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May 20, 2021

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

OCC president Dr. Larson

National Nurses Month

The month of May has been designated by the American Nurses Association as National Nurses Month to honor the nation’s nurses.  The 2021 theme is Nurses Make a Difference.

Given the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic during 2020 and into 2021, this recognition is extremely significant this year.  In the midst of the pandemic, nurses were called upon to perform in extraordinary circumstances; while others were doing all they could to avoid the virus, nurses were facing it every day.  They had to navigate the challenges of the virus while, at the same time, provide their patients with care, compassion, and commitment.

It is respectfully requested that a resolution be adopted at Thursday’s meeting to proclaim May 2021 as National Nurses Month at Ocean County College.  At the meeting, Dr. Teresa Walsh, Dean of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences, will share with you the exceptional efforts by all Nursing School staff members to make the necessary adjustments to be able to continue successful teaching and learning throughout the pandemic.

Ocean County College’s 54th Commencement Ceremony

Pandemic restrictions were eased recently by Governor Murphy; as a result, the 2021 Commencement Ceremony at Ocean County College will take place in a more traditional manner than originally planned.   One in-person ceremony will be held outdoors on our beautiful campus at noon on May 27, 2021, with a rain date of May 28, 2021, at noon.  The platform party will consist of only those with speaking roles in the ceremony, and a VIP area on the grass will be provided for trustees.

Due to the mandate that social distancing be maintained, the limitation of two guests per graduate remains in effect and tickets are required.  Full-time faculty and lecturers will join our graduates in celebrating this wonderful achievement.  Staff attendance is encouraged but not required.

In addition, the Nursing Pinning Ceremony is scheduled for Tuesday, May 25, 2021, at 5:00 p.m., and the Awards Ceremony will take place on Wednesday, May 26, 2021, at 5:00 p.m.  Both will take place on the Gateway Building mall.

Academic Affairs

School of Nursing and Health Sciences

  • Ocean County College’s Registered Nurse licensure passing rate for the first quarter of 2021 was 89.47%. Of the Fall 2020 graduates, 54 of the 62 graduates sat for the examination.  The national scores for this same time period were:  Associate Degree Programs – 81.73%; All Types of Nursing Programs (ADN, BSN, and Diploma combined) – 84.83%.
  • The job placement rate for the Fall 2019 graduates was 100%. This data was collected in Fall 2020, one year following completion of the Nursing Program, as required by accreditation standards.  The response rate to this survey was 85%.
  • The School of Nursing held an Advisory Committee meeting on April 28, 2021, with 23 participants representing various clinical agencies as well as members of the community, students, faculty, and staff. Program outcomes were shared with members, including licensure pass rates, program completion rates, job placement rates, student learning outcome survey information, and clinical agency satisfaction survey information.  Representatives from major acute care organizations spoke highly of OCC graduates and indicated they are hiring new nurses, with many offering one-year Residency Programs.  Students expressed their satisfaction with the Nursing Program and clinical agencies, thanking them for all their efforts to assure patient care experiences continued throughout the semester despite multiple surges in COVID cases within the community.
  • The Student Nurse Organization (SNO) has been providing monthly healthcare information in the Hovnanian Building Lobby, under the direction of advisors Susan Gill, MSN, RN, Nursing Lecturer II; Barbara Hayles, MSN, RN, Nursing Lecturer II; and MaryAnn Kaufmann, PhD, MSN, RN, Skills, Simulation, and Student Retention Specialist. Kidney disease was the focus of education in March, and April was dedicated to autism awareness.  Nursing students also participated in a food collection drive facilitated by SNO throughout April to support the Ocean County Food Pantry.

