Learn From the Best: GRCC professor Shannon Shaker strives for more inclusive and equitable musical programming and practices

Grand Rapids Community College’s Dr. Shannon Shaker smiling and holding a conductor's baton.

A conductor uses a baton to lead a musical ensemble. Grand Rapids Community College’s Dr. Shannon Shaker believes it can also be used to lead social change.

“A music education student who only experiences music written by white men will only have those experiences to draw on later when they select the music to teach their own students,” Shaker said.

“But if we, as college band directors, diversify our repertoire and seek representation from women and minorities, we give our future music educators a whole world of composers to share.”

Shaker is GRCC’s new director of bands and the first woman to hold that post.

She’s also a fierce advocate for equitable and inclusive practices to ensure everyone has access to a high-quality music education. Her teaching, service and research are all driven by these values. 

For years the Pinconning native has worked to address gender bias in wind bands, especially in higher education.

“I was in my third year of graduate school when I realized I had never programmed one piece of music by a woman,” she said. “I hadn’t taken the time to learn any music by women composers or teach them to my students when I was teaching in public schools.”

This revelation prompted her doctoral research project at Arizona State University, “Paucity of Female College Band Directors as Faculty and Conductors at National Conferences in the United States, 2017–2018,” which showed that only 11% of all university band directors were women.

To encourage and support women composers, Shaker founded the Women’s Band Composition Contest in 2017. Through the contest, women composers connect with band directors from across the country and are provided opportunities for performances and collaborations.

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Reinstating mandatory orientation

Throughout the pandemic, the college suspended our mandatory orientation policy.

We will be reinstating this policy for the summer 2022 semester and moving forward. Degree seeking students who are admitted for this summer and fall will be required to complete a new student orientation session before they are eligible to enroll in classes (note: year long registration begins March 21).

Our mandatory orientation policy states that students who have an entering high school GPA of 3.0 or higher can elect to participate in orientation in person or online. Although we had an asynchronous orientation course in Blackboard for this purpose, it was not as strong as our in person orientation program.

As we modified and adapted our in person orientation to meet the needs of students during the pandemic, we developed a virtual option that closely replicates the in person experience.  We will continue to offer both synchronous in person and virtual orientation options moving forward. As the pandemic continues to shape how we interact (masks, social distancing, physical space capacity limits, etc.) we plan to offer a balanced offering of in person and virtual orientation for summer and fall start students.

We recognize that our virtual orientation is a superior online engagement compared to our previous Blackboard orientation and we plan to continue to offer this option for students seeking a flexible option to complete their orientation requirement.

Coincidentally, this policy is currently in the review process with our Academic Governing Council (AGC). If this review process yields any change to our mandatory orientation process we will be in communication with details.

Offices on the Move – 3rd Floor Student Center

Due to construction on the 3rd floor of the Student Center, all offices in this area are being relocated until the conclusion of the winter semester.  

Please see below to locate these offices during construction,

  • Academic Testing, ATC 219
  • Associate Dean Office, Student Success & Retention
    • Raynard Ross, SCC 22 (Inside Student Life)
    • Denise Jones, RJF 186
    • David Lovell, RJF Bay 115
  • Counseling and Career Development, RJF 1st Floor, Student Services and Remote Delivery of Services
  • College Success Center, LRC 236
  • Dean Office, RJF 180
  • Disability Support Services
    • Advisor Offices, Calkins Science Center 137
    • DSS Testing, Calkins Science Center 140
  • TRIO, ATC 231

Reduce stress and find meaning

Stress seems like it is just a part of life sometimes. However, we can learn effective techniques to manage it better and understand the sources and the impact of stress. The good news is that although we cannot always control what happens to us, we do have control over how we react and respond to it. 

It is possible to live and thrive in a meaningful life by becoming more resilient and mitigating stress. Join us on Wednesday February 9.

Register for Stress Management and Meaning Centered Living via the Professional Development tile in your Online Center account. 

Moving Beyond Conflict

Fingers pointing left and right.

Learn to seek solutions to conflict rather than finding fault or escalating the situation. 

