Updates & News

November 1, 2017

Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims of yesterday’s apparent terror attack in Lower Manhattan. Any student who may be in distress over this incident, or any other reason, can schedule a confidential appointment with one of our licensed professional counselors by calling (732) 224-2986.

Once again, this past month was extraordinarily busy at Brookdale.

According to Tim Zeiss, Executive Director of the Brookdale Foundation, our annual golf outing raised $65,000 for our “Building Minds, Building Futures” scholarship fund. At the following link, you will find a brief Youtube video that features one of our student scholarship recipients, Christine Little, who stole the show at the reception:

Also, the Brookdale Foundation will be the recipient of Delta Dental’s 2018 Smile Mini Grant of $5,000. And. our Veterans Center will receive an $8,650 grant from First Energy.

These funds will help many students who need just a few more dollars to complete their educational goals. I remain convinced that there are people in our county that don’t know our students, don’t know our mission, and don’t know the top notch educational opportunities that we provide, yet they have the means to help. If you know such people, I would love to meet them. Please don’t hesitate to help me make these connections!

Brookdale students Brianna Valdes, Karl Waldron, Jordan Grillo and Jonathan Zukowski were announced as NASA Fellows this month. As part of their $1500 fellowship, they will conduct a special project and provide peer tutoring. Special thanks goes to Professors Gitanjali Kundu, Ana Teodorescu, Eric Goll, Lisa Hailey, Oly Malpica-Proctor ,and Susan Monroe for their roles in the selection of these exemplary students.

Professor Jonathan Moschberger organized an Honors Transfer Fair, exclusively for our Honors Program students. Every honors student attended the fair to meet with admissions representatives from Columbia University, The New School, Drew, East Stroudsburg, the New Jersey Institute of Technology, and many others. The event was a major success!

Dr. Reed, Vice President for Learning, announced that we will engage in the development of our Academic Master Plan by December, which will be the driver for the updating of our Strategic Enrollment and Retention Plan, our Information Technology Strategic Plan, and our Facilities Master Plan. Armed with an updated academic vision, a much better sense of the cost of our infrastructure needs, and a strong enrollment and retention strategy, we will then be in a far better position to discuss the feasibility of conducting a capital campaign through our Foundation next calendar year. The College is putting all of our effort into this massive undertaking, and we will be a far healthier institution as a result.

We received statistics on the success of our GED Program Year 2016 -2017 this month as well. Through this program, we helped 42 students achieve their GED, putting our success rate at 87%! Currently, there are 57 active students in our GED program across five sites (Freehold; 4; Asbury Park; 5; Hazlet; 17; Long Branch: 10; Neptune: 21). We’re very proud of our GED program!

The Small Business Development Center at Brookdale hosted the 4th Annual Women Entrepreneurs Rock event at the historic Stone Pony. Over 500 small business owners and aspiring business owners, as well as more than a dozen Brookdale volunteers, attended to listen to a panel of successful female entrepreneurs. The event, coordinated by Director Jackeline Mejias-Fuertes and her staff, once again received rave reviews from all in attendance.

“91 Days, Countless Nights” opened this month in the CVA Gallery. Marking the 5th anniversary of Superstorm Sandy, this photo exhibit by Brookdale’s very own Kevin Burkitt documents the aftermath of the storm and the resilience of our shore communities. You can view a brief NJ12 video spotlight on the exhibit at the following link:  I hope you have a chance to drop by the Gallery and see Kevin’s exhibit before it closes on November 22.

Dr. Miles, Middle States Visiting Team Chair, visited our Lincroft Campus on Tuesday, October 24. She met with our Self-Study Team co-chairs, College leadership, students, the Self-Study Steering Committee, employees, and members of the Board. We found her comments to be both constructive and complimentary. I would like to thank everyone who helped contribute to the Self-Study, as well as everyone who participated in Dr. Miles’ visit.

I held several Listening Sessions this month, two in Lincroft, one in Freehold, one in Hazlet, and one in Long Branch. The most common concerns raised by the employees and students included issues related to student success (e.g., obstacles to registration, gaps in service, financial aid, scholarships, creating a seamless non-credit to credit experience for students, and transportation) and financial stability (e.g., cancelling low enrolled courses, hiring needs). Positive feedback included the optimistic atmosphere on campus and observations that the tone of Board of Trustee meetings has improved. Special thanks to Trustee Kaufman for participating in one of our Lincroft sessions!

