Notes from the March 20, 2014 Board Meeting
Our Board Meeting was held during Brookdale’s Spring Break on Thursday, March 20, 2014, on the Lincroft campus. It was a productive, positive meeting, made more so by the strong presence of the faculty, staff and administrators, who make this College hum – Spring Break or no Spring Break.
The Board went immediately into Executive Session after opening the Workshop meeting, so I could share with them the Ocean County College Separation Plan and talk about an approach like this for our employees. We continue to run models and are petitioning the Division of Pensions to see if similar consideration would be afforded to Brookdale. As I mentioned at the Governance Forum on March 11th, and in my email to the Association Presidents and Vice Presidents, I doubt we will know anything definitive for a couple of weeks; I will keep the college informed as to any developments.
At the Workshop meeting, student Jeremy Baratta asked the Board to provide in-county tuition rates to active duty military and their dependents. The Board responded that there was similar legislation pending in the NJ Assembly and that the Finance committee would discuss it further.
Vice President Maureen Lawrence provided a report on pending facilities projects including:
• Renovation of the Wall Higher Education Center; the GO Bond funds have been released and an architect is working on the design;
• Roof replacement: the study is completed and work will begin soon;
• Chapter 12; the County is selling bonds, so funds will soon be available for the science labs;
• Freehold Campus repairs; Lot #1 and walkways will be repaired/replaced, windows (in phases) will be replaced, and the troublesome sprinkler system will be replaced;
• Lincroft campus walkways; and
• Improved “student space” at Lincroft for informal meetings or project work, or just hanging out on campus (my favorite).
Our facilities initiatives are largely supported by bonds, and do not draw from our operating budget. It is very nice that even in tight times we are able to move ahead with much needed facilities repairs and upgrades.
In their report to the Board, the Ad Hoc Governance Committee outlined its goals for the next several months which included a Board self-evaluation and an evaluation of me.
In response to Professor Ryan’s request of the Board in February, the Board moved to audio record the public Board meetings and make those recordings available on the College’s website. We are moving forward with that, in concert with trying out a new format for Board minutes. Our minutes have traditionally been a mix of transcript and notes – neither fish nor fowl. Using a format as described in the Board Bylaw 1.5130 – Minutes of Meetings, we will record the names of the members present, the subjects considered, the actions taken and the vote of each member. Of course, we’ll include enough detail to provide proper context and ensure we give matters the attention they deserve. We’re piloting it for the March meeting; we’ll discuss it again with the Board at the April meeting and tweak as necessary. In the meantime, the audio recordings will be available on the website several days after each public meeting.
Chair Butch noted that a special executive session meeting of the Board was held on March 4, 2014 to talk about the Interest Based Bargaining process; he asked members of the teams to stand up and be acknowledged.
Trustees Jones reported on the Faculty Sabbaticals and Transitional Sabbaticals discussed at the Policy & Education committee meeting and approved by the Board at this meeting. What wonderful projects – as always – our faculty are engaged in:
• Dan Leyes intends to write and self-publish an e-book on Public Speaking and Communication;
• Phyllis Shafer will attend the Mid-Career Fellowship Program for Teaching and Learning at Princeton University;
• Lori Uffer will travel to Southern Highlands, NC, to spend time with the community of ceramic, glass, metal, jewelry, wood and fiber artists who reside there, and keep a blog of her experiences, and
• Nancy Noe intends to complete a Master’s degree in Professional and Technical Communication (and offered to help Lori set up her blog!).
There are two transitional sabbaticals for next year:
• Stuart Thomas proposes to research and design a photography course that is based on the most recent and widely used smart-phone cameras and related technology, and
• Gabe Longo intends to provide the College with a direct record of the Brookdale faculty experience from its earliest days, to create a lasting link with our formative culture.
I would love for Gabe’s project to become the next chapter in The Triangle of Land. I look forward to hearing all about these and other sabbatical projects at one of the upcoming Scholars Days.
Dr. Webster Trammell updated the Board on the work of the President’s Jubilee Commission (PJC). Comprised of 13 employees, the PJC has had over 20 meetings, and after several iterations, culled the initial draft report from 1200 pages to 28 pages. I received a draft report on March 14, and the final report should be completed April 8th. At that time, all the initial surveys and draft reports, as well as the final report and the appendices, will be posted on the portal. Dr. Trammell rightfully praised the members of the PJC who have devoted countless hours reading, analyzing and debating the draft report.
I have read – and re-read – the draft PJC report, and I am incredibly impressed. The report is an excellent ‘meta-narrative’ or ‘grand narrative’ of Brookdale– a story about our stories as told in the surveys and data collected by the PJC. This ‘narrative’ has helped me – a relative newcomer to the Brookdale culture – understand the meaning and context of the collective Brookdale ‘experience.’ More on this at a later time; I’m eager to engage y’all in a greater discussion about our next steps in this process.
Trustee Abby-White continued the Policy & Education report with an update on projects underway in response to our Strategic Enrollment Management Plan.
• College Readiness Now Grant: The NJ Council of County Colleges has announced a partnership between the Office of the NJ Secretary of Higher Education and New Jersey’s 19 community colleges on the improvement of college readiness of graduating high school students through the College Access Challenge Grant program. Brookdale will be partnering with two Monmouth County highs schools in this undertaking: Long Branch and Academy Charter.
• Plus 50 Grant: This is a competitive grant issued through the American Association of Community Colleges designed to assist students 50 years old and above to complete a college degree or certificate. The grant establishes workshops in a “boot camp” format to help returning students overcome impediments such as a lack of technological literacy and test taking anxiety.