Join this interactive session that lets participants explore conflict resolution scenarios in small group discussion and adopt skills and attitudes to successfully address future conflict situations.

This employee learning opportunity meets Tuesday, February 8 from 10-11am.

Register via your Professional Development tile in your Online Center account.

Tech Tip: Using your laptop on the classroom media stand

Do you bring a laptop to the classroom and run into display issues? If so, please click on the link below to learn more about selecting the appropriate source for your laptop to display correctly to the projector.

My Laptop Does Not Display In Class

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 techtips@grcc.edu.

GRCC In the News 02/01/2022

Getting a fresh restart

1/27/22 AACC 21st Century Center

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

Getting social with sports

1/31/22 Grand Rapids Magazine

He didn’t realize it at the time, but Chris Wessely’s calling dialed him up while he was a poor college student studying abroad in Japan.

… Wessely’s instincts were right and by summer they had more than 100 players. As the club began to succeed, he gained acceptance into the Secchia Institute for Culinary Education program at Grand Rapids Community College, where he would eventually graduate with valedictorian honors. Never content to keep just one plate spinning, it wasn’t long before Wessely found another project to work on, marrying his newly honed culinary skills with his marketing prowess.

Creator of 1619 project says ‘we have to be honest’ in confronting role of race in America

1/31/22 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Nikole Hannah-Jones, the Pulitzer Prize-winning creator of the 1619 Project, says Americans must be honest about the role that race has always played in our society.

… “We are a country that is obsessed with race – you have to have a race on your birth certificate, there’s a race on your death certificate, and everything in between, your marriage license‚” Hannah-Jones told listeners during a virtual discussion hosted by Grand Rapids Community College Monday evening.

How to commemorate Black History Month 2022 in West Michigan

1/31/22 WZZM

MICHIGAN, USA — Feb. 1 marks the start of Black History Month — a time where the contributions and achievements of Black Americans are celebrated.

… Grand Rapids Community College

Midterm Matters: Fostering the emotional stamina to stay engaged 

LaTosha Brown, a 2019 fellow with The Institute of Politics at Harvard University, is an award-winning organizer, philanthropic consultant, political strategist, and jazz singer with over twenty years of experience working in the non-profit and philanthropy sectors on a wide variety of issues related to political empowerment, social justice, economic development, leadership development, wealth creation and civil rights. Brown is the co-founder of Black Voters Matter. This power-building southern-based civic engagement organization was instrumental in the 2017 Alabama U.S. Senate race and the 2020 U.S. Presidential election.

List: 2022 Black History Month events in West Michigan

1/31/22 WOOD TV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — West Michigan organizations are hosting events throughout the month of February to honor Black History Month.

… GRCC | LaTosha Brown: Black History Month keynote address | Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. | Details

Wellness Champions: ‘Get on Track’ with your new resolutions

Two people walking on the indoor track.

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

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.

Many of us made resolutions or set goals to be more active and healthier at the start of the new year.

The Wellness Champions can help.

Get on Track is a new program for employees to get steps on the Hunsberger Arena’s indoor track in the Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse.

There will be an open timeslot every week for employees to drop by the area’s indoor FFH indoor track and a Wellness Champion will be there to walk with them to encourage, motivate, and just get to know them.

Champions pledging to walk and talk include Provost Brian Knetl, Dean Eric Mullen, Interim Dean Bill Faber, and others. A schedule is available here.

The track is also available for walking during other times. It’s open from 6 – 10:15 a.m. and 12:15 – 1:45 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Wednesdays, and 6 – 8 a.m. and 11 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. on Fridays.

Angela Salinas, GRCC’s coordinator of Employee Events, Engagement, and On-boarding, said Get on Track supports increased physical activity, but also creates accountability and positive connections among employees.

Angela gets steps with supportive colleague Katie Pena, support professional for a number of Workforce Development programs.  

You can get some serious steps in the arena without worrying about ice and snow. Ten laps are equal to a mile.

Plus, every time you show up for a Get on Track walk, your name gets entered into a monthly drawing for a fun prize. 

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.