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January 25, 2018

Dr. Larson's Report to the Board of Trustees

TO:                  Members, OCC Board of Trustees

FROM:            Jon H. Larson, Ph.D.


SUBJECT:      Items of Interest for the January 25, 2018, Board Meeting

DATE:             January 22, 2018


Academic Affairs

  • School of Nursing and Health Sciences
    • Sixty-six students completed the Nursing program in December 2017 and are eligible to take the National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses (NCLEX-RN®).  Licensure passing rates for Ocean County College remain above the national scores.
    • Nursing students returned to campus on January 11, 2018, to begin practicing for competency validation.  All returning students are required to demonstrate competency at the beginning of each semester in skills previously learned.  Students are also required to complete orientation programs for each clinical agency they will be attending during the semester.
    • Ninety students began the Nursing program this Spring semester.  Orientation for new students was held on January 17, 2018, to introduce them to faculty, basic policies and procedures, and strategies to enhance learning.  The Student Nurse Organization also meets with the students and provides a luncheon to welcome them.
    • A meeting for clinical instructors took place on January 17, 2018.  Information focused on faculty assignments, simulation and skills lab initiatives, and policy and procedure changes. This semester there are 37 clinical rotations with 31 instructors assisting faculty within various clinical agencies.
    • A presentation on “The Classroom is a State…Engage” was made at the Spring Lecturer Institute on January 18, 2018, by Ms. Erin Vitale, MSN, RN, Nursing Lecturer II; Ms. Barbara Hayles, MSN, RN, Nursing Lecturer II; and Ms. Nancy Volk, MSN, Nursing Lecturer II.  This presentation focused on strategies to enhance student engagement within the classroom, including video interpersonal process analysis, peer review and self-critique processes, and mind mapping.
    • Three Holistic Health and Wellness courses are being offered this Spring:  Psychology and Physiology of Stress; Food and Healing: A Holistic Approach to Nutrition; and Alternative Therapies in Health and Wellness.
    • The School of Nursing is collaborating with the OCC College Foundation to host an Anniversary/Building Campaign in Spring 2018 which will mark the 50th anniversary of the first graduating class.  This milestone will be celebrated in the new Health Sciences Building, which is scheduled for Fall 2018 occupancy.
  • School of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics
    • The Fall semester TechPrep Robotics competition was held on December 8, 2017, in the OCC gymnasium.  Participating in the competition were 124 students from 7 schools:
  • Middle Schools
    • Central Regional Middle School (3 teams)
    •  Manchester Middle School (2 teams)
  • High Schools
    • Brick Memorial High School (1 team)
    • Brick Township High School (2 teams)
    • Lacey Township High School (6 teams)
    • Manchester Township High School (1 teams)
    • Ocean County Vocational Technical School (3 teams)

The following OCC employees assisted as judges and with the coordination of the event:

  • Associate Professor of Engineering Studies Neil Schiller
  • Retired Associate Professor of Engineering Studies Paul Butler
  • Manager of Promotional Programming RoseAnn D’Urso
  • Administrative Assistant Kathleen Hamilton
  • College Lecturer II in Chemistry Vijay Ramdeen
  • Dean of STEM Paul Silberquit
  • Mr. Bill Birdsall, husband of Professor of Mathematics Maryann Birdsall

Students on the winning teams received award ribbons or plaques, and high school students received $500 scholarships that can be used towards OCC tuition within two years.  The winning teams were:

  • Middle Schools
    • 1st Place Team - Homo-Genius (Central Regional)
    • 2nd Place Team - System Overload (Central Regional)
    • 3rd Place Team - Golden Eagles (Central Regional)
  • High Schools
    • 1st Place Team - Rolling Robot (Brick Township)
    • 2nd Place Team - Dragon Bot (Brick Township)
    • 3rd Place Team  - Half and Half (Lacey Township)
  • Four on-campus STEM Academy days were hosted by OCC:
    • December 1, 2017 - Brick Memorial High School (42 students – 23 males and 19 females) and Brick Township High School (30 students – 15 males and 15 females)
    • January 8, 2018 - Lacey Township High School (52 students – 26 males and 26 females)
    • January 11, 2018 - Lakewood Township High School  (36 students – 23 males and 13 females)
    • January 16, 2018 - Jackson Liberty High School (31 students – 14 males and 17 females) and Jackson Memorial High School (40 students – 20 males and 20 females)

Participating students attended two of the following STEM activities:

