Teaching, Learning, and Distance Education News

GRCC Communications Wants to Tell Your Story (Cross-post from GRCC Today)

We’re proud of the people who serve our students and community at GRCC. Telling your stories helps show potential students the experience and expertise we have, and makes them aware of the resources and opportunities available to them.

Will you help us share your story? 

Every week a new faculty or staff story is shared in GRCC Today, on the GRCC homepage, and on GRCC social media. Faculty are highlighted in “Learn From the Best” stories, and staff are featured in “Here to Help” stories. 

Please fill out this form. We will reach out if we need additional information.

Thank you for your help!

Spots Still Available!  Winter Read: Learning Circle on Teaching to Transgress: Education as the Practice of Freedom by bell hooks

As we reflect on our pedagogy, our teaching philosophies, and our methods to build engaging classes that serve our diverse student population, it becomes essential to learn from many voices and consider a wide range of perspectives. Gloria Jean Watkins, under the pen name bell hooks, spent decades transgressing unwritten societal defaults of how a classroom should run and sought freedom of learning for students. This transformative collection of essays offers bite-sized wisdom and pushes educators to be the best versions of themselves. This learning circle will focus on selected essays and the connections we can make to create a transformative pedagogy that encourages all voices to be heard in the classroom.

Lauren Woolsey will be hosting a Learning Circle through TLDE during February, March,and April. Order your book now. Space is limited to 20 participants. Contact CTE@grcc.edu or Toy McNeal (tmcneal@grcc.edu or 616-234-3205) to sign up and place your book order.

AI Articles & Resources
Here in TLDE, we’ve been having a lot of conversations about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT.  We’re continuing to update this Google document with articles and resources for those interested in learning more.  The Resources page of the Educational Technology Organization of Michigan also has helpful links.

Reminder – Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation: Stay Tuned for More Details!
In the coming weeks, you will hear more about Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation.  Stay tuned for more details via college-wide IT Notification emails.  We have also organized the learning opportunities noted below.

Featured Upcoming Workshops/Events/Information:

  1. Information Session: Quality Matters Peer Reviews – Friday, February 3, 10 to 11 a.m., Virtual
  2. Introducing Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation – Friday, February 24, 10 to 11 a.m. – and Tuesday, February 28, 2 to 3 p.m., Virtual
  3. Understanding Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation – Tuesday, March 21, 10 to 11 a.m. and Wednesday, March 22, 2 to 3 p.m., Virtual
  4. Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation Q&A – Wednesday, April 19, 10 to 11 a.m. and Thursday, May 4, 2 to 3 p.m., Virtual
  5. Winter Semester TLDE Faculty Liaison Office Hours, Virtually: Tuesdays 1 to 3 p.m. (email dvilmont@grcc.edu to request a virtual appointment).  
  6. TLDE Office Information: The TLDE office location is RJF 373.  TLDE staff are available Mondays – Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist you!  Please stop by the office, email cte@grcc.edu, or call 616-234-3205 and we will be happy to assist you!

Please visit the CTE’s Calendar and Programming webpage for the current listing of all Winter 2023 Professional Development opportunities being offered by TLDE!

HR is conducting a poll for interest in Weight Watchers at GRCC

HR is exploring the possibility of GRCC being a community WW site — providing space for a weigh in location and in person WW staff led workshops.

We’re curious how many GRCC employees would take advantage of this. This would be somewhat different than WW at work has been in the past. 

Please respond to this short poll to indicate your interest.

Thank you! We’ll keep you posted.

My Story Started at GRCC: New York attorney Steven Van Iwaarden says GRCC professors helped him gain confidence, focus

Steven Van Iwaarden smiling.

Steven Van Iwaarden lives in Manhattan with his wife and dog and works at a prestigious New York law firm. He has law degrees from the University of Michigan and the University of California-Irvine and helped launch a first-of-its-kind law journal. 

It all sounds like a dream come true, but Van Iwaarden didn’t believe it could happen to him – not at first.

“For various reasons, my high school career was less than stellar, and I did not attend college for years after graduating high school,” he said.

Start at GRCC and go anywhere. Every former student has a story to tell about how GRCC gave them the education and opportunity to be successful.

When Van Iwaarden decided to finally get serious about his education, he enrolled at GRCC. He found knowledgeable and understanding professors and uses many of the skills he learned in those early classes – College Writing, Principles of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics, and Fundamentals of Public Speaking – in his career today.

“In my first semester at GRCC, I entered – and ended up winning – the ‘One Book, One College’ essay contest,” Van Iwaarden said. “The prize for this was getting to attend a dinner with the author of the book that was the subject of the contest, Josh Sundquist, and then getting a front-row seat to his keynote speech later that evening.

