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February 28, 2019

Dr. Larson’s February 2019 report to the OCC board of trustees

Dr. Jon Larson

Black History Month

Many events have been coordinated by Ocean County College’s Organization for Black Unity (OBU) and the Office of Student Life to celebrate February as Black History Month.  This year’s theme is “Black Migrations.”

Several faculty and lecturers participated on February 4, 2019, in a Read-In Celebration, including:

  • Professor of Mathematics Maryann Birdsall and Nursing College Lecturer II Tamila Purpuro, MSN, RN, presented readings from The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America’s Great Migration by Isabel Wilkerson.
  • Sandra Brown, Professor of English, read from How It Feels to Be Colored Me by Zora Neale Hurston.

On Saturday, February 23, 2019, the 19th Annual Gospel Extravaganza, an evening of song, dance, and gospel music, took place in the Grunin Center.  A portion of the proceeds will be donated to OBU’s scholarship fund and cultural awareness trips.

On Tuesday, February 26, 2019, Ms. Aisha Fukushima, singer, speaker, and educator, will be in the Grunin Center.  Ms. Fukushima founded “RAPtivism,” (Rap Activism), a hip hop project spanning 20 countries and 4 continents, strengthening universal efforts for freedom and justice.  She is a multilingual, multiracial African American Japanese woman who has done lectures and performances from the U.S. to France and beyond.

Ms. Fukushima will be in the Gateway Lecture Hall, Room 104, again on Wednesday, February 27, 2019, for two workshops.  The first, Free Yo Mind!, is a multimedia performance lecture that inspires audiences to critically engage with the roles of race, power, and oppression in everyday lives.  She speaks from her own experiences as a global cultural activist and organizer, and encourages members of the audience to recognize their own power as agents of change in their respective communities.  The second workshop, Who Run The World? Gender, Empowerment, and Cultural Activism, explores the themes of women’s empowerment and feminism.

Dr. Henry Jackson, Executive Director of Academic Success, serves as the advisor to the Organization for Black Unity, and Ms. Bridget Everett, Executive Assistant to the Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs, is the co-advisor.

Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education

Dr. Ali Botein-Furrevig, Director of the Center for Holocaust, Genocide, and Human Rights Education, has announced several programs that will be offered by the Center this Spring 2019 semester, which are detailed on the attached flyer.  Notably, this year’s annual Holocaust Remembrance Week has a theme of The Second Generation:  Children of the Victims and Perpetrators.  Additionally, presentations and discussions include Artistic Depictions of Human Rights in Ireland by Dr. Maureen Reustle and Enough! by Mr. John Prendergast, human rights activist and Senior Fellow at Kean University.

A program in Genocide and Human Rights has been developed and will be taught by Dr. Botein-Furrevig through Continuing and Professional Education.

Finance and Administration

  • The Ocean County College FY2018 Report of Audit is being recommended to the Board of Trustees for acceptance on Thursday. Robert P. Nehila, Jr., CPA, RMA, PSA, Partner from Bowman & Company, LLP, will provide a brief report to the trustees.
  • A business process analysis project, which will be jointly conducted by Ellucian, the Office of Information Technology, and various administrative offices, is underway. The first part of this engagement is to conduct a detailed business process analysis for the Human Resources Office and the Payroll Office.  The modeling may include items where best practice decisions will need to be made to institutional protocols.  Together, the participants will identify potential opportunities to improve productivity, streamline business processes, and pinpoint any outstanding issues requiring additional analysis, as with any modifications to the Colleague system.
  • The business process analysis will end with documentation of the transition using best practice recommendations to align people, processes, and technology in support of institutional priorities and to identify pain points, encourage collaboration, and increase efficiencies.

