Hundreds of Brookdale employees came together on the Lincroft campus May 11 for a day of professional development, idea-sharing, personal enrichment and institutional growth during the 2017 Scholars Day program.
This year’s Scholars Day, chaired by Linda DeButts, David Wiseman and Gabriela Sprague, featured a full morning of breakout sessions and exhibitions hosted by Brookdale faculty, staff and administrators in the MAS building.
From a presentation by Linda Wang and Barbara Tozzi on a new Open Educational Resources initiative, which will allow Brookdale math students to ditch traditional textbooks and potentially save tens of thousands of dollars during the 2017-18 school year, to a discussion of the growing symbiosis between education and employment hosted by Greg Menza, Sarah McElroy, Jill Donovan and Joan Scocco, this year’s program offered a comprehensive look into past, present and future of higher education.
Presentations focused on a wide range of curriculum, outreach and student service topics, including growing achievement gaps for specific student populations, the benefits of student activities and clubs, the use of technology in the classroom, and various methods of assessing student outcomes.
Other breakout sessions focused on more general topics, such as Dinneen Jackson Peleskey’s talk on maintaining a healthy work-life balance, Greg Mahadeen’s discussion of quick and easy “office exercises,” and Moe Rahman’s tips to avoid downloading malware at work or at home.
View the full list of Scholars Day Presentations here.
In recognition of Brookdale’s 50th anniversary, Scholars Day 2017 also featured a keynote address titled “50 Years and Counting: Envisioning our Future,” delivered by William Burns, Yesenia Madas, Joan Scocco, Jonathan Shaloum and Fidel Wilson.
Each speaker presented on a different aspect of the Brookdale experience that has changed or is expected to change in the coming years, and outlined specific strategies faculty and staff can embrace to ensure students’ continued success for many years to come.
Burns and Shaloum gave an overview of the “millenial generation” and stressed the importance of adopting new classroom-based technologies to engage the next generation of students. Shaloum, who presented on recent projects conducted in the Brookdale Innovation Center to create interactive multimedia training materials for nursing and chemistry courses, said nearly 90 percent of today’s students would like to utilize mobile devices in the classroom. By embracing, rather than resisting, such preferences, added Burns, faculty and staff will help millenials reach their fullest potential.
“The millenial generation, whatever they may be, are going to be better served by us when we do what we do well, and we enhance it with technology,” Burns said.
Wilson spoke about the radically changing demographics of Brookdale’s student population, which is expected to include more female, minority and low-income students and fewer “traditional” college-age students in the years ahead.
More importantly, he added, Brookdale will be welcoming a larger percentage of first-generation college students, who will have more questions, concerns and encounter more challenges than second- or third-generation college graduates.
To support them, Wilson said, Brookdale faculty and staff will have to consider new approaches to academic preparedness, financial aid services, online course offerings and college-wide retention initiatives, while providing students with increased opportunities to develop information literacy, writing and research skills, and participate in cross-disciplinary learning communities.
Scocco spoke about the importance of establishing strategic partnerships with area employers, which will help the college build targeted career training and degree programs that lead to rewarding, long-term employment in the Monmouth County region.
“The jobs that our students will fill may not even exist today,” Scocco said. “So we really have to be at the table with employers to understand what the trends are and what their needs are, not just now but well into the future.”
The keynote concluded with a presentation by Madas on the changing landscape of higher education in America. Across the U.S., she said, community colleges are facing the same challenges and embracing new models, partnerships, and alliances to help improve retention and graduation rates in the face of shrinking funding.
To overcome those challeneges, said Madas, all Brookdale employees will need to unite under the same banner: student success.
“We are one Brookdale. We need to remember that,” Madas said. “A lot of times you hear, ‘There, here, us, we, them,’ but we need to remember that we are one. And we are stronger together… I want you all to remember why we are here. Let’s come together as a community and be the ‘One Brookdale’ that I know we can be. And let’s continue to focus on why we’re here: to continue to change lives.”
Scholars Day concluded with an address by committee co-chairs and Brookdale president Maureen Murphy in the Student Life Center, followed by a presentation of certificates to all presenters.
“I want to thank everyone who was a part of Scholars Day,” said DeButts. “I look around and I’m really, really excited about how the day went.”
Check out more photos from 2017 Scholars Day here.