School of Arts and Humanities

  • As part of the Arts on Campus initiative, two contests were held in late April and May. In the first contest, Graphic Design, College Lecturer II in Humanities and Fine Arts Renate Pustiak worked with students to create a graphic design for a sign in the Riverwood Community Garden, and OCC student Skylar Hudson won the contest.  In the second contest, Photography, Assistant Professor of Humanities and Fine Arts Richard Fallon collaborated with the Barnegat Bay Partnership, with all themes for the contest focusing on the Barnegat Bay.  Winning students will receive monetary prizes and their artwork will be displayed in the new Conference Center.
  • College Lecturer II in Dance Catherine Mancuso and College Lecturer II in English Kristyn Stout have been meeting regularly on the General Education Coordinating Committee (GECC) as charged by the Academic Administrators Affinity Group. They have been collaborating with the committee to make recommendations for reducing the General Education requirements in the Associate in Arts degree.
  • Assistant Dean Veronica Guevara-Lovgren hosted a panel event for the Global Education Committee on the topic of Food Sustainability on April 20, 2021, with guest speakers Dr. Drew Winter, Lecturer of Anthropology at Rice University; Dr. Margaret Maghan, College Lecturer II in Psychology; and Alison Noone, Assistant Director of Student Life.
  • College Lecturer II in English and Literature, Dr. Madison Peschock, hosted an English adjunct roundtable for professional development in late April. Fellow English and Literature College Lecturers Samantha Glassford and Richard Carr presented exciting exercises on ways to teach ENGL 152, English II, to Generation Z, and how to have fun teaching Hamlet and other literary works, respectively.
  • College Lecturer II Stephen Downey provided a professional development opportunity for History adjuncts. He discussed more effective uses of technology for the remote learning modality, best practices for creating CV’s and resumes, and applications for various grants and professional memberships.
  • College Lecturers II in History and Philosophy Christopher Ruth and Mark Westmoreland gave a presentation called Philosophy in an Age of Limitless Scientific Discoveryon April 29, 2021.  In this presentation, they affirmed the legitimacy and value of science, but highlighted both the limits of the scientific method and the necessity of philosophical inquiry.  They argued that science ought to acknowledge its philosophical underpinnings and explained how there may be some questions beyond the scope of science.
  • College Lecturer II in English and Literature Heather Sciarappa hosted a professional development opportunity for all adjunct faculty on April 30, 2021. Adjunct Assistant Professor of English and Literature Marianne Critchley discussed serving the underprepared student, and Adjunct Assistant Professor in Humanities Cesar Romero Fernandez discussed engaging the online learner.
  • Associate Professor in Humanities Elizabeth Brierley and College Lecturer II in Humanities Paul Chalakani held the Annual Student Speech Competition in early May.  The awards were presented on May 11, 2021, which were graciously sponsored by Philadelphia Press.
  • College Lecturer II in English and Literature Ameer Sohrawardy collaborated with the Office of Student Life to develop a student reflection and writing contest that focuses on the 20th anniversary year of 9/11.
  • The National English Honor Society, Sigma Kappa Delta, an organization advised by English Professor David Bordelon and Associate Professor Jayanti Tamm, inducted its new members on May 6, 2021.

School of STEM

  • Under the direction of College Lecturer II in Biology Lincoln Simmons, the first meeting of the Industrial Hygiene/Hazardous Materials Management and Sustainability Committee was held on April 9, 2021. In addition to STEM Dean Sylvia Riviello and Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs Amir Sadrian, committee members include:
  • Jim Nuccio, National Program Manager, One Atlas, an engineering firm with 100 offices nationally
  • Ray Perry, New Jersey Natural Gas
  • Carrie Ferraro, Associate Director, Coastal Climate Risk and Resilience Initiative Co-Facilitator, Rutgers University
  • Jennifer Lane, Supervisor of Science and Humanities, Brick Township Schools

The members met to discuss the Business and Industry Leadership Team (BILT) model, which allows employers and industry leaders to co-chair and lead technical program development.  The intention is to create programs that respond to industry needs by providing industry-required stacked credentials.  With the stackable credential, a student has the potential to earn approximately $85,000/year without having a college degree.  The program will stack OCC’s courses with industry training courses into a certificate with the possibility of later earning an OCC associate degree in Environmental Science.

  • The Junior Science and Humanities Symposium has concluded.  The OCC-sponsored Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium is a regional competition for this national event.  Five Jersey Shore students were sent to the national competition; for the fourth year in a row, Jersey Shore students placed in this Symposium.  In fact, for the first time, three of the students placed.  Ryan Park, who won first at the national symposium last year, earned second place this year.  Harnoor Sachar and Lana Van Note also placed first and third, respectively, in the poster competition.  All won financial scholarships toward their college education.
  • Assistant Dean of STEM Carolyn Showalter, working with Matthew Ascah, Academic Affairs Faculty Training Coordinator, Title III, developed the first in a series of STEM Professional Development Newsletters. A copy of the newsletter is attached.
  • College Lecturer II in Mathematics Julia Kim announced the 2021 Summer Math Bootcamp orientation to be held June 23, 2021, at 2 p.m. There will be two Bootcamp levels this summer.  Level I is recommended for students who are interested in taking mathematics courses such as Algebra Basics, Survey of Mathematics, Introduction to Statistics, and Algebraic Modeling in either the Fall 2021 or Spring 2022 semester; it will be scheduled on Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to noon.  Level II is recommended for students who are interested in taking mathematics courses such as College Algebra and Advanced College Algebra in Fall 2021 or Spring 2022 semester, and it will meet on Tuesdays and Thursdays at the same time.
  • Pam Bogdan, College Lecturer II in Engineering, is a member of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship; as an Intellectual Property Educator in Residence, she is required to participate in a speaking engagement. As such, Ms. Bogdan participated in a panel on May 6, 2021.  The topic was the Maker Curriculum and Open Education Resources for Makers.
  • Eight OCC students in the Associate in Science degree in Engineering and Associate in Applied Science degree in Technical Studies programs are offered an invitation each month to attend the dinner meeting of the Ocean County Chapter of the New Jersey Society of Professional Engineers. The May monthly meeting program will be a presentation by  Jeromie P. Lange, Director of Development for Active Acquisitions, on New NJDEP GI-Based Stormwater Rules.
  • The School of STEM’s new cloud-based MiniTab license is enabling students of all fields of study, faculty, and administrators to gain valuable skills. MiniTab is a software product that companies and institutions use to help analyze data; it provides a simple and effective way to input statistical data, manipulate the data, identify trends and patterns, and solve problems.  It is a tool that delivers a comprehensive and best-in-class suite of machine learning, statistical analysis, and process improvement tools.

