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NEWS & EVENTS

June 24, 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 June 25, 2020, Board Meeting

DATE: June 22, 2020

Commendations/Presentations

  • Dr. Dan Baker, Professor of Philosophy, recently completed his Spring 2020 sabbatical leave project titled, “Teaching Critical Thinking Using Contemporary Moral Issues.”  His research produced a text that may be used as supplemental material for Ocean County College’s student success course as well as for other courses.  The text is designed for incoming freshman students to assist in the development of reading, writing, and thinking critically.

Dr. Baker will be available on Thursday to provide brief comments on his sabbatical leave project.  While he is with us, we will also have the opportunity to congratulate him on his retirement on June 30 after thirty years of teaching at Ocean County College,

  • While the majority of OCC employees are working remotely from home, there is a small core of essential employees who continue to work hard on campus.  Most of the members of the Facilities Management and Construction Department are performing routine maintenance as well as completing additional projects to enhance the physical campus and to improve environmental health.

I have asked Mr. Matthew Kennedy, Associate Vice President of Facilities Management and Construction, and Mr. Lenny Mannino, Director of Building Maintenance, to share with you on Thursday their plan for managing the campus HVAC system during the COVID-19 pandemic.

  • A number of long-time employees are retiring from the College on or near June 30, 2020.  Although the pandemic has not allowed us to gather in celebration of each retiree, I am proud to recognize faculty, administrators, and staff who have striven every day to make a difference in the lives of our students.  Together, they represent 378.5 years of dedication to the College.  We extend our sincere appreciation, congratulations, and best wishes to them.
NameTitleRetirementYears of Service
Dr. Daniel Baker Professor of HumanitiesJuly 1, 202030
Catherine Belardo Nursing Clinical Instructor April 1, 202022
Patricia ChircoPart-Time Assistant BuyerOctober 1, 202012
Melissa CipolettiSr. Facilities Work Control TechnicianJuly 1, 2020 31
Wilma Galenko Data TechnicianJuly 1, 202015
Joseph GrecoAssistant Director of Building Maintenance and SystemsJanuary 27, 2020 2.5
Michael KlecanAssistant Professor of Health and Human PerformanceFebruary 1, 202028
Geraldine McGintyPart-Time Professional Counselor  May 1, 2020 35
Jose Olivares Part-Time Community Outreach  RepresentativeJuly 1, 2020 19
Janice Shaffer Administrative AssistantJuly 1, 2020 28
Linda Verheyen Academic Administrative Assistant I July 1, 2020 20
Angela Barone Adjunct Assistant Professor of Humanities and Fine Arts 

July 1, 2020 

18
Michael ClarkAdjunct Assistant Professor of Computer StudiesJanuary 1, 2020 15
James ConroyAdjunct Assistant Professor of e-LearningJanuary 1, 2020 13
Virginia CramerAdjunct Associate Professor of English and Literature January 1, 2020 14
Patricia PhillipsAdjunct Professor of ScienceJanuary 1, 2020 25
Charles Tagliarini Adjunct Associate Professor of BusinessJune 1, 2020 22
Laurine VaccaAdjunct Associate Professor  July 1, 2020 29

Ocean County College Strategic Plan

The strategic planning process began in September 2019 with Strategic Consultants from Ellucian, Dr. Tim Coley and Dr. Jennifer Latino, working alongside Dr. Alexa Beshara-Blauth, Executive Director of Institutional Planning, Effectiveness, and Compliance, to gather relevant reports and studies for the development of a meaningful planning process for the College.  A twelve-member Core Planning Team, composed of a diverse mix of College employees, was charged in October 2019 with leading the College’s strategic planning efforts.

The Core Planning Team met extensively from October 2019 through January 2020 to develop a plan that expands on the success achieved by the College under its current plan and recognizes the need to address future trends.  A series of focus groups, open forums, and colloquium sessions have informed the work of the Core Planning Team through a collaborative process of planning.  Over 70 campus constituents, including faculty, staff, students, and Board members, participated.

Based on the work of the team and input from these events, revised Mission, Vision, and Guiding Principle statements were developed.  Four themes emerged that formed the foundation of the College’s Goals:  Students, Enrollment, Organizational Effectiveness, and External Stakeholder Relations.

Over 30 campus representatives are participating on Goal Implementation Teams, which were established for each of the above themes to develop objectives and key initiatives as well as to identify measures for tracking progress.  The result is a well-informed plan that will guide the College through the disruptive waters of higher education, placing Ocean County College at the Helm as it innovates for the future.

