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About Union

Union County College has a remarkable history as New Jersey’s first community college. We are known for excellence among regional colleges and universities.

2016 News Archive


Union County College to Offer “Girls Gone Wired II: A Night with Python” at Cranford Campus

Union County College is offering a free demonstration class, called “Girls Gone Wired II: A Night with Python,” to host an Hour of Code™ event during Computer Science Education Week, which runs from Dec. 5-11, 2016.


The College will offer the free class at its Cranford Campus, located at 1033 Springfield Avenue. The class will be held on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in Room SD 206 (second floor of the Student Development Building). All are welcome.

Participants will learn basic Python programming and develop materials using the programming language. No programming experience is required to attend. The course will be led by Beth Ritter-Guth, Union’s Director of Instructional Design at the College.

The course is free, but registration is required because there are a limited number of spots are available. The program is open to anyone aged 12 and above. Please RSVP to beth.ritter-guth@ucc.edu .   The ‘Hour of Code™’ is a nationwide initiative by Computer Science Education Week and Code.org to introduce millions of students to one hour of computer science and computer programming.


Union County College’s

The Union County College Men’s Basketball team are also off to an exciting start this season. They won an exciting game on Tues., Nov. 22, against the County College of Morris by a score of 103-84. In the first half, Union jumped out to a ten point lead using a stifling full court press. Morris then regained confidence with their own 12-0 run. Morris took a 4-0 lead but Union came back with a 6-0 run led by point guard Jevon “JV” Allen (Rahway) and Chinua “Chewy” Messena (Bloomfield). After a half hour of back and forth action, Union went into half time with a 48-46 lead led by D’Andre “DJ” Simpson (Hillside) shooting 5-7 from 3 point range.

After some quick adjustments at the half, Union came out with a quick 8-0 run led by JV Allen with some spectacular no look passes and finishes. Nasir Akran (Hillside) was determined to get to the basket and not settle for jump shots. From that point on Union never looked back. The Owls were led by DJ Simpson with 26 points who finished 8-12 from the 3 point line. Nasir Akran had 22 points and Chewy Messena had 18 points.

The Union County College Men’s Basketball Team is scheduled to play against Ocean County College at 6 p.m. on Tues., Nov. 29, 2016, in the Gym at the Cranford campus. The campus is located at 1033 Springfield Avenue. For more information about Union County College or the Athletics Department, go to http://www.unionowls.com/landing/index .


Union County College’s Women’s Basketball Team Beats Previously Undefeated Monroe College

On Wed., Nov. 16, 2016, the Lady Owls jumped out to a 19 point lead early in the first quarter, and went on to beat Monroe College (NY) by a score of 81-73. Both teams battled in the first half, with Union maintaining a double digit lead at the half. Monroe came out firing in the third quarter, bringing them within 3 points. The game was back and forth throughout the 3rd and 4th quarters until the Lady Owls pulled ahead for good, beating a very solid Monroe women’s basketball team.

Union had four players score in double figures during the game. Acestra Robinson (Newark) led the way with 23 points hitting 50% of her field goal attempts. Close behind in scoring was Francesca Cherasaro (North Plainfield) with 21 points, Kiante Johnson (Jersey City) and Afeni Robinson (Hillside) each finished with 12 apiece.

The next home game for the Lady Owls will be played against Valley Forge Military College at 12 p.m. on Sat., Nov. 19, 2016, in the Gym at the Cranford campus. The campus is located at 1033 Springfield Avenue. For more information about Union County College or the Athletics Department, click here.

Union County College Student Chosen as 2016 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar

Union County College student and Phi Theta Kappa member, Jason Stefanik, of Union, has been selected as a 2016 Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholar. The Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise scholarship program provides new Phi Theta Kappa members with financial resources to help defray educational expenses while enrolled in a two-year college to develop leadership potential through participation in Phi Theta Kappa programs. Phi Theta Kappa is the international honor society for two-year colleges. This year’s recipients were selected by a panel of independent judges from more than 1,100 applicants.  Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholars are selected based on outstanding academic achievement and demonstrated leadership.
The Leaders of Promise Scholarship is sponsored by the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation. This Program awards 200 scholars with scholarships of $1,000 each, totaling $200,000. Twenty-five of the additional scholarships, a total of $25,000, are earmarked for Society members who are active personnel or veterans of the U.S. Military. J. Mark Davis, President of the Coca-Cola Scholars Foundation, said their organization feels strongly about supporting engaged community college students, and active-duty service members and veterans in their educational quest.

The Leaders of Promise Scholarship Program was launched by Phi Theta Kappa International Officers in 2001.  The program is part of the Society’s long-range plan, The Alpha Project, to provide scholarships to new Phi Theta Kappa members to assist in their obtaining an associate degree, and encourage participation in Society programs. This is the first scholarship program available to members to be used during the time they are enrolled in their community colleges. Today, the Coca-Cola Leaders of Promise Scholarship is more relevant than ever as Phi Theta Kappa, colleges, and communities are actively encouraging completion of an associate degree or certificate, among students enrolled in community college.

Women Learn to Build Apps During “Girls Gone Wired: Game Day” Event  9-26-2016

Twelve women and two men participated in the “Girls Gone Wired: Game Day” free demonstration class hosted by Union County College on Sat., Sept. 17 at its Rahway facility. As the title suggests, the class especially sought to reach out to women in Union County but everyone was welcome.   Union County Board of Chosen Freeholder Vice Chairman Sergio Granados helped kick off the exciting day of learning. He stopped by and greeted the class participants, who learned to build simple functional apps and mobile games for Android using Magic 8 Ball, PicCall, BackTalk, Mole Mash, Get the Gold, and Mini Golf. “The Freeholder Board, through our Office on Women, was proud to partner with the College to offer a program that offered a cutting-edge skill to participants,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “The development of computer apps over the past decade has completely revolutionized mobile communications, and will continue to play a key role in how we access information and communicate with each other.”   The participants did not need any programming experience to take the class. The course was led by Beth Ritter-Guth, Union’s Director of Instructional Design. At the end of the day, the participants expressed that they definitely learned some basic programming principles during the session and would like to attend another workshop with similar content. They said, Ms. Ritter-Guth was engaging and helpful, and overall the course was a great experience.

