Author: Larry Hlavenka

“Noises Off” Closes Bergenstages Season

Jason Ver Hage, of Midland Park as Lloyd Dallas, and Christine Dunning, of Ridgewood as Dotty Loudon/Mrs. Clackett.

PARAMUS, N.J. – The Bergenstages theatre troupe presents its final production of the season, “Noises Off,” a classic comedy showcasing a story within a story, beginning Friday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m. in Bergen Community College’s Anna Maria Ciccone Theatre (400 Paramus Road).

Written by playwright Michael Frayn, this comedic farce presents a manic menagerie of itinerant actors rehearsing a play called “Nothing’s On.” The story centers on the backstage antics of the actors and the chaos that ensues when it seems like everything is going wrong.

The show runs Friday, April 5, Saturday April 6, Thursday, April 11, Friday, April 12 and Saturday, April 13 at 7:30 p.m. On Saturday, April 6 and Saturday, April 13, matinee performances will take place at 2 p.m. A special sign-interpreted performance will be held on Friday, April 12. All performances will be held in the Anna Maria Ciccone Theatre.

Show tickets prices for the general public are $15, with discounts offered to senior citizens, Bergen faculty and students. For additional information, please call (201) 447-7428 or visit tickets.bergen.edu.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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Partnership Boosts Teaching Resources at Bergen

Bergen faculty and staff gathered for a January kick-off event that announced the partnership with the Association of College and University Educators.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College has partnered with the Association of College and University Educators (ACUE) to offer its faculty a new resource to enhance effective teaching practices. As part of the three-year partnership, ACUE will offer Bergen educators a 25-module course on topics such as class design, assessment and promoting student learning. Faculty who complete the course will receive a nationally-recognized certificate in effective college instruction endorsed by the American Council on Education and can receive three graduate credits issued by the group’s accrediting body. Bergen secured funding for the program through a U.S. Department of Education  grant (#P031S160134).

“We are improving students’ experiences by equipping faculty with evidence-based practices,” Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning Managing Director Amarjit Kaur, Ph.D., said. “The program will prepare faculty to use research-based practices in their classroom, consider alternative teaching methods and refine existing classroom practices.”

Fifty-three full- and part-time Bergen faculty members will participate in the effort’s inaugural two cohorts, learning together as part of the paced program. Additional cohorts will begin each fall. Faculty can expect to participate in hands-on learning experiences, according to Kaur.

“Faculty will watch authentic footage of exemplary classroom instructions from two- and four-year institutions, choose from hundreds of evidence-based practices, collaborate with colleagues, receive expert feedback from an external coach and obtain guidance from an in-house facilitator assigned to the team.”

Additionally, the College will have the opportunity to assess the results of students learning under the participating faculty, while seeking to identify possible impact on engagement, retention and graduation rates at the institution.

In partnership with institutions of higher education nationwide, ACUE supports and credentials faculty members in the use of evidence-based teaching practices that drive student engagement, retention, and learning. ACUE’s community of professional practice connects college educators from across the country through member forums, podcasts and updates on the latest developments in the scholarship of teaching and learning. For more information, visit acue.org.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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$100k Grant Spurs Programs for Military Veterans

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College’s Center for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation and Center for Veteran and Military Affairs have begun to mobilize a $100,000 grant awarded from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to launch programs that will support the community at-large.

An open-ended discussion series on military literature – “No Man’s Land: Dialogues on the Experience of War” – will launch Thursday, April 4 at 6 p.m. in room C-325 at the College’s main campus at 400 Paramus Road in Paramus. Future sessions will take place Thursday, April 11 and Friday, April 19 at the same time and place.

Additionally, and in collaboration with the “No Man’s Land” series, the College’s Literary Arts Series program will host award-winning writer and U.S. military veteran Phil Klay for a discussion and book signing Thursday, March 28 at 1:45 p.m. in the Moses Family Meeting & Training Center (TEC-128) at Bergen’s main campus. He will also participate in an author discussion and question-and-answer session at 11 a.m. in the same room.

All events are free and open to the public, though guests should RSVP for the “No Man’s Land” dialogues by emailing [email protected] or [email protected].

The programs reflect the College’s prioritization of providing support for U.S. military veterans by encouraging the community to study the issues raised by war and military service. Thomas LaPointe, co-director of the “No Man’s Land” project and associate professor of composition and literature, said, “Examining and exploring the experience of war also offers an extraordinary opportunity to engage in discussions about the impact of trauma in our local Bergen community – and globally.”

