for all students who paid via credit card or who have provided electronic banking information.  The HUB staff are coordinating communications with students regarding the need to enroll for electronic refunds and are sending targeted messaging to all eligible students.  Staff will report to campus once a month to process checks for students who have not registered.

Human Resources

In the area of training and organizational development, the following has occurred since March:

  • Through SafeColleges, mandatory compliance training was sent to administrators, College lecturers, faculty, non-affiliated hourly personnel, and support staff; the training will be distributed to adjuncts and Nursing clinical instructors the week of April 20, 2020.
  • Self-paced study has been deployed via the Human Resources website; training includes courses in Computer Basics, MS Office 365, MS Office 2016, Management, Work-Live, and Workplace Skills.
  • Two instructor-led online training workshops were also held for employees working remotely.

College Relations

As previously reported, Ms. Jan Kirsten, Executive Director of College Relations, was selected by the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR) as the 2019 District 1 Communicator of the Year.

The awards were presented at the District 1 Awards Luncheon during NCMPR’s conference in Providence, Rhode Island, in November 2019.  Ms. Kirsten became one of seven finalists for the National Communicator of the Year Award.

Because the national conference in Orlando had to be cancelled, NCMPR organized a Facebook watch party that will air on Friday, April 24, 2020, at 3 p.m. to honor all of the national and district award winners.  You may view the party on Friday at https://www.facebook.com/NCMPR/.

Security

  • In accordance with a directive from the State, the College has prepared its Incident Specific Emergency Plan, ISEP #17,Pandemic Response Plan.  The plan is specific to emergency situations that require remote operations, and it includes information on all critical functions of the College.  The document was rapidly produced under the leadership of John Lopez, Director of Security.
  • 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 February 27, 2020, through April 20, 2020.

Continuing and Professional Education

  • Career training programs continue to adapt to meet the needs of students looking to gain applicable skills and to enter the evolving workforce as quickly as possible.

Health care workforce training courses continue via distance learning.  CPE’s evening Clinical Certified Medical Assistant (CCMA) course is close to completion, with students required to finish clinical hours at health care facilities and then sit for national exams before entering the workforce.

Finding placements for all health care students to complete clinical hours during the pandemic is a real challenge, since hospitals and health care facilities are focused on the COVID-19 crisis.  The CPE instructors have worked tirelessly to obtain the needed hours for students; of the 16 students currently in the evening CCMA course, 7 are completing their externship hours at Sea Girt Medical, and 6 students are already employed and utilizing their employer for externship hours.  The medical assistant students are preparing to move on to newly offered online national exams and to enter the health care workforce at an extremely critical time.

  • The Ocean County Achievement Center is holding its 1st Virtual Career Day on May 11, 2020, which will consist of a series of quick, engaging presentations on various career tracks, including construction, hospitality, IT, and health care options. Presentations will highlight employment demand, educational requirements, critical skills, and associated job tasks, as well as potential local employers and networking opportunities.  Local professionals will also discuss the reasons they chose their particular careers and personal views regarding the future of their professions.
  • Business Engagement has created a series of open enrollment distance learning professional development courses, which are grant-funded and tuition-free, to support local small businesses as they deal with the health crisis. OCC is one of eight New Jersey community colleges that has developed non-credit professional development classes online.  Eleven Management and two Excel sections are being promoted to Ocean County businesses. Management titles include:  How to Deal with Employees Returning to Work; Building Winning Teams; Best Practices for Leadership Post-COVID-19; and Building Your Sales Skills to Extraordinary.

Student Affairs

Advising

  • In collaboration with the HUB, Admissions, Registration and Records, and Financial Aid, the Advising Office has planned and executed a remote enrollment process for current and new students for Summer and Fall 2020.

Students inquiring about enrollment are directed to go.ocean.edu/register, at which they select their student type and receive registration instructions.  Students requesting assistance are asked to complete an online form which, depending on student type, is delivered to the appropriate office(s).

