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  • Dr. Larson’s September 22, 2022 Report to the OCC Board of Trustees
September 22, 2022

Dr. Larson’s September 22, 2022 Report to the OCC Board of Trustees

OCC president Dr. Larson

OCC at the Helm

Attached to my report is the FY 2022 Annual Year-End Report, submitted on behalf of the Guiding Coalition, which provides an update to the Board of Trustees on the progress of the 2021-2026 Strategic Plan:  OCC at the Helm.  The Year-End Update is developed by the Guiding Coalition following receipt and review of the annual Scorecard, also attached, and a collaborative process wherein Goal Leaders are interviewed, questions are asked, and recommendations are offered.

There has been progress in each of the four goals during the past year.  At Thursday’s meeting, Ms. Janine Emma, Registrar, and Mr. Anthony Jordan, Director of Enterprise Applications, co-chairs of the Guiding Coalition, will provide a brief presentation on this past year’s activities and achievements.

Mr. Jordan has completed his term as co-chair of the Guiding Coalition.  Dr. Mary Gibson, Director of Title III, will be introduced to you as the new co-chair who will be serving with Ms. Emma during the next year.

Academic Affairs

  • During the Summer terms, the College offered 30 HyFlex course sections. The Fall semester more than doubles that number, with 64 sections of various courses offered in the Schools of STEM, Business and Social Sciences, and Arts and Humanities to serve more than 1,450 students.  In addition, 10 sections of video-connected classes are being offered, with a total enrollment of 110 students.  More than one-third of these students are in sections that might have been canceled if they were in-person sections.  HyFlex and video-connected sections provide students with options and flexibility to select the courses they need, at a location most convenient for them, when they are available, and in a modality they prefer, all of which assist in shortening their time to graduation.
  • Lecturer and Adjunct Institutes were held on August 31, 2022. This year, a new poster session was added to the program that featured Advising and Transfer Advising, Career Services, Counseling Services, Disability Services, Veterans Affairs, the Library, and the Tutoring Center.  The Lecturer Institute featured speaker Dr. Adrienne Phelps-Coco, Executive Director of Teaching and Learning, Division of Continuing Education at Harvard University.  The session focused on student engagement in HyFlex classrooms and provided lecturers with tangible strategies they could take into the classroom.  The Adjunct and Lecturer Institutes featured breakout sessions on utilizing apps, interactive Google slides, student engagement with technology, and creating real-world student experiences.  The Lecturer Institute had 73 College Lecturers in attendance, five remote faculty from Passaic County Community College, and eight members from the Tutoring Center and Student Affairs.  Sixty-five adjunct faculty attended the Adjunct Institute.  Survey results are being reviewed, and data will be available by late September.

School of Arts and Humanities

  • Instructor of Humanities and Fine Arts Karin Gargone led the first meeting of the Music Club on September 9, 2022. All music genres and skill levels were welcomed.  The agenda included planning and informal performance.
  • Madison Peschock and Ms. Kristyn Stout, College Lecturers in English, oversaw the annual Banned Books Day event, which took place on September 21, 2022, in the Larson Student Center. In addition to speaking against censorship, a book drive was held for the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia this year.  The Literature Club collaborated with the Hospitality Club to sponsor the event and hosted a bake sale, with all proceeds donated to the Children’s Hospital.
  • Humanities and Fine Arts College Lecturer II Brian Gilmore announced the first program for the Friday Afternoon Recital Series will take place on September 23, 2022. Ukrainian pianist Margarita Rovenskaya will perform Dvorak’s Poetical Tone Pictures on the Grunin Center mainstage.
  • The OCC Interpreter Training Program (ITP) is celebrating its 20th American Sign Language Assistant Professor Kathleen Basilotto and Instructor Saundra Piscitelli highlight the following regarding ITP alums:
    • Jessica Munn Ansbach and Meredith Devine interpreted for President Barack Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama, and Governor Chris Christie.
    • Kate Tesch is working for a language agency in Malta.
    • Alison O’Connor Wertmur received her doctorate in Social Work from Gallaudet University.
    • Danielle DiSessa works for the Department of State as an interpreter in addition to her freelance interpreting work in the Washington, D.C., area.
    • OCC adjuncts Becky Selden-Kelly, Alyssa Gastelu, and Michelle Perrone are all graduates of the Interpreter Training Program.
    • Several alumni have graduated from Gallaudet University, two of whom are SI Leaders, Mel Fernandez and Rachel Disbrow.
    • Instructor of Humanities Saundra Piscitelli was part of the first graduating cohort group of the Interpreter Training Program.

