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January 26, 2015

President’s January 2015 Report to the OCC Board of Trustees

Dr. Jon Larson

e-Learning and Enterprise Initiatives

  • e-Learning – Symbolizing a convergence of new initiatives, our e-Learning team will begin rapid expansion of our online foreign language offerings, including ESL, this Spring and on into 2015.  Utilizing the world-renowned Rosetta Stone product as the foundation of our efforts, our foreign language instructors will create these online master courses leading to the addition of 32 new foreign language courses representing 24 different languages.  Languages include Arabic, Greek, Hebrew, Japanese, Farsi, Chinese, Spanish, French, German, and more.  We are very excited that Ocean County College will emerge as a premier provider of online foreign language instruction and that these efforts will create a new market for e-Learning at OCC. As you may recall, beginning in Fall 2013, the e-Learning team launched a two-year longitudinal pilot project aimed at enhancing online remedial education at Ocean County College.  By integrating the adaptive My Foundations Lab software, the same software that is being tested through the College Readiness Now program statewide, our online courses offer students individual learning experiences custom-tailored to their specific needs.  The first round of results reflects a significant increase in student achievement.  These results, and the project in general, have been gaining national attention.  The project has earned OCC the Innovation of the Year Award from the League for Innovation in Community Colleges.  In addition, our work has already resulted in five conference presentations, both on the local and national stage, and a sponsored session (albeit waiting for acceptance) at Educause this year. Congratulations to the faculty and staff who helped Ocean County College leap into the future with these new technologies and for your current and continued work in this incredible opportunity for the students of our College.
  • Continuing and Professional Education – The State of New Jersey’s Business Action Center (BAC) will be presenting a seminar, “New Jersey Resources for Business Growth,” followed by business-to-business networking on Tuesday, February 10, at 4:00 p.m. in the Lakewood Strand Auditorium. Ocean County College is participating by hosting the event with the Lakewood Development Corporation, the New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, and the Ocean County Workforce Investment Board.Lt. Governor Kim Guadagno is the keynote speaker.  Following her speech, attendees will have the opportunity to network and meet with agency representatives to discuss their programs and incentives.  Representatives from the following New Jersey State departments will be available to answer questions:  Business Action Center, Labor and Workforce Development, Economic Development Authority, State Library, Division of Taxation, Division of Revenue, New Jersey State Trade, Export Promotion, and Division of Purchase and Property.  Also on hand will be representatives from the Lakewood Urban Enterprise Zone program, Foreign Trade #235, New Jersey Manufacturing Extension Program, and Ocean County College to discuss programs, incentives, and training opportunities.

Finance and Administration

  • Security – The federal Jeanne Clery Disclosure of Campus Security Policy and Campus Crime Statistics Act (Clery Act) requires all U.S. colleges and universities to publish an annual security report that must contain three years of crime statistics along with specific campus security policy statements.  The OCC Security Department works with the Vice President of Student Affairs and other campus officials, as well as with local law enforcement agencies, to compile statistics for the annual report.  The Security Department is responsible for preparing and distributing the Clery Report for Ocean County College, which is posted on the College website:

