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November 8, 2023

Dr. Monaco’s November 9, 2023 Report to the Board of Trustees

Dr. Pamela Monaco

Board Meeting Presentations

Members of the Core Team will address the Middle States concerns related to Standard VII, Governance, Leadership, and Administration, and will provide a summary of the accomplishments to date to address the concerns; they will also share recommendations that have emerged from interactions with the campus community as a result of listening sessions and input from the Stakeholder Group.

Core Team members who will present include Dr. Alexa Beshara-Blauth, Ms. Donna Rosinski-Kauz, Ms. Cara Dubitsky, and Dr. David Bordelon.  Other members of the Core Team are Ms. Donna Carbone, Mr. James Hadley, Ms. Mary Lancaster, Ms. Dori Londres, Mr. James Marshall, Mr. Stuart Martinsen, Mr. Lincoln Simmons, Ms. Karin Smith, Ms. Laura Wagner, and Dr. Teresa Walsh.

Ms. Anna Regan, Executive Director of Advising and Transfer Services, and Ms. Laura Wills, Coordinator of Transfer Services, will discuss advising initiatives that support student retention, including proactive advising curriculum tracks, instructor alerts, and transfer programming.

Ms. Heidi Sheridan, Executive and Artistic Director of the Grunin Center, will introduce three members of her staff who are working to offer exciting programs and events on campus: Ms. Victoria Buczynski, Marketing and Sales Coordinator; Mr. Erik Stratton, Education and Community Engagement Coordinator; and Mr. Tom Mellot, Planetarium Office Coordinator.

Faculty and Staff Presentations and Publications

Dr. Mark Westmoreland, College Lecturer II in Philosophy, recently published a book review of John Murungi’s African Philosophical Adventures.

A proposal by Dr. Madison Peschock, College Lecturer II in English, was accepted by the Northeast Modern Language Association to present a paper on archived poems by Harper Lee.  The paper, “More Than Just a Mockingbird,” will be presented at the March 2024 conference in Boston.

Dr. Sheenah Hartigan, Executive Director of Enrollment Services, and Dr. Kathleen Mohr, Director of Enrollment and Retention, were interviewed by and published in the October issue of the “Journal for One Stop Excellence” regarding the implementation and oversight of OCC’s HUB.

Ms. Pam Bogdan, College Lecturer II in Engineering, presented at the 2023 National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship Annual Conference to highlight OCC’s course, ENGT 195, Tools for Technical Communications, which assists in accelerating STEM students’ formal and informal communication.

Faculty and Staff Honors and Awards

Ocean County Commissioner Barbara Jo Crea issued a Proclamation highlighting Disability Awareness and Employment month at the Disability and Employment Services Fair.  Ms. Jamie A. Prioli, Assistant Director of Disability Services, was recognized for serving as an appointed member and chairperson of the Ocean County Commission for Individuals with Disabilities Committee.

Ms. Stefanie Caton, Mental Health Technician, was awarded the “Teaching the Teacher” award by the National Education Association for her work on professional development for K-12 teachers; Ms. Caton was a K-12 school teacher before joining OCC.

From the world of athletics, Executive Director Ilene Cohen recently received Region XIX’s 2023 Augie Eosso Award, in recognition of her 31 years of leadership and service to the Region.  The Augie Eosso Award is considered the highest honor that can be bestowed upon an individual by the Region.

Student Honors and Awards

Greeting from Ocean County

Mr. Nathaniel Bard, Studio Arts Instructor, and Emma Petko, one of his students enrolled in GRPH 151, Digital Imagery, joined together for an artistic collaboration between Ocean County College and the Ocean County Mall.  As a result of their work, Emma’s mural was installed at one of the entrances near the food court.

After Mr. Bard talked with the mall’s marketing representatives a bit more, they expressed a desire to display additional student artwork in the future.

OCC alumnus Josh Kline received the Region’s Robert Zifchak Award, which is earned by student-athletes who are exemplary both academically and athletically.  Josh was an All-Region XIX athlete in both men’s basketball and men’s tennis and graduated from OCC with a 3.9 grade point average. He is currently playing for Drew University.

