Save the date for Homecoming 2022

Join us for Homecoming 2022, February 14 to February 19! While most of the events for Homecoming will be virtual, we still have activities planned throughout the week, that you can take part in.

There will be two spirit days, Feb. 11 and Feb. 18, with a competition to select the most spirited Raider.

There will be an announcement of the first ever GRCC Young Alumni Award, announcement of the Raider Spirit Award winner, Employee Winter Warm-Up, men’s and women’s basketball teams taking on Kalamazoo Valley Community College, and much more.

Please visit the Homecoming 2022 webpage for more details and activities happening throughout the week. 

Please also share this link/information with your students.

University of Michigan College of Literature, Science, and the Arts earns grant to expand efforts to recruit GRCC humanities students

Students is a class.

The University of Michigan’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts is expanding efforts to recruit and retain humanities students from Grand Rapids Community College and two other community colleges.

U-M’s Transfer Bridges to the Humanities@Michigan program received a $3.4 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to partner with GRCC and Henry Ford and Schoolcraft colleges.

As the state government works to make community college free through the Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners programs, U-M is preparing to serve community college students in new ways, building pathways that support students before, during and after they transfer to Ann Arbor.

The grant, a renewal of $1.6 million in funding received in 2018 to establish Transfer Bridges, is one of the ways U-M and its College of Literature, Science, and the Arts are working to create a more diverse and inclusive student community reflecting the state’s population, creating an opportunity for more nontraditional students and for students from underrepresented communities and low-income households to attend.

“We are excited to receive this grant from the Mellon Foundation and continue our efforts to bring transfer students to U-M,” said Tim McKay, associate dean for undergraduate education at LSA. “This grant lays the foundation on which we’re building a larger partnership with all 28 public community colleges across Michigan. Students may start their educational journey at community college for a number of reasons, but Transfer Bridges shows that the journey to the University of Michigan is not impossible. In fact, it is just the opposite. They have what it takes to be successful here and this program makes that path open.”

Transfer Bridges is designed for students at community colleges who are majoring in the humanities and want to transfer to the University of Michigan to complete a bachelor’s degree. The program prepares them for academic and community life at U-M, with dedicated mentorship, advising tailored to their academic needs, learning and social experiences, faculty connections, and the financial support needed to help them earn their degree.

Sheila Jones, GRCC’s dean of Instructional Support, said she is excited about how this grant will benefit GRCC students in providing a more seamless transfer bridge to U-M’s College of Literature, Science, and the Arts.

“Our college has a longstanding connection to the University of Michigan, dating back to GRCC’s founding,” she said. “We are grateful to the Mellon Foundation for recognizing this partnership as well as the need to provide the support that this program offers to community college students pursuing degrees in the humanities and social sciences. I’m proud of the work that our faculty and staff have been doing with this program over the last few years and am looking forward to expanding it so that we can impact more of our students.”

The new funding from the Mellon Foundation will support paid, high-impact learning experiences for humanities students during the summer, including undergraduate research, internships, and service-based learning projects, while they are still enrolled in community college. The program currently provides academic opportunities through three LSA-based units: the Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program, optiMize, and the Engelhardt Social Justice Fellowship.

For many community college students, finances can be an obstacle when transferring to a four-year institution. Transfer Bridges aims to alleviate that strain through these paid learning experiences, and to connect students with financial aid resources such as the Go Blue Guarantee.

“My primary reasons for attending a community college first were financial freedom and family,” said Yasmeen Berry, a third-year student who transferred to U-M from Henry Ford College. “I am the child of Lebanese immigrants and have close familial ties to my hometown. The Transfer Bridges program is what made my transition to the University of Michigan possible. The incredible coordinators associated with it are genuinely invested in students’ success. Ultimately, through the opportunities provided as part of the Transfer Bridges program, I have gained and continue to attain valuable experiences with my mentors that will forever shape my future career.”

Transfer Bridges’ successful outcomes are a testament to how providing access and support can make the lasting difference for students looking to transfer to U- M. As of fall 2021, 100 percent of program participants who applied to U-M were admitted and decided to attend. Since the launch of Transfer Bridges, no program participants have withdrawn from U-M, which exceeds the retention rate of traditional first-year students at the university.

