GRCC In the News, 4-30-18

Change Ups: Penning named member of Arthur W. Page Society
4/27/18 Grand Rapids Business Journal
Grand Rapids Community College has a laptop vending machine available to its students located in the GRCC Student Community Center’s counseling area. Students can use the laptops for free by swiping their college ID card.
Secchia Institute for Culinary Education student Heather Stadt received Grand Rapids Community College’s Arthur Andrews Award, which goes to the Delta Pi Alpha student with the highest cumulative GPA and the greatest number of honor points. Stadt will receive this spring her Associate of Applied Arts and Sciences in Culinary Arts.

Corrections officers complete academy training
4/30/18 Herald-Palladium (St. Joseph)
Six Berrien County Sheriff’s Office deputies have recently completed a local corrections officer training academy.
Deputies Heather Saberniak, Brittany Zabel, Nicholas Jewell and David Helfman attended the academy at Kalamazoo Valley Community College. Deputies Victoria Doan and Amanda Tober attended the academy at Grand Rapids Community College.

Mushroom Head Malt Company debuts at Steele Street Brewing in Ionia
4/28/18 Ionia Sentinel-Standard
SARANAC — Mushroom Head Malt Company products made its debut last weekend in Ionia at Steele Street Brewing.
… The Vierzens also learned Monday that the head brewer of the B.O.B. in downtown Grand Rapids is interested in their product, and Grand Rapids Community College is bringing their brewing class out to see their setup in the fall.

MCC’s Vandenbrand finishes in first place at Jayhawk Invitational golf tournament
4/28/18 Local Sports Journal (Muskegon)
Muskegon Community College golfer Tyler Vandenbrand finished in first place individually at the Jayhawk Invitational at Stonegate Golf Course on Friday.
… The MCC team finished second in the event with a score of 326, just behind first place Grand Rapids Community College, which won the event with a 324.

GRCC Student Wins GVSU hackGVSU 2018

Congratulations to GRCC student Chris Bell and his team on winning first place in the API category of hackGVSU 2018 with their “Echo4Education” Alexa app that helps teachers manage the Blackboard Learn Application!

1st Place API Team winners - Echo4Education Alexa app.

Here is the link to the full article:

Photos from the 2018 GRCC Employee Appreciation Event

It was a beautiful day on Friday to celebrate our employees’ wonderful accomplishments!
Special thanks to the following folks whose hard work & dedication made this incredible event possible:
     – Media Technologies: Noah DeSmit, Klaas Kwant, Todd Torrey, Taylor Bouwens, & team
     – Creative Dining: Keaton Krupa, Destiny Swanson, Hillary Fisk, & team
     – Facilities: Jim Schultz, Dale Young, & team
     – Human Resources: Christine Coon, Laura Caulk, & Lydia Cruz
     – Communications: Matt Coullard & team
     – Our Presenters: Bill Pink, Bill Faber, John Cowles, Amy Koning, Mike Vargo, Judith Larsen, Lina Blair, Jessica Berens, and Cathy Kubiak.
Congratulations again to our honorees and thank you to those who came out to celebrate with us!

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GRCC retiree biography: Joan Gearns

Joan Gearns bio photo

Joan Gearns will be retiring from GRCC today. Joan has taught at GRCC for 16 years in the English department.

When asked about her favorite story to share about GRCC students she shared this story, “For the very last class session Kellie Roblin and I taught before my retirement we had a student who began the semester trying to get his life balanced again after losing his wife and surviving serious injuries caused by a drunk driver. At the end of class, he raised his hand and said he wanted to share his story because all of the students had shared theirs over the semester. There were a few agonizing minutes as he composed himself and then shared with the class that he had survived such an awful trauma. Kellie and I knew at the beginning of the semester he could not bring himself to talk about it. To witness this huge step he took was more than I could ask as validation for what we do and the best send off to retirement.”

Joan felt that she belonged at GRCC at her first opening day, Dr. Juan Olivarez showed his concern for and how much he valued faculty by saying very clearly and slowly faculty needed to eat right, sleep well, exercise and take care of themselves. She felt at that moment she had found the right college for her.

In retirement she is simply going to travel, read, relax, write, live well and laugh. Those sound like amazing plans, Joan! Thank you for all that you have done for GRCC and your students. Congratulations on your retirement! We hope you will stay in touch.

