Szymon Machajewski Wins 2011 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Innovative Development

Szymon Machajewski - Catalyst Award Winner

Caption: Szymon Machajewski pictured with the bbStats application (in the background) that he has developed and shared with the Blackboard open source community. bbStats provides a wealth of information for system administrators that includes a real-time dashboard of system activity and users, assessment reports, most active users, number of emails sent, and much more!

Congratulations to Szymon Machajewski, IT Senior Blackboard Solutions Engineer and Database Administrator who has won the 2011 Blackboard Catalyst Award for Innovative Development. Szymon will be recognized for his accomplishments at an award luncheon at the national Blackboard conference (BbWorld) this July in Las Vegas, NV. Szymon’s contributions to the Blackboard community have been recognized as invaluable to the participants at large. He joins a select group of e-Learning professionals, system administrators and institution staff from the around the world whose participation has been recognized as a significant and exemplary contribution to the Blackboard Community.

Here is a description of the Innovative Development category: Honoring those who work with development tools that directly impact teaching and learning, the Innovators Award recognizes those who give back to the community by sharing their development expertise with others. These recipients have had meaningful contributions to the Blackboard Developers Community which enable educational innovations that would not be possible otherwise. By significantly contributing to the overall community, these awards symbolize the innovation possible with software development and extending the Blackboard platform. ( More information on the award )

Heritage Reservations Needed for Thursday

GRCC Heritage Restaurant Summer 2011 Menu
Right now GRCC’s Heritage Restaurant has a slow Thursday booked, which means our students have fewer opportunities to polish their skills.  The college needs would love to get more people in.  If you don’t already have lunch plans, please do your part to help our students learn by eating their delicious food.  Check out the summer menu here.
As an incentive, anyone who dines in the Heritage on Thursday will receive a complimentary beverage of their choice (though we recommend the “Flaming Coffee Diablo”).

We are Building it; They are Coming

GRCC Energy Hub

Earlier this week, representatives from Consumers Power and Honeywell visited Julie Parks and Brian Shultz at the Tassell M-TEC to begin creating a working energy hub on that site.  Some time ago, construction trades students built a model house which opens like a book so insulation, HVAC, wiring, plumbing and utilities installation can be observed.

Using that house, the next step is to add examples of sustainable standards that will make homes less energy dependent and more ecologically friendly – skills that are in high demand now and on the verge of becoming standard for all workers in those fields.

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The work shown here shows Tom Floyd (in black ball cap), GRCC electrical instructor – and owner of the electrical firm that renovated Cook Hall – leading the installation of a monitoring system for the house’s power grid that reads out on a GPS-like device. With this monitor in a highly visible spot, for example in the kitchen as shown in our model, a home’s occupants can keep a close eye on usage and make efficiency decisions.

GRCC is the first college in the country to create an energy hub like this and, according to Julie Parks,  others are already interested in using ours as an example. Another great distinction for GRCC.

Chef Bob Schultz Named to NICA Board of Directors

Chef Bob Schultz Coaching GRCC Students at the NICA Collegiate Invitational

GRCC’s own Bob Schultz in the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education has been named to the National Ice Carving Association (NICA)Board of Directors.  From the NICA announcement:

We are glad to have Bob for the first time on our board. Bob is a multi-talented chef instructor at Grad Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids Michigan. He coaches many young ice carvers at various ice competitions and always brings great talent to the Collegiate Nationals each year in Frankenmuth, MI

Kudos to Chef Schultz on representing GRCC in the professional community!

Last Call for SSPD Applications: May Funding Round

The deadline for the submission of grant applications for the Support Staff Professional Development (SSPD) program is 4:30 p.m., May 20, 2011. The SSPD application packet and SSPD Guidelines are available in the Professional Development Grants section of the Grants Office website here. Please note that applications must include a Supervisor’s Approval form, a budget form and budget documentation. If you have any questions about SSPD grants, please contact Lisa Dopke, Grants Coordinator at 234-3340 or Good luck!

Only Two Openings Left for Formation Retreat

Employee Professional Development & Enrichment is once again offering Formation Retreat for Staff. For this retreat “staff” is defined as non-faculty, non-administrative leadership employees.

This year’s retreat begins at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 29 and concludes with lunch on Friday, July 1. The retreat will be held at the Gilchrist Retreat Center near Three Rivers, Michigan. The retreat will be facilitated by Frank Conner and Judy Jankowski.

For details or to register go to