Requests for course planning assistance from current students are directed to the Advising Office.  An advisor is assigned to each request, and the assigned advisor completes a course plan for the student.  The assigned advisor communicates with the student as needed and remains the student’s point of contact throughout the registration process.  As of April 16, 2020, approximately 80 current students have submitted requests for course plans.  Current student requests are also received by the Southern Education Center, EOF, Student Support Services, and Athletics.  These departments are reaching out to students in the programs and campuses regarding course planning.

Requests for registration from new students are directed to the HUB, and the Hub staff reviews each student request to ensure the student has completed enrollment processes, such as the application, placement testing, and submission of the FAFSA.  The HUB staff then moves the student requests to the Admissions staff, who plan courses and schedules as well as facilitate registration for each student.  Each Admissions representative has an Advising Office liaison to assist with questions and troubleshooting issues.  The Advising Office will also complete a schedule review for each new student registered by the Admissions staff.

Advisors Kirsten Bollinger and Lauren Humphrey also created instructional videos to assist students in using Student Planning.  Students can view videos on course planning and registration, as well as registration errors and how to avoid them on the following site:  go.ocean.edu/advisingvideos.

  • Since the College went remote on March 16, 2020, the Advising staff has been completing proactive outreach to students regarding course planning for the Fall semester. Advisors have been in contact with assigned advisees to encourage registration; additionally, the Advising staff has been working through a list of approximately 700 potential Spring, Summer, and Fall graduates to discuss remaining requirements.

The Advising Office has also collaborated with the HUB to plan a registration campaign for current student registration.  Over the course of the next seven weeks, designated groups of students will receive texts from Reggie, OCC’s chatbot, encouraging them to register for the Fall semester and request assistance as needed.

Financial Aid

The entire Financial Aid Office staff is working remotely.  Staff members are available via phone and email during regular business hours.  The office continues to award students, process FAFSA applications and verifications, review appeals, and assist students with the federal and state applications.

The deadline to complete the 2019-2020 FAFSA application is June 30, 2020, for students who want to attend OCC during the summer.  The last three Spring 2020 FAFSA workshop events, scheduled for April, May, and June, were cancelled; however, application completion assistance is still being offered remotely.  Students and parents are encouraged to contact the office to schedule appointments for remote help.  As of April 1, 2020, the Financial Aid Office has received 8,688 2019-20 FAFSA applications and 3,571 2020-21 FAFSA applications.

Admissions

  • Over the past month, Admissions has taken on multiple recruitment initiatives, including continued work with College Relations on a Virtual Visit in lieu of the Spring Open House. Prospective students will be treated to an interactive webpage where they can choose their own path to learn more about OCC academic offerings, enrollment and student services, and student activities.  The HUB’s own Reggie will be integrated to the page to answer any questions prospective students may have.  May 20, 2020, is the tentative date to launch this exciting new experience for prospective students.

Admissions, in collaboration with Academic Advising, the HUB, Registration, and Financial Aid, is assisting new students with Fall 2020 registrations.  Under the current circumstances, many students are being overwhelmed with new technologies and learning platforms from their employers and high schools.  To help simplify and mitigate OCC’s enrollment process, after applying, students complete a short survey that asks them typical first-year advising and availability questions, and they agree to allow Admissions to register them into their first schedule of classes.  Once registered, each student receives a phone call to welcome them to OCC as well as follow-up communications from the HUB and Reggie.  Academic Advising will also be reviewing each new schedule and ensuring students are on track with their first-semester classes.  This process will simplify new student registration and provide reassurance during a very difficult time.

This has been an extremely collaborative effort; appreciation is expressed to the staff and leadership in Advising, the HUB, Registration, and Financial Aid.  Special thanks goes to Admissions Representatives Joshua Ginder, Jill Hopf, and Mikaela Polchak and Assistant Director of Admissions Samantha Shinn for their tremendous work in registering new students.