“One of the reasons why (transfer) students don’t apply is because they assume they won’t fit in,” said Nick Turinsky, transfer recruiting coordinator for the LSA Transfer Bridges program. “Our program is designed to dismantle that belief and break down those feelings of self-doubt. We know they are more than capable to thrive at U-M, and we have seen the results. They just need to see themselves here.”

Additional information about Transfer Bridges to the Humanities@Michigan, is here.

What is Whiteness?

Me and White Supremacy: Combat racism, change the world, and become a good ancestor book.

“As long as race is something only applied to non-white people, as long as white people are not racially seen and named, they/we function as a human norm. Other people are raced; we are just people.”
          Richard Dyer
          The Matter of Whiteness

The winter installment of Intergroup Dialogue is hosted by the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education in partnership with the Center for Teaching Excellence (CTE) and the Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (ODEI).

The four-part series, which begins this week (Feb. 3), is based on the bestseller Me and White Supremacy: Combat racism, change the world, and become a good ancestor. Join GRCC’s faculty and staff in exploring topics that require our deepest empathy, patience, and courage.

Sessions are facilitated virtually on Thursdays from 2:30 pm to 4:30 pm

**Limited space**
Please register through the CTE Online Center portal by Noon Tuesday (2/1).

Hyperlink address used for the word “register”

My Story Started at GRCC: Steelcase Global Operations Communications Director Michael Pearson says GRCC expanded his worldview

Michael Pearson smiling.

Michael Pearson enjoyed acting in theater productions during his time at Grand Rapids Junior College, but never realized those studies would set the stage for a future career.

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

“The first show I performed in was ‘What I Did Last Summer’ by A.R. Gurney,” said Pearson, who graduated from GRJC in 1987. “I had the lead role of Charlie and Fred Sebulske directed the show. It was my first post-high school theater experience, and I learned more about being an actor from that one show than any other production I was ever involved in.”

After earning a bachelor’s degree in communications from Michigan State University, Pearson spent a decade working in West Michigan’s film and video production industry in a variety of roles, including grip, gaffer, set designer, cinematographer, producer, director and writer.

His acting experience was just one of the useful skills he honed at GRJC.

“To this day, I use writing skills that professor Scott McNabb taught me in my first college writing course,” he said. “Fred Sebulske, who was both a professor and a boss to me when I worked at Spectrum Theater, was very influential in expanding my worldview and deepening my understanding and appreciation of diversity in all forms – art, thought, culture, etc. His stage directing class also kindled my interest in becoming a film and video director.”

He founded Pearson Creative in 1998, providing communications services to clients that included Gordon Food Service, Spectrum Health, Dow Chemical, Lake Michigan Credit Union and the Department of Homeland Security. Steelcase hired him in 2016 to create a communications department to support 8,000 global employees, 13 manufacturing centers and 14 distribution centers on three continents.

This past summer, Pearson became Steelcase’s director of Global Operations Communications.

“In this multifaceted role, I serve as the communications expert and brand leader for Global Operations and as a consultant to the senior leadership team on critical communications opportunities and challenges,” he said.

Pearson credits GRJC with providing the academic and life experiences that became the foundation for his career.

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

CTE Happenings in February

For registration instructions and descriptions of all the sessions the CTE has to offer,  view the CTE Calendar and Programming page.

  • Yourself, then Others…It’s Not Selfish ~ Thursday, February 3rd from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m.
  • What is Whiteness ~ Every Thursday in February from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.
  • Bounce Back with Student Life ~ Wednesday, February 9th from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Building Community in the Online Classroom ~ Thursday, February 10th & 24th  ~ Register with Garry Brand
  • I Didn’t Sign Up to Teach Online But Here I Am! ~ Friday, February 11th from 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.
  • Faculty Conversations on Open Educational Resources ~ Friday, February 11th at 12:00 p.m. ~ REGISTER HERE
  • Understanding Today’s Veteran ~ Thursday, February 17th from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 
  • LGBTQ+ Panel Discussion ~ Friday, February 18th from 1:30 to 2:15 p.m.

GRCC In the News 01/31/2022

New program meets growing demand for public works employees in West Michigan communities

1/28/22 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A Grand Rapids Community College program is meeting the growing demand for public works employees among local municipalities that are seeing an increase in retirements.