“Winning this contest really put wind behind my burgeoning academic sails. It was through this experience that I realized my talent for reading and writing could lead to great things, so long as I put the requisite effort into developing it.”

Another turning point: a GRCC-sponsored bus trip to Ann Arbor to tour the University of Michigan.

“That ended up being an important factor in me thinking I could actually attend that university after graduating from GRCC,” Van Iwaarden said.

After receiving his associate degree in 2016, he earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy, politics and economics in 2019 from U of M, where he served as an ambassador to transfer students. He earned Juris Doctor degrees from the University of California and, most recently, Michigan.

He gained experience working on employment discrimination claims as a clerk to Administrative Judge Thomas Harward of Equal Employment Opportunity Commission’s hearings unit in Los Angeles. He also helped a group of law students and doctoral candidates launch the Michigan Journal of Law & Society, which brings the humanities and social sciences into legal scholarship.

Last year, Van Iwaarden, who passed the New York State Bar exam in July, accepted an offer from Latham & Watkins LLP to become a lawyer in its New York office.

Van Iwaarden credits the success he’s seen to the support of his family and friends, as well as his willingness to take advantage of opportunities offered to him, like the Ann Arbor bus trip. 

For him, GRCC means two things: hope and opportunity.

“I view GRCC as a place offering hope to prospective students who don’t fit the archetype of the over-achieving high schooler who goes straight to a four year university,” he said. “GRCC is an institution that serves an invaluable social goal: a gateway to prosperity for those who didn’t have it handed to them. 

“I would not be where I am today without GRCC.”

Start your GRCC story today here.

GRCC men’s and women’s basketball teams cruise to victory over Kirtland Community College

GRCC women's basketball team playing another team, with a GRCC player taking a shot.

The Grand Rapids Community College men’s and women’s teams dominated in their games at Kirtland Community College on Saturday, both by more than 30 points.

The women’s team bounced back from a tough loss at Muskegon Community College on Wednesday, cruising to an 85-51 win while getting two career performances from players off the bench.

After scoring a season-low 35 points in their previous game, the Raiders offense lit it up for a season-high in points, including 30 in the second quarter.  The team also set season highs in overall field goal percentage, with 45.2 percent; and three-point field goal shooting, with 60 percent.

Alyssa Katerberg was on fire from behind the arc, totaling five threes for a career-high 15 points while adding five rebounds. Dual sport athlete Karissa Ferry scored a career-best 11 points on 5-of-10 shooting while grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds, including 12 on the offensive end.

Sally Merrill led GRCC with 20 points and Grace Lodes added 15 points, helping the team improve to 9-6 overall and 3-2 in MCCAA Northern Conference play.

The men’s team led by just seven points at the half, but erupted for 62 points in the second half on 65 percent shooting, to cruise to a 98-59 victory, the team’s 14th of the season.

“Incredible effort from the guys in the second half,” head coach Joe Fox said. “We really locked into the scout and played with incredible energy. Brockton Kohler was a steadying force, and Jack Scrimshaw really helped us close the game out. Feels great to string a few wins together on the road.

After an 11-0 start, the team dropped four in a row. But now it is riding a three-game win streak to improve to 3-2 in the conference.

GRCC had a total of 12 players score on the night, led by Kohler who scored 16 points on 5-of-8 from the floor.

Just as it did in its previous game, GRCC led in every statistical category, including only turning the ball over 10 times against 23 for Kirtland, and blocking five more shots.

Danyel Bibbs scored 14 points and Chris Coleman, JaJuan Walker and Myron Brewer all added 10 points.

Both teams will be back on the road on Feb. 1, visiting Delta College.  The women will tip-off first at 5:30 p.m. 

GRCC In the News 01/30/2023

 Snapshots

1/27/23 Community College Daily (American Association of Community Colleges)

… In Michigan, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II visits Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) for a roundtable discussion with GRCC President Charles Lepper, students, administrators and faculty members about the successes of Michigan Reconnect, a program launched in 2021 that serves students 25 and older who have not yet earned a degree. 

GRCC Communications wants to tell your story

We’re proud of the people who serve our students and community at GRCC. Telling your stories helps show potential students the experience and expertise we have, and makes them aware of the resources and opportunities available to them.

Will you help us share your story? 

Every week a new faculty or staff story is shared in GRCC Today, on the GRCC homepage, and on GRCC social media. Faculty are highlighted in “Learn From the Best” stories, and staff are featured in “Here to Help” stories. 

Please fill out this form. We will reach out if we need additional information.