School of Business and Social Sciences

  • OCC’s annual 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony occurred on September 8, 2022, at the campus mall flagpole. Planning Committee members Professor Lynn Kenneally and College Lecturers Jason Ghibesi and Ameer Sohrawardy worked with Executive Director of College Relations Jan Kirsten and her team to coordinate this event.  Following my remarks, guest speakers included Dr. Sohrawardy, Adjunct Instructor Vincent Petrecca, and student Stephanie Magnotta.
  • Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management (HRTM) College Lecturer II Sean Bips is proud to announce the operation of the second consecutive semester of Java Junction, the grab-and-go café for students, staff, and the community in the Gateway Building lobby. Java Junction employs students and promotes learning how to run a food and beverage establishment and improve customer service skills.  Java Junction offers a variety of snacks, sandwiches, desserts, and beverages, including coffee, bottled water, and bottled soda.  Java Junction reopened on September 12, 2022, and operating hours for the Fall semester are Monday through Thursday from 4 to 6 p.m.  Java Junction apprenticeships are available each semester when the course is offered.
  • Coordinated by College Lecturer II in Political Science/History Jason Ghibesi, OCC’s annual voter registration drive took place on September 20, 2022, outside the Larson Student Center. It was sponsored by the League of Women Voters, the Governmental Affairs Institute, the Office of Student Life, and Students Learning About Politics (SLAP), which is OCC’s Political Science Club.
  • Led by College Lecturer Sean Bips, the OCC Hospitality Club will be serving two delicious chowders – roasted garlic Manhattan red chowder and roasted corn creamy New England white chowder – at the Chowder Fest on October 1, 2022. This event will help raise funds for future HRTM initiatives through Student Life.  The Chowder Fest is organized by the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce and Southern Ocean Chamber Association.  This event draws thousands of visitors annually and allows hospitality students to practice customer service skills and food preparation at a large-scale special event.
  • Margaret Maghan, College Lecturer II in Social Work, and the Social Work Club will co-sponsor the Helping Hands food drive on campus during the week of October 10, 2022.

School of Nursing and Health Sciences

  • Students returned to campus the week of August 22, 2022, in preparation for the Fall semester to demonstrate competency in skills before entering clinical agencies.  Over six days, 199 Nursing students participated in two-hour sessions within the skills labs under the guidance and direction of lab personnel.
  • The School of Nursing admitted 105 new students for the Fall semester. There are 304 students enrolled in the program this semester, with 34 clinical instructors providing education for 35 clinical groups within various healthcare facilities.
  • College Lecturer II Sharon Scrofine, DNP, RN, CNE, CEN, completed a doctorate of nursing practice in nursing education from Monmouth University.  Dr. Scrofine’s research project was titled “The Development and Evaluation of a Toolkit on Early Recognition of Sepsis and Sepsis Survivor Outcomes Following Discharge for Registered Nurses.”
  • College Lecturer II Tamila Purpuro, MSN, RN, completed a doctorate of philosophy in nursing education leadership from Kean University.  Dr. Purpuro’s dissertation was titled “Coronavirus Vaccine Hesitancy and Uptake Among Registered Nurses in New Jersey.”
  • Margaret Nally, RN, MSN, CHPN, began her new position within the School of Nursing on August 15, 2022, as the Skills Lab Coordinator. She is a certified hospice and palliative nurse and has been employed at OCC since October 2021 as a Nursing Skills Lab Reservist.   Nally will assist with the operations of the Skills and Simulation Labs on weekdays from 12 to 9 p.m. to support student success.

