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March 28, 2024

Dr. Monaco’s March 28, 2024 Report to the Board of Trustees

Dr. Pamela Monaco


  • Collaborative Online International Learning (COIL) is a pedagogical approach that fosters cross-cultural exchanges and collaboration among students from different geographical locations through online platforms. Students can work on projects, learn about each other, watch a guest speaker together, and tutor each other.  They can connect through synchronous and asynchronous communication.
  • The first COIL project was conducted during the Fall of 2020 in Adjunct Associate Professor of Business Laura Paolillo’s Principles of Management class with the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences, and they have been collaborating ever since. She also piloted a completely asynchronous COIL project with one of her Kean University classes, which has been very successful.  This can be an opportunity for e-learning in the future.
  • In the 2024 Spring Institute, Ms. Paolillo presented a workshop about COIL. It gained interest from three adjunct faculty members, and projects have already started this Spring 2024 semester:
    • Tara Cunningham, Social Sciences Adjunct Faculty Member, has two COIL projects pairing her Student Success classes with two Professional Development classes through the Amsterdam School of International Business (AMSIB), and both projects have already started.
    • Adjunct Faculty Member Steve Baglivio will start his COIL project in April 2024 for his Student Success class, also through AMSIB.
    • Professor Armando Quiroz reached out and connected with La Salle University in Mexico City and hopes to complete a COIL project as early as this current semester.
  • Laura Paolillo will share this exciting initiative with you at Thursday’s Board meeting.
  • Against a backdrop of images, History College Lecturer II Robert Marchie and Professor of Humanities Marilyn Kralik will briefly discuss some of the highlights of the College’s “OCC in Italy” January 2024 trip, emphasizing the numerous educational benefits of studying abroad for our students.

Community College Funding

  • Governor Murphy’s proposed FY25 budget cuts State funding to the community college sector by $20 million.  The Finance Office has prepared a number of alternatives to be considered should the proposed cut become a reality.  At the same time, efforts continue to advocate against reducing state funding. Campus community members are encouraged to make their opinions known by writing to Governor Murphy using this link:  io/NJCCC.
  • On Monday, March 11, 2024, OCC student veteran Hunter Mantz accompanied me to speak at the New Jersey State House capitol building to discuss the proposed $20 million budget cut to community colleges. A panel of community college students and a separate panel of three community college presidents addressed the Assembly Budget Committee.  I was extremely proud of Hunter, who testified quite effectively about the impact OCC has had on him and how the students will be negatively affected by a decrease in funding.

Faculty and Staff Presentations, Publications, and Projects

  • Beomjae Kim, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Flute in the School of Arts and Humanities, played with the New York Pops on March 14, 2024, at Carnegie Hall in New York City, New York.
  • Kathy Basilotto, Assistant Professor of Humanities/Program Chair of the American Sign Language (ASL) Program, Ms. Becky Kelly, Adjunct Instructor in the program, and ITP students performed at the New Jersey Devils ASL Night on March 7, 2024.
  • Social Media Coordinator Sara Nusbaum created an interview-style video project asking students why they love OCC. Released on Valentine’s Day, the video showcased a diverse array of students articulating their reasons for cherishing our institution.   The video was shared on Instagram and TikTok, generating impressive results, with over 180 likes, 80 shares, 6,500 views, and 4,500 impressions.

Faculty and Staff Recognition, Honors, Successes, and Awards

  • Christine Healey, Executive Director of Procurement and Compliance, was invited to participate as an Industry Leader on the panel “Roadmap to Careers in Supply Chain” at the Supply Chain Expo event hosted by Rutgers Business School on February 26, 2024. The event engaged high school and college students in exploring career opportunities in Supply Chain.  With her experience in government and academia, Ms. Healey’s insights offered valuable perspectives to students.
  • Ocean County College took home a prestigious Paragon Award for excellence in design at the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations 2024 conference, held March 14 to 16, 2024, in Seattle, Washington. OCC won the Gold award in the “Poster – Single or Series” category for a series of posters created for the College’s Juneteenth celebration. The series design was based on the colors that represent the Pan-African flag, with each poster including a different quotation intended to promote multicultural awareness. The objective was to enhance the 2023 Juneteenth event by supporting the guest speaker’s messaging and inspiring further discussion around concepts of diversity, equity, and inclusion on the OCC campus.
  • Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration, chaired a follow-up Middle States accreditation visit to Clinton Community College in Plattsburgh, New York, from March 20 to 22, 2024.
  • The School of Nursing completed the reaccreditation process with a site visit by representatives from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN) from March 12 to 14, 2024. ACEN representatives met with faculty, students, and College community members during the three-day visit. The final report is expected in September 2024.