  • The Ocean County Directors of Counseling meeting was hosted virtually by Admissions. Assistance has been provided to high school partners regarding the clarification of transcript requests and Multiple Measures requirements, the Early College at OCC registration process, as well as a remote scheduling method for 2020-21 College Pathways presentations and registration days.  The high schools are appreciative of the College’s communications and willingness to adjust to meet the needs of their students.
  • Admissions is also co-presenting with four other county colleges at the Strive Virtual College Exploration Week. This program gives junior high school students and their families valuable postsecondary information and provides Admissions representatives the opportunity to showcase their institutions, with the intent of engaging a number of new student leads.  Many students and parents are considering community college attendance in light of the current state of affairs in the nation.  In collaboration with College Relations, additional virtual workshops and recruitment activities are being developed to deliver to prospective students.

Athletics

  • Because of having the ability to compete from home, OCC’s Esports program has been able to continue its Spring season, advancing to the post-season with two players ranked in the national top ten as of April 14, 2020. The students have provided excitement within the department, and all of the teams and staff members are rallying behind them.
  • In an effort to stay connected to the student-athletes while being remote, staff members are guiding and supporting them with access to Canvas to monitor their grades, assist with registration, and guide them to find information they may need. Three features have been running simultaneously across social media:
  • Videos are posted weekly from coaches, staff members, and fellow student-athletes to deliver messages of encouragement.
  • Features are being added on com and social media pages to spotlight both current and former student-athletes.
  • A series will be launched to share significant OCC games and provide new insight from the coaches and players who were involved.

All of these efforts can be found on OCC Athletics social media:

  • Facebook: com/Ocean CC Viking Athletics
  • Twitter: com/@OceanVikings
  • Instagram: com/ocean_cc_vikings

The HUB

The HUB is working remotely during usual business hours.  Each technician has been equipped with soft phones, as well as VPN access, allowing the team to accept incoming calls, make outgoing calls, and answer emails successfully.

HUB activities have included:

  • The team completed a large campaign, calling all 412 students currently registered for face-to-face Summer classes to congratulate them on their enrollment and explain remote education for the upcoming Summer terms.
  • The HUB reached out to all 212 students who had not been participating or logging into their remote courses since March 16, 2020, to encourage them to engage and reach out to This also allows staff to do an overall ‘wellness’ check to make sure students are okay.
  • The HUB is currently working on Summer and Fall registrations remotely, including triaging for new student registrations, robust communication campaigns for financial aid and advising, as well as collaborating with additional departments to assist in contacting and engaging with students.
  • By using Reggie, the HUB was able to facilitate a technology survey and distribute laptops to students in need to complete their education remotely for the Spring semester. Engagement rates have been increased by over 50% for each of the surveys and campaigns that have been distributed through Reggie.
  • The HUB is completing the NSR triage (pre-advising) at a rate of ten per hour, with a goal of completing up to 50 a day, which would be, technically, 1,000 students per month if every one of them completed the form.
  • Every week, a communication is being sent to between 200-400 current students to encourage them to register and complete the form if they need assistance.
  • Additionally, the HUB staff is actively contacting students without a FAFSA and/or without a completed FAFSA to encourage them to complete their application for the 2019-20 school year. They may now be eligible for additional funding, especially if their financial status has changed due to COVID-19.

Southern Education Center

  • Over the past month, working remotely, the Student Services Advisors at the SEC, Jeff Kurz, Michele Marcum, and Katie Grofik, have been conducting outreach in response to calls and emails received from students. This transition to remote advising has gone well.
  • With Fall 2020 registration opening last week, the number of students seeking support from the Student Services Advisors has increased as compared to the same time period last year. The SEC team has been fine tuning the Fall 2020 SEC schedule of classes, conducting outreach to the local community through the SEC Canvas page, assisting in the development of the SEC Open House Virtual tour narrative, and developing the SEC page in the 2020-21 Student Handbook.