If you have an issue that you would like to raise but you can’t attend a Listening Session, you can email Sue Desiderato at  Sue will regularly present themes to me without identifying who sent the message.

Last Friday, 1,800 people (including students from six area high schools) filled the Collins Arena to listen to Emmy award winning documentarian Ken Burns’ presentation “Ken Burns: America’s Stories.” This event was the culmination of five years of work by History Professor Jess Levine, a full year’s worth of program planning by the Student Life & Activities Department, and weeks of set-up work by the Events Department. Everyone that I spoke with afterward commented that this was an outstanding experience and a shining moment for Brookdale. Special thanks to the dozens of employees who helped during the event.

Other successful events held this month included:
-Haunted Theater
-Visiting Writers Series: Mitchell S. Jackson
-Brandon Novak: Actor, Professional Skateboarder, Author, and Former Addict
-The 2nd Annual Clinton C. Crocker Memorial Lecture: The Haitian Immigrant Journey
-Current Topics in Biology Series: Climate Reality — Our Planet’s Future
-Brookdale Cares Day of Service Annual Beach Sweep
-Math Lab Day
…..and MANY more!

For information about the events coming up in November, click the following link:

We also received the fantastic news that Brookdale student Sophia Parola has been chosen to be the newest MTVu VJ! Hundreds of students from colleges and universities across the country auditioned, but our star student emerged as the winner. We are so proud of Sophia! Here’s the video announcement of the winner:

Also placing Brookdale on the national stage, KidzBop and the Harlem Globetrotters released their collaborative commercial which was shot in our Collins Arena in August. The video, which was been viewed more than 25,000 times since its release last week, can be viewed at this link:

Don’t forget to remind your students that Priority Registration begins on November 6.

Thank you and have an outstanding November!

September 5, 2017

I hope your Labor Day was restful and safe. As the remnants of former Hurricane Harvey soaked our area over the weekend, my thoughts were with the victims of the storm’s devastation. I’m quite sure that I was not alone; we understand their struggle to recover. It was nearly five years ago that Superstorm Sandy tore through our state and deeply affected members of our Brookdale family, our friends, and our neighbors. Though our area has not fully recovered from Sandy, our community is generous and I know many of you have already extended a helping hand to those who experienced significant loss. Now, let’s hope Irma heads back out to sea.

Despite the hurricanes, the start of the fall semester is always one of my favorite times of the year. Each year, I enjoy reading Beloit College’s mindset list of interesting facts about the entering freshman class. You can find the complete list here, but some of my favorites include the fact that this is the last class born in the 1900s, they don’t know what “floppy disks” are, they have probably never heard the sound of a dial-up modem, emojis have always been used to express emotions, and they have never known a world without Amazon or smartphones. Fascinating, right?

We have worked hard to recruit, admit, advise, register, and orient our new students. We increased the number of group advising and registration sessions, implemented positive changes in our drop for non-payment process, and enhanced our outreach to students through text messages, robocalls, geo-targeted social media campaigns, and direct mailings. Through the collective efforts of the staff under the direction of Interim Vice President for Student Success Herb Cohen, Executive Dean Anita Voogt, and Executive Director Avis McMillon, we have registered over 12,000 students as of this morning.

Now that these students have enrolled, it is our vision that every employee will understand and embrace their personal role in helping these students succeed. As these students begin to arrive on Thursday, let’s help them find their way around campus, connect with needed resources, and connect with each other.

Invite them to attend the Welcome Back BBQ in the Visitors lot behind Larrison Hall in Lincroft on Tuesday, 9/12 at 11:45AM, and the Involvement Fair outside the Student Life Center in Lincroft on Thursday, 9/14 at 11:45AM. Our research shows that students who connect with activities and organizations outside of class tend to do significantly better in class. They also tend to stay and complete their degrees at a significantly higher rate. Every single employee plays an important role in our students’ success.

For those of you who weren’t able to attend Convocation this morning, here are some facts about which we can all be proud:

· Brookdale has entered into an agreement with the Matawan-Aberdeen School District to house a Recovery High School in Lincroft, enabling high school students who have committed to their recovery from addiction to complete their high school diplomas.

· This fall, a member of the Veterans Administration will be available in our Veterans Center to discuss benefits with our student veterans.