The program was made possible with the support from the Union County Office on Women, Department of Human Services.

Union County College Foundation Exceeds its Summer Scholarship Campaign  9-19-2016

This summer the Union County College Foundation launched the first annual “$100,000 Summer Scholarship Challenge” to raise additional funds for student scholarships. The Foundation “challenged” current and past donors of endowed and annual scholarships to consider increasing their financial support, bring back an old scholarship, or to start a new one.  The “challenge” brought in over $175,000 and exceeded the goal by 78%. The Foundation is proud to be able to make the Union County College experience available to more students.   The Union County College Foundation awards over $1,000,000 in annual scholarships and grant support for Union students. This past year, nearly 25% of Union’s graduates received a scholarship from the Foundation. These funds had a direct impact on student success. However, with the number of students who need assistance continuing to grow, the Foundation is playing an active role in ensuring that the students who need financial support receive it so they can reach their goal of graduating.   The support of this campaign enables the Foundation to provide vital resources to ensure that each Union student has the opportunity of a college education. If you would like to speak with someone about establishing a scholarship, please call 908-709-7505 or go online to www.uccfoundation.org.

Union County College Hosts Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for New Student Development Building at Cranford Campus 8/15/2016


On Mon., Aug. 15, 2016, members of the Union County Improvement Authority, joined members of the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders, Senator Raymond J. Lesniak, Union County College Trustees and Governors, and President Margaret M. McMenamin for a ribbon-cutting ceremony to celebrate the opening of the new Student Development Building at the College’s Cranford campus. The new, two-story, 30,000-square foot facility, is an extensive renovation of the historic Nomahegan Building and is the new hub of the campus.

Chairman of Union County College’s Board of Trustees, Vic Richel, welcomed all to campus. Senator Raymond J. Lesniak addressed the crowd and spoke of the positive impact the College has had for Union County residents. Union County Improvement Authority Executive Director Dan Sullivan, as well as UCIA Chairman Anthony Scutari thanked all who worked to make the new building a reality. Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen spoke of Dr. McMenamin’s drive to make the College an outstanding eduational institution.

The $14 million project was funded by the Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders through the Union County Improvement Authority. The new Helen E. Chaney Student Services Center is housed on the first floor. Helen Chaney, a 1948 alumnus of the College, pledged a generous $500,000 gift for student scholarships, which is one of the largest gifts the College has ever received. Mrs. Chaney is grateful to the College for providing a positive start to her education at a time when education opportunities for women were limited. “The College gave me my start, so I see this gift as my way of helping students financially so that they can afford not only to attend college but also succeed in getting a college degree,” said Mrs. Chaney. The College has expressed its gratitude by naming the Student Services Center in her honor. The Chaney Center includes Admissions; Registration; Payment Services; Financial Aid; Disability Services; Educational Opportunity Fund Services; Advising, Career and Transfer Services and Testing. The second floor houses classrooms as well as faculty and departmental offices.

The College’s Cranford campus is located at 1033 Springfield Avenue. For directions, go to www.ucc.edu.


Union County College Cuts the Ribbon in Plainfield for New Annex Building


It was a memorable day at Union County College’s Plainfield Campus when President Margaret M. McMenamin, with Assemblyman Jerry Green and Union County Freeholder Chairman Bruce Bergen, cut the ribbon to celebrate the re-opening of the Annex Building. The new building is home to an Information Commons, library, cafeteria, and book store on the first floor. Faculty offices are located on the second floor.

Also in attendance for the celebration were Plainfield Mayor Adrian Mapp, Union County Freeholders Linda Carter and Bette Jane Kowalski, Union County Improvement Authority Deputy Director Linda Stender, Union County College Board of Trustees Chair Victor Richel, other members of the College’s boards, students, and members of the College’s faculty and staff.

President McMenamin expressed thanks to Assemblyman Green for partnering with the College to, “…ensure that every resident has access to high quality education.” She also thanked the Union County Improvement Authority for their assistance with the completion of the building.

Union County College Foundation Kick-Off Event for Close the Gap Campaign Surpasses Goal  7/18/2016

With over 150 guests and volunteers in attendance, the Union County College Foundation surpassed their goal and raised nearly $30,000 at their 1st Annual Close the Gap Campaign cocktail reception. Held last evening in the Richel Student Commons at the College’s Cranford campus, this campaign was developed by a small group of dedicated community volunteers to support the College’s strategic initiative to help shrink the ever growing achievement gap that exists for African American young men and to provide financial assistance to help these students complete their degree on time.

During the VIP reception, attendees had an opportunity to meet Howard Cross, former New York Giants Super Bowl Champion. Other supporters of the campaign who attended last evening were Senator Raymond Lesniak, Assemblyman Jerry Green and Assemblyman Jamel Holley who were members of the Host Committee and significant advocates for the campaign. The guest speaker for the evening was David Johns, Executive Director, White House Initiative on Education Excellence for African Americans. He discussed the growing educational issues for African Americans. He praised the College for addressing this issue head on and having developed programs to help students achieve their degrees.

Although they could not attend last evening, United States Senator Cory Booker and United States Senator Robert Menendez, both served as Honorary Chairs of the event.

The funds raised last evening will be used in many ways, such as to provide financial support for tuition, academic boot camps, books and supplies, emergency funding, employment or public transportation. Already a number of students who have received Close the Gap funding this summer will receive their degrees and transfer to four year institution.

If you are interested in donating to the Close the Gap Campaign, or are interested in learning about other ways in which you can provide financial assistance for students at Union County College, please call (908) 709-7505, email foundation@ucc.edu or visit the Foundation’s website at www.uccfoundation.org.

Christie Administration Announces Award of $180 Million for Higher Education Construction Projects 6/28/2016

Christie Administration Announces Award of $180 Million  For 35 Higher Education Construction Projects at 32 Institutions

Second Round of Funding Adds to $1.3 Billion Approved in 2013 for First Statewide, Voter-Approved Higher Education Construction in 25 Years

Trenton, NJ –  Secretary of Higher Education Rochelle Hendricks has sent the Legislature her certified list of 35 higher education capital construction project grants that will boost technology, support the health sciences and renovate laboratories and classrooms at 32 institutions across the State, benefiting thousands of students.

