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March 28, 2019

Dr. Larson’s March 2019 Report to the OCC Board of Trustees

Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail

Finance and Administration

  • OCC’s current dental plans expire on July 1, 2019.  Following a review conducted by the Employee Benefits Consulting Practice of Conner Strong & Buckelew, the College plans to renew its dental coverages with Horizon for one year with no change in rates.  The College is pleased with the service provided by Horizon; because there is no rate increase, employee contributions will not change and services to employees will continue without interruption.

 College Relations

  • The graphic design team, headed by Assistant Director Kevin Cupples, collaborated with multiple partners, including Picatinny Arsenal, Naval Air Systems Command, the NJ Sea Grant Consortium, and many other organizations, departments, and New Jersey high schools to produce a program and agenda for the Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium on March 21, 2019. The program highlighted the student participants as well as their groundbreaking projects.
  • The design team also worked alongside the Barnegat Bay Partnership to publish its annual report.  This year, the team helped the Partnership lay out images, data, and stories surrounding the impact of climate change in the Barnegat Bay area.
  • A new iteration of the prospective student view book was published.  Admissions and College Relations worked together to focus the publication on affordability, flexibility, and transferability and to use testimonials emphasizing success stories from OCC alumni.
  • The Alumni Office is pleased to announce the 6th Annual Alumni, Student, and Staff Blue Claws Picnic on Friday, August 9, 2019, at the Lakewood BlueClaws Stadium.  A link with purchase options will be available soon.
  • The Alumni e-newsletter will be circulated quarterly beginning next month with campus news and events as well as alumni services, discounts, and other timely information to encourage alumni engagement.

Continuing and Professional Education

The Continuing and Professional Education Summer Course Catalog and Kid’s Camp Brochure have been mailed and registration is open. The Kid’s Camp is offering 92 courses, including before- and after-care, from early July to mid-August. Applications are currently being accepted for camp volunteers, age 16 and over.

  • CPE is partnering with various College departments to offer:
    • Extended day options at the Grunin Center and Planetarium
    • A STEAM camp instructed by OCC professors and lecturers
    • Foundation scholarships for campers with special needs
    • Affordable lunch options
  • The Ocean County Achievement Center has aided 12 at-risk, out-of-school students in earning their high school diplomas since Fall 2018. It has also started a new cohort-based College Student Success course this Spring Semester, including 15 dual-enrolled students earning their first three college credits and learning what it takes to be successful college students.

Human Resources

Human Resources offered a number of training programs in March.  The renewed emphasis on employee training is consistent with OCC’s strategic plan.  March trainings included:

  • Leading a Cross-Generational Workforce – An understanding of generational trends to develop greater empathy for the reasons people may respond differently to the same situation. Key leadership principles and the latest available research provided the tools and information needed to persuade, communicate with, and get the most from diverse team members.
  • Policies, Contracts, and Laws, OH MY! Leaves of Absence and Your Staff – Employment law concepts, applications, and the knowledge to recognize and address various employment issues legally and consistently were discussed.
  • Help! I Need to Write My Self-Evaluation! – Topics included self-evaluations, writing goals and development plans, and preparing for productive performance evaluation meetings with supervisors.
  • Performance Management: The Evaluation – Discussions included establishing plans for employees, finalizing goals, creating developmental objectives, and conducting performance evaluations.

The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts

  • On March 11, 2019, “Ranky Tanky” performed for over 700 students sharing their musical talents of Gullah Music.
  • On March 12, 2019, the College hosted the New Jersey Poetry Out Loud finals at the Grunin Center for the second year.
  • Temple Grandin’s lectures on Autism are almost sold out. There are a few seats available for the 5:00 p.m. show on April 6, 2019.
  • The Repertory Theatre’s upcoming production of “Love/Sick” is being performed on a number of dates in April and May:
    • Thursday, April 25, 2019, at 7:30 pm
    • Friday, April 26, 2019, at 7:30 pm
    • Saturday, April 27, 2019, at 8:00 pm
    • Sunday, April 28, 2019, at 2:00 pm
    • Friday, May 3, 2019, at 7:30 pm
    • Saturday, May 4, 2019, at  8:00 pm
    • Sunday, May 5, 2019, at 2:00 pm

The Novins Planetarium

The Planetarium hosted a live interview via Zoom with the Director of Programming at the Rio Alcan Tinto Planetarium in Montreal for students at the Ocean County Teen Arts Festival.


