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April 22, 2021

Dr. Larson’s April 2021 Report to the OCC Board of Trustees

OCC president Dr. Larson

Civic Literacy

At the April 16, 2021, Board of Trustees event, A Conversation with the Trustees, a student suggested that the College offer a civics course, and the suggestion seems to imply there is a renewed interest by students in civic knowledge. The College currently offers a series of Political Science courses, such as Introduction to Political Science; American Federal, State, and Local Government; and Comparative Politics and Government. However, it may be a good time to consider changes or additions to the curricula in order to meet the needs of our students.

Civic literacy requires an understanding of the structure of government; rights and responsibilities; and methods of engagement. Educators and colleges have a unique opportunity and responsibility to ensure that their students become engaged and knowledgeable citizens. A review of OCC’s offerings will ensure that students are learning the basics of American politics and civic life and are prepared to fulfill the responsibilities and privileges of citizenship.

Pathways to Credentials

During the Spring of 2020, Ocean County College made a competitive application for a Technical Assistance (TA) Opportunity being sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education through the Office of Career, Technical, and Adult Education (OCTAE). Ms. Susan O’Connor, Director of the Perkins Grant and Curriculum Compliance, and Ms. Eileen Schilling, Executive Director of Academic Articulation and Prior Learning Assessment, worked closely with Ms. Kayci Clayton, Associate Director of Grant Administration, and the Ellucian Grants team to assemble the application, choosing to highlight one of OCC’s emerging new programs, Industrial Hygiene. The new Industrial Hygiene courses and proposed certificate held promise for the alignment of industry-valued credentials in a high demand field to college credit.

OCTAE, working in conjunction with the Center for Occupational Research and Development (CORD), is interested in partnering with community and technical colleges to improve Career and Technical Education (CTE) completion rates through the intentional development and expansion of “stackable” credential opportunities for their students. Stackable credentials are typically created by linking industry-valued, non-credit certifications to college credits, which, in turn, can then be linked to academic certificates, associate degree programs, and beyond.

In late Spring 2020, OCC was one of ten colleges selected nationally to participate in the Technical Assistance cohort. The TA has allowed OCC to have access to a personal coach, Ms. Deanna Khemani, and specific training workshops and cohort exchanges sponsored by OCTAE. OCC access has also been made available to a very valuable archive of information related to developing and leveraging stackable credential opportunities for our students. A team has been working since May 2020, and the members are pleased to present on Thursday their progress to this point as well as plans for the future.

The team is comprised of Dr. Sylvia Riviello, Dean of STEM; Ms. Kaitlin Everett, Director of Workforce and Professional Education; Ms. Susan O’Connor; Mr. Lincoln Simmons, Biology College Lecturer II; Ms. Eileen Schilling; Dr. Amir Sadrian, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs; and Ms. Deana Khemani, Technical Assistance Coach, Center for Occupational Research and Development.

Phi Theta Kappa

The Middle States Regional Convention for 2021 was held virtually on Thursday, March 18, 2021, at 7 p.m.; Friday March 19, 2021, at 7:30 p.m.; and Saturday, March 20, 2021, at 10 a.m. The convention was presented in a manner which was very similar to a convention held in a physical setting.

The convention included keynote speeches, workshops, speeches by the candidates for Regional Office, and the presentation of awards. Tau Iota received the following recognition at the Convention:

  • Tau Iota was recognized as a Five-Star Chapter, a Reach Chapter, and a Gold Chapter
  • Kaitlyn Barrett was inducted into the Regional Hall of Honor for Chapter Officers
  • Samantha Cassese was inducted into the Regional Hall of Honor for Chapter Officers
  • Jennifer Dellner was named a Distinguished Advisor on the Regional Level
  • Jennifer Fazio was named a Distinguished Administrator on the Regional Level
  • William Rickert was name Advisor Emeritus on the Regional Level

Congratulations are again extended to Tau Iota members and their advisors for their outstanding success.

National Community College Month

April is designated by the Association of Community College Trustees (ACCT) as National Community College Month.

There are currently over 325,000 students enrolled at New Jersey’s 18 community colleges; they are the largest provider of higher education in the state. Community colleges serve the complex needs of students, employers, and local communities. They offer a diverse student population accessibility, affordability, and, most importantly, academic excellence, and they continually respond to the needs of the communities they serve. Community colleges are critical to the economic and social well-being of New Jersey’s residents.

In recognition and celebration of the invaluable contributions made by community colleges, it is respectfully requested that the Board of Trustees adopt a resolution to proclaim April as Community College Month at Ocean County College.

Academic Affairs

School of Nursing and Health Sciences

  • Teresa Walsh, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, and Dr. Elizabeth Stevenson, Assistant Dean of the School, continue to meet weekly with the Chief Nursing Officer and Vice of President of Patient Care Services and the Director of Education at Community Medical Center to arrange clinical experiences due to the changing number of COVID cases within the facility. These meetings are to assure appropriate patient care experiences are provided relevant to the Nursing Program curriculum and to provide a safe environment for students and faculty.
  • RWJBarnabas Behavioral Health Center provided N95 mask-fit testing to the School to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and patients. Students and faculty were also provided with goggles from the facility.
  • The Student Nurse Organization is collecting donations for the Ocean County Food Pantry until April 22, 2021, under the direction of advisors Sue Gill, MSN, RN, Lecturer II; Barbara Hayles, MSN, RN, Lecturer II; and MaryAnn Kaufmann PhD, MSN, RN, Skills, Simulation, and Student Retention Specialist.
  • Mary Fennessy, BA, MAS, Director of Program Services, represented the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Pre-Nursing Information Sessions that were held virtually on March 12 and 31, 2021. These sessions are scheduled for students who intend to enter the Nursing Program. Forty-six students attended the March 12 program, and 39 attended the program on March 31.
  • Donna Bonacorso, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President for Patient Care Services, presented information to graduating students regarding the Nurse Residency Program at Community Medical Center on April 1, 2021. Bonacorso discussed the application process as well as the schedule of events included in this year’s program.
  • Teresa Walsh has been elected to serve as the Vice Chair of the RWJBarnabas Behavioral Health Center Board of Trustees, effective March 2021.