The Ocean County College 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, attached, will be recommended for approval at Thursday’s meeting.  Dr. Beshara-Blauth will attend the meeting to make a brief presentation as well as to answer any questions you may have.

Academic Affairs

Tutoring and Academic Support Services

The Tutoring Center will continue to provide academic support and one-on-one tutoring sessions remotely during summer.  The Center is creating and uploading supplemental resources and videos to OCC’s Canvas pages.  Additionally, the Tutoring Center is excited to be collaborating with College Lecturers in Mathematics Samuel Pinkava and Jeong Kim to support students enrolled in their Summer Math Boot Camp sessions.

School of Nursing and Health Sciences

  • The total number of nursing graduates for the 2019–2020 academic year was 140.  Graduating nursing students were invited to participate in the 2020 Virtual Nursing Pinning Ceremony on June 16, 2020.
  • Over $3,375 in scholarships and awards was presented to graduates and current students.  Recipients included:
    • Paul Family Scholarship:  Teresa Clarelli
    • Joyce Previte Memorial Scholarship:  Jaimie Hammett
    • D’Onofrio Foundation Scholarship:  Pamela Macirowski
    • Student Nurse Organization Scholarships:  Kaitlyn Fontano, Maya Guzzi, and Christina Vincent
  • College Lecturer II MaryAnn Kaufmann, MSN, RN, was the recipient of a $1,000 scholarship from the New Jersey State Nurses Association and a $1,000 scholarship from the Institute for Nursing.  She is completing a Ph.D. in Nursing Educational Leadership at Kean University.
  • The School of Nursing lecturers participated in an annual workshop during May and June.  They completed an assessment of all nursing courses, program outcome data, and licensure test plans to revise curriculum content as needed.  The School of Nursing’s Systematic Plan of Evaluation, which addresses standards and criteria required for accreditation, will also be reviewed.

School of Arts and Humanities

  • College Lecturer II Catherine Mancuso’s Dance Repertory class created a performance video that was featured in the virtual graduation ceremony.  In addition, Ms. Mancuso was selected as the recipient of the 2020 Professional Educator Outstanding Teaching Award for demonstrated excellence in teaching and commitment to her students and to OCC.
  • Associate Professor of English Jayanti Tamm completed a sabbatical over the 2020 Spring semester.  A report on her sabbatical will be forthcoming at a later date.
  • Working on new Perkins guidelines are faculty and lecturers from the A.A.S. American Sign Language-Interpreter Training Program, the A.S. Graphic Arts and Digital Media, and the A.A. Digital Mass Media programs, as well as Assistant Dean of Arts and Humanities Veronica Guevara-Lovgren and Perkins Grant and Curriculum Compliance Program Director Susan O’Connor.
  • The Arts and Humanities Program Chairs are working on final reports for their program areas.
  • School Dean Heidi Sheridan attended the Middle States Commission on Higher Education Conference on Thursday, June 11, 2020.  The conference was held via webinar and featured a discussion on the impact of new regulations taking effect on July 1, 2020, specifically how the new federal regulations will impact Middle States policies and procedures and how these may affect the accreditation processes and expectations of member institutions.
  • Assistant Professor Kathleen Basilotto and Instructor Saundra Piscitelli report that Danielle DiSessa, graduate of the A.A.S. American Sign Language – Interpreter Training Program in May 2019, has received RID National Certification.  This was accomplished in seven months following graduation, which is a monumental accomplishment.  Ms. DiSessa also spoke during OCC’s recent virtual Career Day.

Additionally, Ms. Rachel Disbrow, an ASL-ITP student who graduated from the program in May, has been accepted into Gallaudet University’s BA Interpreting program.  Rachel joins alumni Mel Fernandez, Kate Tesch, and Franki DiCarlo as ITP graduates who have been accepted to Gallaudet University.