Student Life

  • Student Life is pleased to share that it has been able to assist OCC’s Honor Societies, Phi Theta Kappa, Psi Beta, and Alpha Beta Gamma, in a seamless transition online, ensuring that students will not miss the opportunity to be a part of the induction classes of these organizations this semester. Student Life also continues to focus on addressing student basic needs.   Alison Noone, Assistant Director of Student Life, is working closely with Counseling, EOF, Student Support Services (SSS), and the HUB to ensure students have access to food, thanks to the resources available through Helping Hands and the support of the OCC Foundation.
  • The OCC app continues to be the go-to resource to engage the campus community; staff continues to onboard other campus departments and assist them in their utilization of the app to reach the students. Engagement has not decreased since moving to remote; in fact, the number of average daily users and downloads rise each day.

Student Support Services

  • Student Support Services continues to offer one-on-one professional tutoring, individualized advising, and academic coaching for its participants, only in remote form.
  • The SSS team communicates with students via phone calls, emails, the OCC app, Webex, and Zoom to help with virtual learning and offer personal support. These services help students continue their education to attain associate degrees; SSS had 11 confirmed graduates in the Fall 2019 semester, with 26 anticipated graduates for the Spring 2020 semester.
  • Currently, SSS tutors hold 53 hours of tutoring each week. Advising sessions were held to assist 39 students for Fall courses.  Each student received a program evaluation and course map for his/her degree.  As of April 16, 2020, 20 of those students registered successfully for the Fall 2020 semester.
  • SSS continues to recruit first-generation, low-income students and students with disabilities for the academic year and can do so through August 31, 2020.

Counseling Center

  • All of the Counseling and Displaced Homemakers Program staff members have remote capabilities. The counselors completed several trainings on tele-mental health counseling, finalized procedures, and began meeting with students via videoconferencing and phones.  The federal and state government amended legal requirements, which enabled counselors to conduct sessions using technology. Counselors have reached out to students with whom they had been working prior to shifting to remote operations.  Consistent messages received from students include heightened anxiety due to COVID-19, dealing with COVID-19-related health problems for themselves and/or loved ones, increased depression, employment impact (increased hours, loss of job, decreased hours), and difficulty with the transition to online learning.
  • A virtual QPR (Question, Persuade, and Refer) suicide prevention training will be held in May and during the summer by the New Jersey Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services staff.
  • The mental health Canvas course provides information and motivational messaging to more than 125 enrolled students, faculty, and staff. An exciting innovation is providing the weekly Relax and Recharge session live via videoconferencing on Thursdays at 11:00 a.m., conducted by Student Intervention Specialists Kelly Petrolis and Prevention Education Coordinator Katie Hueth.  Both of them are also working with Maureen Conlon, Associate Director of Web Services, to create a series of videos which will focus on mental health, well-being, and self-care.
  • Restore Your Score, the academic intervention program, continues to reach out to students through the Canvas course, emails, and phone calls. Kelly Petrolis, the RYS counselor, has increased the information and motivational messaging to students.
  • The Supporting Students in Recovery program, headed by Katie Hueth, is moving ahead with virtual services. A Canvas course, The Campus Recovery Network, is enrolling student participants.  This course is used to create messaging, information, and connection.  Future plans include virtual recovery meetings and live educational sessions about topics related to recovery.  Collaborations continue with community partner Hope Sheds Light.
  • The CARE Team continues to meet weekly to discuss and review reports. Since March 13, 2020, there have been 181 CARE reports submitted for 208 students.  Many of the reports submitted by faculty are related to students’ academic performance in the online environment.  Counselor and CARE Team member Susan Ebeling-Witte has managed these reports by reaching out to students.  Students report feeling overwhelmed, high anxiety, increased depression, dealing with home/family issues that interfere with academics, lack of motivation to do the online work, financial problems, housing, and health concerns related to COVID-19, for themselves and/or family members.  Students also report employment issues, including losing their jobs, reduced hours, or having to work more hours as essential workers.  The CARE Team released a college-wide broadcast about CARE reporting processes.
  • The Displaced Homemakers Program has continued to serve clients remotely utilizing email, telephone, and Webex.  The Program staff, Ms. Eileen Burdge, Community Services Specialist, and Marcia Slekitis, Part-Time Community Specialist Technician, have assisted clients with referrals and resources, helped them with resumes and job searches, career exploration, and issues related to their education and training. They consistently follow up with the clients who are enrolled in OCC credit courses and CPE training programs and help them resolve questions and difficulties.

