Sen. Gary Peters, Rep. Hillary Scholten announce federal support for GRCC Center for Automation, providing students with in-demand skills

Senator Gary Peters at Grand Rapids Community College GRCC Leslie E. Tassell M-TEC with several students.

Grand Rapids Community College will create a state-of-the-art Center for Automation, serving as a training hub for students pursuing high-demand jobs in advanced manufacturing and automation, as well as those already working in the field who need additional training or credentials for promotion.

U.S. Senator Gary Peters and U.S. Rep. Hillary Scholten announced the $998,000 project on Friday in GRCC’s Leslie Tassell MTEC, where the center is planned to start operating in time for the winter 2023 semester.

Peters secured $998,000 through the government funding bill signed into law in December to create the project, which will enhance GRCC’s extensive career training programs geared towards the future of manufacturing in Michigan, and support the college’s efforts to meet regional workforce demands.

“The fields of automation and artificial intelligence are evolving and expanding, creating new and exciting careers to meet the needs of today and drive change for the future,” GRCC President Charles Lepper said. “GRCC is proud to work with our partners in the government, like Senator Peters, and with employers for an Automation and AI Lab that will help build a talented workforce, give people valuable skills and strengthen the economy in West Michigan and beyond.”

Lepper led Peters and Scholten on a tour of the workforce training center, joined by Neil Ruster, CEO of Urgent Tool and Machine. The Grand Rapids firm is one GRCC’s industry partners in regional workforce development.

“Grand Rapids Community College excels at preparing students for successful careers and obtaining good-paying, in-demand jobs, and with employers based right here in West Michigan,” Peters said. “I was proud to secure new federal resources to create a new, state-of-the-art, and fully automated training facility that will help elevate GRCC’s skills training programs and support their efforts to cement Michigan’s leadership in advanced manufacturing.”

The high-impact, local project that will support GRCC’s efforts to meet local, regional, and statewide workforce needs by preparing students for current and future jobs, including as automotive technicians, computer support technicians, construction electricians, machinist/CNC technicians, welding/fabrication technicians, and medical assistants.

“Investment in education is critical to the future of our country and state. Grand Rapids Community College has long led the charge of making quality, world-class education affordable and accessible for West Michiganders – I’m happy to see that tradition continuing on,” Scholten said. “Investment in our students and in the next generation is so important – it’s a priority in West Michigan. I’m eager to get to work on projects and initiatives like these in the future in collaboration with Senator Peters and my colleagues from the Michigan delegation.”

Peters has worked to expand skills training opportunities, including in STEM education, to strengthen our nation’s economic competitiveness and help place more Michiganders in needed, good-paying jobs.

He previously helped enact bipartisan legislation that included provisions he authored to expand access to career and technical education opportunities outside of the traditional four-year degree career pathway.

Peters also authored bipartisan legislation into law to allow more veterans to use their GI bill benefits toward securing a registered apprenticeship. Peters additionally helped pass significant funding through the government funding bill signed into law in December for workforce development programs and registered apprenticeships across the country.

Teaching, Learning, and Distance Education News

GRCC’s GELOs: Understanding and Assessing the New General Education Learning Outcomes (GELOs)

Do you have questions about the new general education learning outcomes? Are you looking for creative ways to assess those outcomes? If so, we have sessions for you.  Throughout this semester, we will be offering two workshops, “Understanding the New General Education Learning Outcomes” and “Creating Effective Assessment.”  During the first workshop, we will provide a comprehensive overview of our new general education learning outcomes and offer assessment ideas. There will be time for participants to share their assessment techniques as well as time for Q and A.  The second workshop will focus on practical ways to create, revise, and improve course-level assessment.  Visit our Calendar and Programming page for a full list of session dates and to register.

Save the Date: LibreFest 2023 – March 22-23

As part of our ongoing Open Educational Resources (OER) initiative, the OER team would like to invite all interested faculty, staff, and administrators to join them for LibreFest 2023 to support faculty in adapting or creating OER for instructional materials. The use of OER supports diversity, equity, and inclusion while allowing students to save money and institutions to improve pedagogy.

OER are being used by many institutions of higher education across the nation. Prince George’s Community College (PGCC) in Largo, Maryland, has received funding to improve access to these resources through LibreTexts. We are hosting a two-day workshop in

partnership with PGCC, with morning sessions from 9:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and afternoon Sessions from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. Lunch will be provided between the sessions on both days.  Please see here for more information and visit our Calendar and Programming page below to register.

