GRCC President Pink says bipartisan state budget agreement will boost opportunities, make college more accessible

Grand Rapids Community College leaders are applauding Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Legislature for a budget agreement providing additional resources for Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect programs to make a college education more accessible and help West Michigan’s recovery from the pandemic.

The budget increases funding for Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners – programs covering the cost of in-district tuition for eligible residents – and also includes funding to help provide support services to help students be successful and complete their credential.

The budget deal, which the governor said she’ll sign into law before the end of the month, also includes a one-time 1 percent increase for operations at universities and community colleges, with a one-time 4 percent increase to help keep tuition costs down. 

“I applaud the Governor and the Legislature for this bipartisan plan recognizing the important role community colleges play in helping residents change their lives and boosting our economy,” GRCC President Bill Pink said.

“We are seeing the impact the Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect programs are having. People of all ages in our community are starting their college pathway, or picking up where they left off – sometimes 10 or 15 years ago. These are opportunities to change their careers and help their families.

“While I also appreciate the one-time increase for operations in the budget, one-time funding makes it difficult to create sustainable student-supporting programs. I look forward to continuing this conversation with our lawmakers about the challenges and opportunities community colleges will face beyond this year.”

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My Story Started at GRCC: Stephanie Thomas thought she was too old to run cross country, then set GRCC record

Stephanie Thomas smiling.

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. 

At 27, Stephanie Thomas thought she was too old.

Too old for college. Too old for a rewarding career. And most certainly too old to become a cross-country All-American at Grand Rapids Community College.

“But GRCC really taught me that you never know what gifts you have until someone inspires you to go for it,” said Thomas, who earned an associate degree in Criminal Justice at GRCC in 2018.

Now 31, Thomas is finishing work on a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice at Grand Valley State University. Already working at Gerald R. Ford International Airport as a TSA officer, she hopes to one day advance to the Drug Enforcement Administration, FBI, Customs or another of the 22 agencies housed within the Department of Homeland Security.

It’s a whole new world for Thomas, who tried other colleges after graduating in 2008 from Grand Rapids Christian High School. But they never clicked for her.

Years later, her fiancé, Derrick Diepenhorst, convinced Thomas to give GRCC a try.

“He told me that because I’m half Native American, tuition would be waived at any public community college or university in Michigan,” Thomas said. “But I was already 25 years old and I didn’t want to be surrounded by a bunch of young kids and feel like the odd one out.”

Nevertheless, she enrolled at GRCC and soon fell in love with her Criminal Justice courses. Although Thomas only played sports a little bit in middle school, she decided to try running as a way to get into better shape.

Little did she imagine how good she’d be.

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Jamillya Hardley and Erika Howard join the ODEI

𝗝𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗹𝗹𝘆𝗮 𝗛𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗹𝗲𝘆 smiling.

𝗝𝗮𝗺𝗶𝗹𝗹𝘆𝗮 𝗛𝗮𝗿𝗱𝗹𝗲𝘆 𝗷𝗼𝗶𝗻𝘀 𝗚𝗥𝗖𝗖’𝘀 𝗢𝗳𝗳𝗶𝗰𝗲 𝗼𝗳 𝗗𝗶𝘃𝗲𝗿𝘀𝗶𝘁𝘆, 𝗘𝗾𝘂𝗶𝘁𝘆, 𝗮𝗻𝗱 𝗜𝗻𝗰𝗹𝘂𝘀𝗶𝗼𝗻 𝗮𝘀 𝗔𝘀𝘀𝗶𝘀𝘁𝗮𝗻𝘁 𝗗𝗶𝗿𝗲𝗰𝘁𝗼𝗿

Jamillya Hardley, a first-generation college graduate, and native of Grand Rapids, Michigan, will begin her tenure on October 4, 2021.

Hardley, a proud member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority Incorporated, has served in student affairs for nearly a decade with professional experience in student conduct, academic advising, career development, athletics, and residence life.  

Jamillya has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology from the University of Michigan, where she was a member of the U of M Women’s basketball team. In the years following, Jamillya earned a Master of Education in Higher Education with an emphasis in College Student Affairs Leadership at GVSU.

𝐉𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐇𝐚𝐫𝐝𝐥𝐞𝐲 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐰𝐨𝐫𝐤 𝐢𝐬 𝐄𝐫𝐢𝐤𝐚 𝐇𝐨𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐝

Erika is a second-year graduate student pursuing a Master of Education in Higher Education degree with an emphasis in College Student Affairs Leadership at Grand Valley State University. Before this, Erika earned a B.A. in Education Studies and German Languages from Berea College.

Howard, who joined GRCC on September 2, is currently fulfilling the role of Equity Fellow in the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion, where she is responsible for assisting with program logistics, assessment initiatives, student engagement, and content development for #GRCCequity social media platforms.