Training continues via videoconferencing. Clients participated in resume writing seminars, conducted by Adjunct Assistant Professor Kathy DiMario, and computer skills training by Ms. Maureen Conlon.  Program staff members are conducting intakes with new clients using videoconferencing.  The Program has served 67 new clients during this program year, with a goal of 90 new clients.  The Program year was extended to September 30 by Governor Murphy.  There is no information about increased funding for the extended year.

Educational Opportunity Fund (EOF)

  • The department has transitioned quite well, conducting business as usual during remote operations. All students have been successfully contacted and have continually scheduled ongoing advising sessions through Webex and/or Zoom.  Weekly staff meetings are also conducted via Webex or Zoom.
  • The department is excited to announce plans for its first online awards celebration.  Maureen Conlon worked on the development of a PowerPoint presentation, and a survey is being taken to determine student interest in an online award gathering.
  • Admissions and the HUB are working with EOF for recruitment and student referral; the first contact with NJFAMS-eligible students is scheduled for Tuesday, April 21, 2020.
  • Efforts to support EOF students continue to be a EOF staff is responding to student requests for emergency funding through the EOFNJP, EOF Professional Association, and small grants.  Students are also being connected with resources for basic needs, academic needs, and health and safety.

Records and Registration

  • All visiting students are now being moved to regular student status at the point of application so there is no delay in registration. The collection of documentation has been automated so reports and communications can be generated to these specific students.
  • A Waitlist feature has been implemented for Fall 2020 to allow students to add their names to a list for notification when a seat becomes available in a closed course section. If a seat becomes available, the first student on the Waitlist will receive an e-mail about the seat.  The student will have 48 hours to register into the course. If the student does not register within 48 hours, the next student on the list will be sent an e-mail.

This feature has been added to 256 course sections for Fall 2020.  Waitlisting will give students an opportunity, not a guarantee, to register for a course that had already closed rather than having to check on its status every day.  It will also provide valuable data to Academic Affairs when planning future course offerings.

Career Services

Career Services has continued serving students and employers through remote operation, and the volume of interactions remained consistent with the pre-remote pace.  Services provided include Career Counseling; Online Career Assessments and Review; Resume, Cover Letter, LinkedIn Profile Writing; and Internship and Employment Opportunity Searches.

Veterans and Military Resource Center

  • The Veterans and Military Resource Center (VMRC) has assisted with Veteran Affairs data updating for gov/benefit profiles for all military-affiliated students.
  • The Center conducted multiple podcast/webinar interviews for faculty, lecturers, and adjunct faculty on risk assessment, COVID-19 analysis from the military/veteran perspective.
  • VMRC has networked and collaborated with local entities to increase food and essential products delivery to organizations and pick-up for community members from the American Legion Post 129 of Toms River.
  • National Guard and Reserve students have been assisted and guided to maintain their academic standards while being mobilizing and activated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic of New Jersey.
  • Weekly updates and check-ins continue to take place with the military-affiliated population to increase awareness, connection, and reliability.