In accordance with New Jersey Public Law 2015, Chapter 220, and College Policy #2332, Reporting of On-Campus Criminal and Fire Events, attached is the monthly statistics report of crimes, fires, and other emergencies on campus for the reporting period February 28, 2019, through March 20, 2019.

Student Affairs

Center for Student Success

Ms. Laura Manresa, College Lecturer II, attended the 38th Annual Conference of the First-Year Experience in Las Vegas, Nevada, from February 15-19, 2019.  The conference provided a forum where higher education professionals shared experiences, concerns, and accomplishments related to supporting student learning, development, and success in the first college year.  The National Resource Center for the First-Year Experience resides with the University of South Carolina.

Ms. Manresa attended a Pre-Conference Workshop, Designing and Delivering an Effective First-Year Experience Course at Two-Year Institutions, which provided practical, research-based strategies for making key decisions about course administration, instructor training, course content, course assignments, and course assessment.  The information received is being directly applied to the two-credit redesign of OCC’s College Success Seminar in all three modalities:  Face-to-Face, Hybrid, and e-Learning.


  • The Advising Office presented two workshops to each section of the College Success Seminar over the course of two weeks. The first presentation focused on an introduction to advising at OCC.  Students met with a member of the advising staff and received an Advising Syllabus.  Advisors spoke about advising learning objectives, academic planning using Student Planning, advisor and student responsibilities, and advising and transfer resources.
  • The second presentation was a career pathways workshop, which focused on self, major, and career exploration.  Students were introduced to a career inventory and encouraged to think about whether their majors are aligned with the correct career pathway.  Students were provided with various resources, including creating an account on the College Central Network.
  • Multiple training sessions were made available to all faculty and staff covering Student Planning and Advising for Transfer during the Spring semester.  New faculty advisor training is scheduled for the week of March 25, 2019.


  • NJ STARS Coordinator Jennifer Kipp participated in three NJ STARS information sessions in collaboration with Admissions from November 2018 to March 2019; over 160 attendees were present over the three sessions.
  • Ms. Kipp serves as advisor to the NJ STARS Club, which has organized and participated in multiple community service events this academic year.  Last semester, the NJ STARS Club held a food drive benefitting the People’s Pantry and also donated funds to Ocean of Love in December with money raised from a clothing drive and bake sales.  Another clothing drive and a beach clean-up are planned for April.  All funds raised by the NJ STARS Club this spring will be used to purchase toiletries and gift cards to benefit the homeless population in Tent City.

Student Life

  • The HOSA-Future Health Professionals’ State Leadership Conference was held on March 16-17, 2019, at Middlesex County Vocational School in East Brunswick.  There were over 1,000 students in attendance at the state conference, including students from Rutgers University, New Jersey Institute of Technology, The College of New Jersey, and the Ocean County Vocational Technical School.
  • HOSA- Future Health Professionals, formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America, is a national career and technical student organization endorsed by the U.S. Department of Education and the Health Science Technology Education Division of the Association of Career and Technical Education.  The organization is for students who are planning to enter a health field, such as nurses, doctors, and physical therapists.  HOSA chapters are found within 48 states, Washington, DC, Puerto Rico, American Samoa, Canada, Mexico, Germany, and Italy.  There are over 235,000 student HOSA members.
  • The HOSA conference allows students to demonstrate what they have learned, win scholarships, and make connections with professionals across the country in their fields of interest.  Students select one of the sixty medically-related events for competition in six categories:  Health Science, Health Professions, Emergency Preparedness, Leadership, Teamwork, and Recognition.

Once again, OCC’s students excelled:

    • Leandra Bourdot – Medical Law and Ethics – 1st place
    • Zachary Maynor – Extemporaneous Writing – 3rd place
    • Chloe Page – Medical Spelling  – 3rd place
    • Oladotun Aluko –– Nutrition – 3rd place

All four OCC students will compete at the International Leadership Conference, June 19-22, 2019, at the Disney Coronado Springs Resort in Orlando, Florida, where they will compete against students from across the United Stated, Canada, and Mexico.