The “No Man’s Land” series will feature a work of military literature during each of its dialogue sessions: Phil Klay’s “Redeployment” April 4, Ernest Hemingway’s “Soldier’s Home” April 11, and “How to Tell a True War Story,” from Tim O’Brien’s “The Things They Carried” April 19. Student and non-student veterans, their families and interested members of the community can attend the discussions to discuss the works and share their own experiences.

Meanwhile, Klay, a U.S. Marine Corps veteran and New York Times best-selling author who also won the National Book Award for Fiction in 2014, will read from “Redeployment” and accept questions from audience members after his keynote address. Klay, a 2018 Hunt Prize winner for outstanding work in Cultural and Historical Criticism, was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Marine Corps in 2005 and served in Iraq’s Anbar Province from January 2007 to February 2008 as a public affairs officer. To learn more about the Bergen Literary Arts Series and Phil Klay, visit www.literaryartsseries.org/ and www.philklay.com/.

The events, made possible by the NEH grant, are sponsored by Bergen’s Literary Arts Series, the Center for Peace, Justice and Reconciliation, and the Center for Veteran and Military Affairs. NEH offers the “Dialogues on the Experience of War” program as part of its current initiative “Standing Together: The Humanities and the Experience of War.” Established in 2015, the highly competitive national grant has been awarded to an average of 15 organizations per year.

There are approximately 150 self-identified student veterans enrolled at Bergen and more than 31,000 veterans who live in Bergen County, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In 2013, the College opened its Veterans and Military Affairs Center at the main campus. Through the center, the College offers veteran-specific counselors and advisers, and information on benefits, events and resources to ensure their success in the classroom and after graduation.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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Professor’s Music Hits Socially-Conscious Note

Professor Dan Sheehan.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College music professor Dan Sheehan has released his fifth album, “Tales from Earth Incorporated,” to raise awareness about global economic injustice and greed.

Inspired by socially conscious albums and songs such as the Who’s “Quadrophenia,” “Ohio” by Crosby, Stills & Nash, “Mercy, Mercy Me” by Marvin Gaye, “Ball of Confusion” by the Temptations and “American Idiot” by Green Day, Sheehan, of Garden City, New York, fuses rock, soul, classical, jazz and world music from Brazil, Africa and South Asia to create an unique musical listening experience and stir a “socially conscious music and art movement,” he said.

“Tales from Earth Incorporated” songs such as “Zero Tolerance” addresses issues with the justice system, while “Kimberley” highlights the terrors of blood diamonds in Zimbabwe. Sheehan’s favorite song, “Wishing Well,” discusses climate change and the struggles of people in three low lying locations of the world: Kiribati, the Maldives and Bangladesh.

“We are living in historically crucial times,” he said. “Such times compel artists to take a stand and speak to what’s going on in the world around us. In recent years, my growing awareness of the extent to which greed has become the driving force behind so much that transpires in this world, bringing devastation to all corners of the globe, drove me to write this collection of songs telling the stories of people around the world and how they have been affected by the rising culture of greed.”

Sheehan collaborated with Dave Krusen – the first drummer of rock band Pearl Jam and current drummer for Candlebox – and Patrick Moraz – keyboardist of Yes and the Moody Blues – on the album. Sheehan also teamed up with several Bergen faculty including Andy Krikun, John LaBarbera, Peter Furlan, Nadya Kourani, Paul Lee and Patrice DeVincentis as well as Bergen alumni Ori Yekutiel and Will Sapanaro to produce.

Sheehan recorded some of the album in studios at the College, as well as California and New York. Radio stations such as WLFR 91.7 FM at Stockton University, WHFR 89.3 FM in the Detroit area and Tameside radio, a region of Manchester England, have all given the album air play.

For lyrics and more information about “Tales from Earth Incorporated,” visit www.dansheehan.net and www.talesfromearthinc.com. For concert bookings, email [email protected]

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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Student Research Published in International Journal

Bergen research appeared in European Pharmaceutical Review.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College Professor Luiz Jimenez, Ph.D., and four students, Arianna Pinto, Stephanie Perez, Sibora Peca and Lisa Pincus, had their research published in the December issue of the international pharmaceutical industry journal, European Pharmaceutical Review.

Jimenez, of Fair Lawn, led Pinto, of Kearny, Perez of Englewood, Peca of Metuchen, and Pincus of Hasbrouck Heights, in researching quality control measures for rapidly identifying staph bacteria in medicine. Inclusion in the journal represents the sixth time students working under his direction have seen their work published. Two additional articles remain in-press. Jimenez worked in the pharmaceutical industry for 20 years, recording an entry in 62 publications and delivering 132 presentations.