School of Arts and Humanities

  • College Lecturer II Brian Gilmore and Instructor Karin Gargone organized a piano recital on March 19, 2021. The musical event featured pianist Anna Keiserman performing masterworks by Russian and Iberian composers. The musical performance concluded with a post-recital chat with Keiserman.
  • On April 7, 2021, College Lecturer II Stephanie Shestakow hosted a lecture by Victoria Wyeth for students in the Modern Art class, as well as other attendees from the OCC faculty and student population. Ms. Wyeth’s lecture focused on the art and life of her grandfather, artist Andrew Wyeth.
  • In April, the Social Justice Series continued with four events:
    • As part of the annual Poetry Festival, a reading by poet Olivia Gatwood was held on April 11, 2021. This event was organized by College Lecturers Christine Bryant and Richard Carr.
    • English Associate Professor Jayanti Tamm hosted Gatwood at the Open Mic for students on April 13, 2021. Ms. Gatwood also gave a workshop for creative writing students, who received a copy of her latest book.
    • For the third event in April, College Lecturer II Jason Molloy presented the final film in the 2020-21 series, Tomorrow. Tomorrow is a 2015 French documentary film that addresses climate change and looks at possible solutions and actions to address the issues facing this planet. The film examines the role agriculture, energy, economy, democracy, and education play in climate change. After the screening, viewers held a discussion on the issues that were illuminated in the film.
    • The final event of the 2020-21 series is the Nimbus Dance event, which will be held in conjunction with the Grunin Center on April 24, 2021. This event is dual in nature, as the company will present a performance of Dance Speaks Out: Lynchtown/Thistown and will work with OCC dance students to create a piece in response to this work.
  • Throughout April, English Lecturers held several professional development series for OCC’s adjunct faculty:
  • Samantha Glassford, began the month with an ALP Round table on April 2, 2021. This round table meeting featured a presentation by Lecturer Kristyn Stout on an activity to foster belonging.
  • Madison Peschock, continued the professional development on April 21, 2021, with an English Adjunct meeting focusing on techniques for teaching English II.
  • Heather Sciarappa rounds out the month with an Arts and Humanities Adjunct Professional Development Series meeting on April 23, 2021. At the meeting, English Adjunct Marianne Critchley is presenting on reaching the underprepared student in college classes, and Spanish Adjunct Cesar Romero Fernandez is discussing building community in the online classroom.
  • Stephanie Shestakow and Professor of Humanities Marilyn Kralik held a “slow looking” session for all faculty interested in learning technique which focus on how to build a more engaging and deeper conversation about works of art by looking slowly at the artwork and listening to what people notice about the piece. Ms. Shestakow and Dr. Kralik framed this workshop around how to use this technique with artwork and images across the curriculum. This interactive and informative session was held on April 2, 2021.
  • Dean Heidi Sheridan and Assistant Dean Veronica Guevara-Lovgren recently worked with Assistant Director of Tutoring Brianna De Cicco to determine the best practices going forward to assist English Language Learners in all of the various modalities and locations for teaching.
  • College Lecturers Mark Westmoreland and Christopher Ruth have taken the opportunity to revitalize the Philosophy Club. Throughout this academic year, the Philosophy Club has been enhanced, with students, staff, and faculty meeting regularly online to discuss famous philosophical paradoxes and questions.
  • Additionally, Mark Westmoreland had two recent publications:
    • “The Racial Oracle Has a History,” in Teaching Race in Perilous Times, edited by Jason Cohen and Dwayne Mack (Albany: State University of New York Press, 2021).
    • “White Supremacy: The Present is Prologue,” Perspectives on Global Development and Technology, 20, No. 1-2 (2021).
  • College Lecturer II Richard Carr is piloting the use of Virtual Reality technology in the classroom. His pilot program uses a 360-degree camera, which allows him to create English lessons in full virtual reality. No matter where a person finds themselves in the world, using a virtual reality headset or glasses will put that person in a classroom that can be fully tailored to instructor and student wants and needs.

School of STEM

  • To highlight the designation of April as Math Awareness Month, Phi Theta Kappa and the OCC Mathematics Club sponsored a virtual lecture series via Webex. Presenters included College Lecturers Julia Kim and Vandana Saini; Professor William Rickert; Associate Professor of Science Marc LaBella; and Adjunct Professors Charles Cebula and Richard Brady.
  • Sylvia Riviello, Dean, and Science Lecturer II Pamela Bogdan are making two public presentations of “CSIT XXX – Applied Programming for All Majors.” The first presentation was a Flash Talk at ACM Capital Region Celebration of Women in Computing (CAPWIC) 2021 on March 27, 2021. ACM is the world’s largest educational and scientific computing society. It delivers resources that advance computing as a science and a profession.