Student Accomplishments, Honors, and Awards

  • Spring season has begun in the world of athletic OCC’s baseball, softball, golf, and tennis teams are in action, with baseball having recently returned from a week of games at The Ripken Experience in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina.  Thank you to all involved,  particularly the Ocean County College Foundation, for making this opportunity available to the students.
  • The men’s volleyball team is nearing the end of its regular season, with an eye toward the postseason. The team won the Region 19 championship in its inaugural season last year; with a current record of 11-3, it seems poised to make another deep playoff appearance at the National Invitational held at the College of Dupage in Glen Ellyn, Illinois, from April 11 to 14, 2024
  • On February 10, 2024, at the Kean University Union Campus, OCC Business Department students, under the leadership of Mr. Ibrahim Moustafa, College Lecturer II in Business, achieved significant success at the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) State Leadership Conference, competing against reputable institutions like Rutgers and St. Johns University. OCC students secured commendable top-four positions in the critical domains of Accounting, Management, and Marketing:
    • Keith Blaze – 1st place in Emerging Business Issues and 2nd place in Foundations of Marketing
    • Justin D’Amico – 1st place in Business Communication and 4th place in Foundations of Management
    • Ryan LeChien – 2nd place in Accounting Case Competition and 2nd place in Foundations of Accounting
    • Tavish McKelvey – 2nd place in Accounting Case Competition and 4th place in Foundations of Accounting
    • Kai Spinney – 1st place in Business Presentation and 3rd place in Foundations of Accounting

Student Clubs

  • Stephen Agresti and Dr. Patrick Beatty, College Lecturers in Criminal Justice, and the Criminal Justice Club students spent their Spring break in court. The group went to Washington, D.C., to visit the United States Supreme Court and the J. Edgar Hoover FBI Headquarters Building, where they took a tour and a criminal analysis from an agent.  Other stops on the trip included the National Mall and monuments, the Smithsonian, the Spy Museum, and Arlington National Cemetery.
  • Over 40 students enjoyed Pi Day activities on March 14, 2024. Hosted by the Math Club and their advisors, the Tutoring Center, the Planetarium, and the Helping Hands Pantry, the activities included Pi Chain and Write a Piku, mathematics games and Pi art, Measuring Pi and Pi stories, laser shows, and free Pi.

