Hundreds of faculty, staff and administrators came together to kick off the 2017-18 school year on Sept. 5 during Brookdale’s annual Fall Convocation ceremony in the Collins Arena.
The program served as the first official introduction of new interim President David Stout, who was welcomed to the stage with a standing ovation by the capacity crowd.
“Thank you very much. It is my incredible honor to be here with you today,” said Stout. “We have just celebrated our 50th anniversary of being here together as a family, and today we begin a new chapter. This is the first page of the next 50 years. We have lots of amazing, incredible, positive things that are going to be happening in our future, I promise you.”
Stout provided an overview of some of the key new programs, facilities and initiatives rolling out at Brookdale this year, including new early-college high school partnerships, new career training programs, a new Wall Campus building, new science labs in Lincroft, and new recruitment and admissions partnerships with Georgian Court and Monmouth universities.
He also highlighted a number of significant achievements in areas like enrollment and finance, including a 28 percent enrollment jump at the Wall Campus this fall and nearly 10 percent enrollment increases at the Neptune and Long Branch Higher Education Centers. College-wide, enrollment for the 2017-18 school year is significantly higher than originally projected, Stout said.
“I want to thank each any every one of you, from all offices, departments, student service divisions and higher education centers, for helping to reverse that trend,” Stout said. “I think the tide is turning, and that positivity and that momentum is going to carry us forward.”
Vice President for Learning Matthew Reed also discussed a number of new academic and student service initiatives, including new “textbook-free” courses in subjects like math and speech and the college’s Helping Hands program, which provides free food and snacks to students in need.
A Helping Hands table was set up at convocation, with volunteers collecting donated granola bars, bottled water, and other items from the employees in attendance.
“The students deserve the best we can give them,” said Reed. “No student should be shut out of a class because they can’t afford the book. No student should be too distracted to learn because they are too hungry. That shouldn’t happen, that doesn’t need to happen, and it’s not going to happen.”
Fall Convocation also featured a presentation on the college’s ongoing reaccreditation process by Howard Miller, who encouraged all employees in attendance to assist in the effort by providing feedback on the work done so far. Employees can view all current reaccreditation documents and provide comments via BrookdaleShare. Feedback is due by Sept. 18.
A number of personnel and departmental changes were also announced during the ceremony, including: Herbert Cohen, as new interim vice president of Student Success; Joseph Pingitore, as new interim executive director of finance; Robert Francis, as new interim director of operations; Nancy O’Shea, as new interim director of the One Stop; and Ellie Horgan, as new interim director of Advising and Counseling.
Brookdale’s Innovation Center, added Reed, will now be named The Teaching and Learning Center.
Check out more photos from 2017 Fall Convocation here.