School News Network: GRCC’s Mursalata Muhammad contributes to antiracism glossary, assisting educators

GRCC English professor Mursalata Muhammad smiling.

A School News Network feature – GRCC English professor Mursalata Muhammad is among a group of college educators amplifying voices of people of color in creating a 48-word, 18-page antiracism glossary, with examples of experiences in their own lives to support the definitions.

From “acculturation” to “tone-policing,” the Antiracism Glossary for Education and Life was developed by a team of eight scholars who are involved in a group called Colleagues of Color for Social Justice. The glossary is published in the Spring/Summer 2021 edition of the Journal of College Academic Support Programs.

The goal of the word list is to serve as a tool to explain terms related to attitudes, behaviors and policies that impact people’s lives, particularly within academia. The authors say it could be useful for educators and those working in classrooms, administrative roles and educational equity programs.

Muhammad said she sees its potential as a go-to reference in employee and teacher education — a way for those who work with students to become aware of the words, definitions and impact.

“I see this glossary as something much more for teachers and people in the profession, but not something to give directly to your students,” she said.

So far, the co-authors have been asked to share the document at their institutions. Muhammad is planning on presenting it during an upcoming staff learning day.

The glossary can also serve as a foundation on which future publications can expand. The plan is to continue adding to the document, said David Arendale, associate professor emeritus of History in the Curriculum and Instruction Department at University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

“It’s a living document,” Arendale said. “I could see how this could be a part of an ongoing conversation on race and learning with faculty and staff at an institution.”

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Intersectional Scholarship: Resisting the Tendency to Disconnect, Dilute, and Depoliticize

December 7, 1:00 – 2:30 (virtual)
Michigan State University

NiCole T. Buchanan, Ph.D.

Psychological science has been slow to incorporate intersectionality, the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage, as a concept and as a framework for conducting research. This limits not only the potential for intersectionality theory, but also limits the potential impact of the research claiming to use it.

In this talk, I review intersectional theory and praxis, examine resistance to fully incorporating intersectionality, and highlight how research must shift to be truly intersectional. Finally, I will issue a call to scholars to integrate intersectionality theory and praxis and to resist the tendency to dilute and depoliticize intersectionality theory and disconnect from its social justice framework.

Winter 2022 semester HR Learning Opportunities now open for enrollment

HR sponsored employee learning opportunities during the upcoming Winter semester are now open for registration. Navigate to the Professional Development tile in your Online Center account. Make sure you’re on the “Staff” tab.

For your convenience there is a variety of in person, virtual, as well as hyflex sessions planned. Hyflex refers to a session that is in person and virtual simultaneously, and those will be announced soon.

To encourage and ensure attendance, calendar appointments will be sent. Please pay close attention to the format (in person, virtual or hyflex) of the session you plan to attend.

Please be aware that last minute cancellations and no shows do interfere with the facilitation. Please register only for opportunities you can attend as your participation is important to the success of the sessions.

Please reach out for questions or further information.

Language Arts Online Tutorial Lab: Additional APA workshop

The Language Arts Lab will be hosting one more APA workshop on Wednesday, December 1 at 3 p.m.

The workshop will last approximately 45 minutes and will cover APA in-text citations, References formatting, and any specific questions you might have about citing. This workshop will be recorded and posted to Blackboard for your access. 

APA Citations 
Wednesday, December 1 at 3 p.m. 

The link can be found in Blackboard

Questions? Contact or (616) 234-4244

Here to Help: Financial aid specialist Taijah Claybrook helps students graduate with little or no debt

Taijah Claybrook 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 Taijah Claybrook. Taijah is here to help students find a way to pay for college by applying for local and federal grants, scholarships and loans. Taijah enjoys meeting different students of all ages every day in her role as a Financial Aid Specialist at GRCC.

“So many students are open with sharing stories about their backgrounds, family life and culture with me,” she says. “I appreciate the heart-to-hearts I get to have with students to learn more about their journeys and how I can best assist them.”

Taijah finished her bachelor’s degree at Grand Valley State University where she took advantage of federal Pell Grant funds, and a four-year TRIO Talent Search scholarship through GVSU to graduate debt free. Now, she is passionate about helping GRCC students do the same, or at least graduate with as little debt as possible.

