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December 8, 2014

President’s December 2014 Report to the OCC Board of Trustees

Dr. Jon Larson

Phi Theta Kappa
Ocean County College’s Tau Iota Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa continues to be an outstanding student organization.  Phi Theta Kappa is the national honor society for two-year colleges. Its purpose is to recognize and encourage scholarship among two-year college students.  PTK provides the opportunity for the development of leadership, service, scholarship, and fellowship among its members.

On Wednesday, December 3, 175 new members were inducted into PTK during a very meaningful ceremony.  To be eligible, these students must have earned at least fifteen graduation credits at OCC and have a minimum grade point average of 3.60.

In service to others, Tau Iota sponsored Summerfest, which is a fun-filled day for children with cancer.  Approximately 50 children with cancer were in attendance, but counting their brothers and sisters, 120 children were involved this year.  In addition, parents attend so, in all, over 350 people enjoyed the day of swimming, games, crafts, video games, and a Glamour tent for the little girls.  Teen Miss New Jersey was there as well as the original Batmobile.  The event was held at an estate in Colts Neck, with food donated from many restaurants.  Students from Hudson, Brookdale, and Burlington joined OCC’s chapter to help support this event.

Dr. William Rickert, PTK Advisor, will attend Monday’s meeting to present a summary of Tau Iota’s activities as well as briefly discuss the results of a fifty-state study of student success conducted by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.  Accompanying him will be Ms. Kayla Burciar, President of Tau Iota, who, along with Ms. Alexis Corbett, was also a nominee for the PTK All-USA Academic Team.

e-Learning and Enterprise Initiatives


  • e-Learning has developed an infographic showcasing the status of e-Learning at OCC and statistics on students who enrolled during the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters.  Included are student demographic information as well as course and degree selections.  The Instructional Technology Council, an affiliated council of the American Association of Community Colleges representing nearly 400 institutions that offer distance education courses in the United States, Canada, and around the world, selected OCC’s infographic to be highlighted in its Fall 2014 Newsletter.  Mr. Jeff Harmon, Executive Director of e-Learning, will share the infographic with you at Monday’s meeting.
  • In an effort to ensure a fulfilling college experience for fully online students who never have the need to visit the campus, e-Learning is establishing digital community versions of student clubs.  The first to be available to students is the Book Club, and others will be offered in the near future.  Ms. Kate Mohr, Supervisor of e-Learning Advising, will provide you with a brief update on Monday on e-Learning clubs and the importance placed on this effort.

Continuing and Professional Education

  • The Spring 2015 Continuing and Professional Education catalog has been printed and is available for distribution.  It is also on the OCC website as a searchable document.  Several new programs are included for the Spring 2015 semester, including a Nutrition Specialist Certificate, a Fast-Track Technology series, an Entrepreneur Certificate, an Online Marketing class, as well as the very popular Allied Health programs.
  • The College’s ongoing initiative with Coalition 19, formerly the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development, continues to expand.  Coalition 19 brings together the vast resources of the New Jersey community colleges for New Jersey companies and organizations to access, develop, and receive workforce education and training for their current and emerging workforce statewide.
  • OCC has offered programs with local businesses in advanced technology training and is currently training a class of unemployed individuals for Certified Production Technicians in coordination with hiring initiatives of local manufacturers.
  • In October, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges received a $10 million U.S. Department of Labor grant to aid the long-term unemployed in the State.  The funding received for this H1-B Ready to Work Partnership Grant, which will be administered through Coalition 19, will be dedicated to the training of approximately 510 unemployed individuals as well as to assist employers with salaries paid to those who are subsequently hired.
  • Ms. Pat Fenn, Assistant Vice President of Continuing and Professional Education and Workforce Development, and Dr. Don Norris, Strategic Initiatives, Inc., presented at the November 18 to 21 Cooperative for Educational Technologies national conference on Achieving Resilience with e-Learning at Ocean County CollegeThe presentation, based in part on OCC’s Charting our New Course initiative, was well received and, in fact, has generated many inquiries from other colleges.
    The Cooperative for Educational Technologies organization works to accelerate the adoption of effective practices and policies to advance excellence in technology-enhanced teaching and learning in higher education.