“We have made an historic commitment to funding higher education in this State, which is continued today with the award of a second round of grant funding to ensure that New Jersey’s colleges and universities have some of the best facilities in the nation,” said Governor Chris Christie.

The projects were submitted to the Legislature for further consideration, and the list of recommended project grants can be found here: http://www.nj.gov/njefa/pdf/Comprehensive%20List%20By%20Sector%282%29.pdf “I am very pleased to recommend the approval of 35 excellent projects that will improve our campus facilities and enhance the education of many of the more than 400,000 students earning their degrees in New Jersey,” said Secretary Hendricks.

In August 2012, Governor Christie signed legislation placing a $750 million General Obligation construction bond question on the ballot. Voters approved the bond authorization three months later. Today’s award of $180 million uses the remaining $34 million in General Obligation (GO) bonds from the Building Our Future Act and adds $146 million from the Higher Education Capital Improvement Fund (CIF). The Legislature has 60 days to consider the General Obligation bond projects and 45 days to consider the CIF projects. If the Legislature takes no action, the projects will be approved.

Secretary Hendricks announced the availability of a second round of funding in November 2015. Sixty-three applications were received from 32 institutions. A team of experts from the Educational Facilities Authority, the Economic Development Authority, the Schools Development Authority and the Department of Treasury reviewed and recommended the approval of projects to Secretary Hendricks. Selected projects targeted academic programs, especially science, technology, engineering and math. Institutions were required to detail how projects served students and aligned with New Jersey’s workforce needs.

Union County College Board of Trustees Chairman Victor Richel Honored with Ronald Winthers Community College Trustee Leadership Award 6/23/2016

On June 20, the New Jersey Council of County Colleges presented the Ronald D. Winthers Community College Trustee Leadership Award to Union County College Board of Trustees Chairman Victor Richel for his dedicated service to New Jersey’s 19 community colleges.

“This award is an honor bestowed on a single New Jersey community college trustee each year,” said NJCCC Chair Helen Albright. “The award was established in honor of long-time Burlington County College Trustee Ronald D. Winthers, and it was created to recognize visionary leadership by a New Jersey community college trustee at the local, state and national levels.”

Richel has been a member of the Union County College Board of Trustees since 1982, and has served as Chairman of the Board since 1996. Under his leadership, Union County College has grown tremendously, with numerous new buildings and programs to serve the residents of Union County.

In addition to his role on the Board of Trustees, Richel is a member of the College’s Board of Governors. He is Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Trinitas Health and Regional Medical Center (formerly Trinitas Hospital), and is a member of the Board of Trustees of John Cabot University, located in Rome, Italy. Richel also serves on the board of Elizabethtown Healthcare Foundation, and is a member of the Two Hundred Club of Union County and of the Union County Crime Stoppers.

Richel is the Chairman, President and CEO of the Richel Family Foundation, was Vice Chairman of the Board of Independence Community Bank Corp., prior to its sale to Sovereign Bank in June of 2006. Earlier, he had been Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer of Statewide Savings Bank. Richel became Chairman of the Board, President and Chief Executive Officer of Statewide Financial Corp. upon its formation as the holding company for the Bank. He served on the Board of Directors of the Bank since l985 and its predecessor institutions since l974. He is also Chairman, President & CEO of Dominion Partners, a financial investment, real estate partnership and consulting firm. Additionally, he serves as Chairman of Westminster Properties, a development company, and Richel Commercial Brokerage.

Richel served on the Banking Advisory Board of the New Jersey Department of Banking and Insurance for 20 years, completing his role in 2015. He was appointed to the board in l996 after being nominated by Gov. Christine Todd Whitman. He has also served on the board of Thrift Institutions Community Investment Corporation of New Jersey (TICIC), and the board of the New Jersey Savings League. Formerly, Mr. Richel served as a Trustee of the Garden State Cancer Center, Pace University’s Lubin School of Business, St. Peter’s College Board of Regents, and the Independence Community Foundation. He formerly served as Chairman and President of the Friends of the Child Advocacy Center of Union County and was a member of the Intergovernmental Institution for the use of Micro-algae Spirulina Against Malnutrition  (IIMSAM), an arm of the United Nations.

Richel has received the Union County Association for Retarded Citizens Humanitarian Award, the Alexian Brothers New Jersey Man of the Year Award, the Union County Human Relations Commission Special Achievement Award, the Christopher Columbus Humanitarian of 2003 Award and was honored for “Making a Difference” by the Garden State Cancer Center in 2003. He received the 2005 Humanitarian Award by the Union County Educational Services Foundation, and was honored by Union County College in 2005 for outstanding service, and as a tribute to his outstanding service the College re-dedicated its Student Commons Building in his name. He was named an Alumnus of Distinction by the Elizabeth Education Foundation in 1997, and was presented the United Hospital Fund Distinguished Trustee Award of 2009. He is also a recipient of the 1999 Ellis Island Medal of Honor.

Richel graduated from Villanova in 1960 with a BS in Economics. He furthered his education by attending marketing and executive development programs at Columbia University and Harvard Business School. He and his wife, Andrea, have three children and eight grandchildren.

The New Jersey Council of County Colleges is the state association representing New Jersey’s 19 community colleges. As an independent, trustee-headed organization that joins the leadership of trustees and presidents, the Council is the voice of the community college sector before the state legislature and other branches of government.

Union County College President Margaret M. McMenamin was reelected to the American Association of Community College’s Presidents Academy Executive Committee. The AACC Board of Directors certified the election results last month.5/12/2016

Union County College President Margaret M. McMenamin was reelected to the American Association of Community College’s Presidents Academy Executive Committee. The AACC Board of Directors certified the election results last month. This will be President McMenamin’s second three-year term as the Northern Region representative for this AACC committee. Her first term began on July 1, 2013, and in being reelected, she will continue on the Committee through June 30, 2019. The Presidents Academy Executive Committee advises the AACC president and AACC Board of Directors on professional development training for college presidents. In addition to service on this national committee, President McMenamin is a Commissioner for the Middle States Association on Higher Education, the Chair of the Presidents’ Council of the New Jersey Council of County Colleges, and a Board Member for the National Junior College Athletic Association.