School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics

  • Congratulations to one of our STEM adjunct faculty, Dr. Adam Aguiar, for the 2020 Outstanding Teaching Award in the category of Adjunct Faculty.
  • The STEM Canvas Team (Power Users) created and delivered a three and one-half hour workshop entitled “Summer Remote Teaching.”  The workshop was delivered five times ‘live’ over a two-day period as well as recorded for those who could not attend.  The workshop covered Introduction to Canvas (Practical Guide), Screencast-O-Matic (How to Create Video Lectures with ADA Compliance), Webex Meetings, and Best Practices (Lessons Learned from Spring Learning).   Over 100 faculty and lecturers attended the live sessions with many others requesting the recorded version.
  • Biology College Lecturer II Lincoln Simmons distributed information to all STEM faculty and lecturers regarding Bolstering New Jersey’s STEM education and career pipeline through the Governor’s STEM Scholars, a public-private partnership among the Research and Development Council, Governor’s Office, Department of Education, Office of the Secretary of Higher Education, higher education institutions, and private industries that identifies and develops New Jersey’s next STEM thought-leaders. 
  • Chemistry College Lecturer II Scott Farrell, Advisor of HOSA- Future Health Professionals, virtually attended the State Leadership Conference.  OCC student winners placed in the following categories:  Alan Dang, first place in Medical Reading; Genavive Napolillo, first place in Biomedical Laboratory Science; and Sarah Sywanycz, third place in Pathophysiology.  Mr. Farrell and OCC students will go on to compete remotely at HOSA’s International Leadership Conference, which is scheduled for the end of June. 
  • Virtual Math Boot Camps are in session for the summer.  College Lecturers Sam Pinkava and Julia Kim launched two first-time Math 023 Boot Camps in the Summer First Five-Week Sessions.
  • Computer Science College Lecturer Gerald Cohen, through the Computer Science Department, completed student testing as part of program assessment of the Associate in Science degrees in Computer Science; Computer Science, Game Development and Design; and Computer Science, Information Technology.  The data is being analyzed and a report being prepared.

School of Business and Social Sciences

  • Dr. Katherine Toy, College Lecturer II in Economics, reported that, despite the additive challenges of moving to remote learning, an additional 17 students successfully finished the Bloomberg Market Concepts Program, thus earning each student the culminating Certificate of Completion.  This brings the new total of OCC students who have successfully completed the Market Concepts Program since the inception of the Bloomberg Lab, located in the Gateway Building, to an impressive 98 students.
  • Dr. Margaret Maghan, College Lecturer II in Psychology, reported that, under her advisement, the OCC Psychology Club has continued to play an instrumental role in working alongside other OCC volunteers to provide crisis boxes to OCC students and their families who have expressed food insecurity.  This coordinated OCC volunteer team effort includes the Office of Student Life, Facilities, Security, and the OCC Foundation.  In conjunction with Fulfill, the Food Bank of Monmouth and Ocean County, each crisis box is prepared so that it feeds a family of four over a four-day period.  OCC students can register and coordinate on-campus pickup using the OCC app.  In addition to crisis boxes, this truly extraordinary collaborative effort of volunteers across various OCC divisions has also provided gift cards, the inclusion of care package inserts made up of artistic activities, and has continued to link students and their families to other external resources providing various forms of assistance.   
  • On June 18, 2020, Dr. Patricia Gianotti, College Lecturer II in Addictions Counseling, accompanied 11 students and Assistant Adjunct Professor Edward Reading to the virtual New Jersey Prevention Network’s (NJPN) 20th Annual Addictions Conference.  This year’s conference, titled 2020 Vision: Focus on Addiction, included noted experts on both the national and state levels who offered 17 unique sessions on the latest research and strategies in the addictions field.  At NJPN’s first-ever virtual conference, attendees enjoyed watching live presenters in the Theater, engaged with sponsors and exhibitors in Virtual Booths, accessed the resources area to collect and save documents in their Virtual Conference Bags, earned various badges, and networked with other attendees in the Virtual Lounge.

Finance and Administration

On April 14, 2020, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that nearly $3 billion would be made available to governors to ensure education continues for students of all ages impacted by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.  The Governor’s Emergency Education Relief (GEER) Fund, authorized by the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, is a flexible emergency block grant designed to allow governors to decide how best to meet the needs of students, schools, postsecondary institutions, and other education-related organizations in their states.

Governor Phil Murphy has decided to make the entire $68.8 million pool of GEER funds available to public institutions of higher education for grants to help ensure continued educational services for students amid the unprecedented public health emergency through the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education (OSHE).

Ocean County College has submitted the required application which included details regarding the financial hardships experienced due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  As part of the application, a financial impact statement was also submitted, which reflected the period from March 13, 2020, to May 30, 2020.  The distribution of funding has not yet been announced, but OSHE will make this funding available through emergency assistance grants to institutions based on an OSHE-developed allocation formula that considers, among other things, institutional expenses incurred as a result of the pandemic.

Purchasing and Accounting

Ocean County College has acted, on behalf of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC), as the lead agency to administer the evaluation and contract award process for the provision of integrated e-commerce Student Financial Services to include, but not be limited to, financial aid distribution, payment plans, and billing solution(s) in accordance with a Joint Purchasing Consortium Request for Proposals.  Two vendors, TouchNet Information Systems, Inc., and Nelnet Business Solutions, Inc., were determined to be the most advantageous and best met the needs of member colleges of the Joint Purchasing Consortium in price and other factors considered.

