Essex County College’s personalized learning math class was recently featured in the prestigious journal Chronicle of Higher Education. The class was profiled in a video case study by education technology blog e-Literate.


In this personalized learning approach geared toward developmental math, class time is divided into two segments, according to Dr. Douglas Walcerz, Vice President for Planning, Research & Assessment at Essex.


In the first segment, students work in three 80-minute lab sessions per week on a web-based, artificially intelligent assessment and learning system. In the second segment, they participate in two 50-minute sessions per week of self-regulated learning (SRL) in the classroom. During SRL, they, along with their professor and fellow classmates practice and evaluate the previous week’s lab work, learning strategies and goals.


“We were looking for a solution that could serve students who have varying levels of mathematical skills and abilities. This approach [using adaptive learning solution] is individualized so that a student never gets lost or bored. The SRL portion of the class helps students feel connected to their classmates, which in turn adds an extra level of motivation. And motivation is my number one goal for SRL,” explains Dr. Walcerz.


To implement the personalized learning classes, Essex County College President Dr. Gale E. Gibson committed $1.2 million to support the new pedagogical approach, which required faculty professional development, a software license and new wired classrooms. “It’s important that I take an extremely active, hands-on role in this process to show support to the faculty and how [these classes] are a complement them. It [the support of the classes] starts from the top, in order for the faculty to feel comfortable and be engaged,” she stated in the video.


Dr. Walcerz and faculty members Pamela Rivera and Maygar Mondesir were all interviewed for the video this past spring. In a follow up video e-Literate will interview faculty and students to see how the program is working.


To view the video and learn more, visit


Posted in Announcements, Essex County College News

The Africana Institute at Essex County College presents the 3rd annual Pan African Drumfest on Saturday, May 30. The free program will be held from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Newark campus, starting on the corner of University Avenue and West Market Street before moving inside the Mary Burch Theater.


This year’s program is a celebration of the life of Dr. Yosef ben-Jochannan, the famed African-American writer and historian who passed away in March. He wrote extensively on ancient West Nile civilizations and their impact on Western culture.


Participants are invited to bring their own drums and take part in the drum circle. They will also have the opportunity to receive a free djembe drum in a giveaway, courtesy of Sheps Hetep Ancestral Music.


Other guests of the event include Dr. Rosalind Jeffries, a professor at the School of Visual Arts; the College’s African Student Association; the Zawadi School of African Dance; the Egun Omode dance troupe, and the Pan African Ancestral Heritage Society. An African Marketplace will also be held at the College from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on May 29, and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on May 30.


Additional information is available by contacting Essex’s Africana Institute at 973.877.3219 or

Posted in Community, Essex County College News

After presiding over the College’s 46th annual Commencement on May 15 where a record 1,505 graduates received their Associate degrees and Certificates, Dr. Gibson served as keynote speaker at Pillar College’s Commencement May 16. Her speech, “The Power of Doing Good,” received a standing ovation at the ceremony, held at Newark’s Old First (Presbyterian) Church.


Dr. Gibson’s advice to the Pillar graduates was some of the same advice she received from her grandmother growing up in Barbados. “I was given the gift of competence, skill, resourcefulness and determination.


“Growing up in Barbados, she, like many older people, had the gift of wisdom. And she would use stories, saying and adages to teach me lessons that she knew I would need for life. She was an extremely religious woman and I learned that the foundations for her adages were from her spiritual and biblical grounding.


“My advice to you is to use your gifts for good and to celebrate the power of good.”


Dr. Gibson donated her honorarium back to Pillar College in the form of a scholarship.


Essex and Pillar began a partnership last year with a transfer agreement. That agreement allows Essex students who earned an Associate in Arts or an Associate in Science to transfer to Pillar with full junior status. Earlier this year, the two colleges approved a guaranteed reverse credit transfer agreement whereby students who earned a minimum of 30 credits from Essex and enroll at Pillar may also be awarded an Associate degree. That degree will be from Essex.


The Essex Commencement was live streamed with 4,000 views spread over 15 countries in five continents. Countries where graduation was viewed included Peru, Brazil, United Kingdom, Morocco, Dominican Republic, Barbados, Guyana, Nigeria, Egypt, Bermuda, Spain, China, Colombia, Canada and Turkey.


In other Commencement season news, Dr. Gibson announced that at the May 6 Scholarship Awards Night, $173,529 in scholarship money was awarded to Class of 2015 members.


Dr. Gale E. Gibson with Pillar College President Dr. David E. Schroeder (center) and Dr. David Wright, President of Indiana Wesleyan UniversityIMG_6942



Posted in Essex County College News