Union Had a Great Showing at NJCAA National Meet5/10/2016

Union County College had an excellent showing at the NJCAA Track & Field National Champions this past weekend in Holyoke Community College in Massachusetts. Iyanah Hawley, a freshman from Elizabeth, NJ, not only won events but broke NJCAA National meet records.
Iyanah competed in the 100 and 400 meter hurdles where she finished first for both events.  In the 100 meter hurdles she ran 14.44 seconds where she broke the current NJCAA National meet record of 14.74 seconds. From this outstanding performance Iyanah earned being named the Female East Region Athlete of the Year.

The men’s team also had some shining moments at Nationals. Nolister Montas, a freshman from Summit, NJ, ranked 4th in the javelin throw with 48.48 meters. Union came in 6th with the men’s 400 meter hurdles with Freshman Sebastian Estriplet with a time of 58.26, and Alanzo Aris came in 4th for the men’s 100 meter dash with an impressive time of 11.13 seconds.  The speed throughout the men’s team led the men’s 4×100 meter relay to a podium finish in 6th place with a time of 3:29.30.

In the 4 year existence of a Track and Field program at Union County College, the program has named over 30 All-Americans.


Men’s Lacrosse Record Season 5/10/2016

Union County College lacrosse program is in its fourth season and has made waves throughout Region XIX and NJCAA.  The entire 2016 season has been a record making season. The team finished out their regular season with a record of 15-2 which included defeating all Region XIX teams by at least 10 goals each game.  This season can be contributed to a large and experienced recruiting class of who were ready to hit the field and score.  Five of the athletes were ranked consistently throughout the season within the top 10 of several national rankings. This success brought along a national team ranking of 6th which is the highest ranking for the college and also for any Region XIX school.

#5 Attackman, Mark Swintek, is still ranked #1 in the nation for Points with 130 with 2nd place being 60 points behind him.  Along with Points, Swintek is ranked #1 for Assists with 86 which broke the school record of 79 points. For the ranking of Goals, Union is currently holding the 1st, 6th and 10th rankings nationally.  #30 Goalkeeper, Cole Weber, has also been a wall in front of the net and is ranked 1st in the Nation with Goals against.

Union County College hosted the 2016 Region XIX Tournament and the Owls continued to thrive. The semi-final game was against Delaware Technical Community College who the Owls defeated 20-3.  In the Championship game, the Owls defeated Ocean County College 13-7.

The Owls traveled to Baltimore, MD to play in the first round of the National Tournament against CCBC Essex where they fell short 15-5. Union County College Lacrosse program had only been in existence since 2013 and within a four year span they have made a name for themselves throughout NJCAA by qualifying for the National Tournament.

Congratulations for an outstanding season!

Union County College will take the lead in preparing the workforce in New Jersey for the demands for skilled workers in the transportation, logistics and distribution sector of the state’s industry.

On Thursday, April 14, 2016, Governor Chris Christie visited Union County College’s Cranford campus to announce the $900,000 grant through which the College will run the TLD programming. The New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development has granted $2.7 million to three schools across New Jersey to develop needed skills programming: Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey in healthcare; Camden County College in advanced manufacturing; and Union County College in transportation, logistics, and distribution. Union will develop and deliver training programs for incumbent workers at employers in the state and in training programs that will provide skills to unemployed workers and prepare them for entry into jobs.

Union County College has a campus located in Elizabeth, near the major modes of transportation of goods into and out of the state, the ports in Newark and Elizabeth, the airport and the major transportation highways. The College has also been instrumental in offering industry-specific training in Supply Chain Management as part of a consortium of twelve colleges and universities across the country. Union’s participation in the LINCS Supply Chain Management Program includes curriculum development for a series of eight (8) training modules in Supply Chain Management and strong delivery of these programs at companies and at their campuses for the past two years.

Union County College also has developed partnerships with key members of the TLD sector, garnering support for this Talent Development Center from Hellmann Worldwide Logistics, Valcor Engineering, East Coast Warehouse, Atalanta Corp., and others who expressed recognition of the need for a talent pool in the state of New Jersey from which to recruit as growth continues in New Jersey.

“Companies are now able to partner with the TDC in several ways,” says Lisa Raudelunas Hiscano, Ed.D., MBA, Director of Continuing and Professional Education at Union County College. “We will partner to bring training on-site for incumbent workers at companies who will make the investment in their employees’ and managers’ time in our training classes while on the job.” The TDC grant agreement requires that contribution to the training effort by employers.

“In addition, companies can come to us at hiring time. We are building a pool of candidates for hire at entry, mid-level and upper level management. This is through our offering of open-enrollment programs on campus available to displaced workers.”

“These Talent Development Centers are connected to strong employer partnerships. So they will be able to not just get them the skills, but connect them to employers that will help them get those jobs,” said Patricia Moran, Executive Director, Workforce Development and Economic Opportunity.

Partnerships include the NJ Community College Consortium for Economic and Workforce Development, New Jersey City University, Middlesex and Camden County Community Colleges, Rowan College at Burlington County, and Smith & Solomon. For information please contact Dr. Lisa Hiscano, at 908-965-2358 or hiscano@ucc.edu, or Nancy Burke, Business Development Manager at 908-527-7207 or burke@ucc.edu.

Enhance Your Career Development by Attending Workshops at Union County College’s Center in Rahway

For those who frequent the Rahway area, Union County College will offer three, Continuing Education workshops at the Rahway location, during May, to assist participants in developing their career potentials.  One course is designed for those who have been away from the workforce for some time, while the others are geared toward anyone who wishes to enhance their existing careers.

The course, “Tips for Rejoining the Workforce,” is designed for people who have been away from the workforce for some time due to child rearing, elderly caregiving, early retirement, extended illness, or long-term unemployment, among other reasons. This course will address transferring volunteer experience into paid employment, the significance of part-time or temporary work, and conducting a career assessment that considers skills as well as lifestyle.  The course also will deal with confidently accounting for time away from the workforce, emphasizing saleable skills to an employer, developing an effective resume, and dressing for success.  The course will be held from 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 5.

