Recap of February Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) Meeting

GRCC’s Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) met on Friday, February 24, from 9 a.m. to Noon.  Here is a recap of the meeting.

SLT Operations – Team members heard an update on the following: 

  • SLT Exec continues to collaborate with our Strategic Goal Co-Leads to support existing Strategic Initiatives (SIs) and College Action Projects (CAPs).  We are also working on refining our Strategic Plan Framework to identify data and information needs, potential outcome targets, and SIs/CAPs.  All college stakeholders are reminded that they can propose a new SI and/or CAP by submitting this proposal form.

Student Alliance at GRCC Presentation:

  • In an effort to focus on another of our Strategic Plan Framework’s overarching principles, Every GRCC faculty and staff member is an educator, attendees heard a presentation from Alex Miranda, President of GRCC’s Student Alliance and SLT member.  Alex shared an overview of Student Alliance, outlined their current initiatives, and called on SLT members to support Student Alliance by raising awareness among students in their classes and offices about the positions and opportunities available.  After a robust conversation, attendees then participated in a table discussion about the connection between Student Alliance and the Strategic Plan Framework.  Alex will return in March with an update on how the students used this feedback.
  • During the conversation with Student Alliance, several resources were mentioned.  If you are interested in learning more about the positions available in Student Alliance, please visit their website.  We also discussed Raider Connect as the site to use to learn more about student clubs and organizations and how to get involved.  Finally, Melissa Ware discussed with Alex the Student Advisory Council they are forming for students interested in mental health awareness and information.  Visit the Counseling & Career Development webpage for more information as well as this information sheet.

Achieving the Dream (ATD) – 2023 DREAM Convening Takeaways:

  • We continued our focus on the overarching principle, There is also interconnection among the Goals, by hosting a panel discussion with the attendees at the February ATD DREAM Convening.  SLT members had a chance to hear about ATD’s work with regards to equity and their mission to support community colleges.  See here for more information about ATD. 
  • Those who attended the conference shared their perspectives on the ATD Equity Institute, DREAM Studios (of which our own Julie Parks was a presenter), panel presentations, student voices, and keynote addresses.  Several takeaways were shared, including references to  Raj Chetty’s college mobility research.  Please visit this link for national data and overall information about the project, which reveals economic diversity and student outcomes at colleges around the country. This link has the GRCC-specific data.

Closing Remarks – The following announcements were shared at the close of the meeting: 

  1. HLC Reaffirmation Update – Sunday, February 26 marked the one-year date from our deadline to submit our assurance argument to HLC. The GRCC HLC Reaffirmation Steering Committee and associated sub-committees have been hard at work supporting this process for over a year.  The team is currently reviewing first and second drafts of our materials.  Stay tuned for future campus updates–in a variety of forums–as we prepare for our HLC visit on March 25-26, 2024.
  • Non-academic department plans are due on March 1.  Please see here for the video recording of the February 1 overview session about the plans.
  • Stay tuned for more details about the campus read featuring The Great Upheaval: Higher Education’s Past, Present, and Uncertain Future by Arthur Levine and Scott Van Pelt.  We plan to start holding book discussions in March, after spring break.

Meeting link:

If you were unable to attend Friday’s SLT meeting and would like to watch the recording, please click here.  You can also view the SLT February 24th presentation slides here.

Next Steps:

Friday’s SLT events also included another meeting with the new Strategic Goal leads.  If you are interested in volunteering to serve on any of the potential Strategic Initiatives (SIs) and/or College Action Projects (CAPs) aligned with the five Strategic Goals, please let the SLT Executive Team know by sending an email to

Please contact Sheila Jones,, if you have any questions about SLT meetings or how you can get involved with SLT initiatives.

About the Strategic Leadership Team: The purpose of the Strategic Leadership Team (SLT) is to provide a forum that enables a wide variety of college constituency groups the opportunity to provide input into the present and future direction of the College.  This team will guide the development and on-going implementation of our strategic plan, review benchmarking data, study budget realities and offer recommendations for budget priorities.  SLT’s membership includes over 90 representatives of the college community.  Please visit this page to learn more about SLT.

Teaching, Learning, and Distance Education News

TLDE Pop-up Connect & Relaxation Stations: We’re coming to you this week!

