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March 24, 2014

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

July 27, 2016

Phi Theta Kappa

The Twenty-Seventh Annual Phi Theta Kappa Middle States Regional Convention was held in Galloway, New Jersey, from March 7 to 9.  Nine members of OCC’s Tau Iota Chapter, and one alumna, who is also an advisor to Tau Iota, attended the convention.  The Office of Student Life provided financial support for the trip.

The students and advisors were able to take advantage of many learning opportunities and fellowship through lectures, workshops, formal dinners, chapter cheers, and informal interactions.  Workshop topics included:  The Honors Study Theme, Competitive Edge, and Transferring to a Four-Year College.  The Honors Study Theme for 2014-2016 is “New Frontiers and the Spirit of Exploration,” which Tau Iota will focus on for the next two years.

The Tau Iota Chapter received outstanding recognition by the Phi Theta Kappa Middle States organization, which consists of 81 chapters in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, and Washington, D.C.  The following accomplishments are certainly impressive:

  • Melani Hofmann and Christopher Lembo were inducted into the Regional Hall of Honor for Chapter Officers
  • Clifford O’Brien was inducted into the Regional Hall of Honor for Chapter Members
  • Tau Iota Chapter was again recognized as a Five-Star Chapter, the highest level of achievement possible for a chapter of PTK
  • Tau Iota Chapter was named a Gold Chapter based on its accomplishments in the Honors in Action Project and the College Project

I am also very pleased to share that Rebecca Lazerson has been selected as a 2014 Coca-Cola Community College Academic Team Gold Scholar.  Selection was based on scores earned in the All-USA Community College Academic Team competition, for which more than 1,700 applications were received this year.

This program is sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation and is administered by the Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society.  Of the 1,700 applications received, the Foundation recognized 50 Gold, 50 Silver, and 50 Bronze Scholars.  Rebecca will receive a $1,500 scholarship and a special medallion for being selected as one of only 50 Gold Scholar recipients.

The Tau Iota Chapter and its members are to be congratulated for their successes, as are the OCC PTK Advisors:  Dr. William Rickert, Professor of Mathematics; Dr. Jennifer Dellner, Associate Professor of English and Literature; Ms. Carolyn Showalter, Assistant Professor of Mathematics; and Ms. Robin Weitz, Assistant Professor of Computer Studies.

Ocean County College Board of School Estimate

The Ocean County College Board of School Estimate meeting will be held on Wednesday, March 26, at 3:15 p.m. in the Ocean County Administration Building in Toms River.  At that time, the financial support from the County of Ocean towards the College’s FY 2015 budget will be approved.  Also to be presented for adoption are resolutions pertaining to the renovation, renewal, and replacement of facilities on campus.

This year’s Board of School Estimate members are Freeholders John C. Bartlett, Jr., James F. Lacey, and Joseph H. Vicari as well as Board Chair Van Thulin and Board Treasurer Jerry Dasti.  Trustee Stephan Leone serves as Secretary of the Board of School Estimate.

Despite the fiscal challenges faced by Ocean County due to the economic climate and the effects of the devastation of Superstorm Sandy, the County Freeholders continue their strong support of Ocean County College.  There are few, if any, community colleges in New Jersey that receive a comparable level of commitment from their respective counties.  Ocean County College is, indeed, fortunate.

Santander Universities/Ocean County College Partnership

A reception is scheduled on Monday, March 24, at 2:00 p.m., following the Board meeting, in the Library Tower Room to formalize and celebrate the Santander Universities/Ocean County College Partnership.  Santander Bank, N.A., will sponsor a program at Ocean County College to assist disadvantaged Lakewood High School students.

Banco Santander supports the higher education sector in such areas as teaching and research, international cooperation, knowledge and technology transfer, entrepreneurial initiatives, student mobility, and innovation.  Through the Santander Universities program, Ocean County College will be able to offer Lakewood High School students academic support to help them prepare for college, providing workshops for parents and guardians and Jump Start college credit courses, such as “Student Success,” designed to develop study and organizational skills, as well as assisting with application to Ocean County College.  OCC’s Director of Educational Opportunity Fund and Office of Multicultural Services Laura Rickards will provide oversight for the program.

The College is honored to partner with Banco Santander in this endeavor, especially because OCC is the first community college selected to participate in the Santander Universities program.  We intend to take full advantage of this exciting opportunity and look forward to working both with Santander representatives and the Lakewood High School staff and students.

