GRCC In the News, 3-17-14

Change Ups: GRCC professor earns state coalition award

March 15, 2014; Grand Rapids Business Journal

Grand Rapids Community College wellness professor Melanie Schiele-Gady has earned the Faculty-Staff Community Service Learning Award from Michigan Campus Compact, a coalition of college and university presidents who are committed to fulfilling the public purpose of higher education. The biennial award goes to those who have made the most outstanding contributions to service learning and community service. Students in Schiele-Gady’s wellness classes work with elementary schools in the Grand Rapids district on a healthy living curriculum.

Michigan’s Best Doughnut contest: Apple fritters at Meyers’ Bakery in Lake Odessa not to be missed

March 15, 2014; MLive

LANSING — Meyers Hometown Bakery and Beanery finished a close second in mid-Michigan’s Best Doughnut poll and has become a staple in the small town in Ionia County.

… (Jeff) Meyers has always had an eye on cooking and baking. After graduating from high school, he attended the culinary arts program at Grand Rapids Community College before taking his first food service job.

Ottawa County Administrator Al Vanderberg appointed to state council

March 15, 2014; The Holland Sentinel

Holland, Mich. — Ottawa County Administrator Al Vanderberg will become a member of the Michigan Municipal Services Authority and its executive committee, Gov. Rick Snyder announced Thursday.

… Vanderberg also serves as adjunct faculty at Grand Valley State University and Grand Rapids Community College and as the chairman of the board of directors of the Grand Valley Metropolitan Council. He has a bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Michigan and a master’s of public administration in urban administration from Michigan State University.

Families chicken dance and more during LaughFest adventure challenge race

March 16, 2014; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — If you saw folks running around downtown acting strange on Sunday, fear not. It was all in good fun.

… The event began and finished at the Grand Rapids Community College Ford Fieldhouse. It ran noon to 4 p.m.

Students Making an Impact at Immaculate Heart of Mary School

Sarah Krajewski’s Biology 101 for Elementary Educators (BI 101E) class has partnered with Immaculate Heart of Mary School (IHM) in a service learning experience as part of the Armen Awards. GRCC students are challenged to not only learn the biology content but also to transfer what they learned into age appropriate lesson plans for early elementary or middle school children including a lesson on owls, the life cycle of a bean plant and DNA, DNA extraction, and DNA fingerprinting.

Professor Krajewski stated that this service learning project has been a wonderful partnership. The GRCC students were given an authentic teaching experience and an opportunity to meet and get feedback from professionals in the field of education. This experience has enhanced the IHM science curriculum because it provided the students with an opportunity to engage in a laboratory experience with lab equipment that would normally not be available.

Save the date: Friday, April 25th from 3-5pm.

Come hear the results of this years Armen Awards and support the great work being done by faculty and students in our community.

BI101E and IHM_1

Students Making an Impact at LaughFest

Assistant Professor Bethann Talsma and her students are having a great time in BA 125 with their project serving at Laughfest Central. “Students are appreciative of the opportunity and have undergone training and volunteering,” said Professor Talsma. “This project has brought a fresh dynamic to my teaching with livelier discussions on experiences related to our course outcomes. We’ve already experienced and discussed examples of positive corporate culture, politics of doing business in the public and the role of support personnel in overhearing conversations, and appropriate attire.”

LaughFest Volunteer Manager Annete Nepomuceno stated that students from this class have been the most reliable volunteers at Laughfest Central.

Save the date: Friday, April 25th from 3-5pm.

Come hear the results of this year’s Armen Awards and support the great working being done by faculty and students in our community.


GRCC In the News, 2-28-14

GRCC wellness professor receives state recognition for service learning

Feb. 27, 2014; News International

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A state coalition has recognized a Grand Rapids Community College wellness professor for her contributions to service learning.

Here’s what’s sold out for LaughFest 2014 opening one week from today

Feb. 27, 2014; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI — If you’re a last-minute ticket buyer coming to LaughFest, don’t get your hopes up on seeing Jim Gaffigan or Free Beer & Hot Wings.

… Gaffigan’s return to LaughFest on Friday, March 7 has sold out the event’s biggest venue, Grand Rapids Community College’s Ford Field House, seating 3,300.