Thank you for your help! 

‘Darwin Never Saw This Coming’ lecture looks at population biology and more

As part of the national Darwin Day celebration, GRCC Biological Sciences will partner with the Michigan Humanists to offer a public lecture presented by GRCC professor Greg Forbes.

The lecture, “Darwin Never Saw This Coming; A Human Population Beyond 8 Billion!” will be a discussion of population biology, evolution and the future of Earth’s ecosystems.

The event is planned for 7-8 p.m. on Feb. 7 at the Calkins Science Center Auditorium, room 348. Doors open at 6:40 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

February 6, 2023 Economic Club of Grand Rapids opportunity for GRCC students

The Economic Club of Grand Rapids has gifted us with the opportunity to have GRCC students participate in an upcoming luncheon FOR FREE.

The next event is with Governor Gretchen Whitmer (“Building a Brighter Future”) on February 6. 

Limited seats are available so please complete this google form and get more information here: https://forms.gle/1ujRb4fxGwT2ExFT6

Help spread the word to GRCC students: Over $1,000,000 in scholarships available to them from the GRCC Foundation

Kristi Welling helping a student.

Please encourage the students you teach and support to complete the GRCC Scholarship application.

They can fill out a single application to be considered for over three hundred scholarships!

These scholarships can provide them with free money to help cover 2023-24 GRCC tuition, books and fees. 

Students should apply for GRCC scholarships on our  Scholarships webpage.

The priority deadline is March 15, 2023. In order to maximize scholarship opportunities, students should also complete a 2023-24  FAFSA.

GRCC President Lepper: Michigan Reconnect has provided access and opportunities for students across West Michigan

GRCC President Lepper standing with two roundtable members, smiling.

Grand Rapids Community College President Charles Lepper said the Michigan Reconnect program has provided access and opportunities for students across West Michigan, and encourages lawmakers to thoughtfully consider Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s call to expand the program.

Whitmer in her State of the State Address on Wednesday called for expanding the Michigan Reconnect program to include residents age 21 and older. The program, now for residents ages 25 and older, covers the cost of in-district tuition, helping remove financial obstacles for residents looking to start or restart their education.

“Reconnect has already helped more than 1,000 students at GRCC, and we find them on our campus gaining a quality education and in-demand career skills,” Lepper said. “Our mission as an open access college is to serve as many people in our community as possible. Our entire region grows stronger when more people have access to a life-changing education. We appreciate that our lawmakers have supported Reconnect in the past, and we encourage thoughtful consideration of this proposal in the months to come.”

Dr. Lepper on Monday heard about the successes of the Reconnect program from students Andre Broussard and Jodi Holland on Monday at a roundtable hosted by Lt. Governor Garland Gilchrist II at GRCC’s Wisner-Bottrall Applied Technology Center.

Reconnect, launched in Feb. 2021, is aimed at students 25 and older who have not yet earned a degree. Frontliners was available in 2020 for residents who worked in essential fields during the state’s COVID-19 shutdown.

The two are part of Gov. Whitmer’s Sixth by 30 goal, hoping to have at least 60 percent of the state’s adults have a college degree or career certificate by 2030.

Lawmakers last year approved an additional $6 million to help pay for other expenses, such as daycare or transportation.

Andre Broussard said he used the Reconnect program to enroll in GRCC’s Computer Support Job Training program. He recently was awarded the first-ever MTEC Leadership Award, which recognizes a student who has gone above and beyond expectation.

Jodi Holland is a first-generation college student, who came to GRCC at age 58 to gain skills to follow her dreams of being a baker – and also to inspire her grandchildren.

As of September, 9.5 percent of all state Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners students were at GRCC.

Of the winter semester that started this month, 9, 2,584 students were accepted to GRCC through Reconnect, and 1,141 are enrolled for the winter semester. Others can start in the summer or in the fall.

About half of the enrolled Reconnect students — 556 – are taking classes for the first time. And 464 students are returning after more than two years away to complete their education.

Additional information is available at Michigan.gov/reconnect and grcc.edu/reconnect.

GRCC Communications wants to tell your story

We’re proud of the people who serve our students and community at GRCC. Telling your stories helps show potential students the experience and expertise we have, and makes them aware of the resources and opportunities available to them.

Will you help us share your story? 

Every week a new faculty or staff story is shared in GRCC Today, on the GRCC homepage, and on GRCC social media. Faculty are highlighted in “Learn From the Best” stories, and staff are featured in “Here to Help” stories. 

Please fill out this form. We will reach out if we need additional information.

Thank you for your help! 