Middle States Association Accreditation Visit

The Middle States Commission on Higher Education evaluation team will visit Ocean County College from Sunday, April 6, to Wednesday, April 9.  I hope you will be able to join me at a reception to welcome and meet the members of the team on Sunday, April 6, at 5:00 pm.  The reception will be held at the Hilton Garden Inn, Route 70, Lakewood.

The Middle States evaluation team includes:

  • James Klyczek, Team Chair, President, Niagara County Community College, New York
  • Ceil Connelly-Weida, Associate Dean of Planning and Assessment, Lehigh Carbon Community College, Pennsylvania
  • Diane Hutchinson, Vice President for Administrative Services and Treasurer, Cayuga County Community College, New York
  • Clayton Railey, III, Dean, Division of Communications, Arts and Humanities, Delaware County Community College, Pennsylvania
  • Scott Schaeffer, Associate Professor of Biology, Harford Community College, Maryland
  • Rhonda Spells, Executive Director, eLearning Services, Prince George’s Community College, Maryland

Strategic Initiatives Update

Dr. Don Norris and Dr. Tim Gilmour, Strategic Initiatives, Inc., visited the OCC campus on Monday and Tuesday, March 17 and 18.  On March 17, the Project Management Team (PMT), the leaders charged with tracking and managing the progress of the transformation initiative, met and discussed the role and membership of the Guiding Coalition.  The membership of the PMT is as follows:

  • Jon Larson, President
  • Richard Strada, Executive Vice President, Instruction
  • Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President, Finance and Administration
  • Jianping Wang, Vice President, Academic Affairs
  • Hatem Akl, Chief Information Officer
  • Norma Betz, Associate Vice President, Enrollment Services
  • Matthew Kennedy, Assistant Vice President, Facilities Management and Construction
  • Leslie Cohen, Assistant Vice President, Human Resources
  • Pat Fenn, Executive Director, e-Learning and Continuing and Professional Education
  • Don Norris, Strategic Initiatives, Inc.
  • Tim Gilmour, Strategic Initiatives, Inc.
  • Jeff Harmon, Project Manager, Director of e-Learning
  • Sabrina Mathues, Assistant Project Manager, Academic Administrator, Math/ Science/Technology

The PMT reviewed the new intranet website developed for this project.  The site may be accessed as follows:

1.   Log in to intranet from by clicking on “MY OCEAN” at the top right and choosing “Faculty/Staff Portal.”  (Use your Windows username and password, not Cruiser.)

2.   Click on “Reference/Benefits” in the left blue navigation column.

3.   Click on “Organizational Policy and Strategy” in the left blue navigation column.

4.   Click on “Strategic Initiatives” in the left blue navigation column.  There you will find the home page with subpages and sidebars.

To ensure broad participation in this initiative, the PMT identified numerous opportunities for volunteers to contribute in meaningful ways outside of the coalition.

On March 18, the Guiding Coalition held its first meeting.  The Guiding Coalition consists of respected faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, and students. The Guiding Coalition will advise the College Leadership Team and Board of Trustees on the strategic directions of the College.  This includes ongoing development, maintenance, and evaluation of the College strategic plan and the initiatives defined for its realization.  The members of the Guiding Coalition will be the stewards of the process and the College’s transformative strategy.  The members are:

  • Rebecca Feiler-White, College Lecturer II, Sociology
  • Cynthia Hammer, Academic Administrative Assistant
  • Andrea Hrehovcik, Computer Studies Administrative Assistant
  • Ed Kissling, Professor, Business Studies
  • Jon Larson, President
  • Pat Leahey, Adjunct Faculty, History
  • Al Longo, Associate Professor, Psychology/Education
  • Bill Marshall, Adjunct Faculty, History/Education
  • Sean O’Leary, Network Systems Administrator
  • Sue Perchiacca, Manager, Mail Services
  • Anna Regan, Director, Academic Advising Services
  • Laura Rickards, Director, EOF/OMS
  • William Rickert, Professor, Mathematics
  • Kevin Smith, Ocean County College Foundation
  • Sidney Stroman, Security Lieutenant
  • Kathy Vanone, Continuing and Professional Education Operations Coordinator
  • Tracey Walsh, Dean, School of Nursing
  • Evan Williamson, Student/Alumni Trustee
  • Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President, Finance and Administration

Holocaust Remembrance

Dr. Ali Botein-Furrevig, Associate Professor of English and Literature and Program Advisor for the Ocean County College Center for Peace, Genocide, and Holocaust Studies, will attend Monday’s meeting to provide you with a brief report on the events that will take place on campus for Holocaust Remembrance.  Congress established the Days of Remembrance as the nation’s annual commemoration of the Holocaust.

