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August 25, 2014

President's Report to the OCC Board of Trustees

TO:                 Members, OCC Board of Trustees

FROM:           Jon H. Larson, Ph.D.

SUBJECT:     Items of Interest for the August 25, 2014, Board Meeting

DATE:            August 20, 2014

Fall 2014 Colloquium

The Fall 2014 Colloquium is taking place at 9:00 a.m. on Thursday, August 28, in the Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts, at which time I will present my State-of-the-College address.  Please join us if you have the opportunity.

This year’s Colloquium topic is “Charting Our New Course:  Ocean County College’s Strategic Initiative.”  Roundtable Discussions will occur from 10:15 a.m. to 11:30 a.m., with each being repeated from 11:45 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.  Each session will focus on specific initiative strategies:

Roundtable Breakout Session I

ModeratorsDr. Jianping Wang, Ms. Pat Fenn, and Ms. Pat Leahey
Strategy #2
:    Organize for Resilience: Change Culture and Reinvent Programs/Experiences
Strategy #4:    Develop a Profound Understanding of Stakeholder Needs and Commit to Filling Them

Roundtable Breakout Session II

Moderators:   Dr. Jon Larson, Mr. Matthew Kennedy, Ms. Sara Winchester, Ms. Mary Fennessy
Strategy #3
:    Strengthen Leadership at All Levels
Strategy #5:    Create a Challenging, Supportive, and Sustainable Work Environment for Ocean’s Employees

Roundtable Breakout Session III

Moderators:   Mr. Bill Marshall, Ms. Allison King, Mr. Hatem Akl, Mr. Rich Yankosky, Mr. Jeff Harmon
Strategy #6
:    Leverage Collaboration, Partnerships, and Sharing to Achieve Ocean’s Strategies
Strategy #8:    Leverage Information and Results to Monitor Outcomes and Strategy Achievement

Roundtable Breakout Session IV

Moderators:   Dr. Norma Betz, Dr. Bill Rickert
Strategy #7
:    Focus on Relentless, Continuous Improvement of Learning and Support Processes

An Evening Colloquium Program for Adjuncts is scheduled for Thursday evening at 5:30 p.m.

The Fall semester begins on Wednesday, September 3, and we are looking forward to another exciting and productive academic year.

Trip Abroad

At Monday’s meeting, I will provide a report on my attendance at the 3rd Universia International Presidents Meeting in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from July 27 to 29.  The theme of the meeting was “The University of the 21st Century:  An Insight from Latin America.”

Although brief, my trip was informative and interesting, not only as a result of connecting with several college and university presidents, but also from a cultural perspective.  There is great interest in collaborative relationships between institutions to promote and enhance the dissemination of information through the Internet as well as to explore opportunities to serve international students.


  • The 2014 Summer Sessions again proved to be successful in terms of e-Learning enrollment, with the total number of credits up 6.59 percent over last summer.  The ten-week summer session, in particular, attracted students from throughout the nation; out-of-county credits accounted for 38 percent of total session credits.
  • Over 200 e-Learning course sections are being offered in the Fall 2014 semester; at this point, out-of-county enrollment is up 40 percent over Fall 2013.
  • A new marketing campaign will begin in August in an effort to reach out to Human Resources departments in businesses across the nation to inform them of the educational opportunities available to their employees through OCC’s e-Learning program.  The campaign will highlight the ways in which OCC’s courses, both credit and non-credit, can assist in career advancement for employees and a more educated workforce for businesses.
  • Additional opportunities are being explored to collaborate with Pearson in areas such as ACE and GED testing and Home School Network Outreach.

Continuing and Professional Education

On Monday, Ms. Katie Calabrese, Community Programs Administrator, will give a report on the success of the Kids’ Camps and other youth programs offered this summer by Continuing and Professional Education (CPE).  A wide variety of children’s programming was available for both fun and educational experiencesSports camps, arts, robotics, dance, computers, foreign language, science, math, and creative writing are just some of the courses that were available.   

