skip to main content
Search Button


December 2, 2013

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

July 27, 2016

TO: Members, OCC Board of Trustees

FROM: Jon H. Larson, Ph.D. President

SUBJECT: Items of Interest for the December 2, 2013, Board Meeting

DATE: November 27, 2013

Ocean County College Athletics
On Saturday, November 9, the Ocean County College Men’s and Women’s Cross Country Teams competed in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) National Championship Meet hosted by Holyoke Community College in Massachusetts. I am very proud to announce the Women’s Team won the National Championship and the Men’s Team finished as the National Runner-Up.

Liz Kowalski won the women’s race and was named the Individual National Champion. She was also named an NJCAA 1st Team All-American. Meghie Weinberger finished 11th in the women’s race and was named an NJCAA All-American Honorable Mention. Keith Charette finished in 3rd place in the men’s race and was named an NJCAA 1st Team All-American. Kevin Charette finished 6th in the men’s race and was named a 2nd Team NJCAA All-American. Head Coach Ed Baynes was named National Coach of the Year, and the Ocean County College Cross Country Teams won the “Gary Moore” Best Overall Program award.

Sincere congratulations to Coach Baynes and all of the members of the OCC Cross Country Teams for their outstanding success and their fine representation of Ocean County College. I have invited Executive Director of Athletics Ilene Cohen, Coach Baynes, and members of the teams to be with us on Monday and hope they can attend.

Phi Theta Kappa Induction Ceremony
On Friday evening, November 8, 160 new members were inducted into the Tau Iota Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa in the Arts and Community Center Theatre. The Keynote Speaker was Jesus Garcia, Division I, International Phi Theta Kappa Vice President, Essex County College, who spoke about students overcoming obstacles to achieve membership in Phi Theta Kappa.

The Tau Iota Chapter is spearheading the Completion Project on campus, the statewide Phi Theta Kappa initiative in conjunction with the New Jersey Council of County Colleges to promote student degree completion at community colleges.

Faculty Advisors to Tau Iota are:

  • Dr. William Rickert, Professor of Mathematics
  • Carolyn Showalter, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
  • Robin Weitz, Assistant Professor of Computer Studies
  • Dr. Jennifer Dellner, Associate Professor of English and Literature

Two awards were presented at the induction ceremony for years of service to Phi Theta Kappa: Professor Showalter received a 25 year pin and Lois Rickert received a 5 year pin.

Academic Outreach and School Relations
On Wednesday, December 4, Ocean County College will host the annual Robotics Contest, an event sponsored through the Tech Prep Consortium. This year we will host 104 students representing nine school districts. Students build and program robots to perform a given task, as well as a novel task they are asked to prepare on the spot. Competition winners are awarded OCC tuition scholarships which can be used for regular or Jump Start courses.

Academic Outreach is pleased to announce the continued expansion of middle college (embedded course) offerings. This year Central Regional High School is offering Pre-Calculus I and II, Point Pleasant Beach High School began offering Anatomy and Physiology I and Italian, and we are anticipating that Manchester High School will begin offering Calculus I and General Physics I in the Spring semester.

Southern Education Center
The staff at the Southern Education Center (SEC) reported a very successful Veteran’s Day event held on Tuesday, November 12. Approximately 60 persons were in attendance, including several veterans from the community. The SEC staff was extremely pleased to host special guest Carl V. Thulin, who addressed the audience.

On Thursday, November 21, the SEC hosted a Wellness Day. The aim of the day was to promote drug abuse prevention awareness as well as to highlight general resources to support good health and wellness. Participants included the Saint Barnabas DART (Drug Abuse Reduction Taskforce) Coalition and a nutritionist from Shop-Rite. Also participating were several local health and wellness related businesses, which provided SEC students with access to valuable community resources to stay healthy.

As mentioned at the last Board meeting, the SEC and the OCC Writing Center are sponsoring Operation Christmas Card. Using donated Christmas cards, notes of thanks and encouragement are being written to active duty servicemen and veterans in recognition of their service and sacrifices. Strong participation and enthusiasm for this project has been reported by staff and students alike. Ron Panarotti, local news reporter, visited the SEC on November 19 and will be writing a story to appear in the Stafford Township Life magazine early in the New Year.

Distance Learning
On November 21, Jeff Harmon, Director of e-Learning, and Marc Labella, Associate Professor of Biology, made presentations at the New Jersey Edge Digital Reality Conference in Plainsboro, New Jersey. I have asked them to share with you a brief presentation on Ocean Does Online on Monday and provide a review of e-Learning’s success with online laboratories for OCC’s Anatomy and Physiology courses.

Admissions/Recruitment Outreach
in the County’s high schools is in full swing. Admissions staff, accompanied by Student Orientation Leaders, visited the following high schools and events during the month of November:

  • Barnegat High School
  • Monsignor Donovan High School
  • Point Pleasant Beach High School
  • Southern Regional High School
  • Pinelands High School
  • New Egypt High School
  • NACAC National College Fair program event at the Atlantic City Convention Center
  • Toms River High School East
  • Toms River High School South
  • OCVTS Toms River
  • Manchester High School
  • Point Pleasant Boro High School
  • Brick Memorial High School
  • Brick Township High School
  • Central Regional High School
  • Lacey Township High School
  • Lakewood High School
  • Toms River/Ocean County Chamber of Commerce event
  • NJEA Annual Convention at the Atlantic City Convention Center
  • OCVTS Waretown Law and Public Safety annual “Kick-Off” meeting
  • College Experience Day on OCC campus with 29 students from Manchester High School
  • College Experience Day on OCC campus with 29 students from Barnegat High School

2013 NJEA Convention
The 2013 NJEA Convention was held Thursday and Friday, November 7 and 8, in Atlantic City. The NJEA Convention draws tens of thousands of members from around the State and provides many professional growth opportunities for teachers and educational support specialists. It is one of the largest educational gatherings of its kind in the world.

