April 2014


The April Board of Trustees meeting was held April 23, 2014, in the Warner Student Life Center on the Lincroft campus. The Board began with an Executive Session to discuss the (still no confirmation from the Division of Pensions) possible Separation plan, similar to Ocean County College’s. I also shared the April 15 Governance Forum presentation on restructuring and staffing, and we briefly discussed a real estate matter. We will release more information on all of these topics once we have something concrete to report.

In the Workshop meeting, Vice President Maureen Lawrence discussed the Spring Financial Forecast and noted that it is one of the most important financial documents prepared by her office annually, as it projects enrollment, income and expenditures. As I have shared previously with the College community, the Board has directed a reduction in the reliance on reserves. The Asbury Park Press article April 24, 2014 on this topic had the facts wrong; I encourage you to read the full report. The good news is that while we projected a need for $8.6 million from reserves to balance the budget, we will use only $3.1 million, mainly due to reductions in the number of staff and the accompanying decrease in the costs of salary, taxes, and health benefits. While we know the employee vacancies create difficulty in many areas, this puts us in a much better position for meeting future financial goals.

The Policy and Education (P&E) committee co-chairs Abby-White and Jones enthusiastically advocated for the 19 Tenured Faculty Promotions and the 5 Non-Tenured Faculty to Tenure with Promotion and unanimously expressed their support for all the faculty reappointments. Their enthusiasm carried over to the Public Business meeting where Executive Vice President Dianna Phillips introduced each faculty member who received promotion (see below) to heartfelt applause from the Board and the audience.

Similarly, the P&E committee and Dean Pat Sensi lauded the accomplishment of the Professional Staff Association’s Performance Recognition award winners and spoke glowingly of the process for selecting and awarding these distinguished honors. I am so proud of all of you and humbled to call you colleague.

P&E recommended the lodging of revisions to Board Bylaw 1.5130, Minutes of Meetings, and Board Policy 1.5141, Procedural Rules for Hearing, which were approved.

The Executive Committee recommended to the full Board the continued use of the new format for Board minutes (in your packets) and the audio recording of the Workshop and Public Meetings. If you missed last month’s meeting, it is available online; audio recordings of all of the meetings will also be available within a few days of the meeting date.

The Executive Committee also had wonderful things to say about the two Honorary Degree recipients: Cindy Zipf, Director of Clean Ocean Action, and Marshawn Love, Captain, Asbury Park Police Department – and thanked the Honorary Degree Committee, co-chaired by Tim Zeiss, Executive Director Foundation and Alumni Affairs, and Eric Goll, Professor of Chemistry, for their stellar work. Cindy will be honored at the 10AM Commencement  and Marshawn at the 3PM Commencement. The Board of Trustees has asked for a larger role in the Honorary Degree process, and I will bring that up with the committee chairs.

The Audit committee met on March 31, and Chair Guzzo reported to the Board that they had a productive meeting regarding reporting issues, hot line, and outside employee verification. The Finance committee meeting on April 21 discussed the Semester Forecast (see above) and the costs of keeping the College running amid snowstorms, heavy rains, construction delays, power outages, and the hundreds and hundreds of people who utilize our facilities and grounds monthly.

Trustee Jones reported in the absence of Chair DiBella, noting that they reviewed the March brief on Veterans’ Affairs at Brookdale, which detailed the benefits available to veterans and their dependents. This discussion was a follow-up to a request that the Board consider permitting out-of-county/state Veterans to pay in-county rates.

There was also discussion on mandatory Direct Deposit for all full-time employees, a move the Board supported. More information will be forthcoming soon.

The Ad Hoc Governance Committee Chair Karcher reported on their progress to meet their Board goal and develop a Board Assessment tool. Trustee Karcher provided the Board with a draft form and advised he will provide them with a response key so that Board members may complete the evaluation on-line. In May the Committee will review an evaluation instrument for the President.

Student Jeremy Baratta, during the public comment on agenda items portion of the Public Business meeting, asked the Board to clarify several points in the minutes of the March meeting where he felt his comments had been incompletely represented.

The remainder of the meeting was another wonderful, wonderful opportunity to show off the best of Brookdale – students, faculty and staff.