OCC will implement Nelnet Business Solutions.  The implementation will provide a more user-friendly experience for students to complete financial transactions online.  It will allow students to set up recurring payments for payment plans, making it easier for students to stay on track financially.

Ocean County College Foundation

  • This year’s Virtual Scholarship Celebration is scheduled for Friday, August 7, 2020 from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.  The Foundation is encouraging all supporters of the Foundation to consider hosting watch parties/gatherings at their homes with friends and family.  Featured in the celebration will be guest artists, short video clips, and a live band in celebration of past and future scholarship recipients.  Despite a challenging fundraising atmosphere, the Foundation has raised over $73,500 in support of OCC’s students and this signature event.  Additional information about the celebration can be found at the Foundation Scholarship Celebration page. 
  • The Foundation looks forward to honoring the 200 Club of Ocean County in 2021, when, hopefully, everyone can be together in person again.

All donors to this year’s event will receive special recognition at the 2021 Gala.

  • Appreciation is expressed to Vice President of Student Affairs Gerald Racioppi and his team for assistance in informing students that Fall scholarship applications are available and will be accepted through August 14, 2020.

Great strides have been made in the past month by the Scholarship Committee to allow for earlier posting of scholarship awards, a proposal for a pilot program to fund grants to Jump Start and Academy students, and the creation of a roll-over application for an entire academic year, so students need not re-apply for a Foundation scholarship for consecutive semesters in the same academic year.  More details will be available following the full Board meeting scheduled for June 24, 2020.

  • Additionally, the Foundation continues to serve alongside Ms. Alison Noone, Assistant Director of Student Life and Food Pantry Director, OCC volunteers, and our partners at Fulfill in the distribution of crisis boxes to those in most need several times each month.

Continuing and Professional Education

  • As of July 1, 2020, Continuing and Professional Development will be rebranded as Workforce Education and will report to Academic Affairs.  The alignment between workforce training and academics will help to streamline the development of career pathways, stackable credentials, and degree apprenticeships.  The timing could not be better; as unemployment rises, so too will demand for high-quality workforce training programs that lead to local jobs with life-sustaining wages.  In addition to in-demand occupational trainings, traditional CPE program areas that will remain in the department include Business Engagement and Customized Training, Work Readiness and Career Exploration, and grant-funded programs related to workforce training and apprenticeships.  Kids’ camps and personal enrichment programs will be reimagined and led by the capable Grunin Arts Center team in 2021.
  • Future Healthcare Workers Thrive at OCC – Allied Health students completing work in their Certified Clinical Medical Assistant courses were originally set to take their national exams on May 22, 2020.  Since going to remote instruction, 37 students in two active cohorts (both daytime and evening students) and their instructors have overcome significant barriers to completing this demanding, hands-on training program.  Many students eagerly look forward to starting a healthcare career in a time when their skills will fill a critical need. They have studied theory, practiced patient care skills via virtual stimulation modules, and were awaiting a waiver from the Office of the Secretary of Higher Education to return to campus.   The waiver was approved on Friday, June 19, 2020.   Medical Assistant students, as well as cohorts of Phlebotomy and EKG Technician students, are now able to return to their labs to practice hands-on skills and take national credentialing exams.  While on campus, students and instructors will be required to wear personal protective equipment and follow clear safety guidelines.  These students have thrived during the quick transition to remote instruction, shown unparalleled determination to complete their studies despite setbacks, and are truly excited to contribute to the local healthcare workforce.
  • Summer Youth Employment Program – The Ocean County Achievement Center continues to provide high quality services and programs to out-of-school youth, ages 16-24, via remote instruction.  The Center is still accepting referrals, and orientations are being held remotely, with registration required.  

In July, the Center will launch a Summer Youth Employment Program, working with in-school youth.  This State-funded program will be a collaboration of Ocean County agency resources, as well as the career exploration instruction they will receive, remotely, from Ocean County College staff and instructors.

College Relations

  • The Alumni/Advancement area continues to interview alumni and share their success stories on the College’s webpage and social media channels to promote the value of an OCC education.  This summer, the Foundation will be launching a “Why I Give” campaign.  The social media posts will consist of testimonials from alumni who received Foundation scholarships, highlighting how that support assisted them to achieve their OCC degrees as well as launch them into successful ventures in their professional lives.  This campaign will also include testimonials from other donors who support the mission of the OCC Foundation, with the goal of showing how philanthropic support of the Foundation can truly be a catalyst to better the lives of our students and our community.

