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September 22, 2014

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

Dr. Jon Larson

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

I received a letter from the Executive Director of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education, Dr. Paul B. Winkler, congratulating the College’s Center for Peace, Genocide, and Holocaust Studies for the excellent programs offered during 2013-2014for students, educators, survivors, and the community.

The core mission of the New Jersey Commission on Holocaust Education is to promote Holocaust education in New Jersey. On a continual basis, the Commission surveys the status of  Holocaust/Genocide Education; promotes the implementation of programs; and coordinates of programs; and coordinates events that will provide appropriate memorialization of the Holocaust on a regular basis.

Dr. Ali Botein-Furrevig, Associate Professor of English and Literature, has assumed the role of Program Advisor for the Ocean County College Center for Peace, Genocide, and Holocaust Studies.  She deserves our commendation for her outstanding efforts in assisting the State to meet its Holocaust /Genocide mandate by offering educational programs at Ocean County College.

Dr. Botein-Furrevig will attend Monday’s meeting to share with you upcoming events, including a presentation that will be given by Mr. John Pehlivanian on the Armenian Genocide, a topic on which he has done a considerable amount of research.

NJ STARS Legislation

On September 10, Governor Chris Christie signed legislation that revised the eligibility requirement for the New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Rewards Scholarship (NJ STARS) program. The NJ STARS program began in 2004; since then, almost 1,800 students have participated.

In the past, the program was limited to students who graduated in the top 15 percent of their high school classes.  The new law provides that eligibility will be based on the class rank at the completion of students’ junior or senior years of high school.  Since students normally consider colleges early in their senior years, determining eligibility at the end of the junior years will give them ample time to determine if they qualify for the scholarship so they can make informed decisions.

One of the primary sponsors of this bill was Assemblyman Dave Wolfe, former Special Assistant to the President.  The bill was unanimously approved by the legislature.  The community colleges are appreciative of Governor Christie’s support of the NJ STARS program.

Student Affairs

  • Dr. Norma Betz, Interim Vice President of Student Affairs, will introduce on Monday Ms. Sheenah Hartigan, CRM Communications Administrator, who will provide a brief presentation on the Recruiter Customer Relationship Management (CRM) system and how it has developed from a basic online application process into a powerful recruitment software tool that has helped with OCC’s recruitment processes throughout the year, including territorial assignments for Admissions Representatives and its ability to integrate with various departments across campus.
  • Ocean County College has been named for the second year in a row to the 2015 Military Friendly Schools list.  This designation showcases the top 20 percent of colleges, universities, and trade schools in the country that embrace America’s military services members, veterans, and spouses as students.  Military Friendly Schools are those that deliver the best experience for military students nationwide to ensure their success.

The Military Friendly logo continues to appear on all College publications, the website, social media, and other OCC materials.

Finance and Administration


  • Installation of air curtain heaters in the Gateway Building sliding door entrance vestibules will be completed this month.  The air curtain heaters will effectively prevent the escape of heat and air conditioning through open doors, providing significant energy savings and enhanced personal comfort.
  • Ocean County College has received a check from New Jersey’s Clean Energy Program in the amount of $750,000, which is the first payment from the CHP’s Clean Energy grant.  The paperwork now will be submitted for a matching $750,000 from the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities.

College Relations

NCMPR Awards 

The National Council for Marketing and Public Relations (NCMPR) has indicated that Ocean County College has been selected to receive 2014 Medallion Awards in four categories.  Medallion awards recognize excellence in community, technical, and junior college marketing and public relations activities. The categories being recognized are:

  • Annual Report – Barnegat Bay Program
  • Logo Design – OCC’s 50th Anniversary
  • Notes/Cards/Invitations – Gateway Building Grand Opening
  • Website – Launch of the New OCC Site

The awards will be announced at the annual NCMPR District 1 Conference on Monday evening, October 13, at the National Harbor in Maryland.  Ms. Jan Kirsten, Executive Director of College Relations, will attend the conference to accept the awards.

Congratulations are extended to Ms. Kirsten; Mr. Scott Bruinooge, Coordinator of Publications, who designed the Barnegat Bay Program, the anniversary logo, and the Gateway Building invitations; and Ms. Maureen Conlon, Manager of Web Services, who coordinated implementation of the new website.

