Here to Help: Maria McKee creates a community of tutors eager to serve students

Maria McKee smiling.

Maria McKee considers herself “extremely lucky” to have a job that allows her to support both students and tutors. 

McKee is the Language Arts Tutorial Lab coordinator for GRCC. Her interest in tutoring began in early high school. She was a writing consultant while completing her bachelor’s degree at Grand Valley State University in writing and poetry. McKee came to GRCC in 2019 and began tutoring students in reading and writing.

“I really love community work and being in Grand Rapids. I get to give back to the neighborhood I grew up in,” she said. 

McKee is responsible for overseeing the group of student and professional tutors in the Language Arts Lab. She enjoys supervising and mentoring the tutors. She believes if tutors feel prepared and supported to do their jobs, then they will provide the best service to students. 

McKee empowers her tutors to build relationships with students. Academic support is not successful without a level of trust and rapport. Students need to feel that they are valued and safe. This mindset impacts the culture of the entire tutoring lab. 

One way that McKee protects the culture of the lab is by establishing the expectation that students come first. She is frequently found helping students so tutors can take a mental break, making sure each student receives the help they need. 

McKee said getting to work with all types of students who study a variety of disciplines keeps her job interesting. 

“I get to learn new things, and get to witness students sort through the chaos, try new things, and create quality work,” McKee said. 

McKee encourages students to remain flexible in college, emphasizing it is okay to be unsure about a major or pathway. She encourages students to focus on building their skills and exploring different gen-eds, and to utilize the student resources available. The tutoring staff all believe in their success. 

The Language Arts Tutorial Lab is located on the fifth floor of Cook Hall, and reopens for the semester on Monday, Jan. 9 2023. More information about the lab can be found here.

Dell Laptop audio issues

Information Technology is aware of audio issues affecting certain Dell laptop models. These issues are characterized by a lack of audio output  through the system’s integrated speakers. 

What do I need to know?

The affected models that we currently know of are:

  • Latitude 5310
  • Latitude 5320
  • Latitude 5420
  • Latitude 5510
  • Latitude 5520
  • Latitude 5530
  • Precision 5570

Here is what you can expect:

Information Technology will be pushing out an update to affected laptops the morning of Monday, January 9. You need to be on campus in order to receive the update. If you are off campus at that time, your device will receive the update the next time you are connected to the campus network.

Once updated, laptops will need to be restarted within 24 hours. Users will see a pop up notification every three hours, which can be deferred up to 24 hours, until their laptop is restarted. If deferred, a final reminder begins 45 minutes before the mandatory restart.

Alternatively, users can manually update their devices before Monday by going through the Software Center and installing the Dell Audio Driver fix. We recommend doing this if you would like more control over when the update occurs. Instructions for installing software through the Software Center can be found in this knowledge base article.  

Need more information or have questions?

If you are in need of assistance please submit a ticket through the Customer Support portal or call the Support Desk at 616-234-4357.

Google Currents – end of life

In early 2023, Google will be discontinuing Google Currents. They will, instead, be promoting Google Spaces. 

How does this affect me?

Google Currents allowed people within an organization to interact with one another similar to a social media platform. Should you or your team require a shared space for teamwork and collaboration, we recommend using Google Chat moving forward. 

Need more information?

Please use these helpful knowledge base articles to assist you in creating and managing your space. 

Accessing Google Chat

Installing Google Chat as a stand alone app

Create or delete a space

Manage Access for a space 

How to make someone a manager of an existing or created Google Space


If you have any questions about this change, we encourage you to reach out to the IT Support Desk at 616-234-4357 or by visiting our Customer Support Portal at to submit a ticket.

GRCC in the News 01/06/2023

Washington Watch: FY23 community college earmarks

1/5/23 Community College Daily (American Association of Community Colleges)

Community colleges across the country will receive millions of dollars in additional designated funding from the federal government as a part of Congress’ fiscal year (FY) 2023 omnibus appropriations package passed late last month and just signed into law by President Joe Biden.

… A few of the projects that will be funded include:

… $750,000 for an automated training lab at Grand Rapids Community College (Michigan)

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!