More students learn statistics with MiniTab than with any other software.  With the School’s expanded and more flexible licensing and its new course, CSIT 124, Introduction to Programming, it is expected a larger spectrum of students will be able to acquire the basic programming and analysis skills that are valuable to an increasing set of jobs in the modern workplace.

  • The Engineering and Computer Studies faculty and lecturers have created an electronic departmental bulletin board, replacing the physical bulletin board located on the first floor of the Instructional Building. The electronic board is used to keep students informed.  Messages are sent via email to all active students in the S. Engineering and the A.A.S. Technical Studies Industrial/Technical option programs.  Examples of the types of postings include job postings, job fairs, industry speakers, departmental activities, and OCC Engineering Club activities.
  • Through local industry partnerships, Engineering Lecturer Pam Bogdan has procured full-time summer positions for students that could lead to part-time employment when classes begin. The students will work at a manufacturing company gaining skills for all types of engineering and industrial/technical options.  Training will be provided by the employer, and Bogdan will conduct pre-interviews.

School of Business and Social Sciences

  • Chris Bottomley, College Lecturer II in Business Studies, and Mr. Sean Bips, College Lecturer II in Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management, announced that the 2nd Annual Sink or Swim Competition took place virtually on Friday, April 23, 2021. This Entrepreneurial Pitch Competition was an overwhelming success with the participation of ten teams representing five Ocean County schools.

This year’s judges were Mr. Jim Mahlmann, Managing Director at Net Cetra; Mr. Michael Forcella, OCC Manager of Business Engagement, Continuing and Professional Education; Ms. Lori Pepenella, CEO of the Southern Ocean Chamber of Commerce; and Ms. Katie Calabrese, Director of Memberships and Projects, NACCE (National Association of Community College Entrepreneurship).

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

  • Patricia Gianotti, College Lecturer II in Addictions Studies, announced that, as part of OCC’s Addiction and Recovery Month Series, she facilitated a day of learning, dialogue, and conversation titled Stories of Hope. The day included six separate sessions that focused on the addiction recovery process:
  • Session 1 included a brief message by Katie Hueth, Prevention Education Coordinator, regarding a review of this month’s activities, and closed with an overview of the recovery process by Ms. Pamela Capaci, MA, CADC, CEO of Hope Sheds Light.
  • Session 2, titled Expressions of Hope, was a multimedia presentation of recovery in art, music, and poetry by local and nationally known recovering artists and performers.
  • Session 3, titled Thank You for Sharing, included a panel of individuals in recovery from Substance Use Disorder who shared their stories of hope and answered questions from attendees.
  • Session 4 included a presentation by Matt Bellace, Ph.D., an internationally known psychologist, motivational speaker, and stand-up comic, who used an insightful, science-based, and funny approach to discuss substance abuse prevention and mental health awareness.
  • Session 5, titled A County that Cares, consisted of a panel of local law enforcement professionals who highlighted their community support programs for substance abusers, as well as responded to questions from attendees.
  • Session 6, titled On the Inside: Tour of a Treatment Program, provided an inside view of Ocean Mental Health, an organization that has served the local community for decades. Integrative and holistic treatment interventions were explained, and clinicians responded to questions from attendees.
  • Margaret Maghan, College Lecturer II in Psychology, announced that the first Social Work Practicum class has successfully worked along with the Office of Student Life to get OCC’s Helping Hands Initiative running for the summer months. Dr. Maghan, with Ms. Alison Noone, Assistant Director of Student Life, co-presented at OCC’s Global Education Event about OCC’s Helping Hands Initiative. Their presentation, Upcoming Food Sustainability in the Age of COVID, sought to raise awareness about and provide strategies for addressing homelessness and food insecurities among students in higher education systems.

In an ongoing joint effort between Dr. Maghan and the Student Affairs Enrollment Management Division, two residents of Dottie’s House, a safe haven which provides shelter and other support services for survivors of domestic violence, will attend Ocean County College in Fall 2021.  Dr. Maghan also announced that Ms. Jennifer Thompson, Executive Director of the New Jersey Chapter of the National Association of Social Workers, addressed OCC students interested in the field of social work for National Social Workers Month.