AI Articles & Resources

Here in TLDE, we’ve been having a lot of conversations about Artificial Intelligence (AI) and ChatGPT.  We’re continuing to update this Google document with articles and resources for those interested in learning more.  The Resources page of the Educational Technology Organization of Michigan also has helpful links.

Reminder – Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation: Stay Tuned for More Details!

In the coming weeks, you will hear more about Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation.  Stay tuned for more details via college-wide IT Notification emails.  We have also organized the learning opportunities noted below.

Featured Upcoming Workshops/Events/Information:

  1. Introducing Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation – Friday, February 24, 10 to 11 a.m. and Tuesday, February 28, 2 to 3 p.m., Virtual
  2. Understanding the New General Education Learning Outcomes- Tuesday, February 28, Noon to 1:30 p.m., In Person ** Light Snacks will be provided.
  3. Understanding the New General Education Learning Outcomes- Friday, March 17, 1:30 to 3 p.m. – Virtual
  4. Understanding Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation – Tuesday, March 21, 10 to 11 a.m. and Wednesday, March 22, 2 to 3 p.m., Virtual
  5. Winter Semester TLDE Faculty Liaison Office Hours, Virtually: Tuesdays 1 to 3 p.m. (email to request a virtual appointment).  
  6. TLDE Office Information: The TLDE office location is RJF 373.  TLDE staff are available Mondays – Fridays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to assist you!  Please stop by the office, email, or call 616-234-3205 and we will be happy to assist you!

Please visit CTE’s Calendar and Programming webpage for the current listing of all Winter 2023 Professional Development opportunities being offered by TLDE!

My Story Started at GRCC: David Lovell returns to his roots to help the next generations find success

David Lovell smiling,

One of David Lovell’s favorite memories as a GRCC student is of a certain table on the Student Center’s third floor. Fellow students from his home town always met there to hang out.

A decade later, Lovell is on that same floor, associate director of a U.S. Department of Education grant project designed to help more GRCC students achieve their goals.

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

Lovell knows first-hand the doors a GRCC education can open.

“I started here as a clueless 18-year-old fresh out of high school,” he said. “I left here with a formal education, a degree, applicable skills and personal drive to achieve my goals. This is where I began an educational journey that culminated with a master’s degree and, maybe one day, even more than that.

“Something ‘clicked’ while I was here, and I’m very thankful it did.”

While his two older brothers graduated from GRCC, Lovell enrolled for mostly financial reasons: His father had lost his job during the recession, and his full Pell Grant entirely covered tuition. That savings allowed him to pay off his student loans three years after his 2014 graduation from Ferris State University. 

But attending GRCC also bought Lovell the time he needed to figure out what he wanted to do.

“I started taking English and Journalism classes, but I really didn’t have a personal passion – and my grades reflected that,” he said. “During the summer between my first and second year at GRCC, I took an internship that really exposed me to the world of business. The next fall, I changed my degree and began pursuing Business. I found the subject matter to be very interesting and highly applicable in the job market.”

After receiving his bachelor’s in business administration from Ferris, he earned a master’s degree from Davenport University while working at GRCC helping to place manufacturing certificate recipients in jobs. He then became the project manager for the U.S. Department of Labor’s America’s Promise health care grant. In 2020, when that project was nearing completion, he became the project manager for the five-year, $2.1 million Department of Education Title III grant.

“Altogether, I’ve been working on different grant projects at the college for eight years and managing them for the last six,” Lovell said.

As someone who’s viewed GRCC as a student and a staff member, he has advice: “There are incredible opportunities and so much life here. But it’s a college, serving adult students. No one can force you to be successful. You have to make that decision for yourself. And when you do, you’ll be amazed at the opportunities that present themselves.”

Start your GRCC story today here.

Musical Moods celebrates 75 years of showcasing GRCC student hard work and talent

Music students playing Musical Moods concert.

Just after Albert P. Smith arrived at what was then Grand Rapids Junior College in 1947, he created an event intended to serve as both a celebration of student hard work and talent.  

Now in its 75th year, Musical Moods remains one of the highlights of the Music Department calendar, an opportunity to showcase the college’s performing arts opportunities with the campus and greater community.

Musical Moods 75 will be presented by the Grand Rapids Community College Music Department on Saturday, Feb. 11 at 7 p.m. at the East Grand Rapids High School Performing Arts Center.

Admission is $15 for adults, while high school and GRCC students are free with a current and valid student ID at the door and children 12 and under are also free. Contact for more information.

Featuring GRCC ensembles and soloists, the approximately 80-minute concert will feature not only the college’s 100 music majors but also many other GRCC students who are not majoring in music but are talented instrumentalists and singers, nonetheless.