Dr. Botein-Furrevig will discuss this year’s theme, “Children of the Holocaust,” and will describe the speakers, survivors, and films that will be highlighted during the month, all related to The Hidden Children and the Kindertransport.

Academic Affairs – Dr. Jianping Wang

  • The Student Success Conference hosted by Ocean County College on Friday, February 28, was very successful.  It generated a great deal of dialogue on student success and effective practices, as well as a high level of enthusiasm in continuing the discussions after the conference.  As a result, we are engaged in a conversation with Ellucian to explore the possibility of developing a portal that will allow online and continuous communications among all county colleges with regard to student success.
  • The College submitted an application for the Aspen Prize for Community College Excellence on March 12.  The Aspen Prize aims to reward and highlight community colleges that deliver exceptional student results, to stimulate replication of successful campus practices and leadership, and to contribute to the development of high-quality measures and benchmarks for assessing community college student outcomes.  The application process allowed the College to share its success stories and reaffirm its focus on student learning outcomes.
  • As part of the efforts to strengthen partnerships with four-year institutions, Dr. Jianping Wang and I met with Bloomfield College President Richard Levao and Vice President of Institutional Advancement Jacqueline Bartley to explore opportunities for collaborations in areas of mutual interest.  Dr. Wang and Dr. Bartley are continuing discussions to identify ways in which our institutions can cooperate for the benefit of students.

Finance and Administration – Ms. Sara Winchester

  • Commit to Complete – As part of a national campaign to encourage students to complete their college education, OCC has been involved in a year-long effort for students to promise to complete their associate degrees or certificate programs.  The College’s new Commit to Complete Tuition Discount Program will award OCC students with free summer classes if they meet eligibility requirements.
    Full-time students who successfully complete 30 credits between the fall and spring semesters of one academic year and part-time students who successfully complete 24 credits between the fall and spring semesters of two consecutive academic years will be eligible for one tuition-free three-credit summer course.  Students may earn a maximum of two free summer classes over the course of their studies at OCC.  Students who receive the free summer courses are responsible to pay all other applicable fees.
  • Office of Information Technology – The following projects are underway: Learning Management System Conversion for Face-to-Face Courses
    • The transition from Course Cruiser to eCompanion is currently underway.  Training and data migration will take place over the next few months, and the new software will be in place by the fall 2014 semester.  This change will result in financial savings as the College will no longer have to support two learning management systems.
    • Portal Replacement – The contract with Campus Cruiser for our existing portal expires in June 2015.  Rather than search for alternatives on our own, a joint purchase is being explored with other New Jersey community colleges by soliciting other portal solutions.  This collaboration will assist all of the participating colleges to reduce costs as well as to leverage buying power.
    • Cruiser Alert – The student emergency alert system is being improved.  The two existing alert channels are being consolidated into a single channel, and all subscriptions will be combined.  In addition, the Ocean/Kean Alert solution is now operational; this system provides emergency information about the OCC campus to Kean-Ocean students.
    • CLEP Preparation – The College-Level Examination Program (CLEP) is used by students seeking credit by examination in the Testing Center.  OIT developed and installed a new computer image for the Testing Center lab to accommodate the new testing technology.
    • Gateway Building – As the Gateway Building’s first fully operational semester comes to a close, the Accounting Department has been meeting with Kean University Foundation representatives to establish procedures to bill the Foundation for expenses associated with the operation of the Gateway Building.  The discussions have been productive, and a procedure has been developed to provide the necessary information for the Kean Foundation to fully understand the costs attributed to the operation of the Gateway Building.
    • Finance and Administration Retreat – On Thursday, March 13, the Finance and Administration Division held an all-day retreat in the Gateway Building.  The day started with a professional team building exercise that was well received by all.  A number of other topics were discussed, including college-wide document management, training for supervisors and managers, employee recognition and empowerment, and future meeting agendas.  All participants felt the day was productive, and the group decided to hold all-day retreats twice per year in the future.
    • Ocean County College Theatre
      • A Free Concert will be presented by the Kean University Concert Choir and Chorale on Wednesday, April 2, at noon in the Gateway Lecture Hall.  This performance will showcase a 45 voice Concert Choir, a 25 voice Chorale, and a 16 voice Men’s Choir.  The concert is open to the public and tickets are not required.
      • Dividing the Estate was performed March 13 to 22 by the OCC Theatre Company in the Black Box Theatre.  The production, directed by Mr. Arthur Waldman, Associate Professor of Communications, was sold out.
      • The Jersey Four, A Four Seasons Tribute to Frankie Valli, will be presented on Sunday, April 6.  This performance is also sold out.
      • As part of OCC’s 50th Anniversary Celebration, The Bronx Wanderers will perform on Sunday, October 19Tickets are available online and at the box office.
      • The Teens Arts Festival is scheduled for Tuesday and Wednesday, March 25 and 26.  Over 600 students from high schools across Ocean County will come to the Theatre to share their talents and inspire one another.  The students will participate in workshops in Dance, Music, Performing Arts, and Visual Arts.
    • Planetarium
      • Pajama Night is back in the Planetarium beginning Saturday, April 12.  This popular weekend night show provides a fun learning experience for young children.
      • The Spring Laser Fest will take place on Saturday, April 26.  A variety of shows will be presented, including Laser Beatles (5:30 and 7:00 p.m.), Laser Metallica (8:15 p.m.), Laser Zeppelin (9:30 p.m.), and Laser Pink Floyd – Dark Side of the Moon (10:45 p.m.).