And, finally, Dr. Maghan noted that the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Ocean County provided training to two OCC students, who will now be part of the National Stigma-Free Campaign.  These two student volunteers will be presenting their stories of mental illness to Toms River High School students.  The campaign raises awareness of mental health in hopes of destigmatizing those affected by mental illness and their families.

  • Sarah Campbell, Interim College Lecturer II in Psychology, announced that Psychotherapist Robin Bilazarian, LCSW, conducted a workshop on April 23, 2021, in which students learned a mind-body method to reduce stress and test-taking anxiety called the Emotional Freedom Technique. This practice is an evidence-based method that releases imbalance felt in one’s body, thoughts, and emotions.  It significantly reduces interfering mental cloudiness by restoring one’s capacity for productive thinking and learning.

Academic and Tutoring Support Services

  • In order to assess student satisfaction of services provided during tutoring and PAL sessions, Academic and Tutoring Support Services conducted a post-session survey in week five of the current semester. A link was provided to the students at the conclusion of their sessions, and 248 survey responses were received.  The data demonstrated that 100% of post-session survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they felt welcome upon joining their tutoring sessions; 6% of post-session survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that their tutor was accommodating to their learning style; and 98.8% of post-session survey respondents agreed or strongly agreed that they felt more confident after their tutoring sessions.
  • Staff and tutors in Academic and Tutoring Support Services have submitted proposals to two conferences. One proposal, for the 2022 Modern Language Association Conference, has been tentatively accepted; an official response will be received in late June.  A second proposal was submitted to the Corequisite Composition Summer Camp.  Both proposals were drafted by Mary-Beth Brophy, Writing Professional Tutor I, with oversight by Ms. Brianna DeCicco, Associate Director of Academic and Tutoring Support Services, and Ms. Samantha Glassford, English College Lecturer II.

Ocean County Achievement Center

Located on the OCC campus, the Ocean County Achievement Center serves as a county service hub, providing a broad spectrum of services to support the education, employment, and general needs of youth and young adults experiencing significant barriers to success.  In March 2021, after a full year of remote instruction, 34 students remain actively involved in Achievement Center programs and activities, and 8 students have successfully finished their High School Equivalency Exams.

Also in March, a Student Success Course option was added for Achievement Center participants who are considering college.  The Student Success course will be paid through the Work Readiness Assistance Program grant, an award from the Ocean County Department of Human Services.

Other Ocean County Achievement Center activities include career exploration, on-the-job shadowing, mentoring, and paid work experience.  Workforce and Professional Education training programs continue to adapt to meet the needs of students looking to gain applicable skills and enter the evolving workforce.

Honors by Contract

Honors by Contract held its annual Honors Awards Program on May 3, 2021, for students recognized for outstanding projects and papers.  The three winners were:

  • 1st Prize of $1000was awarded to Josephine O’Grady for Introduction to Philosophy (PHIL 191) with Philosophy College Lecturer II Mark Westmoreland for her presentation on Epistemic Responsibility:  Evaluating Race in the Time of a Pandemic.
  • Two 2nd Prizes of $750 were awarded to Josephine O’Grady for Western Civilization to 1650 (HIST 171)with Ms. Scott Boguchwal, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Humanities, for her presentation on Catholicism: The Outreach of the Reformation and Martin Luther’s Prominent Role, and to Ms. Cassidy Wojcik for Graphics for Engineering (ENGR 181) with College Lecturer Pam Bogdan for her presentation on The Tank Gasket Project.
  • 3rd Prize of $500 was awarded to Connor Hanna for Introduction to Computers and Computer Applications (CSIT 110) with Ms. Diane McNally, Adjunct Associate Professor of Computer Studies, for his presentation on How Technology Advanced the Field of Chemistry.

Additionally, awards of $250 were given to the sponsoring faculty members.  All of the monetary awards were generously provided by the Ocean County College Foundation.

Finance and Administration

Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund

On May 11, 2021, the U.S. Department of Education announced more than $36 billion in emergency grants provided under the American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act for postsecondary education.  These grants will provide emergency financial aid to students and ensure learning continues during the COVID-19 national emergency.  Emergency funds provided by ARP more than double the emergency relief aid available to students and institutions already authorized under the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act and the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act (CRRSAA) relief legislation.  This funding is provided by ARP’s Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF III), with a new formula requiring approximately half of the funding to be used by each institution to provide direct relief to students.  Ocean County College will receive $16,041,882.  Of this, $8,227,874 will be distributed directly to students and $7,814,008 will be used for institutional aid.