School of STEM

  • College Lecturer II in Computer Science Ken Michalek reported that funding from the Securing Our Children’s Future Bond Act grant was used to upgrade a STEM classroom with new computers, projectors, and equipment.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) promises a bright future in today’s workforce. OCC ran the first Introduction to AI course this summer for nine students, with a few from local high schools.  This course is part of the AI curriculum introduced last year based on Intel’s AI for Workforce Program.  This course introduces students to the emerging field of AI and its applications.  Students were pleased with the class and provided excellent feedback, as noted below:
    • I like that I am learning the systems of AI and the different ways that it can be used within the world. 
    • This course is very informative, and now I have general knowledge of AI and computer science that I can possibly use in the future. Our society is progressing technologically and having that knowledge is very important. 
    • So far, I like the fact that we can learn what AI is used for. I also like how we do little projects to test and use AI.
  • As a member of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science, Inc. (SACNAS), Ms. Pam Bogdan, College Lecturer II in Engineering, reviewed 20 student abstracts submitted to participate in the 2022 SACNAS National Diversity in STEM Conference. The conference will be held in Puerto Rico from October 27 to 29, 2022.  The country’s largest multidisciplinary and multicultural STEM diversity event, the SACNAS Conference is a gathering that serves to equip, empower, and energize participants for their academic and professional paths in STEM.
  • Mary Ellen Rada, College Lecturer II in Science, reported that the Department of Defense Science Symposium had several changes during the summer.  The new name for our region is New Jersey South Junior Science and Humanities Symposium (NJSJSHS). The regional districts have been redrawn, and the new district now encompasses Mercer and Monmouth counties and everything in New Jersey south.  The dates have also been adjusted, and all symposiums must be completed by March 6, 2023.  Our district’s next symposium will be held on February 24, 2023, on the Lakehurst Naval Air Station base.  Dr. Rada, the director of the NJSJSHS, added that the speaker will be the base commanding officer, and there will be a base tour for all who attend.
  • A travel seminar to Italy to study the Science of the Renaissance with Dr. Mary Ellen Rada, along with Art History with Dr. Marilyn Kralik, Professor of Humanities and Fine Arts, was scheduled and sold out in record time.  With generous financial student assistance from the OCC Foundation, the two-week trip, from January 1, through 15, 2023, visiting seven cities, is expected to be an outstanding success.

Finance and Administration

  • Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration, worked with the Finance Office of the County of Ocean on documentation to support the issuance of FY 2022 Chapter 12 Bonds. The Bonds will be issued by the County shortly and will fund the library renovation and the music room project in the Grunin Building.
  • Sara Winchester and Ms. Christine Healey, Executive Director of Procurement and Compliance, worked with e-Learning and Academic Affairs to develop a new model for the use of proctoring software. The College negotiated a new contract that allows for campus-wide usage of the software with no limit for two years.  The cost is based on last year’s FTE, less embedded courses in the high school.  This change will result in significant savings compared to the prior model, in which the College was charged on a per student, per semester fee basis.  In addition, the College will be compliant with the recent legal decision that no longer permits the software to scan the room in which the student is testing.

Presidential Search

The search process is continuing to move forward on schedule.   The College Search Committee spent three weeks reviewing applications and met on September 15, 2022, to determine the applicants to be interviewed.  In addition, Ms. Sara Winchester and Ms. Tracey Donaldson, Associate Vice President of Human Resources, along with ACCT Consultant Bradley Ebersole, presented two sessions about the search process at the Fall Colloquium.  The sessions were well attended and gave the campus community another opportunity to be fully informed about the process.

College Relations

  • Ocean County College Recruitment Video PresentationAt Thursday’s meeting, Ms. Jan Kirsten, Executive Director of College Relations, and Mr. Ken Malagiere, Executive Director of the OCC Foundation, will present the new recruitment videos, which are intended to engage a wide variety of stakeholders.Video has quickly become the preferred way to consume content with the best return on investment.  Viewers retain 95 percent of a message when they watch it in a video, compared to 10 percent when reading it in text.  Additionally, according to, 68 percent of students are likely to point to video as an influence on their final college decision.  A college recruitment video increases conversion at the top of the funnel to drive students to apply.  A video also increases the engagement of stakeholders and invites industry leaders to partner with the institution.  The pandemic has exacerbated the issue of college affordability, making it the top college decision factor for students and their families.  Moreover, this is an area that students identify as complex and hard to understand; the video assists with sending a quick and easy-to-understand message.

Alumni and Advancement

  • The Summer/Fall edition of the OCC magazine Ocean Views has been mailed to approximately 40,000 alumni, donors, and community members and showcases the best of the OCC community.  Included are photography and articles on the 2022 Commencement, groundbreaking fundraising initiatives by the OCC Foundation, and new and exciting events and shows at the Grunin Center.
  • The OCC Foundation co-hosted, with the Kiwanis Club of Toms River, the annual SUP the River Paddleboard Race at the Toms River Yacht Club on Saturday, September 17, 2022. The event boasted three different paddleboard races, a networking breakfast, and several community partners hosting tables, including the Barnegat Bay Partnership.  This annual event continues to raise funds for the OCC Foundation and engage OCC alumni and many local community members.
  • The 100 Women Campaign offered Part Two of a Salary Negotiations Workshop, hosted by Disrupt the Gap, on Wednesday, September 14, 2022. This event, open to 100 Women members and students, was made possible thanks to the Gale G. Wayman Fund for the Education of Women.

