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The Bergen Community College Newsletter

Spring 2016 • Volume 3, Issue 3

Excellence Earned E

valuators from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education commended Bergen Community College’s commitment to high institutional standards during a preliminary report March 2, praising its accomplishments and compliance in all 14 “characteristics of excellence.” The report all but assures the College will receive a reaffirmation of its accreditation when the commission releases its final report later this year. President B. Kaye Walter, Ph.D., who joined the institution in 2012, thanked the evaluators for their thorough review and attributed the successful visit to College leadership, faculty and staff who have dedicated themselves to student and institutional excellence. “With the two-year self-study process reaching its conclusion, I am not only proud of the institution and the work we have accomplished together, but I would like to specifically thank the inclusive group of more than 100 faculty, staff and students who contributed to the planning and research associated with this visit,” she said. “Bergen remains successful because of the professionals who teach and work here, as we advance student success initiatives in support of the state’s No. 1 college for associate degree graduates.” The eight members of the commission’s evaluation team, led by Harper College (Illinois) President Kenneth Ender, Ph.D., visited Feb. 28 through March 2 to meet with College officials, faculty and staff. Conversations drew heavily from the institution’s self-study report, a comprehensive account of the College’s initiatives, policies and practices prepared in advance of the visit. Evaluators review institutions based on 14 areas such as assessment, faculty and integrity. In an oral report delivered March 2, evaluators not only affirmed Bergen’s compliance with the standards, but also lauded 48 specific areas of excellence, referring to them as best practices for any institution.

Among the commendations, evaluators recognized the College’s commitment to student success, praising the streamlined registration and financial aid services established in 2014, the institution’s acceptance into the Achieving the Dream college reform network and the developmental math redesign. Additionally, the team applauded the College’s fiduciary controls and dedication to reining in expenses – specifically the costs borne by students. The College has limited tuition increases to an average of 1.97 percent during the past four years. Tuition rose an average of 6.1 percent from 2006-12. Evaluators also appreciated the College’s commitment to faculty and staff, including significant increases in professional development opportunities such as tuition reimbursement and leadership training programs. Vice President of Institutional Effectiveness Yun Kim, Ph.D., and professors Sony Tiwari and Gail Fernandez directed the efforts of the College’s 19-member self-study team, organizing working groups of faculty, staff and students to conduct research, gather documents and write reports submitted to the evaluation team. n

Come Fly With Us Bergen’s graduation rate rose by 43 percent in the last six years. This success statistic is brought to you by:


he Federal Aviation Administration has granted Bergen clearance to operate unmanned aerial vehicles (drones), making it one of only three community colleges in the nation to receive such an exemption. Classes will launch soon. n


Success Starts with Scholarships

Spring Awards



ergen rolled out a red carpet for its faculty this spring during an awards season worthy of Hollywood. “While the faculty and staff honored come from different disciplines and areas of the College, they share a common thread,” President B. Kaye Walter, Ph.D., said. “Each honoree remains committed to supporting our students from application to graduation and ensuring they have every opportunity to achieve success.” Faculty receiving recognition were: • Maria Makowiecka, Ph.D. - 2015-16 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD) Excellence Award • Phil Dolce, Ph.D. - John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Award • Denise Avrutik, Mina Ahn, Ph.D., Gemma Figaro, Maria Kasparova, Camelia-Manuela Lataianu, Ph.D., and Margarita Lopez-Bernstein Judith Greenberg Seinfeld Scholarship of Teaching and Learning Fellowship

Top Tutors … Again!


he Cerullo Learning Assistance Center recently earned the National Tutoring Association’s “community college program of the year” award. The center won the National College Learning Center Association Frank L. Christ Outstanding Learning Center Award in 2014. n

ffordability remains a keystone issue for those seeking to advance their education and realize a better future. Bergen is doing its part to help. In recent years, the College has placed renewed emphasis on the importance of securing scholarship opportunities for its students, even as tuition rates remain among the lowest in the region. Led by Executive Director Lindsay Maurer, the Bergen Community College Foundation has sought to energize the community with new events and opportunities to support student scholarships. The foundation’s new signature event, Club Monte Carlo, took place March 30. Honorary chairs Dolores Catania (the Real Housewives of New Jersey), Dr. Manuel Alvarez (Hackensack University Medical Center and FOX News) and Jim Thebery (Bergen County Division on Disability Services) brought star-power to the supper club-inspired evening. The event benefited student scholarships — including the College’s Turning Point program for students with intellectual disabilities. Turning Point prepares students for gainful employment and independence through a two-year, non-residential certificate academic program. The program not only received a multimillion-dollar federal grant to enable its expansion, but also recently earned a $9,500 donation from Rockland Electric Company to create a mentorship program — led by the STEM Student Union. To date, the group has converted an existing softball field house into a STEM workshop and conducted experimental testing with two wind turbines and a solar panel system they installed at the site. Nearly $30,000 in scholarships also arrived this semester for students enrolling at the College’s Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack from the Consulate of Mexico. Funded by Juntos Podemos (Together We Can) and the Institute for Mexicans Abroad, Bergen represents the first college or university in New Jersey to receive the award. The scholarships will benefit up to 86 qualifying students. n

Commencement Countdown: May 19 For the first time, the class of 2016 will headline the same venue that’s played host to a Super Bowl, Wrestlemania and Bruce Springsteen.

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