Colleague Self-Service Procurement

The new self-service module has been implemented for purchase requisition entry.  Initiators no longer need to use Colleague UI (via VPN access, if remote) to enter requisitions.  In addition, initiators can attach back-up documentation directly to Purchase requisitions, a long-awaited efficiency.  An additional improvement is the use of a streamlined entry screen.  A training video was prepared by Purchasing staff to assist in the transition to the new process.  The next step will be moving requisition approvals to self-service.

Ocean County College Foundation

Blauvelt Speaker Series

Appreciation is expressed to all who supported this year’s Blauvelt Speaker Series, which ended on May 6, 2021, with Arthur C. Brooks, a professor and author who spoke about the pursuit of happiness and true success.  His presentation was very well received by all who attended.

Next year’s season will begin on September 16, 2021, with Misty Copeland, the first African American female Principal Dancer with the prestigious American Ballet Theatre, one of the three leading classical ballet companies in the United States.

The Grunin Center and Planetarium

Work continues to re-open the Grunin Center and the Planetarium to the public this summer, along with welcoming the new Executive and Artistic Director of the Grunin Center for the Arts.  Ms. Shannon Mayers will begin on July 12, 2021, and will inherit a full schedule of in-person, hybrid, and virtual events for the balance of 2021 and into Spring 2022.


Graduating Awards have been granted, and the recipients will be notified at the live Awards Ceremony later this month.  The process of inviting donors is currently underway, should they wish to attend, as the guidance now allows for their participation.  Applications for the Fall Semester will open on May 24, 2021, and will remain open through August 16, 2021.

Rachmaninoff Squared

On May 7, 2021, the Friday recital series was reprised with wonderful community support. Over 300 unique devices viewed the recital live, and many more have visited social channels after airing (the traditional recital space when offered live only allows 60 seats).  The afternoon event, 28 minutes in total run time, raised over $5,400 for the Music Club and Matinée Series at Ocean County College.

Summer Scholarship Celebration

This year, the Foundation’s hybrid Summer Scholarship Celebration will be hosted on the beautiful campus mall on Friday, June 18, 2021.  Over $131,000 has been contributed to date, thanks to very generous donors.  Honorees this year 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 Foundation Scholarship Celebration page.

Human Resources

The Office of Human Resources is excited to announce OCC’s first annual Employee Career Week 2021, Charting Your Career Success: Owning, Mapping, and Navigating Your Future.  During the week of June 1 to 4, 2021, faculty, lecturers, and staff will have the opportunity to learn about careers in various areas of the College, develop a personal career path, and hear colleagues discuss the paths their careers have taken.  Additional sessions will illustrate the support OCC provides through educational and professional development benefits, the classification and compensation structures in place at the College, and how employees can prepare to compete for positions as internal candidates.  Finally, managers will talk about the competencies and traits they feel are critical to success in the workplace.


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 April 14, 2021, through May 17, 2021.

Student Affairs

Ocean County College Student Yield by High School

In response to a request by Trustee Stephan Leone at the April Board meeting, the data below details the College’s student yield by Ocean County high school for this academic year.  According to a National Student Clearinghouse report from March 2021, the average community college in the United States enrolled 13.6% of the graduating seniors in its service area this year.  Ocean County College enrolled 33.7% of the 2020 graduates this year.

Yield of 2020 High School Graduates by School Name  Fall 2020 and Spring 2021 Semesters – May 18, 2021

School Number of 2020 Graduates Unduplicated Number of 2020 Graduates Enrolled at OCC Fall 2020 or Spring 2021 Final Yield Percentage
Barnegat High School 207 71 34.4%
Brick Memorial High School 297 137 46.1%
Brick Township High School 344 122 35.5%
Central Regional High School 304 128 42.2%
Jackson Liberty High School 275 69 25.1%
Jackson Memorial High School 392 98 25.0%
Lacey Township High School 227 72 31.8%
Lakewood High School 244 80 32.8%
Manchester Township High School 224 73 32.6%
New Egypt High School 100 23 23.0%
Pinelands Regional High School 215 57 26.5%
Pt Pleasant Beach High School 98 18 18.4%
Pt Pleasant Borough High School 196 75 38.4%
Southern Regional High School 419 124 29.6%
Toms River High School East 318 142 44.7%
Toms River High School North 462 164 35.5%
Toms River High School South 314 107 34.1%
Total 4,632 1,560 33.7%


  • In collaboration with the HUB, the Advising Office hosted New Student Information Sessions for Toms River High School South and Donovan Catholic High School students.

About 15 students attended the Toms River South session, and the guidance counselor wrote in a follow-up email, “My students were emailing me following the presentation with their gratitude as they found it extremely helpful.  As always, OCC is incredible in the delivery of all information and the resources available.  Thank you as always for the support you give to our students and the entire community. We truly value and appreciate it.”

Additional sessions are planned for Brick High School and Manchester High School, with potential to add sessions for more schools.

