TOMS RIVER — The Bellwether College Consortium has named Ocean County College a winner of the highly-coveted Bellwether Award for its submission entitled Meet Reggie: the AI Chatbot Transforming Ocean County College. This impressive achievement was announced during the 28th Annual Community College Futures Assembly (CCFA) in San Antonio, Texas on March 1.
The nationally-recognized Bellwether Awards, established in 1995, are presented to institutions with cutting-edge, trendsetting programs, and considered one of the nation’s most prestigious honors for community colleges – likened to football’s Heisman Award. Public community colleges from all over the United States are invited to apply, and ten finalists in each of three categories are invited to present their programs in a final round of competition at the annual meeting. One winner is selected from each category by a panel comprised of national experts.
Ocean County College took first place in the category of Planning, Governance and Finance, which recognizes programs or activities that improve efficiency and effectiveness in the community college. Presenters Dr. Jerry Racioppi, Vice President of Student Affairs, Dr. Sheenah Hartigan, Executive Director of Enrollment Services, and Dr. Kate Mohr, Assistant Director of Enrollment Services, introduced the judging panel to OCC’s behaviorally intelligent chatbot, “Reggie.” Through direct engagement with students, “Reggie” elicits real-time data which enables OCC to take proactive measures to address individual student needs, adjust program delivery, and increase student registration, while maximizing the efficiency of academic and student support staff.
“Ocean County College is honored to receive the prestigious Bellwether Award,” said Dr. Jon H. Larson, president of Ocean County College. “This recognition is a reflection of the hard work and dedication of our faculty and staff and an affirmation of the innovative spirit that contributes to the success of our students. We are proud to represent our community as a leading institution in the nation, and we are excited to continue working with our partners to meet the challenges facing community colleges today.”
Finalists at this year’s assembly represented 19 states and 25 community colleges, each demonstrating a commitment to innovative responses to critical issues. Ocean County College is thrilled to be among them.
“This a wonderful award for the College,” said Jerry J. Dasti, Chair of the OCC Board of Trustees. “The team worked very hard, and their hard work brought great pride and honor to OCC.”