The second event will be a presentation and publication of a Work in Progress paper at the Frontiers in Education (FIE) Conference from October 13 to 16, 2021. The FIE Conference is a major international conference focusing on educational innovations and research in engineering and computing.

Positive feedback has been received about this novel curriculum, which rests on a foundation of contextual learning that customizes the course to the students’ interests and career goals. One comment read: “This work seems innovative in the sense of teaching programming to all majors, even those outside of STEM. “

  • The Engineering Program was awarded $40,000 for the Engineering and Technology Outreach Roadshow Trainers-in-a-Box (Manufacturing, Mechatronics, Electrical, Biomechanics). The purpose of this initiative is to stimulate an interest in STEM for both non- traditional and traditional students. There is an initiative spreading across the United States to fill the gap in STEM employees. There are many positions that need to be filled in what would traditionally be thought of as the technician/lab assistant roles. These roadshows help to both spark and increase interest in STEM and provide tangible experiences and mentoring to show a pathway to a career in STEM for all types of students. Ocean County high school and middle school students may participate in roadshow-enabled activities in a number of events that will occur both on the OCC campus and at their home schools.
  • Pam Bogdan, in her effort to provide real-world professional engineering experience opportunities for Engineering and Technology students, has announced a Request for Proposals activity. Students who participate in this activity will be part of a team that will create a competitive bid in response to an RFP for the Design of a Replacement Frictionless Pulley for the Physics Labs. To make it fun and competitive, there will be two teams:
    • Team 1: Students pursuing mechanical engineering and technology
    • Team 2: Students pursuing all other types of engineering and technology
  • The 5th annual Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium was completed with a Webex virtual speaker and the announcement of winners. For the first time, Ryan Park, from Millburn High School, took first place for the second year in a row. We await the results of the National Competition being held virtually this month.
  • Vandana Saini will present a Connecting Shrimps and Period-Doubling Cascades poster on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, at the 2021 SIAM (Society for Industrial and Applied Mathematics) Conference on Dynamical Systems. An explanation of Dr. Saini’s work is available online.

SIAM is an international community that advances the application of mathematics and computational science to engineering, industry, science, and society and promotes research leading to new mathematical and computational methods and techniques.

  • College Lecturer II in Computer Studies Jonathan Weiss continued the Cybersecurity Seminar Series on Friday, April 2, 2021, with Edward Amoroso presenting “A Random Walk Through Cyber Security.” Dr. Amoroso is an experienced chief security officer who is the founder and CEO of TAG Cyber, which provides cybersecurity advice and training.

Later this month, Mr. Weiss will host a virtual presentation by Mr. Julian Cohen, “A History of Vulnerability Disclosure” on Friday, April 30, 2021, from 1:00-2:00 p.m. He will present a timeline of significant milestones in vulnerability disclosure as well as the evolution of the processes, mechanisms, and standards by which such information is disseminated and protected. A description of his presentation and a Webex link to join the presentation can be found at: disclosure-is-this-months-topic/

Mr. Cohen served as Director of Security and Chief Information Security Officer across finance, healthcare, government, technology, and e-currency enterprises after beginning his career contracting for the United States Department of Defense.

  • NJ HOSA’s virtual State Leadership Conference was held last week. OCC student Sarah Sywancyz competed in the pathophysiology event and took 3rd place. Of the top five winners in this event, the other four were students from Rutgers University. HOSA, future health professionals, had one student compete this year at the conference. Sarah will compete virtually at HOSA’s International Leadership Conference at the end of June. She is graduating this semester with an S degree in General Studies-Science and continuing to Rutgers University where she will be majoring in Biochemistry on a pre-med track.

School of Business and Social Sciences

  • Sean Bips, College Lecturer II in Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management, announced that the following students participated in the 2021 NJ FBLA-PBL State Leadership Conference, which was held virtually from March 15 to April 2, 2021. All three OCC students received either 1st or 2nd place in their competitions.

Gianna Busichio competed in the categories of Marketing Concepts and Management Concepts and placed 1st and 2nd, respectively; Kyle Fischer competed in the category of Macroeconomics and placed 2nd; and Brandon Piserchia competed in the category of Financial Services and placed 1st. Each student competed in objective tests, case studies, or both. All objective tests were administered through the DLG AnswerWrite system. This year, all tests were open resource, so students could use any resource to assist them in the test. Tests needed to be completed in one sitting. The Grand Awards session was held on Friday, April 2, 2021, at 6:30 p.m.

  • Chris Bottomley, College Lecturer II in Business Studies, and Mr. Sean Bips announced that the 2nd annual Sink or Swim Competition will be held on Friday, April 23, 2021. The Sink or Swim competition provides high school students with the opportunity to showcase their business acumen while vying for a chance to win awards and recognition, including the title of “High School Entrepreneurial Team of the Year.” All students will be awarded a certificate of participation, with monetary awards given for first, second, and third place winners. A special scholarship will be given to the student who presents the best pitch for their group’s project. Students will develop an entrepreneurial product or service. Each team will complete and submit a business plan.