  • On April 21, 2021, NJ STARS Coordinator Jennifer Kipp participated in a second NJ STARS Information Session presented by the HUB, in collaboration with Jenna Puglisi, Enrollment Services Advisor, College Pathways, and Ms. Karen Wilson-Wylie, Senior Financial Aid Advisor. The event was attended by 30 potential students and included an active question and answer session.  Ms. Kipp and Academic Advisor Diane DeFilippo will be hosting a New Student Information Session for NJ STARS students on May 19, 2021.


  • OCC Vikings eSports freshman Jackson French competed in the Spring 2021 NJCAAE Super Smash Bros. Ultimate (Singles) Championship, finishing second in the nation. Jackson completed the regular season with an undefeated record of 11-0 and earned 2 more postseason victories before falling in the championship final, by a 4-2 score.  Jackson’s undefeated regular season record is a first for OCC’s eSports program, which launched in the 2020 Spring semester.
  • In March 2020, Ocean County College made the difficult decision to suspend intercollegiate athletic activity in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with the exception of eSports.  Now, utilizing guidance from the NJCAA, the State of New Jersey, and recommendations from other NJCAA Region 19 schools, the staff of the OCC Athletics Department created a plan to restart athletics in the Fall 2021 semester.  Sports that will resume include Women’s Tennis, Men’s Soccer, Women’s Soccer, Cross Country, Volleyball, Fall Baseball/Softball, and Fall Practices of Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse.

Preparations for the Fall semester will begin in June 2021. Vice President of Student Affairs Gerald Racioppi will provide more detail at Thursday’s meeting.

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, to remain enrolled, and to promote their overall well-being.

  • The Supporting Students in Recovery Program, in its second year, provided a comprehensive series of events in April in collaboration with the OCC Addiction Studies Program, Hope Sheds Light, the DART Prevention Coalition, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office, Kean Ocean, and the Society for Prevention of Teen Suicide.
  • April 12, 2021, Stories of Hope – The month’s kickoff event provided an overview of supports and a celebration of recovery from substance use disorders. This virtual event featured a panel of individuals who answered questions from students and family members.  The Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office held a discussion to inform attendees about innovations and supports in place to support recovery in our legal system.  Ocean Mental Health Services participated in a segment that provided an overview of treatment services and best practices available in Ocean County.  There were over 125 participants throughout the day.
  • April 13, 2021, Current Drug Trends – A professional education webinar, focused on current drug trends and community responses, informed attendees of the current landscape and impacts of the pandemic on drug and alcohol use. Free Continuing Education Units, through Kean University’s Counselor Education Program, were provided to approximately 30 school and mental health professionals in attendance.
  • April 19, 2021, Voices of Recovery: A Panel of Your Neighbors, Coworkers, and Friends- This discussion provided insight to the impacts of addiction and recovery on the family. Panelists shared both the challenges and joys of their journeys, with the message that help is available and recovery is possible.
  • April 21, 2021, What is Recovery, Anyway? – This presentation was geared towards high school and college students to combat stigma against recovery and encourage self-care. Topics included the principle of recovery; eight dimensions of wellness; available supports, including the Recovery Support Program at OCC; and challenging the many misconceptions about addiction and recovery.
  • April 26, 2021, Taking Care of Ourselves and Our Friends – The session covered how young adults can identify struggles within themselves or friends, warning signs of when someone may need help, identifying a trusted adult, finding the words to have tough conversations, and the steps we can take to ask for help and cope with the 2021 world. There were 35 people in attendance.
  • April 29, 2021, Documentary Screening and Discussion – A screening of the documentary Gateway, a story of how surgery and opioids transformed the lives of three families, was offered. A discussion followed, featuring comments from community organizations, including the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and the RWJBarnabas Health System.
  • The Counseling Center has been conducting a survey of students about social norms; the analysis will be completed later this month.
  • On April 22, 2021, the Center hosted a prevention education session on Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention. In a time of virtual connection and increasing likelihood of individuals participating in online dating platforms, a discussion centered on safety, warning signs, and reportability.  This event was held in cooperation with Francis Counseling Service and Providence House Domestic Violence Services of Catholic Charities.
  • The Center’s two retention initiatives focused on providing comprehensive services to students in academic jeopardy, Restore Your Score and Starfish Program. The outcomes of the structured Restore Your Score program are being analyzed, and the services are being modified for the Fall semester.
  • The Displaced Homemakers Program is renewing its contract with the State for the 15th year at OCC. The program is currently serving 78 clients, 27 new and 51 continuing clients. Five clients are presently working toward a Medical Assistant Certificate; four anticipate completing the certificate program in June.  Clients are participating in computer skills and career/job search trainings.