New $3.4 Million Grant to Help More In-State Community College Students Transfer and Transition to the University of Michigan

1/28/22 University of Michigan press release

For many high school students in Michigan, the path to a bachelor’s degree begins at a community college. As the state government creates new efforts to make community college free through programs such as Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners, the University of Michigan is preparing to serve community college students in new ways, building pathways that support students before, during, and after they transfer to Ann Arbor.

The new funding, received by U-M and Henry Ford College, will help the program expand efforts to recruit and retain humanities students from two additional community colleges, Schoolcraft College in Livonia and Grand Rapids Community College, to the University of Michigan. It is a renewal of $1.6 million in funding received in 2018 to establish Transfer Bridges, designed to increase the number of students transferring from Henry Ford College to LSA. 

Wildest winners

1/28/22 Woodshop News

CNC Software Inc., manufacturer of Mastercam CNC software, conducts a Wildest Parts Competition to encourage student interest and participation in manufacturing. Open to students across the globe at secondary and post-secondary levels, and professionals, entrants are invited to create parts that demonstrate their creativity and technical skills using Mastercam programs.

… Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College won Teams with a replica of Thor’s Hammer.

Andy Beach, a professor at Grand Rapids Community College, won the Professional division for a metal bust of Ironman, created to test the school’s new Haas UMC-500 five-axis mill.

A Medical Device Machinists’ Creation to Marvel At

1/29/22 (medical device and diagnostic industry newsletter)

What does Thor’s hammer have to do with medical device manufacturing? Students who just finished a CNC machinist apprenticeship recently found out.

… Added Grand Rapids Community College instructor Andy Beach in the statement: “Autocam Medical’s Apprentice Program is a win-win; it’s a win for the skilled trades industry and a win for the students. The students gain skills that put them on a career path with unlimited opportunity, and it helps build a ready workforce for the manufacturing industry, which is starving for CNC Machinists.”

Tuition-free state programs trigger uptick in Grand Rapids Community College students over age 30

1/29/22 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids Community College is seeing an uptick in students over the age of 30 enrolling in college courses this year as a result of tuition-free state programs.

With retirements in skilled trades looming, new West Michigan construction institute opens

1/29/22 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A new institute in Grand Rapids aims to train more people in skilled trades amid looming retirement projections that some say could halve the field’s workforce.

… The first semester of classes began this month with classes on concrete and carpentry, an introduction to basic construction skills for high schoolers and the final level of Grand Rapids Community College’s electrical apprenticeship program.

Grand Rapids Community College to host Feb. 3 job fair, promoting salary and benefits

1/31/22 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids Community College is hosting a job fair to fill openings on its custodial, grounds and maintenance teams.

Tonight: Nikole Hannah-Jones, Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of 1619 Project, speaking at GRCC’s Diversity Lecture Series

Nikole Hannah-Jones smiling.

Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project and a staff writer at The New York Times Magazine, will offer a keynote discussion for the 27th Annual Diversity Lecture Series at Grand Rapids Community College.

The event is planned for 6 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 31, 2022 and will be conducted virtually and will not be recorded. Registration is available at

“The Office of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion has a storied history of inviting speakers who compel us to think beyond our comfort,” said Dr. B. Afeni McNeely Cobham, GRCC’s chief equity and inclusion officer. “We are fortunate to continue this tradition with a preeminent scholar-practitioner.”

Hannah-Jones has spent her career investigating racial inequality and injustice. Her reporting has earned the MacArthur Fellowship, known as the Genius grant, a Peabody Award, two George Polk Awards, and the National Magazine Award three times.

Hannah-Jones also received the John Chancellor Award for Distinguished Journalism and was named Journalist of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists and the Newswomen’s Club of New York.

Hannah-Jones in 2020 was inducted into the Society of American Historians, and in 2021 she was named a member of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. She was honored with the NAACP Social Justice Award this year.

Professor Hannah-Jones is the Knight Chair of Race and Journalism at Howard University, where she is founding the Center for Journalism & Democracy.

Hannah-Jones in 2016 co-founded the Ida B. Wells Society for Investigative Reporting, which seeks to increase the number of reporters and editors of color. She recently launched the Freedom School in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa.

Hannah-Jones holds a Master of Arts in Mass Communication from the University of North Carolina and earned a Bachelor of Arts in History and African-American studies from the University of Notre Dame.

