Leslie Neal joins ODEI for winter 2022

Leslie Neal smiling.

Diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) is a cross-discipline theory-to-practice field of study. Therefore, I have intentionally cultivated learning opportunities for graduate students attending nearby universities.

 ODEI is delighted to have Leslie Neal join us as an Equity Fellow for the winter 2022 semester. During this time, Leslie will fulfill her doctoral research practicum in Educational Leadership at Ferris State University.

Mrs. Neal grew up in Detroit, Michigan but moved to the west side of the state to receive both her Bachelor of Science and master’s degree in Communication Studies from Grand Valley State University. She also spent time studying International Communication in London, England.

Professor Neal began teaching Public Speaking and Interpersonal Communication for GRCC as an adjunct instructor in January of 2010. Since January 2017, Leslie has served as a full-time instructor and department chair of Communication and Speech for Montcalm Community College.  

This semester, she has a relationship with GRCC as an adjunct in the Language and Thought department, teaching communication courses.

Leslie chose the career of college professor because she believes that it is an avenue that allows her, as an individual, to impact society as a whole. Furthermore, she believes that communication happens, whether verbal or non-verbal, formal or informal. Therefore, helping people arm themselves with the tool of effective communication is her greatest objective.

In her time away from the classroom, Leslie and her spouse find delight in raising their two children in the greater Grand Rapids area. The family travels wherever the wind blows during school breaks, broadening their worldview. Professor Neal has traveled out of the country over 20 times, with her favorite visited country being Kenya.

Please join me in wishing Leslie all the best with her doctoral studies.

Thank you, Dr. MC

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 tinyurl.com/GRCCequity.

“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.

Starting and restarting their education: GRCC enrollment of students 30 and older 14% higher than pre-pandemic levels

Students in a classroom.

More older students are starting or restarting their education at Grand Rapids Community College, with enrollment for ages 30 and older 14% above pre-pandemic levels, as adult learners take advantage of state tuition-free programs.

Enrollment for all students this semester is 1.1% above the Winter 2021 semester, with 11,442 people enrolled in credit-seeking programs.

The growth is strongest among students ages 30 and older, up 22% from the Winter 2021 semester and 14% above the pre-pandemic Winter 2019 semester.

People enrolled in the state’s Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners programs account for nearly a quarter of the students enrolled at GRCC this semester.

“GRCC has always been the most affordable choice for a quality education for students of all ages,” said Tina Hoxie, associate provost and dean of Student Affairs. “Michigan Reconnect and Futures for Frontliners remove the financial hurdles, and GRCC’s ability to schedule classes around home and work responsibilities create fantastic opportunities to start or complete an education that can take your life in a new direction.”

About 60% of GRCC’s Winter 2022 classes include an online element, and enrollment is still open for seven-week classes that begin in early March. Students also can enroll in career-focused certificate programs, which start at points throughout the year.

Michigan Reconnect provides free in-district tuition for students ages 25 and older who don’t already have a college degree. Futures for Frontliners provided the benefit to Michiganders who worked frontline jobs in essential industries during the state’s COVID-19 shutdown.

While the application period for Frontliners has closed, residents can still apply to attend GRCC through Reconnect. The Winter 2022 semester started Jan. 10, but there is still time to enroll. Additional information is available at grcc.edu/Reconnect, by emailing reconnect@grcc.edu or by calling (616) 234-3366.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said the programs are part of her “60 by 30” goal of having 60 percent of Michiganders obtaining a degree or career-focused credential by 2030.

Students might also qualify for federal assistance that, in many cases, can cover the full cost of attendance.

Additional information is available at grcc.edu/FinancialAid, and specialists are available by phone at (616) 234-4030 and by email at financialaid@grcc.edu.

Karissa Ferry’s strong rebounding helps GRCC women’s basketball to third-straight win

Karissa Ferry in uniform, holding a basketball and smiling.

Grand Rapids Community College’s women’s basketball team earned its third victory in a row after a dominating performance at Kalamazoo Valley Community College, winning 79-59 on Saturday.

For the second straight game the Raiders never trailed, while putting up their highest point total of the season. Their previous high was 69 points, scored against Mott Community College and Aquinas College JV.