U.S. Department of Education Grant

  • In her role as project manager of the Undergraduate International Studies and Foreign Language Program, Dr. Maysa Hayward, Dean of Instructional Outreach, attended the Middle Eastern Studies Conference in Washington, D.C., from November 21 to 24.  Her attendance at the conference proved to be quite beneficial as she established relationships with many Middle Eastern schools:
    • Several Middle Eastern Centers and Directors invited OCC to act as their Liaison for Language e-Learning.
    • The Executive Director of Fulbright in Cairo, Egypt, invited OCC to participate in its Community College Outreach program.
    • The Ocean Global Institute received an invitation from the Naval Academy in Egypt for Ocean to be its e-Learning coordinator for online programs.

School Relations and Academic Outreach

  • The annual Robotics Contest was held on campus on Wednesday, December 3, in the Gymnasium.  Eighty-five students from eight high schools and middle schools attended, representing Barnegat Township, Brick Memorial, Brick Township, Lacey Township, Manchester Township, Central Regional, Veterans Memorial, and the Ocean County Vocational-Technical School.
    Students were tasked with building robots using Legos, programming them with computers, and then racing against each other.  Awards, including scholarships, were presented to the students who completed the tasks successfully.

Finance and Administration

  • On Wednesday, November 5, the Finance and Administration Division held its bi-annual all-day retreat in the Gateway Building.  The day began with a Career Development for Managers Assessment Review, presented by Ms. Nancy Brown from the Continuing Education Department, who has extensive experience coaching senior-level executives in career development.  Ms. Brown then distributed the team assessment results and discussed how individuals with many different managing styles can work as a cohesive group.  The assessment was informative and will be utilized for personal development moving forward.  The remainder of the day was spent discussing various important topics, such as space utilization, college-wide use of reservists, document retention, eForms, and FY 2016 budget requests.
  • Unclaimed property within New Jersey is turned over to the New Jersey Treasury Department’s Unclaimed Property Administration (UPA).  The UPA acts as a custodian of the property, with the goal of returning it to its rightful owner.  In most cases, OCC turns unclaimed property over to the State on an annual basis, as required by law.  It was recently discovered that the State was holding property belonging to OCC.  The necessary paperwork was submitted to the UPA, and the College successfully received $7,160.25 of unclaimed funds.
  • The Ocean County College Report of Audit for FY 2013-2014 is being recommended for acceptance at Monday’s meeting.  Please take a few minutes to read the Management Discussion and Analysis prepared by Ms. Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration, to gain valuable insight into the overall financial position of the College.

I am pleased to report that the audit was completed smoothly, and the College received a “clean” report with no findings.  The audit process is managed by Ms. Mary Lancaster, Director of Financial Reporting, who is commended for the outstanding work she accomplished over the last few months.

  • The College’s planning and budgeting process for FY 2015-2016 is underway.  The Vice Presidents have submitted their new money requests, and the President’s Leadership Team will develop a prioritized list to be incorporated into the budget, subject to the availability of funds.


Under the leadership of Mr. Matthew Kennedy, Assistant Vice President of Facilities Management and Construction, the professional development of Facility personnel has become a priority.   Mr. Kennedy led the staff through a training program that reviewed the 13 Fatal Errors Managers Make and How You Can Avoid Them The course helps managers to proactively recognize and avoid problems and complications in the workplace.  In addition, Mr. Lenny Mannino, Manager of HVAC, will present a Customer Service training roundtable, which will help develop skills necessary for the growing demands of the campus and the need for exceptional customer service.  Lastly, all Facilities staff now have quarterly staff meetings to foster open communications and to update everyone of campus events and construction projects.

The Facilities Department has acquired Building Automated System (BAS) software by Tridium for the purpose of tracking energy consumption, billing, and trends on campus.  The BAS monitors and controls the mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems in buildings to manage energy expenditures in real-time and to ensure operational performance, a comfortable environment, and the safety of the buildings’ occupants.  The objective is for this software to be attached to all electric meters on campus.

Office of Information Technology

  • PeopleAdmin, a software system used in Human Resources, will be redesigned into a new environment using updated specifications at a reduced cost due to a revised negotiated approach.  IT will work with Ellucian to secure a Project Manager to assist with the mapping process, and IT is also working with the vendor to provide demonstrations of their modules for position descriptions, on-boarding, and performance evaluations.
  • IT will complete the implementation of Office 365 by the start of the Spring 2015 semester, which involves transferring all student email accounts to the Microsoft cloud.  Office 365 is a modern collaboration platform that provides a full-featured email system with web access, integrated calendaring, a campus contacts directory, support for mobile device access, and 25 gigabytes of storage per account.

