Retirement bio of Mike Vargo

Mike began 17 years ago as a faculty member in the GRCC Behavioral Sciences/Psychology Department, he became department head, then followed by interim and associate dean of School of Arts & Sciences Operations. He then served the college as Associate Dean of SAS Evaluation and Hiring, and ended his GRCC career as Dean of the School of Arts & Sciences.

Mike has “1,000 stories” from his time at GRCC.  His favorite night of every academic year is graduation, and the honor of calling the names of the graduates from the School of Arts & Sciences. 

“My favorite moment, over and over, is looking each graduate in the eye as I call their name, and seeing them thrill as they begin their walk to receive their diploma, bathed in the light of the cheers of their friends and family members.”

His retirement plans are to take on the role of Vice President of Academic Affairs/Provost at Chemeketa Community College in Salem, Oregon.

Sounds like a busy retirement for sure!

Mike would like to leave the GRCC family with this sentiment:

“My sincere thanks to all of my friends and colleagues at GRCC. How lucky are we that we get to spend this portion of our working lives doing something so instrumentally important for our students and the community we serve? My best to each of you.”

Congratulations and Best wishes to you Mike!

My Story Started at GRCC: WOOD journalist Ruben Juarez says GRCC classes ‘tremendously’ helped launch his career

WOOD journalist Ruben Juarez wearing a suit and smiling.

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.

GRCC helped Ruben Juarez start his college experience close to home, but his willingness to explore new places led to success at WOOD TV.

Juarez came to GRCC to take care of general education requirements.

“In the end, it helped me save thousands of dollars,” he said. “I enjoyed the different classes that I took, including one on Native American history.”

Juarez went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Grand Valley State University. While attending college, he worked for The Grand Rapids Press and was an intern for WOOD TV’s sports department. 

“I got to where I’m at today because once I realized I wanted to pursue a career in journalism, I strived to do whatever was necessary to get there,” he said. “School helped without a doubt, but interning was a major factor. I quit my job in Grand Rapids at The Grand Rapids Press and stayed with family in Oklahoma for a summer when I interned in Oklahoma City.”

Journalism has kept Juarez on the move ever since: His on-air career started as a sports reporter at WLFI in West Lafayette, Ind. After three years there, he was a sports anchor and reporter at KRGV in Weslaco, Texas.

See Full Article

Tech Tip: Alumni Online Center trigger

Do you work directly with students and alumni? Alumni that haven’t taken a class in over ten years may not have an Online Student Center account.

You can assist them by updating either their email address or phone number in Peoplesoft. This will trigger their account to create. Within an hour, the user will be able to click the First Time User option on the MyGRCC portal to create their MyGRCC account.

Once signed in, they can access their Online Student Center. If they are unable to access their account after that time period, please direct them to the IT Customer Support Desk and we will be happy to assist them.

First Time User Instructions

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 techtips@grcc.edu 

GRCC In the News, 7/27/2021

Metallica GRCC Welding Program with Dr. Bill Pink – West Michigan’s Morning News

July 26, 2021; WOOD Radio

(President Pink talks about Metallica grant.)

GRCC: Metallica’s welding scholarship ‘changing lives’

July 26, 2021; WOOD TV

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Legendary heavy metal band Metallica is giving back to Grand Rapids — again.

Grand Rapids Community College was granted a third round of scholarship funds from the band to send students through the welding program.

GRCC receives third Metallica foundation grant to provide skilled trades training

July 26, 2021; secondwavemedia.com

Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation recently awarded $25,000 to Grand Rapids Community College, marking the third time GRCC has received funding from the legendary band. The grant will help GRCC Workforce Training to continue a program that provides technical education and hands-on welding experience.

Course packs due Friday, August 6

All course pack files, planners, orders, and SKUs are due on Friday, August 6 to make sure they are in the bookstore in a timely manner for the students to purchase prior to the start of classes.

If you are planning to do a course pack and it is a reprint, please notify the bookstore.

If you are doing a new or updated course pack, please send your file and planner sheet (if needed) to grcceprint@grcc.edu and notify the bookstore that you are needing a new course pack for your class.

If you have any questions, we can be reached at (616) 234-3960 or grcceprint@grcc.edu.

Thank you,
The GRCCePRINT Team

GRCC In the News, 7/26/2021

Pay Attention: Relevance & Responsiveness in Higher Ed

July 22, 2021; “The Tech Ed” podcast

The United States’ nearly 1,000 technical and community colleges have been providing skills-based, career-focused training to communities for over 100 years. It’s imperative that higher ed pays attention to the needs of industry in order to fulfill this purpose.

… We asked Dr. Bill Pink, President of Grand Rapids Community College in Michigan to talk on the future of work and the vital role technical and community colleges play. In part 1 of a two-part series, we discuss the two keys every community college must have in order to serve their region.

‘Our community is coming back to school’: GRCC sees 7.1% increase in summer enrollment

July 23, 2021; FOX 17

Headline: GRCC President Dr. Pink believes enrollment increase is due to Michigan Reconnect and Future of Frontliners state programs.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College is having a good summer.

GRCC awarded third grant from Metallica to support skilled trades training

July 23, 2021; FOX 17

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College has been awarded a third grant from legendary band Metallica’s All Within My Hands Foundation to help more non-traditional students gain in-demand welding skills.