Mr. Scott Farrell, College Lecturer II in Chemistry and Advisor to HOSA-Future Health Professionals, will attend Thursday’s meeting with HOSA students.

OCC students at the International Leadership Conference

Left to right: Professor Scott Farrell, Zachary Maynor, Chloe Page, Leandra Bourdot, Oladotun Aluko

Financial Aid

The deadline to complete the 2018-19 FAFSA is June 30, 2019, for students who want to attend OCC’s Summer Sessions.  The Spring 2019 FAFSA series has three workshops still available – April 13, May 11, and June 8, 2019.  As of March 1, 2019, the Financial Aid Office has received 8,766 FAFSA applications during 2018-19.

Student Support Services

In March, OCC’s Student Support Services (SSS) submitted the Annual Performance Report (APR) for 2017-18 with impressive results.  Criteria used to score the SSS program included  Funded Number, Persistence, Good Academic Standing, Associate Degree or Certificate Attained, and Associate Degree or Certificate and Transfer to a Four-Year Institution.  The program met and exceeded the project’s approved objectives in all criteria, earning 15 out of 15 prior experience points.  A summary of the results follows:

2017-18 Summary Results for the Standard Objectives

Maximum Score Allowed

Approved Rate Actual Attained Rate  Standard Objectives Scores
Persistence 4 75% 89% 4
Good Academic Standing 4 81%  92% 4
Associate’s Degree or Certificate 2 39%  54% 2
Associate’s Degree or Certificate and Transfer to a 4-Year Institution 2  25%    41% 2
Funded Number 3 Number of Participants Funded to Serve: 140 Number of Participants Served: 143

Percent Served: 102%

Total Scores 15 15

Congratulations are extended to the SSS team for its diligent work to attain these outstanding results: Ms. Helen Konz, Project Specialist; Ms. Alexis Lopez, Technician; Ms. Barbara McCormack, Academic Coach; Ms. Megan Miskin, Interim Project Director; and 11 SSS tutors.


The OCC Viking Baseball and Softball teams spent Spring break in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, competing at the Ripken Experience Complex against junior college teams from across the country.  The teams each played eight games over the course of four days.  The bonding experience from the twelve-hour bus rides, the team breakfasts, and the top-notch facility developed by the Ripken family will not soon be forgotten by the student-athletes; the trip was an outstanding experience for them.

Ms. Ilene Cohen, Executive Director of Athletics, and several team members will attend Thursday’s meeting.


The Admissions Office has been collaborating across campus to offer value-added campus experience days with many groups from the local community:

  • On February 26, 2019, Admissions worked with Henry Jackson, Executive Director of the Center for Academic Success, to provide transportation, a presentation, campus tour, and lunch to approximately 50 students from Pinelands Regional High School.
  • On March 11, 2019, Admissions, in collaboration with the Grunin Center, hosted over 300 Lakewood Middle School students.  The students were given a tour of the campus and engaged in an interest inventory that included a career presentation designed to encourage the pursuit of a college degree.  Additional activities were scheduled, including a Planetarium show and a pre-show talk by Mark Wilson, Director of Cultural Affairs.  The day concluded with the students seeing a presentation of “Ranky Tanky” at the Grunin Center.  The students all seemed to enjoy the day, and the teachers were appreciative.
  • On March 13, 2019, Admissions partnered with Cara Muscio, Planetarium Manager, and the Planetarium staff to provide lunch, a presentation, and an in-depth campus tour for a Brick Memorial High School science class.
  • On March 14, 2019, Admissions worked with Ralph Bertini, Television Production Director, and TV Studio staff to provide lunch, a presentation, a campus tour, and a TV studio experience for a group of New Egypt High School Television Production students.
  • Admissions and NJ STARS Coordinator Jen Kipp hosted a NJ STARS info session on March 12, 2019, with 77 people in attendance.
  • In the coming weeks, the Admissions Office and Ralph Bertini will be hosting Central Regional High School students for a campus visit. Additionally, Admissions will also be working with Disability Services to provide an OCC presentation and campus tour for Point Pleasant Borough High School students.
  • The Admissions Department, in collaboration with Academic Affairs, has started the Spring Open House series.  This year, new school-specific Open House events will occur leading up to the College-Wide Open House on Saturday, April 27, 2019.  The School of Business and Social Science Open House on March 7, 2019, attracted 32 people.  Additional School-Specific Open Houses will be held by the School of Nursing, School of Arts and Humanities, School of STEM, and the Intercollegiate Athletics Department.
  • The Admissions Department has partnered with a number of businesses and community organizations to engage adults in our community. New partnerships include:
  • The Pines at Whiting Retirement Community – Admissions representatives will be presenting on the Silver Edge discount at this independent and assisted living community. They will also speak to medical and administrative staff regarding OCC degree paths as a part of their tuition reimbursement program.
  • 21 Plus, Inc., located in Manchester Township, provides community-based programs for individuals over the age of 21 with developmental disabilities. Admissions will discuss OCC’s educational opportunities and ways in which to make college affordable.
  • New marketing materials are being developed to assist with the recruitment of prospective adult students in our community.