Taijah had always wanted to teach, but her career goals shifted while she was studying at GVSU. Once she got to college, a family member, who is also a teacher, shared with her the pressure of changing classroom dynamics and increased emphasis on student testing. This led Taijah to explore other ways to support students as they work to achieve their dreams.

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GRCC men’s basketball’s Justus Clark earns MCCAA Western Conference Player of the Week honors

Grand Rapids Community College men's basketball player Justus Clark spinning a basketball and smiling.

Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball player Justus Clark was named Michigan Community College Athletic Association Western Conference Player of the Week for his recent performances against Aquinas College and Calvin University.

In two games, Clark, a redshirt freshman from Farmington Hills, totaled 47 points, 14 rebounds, 14 assists and four steals.

“Justus has worked tirelessly to improve his craft in his time at GRCC,” head coach Joe Fox said. “He was our first named captain this season, and has taken that leadership role in stride. I’m excited about his on-court success, and it has definitely reflected what we see in practice every day. I’m very much looking forward to seeing how he continues to grow this season.”

Against Aquinas College’s junior varsity team on Nov. 15, Clark scored a career-high 24 points on 50 percent from the field.  He followed that up by a 23-point performance against Calvin University’s junior varsity team on Nov. 17. He dished out seven assists in each game.

For the season, Clark is averaging 18.7 points per game, ranking him second on the team.  He also is second in minutes played, with 38.2; rebounds per game, with 8.3; and steals, with 19.  The point guard’s 6.3 assists per game are not only the best on the team, but the best in the entire MCCAA conference.

GRCC is 3-3 on the season, splitting both games last week. The team beat Aquinas in overtime 99-95 and then lost to Calvin 106-104 in double-overtime.

The Raiders hit the hardwood again on Nov. 29 at Delta College near Saginaw.  

Building Blocks of Social Equity – Social Equity Barriers

Join Sophia Brewer on Friday December 3 for the third session in the Building Blocks Of Social Equity series – Social Equity Barriers.

This new and engaging series is receiving rave reviews from GRCC employees.

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.

It meets in person in Room 206 (second floor) of the GRCC Library from 10:00-11:30am.

Register via the Professional Development tile of your Online Center account. 

My Story Started at GRCC: Educator Amanda Quist works with music students around the world

Amanda Quist 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.

While she grew up surrounded by music – her father was an organist – Amanda Quist enrolled at GRCC with plans to major in psychology with a minor in music.

“I found myself spending all of my free time in the music building and realized that is where I belonged,” she said in a 2018 interview with the National Association for Music Education.

Quist still spends most of her time in music buildings of various kinds – on college campuses and in cities around the world – leading and teaching choral students.

She fell in love with choral music during her senior year of high school, when she sang in the All-State Honor Choir.

“One afternoon, my conductor stepped away from teaching to pick up some materials and asked me to conduct the choir,” she said in the 2018 interview. “I felt as if I had stepped into myself in that moment.”

After attending GRCC, Quist went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in music education and a master’s in choral conducting from Western Michigan University and a doctorate in choral conducting from the University of North Texas.

Quist has worked with music students in colleges, K-12 schools and touring choirs. When she was chair of the Conducting, Organ and Sacred Music Department at Rider University’s Westminster Choir College, the Westminster Kantorei, she won the 2018 American Prize for College and University Choral Performance. The group performed at the Boston Early Music Festival, the American Handel Festival and Interkultur, and made its first commercial recording in 2017.

She is now director of choral activities for the University of Miami’s Frost School of Music in Florida, recognized as one of the nation’s top master’s music programs. Billboard magazine ranked the Frost school as the Top Music Business School.

She directs the choral conducting graduate program and conducts the award-winning Frost Chorale and Bella Voce. Under her leadership, the Frost Chorale has performed with the New World Symphony and has been asked by composer Elain Hagenberg to record her music.

Let GRCC help you start your story. The first chapter starts at

Be a champion! GRCC is helping students and employees focus on all areas of health and wellness as we emerge together from the pandemic

Lyn Jansen, an instructor in GRCC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program, smiling.

Wellness is a full integration of physical, mental and spiritual health. That includes physical health, but so much more. During the next year we’re also looking at emotional, intellectual, social, spiritual, environmental and occupational health, and how we all can work to help ourselves and each other.