OCC’s men’s and women’s soccer teams and the women’s volleyball team all had fantastic regular seasons and  competed in the Regional Final Championship games last weekend with women’s soccer advancing to the National Championship in Gastonia, North Carolina; the team will play the week of November 5 through 12, 2023.  Unfortunately, the men’s soccer team and women’s volleyball team came up short in the Region Championship games, but they had great seasons.

Cross Country programs are headed to  Hunstville, Alabama, to run in the national championship meet, with the team leaving November 8, 2023.  OCC’s Esports teams is still in the midst of its season and playing well.

Student Clubs

Mr. Robert Marchie, College Lecturer II in History and History Club Advisor, reported that the History Club had a successful trip to Philadelphia on October 21, 2023.  Mr. Marchie, along with 50 OCC students, visited the Eastern State Penitentiary, Elfreth’s Ally, Reading Terminal Market, and Independence Hall.  This trip marks the sixth time the History Club has organized a trip to Philadelphia.

The Math Club hosted the first of its two-part American Mathematical Association of Two-Year Colleges (AMATYC) Student Math League Competition on November 2, 2023.  Round two will be held during the Spring semester.

Student Life partnered with the Engineering Club for a two-part “Stay Late in 8” program on October 10 and 17, 2023, with students learning basic upholstery skills while creating chairs for their at-home workspaces.

The Ocean Pride Club partnered with the Counseling Center to present OCC’s first-ever event for National Coming Out Day on October 11, 2023, with students, faculty, and staff sharing their stories to ensure a supportive community on campus.

Led by the OCC History Club and Student Life, students came together on October 24, 2023, for the now annual multi-club Halloween Costume and Trivia night.  Students from several clubs coordinated the food, beverages, and activities.

On October 20, 2023, the Student Nurse Organization held a Career Day, with representatives from 23 healthcare agencies talking with 89 students about applying for positions and continuing their education after completing the Nursing program.

A team of five OCC Business students are participating in the annual Bloomberg Trading Challenge.  The team, captained by Spencer O’Brien, has one million dollars to “invest” in equities on the Bloomberg terminal.  Other team members are Jason Abel, Randal Garbarini, Owen DeSanto, and Jennifer Gonzalez-Garcia.

On Wednesday, October 25, 2023, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) hosted a movie screening of Hocus Pocus on the campus mall.  Participants enjoyed watching the movie on a big screen while enjoying pizza and other goodies.  This event was a fundraiser for OCC’s PTK Honor Society.

The OCC Improv Club presented its Fall performances of “The Red Gathering” on October 27 and 28, 2023.  At all three performances, attendees were encouraged to come in costume and help solve the murder at this interactive Vampire who-done-it mystery.

The OCC Chess Club held its first tournament of the year on Saturday, November 4, 2023, in the Student Center.  Attendees enjoyed watching the OCC students compete against each other in this round-robin style tournament.

Student Activities

Student Life’s annual Fall Fest was held on October 25, 2023, bringing together the OCC campus community to enjoy seasonal treats and activities, such as pumpkin painting, glitter tattoos, and a visit from the Out of Sight Alpacas.

Student Life sponsored three bus trips recently for the college community, which included stops at the NYC High Line, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and the Eastern State Penitentiary in Philadelphia.

On October 12, 2023, Mr. Jason Ghibesi, College Lecturer II in Political Science, and his International Relations class attended a virtual discussion hosted by the Council on Foreign Relations on the Israel-Hamas conflict.

The Interpreter Training Program hosted four events during October, including deaf comedian Sandro Hatibovic; a training on Domestic Violence, Deaf Power, and Control; a flash mob where faculty and students signed two Halloween songs; and a Halloween Rock and Roll Show performance by faculty and students.

During October and November, Ms. Charlotte Langeveld, College Lecturer II in Social Sciences and Coordinator of the Social Justice Series, along with other members of the Social Justice team, sponsored three campus events that focused on Critical Race Theory, environmental justice, and LGBTQ+ terminology.

On October 18, 2023, the Criminal Justice department hosted a special landing demonstration by the New Jersey State Police Medical Helicopter Team.  Students learned about the medevac program’s current missions and procedures, its significance to the community, and dispatch and request guidelines; they also took a tour inside the medevac aircraft.

On November 1, 2023, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department Mounted Horse Patrol, led by Sheriff’s Officer Juan Mercado and his horse, Sangria, came to campus to discuss how the mounted horse patrol is used in the field for crowd control and boardwalk patrols and as a public relations asset.