From among the entries, the first set of judges, faculty and Ocean/Kean student members of the Entrepreneurial Club, selected the top ten business plans for the actual competition. Each team will select one student from their group to present a one-minute elevator pitch to the second set of judges, which includes prominent members of the Ocean County community. The judges will have an opportunity to critique/question students about their idea. This year’s judges are Mr. Jim Mahlmann, Managing Director at Net Cetra; Mr. Michael Forcella, OCC Manager of Business Engagement, Continuing/Professional Education; Mrs. Lori Pepenella, CEO of the Southern Ocean Chamber of Commerce; and Ms. Katie Calabrese, Director of Memberships and Projects, NACCE.

The Sink or Swim Competition is hosted by the Business Innovation Consortium (BIC), an umbrella organization of OCC Business Clubs, including the Entrepreneurs Club, the HRTM Club, the Legal Club, and FBLA-PBL (Future Business Leaders of America).

  • Sarah Campbell, College Lecturer II in Psychology, announced that a virtual wellness event titled “Release Stress and Test Anxiety-A Workshop” will be held on April 21, 2021. The workshop will be facilitated by psychotherapist Robin Bilazarian, LCSW; she will discuss a mind-body method called Emotional Freedom Techniques, which is used to desensitize and curb stress and test anxiety. Emotional Freedom Techniques, also referred to as Tapping, is an evidenced-based method that releases stress and tension felt in one’s body, thoughts, and emotions. This method significantly reduces interfering mental cloudiness, while restoring one’s capacity for productive thinking and learning.
  • Jason Ghibesi, College Lecturer II in Political Science, announced that a virtual event titled Meet the Mayor will be held on April 21, 2021. Students and other event attendees will have the opportunity to meet and ask a variety of questions of Toms River’s currently serving Mayor, Maurice B. “Mo” Hill.
  • Katherine Toy, College Lecturer II in Economics, announced that this year, with the help and support of Student Life, at least 49 students will be electronically entered into the Business Honor Society, Alpha Beta Gamma. Established in 1970, Alpha Beta Gamma is an international business honor society which recognizes and encourages scholarship among two- year college students majoring in business curricula.
  • Margaret Maghan, College Lecturer II in Psychology, announced that, in honor of National Social Work Month, the Social Work Practicum set up a panel discussion with the VA of Ocean County, which was held on March 18, 2021, as well as an engaging presentation conducted by Jacqueline Durham, LCSW, titled “A Day in the Life of a Social Worker,” which was held on March 30, 2021.
  • Margaret Maghan also announced that the Psi Beta 2nd Annual Inauguration is happening virtually through the end of April with over 100 OCC students eligible for induction. Psi Beta is the National Psychology Honors Society.

Finance and Administration

  • Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration, served on the Middle States evaluation team for SUNY Broome Community College in Binghamton, New York. The visit took place virtually from March 29 to March 31, 2021.
  • The County of Ocean released a payment in the amount of $320,347.75 to the College for participation in the Ocean County CARES Grant Program. The reimbursement was for the period of March 2020 through December 2020. The County has notified the College that the program will be extended through December 2021, and the College plans to participate.
  • The annual Board of School Estimate meeting took place on April 14, 2021. The County of Ocean confirmed a 2% increase in operating aid, which supports the College’s commitment not to raise tuition in the coming year. In addition, the County committed to participating in the FY 2021 Chapter 12 program, which will fund the renovation of the library and creation of music rooms in the Grunin Building.
  • The Return to Campus Committee is continuing to plan for the reoccupation of the campus. A phased-in return of non-teaching staff is planned for the summer, and face-to-face student services will be available by appointment. Faculty will return to campus for the Fall semester, and a project is underway to equip most classrooms with audio and video to allow some students to participate remotely while others attend class on campus.


  • In an effort to improve financial security, the College implemented a new ACH (Automated Clearing House) confirmation process through Santander Bank. This feature will prevent unauthorized withdrawals from the College account by prompting manual approval of each payment before it is processed by the bank. Accounting staff has been trained to begin using this feature immediately.
  • The FY 2020 Audit Report is on Thursday’s meeting agenda for approval. The audit was delayed due to the pandemic, and the auditor’s work was done remotely. The audit was especially complex this year due to the various sources of pandemic relief that had to be reviewed. The audit process and administration of the pandemic relief funding was managed by Mary Lancaster, Controller, who did an outstanding job under very challenging circumstances.

College Relations

  • College Relations launched an updated monthly newsletter for faculty and staff in April. The e-Notebook redesign was done in alignment with OCC’s branding and editorial guidelines and published in the new, standardized HTML email design. Appreciation is expressed for the work done on this project by Maureen Conlon, Associate Director of Web Services; Mr. Michael Leon, Manager of Graphic Design; and Ms. Brenda Lange, Marketing and Communications Writer/Editor.
  • The College Relations team collaborated with the Library on a National Library Week social media campaign. Campaign elements included a series of social media posts introducing library staff members and describing their roles in providing services to students, as well as historical photographs depicting the library over the years. Campaign posts were viewed 9,401 times, with 337 engagements over the campaign period from April 5 to 9, 2021.


  • The quarterly alumni e-newsletter (Spring edition) has been sent to nearly 20,000 alumni email addresses. The newsletter promotes upcoming virtual events, professional development and career services, updates on the College’s COVID-19 response and status, and opportunities for alumni to network and stay involved with the College.
  • Save the date for the 2021 “SUP” the River event on Saturday, September 18, 2021, at the Toms River Yacht Club. The stand-up paddleboard event is an initiative between the OCC Foundation and the Kiwanis Club of Greater Toms River to engage and support our local community. All OCC Alumni are invited and encouraged to join the event.

