Berkeley College alumni, business partners, faculty and staff gathered to celebrate the 20th anniversary of online education at Berkeley College during National Distance Learning Week (NDLW) in November. The festivities included a preview of initiatives to commemorate 20 years of online education at Berkeley College in 2018. During NDLW, the United States Distance Learning Association (USDLA), showcases worldwide content that features distance learning accomplishments from all sectors including Pre-K-12, Higher Education, Corporate, Government/Military and Telehealth.
“Berkeley College is proud to be one of the first college or university programs worldwide certified by Berkeley College by the United States Distance Learning Association,” said Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College. “Since that designation four years ago, Berkeley College strives to continue achieving even greater levels of excellence in its online program. Best of all, we see that innovation and flexibility afforded through online learning are two aspects of the Berkeley College experience that influence student and graduate outcome in positive ways. Adult learners especially need flexible paths to a college degree or career certification,” he added.
Speakers at the gathering included Sharon Goldstein, Campus Operating Officer, Berkeley College Online®; Kevin L. Luing, Berkeley College Board Chairman; Joseph Scuralli, DPS, Dean, Online; and alumna Jessica Mahoney, Esq., of Middletown, NY,
Dr. Scuralli taught his first online course in 2010. “Standing on the shoulders of the faculty that had taught before me, I found teaching Berkeley College online courses to be a very rewarding and enriching experience,” he said. “Using the technology available online was much more interesting than being in a brick and mortar classroom.”
“Berkeley College has come a long way since those first days 20 years ago,” Dr. Scuralli said. “We have had many successes, including earning the United States Distance Learning Association continued Quality Standards Certification status. Today we run approximately 400 sections per term, with more than 3,000 students taking at least one online course per term, and our initiatives to improve the quality of our students’ experience continue.”
Ms. Mahoney was on the fast track when she graduated from Berkeley College with a BS in Justice Studies – Criminal Justice in 2011. Her dream since childhood was to become a lawyer. She took courses in Midtown Manhattan, White Plains, NY, and online.
“I knew Berkeley College was the right choice for me. I was able to live at home, work part-time, and obtain an internship at a local law office while earning my degree,” she said. “Taking courses online required a great level of self-discipline,” Ms. Mahoney said. “I learned the importance of time management, organization and how to balance my life. That transferred over in my career as an attorney where I constantly manage deadlines,” she added.
Ms. Mahoney graduated from Albany Law School in 2014, the same year she sat for the New York State Bar Exam. By 2015 she was sworn in as an Attorney and Counsellor at Law by the Second Department of the Appellate Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York.
Focusing primarily in the areas of real property and municipal law, Ms. Mahoney opened her own firm, JM Mahoney Law PLLC, in September 2017. Prior to opening her own firm, Ms. Mahoney was an Associate Attorney at The Law Office of Elizabeth K. Cassidy PLLC, in Warwick, NY, and Drake Loeb PLLC, in New Windsor, NY. Mrs. Mahoney will also teach at Berkeley College beginning in January 2018 as an adjunct professor for Legal Studies.
Other Berkeley College alumni in attendance at the celebration included Crystal Chisholm of Bloomfield, NJ, and Assata Knox of Summit, NJ.
Ms. Chisholm graduated with an AAS in 2001 in Business Administration – Office System Management, and a BS in 2010 in Management – Human Resources Management. Now she is the CEO and Founder of Crayne Career Solutions, LLC, conducting speaking engagements and career counseling services for individuals from all walks of life.
“I always had a love for Human Resources,” said Ms. Chisholm. “But after being in the corporate workplace for 17 years I realized I needed a Bachelor’s degree, and I was pregnant at the time. It gave me freedom and flexibility. Returning by taking courses at Berkeley College Online was a good challenge for me.”
Ms. Knox graduated from Berkeley College in 2010 with a BS in Finance. She is currently enrolled in the MBA in Management program at Berkeley College and is the Lead Customer Service Representative for The Connection, a nonprofit organization located in Summit, NJ, that offers enrichment programs for all members of the community.
“I chose Berkeley College because I could take courses online,” Ms. Knox said. “After I graduate with my MBA in 2018 I can offer my employer more expertise from a business and managerial perspective.”
Nearly 3,100 students – or 44 percent – of undergraduates, and 104 graduate students – 88 percent – were enrolled in at least one online course at Berkeley College in the fall 2017. More than 395 sections of 188 undergraduate online courses are being taught by 194 faculty, and 22 graduate-level online courses by 14 faculty this semester.
The online program at Berkeley College is supported through outstanding leadership, and for the past four years, 2014-2017, Berkeley College has been cited by U.S News & World Report for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs and Best Online Bachelor’s Programs for Veterans.
Online campus life experiences include online clubs, social media engagement, wellness and personal development programs, and workshops focusing on student success. All of the student support services such as Academic Advisement, Library, the Center for Academic Success, and Career Services are available to online students as well as to students on site. Berkeley College Online students are also welcome to apply for the Berkeley College Honors Program.