The Web

  • The web team collaborated with Academic Advising and Transfer Services on a Transfer Guide by Semester, which provides concise semester-by-semester guidelines in an accessible, easy-to-read infographic format.  This resource has been accessed 220 times since it launched three weeks ago.

OCC Foundation


  • The Foundation has committed, once again, to 150 Jump Start/Academy Awards for the coming academic year.  Applications are due to the HUB by September 30, 2022.  The Foundation will fund up to $100,000 for student grants in Workforce Professional Education for several certificates, including Medical Assistant, Medical Billing and Coding, Veterinary Assistant, and Phlebotomy Technician.  With nearly 300 applications received for the current Fall semester, the Foundation will support all deserving applicants.

Annual Appeal

  • The Foundation’s Annual Appeal will again feature three donors highlighting “Why I Give.”  Special appreciation is expressed to two dedicated Foundation Board members, Mr. Michael Manzo and Ms. Anne Kraljic, and Foundation stakeholder, Mr. Praveen Jeyarajah, nephew of the late Dr. Elmo Samuel.  With combined gifts of nearly $100,000, the Elmo T. Samuel Memorial fund was established for students pursuing a degree in the health sciences.  Their willingness to participate in this effort will hopefully raise funds for OCC students.  The completed piece will mail this Fall and be supported by social and email solicitations.

Legacy Campaign

  • The Legacy Campaign officially launched this Summer.   Since the August 15, 2022, initial mailing, pledges of over $1 million have been received.

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee

  • A campus-wide climate survey was distributed by the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Committee on September 12, 2022; the survey will remain open for three weeks.  All OCC employees are asked to complete this survey at their earliest convenience to assist the committee in establishing a baseline of knowledge and interest on these topics.  The survey will assist in determining the best way to move forward with appropriate guest speakers, workshops, and opportunities for deeper learning and understanding of DEI in higher education and the broader community.  The committee’s goal is to administer a similar student-focused survey at the start of the Spring semester after the tools and processes have been established to utilize the survey data in an impactful way.

21St Annual Golf Classic

  • Limited spots are still available for the OCC Foundation’s Annual Golf Outing in support of OCC students.  The players will tee off at the Championship Pine Barrens Golf Club on Tuesday, October 11, 2022.  For additional information, please visit

Blauvelt Speaker Series

The 2022-2023 Blauvelt Speaker Series is taking shape:

    • Award-winning actor, artist, and inspirational speaker Ice-T joined us on Tuesday, September 20, 2022, at the Grunin Center.
    • Award-winning Antiguan-American novelist and essayist and Professor of African and African American Studies in Residence at Harvard University, Jamaica Kincade, will join us in partnership with the visiting Writers Series on Monday, October 24, 2022.
    • Olympic Gold Medalist and professional athlete Mia Hamm will be with us on Wednesday, March 8, 2023.
    • Presidential Historian Michael Beschloss will be on campus on Tuesday, April 25, 2022.

Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts

  • The first Grunin Presents event is Jukebox Orchestra Saturday Night on September 24, 2022, featuring Big Band music during the 30s, 40s, and 50s, followed on September 29, 2022, by the string quartet Brooklyn Rider.
  • Heidi Sheridan, Interim Executive and Artistic Director of the Grunin Center, with the assistance of Mr. Erik Stratton, Education and Community Engagement Coordinator, recently signed an agreement with Count Basie Center for the Arts, the co-sponsor of the New Jersey Poetry Out Loud, for the Grunin Center to become a regional partner.

The Robert J. Novins Planetarium

  • The Planetarium concluded its most successful summer yet, selling over 5,100 public tickets in June, July, and August.  In August, the addition of weekday afternoon Star Talks was wildly successful, with each bringing in between 50-80 patrons and doubling attendance on the weekday afternoons.
  • During the Fall, the Planetarium will continue offering a single weekday Star Talk and try to recruit attendees from the senior, homeschool, and special needs adult communities.
  • The Planetarium has signed up to live stream the Artemis I Mission Launch and related content through a free promotion available to users of Evans and Sutherland Digistar 7 software.  The launch has been postponed twice; updates will be released as available. Once the launch occurs, the College will receive a three-month free license for the released content.  Artemis I is the first in a series of increasingly complex missions to enable human exploration of the Moon.

Workforce and Professional Education

Year 2 of Title II – Adult Education and ESL

  • On September 10, 2022, a kick-off orientation was held for 489 students registered to start classes.  Those registered included 429 ESL students and 60 High School Equivalency (HSE) Prep students.  These students will work to improve their proficiency in English, study and pass all subjects on the high school equivalency exam, earn their high school diplomas, and move on to additional education or employment with greater opportunity and family-sustaining wages.