Ms. Eileen Burdge, Program Coordinator, serves on the Executive Board of the Displaced Homemakers Network of New Jersey, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year.  Both Ms. Burdge and Dr. Kate Pandolpho, Director of Counseling and Student Development, have served as President of the Network.

Disability Services

  • 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 April training had over 30 active participants, including many OCC students and staff.  Additionally, the Disability Services staff provided training to the Workforce Professional Education and Academic Advising departments on Accessing Services for Students with Disabilities.
  • A workshop, You’ve Graduated! Now What?  Life after OCC, was offered to students with disabilities on Friday, April 30, 2021, to provide information on transitioning to transfer institutions and accessing county services to assist with obtaining competitive employment.

HUB/Enrollment Services

  • Enrollment Services worked in conjunction with Advising to have New Student Advising days at Toms River South High School to teach high school seniors how to use the Ocean Connect portal and register for classes. The presentation received great feedback from the students.
  • Sheenah Hartigan, Executive Director of Enrollment Services, along with Mr. Jim Hauenstein, Director of the Southern Education Center, and Dr. Henry Jackson, Executive Director of Academic Success, spoke to more than 40 parents at Barnegat High School on April 22, 2021, and Pinelands High School on April 29, 2021, to inform them about the Early College Program, specifically the PLAN (Promoting Learners to Achieve Now) program. The two unique PowerPoint presentations provided details of the plan, whereby high school students work to achieve 24 or more credits, a full year of college, through approved dual enrollment embedded and Early College classes.  Posters to further reinforce the message of PLAN were delivered to both high schools the week of May 10, 2021.

Southern Education Center

  • Furniture upgrades are continuing at the Southern Education Center as another classroom has been upgraded by removing single seat desks and replacing them with the more collegiate atmosphere of tables and chairs. Through Noel Levitz SSI student survey results and student focus groups, the new furniture was requested by students to make their learning environment more conducive to today’s needs.
  • A selection of Fall 2021 courses has been added to the overall course schedule, offered as remote instruction, to assist any students who reside in the southern portion of Ocean County to continue pursuit of degrees in the event they are unable to make the commute to the main campus. The remote sections will be listed as SEC or MT sections as students schedule classes.
  • In revising online descriptions of the Southern Education Center in the 2021-22 Student Handbook and the 2021-22 Course Catalog, details of the newly installed virtual options are now included. The immersive synchronous classroom, Room 122, funded through Title III grant monies, and the addition of an immersive virtual system in the SEC’s Conference Room now expand class options as well as make many of the Student Services programs, such as tutoring, available to the students studying at the SEC.
  • The positive relationship with the Southern Ocean Chamber of Commerce (SOCC) continues with a focus to create awareness of the collegiate opportunities at the SEC. In collaboration with College Relations, a full-page ad highlighting the SEC has been placed in the 2021 Land and Sea publication.  Over 15,000 copies of the annual publication will be available throughout the southern county this summer, including Long Beach Island, and it will be in the virtual edition on the com website.

Mr. James Hauenstein continues to attend various Chamber events, such as the Membership Meeting on Digital Media, the Non-Profit Forum, and the Membership Meeting with Legislative Delegates, at which he networks through virtual platforms with members of the SOCC about the opportunities available at the SEC.

Student Life

Semester updates on OCC’s honor societies are provided by Student Life:

  • Psi Beta, Psychology Honor Society, inducted 98 new members at the ceremony held on Friday, April 23, 2021, on Webex.
  • Alpha Beta Gamma, the Business Honor Society, welcomed 54 initiates this Spring semester.
  • OCC’s Tau Iota Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa inducted 124 students during the induction held virtually on Thursday, April 29, 2021.
  • OCC’s new honor society, Sigma Kappa Delta, the National English Honor Society for two-year college’s, welcomed 89 inductees during the induction held on Thursday, May 6, 2021, on Webex.
  • SALUTE, the Veterans Honor Society, inducted 5 initiates during the ceremony held on Friday, May 7, 2021.
  • NSLS, National Society for Leadership and Success, has 250 students who joined this semester. The new initiates are in various steps toward induction, with 36 students being inducted this Spring.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

Course Design and Technology

OCC/NJ Edge Course Development

On May 6, 2021, Ms. Rachel Doss-Block, Associate Director of e-Learning, held a meeting with the NJ Edge Instructional Designers and OCC Subject Matter Experts to begin the course development project. During the meeting, a project overview, timeline, roles and responsibilities, and next steps were discussed.  The NJ Edge Instructional Designers will be meeting with individual Subject Matter Experts to discuss the development of each course in detail, as well as discuss curated OER materials provided by Ms. Janet Marler, Library College Lecturer II.  Course development is expected to be complete in September 2021.