As we continue to mark the midpoint of the semester/end of the first seven weeks with grading, projects, and preparation for spring break, we want to help you connect and relax!  TLDE will be sponsoring “pop up” connection and relaxation stations this Wednesday, from 1 to 3:30 p.m. and Thursday, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.  Look for us in the following locations: RJF Third Floor, Science Building First Floor, White Hall Second Floor, ATC Second Floor, and Lakeshore Campus.

Please welcome Justin Vogelar, our new Distance Education Specialist!

We are excited to announce that Justin Vogelar is joining our department!  Justin begins his new role as TLDE’s Distance Education Specialist on Monday, February 27. You may know Justin from his previous position as a GRCC Instructional Technology Customer Support Technician.  Justin was also featured in a Workforce Wednesday post sharing his experience as a student in our Computer Support Technician Job Training program.  Justin will bring all of this knowledge and experience to his new role in supporting GRCC faculty and staff by providing Learning Management System (LMS) instruction and first-line support.  Justin will also help TLDE develop and deliver training and training materials to faculty and staff in the use of GRCC’s LMS and other learning technologies.  Please join us in welcoming Justin to TLDE and stop by our offices in 373 RJF to say hello!

Adjunct Recognition Event: Survey Reminder

Our adjunct faculty members received a survey invitation in their inboxes last week.  If you have not already done so, please complete the survey, found here, before March 17. Your feedback is essential as we continue to plan a Winter 2023 Adjunct Faculty Recognition event!

Reminder: Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation

On Saturday, May 6, from 9 to 11 a.m., GRCC IT will be updating Blackboard to incorporate the new Ultra Base Navigation. This new navigation has a sleek, modern look and feel, and will save you time with simpler workflows and easier access to important information.  Learn more on the Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation Transition Hub.

Featured Upcoming Workshops/Events/Information:

  1. Understanding the New General Education Outcomes- Tuesday, February 28, noon to 1:30 p.m., In Person **Light snacks will be provided.
  2. Introducing Blackboard Ultra Base Navigation – Tuesday, February 28, 2 to 3 p.m., Virtual
  3. Understanding the New General Education Outcomes- Wednesday, March 1, 3 to 4:30 p.m., In Person **Light snacks will be provided.
  4. LibreFest 2023 – Wednesday, March 22 and Thursday, March 23, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. **Lunch will be provided on both days.
  5. Winter Semester TLDE Faculty Liaison Office Hours, Virtually: Tuesdays 1 to 3 p.m. (email to request a virtual appointment).  
  6. Adjunct Faculty Support: Please reach out to Alyssa Spoolstra, Adjunct Faculty Liaison, via email to
  7. 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!

Sabbatical applications due Thursday, March 9

Sabbatical applications for the 2023-24 academic year are due to the Provost office by Thursday, March 9.

If you’re a full-time faculty member with at least six years of service, consider applying for a sabbatical.

Please visit the webpage for full details, including the online application and rubric.

If you have any questions, contact the Provost office at

March employee learning opportunities

Wednesday, March 1
Good People Make Mistakes

Friday, March 10
Vicarious Trauma

Tuesday, March 14
Active Shooter Response Training

Wednesday, March 15
How To Get It Wrong

Thursday, March 16
Raising Awareness of Mental Health in the Workplace

Tuesday, March 21 & Wednesday, March 22
Mental Health First Aid

Tuesday, March 21
How Do I Pack For FMLA Leave?

Thursday, March 23
GRCC Accounts Explained

Friday, March 24
Mindfulness Made Simple

Monday, March 27
Addressing Employee Conduct Concerns – Roadmap for Leaders

Wednesday, March 29
Value of the Intergenerational Workplace

Thursday, March 30
Show Me The Money

For session descriptions, times, formats and locations, please visit the Professional Development tile in your Online Center account.

Tech Tip: Viewing contact information on Google

You can view a colleagues GRCC extension by hovering over their name in Google Products. When you hover over their name a window will appear showing their GRCC email as well as the assigned extension. If no extension is displayed, it is likely they do not have an assigned extension. 

View Phone Extensions in Google

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

My Story Started at GRCC: LAUP’s Maria Morales connects residents to skills to gain rewarding careers

Maria Morales smiling.