Saginaw Sting prep for championship rematch with Erie Explosion, aim for big game from Omari Humes

Feb. 27, 2014; MLive

SAGINAW, MI — The Saginaw Sting are angry. They’re amped up, and they’re ready.

… Humes starred for the Lumberjacks in high school, helping lead them to the playoffs against Midland High in 2007, before moving on to college where he won a National Championship with Grand Rapids Community College. However, a bout of yearning for familiarity brought Humes back to Saginaw after a year.

Experiential Learning blog looks at GRPS Youth Fair, need for elementary coaches

Experiential Learning Blog is excited to share some amazing stories and opportunities. High lights for the March Blog include:

1. Faculty High light Jodi Gee Wellness Assistant Professor and her Elementary Games course (WE 157). The collaboration is with the WE 157 course and the GRCC Preschool. Check out this awesome partnership.

2. Grand Rapids Public Schools Collaborative Youth Fair. Experiential Learning/Service our Community

3. Grand Rapids Public School COIT Elementary in Need of Athletic Coaches. Contact Barbara Reeb at 616-334-8795. (K-5 Athletic Offerings include Cross Country, Soccer, Swimming, Basketball and Track)

The Benefits and focus of K-5 Programming are to:

  • Introduce athletic activities to students
  • Provide early exposure and early development of knowledge and skills
  • Promote and encourage physical activity
  • Provide a quality learning experience for students
  • Build connections to middle and high schools

Melanie Schiele-Gady receives the Michigan Campus Compact Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award

Melanie Schiele-Gady

Melanie Schiele-Gady

Michigan Campus Compact recognizes the contributions of faculty or staff in the areas of community service and service-learning.  Each campus selects one faculty or staff award recipient who uses modeling, influencing, or instruction to engage or influence students to be involved in community service or service-learning.

Melanie received her award among her peers while attending the Civic Engagement Institute on February 3rd at Grand Valley State University.

Her nomination stated…

It is my pleasure to support the nomination of Melanie Schiele-Gady for the 2013 Michigan Campus Compact Faculty/Staff Community Service-Learning Award.  Melanie is a highly talented, devoted, and inspirational faculty member who has contributed significantly to the growth of the academic service-learning initiative at Grand Rapids Community College (GRCC).  Melanie has made a positive impact on her students, other faculty, administrators, GRCC, and the community as a whole.

Melanie has integrated service learning into her physical education courses specifically partnering with Grand Rapids Public Schools to introduce healthy living practices into elementary school curriculum.  A recent accomplishment was finishing second place in the 2013 Armen Awards a team competition event designed to inspire best practices for teaching and learning while using the principles of innovation and service learning.  Melanie reinforced her partnership with Grand Rapids Public Schools by purchasing additional curriculum materials to sustain the service learning project.  Additionally, Melanie helps to coordinate the Service Learning Task Team, facilitate on-going faculty professional development training and maintain the Experiential Learning blog.

Melanie’s work with academic service-learning is an excellent example of the power of this pedagogy which impacts student learning, encourages engaged citizenship, and addresses community needs.  Her significant service to GRCC and to the larger community, through practice of community engagement and leadership, make her not only an outstanding asset to our institution, but also an important ambassador of the college to the community at-large.

Congratulations, Melanie Schiele-Gady!

GRCC In the News, 12-2-13

GRCC students to compete for service learning award

Nov. 26, 2013; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Eight service learning projects will compete for Grand Rapids Community College’s Armen Awards, which recognize educational efforts that help the community.

John Cusack, Bruce Willis to star in Grand Rapids director Brian Miller’s ‘The Prince’

Nov. 26, 2013; MLive

Grand Rapids-born filmmaker Brian Miller has landed his biggest Hollywood job yet, directing action-thriller “The Prince,” starring John Cusack, Bruce Willis and Jason Patric.

… Miller is a 1993 East Grand Rapids graduate who attended Grand Rapids Community College and studied film at Grand Valley State University. He moved to Los Angeles in 2003 to pursue a film career. He wrote the screenplay for “Crossfire,” and eventually secured funding for it to film in his hometown in 2009. Miller’s films are released under his Sky Harbor Films production company banner.

