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

Dr. Gibson’s Speech »

Welcome invited guests, board of trustee members, elected officials, members of the press, faculty, staff and friends of Essex County College.

It is not every day that we have such a distinguished group of officials visiting our campus. But, by having the Governor Chris Christie, the Secretary of the Higher Education, Rochelle Hendricks, County Executive Joe DiVincenzo, and the Mayor of Newark Luis Quintana.

We have an audience rich in diversity and resources that represents the shared space we are celebrating.

Today, we will kick-off the conversion of our Library to the Martin Luther King Jr. Information Commons. This $6.7 million renovation is made possible by the 2012 New Jersey “Building Our Future” Bond Act……… from which Essex County College was awarded more than $19 million.

That represents the most of any two-year state institution. And we appreciate and are excited about what it means for us!

The Information Commons will be a transformative space for our students. It aligns with our 5-year strategic plan and it is part of a blueprint to further enhance teaching and learning at Essex County College.

Imagine this scenario with me for a moment: Today a student comes into the library, gets a book, looks up a resource, sits in a cubicle, usually alone, and studies or gathers research material for a paper. That’s a pretty typical or traditional use of our library.

However, in about 18 months when we open our Information Commons it will be transformed into a space that provides a seamless academic environment. Where students may access, manage, and produce information and have services, resources, staff and the appropriate technological cross training – all at the same workstation.

Here’s more of what the students and faculty can expect.

The Information Commons Library will consist of:

• 145 state-of-the-art computers

• Labs to offer image scanners, color printers, presentation and spreadsheet tools with the latest software

• Wireless Internet access – and plug in stations

• Multimedia production capabilities to blend technology and research needs

• 4 SMART classrooms to provide easier access to writing papers, manipulating data, or developing presentations

• A redesigned eco-friendly open space lounge with a waterfall wall and a “green” wall to absorb sound

• Individual Skype workstations to encourage informal meetings and global connections

• Several Multi-purpose rooms for collaboration and small group interactions

• Faculty resources will be available to develop new cutting edge curricular material.

I’m sure you have heard the new buzz phrase: “the Internet of Everything”… this Commons will be the Information of Everything…

I make this statement because our Information Commons is not just resources, but it will be a wonderful space to build relationships among students, library information systems professionals, multi media experts, the technologically curious, curriculum developers and the community.

We see this as a catalyst to promote retention and increase graduation rates because the joy of learning will be so well reflected in this environment.

It will contribute to the developing culture of innovation, creativity and scholarship that will impact the good of Newark, New Jersey and the world!

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