Ocean County Achievement Center

  • The Ocean County Achievement Center (OCAC), formerly the Ocean County Youth Achievement Center, has expanded its mission to provide services to adults of Ocean County.  New and existing community partners will help reach disconnected youth and adults needing additional education.  Notably, Georgian Court University has become a core partner with the OCAC, which is located on the OCC campus.  The university will offer professional development and resources for the staff and participants.

Building Bridges – Non-Credit to Credit Options

  • Workforce and Professional Education staff continue to work collaboratively with Academic Affairs to build bridging opportunities from non-credit to credit, focusing on technology and IT for the Fall semester to coincide with the Center of Technology and Innovation and Bond Grant funding.  Also, a new Culinary Foundations non-credit course will roll out this Fall, with a bridge to Hospitality.  Also in the works is the promotion and advertising of existing bridges to increase enrollment and the launch of  “Workforce Wednesday,” a virtual open house for students to learn about non-credit training programs.

Customized Training for Local Businesses

  • Workforce and Professional Education staff continue to build relationships with local businesses and collect information on their training and professional development needs.  WPE recently completed an eight-module, customized Leadership Training Program for Trinity Solar and is now preparing to offer a multi-day Excel Training for approximately 80 members of its team.  In addition, a new training relationship was recently formed with Toms River MUA, and comprehensive Excel training was provided to its employees.

Testing the Waters with Micro-Credentials

  • WPE plans on piloting micro-credentials with Excel this Fall semester, offering students an affordable education that will quickly be put to use.


  • 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 of August 20, 2022, through September 16, 2022.

Student Affairs


  • Advise CRM Instructor Alerts

Training for Instructor Alerts (Faculty CX) was conducted during the weeks of August 29 and September 5, 2022, by Advising and Enrollment and Retention Services.  All instructors utilizing alerts this Fall semester now have access to the alerts in Advise CRM.

Instructor Alerts were first implemented in Spring 2022 and have continued to be available to participating instructors in Summer 2022.  These alerts have identified students with attendance issues, lack of participation, missed assignments, and low assessments.  Automated communications are delivered in addition to outreach from the Retention Team.

In Spring 2022, a total of 324 alerts were raised by 12 instructors selected to participate in the pilot.  In Summer 2022, a total of 63 alerts were raised by 5 participating instructors.

In Fall 2022, usage of Instructor Alerts will be expanded to approximately 60 additional instructors.

  • Proactive Advising

A total of 15 staff members and 29 faculty are currently participating in Proactive Advising this Fall semester.  Advisors communicate regularly with their advisees via a Canvas advising course.  Communications to students include notifications about important dates and deadlines, information about campus events, and invitations to meet with their assigned advisors.

Career Services

  • Taylor Dulemba, Career Services Coordinator, and Ms. Jamie Prioli, Assistant Director of Disability Services, are working collaboratively to provide two Q&A sessions for the Workforce Recruitment Program. The Workforce Recruitment Program is a recruitment and referral program that connects federal and private-sector employers nationwide with highly motivated college students and recent graduates with disabilities who are eager to demonstrate their abilities in the workplace through summer or permanent jobs.  The Q&A session will guide interested students through the process.
  • Ms. Dulemba will present two workshops to students:  Connecting Majors and Careers and Writing a Winning Resume/Cover Letter.
  • Career Services is hosting five employers ready to hire OCC students this month in the Larson Student Center. Employers include Marquis Health Consulting Services, ESS, Point Pleasant Police Department, Express, and Primerica.