High School Students Have Backstage Pass to Learning Technical Side of Theater

Nov. 26, 2013; (KISD newsletter)

Kent ISD, MI — What Josh Hess loves about theater is the backstage magic: working the lights and bringing all the technical parts of the show together just right.

… Students cover everything taught in an introductory level college course. Many are ready for careers in theater and entertainment, said Amber Schrier, Van Singel technical director and class instructor. Students can earn two Grand Rapids Community College credits and up to 12 Davenport University credits by completing two years of the program. Schrier said skills developed also translate to careers as wide-ranging as electronics and makeup.

Grand Rapids schools look at energy audit on buildings for cost-savings, better efficiency

Nov. 29, 2013; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids schools is preparing to have a free energy audit done on 10 of the district’s buildings through the Rebuild Michigan program administered by the Michigan Department of Energy.

… (Renae) Hesselink said districts such as Forest Hills and Zeeland, as well as Grand Rapids Community College, have utilized the service. She said GRPS will have to supply 12 months of energy data as a baseline to start the process.

Maplegrove Property establishes itself in downtown market

Nov. 29, 2013; Grand Rapids Business Journal

Although it’s not the biggest investment the firm has made, it is the largest single portfolio it has acquired.

… (David) Emdin said students and young professionals are the firm’s primary targets for the apartments. All the structures are near Grand Rapids Community College, the hospitals and the rest of the medical industry that has established itself along Michigan Street.

Grand Valley State women’s basketball upsets No. 12 Lewis in a thriller

Nov. 30, 2013; MLive

Allendale, Mich. – Despite trailing by as many as six points with 14:39 to play in the second half, the Grand Valley State women’s basketball team seized control of a back-and-forth affair to upset No. 12 Lewis, 67-59.

… GVSU improved to 2-1 on the year and is now set to begin GLIAC play next week. The Lakers will face No. 23 Ashland next Thursday at 6:00 p.m. EST. The game will be held at Grand Rapids Community College’s Gerald R. Ford Fieldhouse.

GRCC In the News, 11-26-13

Eight teams will compete for GRCC service learning award

Nov. 25, 2013; News International

Nov. 25, 2013 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The eight service learning projects that will compete for Grand Rapids Community College’s Armen Awards this year cover a range of disciplines, from automotive training and child psychology to nursing.

Abby Aiken named GLIAC player of the year, Deanne Scanlon earns coach of the year honors

Nov. 25, 2013; The Holland Sentinel

Bay City — The No. 13 Grand Valley State volleyball team put together a tremendous regular season, going 17-1 in league play and winning the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference championship, and the Lakers were represented well in the postseason awards.

… (Kaitlyn) Wolters has been tremendous in her first season in Allendale, as the Lakers are 26-2 with her as the team’s starting setter. She has dished out 1,021 assists this year, while her 10.11 assists per set are the sixth-most in the league. Wolters has been equally good defensively – ranking third on the team in digs (293) and fifth in total blocks (44) – as she has been on offense. The junior has recorded 105 kills and a .310 hitting percentage, while serving up 20 aces, tied for fourth-most on the team. Wolters, a transfer from Grand Rapids Community College, is a first-time All-GLIAC honoree.

Experiential Blog December and January Highlights

First, the Experiential Learning Department wants to wish every one a Happy Holiday Season.

Second, please check out the new information posted in the Experiential Learning Blog:

December and January Experiential Learning/Service Learning AWESOMENESS includes:

  • Interview with Leigh Kleinert who is doing amazing academic service learning projects in her class.
  • Check out the Chemistry in the Mall and also Stem Girls projects (Thank you Jennifer Batten for providing this great information and helping make these programs a success)
  • Serve our community during the holidays: Salvation Army opportunities
  • Armen Awards has 8 finalists. Congratulations to these awesome instructors and students participating.

Check out the Experiential Learning Blog at:

Teams selected for Armen Awards

An announcement from Michael Schavey, of the Department of Experiential Learning:

I’m happy to announce that eight amazing and strong proposals have been submitted. There is a wide range of disciplines, including Psychology, Nursing, Biology, Automotive and German. It’s outstanding to know that through this event, faculty and students will understand the impact one makes when given the opportunity to apply their learning to benefit the community.