On November 8, 2023, the Ocean County Sheriff’s Department K9 Unit provided demonstrations to students on investigative techniques for K9 explosive bomb detection and K9 bloodhound tracking.

The Counseling Center is leading several support and educational groups, including Rainbow Space for LGBTQ+ students to support each other, learn about local resources, and build connections and the Cycle Breakers Book Club.

The Grunin Center hosted students from the Grunin Performing Arts Academy for their Fall play, Dracula, A Feminist Revenge Fantasy, Really, from October 29 through November 4, 2023.

On Thursday, October 19, 2023, OCC music students and Adjunct Faculty Member Mark Farley’s Music Fundamentals class, along with Grunin Performing Arts Academy students, joined the band Grosse Isle for an interactive workshop entitled “Atlantic Bridges: Similarities and Differences Between Music from Ireland and Quebec.”  Later that day, there was a reception hosted by the Government Office of Quebec, and a public concert followed.

The Grunin Center hosted its first event on the outdoor stage for OCC students on October 3, 2023.  The band, Livin’ It Right, played two sets on the campus mall for students, staff, and the community.

From October 11 to 15, 2023, the Grunin Center hosted the outside presenter, GFour Productions, for Menopause the Musical 2:  Cruising Through the Change.  The performance sold 2,074 tickets, including 343 first-time ticket buyers.


The Counseling Center was awarded a three-year federal Garrett Lee Smith Suicide Prevention grant; the current year funding amount is $78,930, and the program began on September 30, 2023.

The Supporting Students in Recovery project has been renewed for its fifth year in the amount of $98,000 by the New Jersey Division on Mental Health and Addiction Services, effective October 1, 2023.

Counseling Services received a one-time $1,482 award from the New Jersey Council of County Colleges for a mental health activity, “Be Kind to Your Mind,” on December 5, 2023.

The four-part R.A.C.E. (Racial and Cultural Empathy) training is scheduled to begin in January 2024; this training for faculty and staff is funded by the New Jersey Office of the Secretary of Higher Education’s Mental Health in Higher Education:  Community Provider Partnership and Professional Development Grant program.

Notable Monthly Observances

In recognition of October as Domestic Violence Prevention Month, the Counseling Center hosted “Empowerment Self-Defense,” providing education and valuable skills for interpersonal boundary setting and addressing gender-based violence.

Also recognized in October was Disability Awareness Month, with the Office of Disability Services hosting several free films on campus through the generosity of the Superfest Disability Film Festival, the longest-running disability film festival in the world.

Outreach to Students

The Helping Hands Food Pantry celebrated World Food Day on October 16, 2023, with an awareness event featuring tomato soup, fresh baguettes, and other tasty treats.  The event began a new campaign to promote the four main areas of the food pantry:  Groceries, Coffee Bar, Grab and Go Meals, and Snacks and Water.

Helping Hands is offering free Thanksgiving meal kits to OCC students and their families, each containing a turkey, stuffing, gravy, corn, green beans, cranberry sauce, instant potatoes, cornbread mix, and pie.  Please consider donating at

Enrollment Services and various other departments produced a successful Fall Open House on October 11, 2023, with over 200 potential students and family members attending.

A Guidance Counselor Breakfast was hosted on campus on October 20, 2023, for over 40 counselors representing every County high school; updates were provided by the Academic Deans, Financial Aid, and Student Life, and a panel of recent 2023 high school graduates discussed their transition to college.

On October 24, 2023, the Office of Disability Services hosted an annual resource fair, Educate and Connect:  Hidden Disability and Access Resources in Ocean County, an event that links OCC and the community with inclusivity, intersectionality, equity, and inclusion.

The Veterans and Military Resources Center partnered with the Counseling Center and the Addiction Studies program to host Marine Veteran Ricky Johnson Jr., who shared his journey through his time in prison, the loss of his son to suicide, and the impact of drug addiction on his life.  Additionally, Ms. Anne Doran, National Executive Director for the VA Office of Patient Advocacy, discussed the importance of community as service members move to veteran status.

The School of Arts and Humanities hosted guest artist Victoria Schwartzman, a classical pianist currently based in New York City, on October 6, 2023, where she performed a musical piece and gave a masterclass to three OCC students.