Face-to-Face Skeleton Template

A Face-to-Face Canvas Skeleton Template has been designed and developed with the collaboration of Academic Affairs.  Mr. Scott Cuthbert, Part-Time Instructional Designer, created the template, which is being used to ensure consistency and uniformity for the face-to-face and remote courses as well as to provide students with a quality educational experience. The template has standardized components that include a Course Home Page, Getting Started Module, Help and Support for Students, and many other pre-built modules that can be utilized by instructors.  The Academic Deans selected faculty and lecturers to pilot the template in 14 preselected sections for Summer 2021.  On May 13, 2021, Ms. Rachel Doss-Block will hold a Q&A meeting for faculty and lecturers participating in the pilot.

Faculty Training and Professional Development

Content Developer Training

The Instructional Design and Technology team is currently in the process of revising the Master Course Developer Training, which will be titled Content Developer Training.  This new and improved training will highlight the updated course design elements and the development process, which focuses on the collaborative partnership between Instructional Designers and Subject Matter Experts.  The training will also showcase how e-Learning is utilizing design software, such as Articulate Storyline and Rise, VoiceThread, Canvas, H5P, and other tools, to create engaging and interactive courses for students.

Faculty Onboarding Program

The Faculty Onboarding program provides new online instructors with the tools needed to deliver exceptional instruction to students.  On May 10, 2021, the e-Learning Department hosted Part One: Onboarding of its summer orientation; on May 24, 2021, Part Two will be offered.

Center of Instructional Empowerment

The Center for Instructional Empowerment (CIE) is currently planning trainings and webinars for the 2021 Summer and Fall terms.  On Tuesday, May 18, 2021, an Honorlock training was held.

Student Relations

e-Learning College Lecturers and Student Services HUB staff will meet on June 3, 2021, for an informational session on the innovative virtual STEM labs.  Ms. Dana Newton, e-Learning College Lecturer II in Biology, and Mr. Eugene de Silva, College Lecturer II in Physics, will provide an overview of the course enhancements followed by a Q&A session.  Over 50% of the e-Learning STEM courses no longer have lab fees, which were averaging $270 in additional costs to students enrolled in STEM online courses with a lab component.


Searches are currently underway for an Instructional Technologist, two Full-Time Lead Instructional Designers, and a System Administrator, LMS.  Additionally, the following positions are being advertised:  Senior Academic Technician, Academic Administrator, and College Lecturers in Biology, Physics, Business, and Psychology.

International Programs

Professional Development

On May 13, 2021, Dr. Maysa Hayward, Associate Vice President of International Programs, and Dr. Howaida Wahby Eraky, Assistant Dean of e-Learning International Programs, attended HR training on the art of delegating effectively.  The entire International team completed training on the use of Advise, and Ms. Alexis Crosta, Academic Administrator for Foreign Programs, received additional training on the use of Datatel.

Current OCC/ASU/Kean Program

The International team drafted the Cohort 6 agreement, reflecting joint admissions language.

Ms. Enjee Auda and Ms. Rehab Ismail, OCC’s employees in Egypt, started conducting the exit assessment for Cohort 2 students who are graduating from Kean University in May 2021 and for Cohort 4 students who are graduating OCC in August 2021.

Special Programs

  • In collaboration with Vivian Lynn, Dean of e-Learning, the team is working with Dr. Rosann Barr, Dean of the School of Business and Social Sciences, on the new supply chain program planning for online learners.
  • Eileen Schilling, Executive Director of Academic Articulation and Prior Learning Assessment, received a letter of intent to offer the third and fourth years for Egypt’s Special Programs from the University of Maryland Global Campus (UMGC). The letter is being reviewed by OCC.
  • William Paterson University (WPU) curriculum mapping is progressing, including new programs such as digital marketing. On April 23, 2021, a meeting was held with WPU President Richard Helldobler and vice presidents to discuss existing and upcoming partnerships.  The meeting resulted in a draft agreement that is currently under review by the WPU team.
  • The Ahram Canadian University (ACU) Business program curriculum mapping and draft agreement are complete; they are being reviewed by the ACU president.
  • Eileen Garcia, Vice President of e-Learning and Learning Enterprises, Dr. Maysa Hayward, and I met with the owner of Badr University on May 15 and 16, 2021, in Virginia. The purpose of the meeting was to review Badr’s agreement and to expedite the approval process during the visit to Egypt in July.
  • Eileen Garcia, Dr. Maysa Hayward, Dr. Howaida Wahby Eraky, Ms. Eileen Shilling, and Ms. Sara Winchester, Vice President of Finance and Administration, met with Florida International University (FIU) staff to follow up on a potential affiliation to offer engineering programs in Egypt and establish a partnership that would facilitate the transfer of domestic students to FIU.
  • e-Learning and International team members are meeting weekly with Toni Clay, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, and other task force members to review College Policy #5180, Students, Classes and Instruction, Academic Integrity, for the purpose of streamlining the academic dishonesty procedures.


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