Edward J. Dennis Appointed as Assistant Vice President, Office of Military and Veteran Affairs at Berkeley College
Edward J. Dennis has been appointed Assistant Vice President, Office of Military and Veteran Affairs, at Berkeley College. In this role, Mr. Dennis will provide leadership and direction to the Office of Military and Veteran Affairs and oversee all aspects of military programs, Veterans support efforts and associate development across many departments. This includes participating in the College’s annual strategic planning processes and working with faculty and staff to develop goals and objectives for Military and Veterans Affairs.
“Mr. Dennis is an asset to our team – an accomplished professional with higher education experience working directly with Veterans and their benefits,” said Diane Recinos, EdD, Senior Vice President, Student Success, Berkeley College. “He served in the U.S. Army for 21 years before transitioning into his role assisting veterans.”
Prior to this appointment, Mr. Dennis worked as Director, Military Veteran Services, for the Community College of Allegheny County, Pittsburgh, PA, where he implemented programs to support more than 650 military students. He was the Military Relations Manager at Bryant & Stratton College, Buffalo, NY, where he created and directed programs to enroll Veterans, along with service members and their families. For the U.S. Army, he held numerous leadership positions.
Outside of the office, Mr. Dennis volunteers with Veteran Service Organizations. He says one of his best experiences was lobbying with the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America during Storm the Hill. “The ‘Stormers’ in this leadership development program have successfully fought for better body armor, secured funding for healthcare and worked to strengthen the new G.I. Bill,” said Mr. Dennis.
Mr. Dennis holds an MBA in Business Administration from the University of the Incarnate Word, San Antonio, TX, and a BA in Employment Relations from the State University of New York at Potsdam, NY.
Berkeley College Student Lends Voice to Law Enforcement and Military Panel Discussion in Paterson, NJ
Berkeley College student Huda Shalabi of Paterson, NJ (far right), joins women from law enforcement and the military to share her experiences with high school students at the third annual “Teen Girls Leadership and Success Summit.” The event was hosted by the Garden State Woman Education Foundation and Oasis, A Haven for Women & Children, in Paterson on October 21, 2017, in honor of Women’s Entrepreneurship Week.
Ms. Shalabi will graduate from Berkeley College in May 2018 with a Bachelor’s degree in Justice Studies – Criminal Justice. Having interned with the Paterson Police Department, she will soon start an internship with the Passaic County Sheriff’s Office to continue her pursuit of a career in law enforcement. “My goal is to break the barrier as the first Muslim police officer to wear a hijab here in Paterson,” said Ms. Shalabi. Click here to read a story about Ms. Shalabi published by The Record.
Pictured sitting with Ms. Shalabi from left are Staff Sargent Nasteshia Robinson, U.S. Army Recruiter, Mid Atlantic Recruiting Battalion assigned to 1K8O East Orange Rec. Center; Jennifer Di Girolamo, HM1, U.S. Navy Reserve; Sergeant Stacey Lloyd, Assistant Unit Head, Recruiting Unit, New Jersey State Police, and CEO/President, Goldmind Consultants; and Anneris Hernandez, Assistant Prosecutor, Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office. Standing behind the panelists is Joanna Gagis, Host, “Life & Living” on NJTV and FiOS1, Caucus Educational Corporation, who also serves on the board of Oasis, A Haven for Women & Children.
Newark Mayor Ras J. Baraka Shares Vision of City with Berkeley College Students
Ras J. Baraka, Mayor of Newark, NJ, received a warm welcome from the Berkeley College community during a recent visit to the Newark campus. After touring the campus, he met with students and officials to discuss topics ranging from education and career pathways to public safety and economic development, including the City’s proposal to Amazon.com Inc., to open Amazon’s second North American headquarters in the Brick City.
While students were curious about the status of Newark’s bid to Amazon, the Mayor took the opportunity to emphasize the many assets of the City for all businesses. “Amazon aside, the City is incredibly important, with a manufacturing base, the second largest seaport in the country, warehousing and logistics, a mass transit hub and an international airport,” said Mayor Baraka.
Kevin Luing, Chairman of the Berkeley College Board of Trustees, told students, “Your campus is not just Berkeley College; it is the entire City of Newark.”
“We believe in the future of Newark and in the opportunities the City provides,” said Michael J. Smith, President of Berkeley College. “Our goal is to do our part to make our students labor-ready.”
One student, Vanessa Wilson of East Orange, majoring in Fashion Merchandising and Management at Berkeley College, asked Mayor Baraka, “What can we do to stress academics – to have academics taken seriously?”
“They have to see you,” said Mayor Baraka. “The reality is you have to model what the outcomes are for people. Your peers are going to be inspired by you.”
Another student, Chevonne Newman of Newark, is completing her final semester earning a Bachelor’s degree in Legal Studies. “I was happy the Mayor took the time to meet with us and to speak with us about what we’re doing at Berkeley College,” she said. “It shows he really cares about the people in his City.”
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