    The Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act, or Campus SaVE Act, is a 2013 amendment to the federal Jeanne Clery Act that increases requirements regarding the response to and prevention of sexual violence in higher education.  This Act is an example of the ever increasing statutory and regulatory compliance requirements being placed on institutions of higher education on both the federal and state level. In order to stay current, OCC is an active member of the New Jersey College and University Public Safety Association (NJCUPSA).  Mr. Robert Kumpf, Director of Security, is currently serving as President of NJCUPSA.  This organization has been keeping safety an integral part of campus life for more than 40 years and now consists of over 40 schools, with 1,800 police and security professionals protecting over 350,000 students.   CUPSA has met these challenges head-on by increasing the number and types of professional development opportunities it offers.  CUPSA continues to place a strong emphasis on training; one such example is the meeting Mr. Kumpf recently attended with an Assistant Prosecutor from the Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office where the Title IX/Criminal investigation issue was discussed.Mr. Kumpf will present and discuss OCC’s Clery report at Monday’s meeting.
  • Facilities
    • Printer/Copier Savings – Facilities Management and the IT Department have worked together to combine the technical and mechanical services for copiers, which in previous years had been performed by various vendors.  TGI Office Automation will now provide the College with service for all the technical and mechanical aspects of copiers with improved services at reduced cost.
    • Surplus Sale – The College held a Surplus Sale from December 1 to 12, 2014, using, which is a website available to the public to view a listing of items being auctioned.  The sale generated approximately $17,000.  The next surplus sale is anticipated to take place in April.
    • Mid-Year Evaluations – The annual evaluation system administered by the College is a tool used to evaluate the performance of employees for the purpose of identifying ways to improve and enhance operations.  Last year, the Facilities Management Department implemented mid-year evaluations in addition to the yearly evaluations.  The incentive is to provide staff with more timely feedback to avoid potential issues, to ensure employee objectives are still on track, and to make year-end evaluations easier with few surprises.  The first mid-year evaluations of 2015 are scheduled to be completed shortly.
  • College Relations
    • As you know, the College Relations Department manages the College’s marketing initiatives.  Over the past few years, digital advertising and e-mail marketing have proven to be powerful, cost-effective tools to promote OCC.  Both mediums are used to recruit new students as well as to retain current students.  During Monday’s meeting, Ms. Jan Kirsten, Executive Director of College Relations, will highlight some examples of OCC’s marketing messaging and discuss current marketing strategies.
    • New Athletic and Student Life Vans – As our students travel throughout the county, state and region, they will be riding in OCC vans wrapped in impressive branding designed by College Relations Coordinator of Publications, Scott Bruinooge.  The photos on each van highlight the accomplishments of our student athletes as well as our fantastic alumni.  The vans will be positioned in Parking Lot #4 on Monday for all to view.
    • Ocean County College is hosting the 5th Annual Senior Living Expo in the College Gymnasium on Thursday, March 19.  This event brings over 600 people from the community, primarily seniors, to the campus for an informative and interactive day.  The Expo showcases over 70 local and state-wide businesses that provide attendees health and wellness screenings, information on active living services and financial planning, as well as food from local restaurants.  Major sponsors for the event include New Jersey Natural Gas, AAA, Community Medical Center Barnabas Health, and Horizon Blue to You.
    • Save the Date – The dedication of the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts to honor Jay and Linda Grunin will take place at 6:00 p.m. on Wednesday, February 25, in the Grunin Center Theatre.
    • The January 2015 edition of Ocean Views is hot off the presses!  This edition highlights innovative and exciting initiatives happening across the campus and features the stellar accomplishments of Ocean’s alumni, students, and staff.  Copies will be distributed to you at Monday’s meeting.
  • Information Technology – The I.T. Department has developed an attendance tracking solution for face-to-face courses to enhance the attendance tool in Pearson’s eCompanion system.  The new tool resolved issues that were reported by the faculty during the Fall semester.
  • During the month of December 2014, the College issued an RFP to upgrade the wireless infrastructure on campus and to introduce external wireless services between the Library and the College Center and between the Administration Building and the Gateway Building.I.T. continues to migrate various Ocean Cruiser services to alternative systems.  The project is expected to be complete by the end of May 2015.
  • Ocean County College Foundation
    • The Foundation’s 2105 Annual Scholarship Celebration, which previously occurred in August each year, is being held on Saturday, June 20, at 6:00 p.m. in the Health and Human Services Performance Center.  This year, the Foundation will be honoring the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation for its outstanding support of the arts, human services, and education in the community.
    • The Foundation recently signed a contract with AcademicWorks, the leading provider of scholarship management solutions for institutions of higher education.  This online solution will help to improve the compliance, stewardship, and utilization of scholarship funds as well as the services to students, donors, and the campus community.  The AcademicWorks software solution is set to launch for the Fall 2015 semester.
  • Auxiliary Services – As you know, the performing arts on campus have been revitalized through the generous donation received from the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation in 2014.  The Grunin Spotlight Series has been enthusiastically received by nearly sold-out audiences.  Fine Arts students have the opportunity to attend the performances at no charge and also participate in masterclasses with the artists. The season will culminate with a two-day outdoor Jazz Festival on campus on June 12 and 13.  Jazz fans will delight in the line-up of performers.  I encourage you to review the schedule of upcoming shows when it becomes available.
  • Planetarium – The Planetarium schedule has been revised as follows:
    • Public shows are on Saturdays
    • Birthday parties are on Saturdays and Sundays
    • School shows and group shows are from Wednesday through Friday by reservation