The return of the GRCC Spirit Award

The tradition of the GRCC Spirit Award makes a comeback with updated criteria and a simple nomination process. The criteria are new and fun and the process is easy!  We’re excited to award both a GRCC employee as well as a Golden Raider (GRCC Retiree) with this special honor.   So, do you know a current GRCC employee or retiree who embodies all things GRCC?  Does this individual have unmatched school spirit and make the College a better place to work and learn? 

If so, then nominate your Raider for the GRCC Spirit Award.  Complete this form detailing how your nominee meets the four GRCC Spirit Criteria (G – Genuine, R – Radiant, C – Captivating and C – Caring) and is deserving of the GRCC Spirit Award.  

GRCC Spirit Award Criteria

G – Genuine — This person is authentic and true.  This individual’s heart and soul aligns with the College’s mission, vision and values, and brings the best to everything.

R – Radiant — This person can have fun like no other.  This individual goes the extra mile to spread positivity and pride within the GRCC family making the workplace and beyond enjoyable and engaging.

C – Captivating – This person engages others by displaying GRCC pride and positive energy.  This individual’s enthusiasm is contagious inspiring others to be better Raiders.

C – Caring — This person makes caring the pinnacle of what it means to be a GRCC Raider.  This individual extends kindness, compassion, generosity and empowerment to all.

Please submit nominations for the Spirit Award by: 5:00 p.m., Monday February 7, 2022

Questions or more information? Please email Thank you!

Here to Help: Lakisha Beck is a campus ‘go-to’ person to connect students with resources to be successful

Lakisha Beck 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 Lakisha Beck. Lakisha works in the Student Records Office and maintains the tools and processes you use to measure your academic progress, whether you are working towards graduating with a certificate or a degree.

“Although my job as the assistant registrar for graduation is primarily behind the scenes, when I get a chance to work with students, I really do enjoy it,” she said. “I’m always willing to help anyone that is in need, whether it’s about their education, or connecting them to resources.”

Lakisha also enjoys telling people in her community about the opportunities that can be found at GRCC, and that she’ll be there to help them out when they come to campus.

“Whenever I find out someone does not have a degree, I always try to encourage them to come to GRCC to earn a credential,” she said. “They will have me on campus as a go-to person, but will soon have others that can help them along their education journey as well. I try to make them feel comfortable even before stepping foot on our campus.”

Lakisha is confident in the college’s ability to meet students where they are, and help them to their “next,” because of the amazing team she works with in the Student Records Office. Not only do her coworkers make working at GRCC a breeze, but she knows she can always count on them to be there for her and the students.

Lakisha knew that after high school that she wanted to go to college, but couldn’t decide on a clear path. She came to GRCC after high school thinking about earning a degree to work as a registered nurse. But as she took classes, and gained on-the-job experience working on campus, she decided she wanted a career in higher education.

After graduating from GRCC, Lakisha returned to the college as a contingent employee in the Grad Specialist position in the Student Records Office. She was hired permanently into that position in 2011.

Lakisha knew continuing her education was key to her career advancement, so she transferred her GRCC associate degree to Ferris State University and earned her bachelor’s degree in 2016. Two years later she was hired as the assistant registrar for graduation in the Student Records Office.

She also continued her education at Grand Valley State University and earned her Masters of Education, Adult and Higher Education in 2019.

“I attended GRCC because I knew it was affordable, it was close to home, and I had heard a lot of great things about it, so it wasn’t even a question if I was coming here or not,” Lakisha recalls. “I knew I wanted a college degree and I was determined to do just that, and I did! GRCC started me on my educational journey and I’m glad to say that it has definitely been beneficial for me.”

You can connect with the Student Records team at, by calling (616) 234-4121 and online at

Grace Lodes leads GRCC women’s basketball team to fifth win in a row

Grace Lodes making a shot.

Grace Lodes scored 21 points and grabbed 13 rebounds, leading the Grand Rapids Community College women’s basketball team to a 59-48 victory over the visitors from Ancilla College on Wednesday.

The men’s team fell short in a game where the lead changed 13 times.

The women’s team (10-7, 6-1) is on a five-game winning streak, holding on to the second spot in the MCCAA Western Conference standings. GRCC has now beaten Ancilla (4-7, 1-6) in six consecutive games, dating back to 2019.

Alayah Chapman, with 16 points and 18 rebounds, kept the Chargers in the game, with her team trailing by just one at the half. But the Raiders pulled away late in the third quarter and never looked back.