In the Spotlight, the ALPFA club, featuring students Justin Melendez, Club President, and Paul Geissler, Club President-elect, and advisor Sarah McElroy, Director of Experiential Learning & Career Services, made a Power Point presentation highlighting their work throughout the year, which included being one of the first clubs to stream their activities to the Freehold campus. Mr. Melendez introduced their three mentors: Professors Barbara Boyington, Debbie Meyers and Phyllis Shafer. ALPFA has, in conjunction with Career Services, sponsored a very successful Career Fair on March 27. They plan to host a Culinary Career Fair and another blood drive in the coming year.

As I noted above, EVP Dianna Phillips practically levitated as she introduced the faculty promoted in this comprehensive process that rivals any promotion process I have ever seen. The integrity, time, and attention that colleagues devote to writing, reading, advising, mentoring, and supporting one another throughout the exhaustive promotion process speaks volumes about the quality of our instructors, assistant and associate professors, and our full professors – past, present and newly minted.

Congratulations to those promoted: Michael Broek to Associate Professor, John Bukovec to Professor, Steve Chudnick to Associate Professor, Tom Cioppa to Professor, Debbie DeBlasio to Associate Professor, Shay Delcurla to Professor, Eugene DeRobertis to Professor, Christine Elliott-Vasquez to Associate Professor, Christine Greco-Covington to Assistant Professor, Hanli Huang to Assistant Professor, Nicole Jackson to Assistant Professor, Isaac Kanu to Associate Professor, Daniel Lopez to Associate Professor, Yesenia Madas to Associate Professor, Howard Miller to Associate Professor, Jonathan Moschberger to Associate Professor, Sally Ann Mulvey to Assistant Professor, Laura Neitzel to Associate Professor, Brian Oland to Associate Professor, Anthony Pellicane to Professor, Carol Schedel to Professor, Tom Setaro to Professor, Gabriela Sprague to Assistant Professor, and Caroline Wong to Associate Professor.

Similarly, as noted above, Dean Pat Sensi was effusive in her praise of the Professional Staff Association in their Performance Recognition process. Association president Helen Vota detailed the ways in which each of the honored PSA members go above and beyond in their work supporting students and their learning. Those awarded Performance Recognition are: Dorothy Artale – Biology, Cynthia Bradbury – English & Reading, Frank DeVita – Accounting, Marianne Drake – Educational Technology Services, Ellen Hemhauser – Counseling, AnnMarie Johnson – Registration, Elizabeth Lehmann – Culinary Arts, Ellen Leung – Accounting, Dolores Palazzo – English, Thomas Riley – Chemistry, and Geralyn Saada – Communiversity/HECs.

During my President’s report, I announced that Richard Pfeffer, Dean of Enrollment Development and Student Affairs, is the 2014 winner of the New Jersey Council of County College’s Spirit Award.

I fully realize that for every notable person or event I mention I am leaving out a dozen more! I told them that the Graduate Trustee elections are underway and there are four candidates; Brookdale’s Softball team is rated #1 in Region 19 – way to go, Coach Bo Scannapieco; and although we didn’t get out of the meeting till late, I encouraged the BOT and the audience that there was still time to catch Brookdale’s celebration of Shakespeare’s 450th birthday. Saturday, April 26, saw the Lincroft campus very busy. I highlighted only three of the numerous events taking place – the Adjunct Job Fair, the League of Women Voters Forum on Government Corruption & Secrecy, and the Brookdale Big Band.

I encouraged the Board – and I encourage all of you as well – to attend the Campus Consciousness Tour, featuring Capital Cities, May 1 in the Arena; the Student Achievement Showcase on Wednesday, May 7 – all day in the SLC, lower level; Scholars Day on Thursday, May 15, from – 8.30-1:30 PM in the SLC and LAH, and lest we forget – Commencement on Friday, May 16.

Chair Butch told the Board about a recent award I received from the American Association for Women in Community Colleges – the Caroline Desjardin CEO of the Year Award. AAWCC was founded 40 years ago to support the advancement of women in our colleges, and it’s important to note that while 60% of community college students are women, only about 26% of the presidents of these institutions are female.

The meeting continued with approval of Trustee Guzzo pulling two items from the consent agenda – contracts for the External Auditor, EisnerAmper, and a bulk mail house – they were voted on separately and both passed after discussion.