The Alumni Office is also working closely with Fulfill, the Foodbank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties, which remains intact and as active as ever.  The OCC 100 Women Campaign members will be volunteering at Fulfill on June 18, 25, and July 2, 2020, to help prepare crisis boxes for food insecure members of our community. 

  • College Relations, in collaboration with Student Life, created the 53rd Commencement program for OCC’s 2020 Virtual Commencement Ceremony.  The program, along with caps, gowns, stoles, and more, were delivered directly to all graduating students so they were able to take part in the Commencement proceedings on June 16, 2020. The 2020 Commencement program can be viewed at online

The TV Studio was a key partner in completing the 10 videos required for the Virtual Commencement Ceremony.  Three ceremonies were produced: Nurses Pinning, Student Awards, and Commencement.  A video year book was also produced as a lead in to the Commencement Ceremony.  The yearbook highlights milestones and accomplishments of the College and students during the past year.  The video will continue to be shown on the College TV station, Ocean TV 20.

  • The OCC Foundation and the College Relations department have created Save the Date postcards for the Virtual Scholarship Celebration, which will be delivered to over 550 of the Foundation’s supporters.

Human Resources

Due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, Ocean County College is implementing a temporary furlough of certain positions that cannot be performed remotely and/or for which there is a substantially reduced need while the campus is closed.  The program will begin on July 1, 2020, and furloughed employees will be called back to work when needed.  This will likely be in many different stages, according to federal and state guidelines and business needs. 

While furloughed, health and dental benefits continue with the employee continuing to make monthly employee contributions.  There will be no contributions by the College to pension and, during the furlough, employees and dependents will remain eligible for tuition reimbursement and tuition waivers in accordance with current policies and procedures. All furloughed employees maintain their date of hire.

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 May 15, 2020, through June 18, 2020.

Student Affairs

Advising

  • The Advising Office is reviewing new student schedules and conducting outreach to new students, with the goal of reviewing all student schedules prior to the start of the fall semester.  Students are contacted when their placement information has changed subsequent to registration, or when placement information is not yet on file, to adjust their schedules or encourage them to submit transcripts, respectively.  Students are also contacted when they have indicated they will be using financial aid, but are registered part-time, or when their degree programs do not align with their registered courses.  Advising will be continuing this review and outreach throughout the summer in order to ensure that each new student starts the Fall semester with a complete and accurate schedule.
  • Students can now make advising appointments online.  Advising is offering 60 open appointments weekly and will assess demand and adjust accordingly.  The goal of the online appointment scheduling is to make advising accessible to all students who wish to speak with an advisor in this remote environment.  These appointments are in addition to regularly scheduled advisor appointments maintained by advisors weekly.
  • The Advising Office has created a video library at go.ocean.edu/advisingvideos to assist students as they plan and register for courses remotely.  This effort was led by Advisors Kirsten Bollinger and Lauren Humphrey, with support from Transfer Coordinator Laura Wills.  The video library includes topics to help students understand student planning and registration, as well as plan for transfer.
  • The Advising Office has partnered with the Hub on a communications plan to encourage early Fall registration.  Advisors are proactively creating course plans for students, and students are receiving “Reggie” texts prompting them to complete their course schedules and register.  This plan will continue to be executed throughout the summer, with the goal of outreach to all unregistered continuing students.  Advising is also collaborating with proactive faculty, lecturers, and staff advisors to encourage registration and assist students.
  • Advising has planned virtual information sessions for students throughout the summer, which are aimed at new students, NJ STARS students, and students planning to transfer.

Admissions

Admissions, in collaboration with Academic Advising, the HUB, Registration, and Financial Aid, is assisting new students with Summer and 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 the enrollment process, after applying, students simply submit a short survey that asks them typical first-year advising and availability questions and agree to allow Admissions to register them into their first set of classes.  As of June 17, 2020, nearly 900 new first-time students have been registered for Fall classes through the survey. 

Admissions and the HUB have also collaborated to begin call, text, and email campaigns to the seniors from Ocean County high schools who have applied, indicated OCC as their choice, and not yet registered.  Already, more high school seniors from Lakewood and Point Pleasant Beach high schools are enrolled than at census last year.  Hopefully, this trend will continue with many more schools through the Fall enrollment period.

The HUB

  • Ms. Kathleen Mohr, Assistant Director of Enrollment Services, successfully defended her dissertation, “Targeted Intervention for Distance Learning Students: A Critical Participatory Action Research Approach,” and was awarded a Doctor of Education degree from Rowan University.
  • Ms. Stacy Yurcho, Part-Time Enrollment Services Technician, was awarded a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration degree from Thomas Edison State University.
  • The HUB has been busy answering incoming calls, making outgoing calls, and responding to emails coming in at a rapid pace during these remote times.  Calls continue to be made to students who request information about OCC or apply to the College within the same day as the inquiry or application.