“It has been an amazing and enlightening experience for me,” he said. “I am grateful that I am able to be a role model for students. We have incredible students with incredible opportunities.”

The student researchers such as Pincus, who will graduate with an associate’s degree in biology this May, appreciate the mentorship from Jimenez. Pincus enjoyed the research process so much that she changed career interests from acting and modeling to biology.

“Being in Professor Jimenez’s research joined me with other like-minded people,” Pincus said. “I am really proud to be published and proud to share this accomplishment with family, friends, and coworkers.”

The other recently published students, Pinto, Perez and Peca, have graduated and attend Rutgers University and Pace University. Peca currently serves as the alumni representative on the College’s board of trustees – the institution’s governing panel.

Last year, students Joy Bochis, Tina Choe, Victoria Ellman, Matthew Gardner, Theranda Jashari, Margarita Kulko, Jenifer Vasquez and Stephanie Zapata were published in the peer reviewed international journal PDA Journal of Pharmaceutical Science and Technology for their work on medicine contaminated by bacteria. The students, who have all graduated, attend colleges such as Columbia University and the University of Pennsylvania, while others have opened their own businesses.

Research opportunities at Bergen are made available through grant funding by the current 3SP STEMATICS program and previously by the STEM GPS Graduate Path for Success program.

For more information on the publications where Bergen research appeared, visit europeanpharmaceuticalreview.com and journal.pda.org.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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Professors Earn Innovation Award for Essay Program

John Findura and Kelly Keane.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Selected from an institution-record 15 nominations, faculty member Kelly Keane and staff member John Findura have received the “Innovation of the Year Award” at Bergen Community College for their college transfer essay program that provided no-cost assistance to students navigating the written component to the transfer process into four-year institutions. Keane, of Ridgewood, an associate professor, serves as faculty liaison to the College’s writing center, which Findura, of Towaco, supervises.

To date, the pair, along with a team of tutors, have held 12 workshops assisting more than 120 students. Students have received acceptance to colleges such as Columbia University, New York University and Rutgers University.

“We are supporting students who would not have otherwise received assistance,” Keane said. “We’re helping them build on their own successes.”

Launched in November 2017, the program helps students fine-tune their writing and essays, but has also inspired them to turn their areas of interest into unique stories that capture the attention of admissions representatives.

“Students doubt that their story is unique to get into a four-year school,” Findura said.

“We want to help them find those moments that set them apart,” Keane added.

As part of the program, students attend three workshops that outline the transfer process. They receive multiple levels of support.

“John and I work with a team of tutors,” Keane said. “This is a group effort and the group does important work.”

The program has not only received the College’s innovation award, but recognition from the New York Police Athletic League. In December 2018, Keane, Findura and three professional tutors visited a Bronx PAL site to hold a writing-intensive session for high school seniors preparing college essays. Keane and Findura will also present information on the transfer essay initiative at the Association for the Coaching and Tutoring Profession conference in Orlando, Florida in March.

Launched in 2013-14, Bergen’s innovation program celebrates the commitment to creativity as one of its core values and provides an opportunity for all faculty, administrators and staff to showcase innovations they have designed and implemented that positively impact the education of students. The winning innovation receives $750 to further the program or initiative.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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Laserfiche Recognizes Bergen’s Use of Technology

Bergen’s Nishika Gupta and Arooj Javed.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College has earned a 2018 Laserfiche Run Smarter award for its innovative use of the organization’s content management and efficiency technology. Bergen represents the only institution of higher education to receive a Run Smarter Award this year. Eleven winners from across the globe, including the U.S., Hong Kong and Mexico, were announced Feb. 7 during the Laserfiche Empower Conference in Long Beach, California. The company launched the Run Smarter Awards program in 2005 to recognize partners who take innovative approaches in deploying its enterprise content management software.

“By offering students efficient methods of managing their academic progress, it provides them with more time to focus on the core reason they’re here – their education,” Bergen Documents & Records Manager Nishika Gupta said. “When you have a partner like Laserfiche to find digital solutions to long-standing challenges, it’s a win for everyone involved.”

“Through its vision and leadership, Bergen Community College is demonstrating the future of work, which supports collaboration, innovation and ingenuity,” Laserfiche President Karl Chan said. “This forward-thinking approach to operations is positioning Bergen as a leader in higher education.”

Bergen earned recognition for its use of Laserfiche to automate key student enrollment, registration and business processes, including change of curriculum requests. By digitally streamlining these functions online, students receive faster service and no longer complete paper forms, offering improved document management and organization for the institution.