Human Resources professional development opportunities

Human Resources Professional Development Opportunities

You can register online at:


Performance Evaluation Feedback

Tuesday, May 1, 2018 (10:00 am – 11:30 am)

In this session, we will discuss providing feedback as it relates to GRCC performance evaluations for staff. Performance evaluations are a source of information and feedback for employees and are key to ongoing and future development. In this session, supervisors will learn how to note progress, summarize key skills and abilities as well as identify challenges and opportunities for improvement for employees. Conducting effective performance evaluations take time, thought, and planning. Supervisors are expected to evaluate employees realistically, objectively, and fairly. The supervisor’s evaluation ratings and comments should be objective and based on actual performance, factual data, and direct observation. Target Audience – Supervisors


Effective Feedback Principles

Wednesday May 2, 2018 (9:00 am – 12:00 pm)

With many organizations, the use of effective feedback and recognition are communication tools that many leaders do not take advantage of to increase performance, build productive relationships, and maximize retention. Often feedback is given only if a problem exists and unknowingly the techniques used for this corrective feedback actually have the opposite effect intended. As human beings, we often hunger for feedback. However, many people will tell you that when they do get feedback, it’s often because of something they have done wrong. This course is designed to help workplace leaders learn how to provide feedback any time that the message is due. Whether feedback is formal or informal, and whether it is provided to employees, peers, or someone else, there are ways that it can be structured to be effective and lasting. This course will help participants learn why the way we deliver is feedback is important, how to deliver a message so that people accept it and make changes that may be needed, and how to accept feedback that we are offered.


GRCC Accounts and You: A Comprehensive Primer

Thursday, May 3, 2018 (1:30 pm – 3:00 pm)

Campus accounts can be confusing. As part of our commitment to provide world class customer support, Information Technology would like to offer a refresher course to staff and faculty. This course will provide a walk-through on the types of accounts available to our students and staff and some tips and tricks for getting the most out of them. We will also cover how to use the recently updated password reset tool and, of course, be available to answer other account related questions. We will go over: Online Student Center, Campus Network Login, GRCC Wireless Network, Blackboard, Student Email, Student & Employee Discounts, and printing from a personal device/cloud printing.


Foods that Fight Heart Disease

Friday, May 4, 2018 (1:00 pm – 3:00 pm)

This course is designed to give participants a holistic view of the development components of aging. This will include information on physiological, neurological, and mental-emotional aspects of the aging process. Geriatric diseases such as arthritis, Alzheimer’s, other forms of dementia, and Parkinson’s will be discussed. Participants will become familiar with resources available in the Grand Rapids community to assist in age related services, as well as provide for forum of discussion about managing their aging, as well as the aging of loved ones. We will discuss various techniques and activities utilized by attendees to reduce the impact of aging.


Selfcare in the Midst of Change

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 (2:00 pm – 4:00 pm)

This workshop will explore some of the brain science related to change and why people react and experience change the way they do?

We will also explore strategies for self-care during times of change, keeping stress, resistance and struggle at bay.

– Explore brain science related to change

– Learn about types of resistance to change

– Learn strategies to lower stress and increase resilience


Time Management Workshop

Wednesday, May 9, 2018 (10:00 am – 11:30 am)

In this workshop, participants will learn the keys to effectively managing your time, tips to being efficient, and how to ensure that the most important things are accomplished. Participants will learn how to eliminate non-productive behaviors and minimize the distractions that fill their day.


Excel Basics

Thursday, May 10, 2018 (10:00 am – 11:00 am)

This course is designed to give users a good introduction to the basic concepts of Excel. It explores the structure of the Excel workbook and demonstrates basic techniques required for working with spreadsheets.


GRCC Accounts and You: A Comprehensive Primer

Thursday, May 10, 2018 (1:30 pm – 3:00 pm)

Campus accounts can be confusing. As part of our commitment to provide world class customer support, Information Technology would like to offer a refresher course to staff and faculty. This course will provide a walk-through on the types of accounts available to our students and staff and some tips and tricks for getting the most out of them. We will also cover how to use the recently updated password reset tool and, of course, be available to answer other account related questions. We will go over: Online Student Center, Campus Network Login, GRCC Wireless Network, Blackboard, Student Email, Student & Employee Discounts, and printing from a personal device/cloud printing.


Foods for a Healthy Weight

Friday, May 11, 2018

In this course you will learn about foods that will free you from counting calories and measuring portions… Power up your plate and maintain a healthy weight and feel great! Class includes cooking demonstration and sampling.