On October 26, 2023, guest artist Elizabeth Ritacco, musical theatre actress, presented a workshop and masterclass for students in OCC’s Vocal Ensemble.

During a three-day November event in the Grunin Center, guest actor Ian Ruskin will portray Harry Bridges and Thomas Paine as well as hold a workshop for theatre students.

Anthony Corso RN, MSN, RN, CCRN, CMSRN, GERO-BC, a graduate of Ocean County College, recently met with students preparing to graduate from the Nursing program to discuss his experiences as a male nurse and his journey from a hospital volunteer to a staff nurse and educator.

On October 11, 2023, graduating Nursing students attended a presentation by Amy Keefe, RN, CPTC, Manager of Authorization and Family Services for the NJ Sharing Network, who spoke of the vital role of the registered nurse in organ and tissue donation.

Donna Bonacorso, RN, MSN, NEA-BC, Chief Nursing Officer and Vice President for Patient Care Services at Community Medical Center, presented information to graduating students regarding the Center’s Nurse Residency Program, its application process, and the events in the year-long program.

OCC Engineering and Industrial/Technical Studies and NAVAIR took advantage of the Educational Partnership Agreement to host on OCC’s campus NAVAIR’s latest Journeyman hiring event, with more than 30 potential new employees interviewed.

An increasing number of participants in the joint Air Force Spark Innovation Lab, OCC’s Engineering and Industrial/Technical Studies dual-degree program, are registering for the Fall semester. This program helps Air Force personnel to achieve a Community College of the Air Force degree and an OCC A.A.S. degree in Technical Studies, which help with both their military and civilian careers.

Community Outreach

The Afternoon Recital Series, in collaboration with the OCC music faculty and curated by College Lecturer, Brian Gilmore, held its second event of the season on October 6, 2023.

College Lecturer Paul Chalakani produced the OCC Repertory Theatre Company’s production of Dr. Frankenstein, a new play written by George Allison and directed by Cat Parker, which ran from October 26 through November 5, 2023.

On October 6, 2023, Roman Zavada, pianist-composer, performed two live concerts of his Resonances Boreales at the Novins Planetarium for 108 attendees.  The program was supported by the Quebec Cultural Office, which allowed the Planetarium to offer half price tickets to students and staff.

Professional Development

Twenty-two participants joined the virtual monthly Adjunct Roundtable professional development event, “Ghosts in the Machine: Strategies for Managing Student Issues in Online Courses,” on October 19, 2023, presented by Dr. Jack Kelnhofer, College Lecturer II in English, and Ms. Brianna DeCicco, Associate Director, Academic and Tutoring Support Services.

Members of the e-Learning Department participated in the Online Learning Consortium Accelerate 2023 virtual conference in October, focusing on innovative online education practices, such as access and equity, effective teaching, leadership, research, student support, and emerging technologies.

Academic Affairs and e-Learning held two one-hour training sessions on October 24, 2023, for 37 faculty members to learn how to utilize the new AI detection tool released by Turnitin in their courses.

Kean Ocean

At the request of Kean University, Bubbakoos has implemented a system to allow them to accept KU Flex Dollars.  This will be an added convenience for Kean students on the OCC campus.

Legislative Updates

The State of New Jersey recently passed legislation expanding the use of sick leave for employees covered under N.J.S.A 18A:30-1.  Full-time OCC employees and part-time employees who work 25 hours per week are subject to this legislation.

Previously, employees could use sick leave only for their own illness, disability, or injury or if they were required to quarantine as a result of a contagious illness. The amendment expands the reasons and for whom eligible employees may use earned sick time.

The PUMP Act is a new law that helps ensure mothers have the support and resources they need to breastfeed their children.  The College has two designated Family Rooms on campus that can be used by employees and students to express milk:

Health and Human Performance Center, Building 29, Room 145

Hovnanian Health Sciences, Building 102, Room 116

Monthly Security Report

In accordance with New Jersey Public Law 2015, Chapter 220, and College Policy #2332, Reporting of On-Campus and Fire Events, attached is the monthly statistics report of crimes, fires, and other emergencies on campus for the reporting period of September 23, 2023, through November 3, 2023.

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