  • Hope Hagan and her Business & Technical Writing course is partnering with the Covenant House.
  • Aleta Anderson and her Introductory German course is partnering with Palmer Elementary School.
  • Sarah Krajewski and her Biology for Educators course is partnering with Immaculate Heart of Mary School.
  • Dr. Kate Byerwalter and her Child Psychology course is partnering with Family Promise.
  • Dr. Sherry Knoppers and her Community Transcultural Nursing course is partnering with South East Outreach Ministry.
  • Gayl Beals and his Automotive Job Training course is partnering with Mel Trotter Ministries.
  • Jolanta Lanier and her Personal Health course is partnering with the American Cancer Society.
  • Bethane Talsma and her Office Ethics and Etiquette course is partnering with Gilda’s Club.
Please help me congratulate these faculty!

For more information on the Armen Awards please visit

Experiential Learning Department blog highlights ‘Soctober,’ Schools of Hope partnership

The November Newsletter/Blog for the Experiential Learning Department is High lighting some awesome Faculty members and also great community events. Check us out on the Blog at:

Here are our November High lights:

1. “SOCKTOBER” is a national campaign to collect socks for local organizations that serve homeless individuals. Check it out and help serve our community.

2. Kent County Department of Human Services: The Kent County Department of Human Services is excited to be expanding its Community Resource Program (CRP) in Kent County. The Kent County Department of Human Services helps families in our community in a variety of ways. Check out more information on the Experiential Learning Blog.

3. Grand Rapids Community College Academic Service Learning Faculty: Faculty of the Month:

Kate Byerwalter and Tom Mulder.

Please see their interviews and also information provided to help us all learn why academic service learning is so important for GRCC Faculty, GRCC students, and the community.

4. Experiential Learning Department has partnered with Schools of Hope. Please see a list of all Grand Rapids Public Schools offering this great program. Need more information, contact Melanie Schiele Gady at 616-234-3430 or Check it out on the Blog:

5. Michigan Campus Compact Award.
Please send deserving nominations to Michael Schavey.

6. Have questions in regards to Academic Service Learning? Contact any Service Learning Task Team Member. We will help answer your questions and guide you in your academic service learning processes. The team leader, Associate Director, of the Experiential Learning Department, Michael Schavey, is of course always available to help us all out. Thanks Mike!

Task Team Members

Jennifer Batten

Kate Byerwalter

Leigh Kleinert

Melanie Schiele Gady

Michael Schavey

Sandra Andrews

Sara Rose

Sherry Knoppers

Dillon Carr

Armen Awards proposals due by November 1

“It’s cool to help nonprofits get stuff done knowing they are low on funding and cannot support additional staff.”

“It’s cool to take the information from the classroom and apply it and see how it works in a real world situation.”

“In the very first five minutes of my service learning project I gained so much confidence.”

“I think service learning can be applied in almost any discipline.”

“I really grew a lot from this experience.”

“It felt like an important project rather than another homework assignment.”

“Service learning helps keep students engaged.”

These are just a few comments from students and faculty who participated in the Armen Awards last year. During the Fall semester, teams of faculty and community organizations come together and design service learning projects that align course and institutional learning outcomes with community partner needs. Each team will submit their service learning project proposal Friday, November 1st, 2013 with the goal of implementing the service learning projects during the Winter 2014 semester.

Watch this short video for of a service learning project from last year.

To receive a copy of the proposal visit

Prizes are given to first, second, and third place teams presented at the Armen Awards Celebration event in April 2014.

1st Prize $3,000
2nd Prize $1,500
3rd Prize $750

Experiential Learning blog highlights Schools of Hope, CTE Power Point presentations

GRCC Faculty and Staff-

Check out the new postings in the Experiential Learning Newsletter/Blog. We are excited to share with you great things that are happening at GRCC.