GRCC’s Sally Merrill led four Raiders who scored in double figures on the afternoon, posting her fourth double-double of the season with a 20-point, 15-rebound performance.

Karissa Ferry stayed consistent on the glass, grabbing 13 boards, including a team-best six on the offensive end.  Ferry has had 10 or more rebounds in four straight games.

Freshmen Grace Lodes and Alysia Wesley put up nearly identical statlines with 12 points, three rebounds, a block and steal.  Marlene Bussler added 10 points, 6 rebounds and a game-high six assists.

“Happy with the victory today,” said Coach David Glazier.  “Thought we did a really good job sharing the basketball and attacking with our strengths. We also walk away knowing there are some things we can work on in order to be ready for Lake Michigan on Monday.”

The win improved the Raiders to 8-7 overall and 4-1 in the conference.  The Cougars fell to 2-9 overall and 2-4 in conference play.

In the men’s game, the conference-leading Kalamazoo Valley proved to be too much for the visitors, leading by as many as 28 points and cruising to the team’s 14th victory of the season, 95-83.  The loss drops GRCC to 7-10 and 2-4 in the conference.

“When you play a road game against a tough opponent, you have to do all the little things well,” Coach Joe Fox said . “I thought we pressed a bit early, made a few mental mistakes, and it cost us. We will have to be mentally ready for a tough opponent Monday on the road at Lake Michigan.”

KVCC’s bench outscored the team’s starters, 51-44, while the GRCC bench managed just 13 total points. 

After coming off a 34-point, 19-rebound performance against Muskegon, Ryel Daye led the Raiders again, this time scoring 19 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

Starting in his first game this season, freshman forward Nyuon Dhial picked up a career-high 14 points to go with seven points and two blocks.

Both teams will be back on the road Jan. 24 in a doubleheader at Lake Michigan College. The women’s game will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. 

Upcoming sessions in the CTE


  • Yourself, Then Others…It’s Not Selfish ~ Thursday, February 3rd ~ 12:00 to 1:00 p.m. ~ Virtually
  • What is Whiteness ~ Every Thursday during the month of February ~ 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. 
  • Bounce Back with Student Life ~ Wednesday, February 9th ~ 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ~ Virtually
  • I Didn’t Sign Up to Teach Online, But Here I Am ~ Friday, February 11th  ~ 11:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m. ~ Virtually
  • Understanding Today’s Veteran ~ Thursday, February 17th ~ 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. ~ Virtually.

For descriptions of these sessions and everything being offered in the Center for Teaching Excellence, please click on the Calendar and Programming Page from the CTE Website.

GRCC In the News 01/24/2022

Rees Scholarship Foundation Awards $45,000 to Aid Aspiring HVACR Technicians

1/18/22 Electrical Systems Magazine

ARLINGTON, Va. — The Clifford H. “Ted” Rees, Jr. Scholarship Foundation, a 501(c)(3) charitable foundation of the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration Institute (AHRI) and the Air Conditioning Contractors of America (ACCA), announced scholarship awards totaling $45,000 to 24 students, including two military veterans and eight SkillsUSA awardees studying to become technicians in the HVACR and water heating industry. 

… HVACR and Water Heating Technician Program Recipients: 

… Duane Hall, Grand Rapids Community College, Grand Rapids, Michigan

GRCC program aims to train hundreds of people for Industry 4.0

1/21/22 mitechnews.com

GRAND RAPIDS – Grand Rapids Community College and workforce development organization West Michigan Works! have launched a program aiming to make big strides in preparing participants for the future of manufacturing.

Good things on The Lakeshore with Shandra Martinez

1/21/22 WHTC

HOLLAND (WHTC-AM/FM) — Each week, Shandra Martinez, The Lakeshore’s managing editor, talks with WHTC morning news host Peg McNichol about people and organizations making a positive difference along the Lakeshore. Listen to the full podcast: https://omny.fm/shows/whtcs-morning-news-podcast/good-things-on-the-lakeshore-with-shandra-marti-34

… GRCC offering job training for municipal positions. GRCC partners with local municipalities — including road commissions in Muskegon and Kent counties — for Public Works Academy, providing skills for jobs serving communities.