The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts

  • The Grunin Center is operational again after a hiatus for HVAC repairs. On February 22, 2019, two-time Grammy winner Rickie Lee Jones graced OCC’s stage promoting her new album.  On March 12, 2019, Ocean County College is hosting the New Jersey Poetry Out Loud finals at the Grunin Center from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Ocean County’s Teen Arts Festival will be on campus on March 19 and 20, 2019. Over 1,800 students will share their talents in Cinematography and Visual, Performing, and Literary Arts.  Workshops and performances will take place in the Grunin Center and Larson Student Center between 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. on both days.
  • On March 23, 2019, at 2:00 p.m., Mr. Ed Asner will perform his one-man comedy, “A Man and His Prostate.” This show is close to selling out; if you are interested in seeing this iconic actor, tickets should be purchased in the near future.  A private “meet and greet” is available; Mr. Mark Wilson, Director of Cultural Affairs, can provide additional details.

The Ocean County College Repertory Theatre will be presenting a collection of musical favorites spanning decades and styles. The production of “5,6,7,8 !  A Love Letter to Broadway” is being performed on several dates in March:

  • Friday, March 8, 2019, at 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, March 9, 2019, at 8:00 pm
  • Sunday, March 10, 2019, at 2:00 pm
  • Thursday, March 14, 2019, at 7:30 pm
  • Friday, March 15, 2019, at 7:30 pm
  • Saturday, March 16, 2019, at 8:00 pm
  • Sunday, March 17, 2019, at 2:00 pm

The Novins Planetarium

  • The Planetarium and the Grunin Center will be hosting Janet’s Planets Space Camp in August to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

Continuing and Professional Education

  • On February 26, 2019, the New Pathways to Teaching Information Session (Alternate Route program for the teaching profession) will be held.
  • To date, the Ocean County Achievement Center has served 36 active participants, including 15 dual enrollment students who are participating in the non-credit program as well as the for-credit Student Success course. Six of these students recently passed the Test Assessing Secondary Completion (TASC) and received their high school diplomas.  These students are being guided by 12 adult mentors, 9 of whom are OCC staff.
  • The Fall 2018 Medical Assistant Certificate class, which ended in January 2019, had a 100% pass rate on the National Health Career Association’s Certified Clinical Medical Assistant Exam. This program is expected to expand in Fall 2019 when students will be eligible for scholarships through the OCC Foundation.
  • New Jersey Business and Industry Association Training Programs were again featured in the January 2019 issue of the New Jersey Business Magazine for training done in the health care market segment.  The magazine also featured ESL training in the manufacturing market segment in its March 2018 issue.

TV Studio

  • In support of the outreach efforts to local high schools by Dr. Henry Jackson, Executive Director of Academic Success, and Dr. Anthony Trump, Interim Director of Admissions, students from Central Regional High School will be utilizing the OCC TV Studio on March 26, 2019, for a TV lighting workshop.  Fourteen students will have an in-depth experience working in the studio learning three-point lighting techniques, set lighting, and even a few trade secrets.
  • EOF and Student Success worked collaboratively with Mr. Ralph Bertini, Television Production Director, and his studio team to produce two new promotional videos highlighting their departments.  The videos are readily available on the OCC website for students, staff, and community members.
  • The Winter-Spring 2019 Ocean Views has arrived.  The Alumni magazine provides in-depth interviews with alumni, interesting articles related to faculty initiatives, and exciting tidbits about new and innovative partnerships within the community and beyond.


  • 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 January 16 through February 20, 2019.

Student Affairs


Career Services

  • Under the leadership of Associate Director Pamela Donohue, the Advising Office continues to assist students seeking career assessments and advising, resume review, and career pathway planning.  Advising has expanded the use of the College Central Network (CCN), which now has more than 285 employers registered and more than 30 active job listings.  Over 1,350 students have created CCN accounts, with more anticipated as the service is advertised on campus and via advising presentations in the Student Success Seminar.
  • Advising also continues to coordinate employer recruitment on campus.  Employers, including Lowe’s, the U.S. Census Bureau, The Earle Company, Amazon, and the U.S. Army and Navy, will be on campus in the Larson Student Center this spring to speak with interested students.

Student Services

  • Dr. James Siegel, Assistant Vice President of Student Affairs, reported that Ocean County College has again been designated a Military Friendly School.  OCC is one of only two community colleges, along with Camden County College, and one of ten schools in New Jersey to achieve this honor for the 2019-20 year.  This designation indicates a high level of commitment and investment in serving military and veteran students and recognizes that the College exceeds multiple benchmark standards for support of military students.