Southern Education Center

  • The staff of the Southern Education Center has been conducting outreach to students residing in the southern part of Ocean County to alert them of classes that have been added to the SEC master Fall 2020 schedule that focus on specific degree requirements.  Specifically, students looking for the Associate in Arts degree specializing in Education were alerted that EDUC-178, Introduction to the Education of Exceptional Students, will be offered at the SEC in the Fall; students working toward the Associate in Science degree specializing in Social Work were likewise informed of Fall course offerings.  This phone outreach was followed by emails as necessary.  The staff will now look to complete direct outreach to the students pursuing the Associate in Science degree specific to Criminal Justice.  As students respond, the SEC Student Services Office Advising team then assists with registration.
  • Development of the Spring 2021 course offerings at the SEC has commenced.  Past course offerings will be reviewed and additional classes will be added based on data points and student input.  This process has been utilized for the last five semesters with the goal of expanding student opportunities for complete degree requirements while taking as many classes as possible closer to home.  After a plan is complete, academic administrators finalize the course selections and schedule the classes.  This continuing collaborative effort has increased course offerings to benefit southern county students.
  • As the southern area high schools close out their year, emails were sent to all guidance counselors at Pinelands Regional, Southern Regional, OCVTS/MATES, Barnegat, and Lacey Township high schools.  Included in the emails was information pertaining to Early College opportunities for current high school students, the series of OCC virtual tours held in May, and a listing of the Fall 2020 classes offered at the SEC, all of which, hopefully, assisted the counselors in directing their students to Early College opportunities.    
  • Finally, the Southern Education Center continues the utilization of Canvas to alert students who had previously taken classes at the SEC of the opportunities afforded at OCC.  These announcements have focused on Fall 2020 course offerings, the OCC Foundation and other scholarship opportunities, the Helping Hands food distribution program, and Kean Ocean opportunities.  Each announcement suggests that students connect with SEC Student Services advisors.  The SEC Student Services Office has seen a 7% increase in student traffic in a year-to-date comparison; and since OCC has gone remote, student “visits” to SEC advisors are up 14% compared to the same three-month period last Spring.

Career Services

  • Career Services has continued serving students and employers through remote operations, and the volume of interactions remained consistent with the pre-remote pace.  Webex employer presentations and job links have been added to the Career Service webpage for students and alumni to access.   
  • Through the direct support of Career Services and financial support from various College offices, Ms. Amanda Carte successfully conducted a three-month fellowship at Congressman Andy Kim’s New Jerseys 3rd District Washington, D.C., office in the Fall 2019 semester.  She assisted the Congressman in writing the Veterans Employment Act that was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2019.  Ms. Carte was also instrumental in adding provisions in support of military spouses and families that were placed into the FY2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which was recently signed by the President. 

The fellowship provided Ms. Carte the opportunity to learn how to navigate the complexity of the political process to the benefit of our District.  Through her work, Ms. Carte discovered a passion and aptitude for governmental work and success in serving the constituents. 

Ms. Carte has since accepted a position as a Field Representative/Case Worker in Congressman Andy Kim’s Field Office and graduated from OCC this year.

The Counseling Center

  • The Counseling Center is providing services and programming to continue support and assistance to students who are struggling with mental health and academic concerns.  Two weekly support groups have been introduced for students in response to reports of increased stress and anxiety, and the weekly Relax and Recharge sessions continue.  Counselors are meeting with students using videoconferencing.
  • There have been CARE reports on over 400 students since March 17, 2020, many related to academic performance in specific classes.  The academic results of those students for the Spring semester are being analyzed, and more interventions are being planned.  The CARE Team meets weekly to discuss these reports and the outcomes.
  • Dr. Kate Pandolpho, Director of the Counseling Center, and Ms. Eileen Buckle, Director of Program Compliance, conducted CARE Reporting training for 12 faculty and staff; another session is planned for July.
  • Activity and services planning for Fall is underway. Virtual sessions addressing suicide prevention, domestic violence, addictions, mental health, and overall well-being are being scheduled.  More information about dates will be published during the summer.
  • The Restore Your Score academic intervention program is analyzing the results of the pilot programs during the Fall 2019 and Spring 2020 semesters.  The program’s services and activities will be implemented in July, and they will focus on students with academic probation sanctions who have registered for the Fall.  The Counseling Center is working collaboratively with Institutional Research on this project.
  • The Supporting Students in Recovery program has been conducting individual recovery coaching, weekly support meetings, and an active discussion board for students enrolled in the Canvas course.  There are now 22 students participating in the program.
  • The Displaced Homemakers Program has worked with 71 new and 33 continuing clients for this program year.  The staff follows up with clients on a weekly basis and has been working with several new clients.  Through videoconferencing, computer skills classes on Excel, Advanced Excel, and QuickBooks and multi-day training seminars on employment/careers have been popular with clients.  Six clients are completing their CPE job skills training programs and will be taking the national certification exams.  A renewal contract for the upcoming program year is anticipated.