Other noteworthy news from CPE includes:

  • A new allied health program, Medical Scribe Certificate, has been developed wherein the student will be trained in all types of medical documentation to assist the medical provider with electronic reporting in offices or emergency rooms.  Based on extensive research, it is anticipated that this program will be well received and highly enrolled.

    In addition, experts in the cyber security field are creating a new CPE certificate program; hopefully, it will be completed and ready to offer in the Spring 2015 semester.

    To assist in determining the areas in which courses should be developed, Continuing Education is using the resources of Economic Modeling Specialists International, a company that researches and converts labor market data into useful information to understand the connection between economies, careers, people, and work.  This data is especially beneficial to CPE because of its ability to develop and offer courses quickly to meet the needs of the community
  • The Clinical Medical Assistant and Phlebotomy Technician Training programs, both direct patient care programs, are already filled for this Fall semester.  Unfortunately, additional sections cannot be offered because of the difficulty in identifying clinical sites.
  • Over 25 online CPE technology and medical courses have been developed and will be offered through eCollege.  The department continues to explore additional opportunities to utilize the online environment for other medical courses, either completely in the distance education mode or as hybrid offerings.
  • Ms. Kathy Caro, Nursing and Allied Health Administrator, recently presented at a “Good Ideas Conference” at Georgian Court University as well as at NJCCC’s Best Practices conference in April.  Her presentation, “A Formula for Success:  A Mix and Match to Non-Credit Certificate Completion,” pertaining to online health care programs has been selected for the NJ EDGE Annual Conference in November in Plainsboro, New Jersey.  This will be the first year that Continuing and Professional Education is included at the NJ EDGE conference; Ms. Pat Fenn, Executive Director of e-Learning and Continuing and Professional Education and a member of the NJ EDGE conference planning board, recommended that CPE be represented at the conference.
  • The College is increasing its partnership activity with the New Jersey Council of County Colleges’ (NJCCC) Coalition 19, formerly the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development.  CPE is now offering civil service courses, arranging for training with advanced manufacturing companies, beginning an open enrollment program for small businesses, and working to schedule universal construction code courses in Spring 2015.  Also, CPE has been approached to offer a CSharp programming language course to a local company as a customized training program.
  • CPE has collaborated with the OCC Testing Center to offer test administration of the Health Care Occupations Basic Entrance Test, or HOBETHOBET is a computer-based test that is designed to measure academic aptitude, test taking skill, and learning styles of individuals seeking to enter a health care field; it assists in predicting a student’s ability to learn in a health care related program.

Recovery New Jersey Talent Network Grant

In the aftermath of Super Storm Sandy, the New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development awarded a grant to Ocean County College to be the lead agency and administrator for the Recovery New Jersey Talent Network (RNJTN) Grant, which provides access to businesses and jobseekers impacted by the storm.  The grant was for the period April 1, 2013, through June 30, 2014; however, the Department of Labor has extended OCC’s program until December 31, 2014.

An update on the current activity includes:

  • RNTJN is working with the Advanced Manufacturing Talent Network to develop the manufacturing business segment in Ocean County on two grant funded projects--Mobile Training Labs and CNC Metal Fabrication and Mechatronics.
  • RNTJN has been responsible for two Labor and Workforce Recovery4Jersey on-the-job training contracts.  Additionally, RNJTN is partnering with the Ocean County Vocational-Technical School by providing assistance to ten recent summer graduates, all of whom were hired for construction jobs.
  • Mr. Michael Forcella, Manager of Business Engagement and Project Director for RNJTN, was inducted on August 20 as an Honorary Commander at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.  The RNJTN program encourages an exchange of ideas and experiences between key leaders of the surrounding communities and the Joint Base.     

School Relations and Academic Outreach

  • School Relations hosted 163 attendees at the Annual Advanced Placement Summer Institute last week.  This international conference for high school educators teaching advanced placement courses is held each summer, producing approximately $100,000 in revenue each year.
  • Through the partnership with New Jersey City University’s New Pathways to Teaching, a section of the State-mandated 24 Hour Introduction to Teaching Workshop was offered and 17 individuals attended.  This course is required for all students who wish to seek Alternate Route Teacher Certification.
  • As the Fall 2014 semester approaches, School Relations continues to receive and process many applications from high school juniors and seniors for college coursework embedded during their school day.  This exciting branch of OCC’s JumpStart Program is attracting an increasing number of high school students who are interested in participating.