GRCC freshmen Sally Merrill and Karissa Ferry combined for 19 points, 19 rebounds and eight assists.

“Tonight, was not one of our best performances and credit for that goes to the effort and play by Ancilla,” Coach Dave Glazier said. “Our kids found a way to get it done and I’m proud of all 11 tonight.  I know to a person they understand they’ve got better basketball in them.

The men’s game was fast-paced, with the lead changing throughout the contest. But GRCC fell by a final score of 103-98.  The Raiders dropped to 8-11 overall and 3-5 in the conference while the Chargers improved to 10-3 and 6-1.

GRCC had a chance in the final minute after Andrew Moore made it a two-point game and then got a steal on the other end. But Moore couldn’t get the game-tying basket to fall and the Chargers held on.

“Great team effort tonight,” Coach Joe Fox said. “Came up a play or two short, and once again, post-game we talk about the little things here and there.  I’ve been telling my guys all year we’re building for March, and I still think we’re right there. There will be some good and some bad to break down on film. But at the end of the day, you have to be the team that makes the winning plays.”

Point guard Danyel Bibbs had his best performance in a GRCC uniform, putting up a team-high 27 points and six assists. Bibbs was 10 of 14 from the field and 6 of 8 from the free throw line.

Brockton Kohler knocked in six of the Raiders 13 three-pointers and finished with 25 points.  Moore finished with 19 points and eight rebounds. Ryel Daye added 18 points and eight rebounds.

Round two of the MCCAA Western conference schedule begins on Jan. 28 at Mid Michigan College. Both GRCC teams won in their first meeting on Jan. 3.  The women’s team tips off first at 1 p.m. 

GRCC In the News 01/28/2022

Commentary: Innovation districts can help Detroit build on success

1/28/22 Crain’s Detroit Business

Like many other states and cities, Michigan and Detroit have faced significant challenges in recent decades. The development of innovation districts is one investment that has helped cities such as Pittsburgh, St. Louis and Atlanta weather these challenges.

… Innovation districts concentrate universities and medical institutions, mature firms, startup companies and entrepreneurial support organizations in urban settings to amplify their economic and social impact. One Michigan example is the Grand Rapids Medical Mile anchored by Michigan State University, the Van Andel Institute, Spectrum Health, Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids Community College. Innovation districts often aim to increase incomes and wealth for a broad swath of residents through supplier diversity, workforce and talent development and affordable homeownership.

Nominations being sought for 2022 Emeritus Faculty Award – due by noon on Feb. 11

You are invited to nominate a GRCC retired faculty or administrator for the Emeritus Faculty Award.

This award was established in 1985 to honor those instructors and administrators whose dedication and creativity have left an indelible mark on the lives of students and colleagues at GRCC. 

During their tenure at GRCC and since their retirement, they have continued to promote GRCC’s “Commitment to Excellence.”

Please submit online nominations by noon on Friday, February 11, 2022.  For more information, please visit the website.

Michigan Reconnect, GRCC student Jodi Holland highlighted by Gov. Whitmer during State of the State Address

Jodi Holland smiling.

GRCC student Jodi Holland was “completely shocked” to pick up her phone and hear Michigan Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II on the other end.

“I know he had been getting over COVID, and the first thing I said was, ‘Are you OK? How are you feeling?”

Gilchrist assured Holland he was feeling better, congratulated her on making the Dean’s List, then thanked her for allowing Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to tell Holland’s story during Wednesday’s State of the State Address.

Holland, 59, is using the Michigan Reconnect program to attend GRCC with a goal of becoming a professional baker.

Michigan Reconnect is a state scholarship program providing free in-district tuition for those ages 25 and older who don’t already have a college degree.

“We eliminated the cost barrier for 170,000 Michiganders, who are getting skills and better-paying jobs through Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners. These programs boost our economy and empower our people,” Whitmer said in the address

“People like Caroline, a former in-home care provider, and mom of 2 who got straight As her first semester at Mott Community College. And Jodi, a Reconnect recipient—the first of 8 siblings to go to college—she’s on the dean’s list at Grand Rapids Community College. These programs have given them opportunity and opened new doors for their families. I want them to know we’re all rooting for them.” 

During the Winter 2022 semester, 1,075 students at GRCC are enrolled through Michigan Reconnect, and 1,457 are attending through Future for Frontliners, which covers tuition for people who served in essential roles during the state’s COVID shutdown.

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