Southern Education Center

  • In an attempt to attract Jump Start-eligible students from the County’s southern high schools, two classes were added for the Spring 2019 semester with 3:00 p.m. start times; these classes also offer an alternative time choice for matriculating students.
  • Spring 2019 semester enrollment saw a 2.5% increase in student population at the SEC over Spring 2018 enrollment.  Additional data is being collected to analyze possible reasons for the increase to determine if efforts made for the Fall 2018 semester resulted in the overall growth.
  • Welcome and Valentine’s Day Student Life luncheons were held mid-February, providing students with sandwiches and snacks in an effort to encourage socialization at the SEC around course schedules.


Ocean County College sophomore Pascal El-Khouri was named a “Woman of the Year” at the 27th Annual National Girls and Women in Sports Award Luncheon held on February 3, 2019, at Seton Hall University.  Pascal, who serves as Treasurer of NJ STARS and Vice President of Fundraising for Phi Theta Kappa, earned both 1st Team All-Region XIX and 1st Team All-Garden State Athletic Conference honors this season as captain of OCC’s Women’s Volleyball team, all while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average.

The National Girls and Women in Sports Awards recognize outstanding student-athletes throughout New Jersey who have made significant contributions to their institutions and communities through athletic accomplishments, academic success, and community involvement.

Ms. Ilene Cohen, Executive Director of Athletics, will introduce Pascal at Thursday’s Board meeting so she can be appropriately acknowledged and congratulated for her outstanding success.

Admissions and Enrollment Management

  • The Admissions Department and Academic Advising, in collaboration with Ocean County high schools, will again offer special high school registration days for seniors who plan to attend OCC in Fall 2019.  To date, 14 Ocean County high schools have indicated they will take advantage of the program beginning in April.
  • The Admissions Department and Academic Affairs are preparing for the Spring Open House series.  This year, the College will offer new school-specific Open House events, which will lead up to the College-wide Open House on Saturday, April 27, 2019.  During the school-specific events, prospective students will gain valuable information about majors, programs, and associated activities, engage in a campus tour, experience interactive demonstrations and hands-on activities, talk with current students about their experiences, and learn more about OCC and the enrollment process.  School-specific Open Houses will be held from 6 to 8 p.m. on the following dates:
  • School of Business and Social Sciences – March 7, 2019
  • School of Nursing and Health Sciences – March 21, 2019
  • School of Arts and Humanities – April 4, 2019
  • School of STEM – April 9, 2019

Additionally, Admissions has partnered with the Intercollegiate Athletics Department to host an Open House on March 25, 2019.

  • The College Pathways program for the 2018-19 Academic Year is finishing college readiness testing and preparing for Academic Advising and Career presentations.  There are currently 12 schools in the program; and two new schools, Pinelands and Point Pleasant Borough, have been added for the 2019-20 Academic Year.  A planning meeting is scheduled with all partner districts for the end of March.
  • The Admissions Department is very excited to be partnering with the following businesses and community organizations to engage adults:
  • Wawa has participated in OCC’s Club Fair and will be attending the College-Wide Open House in April. Admissions has created a “Make the Most of Your Tuition and Loan Reimbursement with Ocean County College” tri-fold that has been distributed to all Ocean County Wawa breakrooms and at orientations.  Admissions representatives will be attending Ocean County Wawa’s orientation and development days as well as its Goose Jam in the summer to promote the partnership.
  • OCC has partnered with Ocean’s Harbor House in Toms River, which is a safe haven for runaway, homeless, and abused youth (ages 10-21). Admissions has scheduled presentations for the homeless teen, young adult, and foster parent communities at Harbor House.
  • One Stop – The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development – Admissions has been presenting on OCC and the Community College Opportunity Grant at all unemployment orientations; over 140 individuals attended the presentations.  In addition, Admissions, Financial Aid, and Advising presented a workshop at the One Stop on College resources during which students were assisted with the application and enrollment processes.  The New Jersey Department of Labor and Development found the event to be extremely successful and has invited the College to present additional workshops in the future.
  • The Admissions Office will host 20 different information booths at 8 separate branch locations of the Ocean County Library across the County as well as make 7 presentations at 7 locations on “How to Make College Affordable with Ocean County College.”