College Relations

The Toms River-Ocean County Chamber of Commerce 50th Annual Awards Reception is scheduled for Wednesday, September 17, at the Eagle Ridge Country Club in Lakewood.  The Chamber is honoring the Jay and Linda Grunin Foundation as its Distinguished Organization of the Year, and Ocean County College has been selected to receive its Business Beautification of the Year Award for the addition on campus of the Gateway Building, which is certainly worthy of recognition.

Ms. Jan Kirsten, Executive Director of College Relations, and Ms. Heather Barberi, Executive Director of the OCC Foundation, the College’s representatives on the Chamber, are serving on the Awards Reception Committee for this event.  We would be delighted if members of the Board would like to attend the reception.  If so, please let me know.


The Facilities Department is working with representatives from Spiezle Architectural Group, Trenton, New Jersey, on a number of projects related to the Master Plan, including planning for the possible construction on campus of a Performing Arts Academy for the Ocean County Vocational School as well as preliminary design for a new Nursing Building.

Several projects, some of which are listed below, took place this month that were exceptionally successful due to the concerted efforts of  our Facilities team and DTZ, the College’s custodial services provider; special commendations are due to Mr. Peter Tomko, Manager of Buildings and Grounds, and Mr. Eugene Caufield, General Building Maintenance Supervisor, for their efforts. 

  • Construction clean-up following the renovation of the Health Science Building began on July 28; as of August 4, all of the rooms were restored to move-in condition.  New classroom furniture, a simulation lab, and lab equipment were installed in the building. 
  • All of the floors throughout the campus were stripped and waxed this summer.  Shampoo and carpet extractions are ongoing, but the work will be completed before the semester begins
  • The re-striping of Parking Lot #1 was also completed during the summer months.

Nursing Building

As noted above, the School of Nursing has moved back to the Health Science Building.  The renovated facility is the home to state-of-the-art equipment and improved simulation labs.  New items were purchased using funds from the Go Bond and the Perkins Grant.  The equipment and labs will greatly enhance our student learning experience and position the College to expand its nursing and allied health programs.

We invite the trustees to tour the building after Monday’s meeting.

Ocean County College Bookstore

The Microsoft Surface Tablet is back by popular demand.  Last year, the Bookstore introduced the tablet for sale at the low price of $250.  It is expected that the tablet will again be a big seller, especially in light of the fact that students may use financial aid funds to purchase it.  Students ultimately save money because they can purchase and download e-books, which are much less expensive than traditional textbooks.

The Bookstore continues to compete aggressively with online retailers.  A 10% store-wide Back to School sale is being offered in the store and online.  A greeter will be distributing coupons to students upon entry, and a 99 cent supply zone will be displayed in the front of the store.   The image below is on the Bookstore website and will be featured in all social media outlets

In preparation for the fall semester, the Bookstore bought back 3,025 textbooks from our students which resulted in $153,000 returned to them.   The textbook rental program for Spring 2014 increased 33 percent over last fall, with 745 books rented.  The Bookstore remains competitive with, an online company that specializes in textbook rentals.  As an example, Chegg is renting a Microeconomics book for $162.49; the same book will be available to our students for $90.  The Bookstore continuously analyzes the retail price of every book by comparing selling prices at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.  Every attempt is made to keep prices low and maintain OCC’s position as one of the most affordable colleges in the country.

Ocean County College Theatre

Over 5,000 seats were sold this summer for two productionsOCC’s Sweeny Todd and Exit 82’s Legally Blond.  Both were very well received by our patrons.

Tickets are selling for the Grunin Spotlight Series as far into the future as January 2015.  As always, tickets can be purchased online at


The Planetarium has seen a sizable increase in group orders this July and August over last summer.  Total group sales increased 24 percent; this translates to an additional 919 in head count or 37 percent increase.