GRCC In the News, 4-27-18

Accelerated technical training program graduates 15

April 26, 2018; Allegan News

Fifteen Allegan County students in a program that pairs a second chance to complete a high school education while arming them with skilled labor credentials, celebrated completion on Wednesday, April 18, at Allegan Public Schools administration building.

… The partners involved include Allegan Alternative  Education, Allegan Adult Education, Plainwell Renaissance Adult Education, West Michigan Works, Grand Rapids Community College, Michigan Career & Technical Institute, Lake Michigan College, Michigan Rehabilitation Services, Allegan County Community Action,  Love INC, the Linking Center, 70×7 Life Recovery, Bridges of Hope Allegan County, area employers, and other community based organizations.

Teen scholarship recipient credits mentor with turning his life around

April 26, 2018; FOX 17

KENT COUNTY, Mich. — Eben Gardner is one of 15 students who received a $2,000 scholarship from Lake Michigan Credit Union to help pay for higher education. However, the Cedar Springs High School senior said the road wasn’t easy.

… Gardner is headed to Grand Rapids Community College to study business. Lake Michigan Credit Union said it’s been able to award $361,500 to 222 students over the years through its Hutt Scholarships.

Kidney Walk celebró caminata sobre prevención de enfermedad renal crónica

April 26, 2018; El Vocero

Kidney Walks han sido una parte integral en la recaudación de fondos desde 1996 y se presentan en todo el estado Michigan.

… La misma fue dedicada en honor al doctor Bill Pink, presidente de Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) quién realizó el corte del listón para dejar oficialmente iniciado el recorrido de la caminata, que abarcó tres millas dentro del área verde del parque.

(Kidney Walks have been an integral part of the fundraising since 1996 and are presented throughout the state of Michigan.

… It was dedicated in honor of Dr. Bill Pink, president of Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) who made the cut of the ribbon to officially start the walk, which covered three miles within the green area of the park.)

Jayhawks baseball team splits doubleheader with Grand Rapids Community College

April 26, 2018; Local Sports Journal (Muskegon)

The Muskegon Community College baseball team split a doubleheader against Grand Rapids Community College on Thursday.

Jayhawks take two tight softball wins, top Grand Rapids Community College

April 26, 2018; Local Sports Journal

Muskegon Community College eked out a pair of one-run wins over Grand Rapids Community College in Western Conference softball action on Wednesday.

GRCC retiree biography: Bernie Manker

Bernie Manker

Bernie Manker

Bernie Manker will be retiring from GRCC at the end of November. Bernie has taught at GRCC for a total of 27 years, 25 being in a full time faculty position. Bernie taught Spanish in the Language and Thought and provided leadership to that department for 13 years as Department Head.

When asked what his favorite story about GRCC was, he stated that he doesn’t have a single story, but instead an observation. He stated, “I have been very fortunate to have been able to interact with many of my students for four semesters. They started with me in SP 101 and finished with SP 232. I even had students continue after completion of our regular course offerings with independent studies, seminars and service learning. It was very exciting for me to see a student who succeeded academically turn that into practical application at the Hispanic Center, Clínica Santa María, the migrant camps in and around Sparta, the Alternative High School in GRPS or with Service Learning in Mexico in Monterrey or Medellín. The community we created in the classroom was safe and inviting, the interaction between the students and each other and with me was exciting and challenging and the teaching and learning that took place was genuine and heartfelt.”

Bernie Manker stands by lockers.When asked about an experience that demonstrated his belonging to the GRCC community and he said, “Once again there is no single story that covers how I feel but rather a constant appreciation for the opportunity to do what I do where I do it. In the winter of 1973 I was a student on my Junior Semester Abroad in Spain. Every morning I walked up Gran Vía toward the University of Valencia on Paseo Valencia al mar. It was winter in Valencia, the air had a chill, the sun was brilliant even at 7:45 and the air was filled with sounds and smells; the smell of diesel, cigarette smoke, fresh bread from the “panaderías” were ever present every day. For 25 years I have walked into GRCC usually before 8:00 am and there have been moments especially in the winter and sunny days that I pick up the scent of diesel in the air and cigarette smoke (not so frequently nowadays) and I am transported back to those days in Valencia. Looking back I realize that I knew then that I was in the right place, at the right time doing what was right for me. The 17 years I taught for Grand Rapids Public Schools were wonderful years and taught me methods, classroom management, patience and when to be more structured and in control of the classroom environment. But it was when I came to GRCC that I felt that feeling again of being in the right place, at the right time doing what was right for me. I will always be grateful for the opportunity to teach here. I have had a career full of fun in class with my students, reward when I saw them succeed, excitement when they “got it”, challenges when presented with difficult concepts to introduce, introspection when trying to figure out how to better present those concepts given the restrictions of the calendar and sometimes anger and frustration when what we do in the classroom does not seem to be enough. I have had the privilege to work with many wonderful people: colleagues and students have become friends and I have established lifelong relationships with many of them.  So, why do I belong at GRCC? Because I understood our mission, performed my tasks and played my role as I understood it to be and I believe that I contributed to the nationwide reputation GRCC has as a premier academic institution. I lead a great department, we had a superior program in Spanish thanks to the help of my adjunct colleagues, we developed curriculum that challenged and improved our students’ performance and we adapted and changed as the needs of our transfer institutions, our students and the college changed.”