Equal Opportunity Fund   

  • Video and telephone interviews are increasing for program applicants and required documentation is being received through email.  Many applicants have taken great care with their essay questions, which allows staff to get to know them and for them to share what they know about EOF.  Applications are being accepted on a rolling basis.
  • The hiring of Mr. Paul Sutor as a Mathematics Tutor has completed EOF’s team of professional tutors.  The team looks forward to additional training and preparations for virtual support next semester.
  • EOF’s summer First Experience virtual program/course shell is in development, with a theme of Mindset/Growth or Fixed.  Workshops include topics such as the importance of tutoring, college expectations, goal setting, and building a relationship with your advisor.

Disability Services

  • The Office of Disability Services presented a workshop at the 2020 Summer Virtual Professional Development Series titled “Managing Accommodations in a Remote Learning Environment.”  The session provided instructors with an overview of services facilitated by the office as well as other related resources.  Real-life scenarios were discussed regarding student accommodations in an online learning environment.
  • Led by Adaptive Services Specialist Jamie Prioli, the Office of Disability Services partnered with the New Jersey Office of Emergency Management, New York City Emergency Management, and the Ocean County Core Advisory Group to present an interactive virtual session at the New York Metro Abilities Expo 2020.  The annual three-day event draws thousands of individuals with disabilities, caregivers, and disability professionals from around the tri-state region and introduces accessibility resources, assistive technology, and service providers.  This year’s virtual session addressed accessibility and emergency readiness for individuals with disabilities.
  • Staff attended a virtual meeting with the New Jersey Association on Higher Education and Disability® (AHEAD) and discussed resources and current best practices for serving students with disabilities during the COVID-19 pandemic.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

Course Development

The design team continues to move forward with course development for Fall 2020 and Spring 2021.  Courses for Fall 2020 are currently going through Quality Assurance Review to ensure all course-specific learning outcomes, general education goals, and course design standards are met.  The unit continues to work closely with Academic Deans and the Library to find Open Educational Recourses (OER) and low-cost course materials for Spring 2021 course development.

Proctoring

e-Learning is expanding its pilot of the Honorlock proctoring program from 5 to 125 sections this summer as part of its initiative to ensure academic integrity in online courses.  The design team is incorporating Honorlock into the pre-selected Summer 2020 distance learning course sections.  Information and resources pertaining to Honorlock have been added to the Center for Instructional Empowerment (CIE) for instructors.  Resources were also added to the Online Student Orientation Course for distance learning students.  In addition to these resources, instructors and students will have tutorials and guides located directly in their online courses for reference.

Innovation

e-Learning will utilize a free sixty-day trial of VoiceThread starting this month, which will include 100 licenses.   Members of both the e-Learning Department and Academic Affairs will be selected to test the software and its capabilities for a determination as to whether the College should move forward with piloting the software in pre-selected distance learning and remote/traditional face-to-face courses.

Collaboration

e-Learning is working with Human Resources to hire two part-time Instructional Designer consultants through CARES Act funding to assist in course development and maintenance, as well as with special projects.  The consultants will be working with the STEM Department, under the leadership of Dr. Sylvia Riviello, Dean, to reduce the cost of online science courses utilizing Hands-On Labs and working with CPE staff, under the leadership of Ms. Kaitlin Everett, Director of Community and Professional Education, Workforce Development, and Community Programs, to create a stronger CPE online presence.

Excellence

e-Learning proudly announces that Ocean County College has been ranked #2 Best Community College in New Jersey for 2020 by the Guide of Online Schools.  The College received recognition for online student enrollment, number of online associate degrees offered, student retention, and graduation rates.  Due to the consistent high quality of OCC’s online courses and scheduling options offered, online student enrollment continues to grow.  The e-Learning 2020 summer term enrollment has increased significantly from last year; there is a 4.9% increase as compared to e-Learning 2019 summer enrollment (15,532 total credits taken this year compared to 13,008 total credits taken in 2019).