Enrollment Services/the HUB

  • The Student Success Team participated in New Student Launch events on August 9 and 31, 2022, by presenting to incoming new students on technology. The team gave an excellent interactive presentation that helped students navigate the various technology software and systems the College has in place to assist them in being successful.  The students enjoyed swag and prizes.
  • The Student Success Team spent the first week of classes visiting Student Success (STSC) classes on both the main campus and at the Manahawkin location. Students were given tips on being successful and information on how to connect with the team throughout the semester.
  • Enrollment Services participated in several Jersey Shore Blue Claws games in the past month with tables at the stadium during several home games. Game attendees chatted with the staff about opportunities at OCC and enjoyed cool beach chair phone holders.
  • Welcome Back baskets were delivered to all area high schools during the first week of school. The baskets included succulent plants, seed packets, post-it notes, drink packets, trail mix, granola bars, and other back-to-school goodies.  Information on upcoming events was also included.
  • Enrollment Services participated in several resource and community events throughout the past month, including a Job Fair in collaboration with the Ocean County Probationary Office on September 16, 2022, and the Bright Harbor Employee Day on August 19, 2022.
  • The phones were ringing in August. The Success Team made 2,175 outgoing calls in Advise, including calls for academic warnings, sanctions, faculty alerts, and no logins.  The HUB team made 4,837 outgoing calls during the same period, spending over 318 hours on the phone in total.
  • The Enrollment Services team has been participating in presentations for parents during September throughout the County. Sheenah Hartigan, Executive Director of Enrollment Services, and Dr. Henry Jackson, Executive Director of Academic Success, spoke virtually with Toms River parents on August 23, 2002.  Ms. Melissa Sporer, Enrollment Services Advisor, attended Back to School night for Pinelands Regional High School on September 20, 2022; she will also visit Point Pleasant Borough High School on September 22, 2022, and Manchester High School on September 27, 2022.
  • During the first week of classes, September 6 through 9, 2022, the HUB completed 807 in-person transactions. To compare, the HUB completed 1,429 in-person transactions in the Student Enrollment Building during the whole month of August.  The average service duration was 3.6 minutes, and the average wait time was just over 5 minutes.  Student surveys indicated their service was “exemplary” and the visit “relieved stress.”

Office of Disability Services

  • September has been quite a busy time for the Office of Disability Services as the Fall semester began. During the current reporting period, the office conducted the following student and faculty services:
    • Support Group Meetings: 6
    • Virtual Drop-in Sessions: 21
    • Software Demonstrations: 12
    • Faculty Question and Answer Sessions: 3
  • In collaboration with Counseling Services, a three-day event from September 13 to 15, 2022, was held at the main campus and Southern Education Center to kick off the Fall semester. Students were presented with valuable campus resources and encouraged to take time to focus on mindfulness, relaxation, and rejuvenation.
  • On September 21, 2022, Ms. Jamie A. Prioli, Assistant Director of Student Disability Services, presented a Lunch and Learn session with the Faculty Development and Innovation Center on the effects of Long COVID related to students and its impact on their academic pursuits. The discussion addressed the prevalence and effects of Long COVID on physical and mental health and included referral information to campus resources, such as Disability Services and the Counseling Center.
  • On September 19 and 21, 2022, Disability Services collaborated with Career Services to provide an overview of the Workforce Recruitment Program. The overview was conducted in person and offered a captioned Webex login for students with disabilities interested in job opportunities with the federal government.

Southern Education Center

  • The Southern Education Center (SEC) team welcomed students back on Wednesday, September 7, 2022. Academic Advisors Jeff Kurz, Toni Ann DiPasquale, and Jenna McAteer and SEC Director Brian Schillaci personally greeted students as they arrived for their first two days of classes.  In addition to OCC planners, pens, and highlighters, students were welcomed with bottled water, donuts, and fruit to start the new semester.
  • The SEC Student Advising staff continues to assist students by handling the email inbox. The team did a terrific job responding to virtual appointments, walk-in visits, and phone inquiries during a hectic first few days.  The staff continues to review enrollment trends and previous course offerings to finalize the Spring 2023 master schedule.  The SEC team is currently reviewing additional video-connected classes to give students in Southern Ocean County the opportunity to stay closer to home by connecting to the main campus from the Manahawkin facility.
  • Brian Schillaci met with Kean Ocean and Stockton representatives to coordinate days for their representatives to be on-site to discuss future opportunities with students at the SEC. There have also been a number of days set up this semester for OCC representatives from many OCC service areas to join in person at the SEC.  SEC students will be afforded the chance to better understand the opportunities available to them closer to home.  Mr. Schillaci and Vice President of Student Affairs Gerald Racioppi met with Ms. Lori Pepenella, CEO of the Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce, to discuss ways to connect throughout the year.  Mr. Schillaci attended a Southern Ocean County Chamber of Commerce networking event on September 14, 2022.
  • The SEC Canvas Announcement shell continues to be a compelling message board for students. Announcements to start the month have updated students about semester kick-off activities and shared upcoming dates when various services will be represented at the SEC.  The analytics for Canvas Announcements indicate approximately 700 collective views for messages during the first half of September.