· New agreements with Monmouth University and Georgian Court University have resulted in transforming admission rejection letters into “conditional acceptance” letters that encourage students to attend Brookdale.

· 47 students and over 200 guests attended the 3rd Annual Continuing and Professional Studies Career Training Completion Ceremony on 8/30. Among them were students who completed an innovative new construction training program that enabled them to earn Architecture credits.

· Our Wall location is now our second Branch Campus; we opened a beautiful new building in Wall (Wall West), and New Jersey City University is our University Partner than now occupies our old Wall building (Wall East).

· Thanks to Vice President Matt Reed, we are working with Morgan State University to develop articulation agreements in social science and business, our second articulation with a Historically Black College and University (HBCU).

· New Early College High Schools open this semester in Keyport, Middletown North, Middletown South, and Wall high schools. In addition, the Raritan Explorers Early College High School expanded from 6 students last year to 36 students this year.

· Faculty rosters now include students’ pictures. If students images are not available, encourage them to go get a One Card ID in the CAR building (Lincroft) or in the Student Success Centers of our regional locations.

Finally, don’t forget that the final comment period for our Middle States Self-Study is now open and will close on September 19. If you don’t have time to review the whole document, please pick a chapter that most interests you. Please go to SharePoint, to Middle States Self-Study Report, read, and offer feedback.

Thank you for all that you do to support students! I wish you all the best for a happy, healthy, and successful semester.

July 1, 2017

The month of July was incredibly busy.  Below, you’ll see a quick sample of some of our activities over the past four weeks: Assemblyman Sean Kean swore in our new Graduate Trustee, Austin Ridoux, on July 5. Austin will serve on the Board of Trustees this year while attending Rutgers University School of Business.

We received notice from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education that the Wall Higher Education Center has been awarded “Branch Campus” status. This status acknowledges our ability to offer full degree programs at the Wall location.

New and prospective students, families, and community members attended our Open House at the new Wall West building on the Wall Branch Campus. Executive Dean Anita Voogt, Wall Campus Director Allison Fitzpatrick, the Wall campus staff, and all Brookdale employees who came out to represent their departments did an incredible job to make this a successful event. If you haven’t done so already, please stop by and see this beautiful new facility.

Brookdale’s Performing Arts department presented seven showings of A Midsummer Night’s Dream on the Great Lawn in Lincroft.  Thanks to a grant from the Monmouth County Arts Council and the efforts of Professor John Bukovec, Supervisor Sherri Vanderspiegel, 20 local actors, and all of the staff that participated in this production, performances received rave reviews once again!

Nearly 100 current and former employees joined the Freeholders and other honored guests to celebrate our 50th Birthday on July 18 in the CVA Gallery. We presented resolutions to the Freeholders and the Northern Monmouth chapter of the AAUW who were responsible for the founding of this great institution. The Freeholders and the Mayor of Middletown presented us with proclamations dedicating July 18, 2017 as Brookdale Community College Day.

Our Board of Trustees held their summer Retreat on July 22 at the Wall Branch Campus. During the meeting, the Board re-affirmed the College’s Strategic Priorities: Student Success, Financial Stability, Facilities Planning, and College Image Enhancement. These priorities will guide all of the College’s goals for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Information sessions were held for Georgian Court’s University Partnership programs and NJCU’s Nursing programs, as well as our own Auto Tech, Fashion Design & Merchandising, and Hospitality Management programs. Thank you to all Brookdalians who represented your programs so well.

Staff in the Student Success Division and the Higher Education Center have been working hard to enroll a larger group of students through this year’s Jump Start Program than last year’s program (which was larger than the previous year’s program!). Student Success Directors, CPS staff, HEC Directors, and our campus Police have also delivered several Parent Orientations to packed audiences.  Thank you to everyone who has helped to orient our new students and their parents.

Brookdale has been selected as one of 21 colleges in the country that will host auditions for MTV’s new Video Jockeys. Nationally televised commercials with our student auditions will undoubtedly bring a great deal of attention to our college this year.

Finally, I have spent this month meeting with vice presidents and presidents of our partner institutions in order to strengthen our relationships and discuss new program ideas. Some of the possibilities that have been raised make me very excited for our future!

Yes, July has been busy!  However, I’m looking forward to even more activity as we gear up for the fall semester. Don’t hesitate to reach out to me if you have any ideas for how we can improve the Brookdale experience.  Have a happy August!

~ D