Educational Opportunity Fund/Center for Academic Excellence (EOF/C4AE)

  • A number of EOF/C4AE students have been nominated for membership in the EOF Honor Society, Chi Alpha Epsilon, Beta Chi Chapter:


Riley Fields
Louis Garcia
Alexis Giuffrida
Andrea Gonzalez
Jenifer Hernandez
Daniel Kraftmann
Daniel Varall
Christine Kelly
Juno Maarleveld
Jennifer Martinez Grisales
Abbey McGovern
Yasmeen Meziane
Taylor Pasqualini
Gabriella Volinski
Carolyn Pellitteri
Shymira Reeves
Grace Roveda
Daniel Scialabba
Valerie Tate
Samari Valles
Jessica Wu
  • EOF/C4AE is also pleased to acknowledge the following OCC students, who have qualified for the highest academic honors among all EOF students in the State of New Jersey. They are being recognized with the EOF Graduate Achievement Award on April 5, 2019, at Fairleigh Dickinson University, Florham campus.
Student GPA Award
Youssef Abdelaziz 3.375 Academic Achievement Award (3.2 – 3.49)
Leslie Andrade 3.353 Academic Achievement Award (3.2 – 3.49)
Riley Fields 3.721 Outstanding Academic Achievement (3.5 – 3.9)
Jonathan Gioxaris 3.58 Outstanding Academic Achievement (3.5 – 3.9)
Alexis Giuffrida 3.93 Outstanding Academic Achievement (3.5 – 3.9)
Andrea Gonzalez 3.52 Outstanding Academic Achievement (3.5 – 3.9)
Jenifer Hernandez 3.39 Academic Achievement Award (3.2 – 3.49)
Virginia Hester 3.38 Academic Achievement Award (3.2 – 3.49)
Christine Kelly 3.59 Outstanding Academic Achievement (3.5 – 3.9)
Juno Maarleveld 3.43 Academic Achievement Award (3.2 – 3.49)
Taylor Pasqualini 3.13 Outstanding Achievement (ONLY 1 NOMINEE PER PROGRAM – NO GPA REQUIREMENT)
Constance Pease 3.34 Academic Achievement Award (3.2 – 3.49)
Daniel Scialabba 3.39 Academic Achievement Award (3.2 – 3.49)
Valerie Tate 3.42 Academic Achievement Award (3.2 – 3.49)
Gabriella Volinski 3.56 Outstanding Academic Achievement (3.5 – 3.9)
Jessica Wu 3.37 Academic Achievement Award (3.2 – 3.49)
  • The 4th Annual EOF Leadership Conference and Retreat was held during spring break and was conceptualized and facilitated by a hard-working team of six EOF students:
Gracie Roveda Nicholas Ventrice
Louis Garcia Valentina Marrone
Daniel Varall Andrea Gonzalez
  • This years’ theme was Balance – ACT ONE:  Juggling Priorities, Making Order, Taking Care.
  • Upcoming Events
    • Spend a day engaged in lecture, discussion, and improvisational theater with Robert Jensen and the River Crossing Playback Theatre. Please join us for An Experience in Privilege: Our Stories on Wednesday, April 17, and Thursday, April 18, 2019, in the Gateway Building Lecture Hall.
    • The EOF/C4AE Awards Ceremony will take place on Thursday, May 9, 2019, at 6:00 p.m.