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

  • Watermark – Student Course EvaluationsThe 2022 Summer Accelerated 4 Session Student Course Evaluation, conducted by new software named Watermark, concluded on September 3, 2022.  The survey was deployed to 945 students enrolled in 57 Summer 7.5-Week e-Learning sections, with a response rate of 52.80%.  Overall, for the 2022 Summer term, 3,114 duplicated students received a course evaluation survey, and 1,639 students returned the survey.  The e-Learning 2022 Summer reporting term concluded with an overall 52.63% response rate for all sessions.  Of the survey respondents in the Summer sessions:
    • 8% felt the course content contributed to the mastering of the learning objectives
    • 32% indicated it was their first online course
    • 89% said they would enroll in another online course in the future
    • 89% said they would take a class with the same professor again

Preparations for the Fall 2022 Student Course Evaluation Survey are currently underway.  The e-Learning faculty will continue to encourage students to take the survey to increase the percentage of student participation.  Also, a Canvas notification will be deployed to faculty and students.  The 2022 Fall Accelerated Term 5 Survey will be available for students from October 13 to 27, 2022.  The remaining three e-Learning sessions, Fall Semester, Fall Quick Term, and Accelerated Term 6, will all be available to students from December 9 to 23, 2022.  The Fall surveys are expected to be deployed to more than 5,000 students in more than 240 e-Learning sections.  The results of the Student Course Evaluations are currently being analyzed to evaluate the online student experience and to assist the e-Learning Department with the strategic plan for student retention and course design evaluation.

  • Simple Syllabus

Simple Syllabus, an online software package that enables students to access their syllabi and the College to collect data on how often they access the syllabi, has been launched into 100% of e-Learning courses for the Fall 2022 term.  Syllabus engagement reports indicate that more than 62% of e-Learning students in the 2022 Fall Semester and Accelerated Term 5 that began on September 7, 2022, have accessed their syllabi before the first day of the term.  In addition, all online students can access their course syllabi five days before the term start date.  In the first week of classes, e-Learning syllabi have been opened more than 13,500 times by the more than 4,400 duplicated students enrolled in the 2022 Fall Semester and 2022 Accelerated Term 5 online courses.

  • Honorlock Online Proctoring Update

Effective Fall 2022, students will no longer be required to provide a room scan as part of the proctoring of their testing environments.  The ruling comes from a decision made in the Ohio Superior Court.  In the Ogletree v. Cleveland State University case, a federal judge ruled in favor of the student who claimed room scans for online exams were an invasion of privacy through unconstitutional searches under the Fourth Amendment.  e-Learning students will still be guided through a virtual 60-second pre-test checklist through Honorlock to verify and confirm their identity to comply with accreditation standards.  Students are now only required to take a photo of themselves and their photo ID with a webcam.  This step will authenticate their identity to maintain academic integrity for online courses.  The department has made the necessary updates to the course syllabi and assessments in response to this court ruling.

  • Open Educational Resources (OER)

Dr. Eugene de Silva, e-Learning College Lecturer II in Chemistry/Physics, has completed writing two New Jersey community college textbooks in Organic Chemistry I and II entitled “Organic Chemistry Book 1” and “Organic Chemistry Book 2.”  These two books are published as Open Educational Resources (OER) and created through the Open Textbooks Pilot Grant awarded to Middlesex College by the U.S. Department of Education Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE) program.  They are available with a Creative Commons license that allows for derivative works (CC-BY-NC).  OER course materials carry no extra cost for students, which equates to a yearly savings of $18,000 for both courses for students enrolled in the online courses.

