Kristine Babcock named interim executive director of GRCC Foundation

Kristine Babcock smiling.

Kristine Babcock, who has been a member of the GRCC Foundation Board of Directors since 2015, has been selected to be interim executive director for College Advancement and the GRCC Foundation.  Her first day in this role will be Jan. 16.

Interim President Juan R. Olivarez announced Babcock will serve in the role while the college searches to replace Dr. Kathryn Mullins, who retired, and will become Ferris State University’s vice president for University Advancement and Marketing.

Dr. Mullins led the GRCC foundation since 2012, raising millions of dollars for GRCC students and facilities. She has been with GRCC for 18 years.

Babcock is an experienced human resources, information technology and business professional who spent her career in public and private West Michigan organizations. She spent 10 years in consulting and then 20 years in leadership positions building and coaching teams to success. She continues to provide Human Resources and other consulting services to area businesses.

Babcock was recently elected chairperson of the foundation Board of Directors after serving as vice chair for several years. She will temporarily resign from the board while serving as the interim executive director.

Babcock has a bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Communications from Central Michigan University and a master’s degree in Communications from Grand Valley State University.

The College Advancement team includes the GRCC Foundation, Grants Department, Communications Department, and the Web and Digital Strategy Department.

Support Staff Professional Development (SSPD) Grant

The GRCC Grants Department is accepting applications for the Support Staff Professional Development (SSPD) grant program. The purpose of the award is to encourage support staff to improve their professional skills related to their GRCC assignments.

Awards are for amounts up to $2,500 and the deadline is January 20, 2023 at 5 p.m.

The SSPD Application packet and Guidelines are available on the Grants Department SSPD Application & Guidelines webpage.

Please note applications must include a supervisor’s approval form, a budget form, and budget documentation.

If you have any questions about SSPD grants, please contact Julie Blaszak at extension 3928 or Good luck!

Learn From the Best: GRCC Professor Julia Carey finds excitement in an unexpected career

GRCC Professor Julia Carey smiling.

Professor Julia Sobesky Carey did not set out to teach. 

“When I graduated high school, the message I heard was to get a college degree and a job would follow, and everything would fall into place,” Carey said. “I was under the impression that a degree would somehow grant me access to success”. 

Carey soon realized this was not necessarily the case. She received a bachelor’s degree in Biopsychology and Cognitive Science from the University of Michigan. Unsure of what to do next, she began doing laboratory research at the University of Colorado Boulder while also studying for her master’s and her doctorate degrees in Psychology and Neuroscience. 

While doing laboratory research, Carey randomly took a side job teaching for additional income and discovered her passion. She has now been teaching at GRCC for more than four years. 

“I think it’s common for students to think they should have it all figured out right away, but that wasn’t the case for me!” she said. “If you are still unsure, my best advice is to say ‘yes!’ to opportunities as they come up, you never know where it could lead.” 

Carey found her passion in teaching from engaging with students. Watching a student’s eyes get wide as they make a new connection to class material, or receiving emails from former students telling her they got accepted into a program they hoped for. These little moments show the big impact one class, teacher, or program can have on a student. 

The Psychology department has experts in their fields who are passionate about sharing their knowledge with students. All of the professors are supportive of their students and want to see them succeed. 

“I truly believe we offer the same quality and expertise you would find in any university,” Carey said.  

Carey encourages students to look beyond their degree. Know what job you are pursuing and get the degree that will help you get there. If  you’re not sure it’s the right path, do it anyway and stay open to other opportunities that come along the way!

More information about the Psychology Department can be found here.

GRCC in the News 01/04/2023

Tony Annese is national coach of the year

1/2/23 The Pioneer (Big Rapids)

BIG RAPIDS – For the second consecutive year, Ferris State University Football head coach Tony Annese, who led FSU to its second-straight NCAA Division II National Championship this past fall, has been chosen as the National Coach of the Year.

… Overall, Annese is now 340-62 (.846) in a memorable coaching career that includes several stops on the high school level in Michigan where he won three prep state championships along with a pair of national junior college crowns at Grand Rapids Community College prior to his FSU arrival.

Down to 5 players, GRCC keeps winning

1/3/23 FOX 17

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The Grand Rapids Community College men’s basketball team is off to a hot start.

5 Women Making Their Marks on Miami

1/3/23 Aventura Magazine

… It’s 2023, and executive chef Dayanny De La Cruz still can’t believe she’s trailblazing into positions that have yet to be held by women. It started when she led the food and beverage program at Hard Rock Stadium as 60,000 guests attended Super Bowl LIV in 2020; she was the first female head chef in the NFL’s history to do so. Then, when Formula One came to Miami in 2022, she became the first woman to lead the culinary program for that sporting event, too.

… De La Cruz learned how to cook from her grandmother in the Dominican Republic, and she continued her education at Grand Rapids Community College’s culinary school in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “I walked into my first class and fell in love with my pots and pans,” she says. “I found my center.”

Transitions: Harvard Names New President; Kenyon College President Steps Down

1/3/23 The Chronicle of Higher Education

… Charles Lepper, vice president for student affairs and enrollment management at Salt Lake City Community College since 2015, has been named president of Grand Rapids Community College. He succeeds Juan R. Olivarez, who has served as interim president since July.