  • The Arduino Project with Dr. Angel Camilo, Lecturer II in Biology, and Mr. Edmond Hong, Lecturer II in Computer Studies – Students explored how to create a four-note digital instrument using an Arduino board. 
  • Crime Scene Evidence with Detective Jonathon Turner, Toms River Police Department – Detective Turner discussed the ways in which evidence is collected at a crime scene.
  • Scented Soaps with Dr. Mary-Ellen Rada, College Lecturer II in Anatomy, and Mr. Vijay Ramdeen – This workshop explored fragrances that can be infused in soap, and students made their own fragrance-infused soaps.
  • Cosmic Show with Ms. Amanda Boyle, OCC Planetarium Manager – Held in the Planetarium, a short movie was presented in total darkness. 
  • On January 17, 2018, Dr. Angel Camilo, Mr. Edmond Hong, and Mr. Gerald Aska, College Lecturer II in Engineering Studies, conducted instruction and activities on wind mills to 87 Lakewood High School 12th grade students, who are participating in the Pathways to College Program under the leadership of Dr. Henry Jackson, Executive Director of Academic Success.
  • The 2018 Jersey Shore Junior Science Symposium (last year known as the 2017 South Jersey Junior Science Symposium) received 80 student applications in December, of which 70 students submitted research papers to date.  Student research papers were redacted of student names, high schools, and teachers before being sent to research paper raters from various Department of Defense civilian and military facilities in New Jersey and Maryland.  The ratings for each research paper are due on January 29, 2018.
  • School of Business and Social Sciences
    • On Wednesday, January 31, 2018, from 10:30 a.m. to 12:15 p.m., the Addiction Studies Program, led by Lecturer II in Addictions/Counseling Jeff Lang and Adjunct Social Sciences Professor Jack Brogan, will host “Drug Court: Evidence-Based Interventions – Linking Legal and Treatment Services in Ocean County.”  Honored guests and panelists include former Governor Jim McGreevey; the Honorable Marlene Lynch Ford, JSC; the Honorable Stephen Nemeth, JSC; and Drug Court Administrator, Carol Haines.  The Drug Court System is one of the emerging best practices in our society to address substance abuse recovery. 
    • Dr. Steven Gerding, Assistant Dean of the School of Business and Social Sciences, once again served as the Lead Instructor for the Methods of Instruction course at the Ocean County Police Academy.  This course provides in-service training for mid-career professionals who have been selected as trainers for their respective police agencies or police academies.  The forty-eight hour course is presented twice a year, in January and June, for the certification of new instructors by the New Jersey Police Training Commission.  The course is also eligible for the award of college credits.  In this capacity, Dr. Gerding serves as a community liaison and maintains a leadership role for aspiring instructors who are still serving in the law enforcement profession.
  • School of Arts and Humanities
    • The annual Theatre in London Seminar ran from January 3 through 14, 2018, chaperoned by Assistant Professor of English Jayanti Tamm and Assistant Professor of Communications and Media Studies Gary Shaffer.  In addition to students, this seminar welcomed participation by members of the community.  The participants attended plays at different venues, including the Royal National Theatre and West End Theatre.  They also had the opportunity to meet and talk with actors, directors, and technical staff.
    • This Spring semester, led by College Lecturer II of Dance Catherine Mancuso, the OCC Dance Program will offer an in-school dance residency to fourth grade classes in George Mitchell Elementary School in Little Egg Harbor and Toms River South Elementary School.  Once a month from January through April, Ms. Mancuso and two OCC dance students will visit the schools and perform a movement class that incorporates basic locomotor skills, dance-making, and a performance by the OCC dance students.  In May, the elementary students will experience a day of dance at OCC.  They will take a class with and perform for OCC dance students, watch a performance, and engage in a talk-back session with the college students.
    • The Spring 2018 OCC Reading Club theme is American Literature.  The club meets the second Monday of the month at 3:30 p .m. in the Library Tower Room.  Dr. David Bordelon, Professor of English, can provide additional information to those interested.
  • Center for Student Success
    • Tutor training was provided on January 17, 2018, for 30 peer, Kean Ocean, and professional tutors from the Mathematics Center, Writing Center, Supplemental Instruction, and Peer Assisted Learning.
    • During the Fall 2017 semester, impressive work was undertaken by Disability Services:
      • Consulted with 107 faculty
      • Approved 208 students for accommodations
      • Enrolled 500 students in courses totaling 4,765 credits, including 346 credits in e-Learning
      • Performed 193 information sessions
      • Proctored 35 exams, totaling 70 hours of accommodation testing, at the Southern Education Center
      • Completed a free  software program piloting Sonocent Audio note taker, with 42 students utilizing the software throughout the semester
      • Presented to high schools on services, including Jackson Memorial, Lakewood, Barnegat, and Lacey Township
      • Collaborated with the Ocean County Department of Health and Disability Services and Ocean County Library for the Disability Resource Fair
      • Presented to the Ocean County Board of Special Services on Disability Services
      • Reviewed and submitted policies for consideration on such things as service animals, recording agreement, and the appeal process
      • Coordinated the All-School Meeting presentation on Autism in October 2017
      • Presented at the School of STEM and School of Arts and Humanities on Disability Services
      • Collaborated with College Relations on website accessibility
      • Developed a Social Skills Group experience for students