Counseling and Student Development Services

  • Several programs are scheduled for February and March:
  • QPR – Question, Persuade, and Refer, suicide prevention training – Monday, February 25, 2019, and Tuesday, March 19, 2019
  • Faculty and staff training on substance use and abuse and vaping – Friday, March 1, 2019
  • Women’s History Month celebrations – Monday and Tuesday, March 4 and 5, 2019
  • RU OK?, suicide prevention – Thursday, March 14, 2019
  • An online version of the Step-by-Step intervention program for students was introduced in January. The program provides support and instruction for students who are working to improve their academic status.
  • Counselors presented to the College Success Seminar classes, providing an overview and interpretation of the College Success Factors Index, an assessment that is used to measure factors related to academic and student success.
  • The Displaced Homemakers Program is providing services to 116 clients:
  • 14 clients have become employed
  • 7 clients completed short-term training through OCC’s Professional and Continuing Education; 9 clients are scheduled for upcoming classes
  • 10 clients are enrolled in OCC classes for a total of 84 credit hours in Spring 2019; 8 clients are enrolled in other four-year colleges or universities

Center for Student Success

  • The Testing Center has implemented a paperless make-up test request process for faculty. Faculty can use Canvas to build and administer tests and then use the Professor Module in RegisterBlast, the Testing Center’s online reservation and appointment system, to request a student’s make-up test.  Professor Module for the STEM Pilot was opened on February 1, 2019; as of February 14, 2019, 33 STEM instructors have enrolled and 42 tests have been processed.
  • The results of a CLEP “Secret Shopper” visit indicated the need to improve test security and proctoring in the Testing Center. To be in compliance with the requirements of testing vendors, the Center is implementing the latest security technology.  Additional video and new audio surveillance equipment will be purchased and installed as part of Phase III of the campus-wide security surveillance upgrades.  Additionally, the Testing Center is now using Accudemia, a cloud-based academic center management system to track active proctoring, and all test takers will undergo personal security monitoring.
  • A number of National College Testing Association members were surveyed to determine if there was support to reduce the ninety-day expiration period assigned to vouchers for virtual proctoring of the Placement test. Having received positive responses, OCC submitted a reduction request to the College Board, whose response was that all Accuplacer sites may now set their own voucher expiration dates of seven, fourteen, thirty, or ninety days.  Based on OCC’s testing data, the Testing Center is now using a fourteen-day expiration period to, hopefully, keep the students’ momentum going and improve enrollment.
  • The Testing Center is exploring the possibility of administering placement and make-up tests at the Southern Education Center.  Ms. Lorie Trachtenberg, Director of Testing, will be going to the SEC to provide Next Generation Accuplacer training on March 1, 2019.
  • Linda Verheyen, Academic Administrative Assistant, successfully implemented Bonfire, the College’s contract management system, in the Center for Student Success office.

Academic Affairs

  • School of Nursing and Health Sciences
  • Ocean County College was notified on January 22, 2019, that the New Jersey Board of Nursing granted continued accreditation to the School of Nursing for eight years, 2018 through 2026. Accreditation is based on an extensive self-study report that must be submitted to the Board of Nursing outlining information regarding the program’s operational processes, curriculum, and outcomes data.
  • Pre-Nursing Information Sessions will be held on March 8, 2019, from 9:30 to 10:30 a.m. and March 28, 2019, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. in the Technology Building Lecture Hall for students who intend to enter the Nursing Program. Representatives from Nursing, Advising, and Kean University will provide information regarding the program to prospective students.
  • Two students graduated from the Occupational Therapy Assistant program, an Associate in Science degree program offered through a partnership between Ocean County College and Rutgers University’s School of Health Professions. This 74 credit program prepares students as professionals to serve people who experience illness, disease, disability, disadvantages, trauma, and challenging life circumstances.  Occupational Therapy Assistant is one of the fastest growing health professions; employment is expected to increase 28 percent between 2016 and 2026 according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
  • The H. Hovnanian Health Sciences Building has been nominated for the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA) New Good Neighbor Award. This award is granted to new, renovated, or expanded facilities that demonstrate job creation and community involvement.  Additional information is being submitted to NJBIA demonstrating the benefits the building has in preparing future practitioners to meet the healthcare needs of the community.  NJBIA is expected to notify the winning recipients in March 2019.
  • School of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM)
  • Assistant Professor of Science Eric Antonelli has successfully completed the IBM Blockchain practitioner’s course held at NJIT Martin Tuchman School of Management during the week of January 7, 2019. Blockchain technology will fundamentally change business processes by relying on distributed database and encryption to build trust across permissioned networks.  The objectives included the evolution of Blockchain; use cases; and a deep understanding of technical topics, such as consensus, cryptography, privacy, and security.

