During Grand Rapids Community College’s Board of Trustees meeting on Monday, Jan. 25, Provost Laurie Chesley announced that four programs have been discontinued.
“There were four programs discontinued since our last report,” Chesley said, referring to the certificate in quality science, associate degree in music merchandising, associates of applied arts and science degree in computer application technology, and a certificate in computer application technology.
Chesley said the computer programs that have been discontinued have been replaced with other programs because they were outdated.
Students who are currently pursuing these programs will still be able to finish their desired program.
Culture, finance, and student success were the three major areas that were being considered as a part of GRCC’s future planning.
Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences Mike Vargo was introduced by GRCC President Steven Ender to talk about strategic planning and student transfer.
“GRCC prepares students to transfer to the college or university of their choice,” said Vargo. “We only have three ends in our strategic planning. We’ve got workforce pathways, student success, and transfer pathways.”
Vargo said that out of 10 million students who attend community college, four out of five want to transfer or earn a bachelor’s degree. Out of that, only a fourth actually do transfer after five years. Only 15-17 percent earn a bachelor’s.
Vargo said the reasons why students don’t make it to transferring may include a lack of knowledge about transferring on the part of the student, especially first generation college students, and having credits that don’t coincide.
“Even faculty and staff working in higher education may also struggle with the fundamental information that’s necessary to facilitate the student transfer,” Vargo said.
Next, there were three slideshow presentations showing the progress and goals of the transfer pathways college action projects, which included new ways of getting students more information.
Vice President of Finance and Administration Lisa Freiberger discussed finances.
Freiburger said GRCC was projected to be a 5 percent decline in enrollment, but it is 1.6 percent below its target. She said next year’s projections will probably have some decline again.
Freiburger said there will be a decrease in tuition revenue, an increase in property tax, decrease in expense. She said GRCC was able to reduce adjunct expenses, and that resident tuition is where they saw more losses than out of state or nonresident tuition, so that factor helped compensate for the tuition decrease.
“We will be bringing you a balanced budget in February,” Freiburger said to the board.
Brandon Sinclair, speaking on behalf of Student Life, recapped the Student Alliance meeting for January. He said they’re looking at a reward system for student leaders who show initiative. They are also hoping to install more microwaves on campus and presented the idea of a club hub.
“We are pursuing the concept of a club hub, which is a space for student organization leaders to meet and plan on campus,” said Sinclair. “The club hub would be a physical space for students to stop in and visit student leaders.”
Sinclair said the club hub could potentially help increase student participation on campus.
Associate Director of the College Success Center Domingo Hernandez-Gomez and Dean of Student Success and Retention John Cowles explained that in the summer of 2015, there was success with the FastTrack program and the more placements they were in, the harder it was to complete it. By placements, they meant subjects, such as math or English.
Trustee Deb Bailey said she was grateful for the topics of discussion in the meeting.
“If I think about it, tonight’s reports, even more so than in the last couple of meetings, were really focused on the student, whether it be student success, retention, or helping them be successful, that was the focus of the meeting,” Bailey said. “That is the focus of our work. So, thanks to all of you.”