Student Support Services and Activities

  • The Veterans and Military Resources Center (VMRC) has created a health and wellness station to meet the nonfood-related needs of veterans and military-affiliated students.
  • On January 31, 2024, the VMRC partnered with Disability Services for a roundtable event to discuss the needs of and services for veteran students.
  • The Office of Disability Services hosted three Wellness events and four “Walk-in-Wednesday” events during March.  These events are open to the entire campus community and provide an opportunity to share information about services, eligibility, and academic support resources.
  • The Displaced Homemakers Program currently serves 145 clients, 46 new clients and 99 ongoing participants.
  • The CARE Team has handled 532 reports since July 1, 2023; during the same time frame last year (July 1, 2022, through March 19, 2023), there were 523 reports.
  • Ocean County College, through Enrollment Services, became a member of the Unite Us Network, an online network that brings together community organizations as a collaborative referral network for identified needs.
  • The Student Success Team visited each of the 20 STSC (Student Success) sections twice during the Spring semester; during the first visit, they facilitated icebreakers and shared stories to promote interaction and discussion. During the second visit, they completed a resource tour that stopped in Counseling, Career Services, the SEB, VMRC, Student Life, TRIO, EOF, Helping Hands, Disability Services, the Library, and Tutoring.
  • The Student Success Team collaborated with Math College Lecturers Vandana Saini and Julia Kim to host a Math Notetaking Workshop, which 6 students attended, and a Math Anxiety Workshop attended by more than 20 students.
  • A virtual NJ STARS information session was held on March 26, 2024, by Enrollment Services and Advising Services. Speakers included NJ STARS Coordinator Jennifer Kipp, Kean Ocean STARS II representative Richard Harrell, Enrollment Services, Financial Aid, and current NJ STARS students.
  • The Tuesday Night Stay Late in 8 program has been taking place every week this Spring semester due to increased student interest.  Recent activities included Jewelry Making with Engineering College Lecturer Bogdan and a Paint and Sip led by OCC student Emma Petko.  Other activities were led by members of the Student Life Department and included Valentine Games, Glowstick Bingo, Karaoke, and St. Patty’s Day Shenanigans.
  • Ken Malagiere, Executive Director of the OCC Foundation, and I will be throwing ceremonial first pitches at the March 27, 2024, baseball game in recognition of OCC’s 60thanniversary.  Quite an event has been planned, with food, games, music, and giveaways happening before the baseball team faces off against Brookdale Community College at 2 p.m.
  • On March 14, 2024, the students in the HRTM 212, Conferences, Conventions, and Special Events class, in collaboration with the Hospitality Club, hosted the 6th annual Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management (HRTM) Connect. This interactive event brought together hospitality businesses from the local area with OCC’s HRTM students to discuss industry trends, showcase customer service skills, demonstrate culinary arts samples, and offer students valuable potential career opportunities in local hospitality companies. This year’s theme was Blossoming into Hospitality – Shine a Light on Your Career, which featured food, raffle prizes, music, networking, and the chance to learn what the hospitality industry is all about.
  • OCC Computer Science students continue to work with Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst on a software internship program. On March 8, 2024, Computer Science Lecturer II Ken Michalek and the students visited the base for a meeting with Tech. Sgt. Dakota Laidag of the Joint Base-MDL Spark Innovation Lab. The student-led team is building a “ChatGPT application” that summarizes Aircraft maintenance procedures for technicians.  The program is an excellent opportunity for students to experience what it is like early in their careers to build a software application.
  • Students in ENGR 198, Autodesk Inventor: 3D Design and Prototyping, in the School of STEM took advantage of OCC’s partnership agreement with Joint Base-MDL as they presented their new product concepts to technical professionals at the DevilWerx Lab on March 8, 2024.
  • On February 22, 2024, the OCC Engineering Technical Conference, coordinated by STEM’s Engineering Department and student volunteers, raised approximately $7,000 for the new Next Gen Engineering Scholarship.
  • STEM students participated in the NACCE STEM/Shift Innovation Summit in Tampa, Florida, on February 23 and 24, 2024. The event focused on building momentum toward STEM business creation.  Students will strive to continue developing their product with the intention of establishing an LLC.  The School of STEM hopes that OCC will become the first institute of higher learning in New Jersey to participate in the NASA T2U program, the Technology Transfer University (T2U), bringing real-world NASA-proven technologies into the classroom.
  • On Monday, April 15, 2024, from 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., the VMRC will host a lunch and learn for any veterans affiliated with Ocean County College in conjunction with the Veterans Association and the County Veteran Service Bureau to discuss the best use of their educational benefits.
  • Thank you to Kean Ocean for partnering with OCC to bring Community Yoga and Mindfulness opportunities to students and staff on Thursday afternoons (3:30-4:15) at OCC Manahawkin!
  • Associate Planetarium Director Cara Muscio presented the Planetarium Business Plan to Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management College Lecturer II Sean Bips and his HRTM 120, Marketing for Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management students, who are working on marketing proposals for the Planetarium. They also worked with the Math Club to present free content in the theater for Pi Day on campus.

Outreach to Students

  • In February 2024, Ms. Charlotte Langeveld, College Lecturer II in Social Sciences, launched the Trash to Treasure project, showcasing how students can turn ordinary trash into art. This project allows students to gain valuable insights and inspiration for sustainable creativity, witness real-life examples of environmental impact, and learn from Lynn Brotherson’s discussion on where trash ends up and how to support her in addressing this issue through her Stroke Your ECO organization.  Winners not only have the opportunity to receive significant cash rewards through the Foundation’s generous support for their creations, but they will also be featured prominently in the Earth Day awards ceremony on April 22, 2024.
  • On March 15, 2024, the Student Nurse Organization (SNO) held a Career Day, with representatives from 20 agencies attending the event. Students were provided information on applying for positions within various healthcare agencies after completing the Nursing Program.  Information was also available for students currently in the program regarding applying for Nursing Assistant positions.  At the same time, they continue their studies and enroll in a BSN completion program. There were 102 students at this event.
  • Mary Fennessy, B.A., MAS, Director of Programs for Nursing and Health Sciences, represented the School at a Pre-Nursing Information Session on February 29, 2024, which was offered in person and remotely. Information sessions are held for students who intend to enter the Nursing Program; another session was scheduled this month.
  • Organized by Assistant Director of Education and Community Engagement Jaclyn Wood, The Princeton Singers held a student workshop for GPAA senior vocal students on March 1, 2024. On March 4, 2024, students from three Ocean County schools and four adult day programs attended a performance in English, Spanish, and ASL by 123 Andrés, the winner of the 2024 Grammy Award for Best Children’s Music Album.