As a group project, participants designed and developed a prototype system based on a permissioned Blockchain using IBM Hyperledger Fabric and Hyperledger Composer.  Hyperledger Fabric is a framework for building blockchain applications for business purposes, and Hyperledger Composer is a companion tool that makes building blockchain applications that run on Hyperledger Fabric easier.  Professor Antonelli received the IBM Blockchain Practitioner – Instructor badge and the IBM Enterprise Design Thinking Practitioner badge.

  • On February 9, 2019, OCC hosted the annual MathCounts middle school math competition. Volunteering to assist the Ocean County Chapter of the New Jersey Association of Professional Engineers with grading students’ answers at the competition were:
  • Professor of Mathematics Maryann Birdsall
  • Biology College Lecturer II Angel Camilo
  • Instructor of Mathematics Krista Camilo
  • Professor of Mathematics Linda Henderson
  • Assistant Professor of Mathematics Shirley Grone
  • Professor of Mathematics Vicki McMillian
  • Mathematics College Lecturer II Sam Pinkava
  • Assistant Dean of STEM Carolyn Showalter
  • Retired Associate Professor of Engineering Paul Butler

Over 60 middle school students from Burlington and Ocean Counties participated in this year’s event, which has been hosted by the College for more than twenty-five years.  Professor Birdsall has served as the College’s liaison to the engineering society for over twenty years.

  • STEM held two WebEx virtual meetings for adjunct faculty, the first for Math and Computer Science on February 6, 2019, and the second for Science on February 11, 2019, which were organized and led by STEM College Lecturer IIs Gerald Cohen, Dan Keiser and Dr. John McElroy. Dean of STEM Paul Silberquit, STEM Academic Administrator Katie Pyott, and Assistant Dean Showalter attended the WebEx presentations and adjuncts were able to participate on campus or via the Internet.
  • The Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium Executive Committee and volunteers reviewed the ratings of the research papers submitted by 89 high school student participants. The students with the ten top-rated papers were selected to participate in the 2019 presentation competition scheduled for March 21 and 22, 2019, in the Grunin Theatre.  High school students whose papers placed 11th through 16th are invited to participate in a table top poster presentation that is held before the evening awards banquet.  The remaining 73 participating students are invited to participate in a table top poster session during the afternoon of March 21, 2019.  Awards from donors are presented to winners of each event.

The ten highest rated research papers submitted by high school students are quite impressive:

  1. Detection of Cancer Antigens Using Gold Nanoparticles on Interdigitated Electrode-Based Biosensor by Joo Un Lee, Tenafly High School
  2. Quantitative Analysis of Mechanical Impact on Neurological Health Utilizing Cellular Models of Differentiated Neuroblastoma Cells by Caleb Shi, Bergen County Academies
  3. The Correlation of miR-155 and Prognosis in Ovarian Cancer by Cindy Xiong, Millburn High School
  4. The Icy Hot Effect of Icilin on Burns: A Novel Approach to Healing Thermal Trauma by Kevin Chew, Bergen County Academies
  5. An Analysis of the Differences in Electronic Device Geolocation Accuracy Using Network Ping vs. Global Positioning System by Thomas Makin, High Technology High School
  6. Rapid Diagnosis of Infectious Bursal Disease (IBD) with RNA Microarray and Machine Learning by Tiffany Fang, High Technology High School
  7. Targeting Aquaporin 4 in Acetazolamide and Temozolomide-Treated Glioblastomas by Jennifer Kong, Bergen County Academies
  8. The Effect of Silicone Skin on Holding an Object with a Prosthetic Hand by Lasya Balachandran, High Technology High School
  9. Multi-Cohort Analysis of Fecal Microbiome in Colorectal Carcinoma Patients Shows an Altered Gut Bacterial Population by Jessica Dai, Tenafly High School
  10. Speech Intelligibility Analysis of Sound-Modulated Laser Signal Countermeasures by Sharmi Shah, Colonia High School