Academic Affairs

Ocean County College Library

The Library responded to working offsite due to the COVID-19 restrictions in a number of ways:

  • The Library’s electronic resources collection is well established, and Library personnel are concentrating on developing remote services and virtual information literacy resources as quickly as possible.
  • College Lecturer John Wallace implemented and coordinated the establishment of a Discord server for staff communications and the consolidation of professional development opportunities.
  • Lecturer Quinn Morris-Pearson led the effort and collaborated with Jaimee Nadzan, Website Coordinator, to create the Library Remote Services webpage, https://www.ocean.edu/remote-student-services/remote-library-services/.
  • Reference Services Librarian Catherine Pontoriero is working with vendors and publishers to expand access to electronic resource materials.
  • College Lecturer Anna McCloskey and Madison Akins, Part-Time Information Access Technician, redeveloped the Library’s chat service to improve handling of multiple simultaneous chat requests.
  • McCloskey also worked with Ms. Nadzan to create a Webex Information Literacy Session request form, https://employee.ocean.edu/remote-information-literacy-class-request/.
  • Librarians are working with faculty and lecturers to provide information literacy sessions through Webex or through the creation of virtual subject-specific modules.
  • Lecturer Janet Marler is working with faculty and lecturers to facilitate the use of OER and library resource materials to complement the moving of courses and teaching online.
  • Senior Library Service Technician Jaqueline Reynolds is continuing to provide limited interlibrary loan services through electronic access; more information is available through e-mailing ill@ocean.edu. Also, the information access technicians are working on special projects and are participating in the library chat service.
  • Future services in development are a virtual book club and Webex drop-in tech help sessions similar to the in-person help students receive from the information access technicians.
  • Internally, Library Circulation Manager Terence Cleary worked with John Wallace to extend all due dates, and fines will not accrue during the physical closure of the Library. Mr. Cleary is also responding to Circulation Desk phone messages through a Soft Phone connection.
  • Everyone on the Library staff is pursuing professional development opportunities through webinars and training sessions, and staff members are working on projects to improve the workflow of the library.

Information or help with any Library-related issues is available by contacting Ms. Donna Rosinski-Kauz, Director of Library Services, at drosinski-kauz@ocean.edu, or by visiting live on the Library’s chat service through Ocean Connect-Library Services.

School of Nursing and Health Sciences

  • Nursing students are utilizing virtual simulation technology to complete the clinical component of the curriculum during the Spring 2020 semester. Clinical instructors are assisting the lecturers to prepare and conduct virtual simulation experiences as well as to evaluate each student’s performance following all assignments.
  • The School of Nursing submitted a COVID-19 Contingency Plan to the New Jersey Board of Nursing. This plan outlined processes that will be implemented to provide students with remote education, including classroom instruction, virtual simulation experiences, and support services.  Student learning objectives for each week of clinical experiences were included in the plan to demonstrate continuity of the curriculum despite a change in delivery of format.
  • The Skills and Simulation staff are continuing to provide support to students. Students are provided with individual and group sessions to review various skills, including medication administration.
  • Nursing IV students who will be completing the program in May participated in a three-day virtual licensure review course from April 6-8, 2020. This live course is provided to graduating students each semester to prepare them for the national licensure exam.  Upon notification that the College would be going to remote education, the company that provides the course collaborated with the School of Nursing to offer the program virtually, avoiding a disruption to the curriculum.

School of STEM

  • On April 25, 2020, OCC will host College Day online as a virtual tour. The School of STEM will submit a script to be read over a collage of photos and videos.
  • At the School’s recent Webex meeting, faculty and lecturers shared best practices using a variety of technologies to teach remotely. Many have begun to insert videos at the beginning of their lessons.  Some of the examples discussed were:  Assistant Professor of Science Chris Pericone using NotePad (downloaded from Google Chrome), and College Lecturer in Engineering Pam Bogdan using Screencast-o-matic.  This tool seems to be a favorite in STEM, so much so that OCC has purchased licenses with Perkins funds.  In addition, Professor of Mathematics Maryann Birdsall has incorporated Kahn Academy video lessons into her mathematics classes.