  • Michigan Campus Compact Award: Faculty and Staff please nominate a colleague for an award. Nominations can go directly to Michael Schavey. Check out the Blog for a list of the awards. We have a bunch of deserving Instructors and staff. Please nominate them for their awesome work.
  • Schools of Hope Training for GRCC Faculty and Staff was on September 20. 11 GRCC Faculty and Staff went through the training and are ready to serve a child who needs help with their reading and comprehension at area Elementary Schools. Thank you to Melanie Schiele Gady (Experiential Learning Team and Wellness Professor) and Misti Stanton (United Way: Schools of Hope Coordinator) for leading this opportunity. For information on this training/future trainings at GRCC contact Melanie Schiele Gady at
  • Check out what GRCC classes are doing for Academic Service Learning: BA 270 and PE 184.
  • Service Learning Task Team has a new Mission statement. Read through our mission statement on the Blog!
  • CTE Academic Service Learning Power Point Presentations are now posted on the Blog. Check it out for a refresher on how to bring Academic Service Learning into your GRCC class. Thank you to Dillon Carr, Leigh Kleinert, and Melanie Schiele Gady for facilitating these professional development sessions.
  • Sherry Knoppers is an awesome advocate for Service Learning. Check out the Faculty Interview with Sherry and how she incorporates Service Learning into her classes and why Service Learning is so important.
  • Michael Schavey sent out a personal welcome letter to GRCC students who were taking a class with Academic Service Learning. Thank you Mike and of course check out the Blog.

GRCC Students Help Pack 110,000 Meals

Fourteen GRCC students and Adjunct Instructor Rana Woodhull participated in a Feed My Starving Children Mobil Manna Pack event at Bella Vista Church in Rockford on Saturday, September 14 where they helped to pack 110,000 meals for orphanages and children in countries like Haiti and Uganda:

I had been contemplating a way to integrate a hands-on approach to teach “Marketing a Non-profit Organization”, when I discovered an opportunity to experience a non-profit with my students. Students were able to participate in Feed My Starving Children, after which we are doing reflection activities about the importance of marketing for an organization and how that organization impacts ourselves, our communities, and our world.

Students participated in this event throughout the day on Saturday. The students worked in teams packing the meals and in warehousing the packed meals. The students worked together with students from Cornerstone University, members of Bella Vista Church, and many other visitors to the pack site. The students were made aware of the fact that their two hour contribution made such a huge impact on the number of children who would live to see another day and the number of children that would receive one meal a day for the next year. In all, our students helped to pack enough meals to feed 302 children one meal a day for one year. 302 children who would have the opportunity to grow up and make a difference in their own culture. Our students were able to view a video and several photos of the children that are being helped. We were horrified by the condition of the children before receiving the meals we packed and amazed at the condition of the children after receiving the meals for several weeks and months.

Feed My Starving Children is an organization that provides healthy nutrition to impoverished children around the world. FMSC produces a Manna Pack which contains six servings of the vitamins, veggies, soy and rice (It looks somewhat like the contents of packages of Lipton Sides). Each package is hand packed by volunteers at several permanent pack sites as well as at mobile pack sites. Each Manna Pack box contains 36 packages which is 216 meals. We packed 509 boxes on Saturday!

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the “Feed My Starving Children” volunteer opportunity at your church. I enjoyed being part of such a great group and inspiring event. It’s funny how doing something for others helps us as individuals. ~ Brad Boland, BA 270 GRCC Student

To find out more about Feed My Starving Children or to get involved go to:  To find out where this food goes go to:

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Interested in service learning or the Armen Awards?

Interested in service learning or the Armen Awards?

Your first step to becoming part of the service learning family and win up to $3,000 begins with this session on Friday, September 6th from 9:15-10:15am title, “Introduction to Service Learning.”

  • Explain the difference between service learning and volunteering.
  • Identify the benefits of service learning for the instructor and students.
  • Describe the process and requirements associated with integrating service learning into a course.
  • Identify available resources.
  • Identify potential challenges involved with integrating service learning into a course.
  • Articulate the deadlines for completing the Curriculum Integration Plan.
  • Identify who can assist with completion of the plan.
  • Explain the review and approval process.

At GRCC, service learning has been and continues to be one of the most rewarding teaching and learning practices. Impacting over 1,000 students each year, service learning is offered across all disciplines. As a proven effective pedagogy, service learning has a positive impact on academic, social and cultural variables. Both students and faculty report that service learning increases the understanding and depth of course content while promoting the knowledge and understanding of civic and social issues.

Be sure to register through the Center for Teaching Excellence for the session.

Can’t make it… the following faculty to help you get started (Dillon Carr, Leigh Kleinert or Melanie Schiele-Gady)