The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts
Upcoming performances in the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts include:

  • Exit 82’s production of Little Women on December 12, 13, 14, 18, and 19.
  • Midweek Jazz performance by Ricky Riccardi and the Goodfellas on Wednesday, December 17.
  • As a salute to Benny Goodman’s landmark Carnegie Hall concert, the Midiri Brothers return to the OCC stage for their annual tribute to the one and only Benny Goodman on Wednesday, January 14.
  •  An Evening with Sutton Foster on Saturday, January 17.  Ms. Foster is an award-winning actor, singer, and dancer, who has performed in 11 Broadway shows, most recently the revival of Violet.  Ms. Foster originated roles in the Broadway productions of The Drowsy Chaperone, Little Women, Young Frankenstein, Shrek The Musical, and her Tony Award-winning performances in Anything Goes and Thoroughly Modern Millie.
  • The Oceanaires Chorus will present an afternoon of Barbershop music on Sunday, January 18.  Officially known as the Ocean County Chapter of the Barbershop Harmony Society, the Oceanaires Chorus participates in an annual competition, hosts an annual show, and performs for groups throughout Ocean County.
  • The Jersey Follettes, on Saturday, January 24, will perform original music from their upcoming album, which is inspired by top female artists dating back to the 1920’suntil today, including Tina Turner, Janis Joplin, The Andrews Sisters, Donna Summer, and many more.
  • ArtsPower National Touring Theatre presents The Little Engine That Could Earns Her Whistle, a musical for grades K-2, on Sunday, January 25.  This dynamic, song-filled adventure portrays Watty Piper’s timeless tale about hard work, determination, and the meaning of true friendship.

Ocean County College Bookstore

  • The Bookstore is offering a Christmas clearance sale in December.  Among the items being offered at a reduced cost is the Microsoft Tablet at $230, the lowest price of the season.  For those who purchase holiday items at the Bookstore, free gift wrap is offered.

Academic Affairs

  • In an effort to provide a first-class and relevant educational experience for all of our students, the College has undertaken an initiative to develop an internship program that is available in many disciplines.  The program’s objectives are to help our students in recognizing their areas of interest early on; gaining real life experience; developing soft skills in communication, team work, and professional behavior; and building professional networks.

Mr. Jason Ghibesi, College Lecturer II in Political Science, will attend Monday’s meeting to tell you about the work that has been done over the last year to develop both the process and a database for this initiative.  We hope to identify local businesses to participate in this internship program, perhaps even piquing the interest of the trustees in considering the benefits to their businesses by accepting an OCC intern.

  • Beginning in the Spring 2015 semester, a new endeavor will be undertaken to assist students who require English remediation.  A group of students who test at the upper-level in developmental English will be registered for a college-level English course.  The students will then be provided with supplemental instruction, both face-to-face and online.  The goal of this experiment will be to motivate the students to successfully achieve in one semester what would normally take them two or more semesters to accomplish.  The students will be closely monitored and data will be carefully collected and considered as efforts are made to reform developmental education at OCC.
  • On Tuesday, December 2, the third Honors Scholarly Horizon Conference was held in the Gym.  Sixteen students presented their high quality scholarly research projects that were accomplished as part of the Honors by Contract Pilot Program this semester.  The students represented many disciplines, such as Accounting, Astronomy, Biology, History, Computer Science, Mathematics, Sociology, Psychology, English, and Addictions Counseling, and the projects covered a wide range of activities, including computer game design, encryption, visual illustration of poetry, and re-entry from military to civilian life for returning female soldiers.

Ocean County College Center for Peace, Genocide, and Holocaust Studies

  • The new website for the Ocean County College Center for Peace, Genocide, and Holocaust Studies was recently launched.  Dr. Ali Botein-Furrevig, Director of the Center, will quickly present it to you on Monday.

Board of Trustees Retreat

  • Please note that the next Board of Trustees Retreat is scheduled for Tuesday, December 16, at 12:00 noon in the Boardroom.  Drs. Don Norris and Tim Gilmour from Strategic Initiatives, Inc., will present their report on our Charting our New Course initiative.
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