Kevin Dobreff, Music Department head and program director, has been with GRCC since 1991 and said each year’s edition of Musical Moods is still a thrill.

“It’s a great event,” he said. “It showcases so many fine ensembles and vocal groups. It’s been a great thing for me to be part of over these last 30 years, and I can’t wait for this one.”

Dobreff noted that the concert tradition was started by Smith, who founded the Music Department during his 35 years at the college, and is the man for whom the current GRCC music center is named.

“We know him as Smitty,” Dobreff said. “He was a graduate of the University of Michigan where he had been part of a similar concert, and when he came to what was then Grand Rapids Junior College, he brought this idea with him, and we have been presenting it ever since.”

That included, Dobreff said, during the pandemic when Musical Moods went virtual. But last year, and now this year, the concert is back to an in-person event.

The event is intended to both present outstanding music and also be a recruiting tool for the GRCC Music Department. As such the location is always a local high school. Over the years, Dobreff said, it has taken place in almost every high school in the Kent Intermediate School District.

This year’s concert, Dobreff said, will feature a variety of musical styles, everything from the classical and Renaissance periods to jazz and contemporary.

“We’re covering pretty much all the bases there with all the different styles,” Dobreff said. “There will be something for everybody.”

And, he added, it won’t all be soft, soothing and sedate fare, pointing to the percussion ensemble and a percussion solo on the djembe, a West African drum. “People aren’t going to be falling asleep,” he said laughing.

This story was reported by Phil de Haan. 

GRCC Spring Open Houses – Lakeshore and Main Campus

Lakeshore Campus Spring Open House

Saturday, April 15
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Lakeshore Campus
Sign up to attend here

Main Campus Spring Open House

Saturday, April 22
10 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse
Sign up to attend here

For those who are new to these events, this is when GRCC invites prospective students, their families and community members to visit our campus to engage our faculty and staff, learn about us and tour our campus. Historically, it is a well attended event and a great opportunity for you to showcase your areas and for future students to learn about the opportunities we have to offer. During the open house students get to:

  • Connect with faculty and staff at the resource fair
  • Tour our campus with our student ambassadors
  • Check out presentations from admissions, financial aid and scholarships, promise zone, and academic advising and transfer center
  • Receive GRCC swag and refreshments

If you have any questions, please contact Lori Cook ( or Francisco Ramirez (

Thank you! We hope we see you there!

Grace Lodes, Danyel Bibbs lead GRCC basketball teams to dominating wins over North Central Michigan College

GRCC basketball players playing basketball with Grace lodes featured.

The Grand Rapids Community College men’s and women’s basketball teams had season-best performances against visitors of North Central Michigan College on Saturday.

In the first game, the women’s team set season-highs in points with 91, scoring margin, winning by 68, field goal percentage (.551), assists with 26, and turned the ball over just a season-best seven times.

“Fun to watch our kids really play a full 40 minutes for each other,” head coach David Glazier said. “The way we supported our reserves finding success this afternoon was great! They work so hard day in and day out to make us better by competing on every play, in every drill, and then provide support even when they don’t get the time in games.”

Grace Lodes’ was nearly flawless, out-scoring the entire North Central team on her own by six points. Twenty-two of her career-high 29 points came in the first half.  She finished 13-of-17 from the floor while adding a game-high 13 rebounds and five assists.

Allison Kellogg was nearly perfect herself, going 8-of-9 from the field, while scoring 17 points, just two points short of tying her career high.

Sally Merrill added 13 points and Karissa Ferry had 10 for GRCC, which now won three in a row and improved to 11-6 overall, and 5-2 in the conference.

The men’s team has won four out of five games after a convincing 112-80 win.

Twelve players scored for the Raiders, including freshman Seth Schuitema who was on fire, going 8-for-10 from the field and 7-for-9 from three-point range for a career-high 26 points in just 18 minutes of action.

GRCC surpassed the 100-point mark for the seventh time this year, mostly in part to outside shooting, making a season-high 17 three-point shots in just 35 attempts.

Danyel Bibbs scored 17 points and had a team-high five assists and Brockton Kohler knocked down four three-pointers while finishing with 16 points and five rebounds.

GRCC had just nine turnovers, which was the team’s sixth time with 10 or fewer turnovers.

Both teams will be back at home on Feb. 8 to take on Mid Michigan College, whom they both lost to in their first meeting.  The women will tip-off first at 5:30 p.m.   

This story was written by Ben Brown.

GRCC In the News 02/06/2023

GRCC to build state-of-the-art automated training center with $998,000 federal grant

2/3/23 MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – A nearly $1 million federal grant will help Grand Rapids Community College build a new state-of-the-art, fully automated training center to prepare students for the future of manufacturing.