In addition, new programming has been developed: “The Stars in my Backyard” and “Legends of the Sky: Orion Laser.”  A four-show Laser Fest will be held on Saturday, January 24, and an exciting new laser show, “Laser Country,” is coming soon.

  • Human Resources – The Human Resources Department has created an annual schedule for group onboarding and monthly orientation sessions for all newly hired permanent employees.  Onboarding meetings will be scheduled immediately following Board meetings to ensure that newly hired employees have submitted the required paperwork and are ready to work.  The monthly new employee orientations will normally be scheduled for the third Wednesday of each month.  A member of the President’s Leadership Team is scheduled to attend each orientation session. The orientations have been well received by recent new hires, and the content is constantly revised based on feedback and the need to keep up with changes on campus.

Academic Affairs

  • Academic Affairs has begun to implement its Arts on Campus project, thanks to a generous gift from Mr. Tom Zorojew.  The Arts on Campus project intends to highlight the talent of current OCC students, to beautify our campus, to inspire future OCC students, and to provide rich artistic experiences for our community members. The first display in the Library Tower Room will remain for the rest of the calendar year.  Exhibits will be displayed throughout the campus on both a short-term and permanent basis.  Each year, a panel of faculty will select the best student artwork for exhibit.  As the project is expanded, community artists will also be invited to display their artwork on campus.
  • A new pilot program is underway that allows higher-level remedial English students to try college-level English while being remediated.  Four English faculty members will work very closely with the Tutorial Center to provide additional support and assistance to those students participating in the pilot. This effort will be replicated should the pilot prove to be successful.
  • At Monday’s meeting, Vice President of Academic Affairs Jianping Wang will introduce Dr. Amy Gilley, new Dean for the School of Language and the Arts, and Mr. Paul Silberquit, new Dean for the School of Math, Science, and Technology.

Student Affairs

  • As you know, OCC was honored to serve as host for the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Women’s Division III National Soccer Championship Tournament, held November 13 through 16, 2014.  Eight of the best women’s soccer teams from around the country came to OCC for eleven games during the four-day tournament at the OCC Stadium. The OCC Vikings won the Region XIX Championship, which earned the team a spot in the National Tournament.  The Vikings finished in fifth place in the Tournament and received the Team Sportsmanship Award.  Brookdale Community College won the championship. Ms. Ilene Cohen, Executive Director of Athletics and Judicial Affairs, who served as the Championship Tournament Director, deserves accolades for her outstanding leadership in planning and hosting this prestigious event.
  • In addition to many of the Viking soccer players being recognized for their efforts during the regular season, Head Coach AJ Trump and Assistant Coaches Tracy Cole and Alyssa Morris were named Region XIX Coaching Staff of the Year.  Congratulations are extended to them.
  • And, we are extremely proud of OCC Women’s Soccer player Marykate Sullivan, who was selected as the National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Scholar All-America Player of the Year.  She was selected the top scholar-athlete of all junior college women’s soccer players in the country regardless of division.  Marykate received the award on Saturday, January 17, at the NSCAA All-America Luncheon in Philadelphia, at which over 1,400 people were in attendance.  She was also honored as an NSCAA All-American at the luncheon.  In her two years as a Viking, Marykate has been named an All-American in each season and holds a perfect grade point average of 4.0.

Student Recognition

President Barack Obama visited Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst on Monday, December 15, 2014, to address a gathering of military members and families and thank them for their service to our nation.  One of our students, Ms. Kayla Laorosa, who is a liberal arts major, had the opportunity to hear President Obama’s remarks.  Ms. Laorosa is an Aviations Boatswain’s Mate, Fuels Airman Apprentice in the Navy, who has nineteen years of active service.

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