For those who are working, as well as those who are unemployed or recent graduates, “Make Your Resume Work for You” will cover the rationale behind effective resume writing and getting into the dos and don’ts of the entire process. Various resume styles will be discussed as students review in-class sample resumes while having an assortment of other samples as take-home reference guides. Participants will gain insight into preparing electronic resumes to be scanned into human resource databases, and also learn how to prepare a convincing cover letter to accompany the resume.  This course will be presented from 1:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 26.   Also for most anyone seeking career enhancement, “Developing Confidence for the Job Interview” will provide attendees with solid information on how to prepare for an employment interview. Participants will be presented with various types of trick questions that are often asked at interviews, questions that the applicant also should ask, negotiating for the salary, multiple interviews, internal interviews, non-verbal communication, and closing the interview to their advantage.  Additionally, as time permits, students will have the opportunity to practice interviewing through role playing of answers to mock interview questions.  The course will be held from 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 26.

The Rahway facility is located at 1591 Irving Street. For complete course descriptions on all Continuing Education programs, please click here to view the online brochure. To enroll online through Instant Enrollment please click here.



Union County School Counselors Association and Union County College to Host College Fair on March 21


On Monday, March 21, 2016, the Union County School Counselors Association and Union County College will be hosting a College Fair at the College’s Cranford campus.


More than 125 colleges and universities from throughout the tri-state area will be in attendance. All members of the community, particularly high school students and their parents, are encouraged to attend.

The College Fair will be held from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. in the gymnasium and the Richel Student Commons. This is an opportunity to speak with representatives from the varied colleges and universities and to learn about the differences and similarities amongst the many institutions of higher education.

There is no cost to attend the College Fair or for parking for the event. Union County College’s Cranford campus is located at 1033 Springfield Avenue.

U.S. Sen. Menendez Hosts Affordable Education Roundtable at Union County College

By: Michael Bruchert

U.S. Senator Bob Menendez visited Union County College’s Cranford Campus on Friday morning, joining administrators and students in a forum on the ever-rising rates of student loans and how current legislation will make college tuition more affordable.

In front of a largely occupied Student Commons at UCC, Menendez stressed the importance of creating the “most highly-educated generation of Americans the nation has ever known.”


“The world in which you are living in now is much different than the world in which I grew up,” the Senator said. “I am the first of my family to go to college, but only because the power of the federal government in Pell Grants and Perkins Loans and Work Study to get me to St. Peter’s College and Rutgers Law School in Newark. I would not be one of 100 United States Senators in a country of 314 million people but for that opportunity and I want that to be a birthright for every American who has the opportunity and ability to work hard to achieve it.”

Others on the panel echoed Senator Menendez’s sentiments, sharing personal trials and tribulations they faced in seeking higher education. Senator Raymond Lesniak (D-20), who served two years in the United States Army (1967-69) and later attended Rutgers University under the G.I. Bill, stated no citizen should have to serve in the military to go to college.

“What Senator Menendez and I are doing in Senate is to make sure college is affordable for every single person who wants that opportunity. I’ve known the Senator for decades now, and when he latches on to an issue, he delivers. He doesn’t let go until he delivers to you,” Lesniak said.

“Today I can sit here and I am proud to say that opportunities that were given to me, or doors that were opened for me, are someday going to be given to you,” Assemblyman Jerry Green (D-22) added, noting he struggled after losing his father at age four. “Trust me, once we get into the front office, one of the number one items on my agenda is to make sure when you graduate, you don’t have any debt.”

Menendez is a co-sponsor of the Reducing Educational Debt (RED) Act. Introduced in January, the RED Act’s list of resolutions include: taming the student debt crisis by waiving community college tuition for eligible students, set the maximum Pell Grant award to adjust to inflation, and significantly reducing interest rates on student loans after refinancing.

Union County College President Margaret M. McMenamin reiterated the importance of reducing student debt, sharing the accomplishments of UCC and crediting the Board of Trustees and the school’s Financial Aid Advisor Dayne Chance.

“We’re the first community college, and still the only community college in New Jersey to create a flat rate tuition for full-time students. You take 12 credits, you take 15 credits, you take 18, you pay the same amount. We are not only committed to affordability, we also want to help students get to graduation,” McMenamin said. “We have just straight, transparent tuition, no general fees.”

Menendez also invited Megan Namnama, a student of Montclair University, and Cassandra Wernock, a former Union County College student, to detail the dedication of earning a four-year degree while holding a job.


Union County College Women’s Basketball Team Heads to National Competition

Union County College’s Women’s Basketball Team is heading back to the National Junior College Athletic Association National Tournament from March 15 to 19, 2016. This past weekend, the Women’s Basketball team competed in the NJCAA Women’s Basketball District N & O Championship Tournament. The Lady Owls defeated Monroe College by a score of 64-51 to qualify to participate in the national championship.   By beating Monroe on Saturday, the Lady Owls advanced to the Championship game of the District N & O Tournament vs. Dean College. Union County College led the entire game until the final 1:30 secs.  Union ended up losing the championship to Dean by a score of 55-53. The Lady Owls will represent District O at the National Tournament.

The Lady Owls will head to Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas for the NJCAA Division II Women’s Basketball National Championship. They are 15th seed and will play against Illinois Central on Tues., March 15 at 10 a.m.

To qualify to participate in the District N & O Championship, the Lady Owls first won the Region XIX Championship. Head Coach Cheryl Bell was named the Region XIX Coach of the Year.

For more information on the Union County College Women’s Basketball team, visit www.unionowls.com. For more information on the NJCAA National Tournament, visit www.njcaa.org.

Contingency Plans if NJ Transit Rail Workers Go on Strike

If NJ Transit’s Rail workers go on strike at midnight on Sunday, and you rely on train travel to get to Union County College, you will need to find another public-transit option.

NJ Transit buses will operate on enhanced schedules throughout the strike.

For information about NJ TRANSIT, go to njtransit.com to find links to the latest travel information across modes.

Information on NJ TRANSIT’s website is available in 14 languages using Google Translate. To use a language other than English, click on “Translate This Site” at the lower right corner of the homepage and click on the language of your choice.

Customers may also access NJ TRANSIT’s Twitter feed at @NJTRANSIT or listen to broadcast traffic reports.  Additionally, NJ TRANSIT will provide the most current service information via the My Transit alert system (www.njtransit.com/mytransit), which delivers travel advisories for your specific trip to your smartphone. Service information is also available by calling (973) 275-5555.