There are many resources at GRCC to help all of these types of wellness. Each week, we’ll introduce you to people and places here on campus ready to support you on your wellness journey.

Lyn Jansen, an instructor in GRCC’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program, is an expert in ergonomics. She reminds us that work shouldn’t hurt.

If you work at a computer station and by the end of the day your eyes are strained and your wrists ache and back is a little sore, how you sit and how your computer’s monitor is set up might be a factor.

Workplace wellness tips include sitting up straight with your back against your chair, with your feet on the floor. Monitors should be an arm’s length away.

It’s also for people in office jobs to stretch throughout the day, holding poses for five to 20 seconds to help their back, neck, shoulders and arms.

OTA students recently partnered with GRCC’s Media Technologies Department members to provide ergonomic recommendations for improving employee safety and comfort.

Students observed team members while doing their jobs such as videotaping, editing videos, and loading, unloading, maintaining and repairing videography-related equipment. The OTA students worked in teams to focus on specific areas such as computer use, upper body positioning, lower body positioning, and vision concerns.

One group of students was devoted to providing reasons that attention to ergonomics is important and another team focused solely on instruction in preventative stretches.

Lyn has taught in GRCC’s OTA program for 20 years, and has clinical experience in evaluation and treatment in acute and sub-acute rehabilitation, work hardening, functional capacity evaluation, upper extremity injury, job analysis and injury prevention, transitional living for traumatic brain injury and home health and student supervision.

She earned a bachelor’s degree in Occupational Therapy from Western Michigan University and a master’s degree in Adult Education from the University of Indiana. She’s certified by the National Board for Certification in Occupational Therapy.

“Do You” December Challenge from the Wellness Champions

Would you like to work on your individual wellness goals and win a prize along the way? This holiday season, don’t forget to take care of YOU!

You’re invited!

The Wellness Champions invite you to participate in the Do You December Challenge. This challenge was created to encourage individuals in all departments to set personal goals based on the Seven Dimension of Wellness. The Challenge will encourage you to stay focused on your wellness and the different things you can do to stay mindful of healthy habits during the holiday festivities.


All participants will receive a prize. Individuals are encouraged to set goals in multiple dimensions. You will earn a raffle ticket for each goal met. Earned raffle tickets can be entered into drawings for a chance to win 1 of 3 monthly prizes.

Seven Dimension of Wellness

Visit the Seven Dimension of Wellness webpage for optimal physical wellness tips. A good exercise is to think of the personal goal(s) that you would like to work on from the 7 Dimensions of Wellness. It’s important to write them down and ensure that they are measurable goal(s) (i.e. you track your goal and progress), and store it in a place that is easily accessible, readable, and where you can expand upon them when necessary.

As you evaluate your own wellness and work toward greater balance in your life, remember that the Seven Dimensions is a tool to guide you. Set realistic, attainable goals, and begin making space for your wellness goal(s) in your life. Each tiny step in the right direction will make a big difference, for you and those around you.

How to Participate:

Step 1: Look for “Do You” December registration form that will be posted on GRCC Today on Dec. 1.

Step 2: Complete the online form and set your wellness goal(s).

Step 3: Encourage others in your department to participate.

Step 4:  Work on your wellness goal(s) during the month of December and encourage and support others in your department. You keep track of your own goal(s) and progress.

Step 5: The week of Jan. 3 – all participants will complete a final form to close out “Do You” December Challenge. For each goal you complete, you will earn a raffle ticket for one of three prizes.

Additional information: Wellness Champion Challenges

GRCC In the News 11/29/2021

Ep.38 Dr. Bill Pink, President, Grand Rapids Community College

11/22/21; The Michigan Opportunity (Michigan Economic Development Corp. podcast)

President Dr. Bill Pink ardently guides us on the grand path of the future workforce, through the prism of Grand Rapids Community College and the constantly evolving opportunities

Chefs training for disaster relief kitchens

11/22/21; WOOD Radio

A group of local chefs are learning the ins and outs of running a disaster relief kitchen.

Grand Rapids Community College held a two day disaster training with World Central Kitchen, an international relief agency that gets disaster victims food across the globe.

New scholarship available for front-liners ineligible for federal aid


A new scholarship will create a tuition-free pathway for essential workers not eligible for federal financial aid.