e-Learning and Learning Enterprises

  • International Outreach
    • English-as-a-Second Language Program

In the first weeks of January 2018, the e-Learning team created six English-as-a-Second Language (ESL) courses to present to business and governmental partners in Egypt.  In order to ensure that these courses are the very best product on the market, the e-Learning team reached out to the School of Business and Social Sciences, the School of Arts and Humanities, the Center for Student Success, and College Relations.  Each of these groups collaborated with the Instructional Design team to add content and value to the courses.  Some highlights include:

  • Experts in the area of ESL from the School of Arts and Humanities drafted content to expand and improve already existing courses;
  • Mr. Jason Ghibesi, Lecturer II of Political Science and History in the School of Social Sciences, provided area-specific content to focus the courses on the specialized audiences expected to take the classes;
  • Ms. Sarah Revello, Part-Time Writing Skills Tutor, an expert in both language acquisition and broadcasting, wrote and starred in a series of video lectures that were added to the courses;
  • College Relations created 36 professional quality videos to enhance the multimedia content of the courses.  The amazing work of Mr. Ralph Bertini, Television Production Director, and his team added the “wow” factor that e-Learning hopes will help draw students to OCC’s learning experience.

This “all-hands-on-deck” approach has leveraged many of the institution’s greatest strengths to create a series of courses that are the best of their type.

  • Ain Shams Business Program
    • Dr. Maysa Hayward, Assistant Vice President of International Programs, and Dr. Lillian Mena, e-Learning Adjunct Assistant Professor of English and Literature, have been in Egypt since January 8, 2018, conducting student training and instructor development workshops in support of the Ocean-Kean-Ain Shams Business Program.
    • In collaboration with Kean and Ain Shams, two additional business concentrations, in Marketing and Finance, are being introduced and added to the existing Accounting and Management programs.
  • Collaboration with Thomas Edison State University

Many members of OCC’s Academic Affairs team enjoyed a productive and interesting meeting with Dr. William Seaton, Provost and Vice President of Thomas Edison State University, and deans from Thomas Edison.  The meeting moved forward the effort to bring a seamless and inexpensive pathway for OCC students to earn a four-year degree by utilizing a 3+1 plan offered by our two institutions.  This plan would allow students to take up to 90 credits here at OCC and complete the final year of the baccalaureate degree at Thomas Edison.  This 3+1 plan, once established, will be a wonderful option for our students to earn a bachelor’s degree online at a cost unavailable with other plans.

  • Instructional Designers Efforts
    • New course builds for Spring 2018 are complete, ten Cengage Wave 2 courses are complete, and course copy for the 2018 Spring semester and Accelerated Term 1 is complete.
    • A great deal of course work is currently underway, to be completed by July 2018 for the Fall semester:
    • Review of Computer Studies, Information Literacy, Philosophy, Religion, and Social Sciences courses. 
    • Approximately 21 courses are currently in development or revision, including textbook updates.
    • Courses with changes to Official Course Descriptions and Learning Objectives are being reviewed and updated by Subject Matter Experts.
    • Another ten Cengage Wave 3 courses are in progress.
    • New Master Course Developer Training has been completed and will be offered on dates to be determined.
    • Online Instructor Training is undergoing updates, which will be completed for the March 12, 2018, training date.
    • An Online End-of-Course Student Survey link has been added to all Spring 2018 courses to allow students to provide feedback on courses, which will then be shared with the e-Learning Department and be used when redeveloping Master Courses. 
    • Hudson County Community College courses for Spring 2018 have been delivered. 

Finance and Administration

The Ocean County College FY2019 Budget and related tuition changes are included on Thursday’s agenda for approval.  A recommendation is being made to increase in-county tuition from $116 to $119 per credit, a modest 2.6% increase.  No increases to fees are recommended, with the exception of a $10 increase to Course Fee 6, which is needed to cover science laboratory direct expenses. 