Service will operate normally on Access Link; however, customers should anticipate longer travel times as a result of anticipated increases in traffic, and additional passengers in vehicles. TAKE THE FLASH POLL and WIN A PRIZE!

If you normally rely on NJ Transit trains to get you to Union County College, please send an email to Dr. Stephen Nacco at nacco@ucc.edu and indicate which train station you use to begin your trip to the College.

Union County College to Host Information Session on March 17, 2016 for Training in Fabricated Metal/CNC Machinist Skills

Union County College will begin an Advanced Manufacturing Training program in April. To launch this effort, the College is holding an information session for unemployed workers and for employers in need of trained workers in Fabricated Metal/CNC Machinist skills. The information session will be held on Thursday, March 17, 2016 at 9:30 am at Union County College’s Elizabeth Campus in the Kellogg Building in Room K517.  Information Flyer This event is open to job seekers looking to acquire skills necessary for employment in advanced manufacturing jobs. Requirements are as follows: must be unemployed for six (6) months or longer; must have a high school diploma or GED (recommended, not required); must be mechanically inclined; must pass Bennett Mechanic Aptitude Test; must have reliable transportation; must be ready to work upon completion of the training; and must pass the Satisfactory background/drug screening. Candidates for this training must register on line for the Ready To Work Program and the Information Session at this website:  https://form.jotform.com/60555229138962

Union County College is inviting employers to attend this event and do the following while in attendance: hear an overview of the training by the College and the course instructor; meet potential trainees/job seekers and conduct ‘speed’ group interviews with them; provide feedback to Union County College from those interviews to assist in selection of trainees from among the candidates; and employers who meet these candidates will assess their general employability and quality as an addition to their operation. Candidates for training must also pass the Bennett Mechanical Aptitude Test and meet other criteria.

Pre-registration for participation is required. Upon completion of this training, (288 hours of hands on training) the graduates will take the National Institute for Metalworking Skills Machining Level 1 exam. Upon attaining these skills and passing the test, these graduates will be available to the participating employers to fill open positions.

To pre-register (without online access) call Michelle Douglass at 908-965-6024 or douglass@ucc.edu.  For more information please contact Nancy Burke at 908-527-7207 or mailto:burke@ucc.edu. For the information session on March 17th, please be sure to bring a current resume; bring documentation that proves your unemployment status of longer than six months and dress prepared to meet prospective employers.

Union County College’s Elizabeth campus is located at 40 West Jersey Street. For directions, please click here.

The CNC/Metal Fabrication training is made possible by a United States Department of Labor and New Jersey Department of Labor and Workforce Development H1-B Ready-to-Work Partnership Grant awarded to the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development. Union County College does not discriminate and prohibits discrimination, as required by state and/or federal law, in all programs and activities, including employment and access to its career and technical programs. For further information please consult Union County College’s Public Annual Notification at www.ucc.edu/about/PublicAnnualNotificationND.aspx  



New Scholarship Offered to Union County Students

By Alexis Tarrazi (Patch Staff) – March 6, 2016 3:31 pm ET
A new scholarship is being offered for Union County College students enrolled in a science, technology, engineering and math career field by Elizabethtown Gas.

“With STEM skills being a requirement for nearly every position, Elizabethtown Gas has a responsibility to invest in future leaders who will contribute to the natural gas industry,” said company President Brian MacLean in a release.

Two $2,500 scholarships will be awarded annually. Applicants must meet several qualifications, including the following:

must be a Union County resident must be enrolled at the university full time in one of the STEM disciplines must earn a minimum 2.5 grade-point average For more about Elizabethtown Gas visit www.elizabethtowngas.com.

Northfield Bank Foundation Donates $10,000 for Scholarships to Union County College Foundation

In support of scholarships for students, the Union County College Foundation was awarded $10,000 from the Northfield Bank Foundation to establish the Northfield Bank Annual Scholarship on February 18, 2016. The funds will be used to award ten $1,000 scholarships to full-time students who reside in the Northfield Bank service area. Those communities are Avenel, East Brunswick, Linden, Milltown, Monroe Township, Rahway, Union, Westfield, and Woodbridge, in New Jersey, and in Staten Island, New York. Students must have a 3.0 grade point average to qualify to apply. The Northfield Bank Foundation focuses its efforts on projects to support education, as well as other civic-minded projects that improve the quality of life. This is the third year that the Northfield Bank Foundation has generously donated to the College, providing more than $30,000 in scholarship funding.

This annual scholarship joins more than 100 awarded annually to Union County College students who show financial need and meet the various requirements of the many scholarships available. The list of annual scholarships can be found at www.uccfoundation.org and click on “Students.”



Assemblyman Green receives Chester Holmes Humanitarian Award

By Suburban News

Union County Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen and Vice Chairman Sergio Granados joined Candice Frye and Freeholders Mohamed S. Jalloh, Bette Jane Kowalski, Linda Carter and Vernell Wright in presenting the Chester Holmes Humanitarian Award to Assemblyman Jerry Green during the 4th Annual Union County Black History Month Celebration at Union County College in Cranford.

The Freeholder Board created the award in honor of the late former Freeholder Chester Holmes.


She graduated nearly 70 years ago, and never forgot Union County College.

By Cheryl Makin for my CentralJersey.com
On Dec. 8, Helen Chaney called the Union County College Foundation to pledge $500,000 to support student scholarships.

“Union was a springboard for me in higher education,” Chaney said. “The college gave me my start, so I see this gift as my way of helping students financially so that they can afford not only to attend college but also succeed in getting a college degree.”

A 1948 graduate, Chaney is providing support for a number of different scholarships and student-success programs. These include three endowed scholarships that will generate $5,000 per year, forever. The donation will also address the college’s Close the Gap program to help improve the graduation rates of African-American students. Another scholarship will support students studying STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) disciplines.

Along with support of the college’s general-scholarship fund, Chaney’s gift will set aside $25,000 for the college’s Operation Graduation. Launched in 2013, this program has nearly tripled the graduation rates of UCC’s students, and the overall total of graduates setting an all-time record of 1,505 in 2015.