OCC Foundation

Rachmaninoff Squared

On May 7, 2021, Friday Matinée Recitals will return at 2 p.m. in a virtual format. A long- time supporter of the Foundation and the arts at OCC, Mr. Richard Askoff, has challenged our very own College Lecturer II Brian Gilmore to a piano duel on two Bosendorfer Imperial Grand Pianos; the event will be broadcast from the music room on campus. Event registration is available at

Summer Scholarship Celebration

This year’s hybrid celebration will be hosted on the campus mall on Friday, June 18, 2021. Appreciation is expressed to all who have already contributed to the Foundation’s fund- raising efforts, totaling over $100,000 in advance of formal invitations. This year’s honorees are Dr. Henry A. Jackson, Executive Director of Academic Success; Dr. Teresa Walsh, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences; and the 200 Club of Ocean County. Sponsorship opportunities, tickets, and virtual registration are available on the website.

Grunin Center

A new Executive and Artistic Director of the Grunin Center for the Arts has been selected. The national search was conducted by the Arts Consulting Group, and a diverse committee participated in the process. The successful candidate is Ms. Shannon Mayers, who comes to the College with many years of experience in the arts and a level of professionalism that will serve the Center well in the years to come.

Human Resources

A one-year extension of the OCC Support Staff Association Agreement was negotiated. The extension provides a salary increase for FY 2022 and a change in hiring rates. No other changes were considered due to the ongoing pandemic and related disruption to normal College operations. A full negotiating process will take place next year.


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 March 16, 2021, through April 13, 2021.

Student Affairs

Vice President of Student Affairs Gerald Racioppi and Executive Director of Enrollment Sheenah Hartigan presented at Ellucian Live this month; the title of the presentation was “Virtually Powered by Recruit: Moving to a Fully Virtual Enrollment Process Leads to Growth at OCC.” The presentation focused on changes made to the process that students follow to enroll at OCC, the many improvements made over the years, the many technological systems implemented, and how all these enhancements produced growth in the count of new students at OCC despite the fact the National Student Loan Clearinghouse reported that, nationwide, the average community college saw a significant decrease in the size of the freshman class in the Fall of 2020.

Dr. Racioppi and Ms. Hartigan were interviewed by representatives of a company called “Content 4 Demand” to develop an influencer-content piece entitled, “Where Do We Go from Here? Predictions from Higher Ed Admissions Leaders.” The individual who invited them to contribute noted: “We’re inviting noted influencers with a broad range of perspectives on the subject to contribute. After reviewing Ocean’s success and your Ellucian Live materials, your insights and thoughts would add tremendous value to the e-book.”

For the fifth year in a row, the percentage of Ocean County high school seniors who enrolled at OCC for the Fall or Spring semester following their graduation increased. OCC’s yield from the Class of 2019 was 32.7% of graduating seniors; for 2020, it was 33.9%. This is considerably higher than nationwide averages and reflects very well on the work of all who contributed to this achievement.


Advising Training

The Advising Office hosted multiple training opportunities this Spring for all campus advisors. Topics included using Student Planning, Advising for Transfer, hosted by Transfer Coordinator Laura Wills and Advisor Kirsten Bollinger; and Advising for Pre-Nursing Students, hosted by Assistant Director of Academic Advising Michele Connolly.

Advising Information Sessions

A series of virtual advising events is being offered for students in preparation for Fall 2021 registration.

Advisor Lauren Humphrey coordinated two Pre-Nursing Information sessions in collaboration with Records and Registration and OCC’s School of Nursing. About 100 students attended between the two sessions. Feedback from attendees included comments that the session was helpful and informative. As a follow-up to the Pre-Nursing sessions, Ms. Laura Wills is hosting two sessions for transfer specific to Nursing students. Topics include options for RN-BSN, accelerated BSN, and MSN programs with some of OCC’s partner institutions.

Major-specific sessions for academic planning and transfer were also conducted by Ms. Laura Wills, with support from Academic Affairs for Education and Social Work.

Advising is hosting several Student Planning and Registration sessions for current students. Advisors will discuss degree requirements and how to plan and schedule classes to assist students in registering for the Fall semester.

New Student Information Sessions

The Advising Office hosted its first New Student Information Session for Fall 2021 on April 13, 2021. Over 20 students attended, which is a great turnout for the first session. Multiple additional sessions are planned throughout the spring and summer. Additionally, Advising will be partnering with the HUB and Financial Aid to offer high school-specific new student sessions.

Transfer Update

Ms. Laura Wills is utilizing Handshake, the new Career CRM, to schedule and promote events with four-year institutions. This Spring, she has planned Instant Decision Days with Montclair, NJIT, and Rutgers New Brunswick. These events are a great service to OCC students, as they simplify the admissions process and often waive the application fee.

Additionally, Ms. Wills has coordinated with several four-year institutions to schedule one-on- one informational meetings with students to discuss options for transfer. These institutions include Centenary University, The College of Saint Rose, Excelsior College, Georgian Court University, Kean Ocean, NJCU, Rowan University, Saint Elizabeth University, Southern New Hampshire University, Stockton University, and Drew University. Virtual information sessions have been hosted by Savannah College of Art and Design, Columbia University, TCNJ, Temple University, and NJCU. All of these events were promoted to students via Handshake.

OCC also participated in the New Jersey Statewide Transfer Fair. Ms. Wills moderated two sessions for this event, at which students interacted with four-year institutions on topics such as admissions and credit transfer.