Community Outreach

  • OCC Manahawkin hosted two new groups, OCC Recovery Support Services and Hope Sheds Light, which are working together to bring awareness and opportunity to our students, staff, and the OCC Manahawkin community.
  • Ben Hudnall Memorial Trust credits are up in Spring 2024 over Spring 2023 by over 72%. There are also 20 students taking a Google IT class on the non-credit side and 18 students enrolled as of March 18, 2024, in a newly opened section starting April 15, 2024.
  • Enrollment Services tabled at a college fair hosted by the Ocean County School Counselors Association on March 19, 2024. Hundreds of students and parents from across the county learned more about opportunities at OCC.
  • Ocean County College hosted the Good Ideas Conference in the Gateway Building on Friday, March 22, 2024. I was pleased to welcome 250 counselors from K-12 schools in Monmouth and Ocean Counties as they joined together to learn from workshops, hear a keynote speaker, and enjoy breakfast and lunch.   Haley Abruzzese, Enrollment Services Advisor for Early College, helped organize the event.  Dr. Sheenah Hartigan, Executive Director of Enrollment Services, participated on a panel in collaboration with Brookdale Community College speaking with students on their community college experiences.
  • A focus group was held on campus on March 15, 2024, with leaders in the Latine community to learn more about what students need and want from Ocean County College in an effort to build supportive and intentional programming. Participants included New Labor Movement, Community Ambassadors, InspiraNJ, the Puerto Rican Civic Association, the Ocean County Library System, and the Lakewood School District.  Future meetings will be scheduled to share and collaborate with these important stakeholders.
  • The Ocean County Displaced Homemakers Program (OCDHP) has forged a dynamic partnership with the Ocean County Career Center, formerly PIC. This recent collaboration has positioned the Displaced Homemakers Program as a highly recommended partner within the community.  Since disseminating this exciting news, the program has received a significant influx of support, with at least four new referrals within the past week alone.  This active engagement with the Ocean County Career Center reflects OCC’s commitment to providing valuable resources and opportunities for displaced homemakers seeking to re-enter the workforce.  We look forward to further strengthening this partnership and making a meaningful impact on the lives of those we serve.
  • The History Department and History Club hosted a guest speaker event on March 4, 2024, “A Hidden Child: The Story of Holocaust Survivor Maud Dahme.”  Through her advocacy work, Ms. Dahme emphasizes the importance of confronting hatred and prejudice to build a more compassionate and inclusive world.
  • In connection with Black History Month, the Grunin Center hosted a screening of Beyond Their Years, a film celebrating the lives of Buck O’Neil and Herb Carnegie, on February 29, 2024, for the students of OCC and the Ocean County community. Students from several OCC classes attended, including History, English, and Social Justice.
  • On March 8, 2024, the OCC Music Club and community members enjoyed violinist Arturo Delmoni and pianist Nina Siniakova in the Bosendörfer Room for the semester’s third Afternoon Recital Series.
  • The Ocean County Teen Arts Festival, led by Education and Community Engagement Coordinator Erik Stratton and sponsored by the Ocean County Cultural and Heritage Commission and OCC Foundation, was held on March 19 and 20, 2024. Over 1,000 students from 16 Ocean County high schools were led by OCC faculty and staff:
    • Brian Gilmore, College Lecturer II in Humanities
    • Adam Hutcheson, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Humanities
    • Angus Wood, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Humanities
    • Ralph Bertini, Part-Time Teacher of Humanities
    • Nathaniel Bard, Instructor of Humanities
    • Laura Westmoreland, Assistant Director of Operations and Productions, Grunin Center
    • Heidi Sheridan, Executive and Artistic Director, Grunin Center
    • Haley Abruzzese, Enrollment Services Advisor
    • Markie Aronson, Enrollment Services Technician
    • Cheyenne Woods, Part-Time Enrollment Services Technician
    • Jason Molloy, College Lecturer II in Humanities
    • Luke Nokes, OCC student
    • Hallie Nogiewich, OCC student
    • Members of the Music Club
  • These participants led 45 workshops and completed 447 student adjudications in fine and performing arts.
  • Kuniko Yamamoto was at the Grunin Center from March 18 to 21, 2024, for a residency that included origami workshops at elementary schools and at the Ocean County Teen Arts Festival, and her “Magical Mask, Music, and Mime of Japan” performance was held for over 750 students from 11 Ocean County schools.
  • On March 28, 2024, the Grunin Center for the Arts and the Novins Planetarium hosted the OCC Environmental Sciences Conference, providing space and technical support for presentations in the theater and a career fair in the lobby.
  • Since the last Board meeting on February 22, 2024, the Planetarium has completed 36 public, 20 school, and 9 community shows.
  • On Tuesday, April 8, 2024, the Planetarium will hold a public event to view the solar eclipse on campus from 2 to 5 p.m. Join us for food, fun, games, and information sharing.