Counseling and Student Development Services

  •  Kate Pandolpho, Director, has been appointed to the Ocean County Mental Health Board Executive Committee by the Ocean County Board of Chosen Freeholders.
  • Counseling and Student Development Services sponsored these very successful seminars:
    • Approximately 50 OCC and Kean Ocean students, faculty, and staff were trained on suicide gatekeeper training QPR – Question, Persuade, and Refer, presented by the New Jersey Division on Mental Health and Addiction Services. Responses from participants are very positive.  Follow-up sessions are being planned.
    • Approximately 25 OCC and Kean Ocean faculty and staff learned about substance abuse, current trends, and signs to watch for presented by the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office and vaping by the DART Coalition. The evaluations of these presentations were also overwhelmingly positive.
  • Upcoming programs include:
    • Substance Abuse Summit – Thursday, April 4, 2019, 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
    • DUI Field Sobriety Tests Demonstration – Thursday, April 11, 2019, 11:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m., Larson Student Center
    • Self-Care for OCC Athletes – Friday, April 19, 2019
    • Jennifer Nadler: Sexual Abuse and Assault Prevention, in collaboration with St. Francis Counseling Service and Kean Ocean Campus Life – Monday, April 15, 2019, 12:30 p.m., Gateway 104 in recognition of Sexual Violence Prevention Month
    • Take a Mindful Break – Thursdays, beginning March 28, 2019, 11:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Library Tower Room
  •  May is Displaced Homemakers Awareness Month. At Thursday’s meeting, the Displaced Homemakers staff will make a presentation on this very successful and recognized Program.  Additionally, a client will share her success story and the impact the Program has had on her life.The Displaced Homemakers Program is providing services to 132 clients, 16 of whom have become employed this program year.A year-end celebration is planned for Tuesday, May 7, 2019, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. in the Larson Student Center. It is respectfully requested that the Board adopt a resolution proclaiming May 2019 as Displaced Homemakers Awareness Month at Ocean County College.

Academic Affairs

School of Nursing and Health Sciences

  •  Nursing III students and faculty attended the New Jersey Nursing Students Convention in Atlantic City on February 28, 2019. Fifty-five students had the opportunity to network with their peers throughout the state and meet with potential employers.  Educational sessions were provided throughout the day related to preparing the student for professional practice.
  • The Student Nurse Organization (SNO) held a Career Day on March 12, 2019, and representatives from 17 facilities attended the event. Information was provided to students on applying for positions following completion of the Nursing Program as well as for nursing assistant positions while currently in the program.  Kean University also participated in the event to inform prospective students about the BSN Completion Program.
  • During February, SNO, under the direction of advisors Sue Gill, MSN, RN, and Barbara Hayles, MSN, RN, collaborated with Lisa Ryan, APN, Nurse Practitioner from the RWJ/ Barnabas Health and Wellness Center, to celebrate Healthy Heart Month. Members of SNO provided information to students and staff on diet, exercise, and stress reduction to promote a healthy lifestyle.
  • Beverly Malone, Ph.D., RN, FAAN, Chief Executive Officer of the National League for Nurses, made a presentation focusing on mentoring students to the professional role of RNs and new faculty to their role within academia on February 28, 2019, at the New Jersey Nursing Students Convention in Atlantic City. In attendance were Erin Vitale, MSN, RN, Nursing Lecturer II; Marybeth Millan, MSN, RN, Nursing Lab Coordinator; Elizabeth Stevenson Ph.D., MSN, RN, Assistant Dean of Nursing; and Teresa Walsh, MSN, RN-BC, Dean of Nursing and Health Sciences.