As the first director of Workforce Development at Latin Americans United for Progress, Grand Rapids Community College alumna Maria Morales strives to connect West Michigan residents to the skills that will give them satisfying careers as they fill crucial gaps for area employers. 

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.

The “3+1” program allowed her to complete three years of a bachelor’s degree program  at GRCC before completing the final year at Ferris State University. She credits GRCC’s  equitable access and opportunities for her success. 

“GRCC was indispensable to my education,” she said. “As a first-generation college student, I had the guidance of incredible advisors and professors who helped me navigate unfamiliar educational systems and structures, who believed in me and advocated for me each step of the way. Being able to enroll for online learning and the 3+1 program reduced the challenges of completing a degree as a full-time professional, wife, and mother to an infant.”

Morales completed her bachelor’s in business administration with a certification in leadership and supervision from Ferris and is commissioned by the state as a notary public.

With her work at LAUP, she has come full circle – as she explores opportunities to collaborate with GRCC on building career pathways to better equip people to meet workforce needs. 

Start your GRCC story today here.

Dr. Patricia Pulliam, Cedric Ward honored at GIANT Awards 40th anniversary celebration for their efforts to preserve history, inspire others

Dr. Patricia Pulliam smiling and holding her GIANT’s  Legacy Awards.

Dr. Patricia Pulliam and the late Cedric Ward, who created the GIANT Awards 40 years ago to preserve history and inspire the next generations, were honored Saturday with the GIANT’s first Legacy Awards for their impact.

GRCC since 1983 has hosted the annual awards recognizing African American leaders and organizations for their exceptional contributions in shaping the history and quality of life in Grand Rapids and West Michigan.

Leaders are honored each year in 12 categories, and with an overall GIANT Among Giants revealed at the ceremony. The 40th anniversary celebration highlighted the past GIANT honorees and honored Pulliam and Ward.

“Whatever the GIANT banquet has become is beyond my wildest imagination from 40 years ago,” Pulliam said. “That you, community. The GIANT banquet has grown, and grown, and grown. It’s all because of people like you. It’s all because of the people who have received awards during the past 40 years. I thank you for keeping it going in the spirit in which it started. We are recognizing people who made a difference here, not for themselves, but for the rest of us.”

Pulliam has made two careers shining a light on minority issues and concerns: first as a Grand Rapids Community College educator and later as a newspaper publisher.

She began at what was then Grand Rapids Junior College in the early 1970s as a language arts instructor and advisor to the Black Students Union.

She later became chair of the Council for Minority Concerns, an advisory group to GRJC President Richard Calkins that worked to attract, support and retain minority students. The council organized conflict resolution workshops, an annual banquet for minority high school seniors and their parents, and a loan fund to help African American, Hispanic and Native American students.

After a referendum passed in 1991 that created the independent Grand Rapids Community College, she became executive vice president and vice president for instruction and administration.

Pulliam capped her 30-year college career by serving as interim president in 1998 – the first woman and the first African American to lead GRCC. She received an inaugural Salute to Women Award in 1999.

Patricia and Yergan Pulliam purchased The Grand Rapids Times in 1986. Founded in 1957, it is the oldest existing weekly publication targeting the black community in Grand Rapids. She is active as both publisher and editor.

The arts and social justice were the twin passions of Cedric Ward, who passed away in 2002.

His theatrical debut at the age of 13 in a Circle Theater production of “Little Foxes” was the start of four decades of directing, performing and volunteering.

He and his wife, Sandy, established Circle Theater’s first children’s company, and he wrote and directed its first production, “Hansel and Gretel.” He founded the Robeson Players in the 1980s to provide theatrical opportunities to African Americans and co-founded the Grand Rapids Symphony’s “Symphony with Soul” concert.

Ward was focused on helping young people have access to higher education. and the Junior Giants Cedric Ward Leadership Scholarship is named in his honor. The Cedric and Sandy Ward Leadership Award goes annually to a Grand Rapids Community College student.

He was honored by the Arts Council of Greater Grand Rapids for his leadership and received the Dr. MaLinda P. Sapp Legacy Award posthumously from the Grand Rapids Symphony.

“As I look through the list of GIANT Among GIANT honorees, I see people who made an impact nationally, and those who focused on strengthening our community right here in West Michigan,” GRCC President Charles Lepper said at the event.