• Roadmap Grant: This is a grant offered through the American Association of Colleges and Universities that helps colleges foster student success and completion. Brookdale has designed a step by step guide that helps students understand what to do from admission through graduation.
• Veterans’ Center: This effort creates a one-stop Center to assist in processing and certifying eligibility for Veterans and active duty military. It will also assist students with the VA to address appeals and potential processing issues and delays. The Center will provide counseling, programming and referral services utilizing resources from the Counseling division and volunteers from the Monmouth County veteran community.
Trustee Jones noted that there was a policy on the Board’s agenda for approval: 1.3035 Presidential Screening Process; she also spoke about the new Associate in Science in Public Health. Brookdale partnered with three NJ community colleges, Mercer, Middlesex, and Morris to develop an AS degree in Public Health that is transferable to baccalaureate programs offered by Montclair State, Rutgers, and William Paterson. Students in the program will apply the scientific method of inquiry to gather and analyze data as well as use information relevant to local, national and global health challenges to engage in collaborative approaches to improve public health.
In the Finance and Facilities report, Vice President Maureen Lawrence reported that it was a ‘routine’ month finance-wise; she referred to the Facilities information shared above and noted that the packet included the reappointment of College Counsel and Labor Counsel, part of the cycle of professional service appointments made annually.
At the Public Business Meeting, I was thrilled to tell the Board about our men and women’s basketball teams’ 3rd place finish in the Nationals and the women’s team being awarded the 2014 NJCAA Division III Team Sportsmanship Award. Go Blues! Trustee Tolchin announced that our Alpha Pi Theta Chapter of the International Honor Society Phi Theta Kappa (PTK) was awarded Five Star Honors at the Regional Conference in March – the pinnacle of achievement for PTK. Congratulations to all our students and their advisors Angela Saragusa and Shahin Pirzad!
Dean Marie Lucier Woodruff introduced the Brookdale Spotlight for March – the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). The SBDC was established 35 years ago; it was one of the first in the country, and the first in New Jersey. Serving both Monmouth and Ocean counties, the SBDC offers free counseling and advisement and low cost workshops for anyone interested in starting or expanding a business.
A little over a year ago, the SBDC was designated a Small Business Association (SBA) Disaster Recovery Center; they were awarded two significant grants to assist businesses in Monmouth and Ocean affected by Super Storm Sandy. They have helped write marketing and business plans and social media campaigns, and they have assisted local small businesses secure over $4million in financing. Over 270 business owners have been helped ‘back on their feet’ with the encouragement and services offered by the SBDC. For these efforts they were selected to receive the Monmouth Ocean Development Council’s Silver Gull Award for Economic Development. Our congratulations, and sincere thanks for all their efforts, go to Jackeline Mejias Fuertes, Regional Director; Pasqualina DeLucia, Assistant Director; Ernestine Austin, Senior Office Assistant; Christina Georgas, Program Coordinator; Melissa Lugo, Office Assistant, and last, but not least, Karim Hossien, a Brookdale student worker. Another wonderful example of Brookdale’s positive impact in our community.
The Consent Agenda was approved by the Board: In Human Resource matters we hired 43 adjuncts; awarded four faculty sabbaticals (see above); eight folks changed status and the Board approved the impending separation of nine employees from the College, including Nancy Haugh in Diagnostic Medical Sonography and Professors Robert Mellert and Donna Thompson, retiring after completing their transitional sabbaticals. Carl DeJura and Joyce Grogan in our Adult Education Office; Ruth Malkiewicz, Hazlet Higher Education Center Assistant, Robert Gant, Biology Closed Lab Learning Assistant; Riina VanRixoort in Marketing are also retiring. Patty Kahn, Executive Director of Information Technologies Services, is leaving at the end of this month to take a position at the College of Staten Island. We wish all our departing employees the best in luck and love as they start the next phase of their lives and careers.
After approval of the revised Policy and the new Curriculum (see above) the meeting was opened to public comment: Professor Phyllis Shafer, speaking on behalf of the Faculty Association, gave a shout-out to Associate Professor Marie Maber, and her work with the Teen Arts Festival. This year’s festival, which focussed on the theme of ArtHelps – connecting the arts with the continuing recovery efforts from super storm Sandy – bought over 1,800 high school students from all over Monmouth County to the Lincroft campus. Marie worked throughout Spring Break with the budding artists, musicians, dancers and writers, and the high school faculty, as well as the many Brookdale folks who give so generously of their time and efforts to make the Teen Arts Festival successful.
Karyn Arnold directed the Board’s attention to a number of her colleagues in the Administrative Association, including Mary Jo Burkhard, Michael Medley, Laura Qaissaunee, Marguerite Stocker, Norah Kerr-McCurry, and Nancy O’Shea, for their exemplary work in and out of the office. She also recognized the hard work of Tim Zeiss and Lore Milione in the Foundation office, and Stephanie Fitzsimmons and Eileen Kenavan (and Karyn!) as well as all the volunteers who made the Scholarship Reception such a memorable event. The Foundation, through the largess of its donors and Board members, raised enough funds to award over 450 scholarships to Brookdale students. I’m incredibly proud of the wonderful work of our Foundation and our staff.
The Business meeting was adjourned and once again we had the wonderful opportunity to celebrate an Early College High School partnership – this time with St. John Vianney High School in Hazlet. My thanks to Executive Vice President Dianna Phillips, Deans Nancy Kegelman and Frank Rother, for spearheading another example of Brookdale’s commitment to creating new pathways to earning a college degree.
Spring Break has concluded with no real Spring in sight; indeed, we have more snow in the forecast. Let’s think warm thoughts, and maybe soon this winter will really be behind us.