Counseling Center

  • The Counseling Center, through direct interventions, consultations, programs, services, and activities, provides students with the resources needed to persist and succeed in their classes, remain enrolled, and promote their overall well-being. Since September 1, 2020, the Counseling Center staff has interacted with 545 students, for a total of 1,036 attended appointments. The Counseling Center fosters partnerships and alliances with faculty, staff, and external stakeholders to meet the ever-increasing and changing needs of students.
  • The Supporting Students in Recovery Program approaches recovery through a variety of lenses and with strong partnerships/affiliations with internal and external stakeholders. Events are focused on promoting awareness, education, prevention, and recovery and are held in partnership with Hope Sheds Light, the DART Prevention Coalition, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Kean-Ocean, Kean’s Counselor Education Program, the Society of Prevention for Teen Suicide, and the Addictions Studies Program. The Recovery Program provides resources, individual recovery coaching, and group support.
  • April is recognized as Alcohol Abuse Prevention Month, and a series of events and programs are planned throughout the month, with the theme “Recovery Views.” As is done every year since its inception, the annual Addiction Summit on April 12, 2021, was the kickoff for the month-long series of activities, which includes training for professionals on current drug trends, presented by the DART Coalition on April 13, 2021; a panel of individuals in recovery, speaking about language and stigma, on April 19, 2021; and a collaborative presentation with the DART Coalition and the Society for the Prevention of Teen Suicide on self-care scheduled for April 26, 2021. Now in its second year, the Recovery Program is serving 101 students. Prevention Coordinator Katie Hueth represents OCC’s Recovery Support Program in the Northeast Regional Collegiate Recovery Network.
  • April is also Sexual Assault Awareness Month. On Thursday, April 22, 2021, the Counseling Center is hosting a prevention education session on the topic of online safety. In a time of virtual connection and increasing likelihood of individuals participating in online dating platforms, a discussion on safety, warning signs, and reportability will be This event is held in cooperation with St. Francis Counseling Service and Providence House Domestic Violence Services of Catholic Charities.
  • Continuing the Center’s goal to provide comprehensive supportive services to students in academic jeopardy, two programs (Restore Your Score and Starfish) are focused on providing support and resources to 225 students with academic sanctions due to their grade point averages. Activities include enrollment in Canvas courses, frequent contact efforts, and individual meetings with Kelly Petrolis, Student Intervention Specialist, and connection with Ms. Kerry Holzschuh, Mental Health Technician. Several workshops have been sponsored by Tutoring Services, and the recordings are available to students on Canvas.
  • Members of the Academic Retention CARE Team, composed of Counseling and Student Services staff, have been working diligently to connect with students who are reported as being in academic difficulty (e.g., attendance, not participating, and not completing assignments).

Since this sub-committee of the CARE Team was formed in early February, it has responded to over 155 academic reports. Many more reports reflected the need for counselor intervention, which are addressed as regular CARE reports. A model, which is informed by best practices and experiences with students, is being developed.

  • The CARE Team received 512 reports since July 1, 2021; Susan Ebeling-Witte, Student Intervention Specialist, responds to the majority of these reports. Reports have been received from faculty and staff about students with mental health challenges, emotional distress, severe psychological crisis, personal illness, illness or death of family members, and other situations impacting student performance in classes. The success of the CARE reporting system depends on prompt and accurate reporting by faculty and staff.
  • COVID has exacerbated the already increasing anxiety and depression among college-age students. To address the overall well-being and health of students, the Counseling Center offers weekly Relax and Recharge on Thursdays at 11:00 a.m. and other planned stress reduction activities. The Mental Health Canvas course is a format to communicate information, resources, and activities. The popular Sunset Meditation, in collaboration with the Planetarium, will be held on May 10, 2021.
  • In addition to programs and services, the Counseling Center contributes to meeting the College’s legal requirements for students. The annual Drug-Free School and Communities Act (DFSCA) notification to students, informing them about internal and external services and community resources, was distributed on April 1, 2021, by email, linking to the DFSCA web page. In compliance with the New Jersey Madison Holleran Suicide Prevention Act, every semester a notification is sent to New Jersey students about suicide prevention; this was sent in February. The College is also mandated to provide on-going education and information about sexual violence, alcohol and drugs, and suicide prevention.
  • The Displaced Homemakers Program, which focuses on helping individuals who must become economically self-sufficient due to the death, disability, divorce, or separation of the primary wage earner, is currently serving 75 clients, 24 of whom are new unduplicated clients and 51 are continuing clients. Five clients are presently working toward a Medical Assistant Certificate. Clients are participating in computer skills and career/job search trainings.

Disability Services

  • Disability Services staff co-presented three informational sessions to parents, staff, and students at Pinelands Regional High School. The events were presented in collaboration with the New Jersey Division of Vocational Rehabilitation Services (DVRS) and focused on services available to students with disabilities graduating from high school.
  • Disability Services continued to collaborate with the Ocean County Office of Emergency Management to provide training and technical support for the Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) online training. The March training had over 30 active participants, including many OCC students and staff. Due to increased demand, an April 2021 training was scheduled, and details were shared with the OCC community.

The HUB/Enrollment Services

  • Jenna Puglisi, Enrollment Services Technician, represented Ocean County College on March 24, 2021, at the Ocean County School Counselor Association’s Annual College Fair.

The event was virtual and allowed for hundreds of Ocean County high school students and parents to meet with representatives from a multitude of colleges from across the country.