School of Science Technology Engineering and Math (STEM)

  • Pam Bogdan, Engineering College Lecturer II, and students from the Engineering Club and Engineering class facilitated events during Engineering Week, February 17-23, 2019. The event was in support of the annual celebration of Engineers Week sponsored by the National Society of Professional Engineers.  This year’s theme was “Engineers:  Invent Amazing.”  OCC organized three events.
  • On Tuesday, February 19, 2019, a Speaker’s Panel featured three speakers and allowed students to have 1:1 time with each speaker:
    • Elven Chern, Ph.D., Lead Principal-Technical Architect at AT&T
    • Richard Grubb, Vice President of RGA, Inc.
    • John Eric Henson, Department Manager (Highway) at KMA Consulting
  • On Thursday, February 20, 2019, the OCC community was invited to participate in a Paper Airplane Contest.  Student volunteers enjoyed coordinating the contest while other students enjoyed making paper airplanes out of one sheet of paper and attempting to fly the planes on a windy day.  Winners were selected in three categories – farthest distance, most creative design, and most interesting flight path.

The final event of the week was the Makers Space Open House, where a number of new members signed up for the Engineering Club to take advantage of this wonderful student resource.

  • Angel Camilo, College Lecturer II in Biology, attended the Emerging Tech Trends conference organized by the New Jersey Tech Council in Trenton. There were two panels of representatives, a Corporate Panel and an Education/Government Panel, that facilitated discussions on the start of emergent technologies in New Jersey, covered from the viewpoints of industry, education, and government. In addition to the panel discussions, there were presentations on the following topics:
    • Rise of the Smart Regions: Building a Model for Regional Growth
    • Health Tech/Digital Transformation: Beyond the Medicine Cabinet
    • IT Talent and Jobs for the Future: Developing Future Employers for IT Careers
    • IT Trends in the Future: FinTech, Quantum, AI, and Machine Learning

NJIT, Rowan University, Monmouth University, and The College of New Jersey were represented in the audience.  Dr. Camilo was the only community college representative in attendance; he also represented MODC as a member of its Technology Committee.

  • Dean of STEM Paul Silberquit attended the OCVTS-MATES Thirteenth Research Showcase Expo. All MATES freshmen and transfer students are required to conduct an independent experiment.  Once completed, the students prepared a poster for a table-top poster session on February 27, 2019.  Junior and senior students assisted freshmen and transfer students with their projects.
  • In mid-March, Phi Theta Kappa solicited drink donations for the Helping Hands Food Pantry. Individual drink donations of water, juice, Gatorade, or other sports drinks were requested. Since February 12, 2018, Helping Hands, OCC’s first food pantry, has been assisting currently enrolled students in need. “Food insecure” students need only stop by the Larson Student Center.
  • In PTK news, an astounding 808 letters of invitation were mailed to potential inductees to Tau Iota, OCC’s chapter of the Honor Society. Twenty-nine of these students are from Egypt.  Orientations will be held on March 27 and 28, 2019, with induction on Sunday, April 28, 2019, at 2 p.m. in the Larson Student Center.
  • Upcoming events:
    • April 4-7, 2019 – PTK National Convention in Orlando, Florida
    • April 9, 2019 – STEM Open House, Hiering/Instructional/Technology Buildings
    • April 28, 2019 – PTK Induction Ceremony, Grunin Theatre