Representatives from College Relations, Academic Affairs, Continuing and Professional Education, and Recruitment and Admissions staffed the OCC tradeshow booth, which was set up by Jan Kirsten, Executive Director of College Relations. Art Criss, Director of Admissions, and Katie Calabrese, CPE Community Programs Administrator, shared information about OCC and their respective programs with many middle and high school guidance counselors. Dr. Angel Camilo, Dean of Adjunct Faculty, reached out to potential adjunct instructors with whom he otherwise would not have had contact.

OCC’s presence not only provided great outreach to New Jersey educators, but it also showcased OCC’s unique partnership with Kean University.

Expanded Use of Social Media
The newly redesigned OCC website includes functionality that integrates web content with social media and increases engagement opportunities. The website allows social media sharing across 288 different social networks and also provides email sharing capabilities. As we continue to develop our web and social media strategy, the following projects are under development:

  • Real-time social media analytics to track social interaction and better improve performance
  • Live updates of activities on campus that resonate with students
    • How long is the Bookstore line?
    • Where can I get a parking space?
    • What’s being served in the cafeteria?
  • Expansion of social media penetration
  • Image-rich presence on Instagram and Pinterest featuring real students on our campus engaged in rewarding activities
  • Messaging demonstrating the value of an OCC education
  • Providing increased opportunities for online students to become a part of our campus community
  • Expertise-rich presence on Google+ and the new LinkedIn University pages
  • Increased integration of social, web, and email to encourage conversion of students from interest to registration

Santander University
Executive Vice President Sara Winchester and I
met with representatives of Santander and presented several programs for possible funding through Santander University. This meeting signifies that Ocean County College is a finalist for inclusion in the Santander University partnership.

The program most well received focused on intervention in the Lakewood High School for at-risk students. The program would provide OCC scholarships for students who successfully complete the program. If OCC is selected as a Santander University partner, we will be the first community college ever to be included in this prestigious community.

Meetings with Pearson and ESM
On Thursday and Friday, November 7 and 8, Executive Vice President Winchester and I travelled to Denver to meet with executives at Pearson e-College and visit the offices of ESM. ESM provides e-learning student recruitment services. The ESM operation was very impressive and operates like an OCC outpost. We were pleased to see first-hand that the staff members at ESM were highly skilled and enthusiastic about their work. The meetings with Pearson representatives were productive and covered a variety of topics, including national marketing initiatives, opportunities for overseas partnerships, and student testing options.

FY 2012-13 Final Audit Report
The Ocean County College FY 2012-13 audit report is included in the Monday’s Business and Finance agenda for Board acceptance. The Board’s Audit Committee met with Steve Rosa, partner at Clifton, Larson, Allen LLP, and accepted the draft report earlier this month. No changes of a material nature have been made since then.

The audit process takes more than three months and includes preparation of the financial statements by Accounting, Financial Aid, IT and IR staff. We are very pleased to share the auditors’ unqualified or “clean” opinion and report that there are no audit findings.

Current Year Budget Update
After analyzing the impact of the decline in Fall 2013 enrollment, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration Winchester is not recommending a revision to the FY 2014 budget at this time. Although Fall enrollment was down approximately 3%, Quick Term enrollment was flat and other revenue sources are trending higher than budgeted. Analysis of the expense side of the budget indicates that frugality in spending and delayed filling of vacant positions will produce a decline in overall expenses. Therefore, it is estimated that revenue and expense will continue to be balanced for the remainder of this fiscal year. This projection is subject to change based on enrollment for the upcoming Spring semester.

Academic Affairs

  • The Instruction Committee of the College Senate has been a steady force in promoting excellence in teaching for a long period of time. The committee’s work is especially critical today as the student completion agenda is pursued. Long-standing Committee member, Professor of Mathematics Vicki McMillian, has been invited to Monday’s meeting to share with us some highlights of the committee’s work.
  • As part of the College’s Global Initiatives, the Global Education Committee presented International Education Week from November 11 to 19. Topics of discussion included international health concerns, globalization of gender, women and minorities in international relations, educational systems in various cultural settings, and comparative artistic and literary work from different cultures. Students and faculty jointly presented at the events. More than 600 students and 20 faculty members attended the many presentations and discussions.
  • In the spirit of improving communication, the Facilities Department, under the leadership of Assistant Vice President Matthew Kennedy, and Academic Affairs held an open presentation of the draft blueprints of the Instructional Building renovation project. Following the presentation, the PowerPoint presentation was made available to all who were unable to attend the meeting. To date, there have been many wonderful comments and suggestions, which Interim Project Manager Jose Fierro said will make the project even more successful.
  • Academic Affairs is teaming up with the Division of Continuing and Professional Education to revamp the credit English as a Second Language (ESL) program in order to provide affordable ESL education to Ocean County residents. Starting in Spring 2014, there will be three components to the program: multi-level skill-based non-credit ESL courses, a bridge course for those who intend to pursue an academic path, and two levels of credit ESL courses.
Text Link