“There are doctors, educators, pastors, artists, business leaders, activists, judges, and those who filled other important roles. One thing they have in common is that none of them likely sought the recognition they received. They followed their hearts, did what they knew was right, and focused on making their community a better place. Some are with us tonight, others we cherish in our memories. By sharing their stories, we inspire the next generations to think about what they can do for others.”

Sweep! GRCC basketball teams post big wins against North Central Michigan College

Danyel Bibbs, in uniform, getting ready to make a shot with a basketball.

Myron Brewer and Grace Lodes led the Grand Rapids Community College basketball teams to a season sweep over North Central Michigan College on Saturday.

GRCC’s women’s team opened up the day by defeating the Timberwolves 72-24, and the men’s basketball team cruised to a 99-69 victory.

Coach David Glazier’s women’s team jumped out to a 20-4 lead and never looked back, improving to 15-7 overall and holding on to second place in the conference with a 9-3 record.

Sophomore Grace Lodes was nearly perfect from the field and finished with a team-high 23 points, 11 rebounds and four steals.

Sally Merrill recorded a career-high six assists and added 13 points.

GRCC assisted on 28 of their 32 total field goals made, while shooting 52.5 percent overall.

GRCC’s men’s team maintained its third place ranking in the conference with the team’s fourth win in a row,  improving to 19-7 and 7-5 in the conference.

“It was fun to go on the road and play a solid game today,” head coach Joe Fox said. “Defensively the guys locked into the game plan and executed well.  Rico Wade has really emerged as a ball stopper defensively, and the team feeds off his energy.  Carter Thomas and Jajuan Walker made great defensive plays as well. I was impressed with Myron and Chris’ play on the offensive end, and the roster of sophomores were very impactful as well. I’m looking forward to the opportunity to celebrate them on Tuesday nights home game verses Kirtland.” 

Myron Brewer became the eighth player to lead the Raiders in scoring this year, finishing with 21 points, including four three-pointers and three dunks.  It also was his first career double-double after a game-high 11 rebounds.

Danyel Bibbs also had a double-double, finishing with 14 points, five rebounds and 10 assists.  Chris Coleman was two points short of his career-high with 20 points. 

“Our team came out with a lot of effort and energy and picked it up early on the defensive rebound and finished good around the rim,” Coleman said.

Both teams return home on Feb. 28 to take on Kirtland Community College, where GRCC will honor all the sophomores before their respective games.

This story was reported by Ben Brown.

GRCC In the News 02/27/2023

GIANT Awards celebrate 40th anniversary

1/25/23 WZZM

Tonight at the DeVos Place, the Black leaders and organizations were honored for their work in their communities.

GRCC librarian takes on statewide role with mission to ‘stand firm’ against book banning


Sophia Brewer is applying her longtime experience as a Grand Rapids librarian to a statewide role as a recently elected director to the Michigan Library Commission.

Mum who was told baby ‘would not survive’ after arriving three months early says he’s defied the odds and is thriving

2/27/23 MSN

A mum who was told her 1 lb. 11 oz. baby “would not survive” after arriving three months early says he’s defied the odds and is thriving.

… Saniah (Poindexter), who studies business management at Grand Rapids Community College, from Grand Rapids, Michigan, US, said: “I had no complications. I had never felt sick until the day I gave birth.”

Deadline approaching: Over $1,000,000 in scholarships available to students from the GRCC Foundation

Student interacting with Kristi Welling.

The priority deadline is approaching quickly, and students get busy, so please remind and 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.

Versiti is back at GRCC on Wednesday, March 22

Did you know that even though approximately 38% of the population is eligible to donate blood, less than 5% actually do? Every day, patients in our communities need red blood cells, platelets and plasma to keep them feeling healthy and strong. 

The blood you donate today ensures there is enough for tomorrow. One pint of your blood could be used to save three lives in the local community.

Have an hour to spare? Collection only takes about 10 minutes, and you can save time by pre-registering online! After registration and collection, you get to sit back and relax with some snacks and activities!

Other perks include:

  • a $10 e-gift card
  • a free parking pass
  • a Noodles and Company gift card for buy-one-get-one noodles. Yum!
  • learn your blood type
  • check off an item on your bucket list!

Help us reach our donation goal!

Schedule an appointment online or reach out to Rebecca Lubbers at for more information.