During the public comment portion of the meeting, Karyn Arnold, President of the Administrators Association, congratulated Faculty and Staff for their well-deserved promotions and performance recognition awards, and expressed her hope that next year the Administrators would have a similar program in place. She noted with pride the accomplishments of several of her colleagues, including: Carl DeJura, Director, Adult Basic Education, Past President of BCCAA; Lauren Brutsman, Jimmy Episcopia, Jill Donovan, Christopher Jeune, Mary Jo Burkhard, Kathy McGrath, and Robert Quinones, who were instrumental in the Campus Clean-Up held April 22; she also extended kudos to Helen Loori, Carol Schedel, Tim Macaluso and Kathy Hammond, who also were a major part of this successful event - 81 bags of garbage totaling a little over 700 lbs., including three automobile tires (!), were removed from the Lincroft and Freehold campuses, thanks to the work of dozens of participating faculty, administrators, staff and students.

Karyn noted her Association members’ participation in our community, in particular, Jill Donovan, Assistant Director, Student Life and Activities; Christopher Jeune, Administrator Student Life/ Judicial Affairs and Katie Shea, Recruitment Services Representative. She went international as well, noting that Janice Thomas, Director International Education Center, and Ann Tickner Jankowski, Director of Transfer Resources and Articulation, presented at a conference at Zhejiang College of Construction, in Hangzhou China on April 4. Professionally, the Administrative Association members advocate for the College in numerous arenas, including Nancy S. O’Shea, M.A., Manager, Testing Services, who co-presented two webinars for the National College Testing Association’s professional development series; Ed Johnson, Center Director, Brookdale at Long Branch, who was asked by the Asbury Park Press to moderate a “Success Summit on Saving the Asbury Park Schools;” and Allison Fitzpatrick, Center Director, Brookdale at Hazlet, who attended the National Association of Branch Campus Administrators Conference and was appointed to the Executive Board and as Conference Chair for 2014-2015.

I would like to note also that Karyn, who is the Associate Director, Financial Aid, was honored as a member of the “Committee of the Year” for her participation in the Training and Professional Development Committee for New Jersey Association of Student Financial Aid Association. Karyn was gracious enough to acknowledge me on my recent award from the American Association for Women in Community Colleges; I have donated the award funds to the Brookdale Foundation, specifying that it be used to fund two Brookdale women in attending the AAWCC Leaders Institute this summer. Karyn and Allison Fitzpatrick will be attending; I expect them to return full of good ideas.

Professor Phyllis Shafer of the Faculty Association congratulated the Faculty who received promotions, calling it ‘a banner year.’ She thanked Jean Vioyanetes, Chair of the college-wide Promotions Committee, and Scott Ridley and Pat Henn, who provide invaluable support to the Committee. She congratulated a number of faculty on their achievements, including Eric Goll for assisting in a merger of Monmouth County and the American Chemistry Society with the US Chemistry Fair; Brent Costleigh for attending the April 9 symposium on Annual Careers in Psychology; Guy Pellicane for the Best of the Best in Forensics Conference, and Diditi Mitra, who was a panelist at the World Conference of Sociology in Japan. Professor Shafer advised of upcoming campus events: 60th anniversary of D-Day on June 6 (Ashley Zampogna-Krug, David Bassano, and Paul Zigo); Careers in Corrections and Homeland Security campus recruiting on May 9 (Barbara Gonos), and the World’s Quiet Hero event on April 30, coordinated by Professor Elaine Olaoye (our own board chair, Brian Butch, will be recognized this year). Professor Jim Crowder, representing the Faculty Association, congratulated all of the faculty who received promotions, and also thanked EVP Dianna Phillips, me, and the Board of Trustees.

Professor Jack Ryan asked that the College not renew the current Portal contract, noting that a committee is currently examining it; he also cautioned against representatives of College vendors participating on the committee.

During her remarks, Jeanne Vioyanetes noted that “the spirit that the faculty of 1971 had is still here” at Brookdale. It is this essence that makes Brookdale such a special place; this spirit is palpable – in the faculty, the professional staff, the administrators and the police – as we all work to ensure our students’ success. Thank you – I cannot say it enough – for all your hard work and dedication.