Professional Development

  • Two trainings on Universal Design for Learning (UDL) for Postsecondary Settings were held with presenters Ms. Catherine Mancuso, Dean of Faculty Development and Learning Innovation, and  Ms. Jamie Arasz Prioli, Assistant Director of Student Disability Services.  UDL is a framework that aims to make learning accessible to all students by providing multiple means of representation, engagement, and expression.  The first session, An Introduction to Universal Design for Learning,was held on February 23, 2024; the second session, Engagement, was held on March 8, 2024.  The last two sessions will focus on assessment and reflection. These trainings are part of a UDL series offered by the Faculty Development and Innovation Center.
  • A HyFlex Town Hall was held on February 20, 2024. Participants included both instructors and administrators and discussed the use of HyFlex.  The feedback will be used to inform upcoming training and best practices.  HyFlex training is scheduled for March and April to prepare instructors for Summer and Fall courses.  During the training, instructors will work with classroom technology in a hands-on setting and will collaborate to implement best practices in HyFlex pedagogy.
  • On Friday, March 1, 2024, the NJ Distance Education Affinity Group (DEAG) held its second Distance Education Conference at Mercer County Community College. Elizabeth Metzger, Director of e-Learning, and Mr. Neil Mastroianni, Associate Director of Educational Technology, attended and moderated live sessions.  Staff and faculty from the e-Learning Department attended virtual sessions on topics ranging from AI and gamification to course design and first-generation students.


  • In collaboration with the FIPSE Basic Needs grant, Ocean County Board of Social Services has begun offering campus services to students in the Student Enrollment building. Social Services representatives are available via appointment or walk-ins on the first Tuesday of each month; so far this month, services have been provided to three scheduled students.
  • To date, the FIPSE Basic Needs grant has had 104 referrals and awarded over $16,000 in funding directly to students in the form of utility and housing assistance, grocery and gas cards, dependent care items, and medical assistance. Of the total recipients, 73% received multiple services through the grant.

Workforce and Professional Education

Adult Education, Civic, and Workforce Preparation (AECWP)

  • On February 27, 2024, 12 students began the second winter session for high school diploma preparation. The summer session is scheduled to start on July 22, 2024.
  • Graduation will be held on June 19, 2024, at 10:30 a.m. for the Ocean County Achievement Center students.
  • Orientations will be held on July 12, 2024, for High School Equivalency and on July 13, 2024, for ESL; 300 potential participants are expected to attend.

Work Readiness Assistance Program (WRAP)

  • Eleven WRAP participants earned a CPR credential while exploring career pathways and entrepreneurship training. Six new participants enrolled, and 28 are being provided with services.
  • Fifty-eight potential participants are in the eligibility process of being approved and enrolled in the program.
  • Participants attended the Winter Wellness Reset Event held at OCC in partnership with the Children’s InterAgency Coordinating Council (CIACC) and the Achievement Center.

Career Services

  • The 2024 Job Fair will be held in the Larson Student Center on April 2, 2024, between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.; the fair will showcase 35 local employers.
  • Career Services collaborated with the Hospitality, Recreation, and Tourism Management Department on its March 14, 2024, Networking Event.
  • Career Day at the two Brick high schools was held on March 20, 2024, with sponsorship and assistance from the Brick Chamber of Commerce. OCC’s Career Services department presented potential career paths and identified skills that could be transferred to the workplace.
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