  • The Enrollment Services team has been facilitating Application Days with high schools, including Jackson Liberty, Jackson Memorial, New Egypt, and Pinelands, in order to increase the number of OCC applications from incoming high school seniors. The team has been met with excitement and many questions from the potential students.
  • The HUB was able to use text messaging, emails, and direct phone calls to encourage students to return their rental books from the Fall semester. The efforts resulted in 40% of the students returning their books, saving the College $60,000 in total.

Financial Aid

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) Grants for Students

The Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) emergency grant application processing was made available to students on February 1, 2021. Since then, Financial Aid has received 1,505 applications and awarded $1,503,000 to 949 students. The CRRSAA requires that institutions prioritize students with exceptional need, such as students who receive Pell grants, in awarding financial aid grants. In an effort to make CRRSAA funding available to students whose academic pursuits are negatively impacted by COVID-19, Ocean County College has decided, in order to help as many students as possible, the maximum amount that will be funded to eligible students for eligible expenses will be $2,000 to full-time students (12 credit hours or more) and $1,000 to part-time students (11 credit hours or less).

FAFSA Completion Assistance

When the new FAFSA filing cycle began on October 1, 2020, FAFSA applications for the 2021- 22 academic year were down 8 percent compared to last year, which is comparable to national trends. Since remote operations began, the Financial Aid Office has been facilitating one-on- one virtual appointments to assist with the completion of FAFSA paperwork and discuss the basic concepts of financial aid for our students and the Ocean County community. This effort has led to a current decrease in FAFSA applications of only 1.06 percent compared to the same time last year.

Southern Education Center

  • Installation work on the synchronous immersive classrooms, a component of a Title III grant, has been completed at the Southern Education Center. This endeavor will link, through technology, at least one classroom and a small group instruction/conference room with classes and services, respectively, on the main campus. SEC students will now be able to take classes being taught on the main campus or receive instructional support through a virtual and fully immersive experience with the same class or service while staying at the Southern Education Center. Additionally, with the connectivity of the small group instruction/conference room at the SEC, students will be able to meet with main campus Student Affairs personnel or receive tutoring through a WebEx connection while remaining in Manahawkin. Both utilizations will greatly expand opportunities for southern-based students academically while opening a stronger continuum of collegiate supports for success.
  • The utilization of the Canvas shell dedicated to the Southern Education Center continues to alert students registered in one or more of the class sections labelled as SEC or MT (MATES Building) to many of the campus events. During March and April, the SEC Canvas shell has recorded over 1,425 views of these announcement emails. The topics covered include: Handshake/Career Services; Counseling Services; and multiple Veterans’ programs, such as veteran vaccine opportunities, the Student Veteran Organization, and Operation Gratitude. The SEC Canvas shell has seen over 6,300 views of announcements since the start of the Spring 2021 semester.
  • The rollout of the L.A.N., Promoting Learners to Achieve Now, program at both Barnegat and Pinelands Regional High Schools continues. Outreach to students is ongoing while parent/student virtual information sessions are being planned for April 22, 2021, at Barnegat High School and April 29, 2021, at Pinelands Regional High School. Presentations by Ms. Sheenah Hartigan and Mr. James Hauenstein, Director of the Southern Education Center, will provide details of the initiative whereby students can complete one year of college studies prior to completing high school. Additionally, both schools will be receiving lists of courses offered at OCC during the Fall 2021 semester that have had strong Early College enrollment over the past years as a guide for students in the program.

Veterans and Military Resources Center

  • The Veterans and Military Resources Center launched the Center’s BookMe scheduler, allowing face-to-face and phone appointments to be more streamlined.
  • The Center completed its second episode of Veterans Voices and is working on recording the third episode at the end of April. Additional information may be found at:
  • The Ocean County Mental Health Commission has connected with the VRMC to provide insight and perspective on military-connected student interaction and engagement.
  • The Center was pleased to receive an anonymous donation of $1,900 to be dedicated to a Chromebook library for military-connected students by the Fall Semester.
  • The first discussion was launched for campus-wide programs of Green Zone Training, which combats stereotypes and ideologies of military and veteran students. The OCC Green Zone logo has been approved and completed:
ocean county college supporting out veterans supporting our troops always forward the green zone logo
  • The College Relations web design team and the VMRC have made numerous updates to the website to increase visibility, programs, offers, awards, and distinctions.
  • By the Fall semester, the Center and College Relations hope to develop an online library of events for all past, current, and future students to visit and enjoy the array of accomplishments of the OCC Veterans and Military Resources Center.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises


  • e-Learning collaborated with Academic Affairs and Student Services on the recommended revisions to the College’s Academic Integrity Policy #5180. This will help streamline processes and make it more efficient for faculty and students.

On April 28, 2021, Dean of e-Learning Vivian Lynn and Assistant e-Learning Deans Christine Webster-Hansen and Howaida Wahby Eraky will present the basics of the Academic Integrity policy and offer guidance to online instructors on how to prevent and report incidents of academic dishonesty. This will include tips for monitoring discussions and interpreting Turnitin reports and HonorLock videos.

Professional Development

  • The Spring 2021 e-Learning weekly professional development series concluded this month. On April 7, 2021, Dana Newton, Interim College Lecturer II, presented creative ways to utilize Twitter in the online classroom to 11 faculty members either attending or viewing the session.
  • As e-Learning continues to innovate with new technologies, regular training is essential for successful adoption. Training and development are provided to administrators and educators for Turnitin’s Authorship Investigation platform, Code Similarity Checker in Gradescope, and Knewton Alta, a new courseware partner.