Congressional Debate

OCC will be the host site for the next Congressional Debate on Friday, October 17, 2014, at 7:00 p.m. in the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts.  The event is sponsored and will be moderated by Town Square Media’s New Jersey 101.5 radio station.  Faculty will be encouraged to bring their classes to the debate and provide questions for the candidates.  Ocean TV 20 will stream the event live and provide social media options for students to tweet questions to the moderator.


  • On Friday, October 10, at 5:30 p.m., the Novins Planetarium will premier its first Ocean County College production, The Life Cycle of Stars, created by Adjunct Professor Richard Brady.  The program, which is projected on the dome, follows a star from its birth, through the major stages of development, to the end of its life.  Mr. Brady developed the program, especially for high school students.
  • On Thursday, October 16, 2014, Dr. Story Musgrave, an astronaut for over thirty years who flew on six spaceflights, will be on campus as part in the Speakers Seriesin collaboration with the Theatre and Planetarium.  Dr. Musgrave holds seven graduate degrees in mathematics, computers, chemistry, medicine, physiology, literature, and psychology.

In the afternoon, Dr. Musgrave will offer a free program to OCC and Ocean County high school students on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM).  In the evening, at a ticketed event, he will discuss his life experiences as an astronaut and motivational speaker.  He will also sign his book, The NASA Northrop T-38; Photographic Art from an Astronaut Pilot.

Faculty, staff, students and trustees are encouraged to attend this unique and exciting event.  Proceeds will be dedicated to the Planetarium lighting project.


Grunin Center for the Arts

We have many wonderful events scheduled this season.  As they near, I will call them to your attention each month:

  • Saturday, September 27, 2014, The Jersey Four will return after their sold-out engagement last season. This tribute to Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons is also an Alumni recognition event.
  • Sunday, September 28, 2014, Two on Tap – A tribute to song and dance, reveling in the artistry of iconic couples, such as Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers, will be presented.
  • Sunday, October 5, 2014, Natalie Weiss in Concert – American Idol Season 4 semi-finalist will sing selections from Broadway to Pop.
  • Saturday, October 11, 2014, Bernie Williams Jazz All-Star Band – The first of our Grunin Spotlight Series events.
  • Sunday, October 19, 2014, The Bronx Wanderers – Ocean County College’s 50thAnniversary Celebration event.
  • Thursday, October 30, 2014, Neil Berg’s 100 Years of Broadway – Producer, writer, composer, and performer.

Office of Information Technology

The Information Technology Department has been busy preparing the campus for the start of the fall semester.  Some of the projects include:

  • With funding from the Equipment Leasing Fund (ELF) grant, classroom technology has been upgraded to ensure the consistency of A/V equipment in all classrooms and laboratories.  Additionally, IT is working with Facilities to install ELF-funded writing surfaces in approximately 40 classrooms.
  • As part of the Higher Education Technology Infrastructure (HETI) funding, the CISCO Voice Over IP is being upgraded; September 21, 2014, is the tentative date to go live.  This upgrade will introduce new functionality, such as Speech View, which converts voice mail to text that is then emailed to the voice mailbox owner, and Speech Connect, which is a speech-enabled automated attendant.  Speech Connect allows both internal and external callers to say the name of an employee into the phone and instantly be connected.  This feature helps in routing incoming calls in the absence of an operator.
  • A second HETI-funded application is the implementation of video conferencing for use in the classroom.  The IT Department is working with CISCO to implement TELEPRESENCE, an advanced solution for video conferencing and collaboration.
  • All of OCC’s traditional classes are now using Pearson’s eCompanion instead of Course Cruiser.  IT and Academic Affairs have been working together on this conversion since April, and training was provided during the spring and summer months with “how to” videos and in-person sessions.

eCompanion is a Pearson solution that is very similar to eCollege, which has been in use by e-Learning since the 2011 fall semester.  eCompanion licensing is bundled in the existing agreement between OCC and Pearson.  Using eCompanion for face-to-face and online/onsite courses ensures uniformity in our classrooms and eliminate the need to maintain multiple Learning Management Systems from different vendors.