Laserfiche is a leading global provider of enterprise content management software to help organizations support their information and business processes. With intuitive on-premises and cloud solutions for document management and process automation, Laserfiche improves productivity, efficiency and strategic decision-making for organizations looking to transform into a digital workplace. For more than three decades, Laserfiche has fostered an active user community that shares ideas and inspires solutions. To learn more, visit laserfiche.com/about-laserfiche.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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Student Leader Notches National Honor

Gabriella Setti.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College student Gabriella Setti has received the Undergraduate Student of the Year Award from the Association for Student Conduct Administration for her campus contributions and student judiciary leadership as chief justice of the Bergen Student Government Association (SGA).

“The Office of Student Conduct and the Division of Student Affairs is very proud of Gabriella for receiving the Undergraduate Student of the Year Award and believes that this is a great representation of her and the institution,” Ian Wolf, coordinator of student conduct and information, said. “Gabriella has distinguished herself as a vibrant student leader in this role by tackling problems head on, mentoring emerging student leaders, and exploring new ideas of student engagement through the lens of student conduct.”

Passionate about social justice and women’s rights, Setti, a psychology major, aspires to enter a career in law.

“It is a huge honor to win the award,” Setti, of Teaneck, said. “It was a surreal and humbling experience for me. I personally love what I do as chief justice.”

Serving as the chief justice of the SGA since May 2018, Setti chairs the judiciary branch of the SGA and serves as one of five student leaders on the SGA executive board. She also co-chairs a college-wide committee, Breathe Clear Campus, which focuses on ending tobacco use at Bergen. Setti completed training to become a student member of the College’s community standards review board and motor vehicle appeal boards. She will graduate in May.

The Association for Student Conduct Administration has a mission to advance the student conduct profession and promote core values in advocacy, community, diversity and inclusion, education, integrity, and leadership. The Association for Student Conduct Administration awards the Undergraduate Student of the Year Award to an undergraduate student who has held a leadership role related to student conduct administration and has made significant contributions to his or her institution.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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Bergen Screens Classics from Silent Film Era

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College will continue its “Cinema Ciccone” film series with the screening of two classics from the silent film era – “Assunta Spina” and “The Immigrant” Thursday, Feb. 28 at 7 p.m. in the Anna Maria Ciccone Theatre (400 Paramus Road).

Produced in 1915, “Assunta Spina” is based on the novel and play by Salvatore Di Giacomo. It portrays a working-class girl in Naples, Italy, whose livelihood and honor is constantly threatened by those more powerful than herself. “The Immigrant,” produced in 1917, stars Charlie Chaplin, who also wrote and directed the film. The movie depicts Chaplin as an immigrant who is accused of theft on his voyage to the U.S. and how he falls in love with a young woman.

Bergen professor John T. LaBarbera also will perform two newly composed scores to enhance the experience.

Admission is $20 per person. For additional information, please call (201) 447-7428 or visit tickets.bergen.edu.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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Prof. Who Brought TEDx to Bergen Honored

Professor Ellen Feig introducing a speaker at a Bergen TEDx event.

PARAMUS, N.J. – Bergen Community College Professor Ellen Feig has received the John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Award from the League for Innovation in the Community College for her work in creating and implementing the TEDx program at the institution. TEDx events provide communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through guest speakers. Bergen was the first community college in the country to earn a TEDx license in 2014.

“This award recognizes the hard work of the professors and students who have contributed to make this program a success,” Feig said. “In 2018, more than 100 students volunteered at our event and we had more than 300 attendees, including two local area high schools.”

Feig, of Nyack, New York, recalls 2016 as her favorite year of hosting TEDx.

“We had such a diverse group of student volunteers,” she said. “They worked so well together and made the day such a success.”

Bergen’s TEDx events have featured talks on a wide range of issues including the Armenian genocide and the importance of change in the world.

“Our first event was small but our program has grown throughout the years,” Feig said. “Other colleges throughout the country have used our template to start their own TEDx program, which is its own reward. In addition, there have been nearly two million views of our events on the TEDx YouTube channel.”

The League for Innovation established the John and Suanne Roueche Excellence Awards in 2012. These awards are open to league alliance member institutions to celebrate outstanding contributions and leadership by community college faculty and staff. Recipients are recognized in a series of activities and promotions, and honored at special events at the League’s Innovations conference each spring.

Based in Paramus, Bergen Community College (www.bergen.edu), a public two-year coeducational college, enrolls more than 14,000 students at locations in Paramus, the Philip Ciarco Jr. Learning Center in Hackensack and Bergen Community College at the Meadowlands in Lyndhurst. The College offers associate degree, certificate and continuing education programs in a variety of fields. More students graduate from Bergen than any other community college in the state.

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