RANDOLPH, NJ — Dr. Bette Simmons, vice president of Student Development and Enrollment Management at County College of Morris (CCM), and Robert Lipka, director of customized training solutions at CCM, recently received the Community College Spirit Award from the New Jersey Council of County Colleges (NJCCC). Since its inauguration in 1993, the Community College Spirit Award has been an honor bestowed to those who embody the community college spirit – perseverance, dedication and excellence.

Simmons, of Morristown, and Lipka, of Parsippany, received their awards at the council’s meeting on June 16 at the Lafayette Yard Hotel & Conference Center in Trenton.

Simmons was recognized in part for her work in leading New Jersey’s community colleges in transforming their student services programs to improve student completion in associate degree and certificate programs. Specifically, she co-authored a statewide white paper featuring best practices colleges can adopt to improve student engagement, including student education plans, early warning systems, student success courses, peer tutoring programs and peer mentoring programs.

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“I am honored to have been selected as a recipient of the NJCCC’s Community College Spirit Award,” Simmons said. “It’s especially gratifying to win an award from an organization that does such a wonderful job advocating for the important role community colleges play in the state and the nation as a whole.”

Lipka was recognized in part for his work to increase the number of Morris County businesses utilizing the New Jersey Community College Consortium for Workforce and Economic Development and the New Jersey Business and Industry Association (NJBIA) Basic Skills Workforce Training Program.

“Working with the Workforce Consortium staff and the NJBIA, County College of Morris now leads the state as the top community college provider of training courses offered via the NJBIA Basic Skills Workforce Training Program, thanks to Bob’s leadership,” said NJCCC Chairman Bakari G. Lee.

CCM employees have been selected for Community College Spirit Awards in four consecutive years. Last year, Joseph T. Vitale, executive director of College Advancement and Planning and president of the Foundation at CCM, was honored. In 2012, Sheri Ventura, coordinator of distance learning services, won the award. In 2011, Dr. Dwight Smith, vice president of Academic Affairs, was a winner.

 “I am grateful to have been selected to receive such a prestigious award and continue the legacy of other CCM colleagues who have been named winners,” Lipka said. “It is a privilege to be associated with an honor that recognizes the important role colleges like CCM play in the community.”

 The NJCCC provides leadership for the advancement of New Jersey’s community colleges and performs sector coordination. Among the programs supported by the council is the New Jersey Student Tuition Assistance Rewards Scholarship (NJ STARS), the nation’s first state-sponsored program designed for community college students. Scholarships received through NJ STARS cover tuition and approved fees.

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