Instruction – Mr. Richard Strada

  • Academic Outreach and School Relations
    • School Relations, led by Executive Director Eileen Schilling, hosted the March Superintendent’s Round Table, where presentations were made by a private firm for real-time interactive reporting of school crises.  In addition, the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office presented a film recently made with Point Pleasant Boro High School students on the dangers of drug addiction.
      School Relations offered the Substitute Teacher workshop during March for the first time in several years, and it was reported to be a worthwhile program for all who attended.
    • In the Dual Enrollment realm, OCC enrolled 977 high school juniors and seniors (duplicated head count) in 198 credit hours in embedded courses at ten different school districts, four OCVTS programs, and the Arts High Program so far this year.  Additionally, the program has expanded to include a new participating school district (Manchester) and ten new course offerings throughout the county.
    • Continuing and Professional Education – Ms. Kathleen Calabrese, Continuing and Professional Administrator for Programs and Camps, will briefly discuss the 2014 Summer Camp Program for Children and the overall summer Continuing and Professional Education offerings at Monday’s meeting.
    • e-Learning – Mr. Jeff Harmon, Director of e-Learning, will update the trustees on the status of OCC’s service contract with Sussex County Community College.  This partnership will be expanding for this summer and beyond.
    • On Monday, Dr. Maysa Hayward, Dean of e-Learning Faculty, will describe the non-credit English-as-a-Second Language pilot program that will be delivered through Continuing and Professional Education.
    • Southern Education Center (SEC) – As noted previously, during the month of December, the staff at the Southern Education Center, in conjunction with the Writing Center, successfully completed Operation Christmas Card.  Using donated Christmas cards, staff, students and community members sent notes of thanks and encouragement to active duty servicemen and veterans in recognition of their past or present service which required them to sacrifice spending time at home with their families during the holidays.  Attached is the article describing Operation Christmas Card that was authored by Mr. Ron Panarotti, local news reporter, which appeared in the January issue of Stafford Township Life.
      Last week, Mr. Jeff Kurz, Assistant Director of Academic Outreach, and his evening staff of Ms. Katie Grofik, Ms. Cindy Sims, and Mr. Tom Didomenico at the SEC, held the first evening one dollar sandwich program.  Because of the hard work of the staff, the sandwiches completely sold out despite the snow on March 18.

Employee Commendation/Student Success

Mr. Ralph Bertini, Television Production Director/Producer, who also teaches TV Video Production, Location Production, and Video Editing, received the attached note from a former student, Ms. Jessica Borodin, who is now employed as a Broadcast Studio Technician for ABC Action News in Tampa, Florida.  Ms. Borodin expressed her appreciation to Mr. Bertini for preparing her for a career in television production.

Mr. Bertini provides his students with real-world production experiences; one such example is offering his students the opportunity to record the Philharmonic Orchestra at the Strand Theatre in Lakewood this weekend.

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