Course Design and Technology – Personnel

The e-Learning Department recently added three employees to the Instructional Design and Technology Team: Graduate intern Aleah Dacey and Part-Time Instructional Designers Juliann Young and Jin Hong (Justin) Kim. All three will be assisting the Instructional Design and Technology Team with course development, content creation, redevelopment of STEM courses to remove Hands-On Labs, and special projects. Additionally, the e-Learning Department is actively searching for two Lead Instructional Designers and one Instructional Design Specialist.


Professional Development

  • On March 17, 2021, Maysa Hayward, Associate Vice President of International Programs, attended a virtual conference entitled, The Road to Accessible Higher Education in Egypt. She participated in the panel discussion, Accessible Higher Education in the Time of Pandemic, providing a brief on OCC’s efforts in remote teaching.
  • Enjee Auda, Student Coordinator in Egypt, and Ms. Alexis Crosta, Academic Administrator, International, attended the PayMyTuition training to facilitate the payments of tuition and include the Western Union process as an option to students.

Current OCC/ASU/Kean Program

  • On March 23, 2021, Howaida Wahby-Eraky conducted a workshop for OCC/ASU/Kean students on Academic Dishonesty. The workshop included hands-on exercises in breakrooms and was very informative and helpful to the students.
  • In May, 34 students of the OCC/ASU/Kean Program are graduating Kean University, with an additional 3 graduating in August, and 34 students of Cohort 4 are graduating OCC in August.

Special Programs

  • The School of STEM coordinated with e-Learning International in drafting the preparatory bridge program year in the STEM field for Egyptian Universities’ STEM colleges.
  • Previously, OCC signed a non-disclosure agreement with the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGCU). Currently, Eileen Schilling is working on a letter of intent for UMGCU to offer the third and fourth years for Egypt’s special programs.
  • Eileen Schilling and Dr. Maysa Hayward continue to meet with William Paterson University deans to finalize the cross walks of curriculum. Both teams are also working on a dual admission draft.

Egypt Extensions

e-Learning International held two meetings with New Jersey City University. The first meeting was to discuss the teach-out plan in the NJCU Egypt agreement. The second meeting was with the Middle States representative to discuss the MSCHE requirements for the NJCU/OCC agreement, the substantive change, and site visit to Egypt.

Dr. Henderson, President of NJCU and I are planning a July visit to Egypt. The goal of the trip is to discuss the execution of OCC plans and timeline, including the NJCU branch campus. In addition, the plan is to submit NJCU’s full file for its branch campus, including agreement, application, and supporting paperwork.

Expanding Efforts

In e-Learning’s attempts to expand its affiliates, Dr. Eileen Garcia, Vice President of e- Learning and Learning Enterprises, reached out to Florida International University (FIU) as a potential partner domestically and internationally. OCC’s team gave a presentation to explain e-Learning’s programs and activities to FIU as well as provide sample articulation documents. The next meeting with the FIU team is scheduled for April 26, 2021. The team also started working with Ms. Kaitlin Everett, Director of Workforce and Community Development, on the possible development of non-credit English as a Second Language courses.


On April 8, 2021, Dr. Eileen Garcia and Dr. Maysa Hayward presented on OCC’s Egypt efforts during the Board of Trustees Retreat. The presentation covered the history of OCC’s current and future programs in Egypt as well as a description of the various Egyptian educational systems.


WHEREAS, April is designated nationally as Community College Month by the Association of Community College Trustees; and

WHEREAS, the primary goal of New Jersey’s 18 community colleges is to meet the ever-changing educational needs of State residents; and

WHEREAS, New Jersey’s 18 community colleges enroll over 300,000 people each year in credit, noncredit, and workforce development courses at over 70 campuses throughout the State; and

WHEREAS, 45 percent of all students earning bachelor’s degrees in New Jersey completed courses at community colleges during their academic careers; and

WHEREAS, community colleges have developed strong partnerships and articulation agreements for the benefit of their students; and

WHEREAS, community colleges play a critical role in preparing individuals who are at varying stages of their lives for success in an increasingly diverse society and global economy;

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the month of April 2021 be proclaimed Community College Month at Ocean County College in recognition of the important contributions of community colleges throughout New Jersey and the nation.

Adopted: April 22, 2021

Secretary Stephan R. Leone


Board of Trustees Meeting APRIL 22, 2021

The following has been prepared for presentation to the Ocean County College Board of Trustees, for its regular meeting. This report consists of all offenses defined as reportable crimes under the federal Jeanne Clery Act, fires, and other emergencies, which occurred on campus during the reporting period of March 16 and April 13, 2021

1.) A count and classification of all criminal incidents (defined as reportable crimes under the federal Jeanne Clery Act) which occurred on campus and which were recorded by campus security, campus security authority (CSA) or local police departments.
Occurred: Reported: Nothing to report this period
Occurred: Reported:
Occurred: Reported:
2.) A list of campus alerts, threats or emergencies which occurred on campus
Occurred: Reported: Nothing to report this period
Occurred: Reported:
Occurred: Reported:
3.) A count and classification of all fire incidents which occurred on campus and which were recorded by campus security and local fire departments.
Occurred: Reported: Nothing to report this period
Occurred: Reported:


John A. Lopez Senior, OCC Director of Campus Safety and Security, signature
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