Appropriate to the student-success focus of the gift, the college will name its new student center in Chaney’s honor. This center comprises the first floor of the Cranford campus’ student services building, a new facility that is scheduled to open in the summer.

The Helen E. Chaney Student Center will serve as the focal point for all student services, including admissions and registration, advising, student accounts, financial aid and academic records.

“The Center will become the Cranford Campus’ gateway and one-stop service center for all new and returning students,” UCC President Margaret McMenamin said. “We will be honored to have Helen Chaney’s name on that gateway.”

After graduating from UCC with an associate degree in English, Chaney left the comfort of Cranford by continuing her education at Indiana University. Her primary reason for leaving the state was the lack of opportunity for women in higher education.

“This was right after the end of WWII and in New Jersey — other than Union College — there really were not many universities that were coed,” Chaney said.

At Indiana University, Chaney earned a bachelor’s degree and met her future husband. After raising a family of three in Ohio, she moved to North Carolina, which she now calls her permanent residence.

According to UCC Foundation Executive Director Doug Rouse, Chaney’s gift is one of the largest in Union County College’s 83-year history. Last fall, Betty and Fred Kopf of Westfield also made a $500,000 gift to thank UCC for the education their son received in the 1980s. The Kopfs created an endowed scholarship that will provide permanent funding support for up to nine full- and part-time students annually, in perpetuity.


Union County Freeholder Board supports action on affordable nursing degrees

By  Christine Unish | For NJ.com
The Union County Board of Chosen Freeholders renewed its support for the efforts of Union County College to award a Bachelor of Nursing degree. As a two-year community college, Union County College requires approval from the State Department of Education to offer the four-year degree.

“This new four-year program would provide more Union County residents with the opportunity to advance professionally in a high demand field, and it would benefit to the community at large by helping to relieve the ongoing nursing shortage,” said Freeholder Chairman Bruce H. Bergen. “Union County College has established a solid record of success with an outstanding two-year Associate’s degree, and the Freeholder Board strongly supports extending this experience to four-year degrees.”

The new degree program would enable Union County College to offer a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing for students who have completed an Associate Degree or who hold a qualifying diploma in an accredited nursing program, and who have passed the examination to be a Registered Nurse.

The course work would include physical assessment, community health, global and population based health, nursing research and evidence-based practices, advanced pathophysiology, informatics and technology, ethical issues and leadership and management courses.

Approval for the new four-year program is contingent upon the determination of the New Jersey Secretary of Higher Education, which takes into account the recommendations of the New Jersey President’s Council.

Earlier in January, Bergen announced support for the four-year degree as part of his 2016 Chairman’s Initiatives. The Freeholder Board also adopted a formal Resolution in support of a positive outcome from the President’s Council. However, last week the President’s Council voted in favor of negative recommendations by a slim 19-18 margin, with several abstentions.

“We are hoping that this narrow decision provides the Secretary of Higher Education with an indication that the issue deserves a more thorough investigation before a final decision is made,” said Bergen.


Passaic County Community College faces setback in efforts to offer bachelor’s degree

By PATRICIA ALEX staff writer | The Record

Passaic County Community College was dealt a setback Monday in its attempts to be one of the first two-year colleges in the state to offer a bachelor’s degree — at a fraction of the cost of those from a traditional four-year school.

The Paterson-based school and its counterpart in Union County both have put forth proposals to offer bachelors’ degrees in nursing, citing a need for more affordable programs.

But the plans are opposed by leaders of the state’s senior colleges, who say the two-year schools underestimate the investment needed in faculty in offering the degree and worry about the community colleges infringing on their roles.

The proposal was aired on Monday at a meeting of the New Jersey Presidents Council, a group made up of school leaders who make recommendations to the state’s secretary of Higher Education, Rochelle Hendricks, regarding new programming.

The council’s meetings generally feature broad agreement among members, but the proposal on Monday elicited prolonged, and sometimes passionate, discussion that went far beyond the proposals at hand in discussing the role of the schools, the need for more affordability in higher education and what some perceive as a lack of statewide coordination in New Jersey.

“We need a real master plan for higher education in New Jersey that talks about the costs,” said Harvey Kesselman, president of Stockton University.

The group voted against endorsing the baccalaureate bids by the community colleges in Passaic and Union by a vote of 19-18, which broke down largely as a division between community colleges and four-year schools. It will now head to Hendricks for a decision.

“What was clear today is that this was not about these two programs,” said PCCC President Steve Rose, who heads the presidents’ council. He noted the farther-reaching questions discussed during the debate on the issue and expressed hope they will be delved into by the state’s education chiefs.

Both PCCC and Union County College now offer two-year programs leading to RN degrees for registered nurses. The BSN is increasingly becoming the standard for employment, but just 29 percent of the students with RN degrees from PCCC go on to bachelor’s programs, Rose said.

William Paterson University in Wayne, which is just three miles from PCCC, offers a growing nursing program. But Rose said the issue is cost. Annual tuition and fees at William Paterson are about $12,240 compared with $4,400 at PCCC. The costs are significantly higher at private colleges and universities in the state.

Former community colleges in 22 states now offer bachelors’ degrees, and supporters of the plan in New Jersey said the issue was one of affordability and access.

“How dare we sit here and act as if it’s okay that a pathway is cut off because of affordability,” said Paul Drayton, president of Rowan College at Burlington, the community college in Burlington County.

But leaders of the four-year schools said nursing programs are expensive to run, and they worried, too, that approval of those programs might lead to others and further blur the distinctions between community colleges and four-year schools.

“I think there is a significant statewide policy issue here,” said Susan Cole, president of Montclair State University. “There are significant costs associated with baccalaureate education, and in a state that ill-supports its four-year institutions already, the notion of creating more is a very serious issue.”



College presidents oppose community college nursing degree

By Jonathan Lai, Staff Writer | Philly.com
A group of New Jersey college presidents voted Monday to tell the state they oppose proposals by two North Jersey community colleges to confer bachelor’s degrees in nursing.

The New Jersey Presidents’ Council narrowly decided to send the proposals with negative recommendations to the state secretary of higher education, who will make the final call on whether to approve them.

Union County College and Passaic County Community College, which currently offer associate’s degrees in nursing, hope to create bachelor’s degree completion programs for existing registered nurses. Those R.N.-to-B.S.N. programs, if approved, would be the first time community colleges in the state granted bachelor’s degrees.