In retirement, Bernie plans to visit family and friends out of the area. He is hoping to visit Spain within the next year for a month or more to take in the sights, drink “cafe con leche” in local cafes and visit some childhood friends. He has many trips he is planning; bike riding in the West, visiting chalets in our National Parks, taking grandchildren on vacation and spend quality time with his children having conversation while enjoying a glass of wine. He said, “we will now have the time to indulge in those dreams.” His relationships in his life will be his top priority in retirement.

It sounds like a wonderful retirement, Bernie! Thank you for all that you have done for GRCC and your students. Congratulations on your retirement! We hope you will stay in touch and send some photos from the adventures you have planned.


Join us for summer wellness classes — starting next week

Summer wellness classes start next week and we hope you’ll join the fun! We have something for everyone. So please, check out the schedule, grab a friend, and come sweat!

As always, there’s no need to sign up – just show up and see what the fun is all about. You are welcome to bring your spouse, child over 18, or friend(s) to these classes. Non-GRCC participants are asked to pay a small $20 fee per semester. All are welcome!

**Please note wellness classes will not be held on May 28th or the week of July 2-6 in observance of holidays.**

Contact Nicole Dekker (, x3848) with any questions.

Bostwick ramp’s Fountain Street access to close April 28

Beginning Saturday, April 28th, the Fountain Street student entrance and exit of the Bostwick parking ramp will be closed for the summer renovations. The employee entrance off Fountain street will also be closed.

All traffic will need to enter the ramp from Ransom Street.  The lower two levels of the ramp will be closed completely, as will a small section of level three. The contractors will be blocking off access to the impacted areas and have determined the route to maintain circulation in the ramp. During the project, there will be no separation between student and staff parking; it will be shared space.

GRCC In the News, 4-25-18

City of Wyoming swears in new ‘Top Cop’

April 25, 2018; WZZM

WYOMING, Mich. – Long-time Wyoming Police Chief James Carmody will officially step down today, paving the way for Captain Kim Koster to be the new head of the department.

… Koster’s own promotion makes her the first woman police chief in the City of Wyoming. It is a role she is honored to have, but one she seems reluctant to assign too much significance to. Koster believes Kent County is full of good leaders, of both genders, and cites Kent County Undersheriff Michelle Young and Grand Rapids Community College Police Chief Rebecca Whitman as examples of women who she has modeled her career after.

(This article doesn’t mention it, but Kim Koster and Michelle Young are GRCC alumnae.)

Director takes joy in teaching student musicians, to see what they can do and where they go

April 24, 2018; (KISD newsletter)

The Northview High School Jazz Band has burned through another take of Duke Ellington’s “Rockin’ in Rhythm” at a peppy pace, when director Greg Wells decides it’s time for a pep talk.

… He started out studying physics and engineering at Grand Rapids Community College but went back to music his sophomore year, earning a bachelor’s at WMU and his master’s at Michigan State University.


Sustainable Residential Design students present projects

Students in AR218 Sustainable Residential Design presented their final projects this week to professionals in the field gaining valuable feedback and insights for future development. The students were tasked with designing a single family house that is energy, water and resource efficient. The students calculated the water use on site and for the interior use while incorporating strategies to reduce water consumption in each project. To address both resource and energy use, each group worked to develop an efficient plan that reduced square footage while developing a wall detail to show the construction of the home. Each student had an opportunity to research and implement a sustainable strategy in their group project ranging from gray water reclamation, passive solar, to natural ventilation.

Three students present their project to students seated in a classroom. They stand next to a video screen that says: "Saugatuck Home."