Essex County College History Instructor Mikal Naeem Nash has been teaching on the history of Islam for years within his African-American history classes. Now the subject is fully packaged into a single course and will be part of the College’s Associate degree offering – Africana Studies.


Islam and the Global Black Experience (History 205) is a three credit course that will be taught Tuesdays and Thursdays, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. this fall. Information on the class is available by calling Instructor Nash, Division of Humanities, at 973.877.3489.


“The emphasis of the course is on the history of Islam, and how it spread from Arabia to Africa and the Americas,” Nash said. He noted Islam has been around for many centuries, but believes it’s not truly understood by many people today.  “We will also look at the culture and the issues of family as it relates to the religion.”


According to the course description, the class will examine such issues facing the American Muslim as gender disputes, ethnic diversity, race, interfaith and intra-faith dialogues, the influence of the Hip Hop culture, the criminal justice system, citizenship, recovery from slavery, social activism and class struggle.


Dean of Liberal Arts S. Aisha Steplight Johnson said, “It’s a course that will expose our students to a different perspective about religion and help them understand it in a modern context.”


Instructor Nash is also the author of Islam among Urban Blacks, which examines the evolution of the Muslim community in Newark.

Posted in Academic, Essex County College News

More class options designed to fit into the crowded schedules of today’s students are being developed by Essex County College. The College is expanding its offerings of Sunday and 100 percent online classes, which were introduced last year and proved an immediate success, in time for the Fall semester.


“We’re constantly looking to develop more flexible class options to support the busy lifestyles of many of our students,” said Dr. Leigh Bello-de Castro, Associate Dean, Online and Learning Resource Technologies. Both Sunday courses and the ability to take classes anywhere and anytime are ways Essex is helping students to have a better chance to earn their degree.”


There is an extensive list of Sunday classes, spanning a multitude of disciplines. The disciplines include courses in Accounting, Art, Biology, Business, Chemistry, Computer Information Systems, College Success, Economics, Education, English, History, Mathematics, Music, Psychology, and Sociology.


The online classes, said Dr. Bello-de Castro, are ideal for students who, for a variety of reasons, find it better to take classes off campus and not in the traditional setting. She said that students need to have the computer knowledge necessary to take advantage of the online courses. The classes include live classroom discussions on a regular basis and online exams. There is also free online tutoring available any time through the online program.


The online courses this fall include classes in Accounting, Art, Business, Computer Information Systems, Economics, English, History, Mathematics, Music, Psychology, and Sociology.


Both of these initiatives have been advocated by Essex County College President Gale E. Gibson. They are expansions of services designed for both recruitment and retention of students who require added flexibility in order to attend school due to a variety of situations, such as working fulltime.

Online courses will begin September 2, while Sunday classes start September 7.


Additional information is available by contacting Dr. Bello-de Castro at 973-877-3484 or

Posted in Academic, Essex County College News

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie to Kick-off Major Library Renovations at Essex County College Wednesday, June 11th


New Jersey Governor Chris Christie will join Dr. Gale E. Gibson, President of Essex County College to kick off the $6.7 million renovation of the Essex County College Martin Luther King, Jr. Library on Wednesday, June 11 at 10:45am. This renovation is made possible by the 2012 New Jersey “Building Our Future” Bond Act. Essex County College was awarded more than $19 million, the most of any two-year state institution, to fund five large capital improvement projects.


The press conference will be held in the MLK Library on the third floor of the A. Zachary Yamba Building, at the corner of West Market Street and Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard. Secretary of Higher Education, Rochelle Hendricks, and Essex County Executive, Joseph DiVincenzo, Jr. will also be present.


“The Information Commons project at Essex County College demonstrates the importance of investing in our institutions of higher learning,” said Governor Christie. “By doing so, we are choosing to invest in our students, in a dynamic and skilled workforce, and in the future of the Garden State.”


The MLK Library is being transformed into a state-of-the art Information Commons to increase digital access and improve academic resources for students. It will include the following:

  • 145 computer stations providing integrated access to multimedia and electronic information
  • Multi-purpose rooms for student meetings and collaboration
  • Four SMART classrooms
  • An eco-friendly lounge with a waterfall wall and a “green” wall to absorb sound


“We are pleased that Gov. Christie supported the Bond Act and approved the funds for Essex County College. With access to these academic databases, digital information and enhanced facilities, the MLK Library renovations will empower our students and enable them to function more effectively and efficiently,” said Dr. Gibson. “We look forward to future projects with the State and appreciate Gov. Christie’s backing academic improvement initiatives.”


In addition to the Library, the other College projects to be funded by the Bond Act include:
1. Construction of 18,000 square feet of new classrooms for developmental math and English instruction.

2. New construction and renovation for the West Essex Campus.

3. Addition of state-of-the-art mannequins and related lab support equipment for the Health Science Center.

4. Upgrade to the campus-wide technology infrastructure including computer labs and structural facilities and equipment.

Posted in Announcements, Essex County College News, West Essex Campus