School of Business and Social Sciences

  • Jason Ghibesi, College Lecturer II of Political Science and History, will continue his participation in the Community College Program (formerly the Mid-Career Fellowship) at Princeton University.  Mr. Ghibesi will enroll in a course entitled “The Just Society” with Dr. Alan W. Patten, Professor of Politics and Chair of the Department of Politics at Princeton University.  This course focuses on theories of social justice and examination of their implications in areas of contemporary social and political controversy.
  • This Spring semester, five students from the Business Department are participating in the Bloomberg Trading Challenge. The OCC team members are led by captain Ian Mindas and include Dominique Resto, Peter Colaner, Giana Menne, and Sol Reyes.  The team is selecting primarily high growth stocks in an effort to out-perform the overall growth market.  In addition to selecting stocks to buy in the mock competition, the students must also explain and justify their strategies.  The students meet in the Business Lab and conduct their work on the Bloomberg terminals.   Kathy Toy, College Lecturer II in Business Studies, is the faculty advisor.
  • Over the upcoming 2019 Spring break from March 16 to March 24, 2019, 11 OCC students and two trip leaders, English College Lecturer II Kristyn Stout and Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management College Lecturer II Sean Bips, will travel to Germany to teach in their respective fields and lead students through several German cities, including Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Rothenburg, Wiemar, and Berlin. Some highlights of the trip itinerary include a visit to the European Central Bank in Frankfurt with a tour of the catering, meetings, and special events departments; a trip to the Weimar National Theater; and admission to the Goethe-National Museum that is devoted to German author Johann Wolfgang von Goethe.  The trip will end in Berlin with a visit to the Story of Berlin Museum, a special foodie tour, and a behind-the-scenes tour of the lodging and food and beverage departments at both the Hotel Adler and the Waldorf Astoria Hotel Berlin.  Special appreciation is expressed to the OCC Foundation for providing the necessary funding in the form of scholarships awarded to the students to make this study abroad trip possible.

School of Arts and Humanities

  • Civil War reenactors attended Adjunct Faculty Member John Frateriggo’s U.S. History from 1877 class on February 4, 2019, to assist with a hands-on lecture on Civil War roles, equipment, uniforms, and battle tactics.
  • Joe Utterback, celebrated American jazz pianist, composer, and recording artist, performed as part of the “Afternoon with the Bosendorfer” series on February 8, 2019. Along with his performance, he provided commentary on his music and career.
  • David Bordelon, Professor of English and Literature, and the Community Book Club met on February 11, 2019, to discuss Berlin Alexanderplatz by Alfred Doblin.
  • College Lecturer II Catherine Mancuso’s new dance course, DANC 241, Dance Repertory I, is running this semester. Students are learning company repertoire from Aries in Flight, a theater jazz dance company in New York City founded by Ms. Mancuso.  The students will schedule an end-of-semester studio performance, at which they will be collecting donations for True Vine Ministries and Group Home, an organization that helps women and children who have been affected by domestic violence.
  • Additionally, all of the dance classes are currently working on presentations for the upcoming Women in History event that will take place in the Grunin Theatre on March 4 and 5, 2019.  Students will be creating works based on the theme of Visionary Women: Champions of Peace and Nonviolence.
  • Dance students will also be participating in an in-school Dance Residency with East Dover Elementary School’s 5th grade students through the MindAlign arts grant.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