Mr. Rich Brady, programmer, operator and an adjunct faculty member, has completed the College’s first in-house production, The Life Cycle of Stars.  Over the next few weeks, Mr. Brady will be training and rehearsing with the Planetarium staff in anticipation of opening the new show at the end of September.  

Office of Information Technology

The firmware on the servers that run our virtual desktop environment (VDI) has been upgraded. This will permit IT to improve the virtual platform that is used within the classrooms and labs.

IT has developed a shortened URL ( name) that will allow OCC to send out web links with a smaller web address.  This will be particularly helpful as it is utilized in marketing campaigns.

Human Resources

On Friday, August 22, a team building session will be presented by the College’s Employee Assistance Program provider, Preferred Behavior Health, specifically for the Human Resources staff.  In addition to team building, Ms. Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration, has been working closely with the staff members, holding weekly meetings and leading a task force to make improvements to the PeopleAdmin hiring system.  The Human Resources staff is moving forward on several initiatives, including the updating of employee handbooks, streamlining and updating of hiring procedures, and new performance improvement plans.


On August 4, I met with Dr. Thomas Isekenegbe, President of Cumberland County College, and members of his staff to discuss the possibility of establishing an e-Learning partnership.  Also in attendance were Ms. Sara Winchester, Executive Vice President of Finance and Administration; Chief Information Officer Hatem Akl; Ms. Pat Fenn; Mr. Jeff Harmon, Director of e-Learning; and Ms. Allison King, e-Learning Consultant. The meeting was extremely positive, and the Cumberland staff members were very impressed with OCC’s     e-Learning program as well as with our existing partnership with Sussex County Community CollegeDiscussions with Cumberland will continue as we move toward formalizing a new partnership.

Student Support Services Grant

In 2010, Ocean County College received a five-year grant from the U.S. Department of Education, Federal TRIO Programs, for Student Support Services for the purpose of increasing retention and graduation rates of disabled, first-generation, and low income students.  The grant period runs through August 31, 2015.

The Student Support Services program has assisted participants in realizing their ability to pursue higher education.  One of the program’s successes is Ms. Kaylen McCaffrey, who will begin her second year at OCC this fall.  Ms. McCaffrey was one of 20 students selected from 1,000 applicants to participate in the 2014 Governor’s Hispanic Fellows Program.  She was then chosen by her peers to be the student speaker at the program’s graduation ceremony.

An eight-week summer program geared toward leadership and professional development, the Governor’s Hispanic Fellows Program offers quality internship experiences for New Jersey’s Hispanic college students.  Students work in a government, corporate or non-profit setting and participate in leadership training conducted by the Center’s staff, government officials, business professionals, current and/or former elected officials.

Ms. Susan Ebeling-Witte, Director of the Student Support Services program, and Ms. Amy Immordino, Program Specialist, will attend Monday’s meeting and will introduce Ms. McCaffrey to the trustees.

Commit to Complete Tuition Discount Program

In March of this year, the College agreed to support a national campaign to encourage students to complete their college education and established the Commit to Complete Tuition Discount Program.  The program grants one tuition-free three-credit summer course to 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.    

The program was surprisingly successful this first year.  Over 300 students made inquiries about the program, 264 applications were processed, and 194 were approved for a tuition-free summer course.  On Monday, Ms. Elizabeth Clements, OCC’s Registrar, will report on the implementation of the program and the application approval process.

Honors by Contract

During the Fall 2013 and Spring 2014 semesters, the College piloted the Honors by Contract project.  Preliminary data indicates that the program is a success:

  • 248 students signed 296 contracts
  • Only 2 out of 248 students withdrew from the courses
  • Out of the contracts executed, only 9 ended with an F grade
  • The majority of participating students were second year students; only 32 students had accumulated less than 24 credits
  • The pilot encompassed more than 60 courses and 120 sections


Ms. Sherri Lareau, OCC student and Treasurer of Phi Beta Lambda, was selected to attend the Babson Entrepreneurial Program in Massachusetts for entrepreneurs and aspiring entrepreneurs to explore a world full of opportunities and new pathways to success.  Ms. Lareau was the first U.S. student who participated and was supported through a Santander scholarshipMs. Lareau will be at Monday’s meeting to share her experience at the program.