Be loud and proud, refresh your headshot on Jan. 5

GRCC has outstanding faculty and staff members. Help us show students, potential students and community members the quality of the people here at GRCC serving our community by having a current headshot for the website and other uses.

The Communications Department is providing an opportunity for faculty and staff to have free headshots photographed from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Jan. 5 – Learning Day – on the third floor of the Student Center in the lounge area.

Without a headshot, the webpage shows a missing photo icon or a RaiderCard photo.

Communications stresses that GRCC provides an affordable education, but more importantly, a quality education. Our expert faculty and dedicated staff members are selling points! Help us highlight your work and attract new students by updating your headshot and web bio. 

Information Station volunteers needed

Looking for a great way to start the new semester?

The Student Life Office is looking for volunteers next week to help with Information Stations for the first three days of the semester, January 9-11, 2023.

Volunteer sign-up sheet

This event offers staff and faculty the opportunity to connect with students, share the resources available on campus, and most importantly–welcome them into our community!

Please reach out to the Student Resources Coordinator if you have any questions!
Phone: x2544

Learning Day 2023: Remo link

The Teaching, Learning, and Distance Education (TLDE) area is excited to host Learning Day 2023, focusing on GRCC’s Culture of Care.  All members of the GRCC community are invited to attend.  Please see below for all of the details and we look forward to seeing you on Thursday!

Thursday, January 5, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Ford Fieldhouse or Virtual via Remo

Remo Link:

If you have any questions, please send an email to  Please see below for the planned schedule and visit the Learning Day website for all of the details.

Even if you are attending the sessions virtually from your office/work station, you are welcome to join us for lunch! (Take out containers will be available.)

Learning Day 2023 Schedule

8:00 – 9:00 a.m.

Breakfast and GRCC CARES Resource Fair

  • Join us for coffee and breakfast, and connect with your colleagues who make up key programs and services within the new GRCC CARES Network. 

9:00 – 9:15 am

Welcome, Dr. Sheila Jones, Associate Provost of Instructional Support & Institutional Planning and Dr. Brian Knetl, Provost & Executive Vice President of Academic & Student Affairs

9:15 – 9:30 a.m.

CARE as a Strategy for Improved Student Success, Dr. Eric Mullen, Dean of Student Success

  • This session will kick off our exploration of CARE as a key component to strengthen college culture and to strategically align institutional processes, resources, and support services to improve student learning and success outcomes.

9:30 – 10:15 a.m.

The Contemporary Student Experience – An Interactive Exploration, Lina Blair, Director of Student Life and Conduct

  • Through our participation in a national study on student basic needs, and our shared experience working though and supporting students during a global pandemic, our understanding of the current student experience has shifted. In this interactive session, data and examples of how our students’ lives and needs have changed will be shared and considered in terms of how we need to respond to attract, retain, and graduate students.

10:15 – 10:45 a.m.

GRCC Student Perspectives, Video

10:45 – 11:00 a.m.

Break + Networking

11:00 am – 12:00 p.m.

Reflections on Student Needs and Learning: A Panel Discussion

  • In this session, faculty will offer insights from their experience facilitating learning while supporting students managing complex life experiences. Participants will respond to questions from the moderator as well as those from the audience.

12:00 – 1:15 p.m.

Lunch and GRCC CARES Resource Fair

1:15 – 2:00 p.m.

Introducing GRCC Cares: A Network for Student Support, David Lovell, Associate Director, Title III

  • What is the GRCC Cares Network? How is it different from early alert? David Lovell will share details on a new system that has been developed to expand referrals for student support, as well as provide details on how we are building a comprehensive, campus wide Care Management system to address student basic needs and improve student learning outcomes.

2:00 – 2:15 p.m.

Break + Networking

2:15 – 3:15 pm

Care Management: A Panel Discussion

  • Team members from across the college in student support roles will discuss their utilization of Navigate to anticipate student needs and respond to referrals. In this discussion, panelists will share how the use of Navigate has improved student engagement and support while simultaneously generating data intelligence that will inform future improvements and strategy development.

3:15 – 4:00 p.m.

Table Discussion and Feedback

  • Each in-person and virtual table will be provided with prompts to reflect on Learning Day content and provide feedback and suggestions on next steps to expand our understanding of student needs and how to grow our campus culture of care, including the following: pedagogy, policies, systems, and processes that improve student learning. This feedback will be synthesized and used to inform professional development, program development, systems improvements, data needs, and more.

4:00 p.m.

Wrap Up, Additional Learning Opportunities, and Next Steps

Winter 2023 employee exercise classes

Start the year off right by making fitness a part of your routine! 

Boost your energy and meet new people and get stronger! 

GRCC employees have access to free exercise classes – take advantage of this great wellness benefit and join in the fun! Did you know that you can earn up to 5 hours of professional development by engaging in employee wellness?

Winter 2023 semester

January 9 to April 27, 2023


5:15-6:00 p.m.

Spin & Sculpt with Kelly

Rm 213 FFH


12:00-12:45 p.m.

Strength Blast with Lannie

Rm 212 FFH


12:00-12:45 p.m.

RaiderStrong with Lannie

Rm 212 FFH


12:00-12:45 p.m.

Fitness Fusion with Lannie

RM 212 FFH

Please complete the registration form and waiver and a calendar appointment for the entire semester will be sent for you to allocate that time to your personal wellness!

Think of it as self care time!

Questions or more information, contact