“𝘛𝘩𝘦 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘨𝘳𝘢𝘮𝘴 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘦𝘳𝘷𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘴 𝘧𝘢𝘤𝘪𝘭𝘪𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘖𝘋𝘌𝘐 𝘢𝘳𝘦 𝘳𝘰𝘰𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘪𝘯 𝘢 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘰𝘳𝘺-𝘵𝘰-𝘱𝘳𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘧𝘳𝘢𝘮𝘦𝘸𝘰𝘳𝘬,” 𝘴𝘢𝘪𝘥 𝘋𝘳. 𝘉. 𝘈𝘧𝘦𝘯𝘪 𝘔𝘤𝘕𝘦𝘦𝘭𝘺 𝘊𝘰𝘣𝘩𝘢𝘮, 𝘊𝘩𝘪𝘦𝘧 𝘌𝘲𝘶𝘪𝘵𝘺 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘐𝘯𝘤𝘭𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘖𝘧𝘧𝘪𝘤𝘦𝘳. “𝘐 𝘢𝘮 𝘦𝘹𝘤𝘪𝘵𝘦𝘥 𝘢𝘣𝘰𝘶𝘵 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘭𝘦𝘷𝘦𝘭 𝘰𝘧 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘴𝘦 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘺𝘯𝘦𝘳𝘨𝘺 𝘑𝘢𝘮𝘪𝘭𝘭𝘺𝘢 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘌𝘳𝘪𝘬𝘢 𝘸𝘪𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘰 𝘎𝘙𝘊𝘊. 𝘋𝘶𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘴𝘵𝘢𝘧𝘧 𝘳𝘦𝘵𝘳𝘦𝘢𝘵, 𝘪𝘵 𝘸𝘢𝘴 𝘤𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘳 𝘵𝘩𝘦𝘺 𝘶𝘯𝘥𝘦𝘳𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘰𝘥 𝘩𝘰𝘸 𝘯𝘶𝘢𝘯𝘤𝘦𝘥 𝘱𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘪𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘴 𝘰𝘧 𝘪𝘯𝘤𝘭𝘶𝘴𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘴𝘰𝘤𝘪𝘢𝘭 𝘫𝘶𝘴𝘵𝘪𝘤𝘦 𝘤𝘰𝘯𝘯𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘦𝘳 𝘦𝘥𝘶𝘤𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯.”

For the full announcement, visit: News and Updates

Here to Help: Mike Schavey helps students step out of comfort zone, gain life-changing experiences

Mike Shavey smiling.

Always remember, at GRCC, you are surrounded by people who want you to be successful and are ready to walk with you on your educational pathway. We are here to help!

Meet Mike Schavey. Mike is here to help if you want more out of your community college experience.

If you are ready to step out of your comfort zone, he is here to provide you with experiences to help you grow into the person you want to become.

Get ready to travel the world, become immersed into a community of high achieving students, or make an impact in your community. Mike will give you the tools you need to be successful in the honors, service learning, and study away programs — programs students often describe as amazing and life changing experiences.

Mike also supports GRCC faculty members as they create experiences enriching student learning.

Examples include helping a faculty member to:

  • Create a course that incorporates an international travel experience.
  • Work with an honors student who wants to complete an additional assignment in their course.
  • Incorporate a volunteer experience into their course.

“At GRCC we care about the quality of your overall experience,” he said. “There is so much to take advantage of that will help you meet your academic and personal goals.”

When Mike graduated high school, he attended GRCC because it was his only option.

“Over the span of two years at GRCC, I met many amazing faculty members who challenged me, encouraged me, and, at times, counselled me,” he said. “I participated in several activities that pushed me out of my comfort zone — the self-confidence and skills I gained are most certainly applied to how I live my life today.”

Mike recalls not being a straight A student when he attended GRCC, but through perseverance and great mentors he was able to transfer to Grand Valley State University where he earned degrees related to sociology, psychology, social work and public administration.

Given the collaborative nature of his work, Mike is in touch with almost department on campus.  When he gets the chance to listen to students share their goals he’s prepared to point them in the right direction.

“I really enjoy working at GRCC because our culture is very much centered around improving the student experience and a strong desire to help, regardless of where you’re at in your academic journey,” he said.

Mike’s team is located in the newly renovated Steven C. Ender Hall located on the DeVos Campus. You can connect through email at or by calling call (616) 234-4162.

Monthly workshops focused on social equity

Race, gender, ethnicity, ability, etc. are often determining factors in how we experience life daily. Let’s discover together how our identities can show barriers or bridges to social equity.

Join us for the Building Blocks of Social Equity workshop series

Presented by Sophia Brewer, Assistant Professor, M.L.I.S.

Featuring five learning opportunities over five months:

October 2021 – Defining social equity
November 2021 – It starts with you: Self identity
December 2021 – Social equity barriers
January 2022 – Learning equity through play
February 2022 – Intergroup dialogue and empowerment

Register today via the Professional Development tile in your Online Center account. 2022 offerings will become available by the end of November.

September and October Happenings in the CTE

~ Book Reading, Voices From the Rust Belt, brought to you by the English Department on Wednesday, September, 29, 2021. 

  • Author Reading – 9:30 to 10:30 a.m.
  • A Q&A from the English 101 Students – 11:15 a.m. to 12:15 p.m.
  • Author Reading – 1:00 to 2:00 p.m.
  • Q&A from English 101 Students – 2:45 to 3:45 p.m.

