Hudson County Community College’s Matthew LaBrake Selected as Finalist for National Award

April 2, 2024

Matthew LaBrake, Director of HCCC’s Center for Online Learning

HCCC’s Matthew LaBrake, Director of HCCC’s Center for Online Learning, is a national finalist for an American Association of Community Colleges 2024 Award of Excellence.

Under LaBrake’s leadership, HCCC’s online programming has grown dramatically.


April 2, 2024, Jersey City, NJ – Under the leadership of Matthew LaBrake, Executive Director of Hudson County Community College’s (HCCC) Center for Online Learning, the College’s online learning offerings are growing rapidly. LaBrake’s data-driven approach to improving student success has led to significant improvements in student success and engagement in online courses. Nearly one-third of HCCC students are now enrolled in an online course, more than double the total from 2018, and online students are now performing at the same academic level as onsite students.

In recognition of the impact of LaBrake’s leadership at Hudson, he has been named a finalist for the prestigious American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) 2024 Award of Excellence in the Rising Star-Manager Category. 

The AACC Rising Star-Manager Award recognizes an effective leader of programs and services who makes a difference for students, embraces change and innovation, seeks to improve existing processes, programs, and services, demonstrates solid engagement on internal and external committees, and supports student success.

Hudson Online now offers 17 fully online degree programs, while over 90 programs can be completed partially online. Hudson Online features 150+ online and hybrid courses, including various online labs and electives. Five more fully online degree programs are currently under development, including programs in various niche fields.

These online and hybrid offerings afford HCCC students increased flexibility in scheduling their classes by removing barriers students often encounter. Many community college students work full- or part-time, and many are parents juggling both family and work responsibilities, so the opportunity to learn on their own personal schedule is a game-changer. Additionally, there are many students who prefer the convenience of learning online from their own homes or offices, and on their own schedules.

LaBrake is passionate about expanding access to education, stating “Expanding our online programming gives more students the opportunity to get an affordable, quality education than ever before, whether they are around the corner or halfway around the world.”

On being nominated for the award, LaBrake commented, “I’m honored to be a nominee for the AACC National Award of Excellence. The nomination reflects the entire Center for Online Learning team’s hard work and dedication to making high-quality, affordable education available to as many students as possible. Additionally, the nomination is a testament to the strong support of HCCC President Dr. Chris Reber and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dr. Darryl Jones, and the spirit of collaboration we have with HCCC’s faculty who create quality content for the online courses.”

LaBrake is an active participant in state and national organizations and events, including the Online Learning Consortium; EDUCAUSE; the U.S. Distance Learning Association; the Global Online Learning Development and Extended Network, and more.

LaBrake holds a B.S. in Information Science & Technology and an M.S. in Library Information Science from the University at Albany, SUNY. In addition to his work leading the Center for Online Learning, LaBrake currently serves as Chair of HCCC’s Online Learning Advisory Council and Chair of the Achieving the Dream Accessibility Team, and is heavily involved in various clubs and advisory groups at the College.  

LaBrake’s nomination is one of seven AACC Awards of Excellence finalists for HCCC this year. President Reber stated, “We are immensely proud of Matthew LaBrake's nomination for an AACC 2024 Award of Excellence. His nomination for this prestigious national award recognizes his outstanding and visionary leadership in advancing our online learning programs. His persistent dedication to expanding access to high-quality education aligns perfectly with our College’s mission of meeting students where they are and promoting their success and the accomplishment of their goals.”