  • Ms. Rachel Doss-Block, Associate Director of e-Learning and Learning Enterprises, reports that the Spring 2019 Course Development Schedule is being developed, consisting of 32 courses for the Fall 2019 semester, which will include new development, redevelopment, content updates, textbook updates, and textbook reviews.  In addition, another 32 courses will be going through review.
  • The e-Learning Online Instructor Training and Master Course Developer Training courses are currently being restructured to remove “grading” and make the courses more resource-based with knowledge checks and statements of agreement to e-Learning’s processes and procedures.  The new course versions are set to be introduced in September 2019.
  • Mr. Eric Daniels, Educational Technologist, is developing a Center for Instructional Empowerment course in Canvas that will allow face-to-face and distance learning instructors to obtain resources focused on Canvas, integrations, best practices, and other how-to guides.  e-Learning is also in the process of researching Canvas Outcomes and Blueprint Courses for possible implementation to the Master Courses, depending on the scope of work that will be required.  Finally, the department is in the process of reviewing Open Educational Resources (OER) to determine if they can be utilized with OCC’s online courses.
  • Ms. Christine Webster-Hansen, Assistant Dean of e-Learning, submitted a proposal that would provide degree pathways for adult learners who take nontraditional courses.  Individuals in workforce training programs or alternative online educational programs could earn transfer credits based on recommendations from the American Council on Education (ACE).  Subject matter experts at OCC would first ensure that relevant course equivalencies exist at the College.  This proposal would provide opportunities for partnerships and articulations with various corporations for increased enrollment and revenue.  As an outcome of this endeavor, Vice President of Academic Affairs Joe Konopka has established the Nontraditional Pathways Committee to explore options.
  • Mr. Hatem Akl, Interim Associate Vice President of e-Learning and Learning Enterprises, and Ms. Webster-Hansen met with Ms. Eileen Buckle, Interim Director of Program Compliance, and Dr. James Siegel to discuss options for universally tracking cases of academic dishonesty at the College. The e-Learning Department began this process independently in Fall 2018, and, based on the recommendation from Student Services, Maxient will be used for logging each incident.  The group then met with the academic deans to discuss possible implementation of this system in all Academic Schools.  All instructors will be asked to report every incident, including cases in which warnings were issued informally, which will allow repeat offenses to be noted for more informed decision-making regarding student sanctions.  In e-Learning, templates will be created for sending warning letters and notices of formal charges in coordination with instructors’ wishes.
  • Instructor Insight software is tracking the frequency of instructor logins in distance learning courses. An alert is emailed to instructors who have not logged into their courses in at least three days, and a copy is sent to a new e-Learning Dean inbox that is monitored by e-Learning leadership.
  • Dr. Maysa Hayward, Assistant Dean of International Programs, and Dr. Howaida Wahby Eraky,      e-Learning College Lecturer, and two representatives from Kean University, Dr. Jessica Adams, Kean Ocean Associate Dean, and Ms. Vivian Lynn, Associate Director of Online Learning, are currently in Egypt to provide training and orientation for the Ain Shams University students and faculty in preparation for the Spring semester and to prepare approximately 40 third-year students, who will be graduating in May from OCC, for their senior year with Kean University.  At least ten of these students are planning to attend the graduation events and ceremony, spending two weeks on the OCC campus and six to eight weeks on the Kean Union campus taking courses for their first semester of the senior year.
  • On March 5 and 6, 2019, a meeting is scheduled with NJIT and Tatweer Misr representatives to work on details of a potential partnership to establish a presence for NJIT and OCC in Egypt under the guidelines of the Egyptian International Branch Campus (IBC) law.
  • Mr. Akl and I will be in Egypt from March 7 to 19, 2019, to meet with the presidents of OCC’s partner universities and the Minister of Higher Education Dr. Khalid Abdel Ghaffar to continue efforts to secure final approval for the American Community College project.  Dr. Susan Cole, President of Montclair State University, will join us during the visit as will two of her associates, Dr. Kimberly Hollister, Vice Dean of the School of Business, and Jack Shannon, Jr., Esq., Vice President for Strategic Alliances, Economic Development, and Civic Partnerships.
  • Early discussions are underway with L’viv Polytechnic National University, located in L’viv, Ukraine, to investigate a potential partnership to offer online associate degrees to students in Ukraine.
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