Electrical company invests in its own apprentices

1/21/22 Grand Rapids Business Journal

A commercial electrical, controls and automation services company launched an in-house apprenticeship program.

After partnering with Grand Rapids Community College, Holland-based Hoekstra Electrical Services decided to create its own electrical apprenticeship program that trains its workers to become licensed electricians.

Coming to Grand Rapids: Noodlepig’s charitable new take on ramen

1/22/22 WOOD TV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A Grand Rapids restaurant will bring a new twist to ramen while helping feed children in need.

… (Chris) Wessley graduated from Grand Rapids Community College’s Secchia Institute of Culinary Arts in 2011 at the top of his class. His charitable ramen concept was one of the top 100 ideas picked to be part of Start Garden’s Demo Day last year.

New learning hub gives GRCC students in Grand Rapids neighborhood easier access to technology, tutoring

1/23/22 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A new learning hub is making it easier for Grand Rapids Community College students to have access to technology and academic tutoring.

The GRCC learning hub opened mid-September in the Grand Rapids Public Library’s Seymour branch, 2350 Eastern Ave. SE, to support students who cannot get to campus. The branch was selected for the hub because it is located in a neighborhood with a large number of underserved residents.

Grand Rapids Community College Seymour Learning Hub

1/23/22 MLive

GRCC students work at the Seymour Learning Hub

Grand Rapids Community College students Diego Suarez (left) and Jimena Velasquez (right) work with tutor Nathan Reinke at the college’s new learning hub located at the Grand Rapids Public Library’s Seymour branch on Dec. 7, 2021. (Photo from Andrew Schmidt provided by GRCC Communications)

(A photo gallery of Andrew Schmidt’s photos.)

Pulitzer Prize winner to speak at GRCC’s Diversity Lecture Series

1/23/22 secondwavemedia.com

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.

Omicron may be milder, but now is not the time to catch the virus, doctors say

1/23/22 MLive

So you’re not vaccinated and you’ve heard Omicron is a milder form of COVID-19.

And you’ve been reading social media posts that suggest natural immunity is even stronger than immunity produced by a vaccine.

So, you think, why not catch COVID now and get it over with?

Bad idea, experts say. Very bad idea, for a number of reasons.

 (A photo from GRCC’s vaccine clinic illustrates this article.)

GV alumni use their PA degrees for good

1/24/22 The Lanthorn (Grand Valley State University’s student newspaper)

A degree from GVSU’s physician assistant (PA) program enables alumni to work alongside other healthcare workers, while also diagnosing and treating patients in the area of emphasis they choose. 

… Upon his decision, (Andrew) Massar began taking the necessary prerequisites for PA school at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) and GVSU. 

Family Saturday Swim is BACK

Just as the cold winter winds blow and the snow piles up and you’re dreaming of sunshine and warmer weather — an opportunity comes along to enjoy a Saturday morning in the Fieldhouse pool with your family! 

Save the date of Saturday February 5, 2022 (10 a.m.-12 p.m.) on your calendar!

The Fieldhouse Pool will be open for aquatic amusement and the concession stand will provide a lunch to all participants (courtesy of HR).

Then you can stick around and continue the family fun as the Raider Basketball teams play at 1 p.m. (women’s) and 3 p.m. (men’s) in the arena. Admission is free!

Please register so we can keep track of the participant number.

Questions or more information contact angelasalinas@grcc.edu

Same information as text.

Save the date for the Campus Winter Blood Drive on February 02, 2022

As you might be aware blood banks are at an all time low right now!

The Office of Student Life & Conduct is in need of folks to sign up for their next blood drive on Wednesday, Feb. 2.

Versiti Blood Center will be on campus from 10 a.m. – 3 p.m.

To schedule an appointment, visit Mobile Drive Schedule: Grand Rapids Community College. Walk-ins are welcome.

For Covid-19 protocols, visit Coronavirus Information.

All donors will receive a $10 e-gift card as a special thank you. SIGN UP TODAY!

Email questions to rosarioparada@grcc.edu.

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 angelasalinas@grcc.edu. Thank you!