  • Professional Development
    • Lecturer and Adjunct Institutes
      • On August 31, 2022, e-Learning College Lecturers Aqsa Sheikh and Kristen D’Amico in Biology and Psychology, respectively, represented the e-Learning Department at the Lecturer and Adjunct Institutes.  The lecturers collaborated with Dr. Nicole Kammer of the School of Business and Social Sciences for this presentation, enhancing the connection between face-to-face and virtual learning.
      • The technical workshop emphasized the need to incorporate apps in instruction to meet student needs.  Padlet and Flipgrid were highlighted in this workshop, along with a brief overview of VoiceThread, which is already licensed and used widely at the College.  Padlet is a virtual bulletin board with diverse collaboration and creation methods in face-to-face and virtual classrooms.  Flipgrid is a video messaging board that mimics social media-type video sharing for educational purposes.  VoiceThread utilizes PowerPoint lectures with voiceovers and interactive elements, such as student responses and activities within a presentation.  Instructors who attended the workshop learned why it is necessary to use these tools and the logistics of their setup and use.  The lectures included learning how to incorporate the software into their current curriculum to enhance student engagement and learning.  Attendees also had the opportunity to practice live with these apps during the workshop by scanning a QR code that allowed them access to Padlet and Flipgrid boards.  Over 80 faculty members attended the workshop.
    • e-Learning General Meeting
      • On August 30, 2022, the e-Learning Department hosted the virtual e-Learning General Meeting for the Fall semester.  This year’s theme was “The Future of Online Learning and Creating Communities,” which drew over 60 faculty and lecturers.  The General Meeting reinforced that lecturers and faculty are stakeholders and that all of their contributions help the e-Learning community to thrive.  Session I was highlighted by a presentation given by the keynote speaker, Dr. Derek Tranchina, Supervisor of Innovation and Educational Technology at Ocean Township Public Schools.  Session II focused on innovative technologies, including Watermark Student Course Evaluations, Honorlock updates, and the newly launched Simple Syllabus.  A repository was created to provide the meeting participants with a resource of essential updates presented during the meeting.
      • The attendees were urged to complete the General Meeting Post-Professional Development survey, which revealed that the lecturers and faculty would like to see an increase in professional development networking events, and 95% of the participants were “very satisfied” with the General Meeting.  In addition, the meeting recording was distributed to the online lecturers and faculty and will be posted on the e-Learning Faculty Resources page of the Faculty and Staff Portal.
    • September Adjunct Roundtable
      • The monthly Adjunct Roundtable will take place on Thursday, September 22, 2022, from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. EST.  The theme for this roundtable is “Fall Into e-Learning with Intentional Engagement, a Virtual Networking Event for e-Learning Faculty.”  The event for the September Roundtable was structured for adjuncts to gather and share numerous topics integral to e-Learning collectively.  Roundtable attendees will collaborate in breakout rooms based on their interests.  The breakout rooms are titled as follows:
        • “Using Learning Models,” led by e-Learning College Lecturer II in Biology Aqsa Sheikh.
        • “Create the Right Tone in Announcements,” led by Kristen D’Amico and Aqsa Sheikh, e-Learning College Lecturers in Biology.
        • “Redefine Engagement for Students,” led by e-Learning College Lecturer II in Business Janice Salerno.
        • “Stay Up to Date with All Things e-Learning,” led by Ms. Celeste Buckelew, e-Learning Office Coordinator.
      • The networking event will be recorded, and the minutes will be shared as a repository for adjuncts on the e-Learning Resources page of the Faculty and Staff Portal.
    • Check-in Chats Virtual Office Hours
      • As the department builds upon the sense of an e-Learning community, every Tuesday afternoon from 4:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. EST, Dr. Meredith Riddle, e-Learning Assistant Dean, will host Check-in Chats.  Check-In Chats were developed this past Spring to provide additional support to e-Learning instructors.  The continuation of these virtual office hours allows faculty and lecturers to streamline course feedback forms, obtain assistance regarding student concerns, and acclimate to the innovative technology used in e-Learning courses.
    • Online Instructor Training
      • The Online Instructor Training was redeveloped to improve the vital training of online teaching practices for e-Learning instructors.  In the redevelopment process, the content was updated to reflect the revised e-Learning Online Evaluative Criteria standards, including the pedagogical approaches necessary to be an effective online instructor.
  • Instructional Design
    • The Instructional Design team has created a tracking process and repository for internal Quality Assurance reviews using Smartsheets for online courses. Both new and existing courses are reviewed.  At least two team members will conduct reviews to determine the highest quality and best practices, and there will be records of all Quality Assurance (QA)
    • Laura Wingler, Lead Instructional Designer, created a resource for onboarding new and assisting existing Instructional Design team members. It outlines instructional design development schedules, timelines, processes, resources for course development, and links to all e-Learning forms and data repositories.  This new resource will assist the designers with maintaining standards for course development.
  • International Programs
    • The International Programs team has recently begun designing a structure and writing copy for an International Programs webpage, which will be housed within the larger e-Learning webpage on OCC’s website. The team has also been preparing to welcome the returning triple-degree Cohort 6 students from Ain Shams University.   Lauren Remenyi, College Lecturer for ESL and Applied Linguistics, has redesigned the first of two foundational Research Methods courses to give these students a more comprehensive research and writing experience.
    • Lauren Remenyi has been selected as a mentor for the inaugural Maryland TESOL mentorship program, which launched on August 20, 2022. Two of her proposals to present at TESOL International in March 2023 have been accepted.  She will speak about two strategies for increasing student engagement and promoting greater language practice in asynchronous online courses for international students.
    • Associate Vice President of International Programs Maysa Hayward’s visit to Egypt continued through September 12, 2022. Hayward and International Programs team members in Egypt have been preparing for the admission and orientation of the anticipated Cohort 7 Ain Shams University students.  They are expected to begin the triple-degree program this October in the Accelerated 6 Term.
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