Click here for a description of this session and information on the Book, Voices From the Rust Belt. To receive your own copy, click here.

~ Intro to Panopto ~ Thursday, September 30 from 10:00 to 11:30 a.m. ~

~ Blackboard Basics (HyFlex) – Thursday, September 30 from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

Only two days left, register now while space is available!

Coming in October!!

~ Navigate and Academic Advisement ~ Wednesday, October 20th from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m.

  • This session will focus on the new degree planning and degree audit tools available to students, staff, and faculty for the purposes of future course planning and degree completion. Navigate and Academic Progress (Advisement) have launched! We’re here to walk you through when and how you may want to use these support tools in advising your students.

Registration is open for this session. Click here for instructions.

Tech Tip: Wireless accounts

Did you know there are several ways to access GRCC Wireless? The chart below will help guide you through which one is best for you to use when on campus.

GRCC SECUREDesigned to help faculty, staff and students work efficiently by blocking many high-bandwidths, non-academic sites.Click on the network connection and use your MyGRCC login credentials.
GRCC WirelessLess restrictive and should be used for general purposes.Click on the network connection which may open a browser window. You may need to open your web browser and navigate to to get the login page. Use your MyGRCC Login Credentials when prompted. If the login screen does not load, use to bring up the login. 
Raider GuestDesigned for campus visitors that need to access the internet with limited bandwidth. Users can be connected for up to 12 hours.Authenticate using email or SMS-based registration.

For additional assistance check out our Knowledge Base article on Connecting to GRCC Wireless: 

How do I connect to the wireless network (wifi) at GRCC?

How do I connect to Raider Guest Wifi?

For more information and helpful tips, please visit the IT Customer Support Portal or contact the IT Customer Support Desk at x4357.

If you have a suggestion or a Technology Tip you think can be useful, you can submit them by emailing 

October HR learning opportunities

Several interesting learning opportunities are available to all GRCC employees during the month of October. Visit the Professional Development tile in your Online Center account for registration as well as session descriptions, date, time and format/location information.

Friday, October 1
Understanding the GRCC Foundation (in person)
Building Blocks to Social Equity Series – Defining Social Equity (in person)

Tuesday, October 5
Using They, Them, Their Pronouns (in person)

Thursday, October 7
Student Records & Privacy (in person)

Tuesday, October 12
Building A Culture of Care (in person)

Wednesday, October 13
Benefits 101 (in person)

Thursday, October 14
Moving from Mindfulness into Action (in person)

Friday, October 15
Mindfulness Made Simple (virtual via Zoom)

Tuesday, October 19
Planning for Success (in person)

Wednesday, October 20
FMLA – what’s in it for you? (in person)
FSA/HSA lunch & learn (in person)

Thursday, October 21
Google Chat & Meet (in person)
Active Shooter Response Training (in person)

Friday, October 22
Changing Negative Self Talk (virtual via Zoom)

Tuesday, October 26
Strengths Finder (in person)

Wednesday, October 27
Benefits Fair (11am-3pm) in the ATC banquet rooms

  • includes flu shot clinic, and fall treats for employees!

Thursday, October 28
Google Collaboration Tools (in person)

GRCC In the News, 09/27/2021

GRCC president: New state budget recognizes the importance of community colleges

September 26, 2021;

The new proposed state budget provides additional resources to make a college education more accessible and help West Michigan’s recovery from the pandemic.

… Grand Rapids Community College President Bill Pink says he applauds the governor and the Legislature for a bipartisan plan that recognizes the important role community colleges play in helping residents change their lives and boosting our economy.

Morning News

September 26, 2021; FOX 17

(GRCC’s fall enrollment.)

Education Briefs: GVSU expands HBCU partnerships, GRCC enrollment up

September 26, 2021; The Holland Sentinel

… Grand Rapids Community College is reporting a 4.4 percent increase in enrollment for the fall 2021 semester. The bump is sparked by programs like Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect, along with the opening of the new Lakeshore Campus.

Lessons Michigan can take from Florida’s devastating Delta surge

September 26, 2021; MLive

It’s been a difficult summer for Southern states, as the Delta variant of COVID-19 has spiked case counts and filled hospital rooms and morgues.

(A photo from a GRCC vaccination clinic illustrates this article.)

Petoskey’s NCMC firing up athletics program

September 26, 2021; Traverse City Record-Eagle

PETOSKEY — Keagan Fischer’s trajectory might have changed if this opportunity was available earlier.

… Community colleges north of Grand Rapids and Flint offering sports has been increasing in recent years.

Norse cross country opens at Grayling

September 27, 2021; Daily Press (Escanaba)

GRAYLING, Mich. — Following a two-week delay, the Bay College Norse finally got their cross country season underway in the Kirtland Community College Invitational here Friday.

… Coleman Clark of Grand Rapids Community College was the individual winner at 26:30.2.

News 8 Daybreak

September 27, 2021; WOOD TV

(Jason Schueller, assistant director of Enrollment, interviewed about proposed state budget.)