The schools argue that rising credential standards in nursing have made the bachelor’s degrees necessary at the entry level and that their schools can offer those programs at the lowest cost to students.

Other community college presidents have voiced their support for the idea and voted for the programs, but presidents of four-year schools pushed back and ultimately won the advisory vote.

“The one thing that none of us should sit around the table and ever do is cut off a pathway for a student and their family to a better life,” said Paul Drayton, president of Rowan College at Burlington County, a community college.

Drayton cited numbers given by other presidents about the affordability of community colleges and the low numbers of nursing students who ultimately pursue bachelor’s degrees.

“If we’re keeping what’s most important in mind, forget about everything else that you heard here today: What’s in the best interest for that student?” Drayton said at the meeting.

Presidents of four-year colleges and universities raised concerns about mission creep from the two-year schools and difficulty finding qualified faculty.

“We all know, in this room, that there are significant costs associated with baccalaureate-level education. Significant costs. It is not something that could be done at the same cost that lower-division education can be done,” said Susan A. Cole, president of Montclair State University, who opposed the proposals.

“I don’t believe there has been the effort between the community colleges and the four-year institutions to see how we might approach this problem, and I think the approach that is proposed is a dangerous one,” she said.

Nineteen presidents voted against the proposals, including the heads of Rutgers University and Stockton University. One president abstained, and several were absent, including the leaders of Rowan University and the Gloucester County community college, Rowan College at Gloucester County.

Eighteen presidents, including the Union and Passaic leaders, voted for the proposals. Of the state’s 19 community colleges, 16 presidents attended the meeting and voted in favor of the nursing programs.

Monday’s vote sends the proposal to Higher Education Secretary Rochelle Hendricks. There is no timeline for her decision.

A spokesman for her office declined to comment Monday beyond saying that “we will consider” the proposals.

Whatever Hendricks decides, the conversation surrounding community college bachelor’s degrees is unlikely to go away, with New Jersey lawmakers floating similar proposals and 22 other states allowing some community colleges to run baccalaureate programs.

“The secretary still needs to make the final decision. But I think the secretary . . . got a sense of the fracture among the sectors,” said Michael W. Klein, head of the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities, representing four-year public colleges outside of Rutgers and the New Jersey Institute of Technology.

Steven M. Rose, president of Passaic County Community College, said the close vote demonstrated an interest in the programs.

“I’m counting on the fact that when it goes to the secretary’s office, that it will be looked at in terms of the merits of these two programs,” he said.

Margaret M. McMenamin, president of Union County College, said she was particularly glad to see two four-year colleges vote with the community colleges, and is “anxiously awaiting” Hendricks’ decision.

“This is going to happen eventually,” she said. “Twenty-two states in the country, and growing, are allowing community colleges to issue a baccalaureate degree. We’re not innovative with this; we’re middle adopters.”

Ali A. Houshmand, president of Rowan University, was not in attendance due to a medical issue but, in a statement read to the council, called for compromise, “Else there will be tension for years to come.”

“Creative tension is good,” McMenamin said after the meeting. “And maybe it makes us all better.”

jlai@phillynews.com 856-779-3220@elaijuh www.philly.com/campusinq



Union County College to host winter commencement ceremonies on Jan. 14

Union County College will celebrate two Commencement Ceremonies on Thursday, Jan. 14. Each ceremony will be led by the College’s President, Margaret M. McMenamin. The ceremonies will begin at 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. and will be held at the Union County Performing Arts Center at 1601 Irving St. in Rahway. The students graduating during these ceremonies completed their degrees in August or December.

During the 2 p.m. ceremony, degrees will be conferred in Associate in Arts and Associate in Applied Science degrees. During the 6 p.m. ceremony, degrees will be conferred in Associate in Science and Certificates. Union County College offers more than 70 programs.

During the 2 p.m. ceremony, the chair of the faculty will be recognizing a graduate with an award. The Ibtissam Ahmed Abdallah and Marquest S. Thomas Memorial Commencement Award was created in 2015 by the College’s Faculty Executive Committee in honor of two students who graduated from the College in May 2011 and died together in a tragic car accident on Nov. 23, 2011, shortly after they were married. All full- and part-time students who completed their degree in August and December are eligible for the award.

To be considered for the award, a graduating student must have a minimum grade point average of 3.25; they must have been actively engaged in College life through service in college activities and/or sports and they should have community service outside of the College as well. Students who may have overcome serious personal disabilities such physical disabilities or serious illness will also be considered, as well as veterans and public servants with heroic service to our country.

Union County College is a public comprehensive community college providing quality, affordable, accessible educational programs that serve the greater Union County region. It is the oldest of New Jersey’s 19 Associate Degree colleges, serving both career-minded and transfer-oriented students since 1933. The college enrolls almost 30,000 credit, non-credit and continuing education students and is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.

Union County College Continuing Education Hosting Open House on Saturday, January 16th

The Office of Continuing Education at Union County College will be hosting an Open House in the MacKay Library on the College’s Cranford campus on Saturday, January 16th from 10:00 am – 12:00 pm.  Students can learn more about spring non-credit classes for professional development or personal enrichment. Instructors and staff will be on hand to answer questions and assist with registration.

If you are looking for a new job, consider one of the 40+ certificate programs offered in fields such as allied health, business, child care, computers, education, interior design, real estate and more.  Many of these certificate programs can be completed in less than a year and can help improve your job prospects or be used as a stepping stone to a new career.

Are you looking to learn something new or just have fun?  Attend the Open House and learn more about the wide range of personal enrichment courses offered. From art to fitness, the College offers something for everyone and several new classes include How to Build a Website, Introduction to Drones, Yoga, the History of U.S. Presidential Elections, the History of American Popular Music and Writing for Television.  Our Youth Programs will be introducing some new courses as well including Juggling Workshop, PARCC Boot Camp, Writing for Self-Discovery, Creative Writing and Drawing for Beginners and Digital Skills and Ethics.

For complete course descriptions on all Continuing Education programs, please view the online brochure at www.ucc.edu/noncredit. To enroll online through Instant Enrollment, go to https://www.ucc.edu/noncredit/instantenrollment.aspx.