February 6, 2023 Economic Club of Grand Rapids opportunity for GRCC students

The Economic Club of Grand Rapids has gifted us with the opportunity to have GRCC students participate in an upcoming luncheon FOR FREE.

The next event is with Governor Gretchen Whitmer (“Building a Brighter Future”) on February 6. 

Limited seats are available so please complete this google form and get more information here: https://forms.gle/1ujRb4fxGwT2ExFT6

GRCC In the News 01/27/2023

New executive director hopes to use business smarts to lead Festival of Arts

1/26/23 Grand Rapids Business Journal

As the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts’ 2023 season approaches, its new executive director hopes to reinvigorate the event. 

… (Missy) Summers, a Grand Rapids Community College alum, has 10 years of experience in the banking and finance industry with Bank of America. She most recently served with JAMGL for over seven years as director of development and chief rural officer. 

Faculty cap, gown orders due by February 10

The GRCC Bookstore is taking orders for caps and gowns for staff and faculty through February 10.

If you are in need of any commencement regalia, please stop in the bookstore and fill out the form to order yours today! Please fill the form out entirely – we will need both your height and weight to submit the order for the correct size.

Due to turnaround time and production needs, all orders and prepayments must be in by February 10 to be ready in time for the April GRCC Commencement ceremony.

We are open Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.  Payment is due at time of order. We accept cash and credit cards. 

Faculty gowns are solid black with black cap and black tassel. 

Hoods are custom to your school and degree. 

See the order form below for reference. 

GIANT Awards 40th anniversary celebration will honor decades of leadership while looking to the future

Eight past GIANT Awards winners standing in a line, smiling.

Grand Rapids Community College is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the GIANT Awards with an evening saluting the leaders of the past and present while inspiring the next generations.

Since 1983, GRCC has hosted the annual awards recognizing African American leaders and organizations for their exceptional contributions in shaping the history and quality of life in Grand Rapids and West Michigan.

The 40th anniversary celebration will highlight the past GIANT honorees and present a special anniversary award, with recipients revealed at the event.

“GRCC is tremendously proud to host the GIANT Awards each year, recognizing the people who have played key roles in making West Michigan a stronger, better place to live,” GRCC President Charles Lepper said. “The 40th anniversary milestone is a perfect time to pause and reflect on those who have been honored over the decades – to hear again their stories, appreciate their impact, and celebrate their important places in our history.”

The gala is planned for 6 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25, at DeVos Place’s Exhibit Hall, 303 Monroe Ave. NW. Individual tickets are $100, with eight-seat tables available for $1,000. Proceeds will support the Milo M. Brown Scholarship and the Junior GIANT Fund and can be purchased online.

The keynote speaker for the event is Dr. Jacqueline Walters – better known as “Dr. Jackie” – a philanthropist, health expert, women’s advocate, television personality and award-winning doctor of obstetrics and gynecology.

A two-time breast cancer survivor, Walters founded the 50 Shades of Pink Foundation, an organization focused on treating the inner and outer beauty of survivors. The Atlanta resident is featured on the Bravo hit reality series “Married to Medicine” and is a frequent speaker on the topics of women’s health, wellness and self-esteem.

Local media personalities Jamal Spencer, Eddie Rucker and Jennifer Moss will serve as emcees.

The event is being planned by a community committee that includes Vanessa Greene, Larry Johnson, Tempy Mann, Darius Quinn, Faye Richardson-Green, Misti Stanton and Shannon Wilson, and facilitated by GRCC President Emeritus Juan Olivarez and GRCC leaders.

“The GIANT Awards are special to so many people in our community,” Olivarez said. “It’s an honor to work with leaders who are devoted to recognizing what we have done to this point, but also making sure this important work continues long into the future.”

Mann said the awards are an opportunity to look back, but are also a call to action.

“The people who have been honored over the last 40 years are the ones who built our community,” Mann said. “When we tell their stories, we reflect on their legacy. But we also remind ourselves that there is so much more to do. We stand on the shoulders of our Giants, but we need to continue to carry on the work they started.”

The annual GIANT Awards, last presented in October 2022, salute 11 leaders. Each award is named after a local person who has demonstrated excellence and serves as a perpetual memorial to those notable contributions.

Honorees have made meaningful contributions to Grand Rapids in a variety of areas, including justice, education, religion, medicine, humanities, business and labor.

The Junior GIANT Award, named in honor of GIANT founders Dr. Patricia Pulliam and Cedric Ward, are presented to students of African American heritage who have demonstrated leadership, community involvement and impact. The Milo M. Brown Scholarship is presented to at least one male and one female African American GRCC students returning as full-time sophomores for the following fall semester.