Ocean County College Foundation

The Ocean County College Foundation Scholarship Celebration held on Saturday, August 23, 2014, raised over $140,000 to assist the Foundation in its mission to make higher education accessible to Ocean County residents through scholarships and awards.  This year, two guest speakers addressed an audience of over 250 people.  Mr. Phillip G. Zitelli, who was the evening’s Honorary Chair, was the first guest speaker.  Mr. Zitelli served as Ocean County College’s first Student Government President and was also a member of the first graduating class.  The second guest was Ms. Maria Pipitone, 2009 alumna.

Special appreciation is extended to Event Chair, Mr. Kenneth Malagiere of Narcissus Florals and Gifts; the evening’s major sponsor, Investors Bank; and all others who ensured the evening’s success—sponsors, attendees, committee members, vendors, and staff.


  • Santander Bank is providing new smart identification cards to the College at no cost.  These cards will allow students to link Santander checking accounts to their Ocean County College ID cards, and the new cards will be capable of additional functionality, such as opening swipe-card doors, paying for copies, and ordering food in the new Student Center.  To date, Security has issued approximately 500 Ocean/Santander cards.
  • As previously reported, the Clery Act is a federal law that requires colleges and universities to disclose information about crime on their campuses.  Included in the Clery Act is a requirement that institutions must identify individuals who have significant responsibility for student activities and designate them as Campus Security Authorities (CSA’s).  The role of a CSA is to report to the appropriate officials any crime information that was provided to him or her in “good faith.”  As an update, over 50 Campus Security Authorities were trained during the summer months.
  • The Security Department is very happy to announce that it has had very few parking issues at the start of the semester and few complaints regarding traffic problems despite the ongoing road and parking lot work.


The College has implemented a new on-line tool in the Ellucian Datatel system called Student Finance.  This new view is student-friendly and provides real-time account information to students in an easy-to-understand format.  Ms. Karen Papakonstantinou, Controller, will demonstrate Student Finance at Monday’s Board meeting.

Academic Affairs

  • A new partnership program with Fairleigh Dickinson University was recently announced: a 36 credit master’s degree program in Student Service Administration, which will be offered on the OCC campus and online.  This program supports our initiative to grow our own leaders.  FDU personnel will be on campus on Thursday, September 25, 2014, between 12:00 to 3:00 p.m. to offer free information sessions.  Participating employees will enjoy the same 40 percent tuition discount as our OCC graduates transferring to FDU, which makes the program quite attractive.
  • On Tuesday, September 2, 2014, all Lecturer II’s received a half-day training session on class observations.  The topics included the importance and processes of conducting class observations, pre-and post-observation conversations, and, most importantly, the effective use of rubrics/standards.  Overall, the feedback was very positive.
  • The Health Science Building was re-opened in August after extensive renovations.  The building now has state-of-the-art equipment and upgraded technology to give our students the best learning experiences. As noted last month, trustees are invited to tour the facility immediately following Monday’s Board meeting to see the wonderful new environment and equipment for student learning.


Mr. Joe Pelkey, Programmer Analyst, Ellucian/Ocean County College, and OCC graduate, recently placed second in a statewide cybersecurity competition, the New Jersey Governor’s Cup CyberChallenge.  Governor Chris Christie challenged students from across the state in an effort to identify and develop New Jersey’s best talent in cybersecurity in response to a demand for well-trained individuals with significant hands-on cybersecurity skills.

Mr. Pelkey was a top 40 scorer from 950 registrants for the preliminary testing, finished among the 25 top performers of the 104 finalists, and was then invited to be one of ten participants at the New Jersey Cyber Aces Academy, which is funded through a two-year National Science Foundation grant.  Participants will receive $25,000 in free online/self-study master’s level cybersecurity courses from the SANS Institute, a company that specializes in information security and cybersecurity training.

Of three educational tracks from which to choose, Mr. Pelkey selected Advanced Forensics.  He will begin the courses within the next few weeks and must complete five courses within one year.  If successful, he will be offered an internship position in cybersecurity.  Because Ellucian is a partner of SANS, his internship will be integrated into his current OCC role.

I have invited Mr. Pelkey to Monday’s meeting so we may congratulate him on his very impressive achievement.  We enthusiastically support his participation in this critically important program.

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