Faculty Development

  • The e-Learning Department welcomes Ms. Ti Peng as the new College Lecturer II in Mathematics.  Ms. Peng brings ten years of teaching experience in mathematics in secondary and higher education.  She earned her Master’s in Science degree in Mathematical Sciences at Rutgers University-Camden.
  • Adjunct faculty play an intricate part in the success of OCC’s online program.  The e-Learning Department is pleased to announce the following adjuncts have received promotion in rank.  Their experience in teaching, involvement and service to the College, and expertise with innovative technology aligns with the Ocean County College vision.  Please join us in congratulating them for their excellent work:
  • Promoted to Adjunct Professor:
    • Eugene de Silva
    • Gina M. Suriano
  • Promoted to Adjunct Associate Professor:
    • Binh Dang
    • Andrew Zawacki
    • Brandi Granett
    • Dana Newton
    • Gina Romano
    • Larry Musolino
    • Megan Myers
  • On June 3, 2020, e-Learning hosted a webinar in the 2020 Summer Virtual Professional Development series, Creating Interactive Discussions. The webinar highlighted the best practices and tips for creating an interactive and dynamic virtual learning community for students using the Canvas discussion forum.  Over 60 instructors and administrators attended this webinar.
  • On June 5, 2020, Dr. Jack Kelnhofer, e-learning College Lecturer II in English, hosted an open webinar with the e-Learning writing and literature faculty.  The goal was to garner feedback on the current master courses and to brainstorm possible improvement strategies.  Twelve faculty representatives attended the online meeting along with members of the instructional design team.  The meeting yielded two projects for improvement, the creation of a standardized grading feedback document and exploration of technical avenues to provide greater flexibility in course content selection.

International Education

Operational Changes

The departure of Mr. Hatem Akl, Associate Vice President for Operations, has led to several operational changes in the administration of international programs.  Dr. Howaida Wahby Eraky, e-Learning College Lecturer II, will assume responsibility for additional administrative work to assist in both academic and operational tasks.

Current Programs 

While the Coronavirus caused Kean University to cancel its in-person graduation ceremonies that 14 students from the first Egyptian cohort had planned to attend, virtual graduation ceremonies were held featuring speeches by President Dawood Farahi and me.  The graduation video went viral on all forms of social media and was shared with the Egyptian Ministry of Higher Education.

Cohorts 2 and 3 participated in OCC’s virtual graduation ceremony; 36 students graduated from Cohort 2, and 26 students graduated from Cohort 3.  The students in Cohort 2 will start their senior year at Kean University in July 2020.  Cohort 3 will resume studies with Ain Shams University this coming Fall and will start their courses at Kean University in Spring 2021.  All non-graduating students are joining the sequence of Cohort 4 students.

This summer, Dr. Wahby Eraky participated significantly in Cohort 4’s summer course success.  She is meeting the students virtually twice a week to assist with their courses and facilitate their learning experience.  Now that the first cohort of the Kean/Ocean/ASU program has graduated, Kean Coordinator Nesreen El Rayes and Dr. Waleed Youssef, Ain Shams University Program Coordinator, joined Dr. Maysa Hayward, Associate Vice President of International Programs, Academic, in evaluating the SWAT analysis of the program so far. The team is progressing in resolving any academic and logistic challenges.

Special Programs

The International team, in coordination with Ms. Eileen Schilling, Executive Director of Academic Assessment, continues to prepare the Special Programs.  William Paterson University’s team is collaborating with OCC to finalize the course sequencing of the four pilot programs in the upcoming 2+1+1 Special Program delivery to Ain Shams University, Alexandria University, and Helwan University.  The next step will be for Executive Vice President Sara Winchester to work with the Chief Financial Officer at William Paterson University on the financial aspect of the programs.  The same process will be followed with Kean University, our third affiliate in this endeavor.

Cooperation with New Jersey City University

The International team has also been working with New Jersey City University on two upcoming projects, the 2+1+1 Special Programs and the OCC/NJCU/Egypt extension program.

Dr. Maysa Hayward and Ms. Eileen Schilling finalized the curricula sequences of the programs, and Ms. Sara Winchester finalized the costs with NJCU’s CFO.  NJCU will be one of the affiliate universities delivering the senior year for four pilot Special Programs.

In preparation for the 2+2 OCC/NJCU extension in Egypt, Dr. Maysa Hayward, Ms. Eileen Schilling, and Ms. Tamara Cunningham from NJCU finalized the course sequence of the academics for the four programs, Social Studies/Political Science, Humanities/English and Spanish, Business/Supply Chain, and Digital Mass Media/Journalism. The programs are currently under review by OCC’s and NJCU’s finance entities.

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