School of Business and Social Sciences

  • On March 6, 2019, Business Studies College Lecturer IIs Dr. Katherine Toy and Chris Bottomley met on campus with two Bloomberg representatives to discuss the latest in educational best practices and new Bloomberg functions, such as “Factors to Watch” and fixed income functions.
  • The first school-specific Open House was held on March 7, 2019. Prospective students and their families were able to obtain information about available programs, including criminal justice, business, addictions counseling, and paralegal studies.  Special demonstrations were given by Katherine Toy, College Lecturer II in Business Studies, who led a Bloomberg lab information session, as well as workshops in education by College Lecturer II Dr. Jane MacDonald, social work by College Lecturer II Maria Paradiso, and hospitality by College Lecturer II Sean Bips.
  • On March 12, 2019, College Lecturer II in Criminal Justice Ben Castillo moderated the Ocean County Police Chiefs Panel Discussion. Nine police chiefs participated in this year’s event, which was held in the Gateway Lecture Hall.  The four major topics discussed included the legalization of recreational marijuana, questioning individuals about immigration status, gun rights and ammunition control, and the opioid epidemic.  In addition, the police chiefs answered questions posed by student attendees.  Both OCC and Kean students attended the event, which was sponsored by the OCC Governmental Affairs Institute.
  • On April 1, 2019, Mr. Thomas Bannard, Program Coordinator, Rams in Recovery, Wellness Resource Center, at Virginia Commonwealth University, will present a lecture on the benefits of Campus Recovery Centers (CRCs). Benchmark outcomes of campuses that promote peer support recovery zones, such as CRCs, include improved student retention and overall increases in student GPAs.  Following his presentation, Bannard will conduct a training session for pre-registered students in nationally standardized best practices for peer ally ethics and engagement strategies.  Mr. Bannard’s lecture and training session will provide invaluable experience for members of the OCC Future Counselors Club, led by College Lecturer II in Addictions/Counseling Jeffrey Lang.   The club is also beginning to plan a “pop-up” two-hour CRC on the second floor of the Larson Student Center every Monday morning beginning in Fall 2019.  The pop-up CRC will provide welcome and support to any OCC student presently engaged in efforts to live a life in substance recovery.
  • On April 4, 2019, the Third Annual Substance Abuse Summit, coordinated by College Lecturer II in Political Science Jennifer Barnes and Jane MacDonald, will be held in the Gateway Lecture Hall. Experts in government, law enforcement, education, healthcare, and substance abuse counseling will speak about the opioid epidemic.  In addition, the daylong event will feature a musical performance of “Anytown” by the George Street Playhouse in the Grunin Center Theatre, the showing of “Here’s the Story: A Family Disease with author Alicia Cook in the Novins Planetarium, as well as training and certification sessions in the administration of NARCAN.  This event is sponsored by the OCC Governmental Affairs Institute in collaboration with OCC Counseling and Student Development Services, Kean University, and The Dart Prevention Coalition of RWJ Barnabus Health Institute for Prevention and Recovery.  The event is free and open to the public.
  • On April 30, 2019, College Lecturer II in Political Science Jason Ghibesi will lead a group of students and community members to the United Nations. Professor of Social Sciences Lynn Kenneally will also accompany the group and participate in guided tours of the UN’s main divisions, including the General Assembly and Security Council.  Following the visit to the United Nations, the group will attend the Broadway production of “Come from Away.”  This event is sponsored by both OCC’s Global Education Committee and Office of Student Life.

School of Arts and Humanities

  • Assistant Professor of American Sign Language Kathleen Basilotto and Instructor of Humanities Saundra Piscitelli are continuing their efforts on assessment of the American Sign Language-English Interpreter training program.
  • The School has brought all of its programs into compliance with recently enacted legislation that decreased to 60 the number of credits needed to earn an associate degree.
  • Starting in Fall 2019, two new options, English and History, will be added to the Liberal Arts degree.
  • Faculty from the School took part in the Women’s History Month Celebration on March 5, 2019. Elizabeth Brierley, Associate Professor of Communications and Theatre, organized the celebration, which included a panel discussion on Women in the Community by Ms. Patty Caneda, Ms. Dana Lancellotti, Ms. Jillian Messina, and Dr. Teri Kubiel.  College Lecturer II Catherine Mancuso’s ballet class performed, and Ms. Mancuso also presented a jazz performance.  Associate Professor of English and Literature Jayanti Tamm led an examination of “Becoming,” former First Lady Michelle Obama’s recent memoir.
  • 5, 6, 7, 8! A Love Letter to Broadway,” directed by College Lecturer II of Communications and Theatre Paul Chalakani, was a great success with sold out performances during its run from March 8-10 and March 14-17, 2019.
  • David Bordelon, Professor of English, and the Community Book Club met on March 11, 2019, to discuss “Christ Stopped at Eboli” by author Carlo Levi.
  • As part of the “Afternoon with the Bösendorfer” concert series, on March 15, 2019, violinist and concertmaster of the New York City Ballet orchestra Arturo Delmoni accompanied Nina Siniakova’s performance on the Bösendorfer Imperial Grand Piano. The duo delighted the audience with a selection of classical Chamber Music.
  • College Lecturer II in English Kristyn Stout and Mr. Sean Bips led an exciting and educational study abroad trip to Germany over Spring Break. They and student participants will attend April’s Board meeting to share their experiences.
  • College Lecturer II of Humanities Renate Pustiak, Assistant Professor of Computer Graphics and Photography Rich Fallon, and Instructor of Visual Arts Nat Bard will be hanging student art in the third floor of the Instructional Building as part of the Arts on Campus project led by Pustiak.  The establishment of this project has been underway since last summer, including the conception, design, and selection of student art by OCC’s art experts.  Following the placement of art, vinyl quotations and poems will also be hung on the walls.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