… At Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC), the scholarship can be used as early as the Winter 2022 semester, and registration for classes is now open.


11/23/21; Community College Daily (American Association of Community Colleges)

… Local chefs train to run disaster relief kitchens

A sandwich assembly line is not the kind of place you would normally find chef Jennifer Fillenworth, executive chef at Root Farmacy in Grand Rapids and an adjunct instructor at Grand Rapid Community College’s Secchia Institute for Culinary Education.

 ‘Somebody also needs to feed the first responders:’ Local chefs learn how to respond to disasters

11/23/21; FOX 17

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Tuesday’s chilly 40-degree temperatures didn’t stop over a dozen chefs from learning how to make a large pot of paella at Grand Rapids Community College. They were on the patio deck near the library, bundled up in hats, gloves, and coats taking turns stirring the paella rice and adding the vegetables.

 ‘It’s imperative that we listen’: What the Rittenhouse verdict meant in 5 classrooms


Educators across the country have found themselves in the role of legal analyst, discussion leader, and counselor in recent days, as two divisive court cases involving race, profiling, and vigilantism captured the nation’s attention.

… Torie Fritz, world history instructor, Grand Rapids Community College in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Fritz discussed the Rittenhouse verdict with the high school students in her world history course Monday. One white male student talked about the legality of guns in some cases. Fritz felt that as a white educator, she also needed to make space for a Black student who said, “it just makes me feel like I could be next. I could be the next person to have my life taken from me.”

Morning News

11/24/21 FOX 17

(Alumni brewery map.)

Local chefs learn to cook for large numbers during disasters

11/24/21; 95.7 FM

Local chefs in Grand Rapids recently received training on how to cook for large numbers of people and first responders during a large disaster.

… According to FOX 17, local chefs attending Grand Rapids Community College learn to make a large pot of paella. Paella is a mixture of rice and vegetable and can go a long way when trying to feed a community.

Professor co-authors antiracism glossary

11/24/21; (Kent Intermediate School District)

A group of college educators is amplifying voices of people of color in creating a 48-word, 18-page antiracism glossary, with examples of experiences in their own lives to support the definitions.

From “acculturation” to “tone-policing,” the Antiracism Glossary for Education and Life was developed by a team of eight scholars who are involved in a group called Colleagues of Color for Social Justice, including GRCC English Professsor Mursalata Muhammad. The glossary is published in the Spring/Summer 2021 edition of the Journal of College Academic Support Programs

Ferris State University is part of the announced Aspen-AASCU Transfer Intensive 2021-22 cohort

11/24/21; Ferris State University press release

The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program (Aspen) and the American Association of State Colleges & Universities (AASCU) Division of Academic Innovation and Transformation today announced the selection of Ferris State University to the inaugural two cohorts of the Aspen-AASCU Intensive: Transfer Student Success and Equity.

The 30 institutions join 29 other two-and four-year partnerships in the first two Intensive cohorts. Ferris, through its partnership with Grand Rapids Community College, was selected from an applicant pool of 97 institutions and three systems from 24 states, representing a total enrollment of over 1.3 million undergraduate students.

Restaurant Week Grand Rapids raises $5K for culinary students

11/24/21; Grand Rapids Magazine

The 12th annual Restaurant Week Grand Rapids event supported 50 restaurants and raised $5,000 for the Grand Rapids Community College Secchia Institute for Culinary Arts.

Restaurant Week Grand Rapids raises $5K for culinary students

11/24/21; Grand Rapids Business Journal

The 12th annual Restaurant Week Grand Rapids event supported 50 restaurants and raised $5,000 for the Grand Rapids Community College Secchia Institute for Culinary Arts.

Outstanding Design – Historic Preservation: Ender Hall, Grand Rapids, Michigan

November/December 2021; American School & University

Ender Hall highlights the DeVos Campus of Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC). This historic structure, built by a Grand Rapids lumber baron for his family at the turn of the century, is being transformed into a student-focused, resource-filled hub for GRCC. The structure had seen a variety of tenants and uses over its life; consequently, the original integrity of the home was difficult to see. Progressive AE has worked to uncover the historical attributes of this majestic home to carefully integrate new programs there. The result is a place where students can gain access to needed resources for technology, skills development, mentorship, student success, and campus employment with career planning and recruiting.