Science

  • Angel Camilo, College Lecturer II in Biology and Advisor to the Makers Club, contributed 7 kilograms of PLA (plastic), which will be used to make 3,000 face shields for hospitals and first responders.  This effort was coordinated by Raritan Valley Community College.
  • Mary Rada, College Lecturer in Anatomy, and Ms. Barbara Collins, STEM Laboratories Coordinator, have collected boxes of gloves, 85 pair of new goggles from Biology, Chemistry, and Microbiology, alcohol wipes, and masks to be distributed into the community.
  • Duane Grembowitz, Associate Professor of Science, asked on behalf of the OCC Environmental Studies Program that commendations be extended to the Ocean County Department of Solid Waste Management, the Ocean County Landfill, and the Ocean County Utilities Authority for their generous help during the COVID-19 pandemic. They supplied videos, Power Points, hand-outs, and all the materials necessary to take the place of the on-site tours normally given to Environmental Science lab students that cannot be conducted at this time.  Their support is deeply appreciated.

Engineering

  • Lecturer Pam Bogdan reported that, prior to the end of the semester, the Engineering Club will be continuing its activities:  The Engineering Club/Department will have its joint End-of-Semester Celebration, there will be a transition of club officers, and the department will continue its Semester Design Contest.  The Spring 2020 Engineering Advisory Committee meeting will take place remotely on Wednesday, April 29, 2020.

Mathematics

College Lecturers in Mathematics Sam Pinkava and Julia Kim and Ms. Vicki McMillian, Professor of Mathematics, are hosting weekly meetings with mathematics adjuncts.  Ideas are being shared to assist in making the transition to remote teaching as smooth as possible.

School of Arts and Humanities

In the area of curriculum, the School of Arts and Humanities has received approval for three new General Education Humanities courses.  The new courses are ENGL 232, Crime Literature; FILM 145, Television History and Appreciation; and PHOT 101, History of Photography.  Additionally, Dean Heidi Sheridan is working with Dr. Howaida Wahby-Eraky, e-Learning College Lecturer II, and Dr. Maysa Hayward, Associate Vice President of International Programs, Academic, to create an English to Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL) course.

Instructors and students are working together in this time of crisis.  Instructors have been sharing some amazing student work that has been submitted, including the following photograph by Assistant Professor of Humanities Rich Fallon’s student:

photograph of a sculpture wearing a face mask with a red tree in the background

School of Business and Social Sciences

While continuing to provide a positive learning environment remotely, the School of Business and Social Sciences faculty and lecturers are working hard to offer extra-curricular programming for students:

  • Katherine Toy, Economics College Lecturer II and moderator of the business honor society, Alpha Beta Gamma, will be virtually inducting approximately 26 business students into the society this year.
  • Similarly, honor students in Psychology will be virtually enrolled into the Psi Beta honor society. Plans are underway to coordinate an online orientation for Psi Beta-eligible members.  Psi Beta is led by Margaret Maghan, Psychology Lecturer II and Program Chair, who was recognized this year as Psi Beta Adviser of the Year.  She was also selected as one of two national candidates for the Psi Beta vice president position for the northeast region.

Along with Ms. Alison Noone, Dr. Maghan offered a virtual presentation on April 20, 2020, Data Driven Interventions to Reduce Campus Stigma, at the Community College Showcase.   This presentation is based on the survey and work both of them have been doing through Psi Beta to provide community awareness of the services available through Helping Hands.  Dr. Maghan has also been invited to serve on the steering committee of the New England Psychology Association’s (NEPA) regional meeting in 2020.  She is also overseeing weekly virtual meetings with Psi Beta members and is collaborating with Mr. Ryan Luurtsema, Veterans and Military Center Coordinator, to have a virtual Veterans Affairs anti-mental health stigma panel sometime this semester.

  • Business students are also moving ahead in acquiring Bloomberg Certification in stock market analysis. Bloomberg is allowing Business students who began Bloomberg Certification during the Spring semester to work on it remotely free of charge.  According to Katherine Toy, who manages the Business lab, there have been three completions already.
  • Benny Castillo, Lecturer II in Criminal Justice, organized a Hometown Security webinar to be held on Tuesday, April 28, 2020, from 9:30 -11:00 a.m. The event is sponsored by the New Jersey Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness (NJOHSP) in collaboration with the Governmental Affairs Institute of Ocean County College, led by Political Science Lecturer Jason Ghibesi.  Topics include local health services, community preparedness resources, current threat environment, and security awareness and protective measures.   The program is open to the community.  Call-in details and the webinar URL will be provided by NJOHSP prior to the event.