  • The e-Learning Design Team is testing several features in Canvas – New Gradebook, Blue Print Courses, and BigBlueButton. In addition, the Center for Instructional Empowerment Resource Course in Canvas is complete and being reviewed before it is deployed to face-to-face and distance learning instructors.
  • Christine Webster-Hansen, Assistant Dean of e-Learning, has indicated that the e-Learning Department is evaluating job applications for adjuncts in 11 subject areas to expand and replenish the adjunct pool. The College may also offer online recruitment and Open House events to attract remote students. The e-Learning Department is meeting with Dr. A.J. Trump, Director of Admissions, to explore options for live virtual events.
  • The e-Learning Department is assisting with the revision of Policy #5180, Cheating and Plagiarism, to provide essential input regarding academic dishonesty cases that specifically arise within distance learning platforms.
  • Several e-Learning instructors will be piloting free web conferencing software that can be integrated into Canvas courses in the fall. The software will enable instructors to schedule live office hours, optional supplemental lectures, synchronous question-answer sessions, study groups, and other projects.
  • During February and March 2019, work in Egypt progressed on several different projects: the Egyptian Community College Project, training and support for the Ain Shams University (ASU) Program, the Ahram Canadian University program, and additional projects involving NJIT and Montclair State University.
  • Egyptian Community College Project – In February, the attorney for the Egyptian Supreme Council of Universities approved the request to include the American Community College in the Higher Education Law. A decree by the Egyptian Prime Minister is awaited to approve this recommendation.  On the basis of this positive result, Dr. Maysa Hayward, Assistant Vice President of International Programs, began working on recruiting potential Egyptian administrators, staff, and faculty members to support and manage the Community College project.

In March, Mr. Hatem Akl, Interim Associate Vice President of e-Learning and Learning Enterprises, began developing multiple job descriptions for these positions.  Also in March, I signed two additional agreements with governmental universities for the American Community College in Egypt.

  • Ain Shams University Program – In February, Hayward joined Kean University’s Dr. Jessica Adams and Ms. Vivian Lynn in orienting and training ASU Cohort 1 students, who will be transitioning to Kean University in Summer 2019. Dr. Howaida Eraky, e-Learning College Lecturer II, gave six workshops to all cohorts in the ASU/Kean Ocean program.
  • Ahram Canadian Program – In mid-February, a cohort of 81 Ahram Canadian students started training on the OCC noncredit English for Media course. In March, I signed an agreement for the noncredit course with Farouk Ismail, President of Ahram Canadian University.
  • Additional Projects:
    • In March, I signed a three-way agreement with NJIT and Tatweer Misr, a private investor, establishing a private STEM University in New Cairo to start in Fall 2020. Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration Sara Winchester is developing the financial model for the partnership.
    • Also in March, Susan Cole, President of Montclair University, visited Egypt along with Mr. Jack Shannon and Ms. Kimberley Hollister, administrative staff at Montclair. Dr. Cole signed two MOUs, one with Ain Shams University and one with Ahram Canadian University, for graduate studies.
    • Dr. Cole also met with Mr. Rafik Gabriel, an investor establishing a private University and discussed the possibility of having a Montclair branch campus in Egypt’s new Capital.
    • Finally, Dr. Cole and I met with the Charge d’Affaires at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo Tom Goldberger to update him on OCC’s efforts in Egypt.
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