GRCC gets $1 million in federal funding for Center for Automation

2/3/23 WZZM

Sen. Gary Peters and Congresswoman Hillary Scholten unveiled the $998,000 project Friday.

Peters, Scholten tout $1M for GRCC Center for Automation

2/3/23 WOOD TV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — U.S. Sen. Gary Peters and newly elected Rep. Hillary Scholten toured the Grand Rapids Community College M-Tech building Friday.

Peters, Scholten announce funding for automation center at GRCC

2/3/23 FOX 17

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College’s (GRCC) Center for Automation will receive federal support to train students who are seeking futures in automation and advanced manufacturing.

New GRCC facility to move automation training ‘years ahead’


GRAND RAPIDS – Grand Rapids Community College is building a first-of-its-kind automation and robotics manufacturing training center in West Michigan, thanks to a recently secured $1 million federal grant.

Michigan’s Best Local Eats: Righteous Cuisine serves fusion of Mexican and BBQ dishes

2/4/23 MLive

GRAND HAVEN, MI — Righteous Cuisine has been a local favorite to grab a hearty lunch or dinner with a Mexican and BBQ twist since first opening as a food truck.

… (Matthew) Varley said he always had a love for cooking. Through attending culinary school at Grand Rapids Community College, he said he was able to work with top-rated restaurants to improve his technique.

2022 Newsmaker: Juan Olivarez

2/3/23 Grand Rapids Business Journal

… Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC) consistently made GRBJ headlines this past year as it added new programs to boost local talent and improve student outcomes.

Hattie Beverly – The first Black schoolteacher in Grand Rapids

2/3/23 95.7 FM

All month long, the Grand Rapids Historical Society and I will be sharing Black History facts that have taken place right here in Grand Rapids.

… Hattie Beverly’s life and teaching career were tragically brief, but she is remembered today as a trailblazer here in Grand Rapids. Every year, The Giant Awards hosted by Grand Rapids Community College awards the Hattie Beverly Education Award to an outstanding African American educator in the Grand Rapids area.

(This article also ran on other radio station websites.)

‘Darwin Never Saw This Coming’ lecture looks at population biology and more

As part of the national Darwin Day celebration, GRCC Biological Sciences will partner with the Michigan Humanists to offer a public lecture presented by GRCC professor Greg Forbes.

The lecture, “Darwin Never Saw This Coming; A Human Population Beyond 8 Billion!” will be a discussion of population biology, evolution and the future of Earth’s ecosystems.

The event is planned for 7 to 8:30 p.m. on Feb. 7 at the Calkins Science Center Auditorium, room 348. Doors open at 6:40 p.m.

The event is free and open to the public.

Faculty cap, gown orders due by February 10

The GRCC Bookstore is taking orders for caps and gowns for staff and faculty through February 10.

If you are in need of any commencement regalia, please stop in the bookstore and fill out the form to order yours today! Please fill the form out entirely – we will need both your height and weight to submit the order for the correct size.

Due to turnaround time and production needs, all orders and prepayments must be in by February 10 to be ready in time for the April GRCC Commencement ceremony.

We are open Monday-Thursday 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Friday 9 a.m. – 3 p.m.  Payment is due at time of order. We accept cash and credit cards. 

Faculty gowns are solid black with black cap and black tassel. 

Hoods are custom to your school and degree. 

See the order form below for reference. 

Nominations being sought for 2023 Emeritus Faculty Award

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 10, 2023. For more information, please visit the Emeritus Award webpage.

Volunteers needed for the GIANT Awards 40th Anniversary Celebration

The event will be at the DeVos Place (303 Monroe Ave NW) on Saturday, February 25th. 

Are you available during the evening of Saturday, February 25 from 4 p.m.- 9 p.m.? Would you like to assist in making this event a success?  Yes? Then volunteer!  

Volunteers will be provided with dinner and positions will be assigned.  

Contact Mary Reed at 3930 or to sign up. 

Help spread the word to GRCC students: Over $1,000,000 in scholarships available to them from the GRCC Foundation

Kristi Welling helping a student.

Please encourage the students you teach and support to complete the GRCC Scholarship application.

They can fill out a single application to be considered for over three hundred scholarships!

These scholarships can provide them with free money to help cover 2023-24 GRCC tuition, books and fees. 

Students should apply for GRCC scholarships on our  Scholarships webpage.

The priority deadline is March 15, 2023. In order to maximize scholarship opportunities, students should also complete a 2023-24  FAFSA.