Tutoring and Academic Support Services

Tutoring and Academic Support Services went remote in tandem with the College.  Math Services is offering synchronous tutoring support as well as creating supplemental resources that students can access through the Math Services Canvas page.  Writing Services is offering asynchronous and synchronous writing support for students and also has a Canvas page where supplemental resources are continually uploaded for students to access.  General Tutoring Services is offering synchronous tutoring support.

All synchronous tutoring sessions are conducted via Webex, and appointments can be made by students through Accudemia. Asynchronous sessions for Writing Services are submitted to the Writing Services e-mail, and then appointments are made by the writing tutors.  Additionally, the Peer Assisted Learning Program (PAL) is also offering synchronous and asynchronous support for students enrolled in Accounting I.  The Program is encouraging all students enrolled in the Accounting course to self-enroll in its Canvas course.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

The Instructional Design and Technology Team has been hard at work with a number of special projects:

  • Successful removal of Examity, a proctoring service, from all Spring term sessions due to technical issues impeding students from accessing their assessments;
  • Update of all live Spring Student Success distance learning courses. Module 13 and 14 assignments were removed since the students no longer are able to do their required Community Project due to the COVID-19 quarantine.  Additional assignments were created by Laura Manresa, College Lecturer in Student Success, and the First-Year Experience team; and the designing team replaced assignments in those modules.
  • The team collaborated with face-to-face instructors to identify DL Master Course shells that could be reworked and used for remote learning for the 2020 First Five-Week and Ten-Week Summer sessions.
  • New courses were built and content added to both the Center for Instructional Empowerment and the Campus Closure Resource shells.
  • The courses developed for Spring 2021 were approved at the April 7, 2020, Board meeting; the team is now working with Subject Matter Experts and area Deans to select low-cost or OER text books where available.

In the academic area, Dean of e-Learning Vivian Lynn will represent OCC in a new initiative with the New Jersey Community College Distance Education Affinity Group (DEAG).  She will participate in the professional development webinar, Engaging Students in a Virtual Environment, on Tuesday, April 21, 2020.  Over 300 educators from throughout New Jersey have registered for the webinar, which will provide an overview of best practices using technology to promote interactive learning for remote and online instruction.

The academic area will have a virtual general meeting on Wednesday, April 29, 2020, with all online instructors and will host a Professional Development webinar on Academic Integrity on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

On the international level, the team is working diligently on three paths:  the current Ocean-Kean-Ain Shams program, special programs, and future planning.

  • For the current program, virtual communications are ongoing with partners in Egypt.
  • To assure Ocean-Kean students that they are supported, team members resolve any technical or academic issues they might be facing. Collaboration with Kean University continues to ensure a smooth transition by the students to their senior year at Kean.  Cohort one is completing bachelor degree requirements, and 100% of the students are expected to graduate in May.
  • Efforts continue to ready special programs by working on course sequencing development with Kean University, William Paterson University, and New Jersey City University. Eileen Schilling, Executive Director of Academic Assessment, has been a valuable asset in not only following up with current partnerships, but also pursuing potential associations.  She is working closely with team members to expand efforts in communicating with four-year universities, such as the University of Maryland Global Campus and Colorado State Global, to join OCC as affiliates delivering third- and fourth-year courses in Egypt.  Moreover, the development of special program bylaws is progressing to integrate OCC’s policies with the policies of Egyptian universities.

A comprehensive effort is being undertaken to document OCC’s operating procedures to manage international programs.  The completed document will include process documentation, resource requirements, and projections, as well as identification of opportunities, risks, and recommendations for process improvements.

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