Rock band Metallica awards a third grant for GRCC welding program

July 23, 2021; mibiz.com

GRAND RAPIDS — Rock band Metallica continues to invest in a unique welding program that it was instrumental in launching at Grand Rapids Community College.

Metallica gives Grand Rapids Community College third grant to train students in welding

July 23, 2021; MLive

GRAND RAPIDS, MI – Grand Rapids Community College has received a third grant from the band Metallica for its “heavy metal” welding program.

Metallica awards GRCC $25,000 towards underserved, non-traditional students

July 23, 2021; WZZM

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Legendary heavy metal band Metallica, in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges, has awarded their third round of grants to the Grand Rapids Community College to support students studying in-demand fields like welding, the college announced Friday.

Heavy Metal: Legendary band Metallica awards third grant to GRCC to change lives through in-demand welding skills

A third grant from Metallica’s All Within My Hands will allow Grand Rapids Community College to help more non-traditional students gain in-demand welding skills leading to rewarding careers. 

GRCC is one of 23 colleges in the nation — and the only one in Michigan — to have received the grants, which are funded by the legendary band in partnership with the American Association of Community Colleges.

The Metallica Scholars program was designed to support students while also elevating the importance of career and technical education. Band co-founder James Hetfield met with GRCC President Bill Pink after a 2019 Grand Rapids performance and said members are intent on spreading the word about the importance of the professional trades and community colleges.

“That Metallica and its foundation continues to invest in GRCC speaks volumes about the band’s dedication to providing professional trades skills, but also to the success of our Metallica Scholars program and the lives that have been changed,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “We’re proud to continue this partnership and provide additional opportunities for West Michigan residents with this support.”

The foundation awarded GRCC Workforce Training $25,000 to help continue a program aimed at underserved community members, giving them career skills as well as hands-on welding experience.

GRCC partners with local employers so students can participate in site visits, employee panels and mentoring to help them determine if welding is a good fit for their career goals. Each student participates in individualized career-preparation with GRCC to ensure they are job-ready upon completion of their welding license.

See Full Article

Tech Tip: Submitting web page changes

Is your GRCC department webpage out of date or something not working properly? 

Web page updates or issues can be emailed to webhelp@grcc.edu. Requests will automatically generate a ticket for our Web & Digital Strategy team on your behalf! Please include a complete description of the problem or change as well as the URL of the specific web page. The Web and Digital team will work with you on ensuring that the requests are done properly and in an efficient and timely manner.  

For more information and helpful tips, please visit the IT Customer Support Portal or contact the Web Development Team. 

If you have a suggestion or a Technology Tip you think can be useful, you can submit them by emailing techtips@grcc.edu 

2021-22 Electronic Pay Books are now available

The 2021-22 Electronic Pay Books are now available on the Human Resources website at Payroll Forms.

You can start using this pay book for the August 6, 2021 pay date which you will submit on Monday, July 26 for time worked July 12 through July 25.

If you are unsure of your Employee ID Number, Record Number, Pay Group, etc., please refer to the set-up tab on a previous year’s pay book. 

If you have any questions, please contact Stacia Barczak, Rachel Paulucci, or Becky Bailey.

Here to Help: Danielle Nyland ready to assist students as new GRCC Lakeshore Campus nears completion

Danielle Nyland, a support professional at the GRCC Lakeshore Campus, smiling.

Always remember, at GRCC, you are surrounded by people who want you to be successful and are ready to walk with you on your educational pathway. We are here to help!

Meet Danielle Nyland. As a support professional, Danielle here to help GRCC Lakeshore Campus students, faculty and staff. From making sure everything runs smoothly behind the scenes, to making sure people know where they are going in the hallways, Danielle has it covered.

After graduating Holland High School, Danielle chose to attend GRCC on the Lakeshore because it was close and affordable. Any classes that she was not able to take on a GRCC campus in Holland she took online to finish her degree, which allowed her the flexibility to work as a student employee in the now closed Thompson MTEC GRCC office.

After graduating with her associate degree, and while working as a support professional for the GRCC Lakeshore Campus, Danielle transferred to GVSU and earned her bachelor’s degree in Human Resources Management.

Danielle is excited that students taking classes at the new consolidated GRCC Lakeshore campus will have a different experience than she did – with a greater sense of community and all the services and resources they’ll need in one place. She is looking forward to helping more students in-person more often.

Danielle’s favorite part of her work is watching GRCC Lakeshore Campus people go from potential students to graduates. Whether they begin their career after graduation, or transfer to a 4-year college or university, she knows they’ll be back to skill up for the next level of their career, or as alumni because of the strong connection they make with the college and the people who work here.

GRCC’s new Lakeshore Campus opens next month in a transformed space in the Shops at Westshore in Holland Township. The consolidated location will make a quality GRCC education more accessible. More information about the campus and programs offered there can be found at grcc.edu/lakeshore, by calling (616) 234-2200, or emailing lakeshore@grcc.edu

2021-22 Electronic Pay Books are now available

The 2021-22 Electronic Pay Books are now available on the Human Resources website at Payroll Forms.

You can start using this pay book for the August 6, 2021 pay date which you will submit on Monday, July 26 for time worked July 12 through July 25.

If you are unsure of your Employee ID Number, Record Number, Pay Group, etc., please refer to the set-up tab on a previous year’s pay book. 

If you have any questions, please contact Stacia Barczak, Rachel Paulucci, or Becky Bailey.