A Free and Open-to-the-Public Event on Thursday, October 9


More than 17 countries were represented by Essex County College’s most recent graduating class. Over 25% of those who are Hispanic/Latino make up this diverse population. In conjunction with Liberal Arts Month, Hispanic Heritage Celebration and Humanities Week (Oct. 6-10), the Humanities Department is hosting a free event Bridging Historias: Infusing Latino/Latina Culture into the College Curriculum on Thursday, October 9, from 11:30 a.m. to 12:50 p.m. at the school’s main Newark campus. The event, which is open to the public, will take place in the Harry J. Smith Lecture Hall, Room 2131. Guest speaker will be José E. Velázquez, co-editor of The Puerto Rican Movement: Voices from the Diaspora.


Bridging Historias is also the name of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant-funded program in which Dr. Stephanie Aisha Steplight Johnson, Acting Vice President & Chief Academic Officer, along with three faculty members, Professor and Director of Paralegal Studies Linda Carter, Adjunct English Faculty member Maria Luna, and Assistant Professor of Sociology Charles Pinderhughes are participating. These faculty members will present during the event about how they are revamping their courses so that Latino/Latina content is taught and learned by Essex County College students.


“The NEH Bridging Cultures grant [of which the Bridging Historias program is a part] enables us to look at how people have been excluded and to research their contributions to our nation. We at Essex joined the Bridging Historias program to help move students beyond the superficial stereotypical perspective, to explore ways to incorporate Latino/Latina studies into the curricula so that all students have the opportunity to learn about how Latino/Latina people have shaped who we are from a broad and deeply scholarly perspective,” noted Dr. Steplight Johnson.


The program provides periodic professional development sessions with guest speakers who have expertise in Latino and Latina curriculum and content, and organizes breakout roundtable discussions for faculty in the same disciplines to strategize about teaching and learning. In addition online discussions take place about pedagogy.


Professor Linda Carter notes “It’s an easy transition for me to incorporate multiculturalism into my classes. Whether it’s law, math or science, people have contributed to the advancement of these subjects from all cultures. Students need to know that those who look and sound like them made these contributions.”


For more information about the event, please contact Humanities Assistant Professor Rebecca Williams at (973) 877-3470.

2014 Bridging Historias

Posted in Announcements, Essex County College News
Dr. Ivonne Diaz-Claisse

Dr. Ivonne Diaz-Claisse

Essex County College launches its Hispanic Heritage Celebration Tuesday, October 7, with the founder and president of the Princeton-based Hispanics Inspiring Students’ Performance and Achievement (HISPA) providing the keynote address. Dr. Ivonne Diaz-Claisse is the featured speaker for the event which starts at 10 a.m. in Essex’s Smith Hall at the main Newark campus, 303 University Avenue.


The theme of this year’s celebration is Building our Future Together: Education, Empower and Connect. Dr. Diaz-Claisse will talk on the theme of the celebration.


Professor Angel Millan, of the Bilingual Studies Division and chair of the Hispanic Heritage Committee noted that Essex is designated a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI), one of nine among all of New Jersey’s colleges and universities. A school must have a minimum 25 percent Hispanic enrollment for the HSI designation. Essex enrollment of Hispanic students is more than 26 percent.


With the burgeoning Hispanic population, Professor Millan said programs such as the October 7 event and others planned throughout the 2014-2015 academic year, serve a valuable purpose. “We want to provide a platform for creating better understanding and support for all our students.”


The free program is open to the public. Additional information is available from Professor Millan at 973.877.3394 or Millan@essex.edu.


HISPA encourages student success by recruiting, supporting and coordinating Latino professionals to participate in educational programs in their communities.  Dr. Diaz-Claisse also serves as a consultant to the Educational Testing Service, advising the company on programs seeking to increase educational opportunities for Hispanics, particularly in higher education.


Dr. Diaz-Claisse earned her Ph.D. in Mathematics from Arizona State University and Master’s degrees from Cornell University and the University of Maryland. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Mathematics from the University of Puerto Rico.

Posted in Community, Essex County College News

With Essex County College as the backdrop, U.S. Senators Cory Booker and Robert Menendez, D-NJ, announced October 1 that $15 million in federal funding has been awarded to 12 New Jersey community colleges. Of that total, Essex County College received $819,100 to train students for jobs in the healthcare field.


“These job training programs are critical for workforce development and preparing Newark and Essex County residents for relevant and substantial employment,” said Essex County College President Dr. Gale E. Gibson.


Also attending the press conference were U.S. Congressman Donald M. Payne Jr, D-10, and Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo, officials that are aware for the need of training new healthcare providers in a rapidly burgeoning field.


This is Essex’s third U.S. Department of Labor (USDOL) Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training (TAACCCT) grant.


“Today is a celebration,” said Senator Cory Booker. “We have to focus on preparing our young people for the future. “ He added there is a crisis in the healthcare industry with four million jobs nation-wide going unfilled. Programs such as the Department of Labor initiative are addressing this shortfall, the Senator added.


U.S. Senator Robert Menendez promised this program is just the beginning. “We are preparing the next generation of healthcare providers through public-private partnerships. But we have so much more to do.”


Congressman Donald M. Payne, D-10, said the grant award ties in with the Affordable Care Act. “With more Americans in need of quality healthcare, we need people who can provide that care.” The Congressman promised to continue to advocate in Congress for training programs “to prepare our young people for the jobs of the future.”


Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo termed the news announced as one that will help everyone by creating more good jobs and for the healthcare it will ultimately provide.


Dr. Gibson credited Essex County College Associate Dean Keith Kirkland, Community & Extension Programs and Mitra Choudhury, Director, Training, Inc. and their staff that worked on the application grant submission.


Essex County College previously received U.S. DOL TAACCT grants of $2.75 million for cyber security and networks, software development and health information technology, and a singular $1,037,225 grant to create a set of credentials in Supply Chain Management. That program will consist of eight credentials that will provide workers with skills for entry and middle-level employment in the logistics industry.



From left to right are Essex County Executive Joseph DiVincenzo; Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ); Congressman Donald M. Payne (D-10); Essex County College President Dr. Gale E. Gibson; Essex County College Board of Trustee Chair Calvin Souder, Esq.; Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ); Essex County Board of Trustees Jeweline Grimes and Rita J. Sallis.


Posted in Announcements, Essex County College News