Notably, a decrease to out-of-county e-Learning tuition is being recommended.  Currently, there are two rates for e-Learning:

  • In-County Tuition - $116
  • Out-of-County/State Tuition - $225

The recommendation is for a reduction in e-Learning tuition to be consistent with face-to-face tuition, effective Fall 2018:

  • In-County Tuition - $119
  • Out-of-County Tuition - $137
  • Out-of-State Tuition - $225

This is a major tuition reduction for New Jersey residents who live outside of Ocean County and take OCC online courses.  We believe this change will make Ocean County College more competitive and increase out-of-county enrollment.

  • Human Resources

The third Annual OCC President’s Awards for Excellence were presented at the January 19, 2018, Colloquium.  The awards acknowledge and express appreciation for outstanding non-faculty accomplishments at the department, division, and college-wide levels.  Recognized employees received monetary awards and engraved cups, and they will enjoy lunch with the President. 

  • Ms. Yessika Garcia-Guzman, Interim Director of Financial Aid, is the recipient of the 2017 President’s Award for Excellence at the Department Level.  She was nominated in the category of “Efficiency and Innovation.”
  • Ms. Kathleen Mohr, Student Services Administrator, is the recipient of the 2017 President’s Award for Excellence at the Division Level.  Her award is in the category of “New Markets.”
  • Dr. Henry Jackson, Executive Director of Academic Success, is the recipient of the 2017 President’s Award for Excellence at the College-Wide Level.  Dr. Jackson was nominated in two categories, “Outstanding Service to Students” and “New Markets.”

Additional information on the winners and their accomplishments can be found in the President’s Spring 2018 Colloquium Speech, which is posted on the College website.

  • The Jay and Linda Grunin Center for the Arts

The Grunin Center expanded its reach within the community during the December holiday season with over 4,700 patrons attending performances, representing 80% capacity.  The Repertory Theatre enjoyed a successful run of “A Christmas Pageant,” with 93% capacity.  Over 19,000 patrons attended events at the Grunin Center from July 1 to December 31, 2017. 

  • Continuing and Professional Education

In the Allied Health area, EKG Technician students had a 100% passing rate on the national certification exam.  An Open House held on January 20, 2018, was successful, with over 30 interested students attending.  Follow-up with the potential students is currently underway to encourage registration in the program.

  • Facilities

Three small facilities projects are being launched at the same time.  The College Center building, which was erected in 1967, has lost both function and value.  As such, it will be demolished and the site will be returned to green space to enhance the campus appearance.   The demolition will also improve ingress/egress traffic patterns and pedestrian safety.  

Second, the former College Bookstore will be repurposed as a Conference Center.  The Conference Center will seat approximately 70 and provide activity and meeting rooms for external and internal users.  

Third, built in 1974, the natatorium has been closed since 2015.  The repurposing project will convert the pool deck to another gym station.   The current OCC gymnasium is highly utilized, and the scheduling of activities is a constant challenge.  A second gymnasium will meet ADA requirements, allow more athletic events to take place on campus, and provide activity space for the Performing Arts Academy students. 

The College Center demolition and Conference Center will be complete in 2018, and the new gym space is expected to be done in summer 2019. 

  • Security

In accordance with New Jersey Public Law 2015, Chapter 220, and College Policy #2332, Reporting of On-Campus Criminal and Fire Events, attached is the monthly statistics report of crimes, fires, and other emergencies on campus for the reporting period November 29, 2017, through January 17, 2018.

Student Affairs

  • A committee to examine advising at OCC was formed in June 2017 to develop a student-centered advising model with a focus on accessibility, accuracy, and accountability.  An Advising Pilot Program will be executed this semester with 35 administrators and faculty to allow the committee to evaluate efficacy and feasibility of Canvas as a tool to organize and administer advising.  A random selection of students will be evaluated on certain characteristics and then compared to a student sample with similar characteristics who were not involved in the pilot.
  • During the Fall 2017 semester, 190 students were inducted into the Tau Iota Chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.  Tau Iota is hard at work on this year’s College Project.  With the support of the Student Life Office and club advisors, the student-run food pantry, Helping Hands, will be opening in February on the second floor of the Student Center.  The objective is to eliminate food insecurity as a barrier to student success.  Hopefully, Helping Hands will make a difference in our campus community.
  • This year’s Student Leadership Development Conference, Trailblazers, was held from January 3 to 5 at the Villa Roma Resort in Callicoon, New York, under the direction of Ms. Alison Noone, Assistant Director of Student Life, and Ms. Jen Fazio, Director of Student Life.  A total of 42 students and staff members participated with 4 facilitators.  The students were responsive and engaged throughout this unique student development opportunity. 
  • Financial Aid completed its Fall 2017 Opening Pathways to Education Now (OPEN) series.  This program has been running successfully since its inception in 2009.  It consists of workshops to assist with the completion of FAFSA paperwork and discussions on the basic concepts of financial aid.  To date, OCC has served over 1,900 participants, including OCC students, high school students, parents, and guardians from Ocean County, as well as students from Monmouth and Middlesex counties.
  • On January 10, 2018, the Veterans Integration to Academic Leadership (VITAL) program started providing services on our campus through the Veterans Office.  The program is an initiative of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and works to help veterans in successfully completing their college courses by informing them of available programs and resources.
  • Thirty-seven OCC student-athletes were awarded academic honors while in season during the Fall 2017 semester, with eight achieving a 4.0 GPA.  All-Garden State Athletic Conference honors are awarded to students with a 3.0 or higher GPA, while All-Region XIX honors are awarded to those earning a 3.25 or higher GPA while participating in a sport.
  • OCC’s 2017 Region XIX Champion Men’s Soccer team finished the season ranked 5th in the National Junior College Athletic Association and 14th in the nation in the United Soccer Coaches Association’s final post-season poll of the year.  In addition, the OCC Vikings Men’s Soccer coaching staff, Sal Colino, Kevin Istvanditsch, and Gerry Montague, was named Coaching Staff of the Year in the Northeast.
  • The HUB, Ocean County College’s One-Stop Shop, launched its virtual site in mid-November, allowing students to complete on-boarding processes from their own homes or from their mobile devices.  Students are quickly and easily able to access self-service portals, including Financial Aid, Finance, Student Planning, the online application, and even register and pay for classes in a streamlined format.  Additionally, Reggie, OCC’s virtual assistant, launched in November utilizing augmented technology to engage in human-like conversations.  Students speak with Reggie via text message on a whole range of important topics.  OCC is the first community college to utilize such technology, and over 10,000 messages have already been sent to students.
  • Despite a decline in the number of 2017 Ocean County high school graduates, the Admissions Office captured 26.79% of in-county 2017 graduates in the Fall 2017 semester, an increase of 0.5% compared to Fall 2016.  This is the third year the in-county yield has risen.  The Admissions Department has set strategic goals and implemented a number of new initiatives to continue the upward trend.
  • The Ocean Inlets Information Series included six specific and strategized Information Sessions on Saturdays throughout the Fall 2017 semester relating to NJ STARS, Transferability, Funding an Education, General Enrollment Information, Non-Traditional Information, and Getting Involved on Campus.  The series will be repeated in the Spring 2018 semester.
  • Admissions, in partnership with Enrollment Services and Academic Success, launched the first Gateway to College function with 87 Lakewood High School seniors on OCC’s campus on January 17, 2018.  Throughout the Spring semester, all Lakewood High School seniors will be presented with the College 101, Why attend OCC? program.
  • Counseling and Student Development Services has been busy focusing on programs relating to “Stamp out Stigma.”  Counselors report increasing numbers of students requesting counseling services and an increase in the number of faculty referrals.  Concerns include anxiety, depression, stress management, relationships, and academic difficulties.
  • The Counseling staff presented to all First-Year Experience classes, providing an overview and interpretation of the College Success Factors Index, an assessment that student complete.  A new series, #I Got That, provided a chance for students to learn and talk about a variety of topics. The intervention program for academically at-risk students, Step by Step to Academic Success, presented 23 sessions in Fall 2017, with 66 students attending.
  • On October 11, 2017, the Center for Access and Equality announced the opening of the Center Uniting Everyone (CUE), the LGBTQ+ Library collection and gathering place.  This open lounge area and reading collection are designed to foster inclusion and support for the LGBTQ+ community.
  • The Center for Access and Equality and Ocean Pride are offering awareness training for the LGBTQ+ communities.  Upon completion of the training, participants will be able to utilize inclusive language, examine and understand privilege, create a more inclusive campus, and become an ALLY to the LGBTQ+ community.
  • The College is currently in the process of implementing Maxient Case Management software to streamline and organize recordkeeping for both Student Conduct and Title IX records as well as ensure consistency in the handling of cases.  Additional College stakeholders will also review the software to determine the feasibility of its usage for their case management needs.  Implementation began on January 16, 2018.