By Mike Staley
The Grand Rapids Community College Board of Trustees gathered Monday to hear a progress report from campus leaders.
Dean of the Workforce Pathways, Amy Koning led a PowerPoint highlighting the need to stay current with the community’s workforce needs.
“Staying abreast with those community workforce needs, that’s a challenge,” Koning said. “We love Dr. Pink, but he’s got stuff coming at us you know, two, three times a day in terms of workforce needs. We’ve got to figure out how we can address those needs within the resources that we already have or do we need to go after additional resources?”
Koning went on to share her opinion on the need for increased data sharing. She asked the board the rhetorical question of whom GRCC should be sharing their data with.
“The increasing need for data sharing, and I don’t think that’s unique to workforce by the way,” she said. “I think that’s unique to our region. Whether it be sharing data between community colleges, or it be sharing data with our talent investment agencies, or it be sharing data statewide or nationally. I think there’s an increasing need to share that data…we have a transient student population especially in workforce. They come in, get some upskill, and then go out and we have a hard time following those students.”
Koning also touched on GRCC’s recent success in the core indicators of success. The Perkins Core Indicator and the student performance at state and national certification exams were the two most focused on. GRCC has exceeded the 91.7 percent state goal set by the Perkins Indicator for students achieving an industry recognized credential. Overall, there are six core indicators and GRCC has passed all six the last five years.
President Bill Pink spoke briefly after Koning’s PowerPoint giving a very short president’s update. Pink commented on the job the staff did with graduation and how thankful he was for everyone’s hard work.
“This is the first time we’ve been able to sit together since graduation,” Pink said. “I wanted to publicly, again thank…all those teams that were involved in graduation. Facilities people did an incredible job. Campus police did awesome. It was just a great night.”
Following Pink’s update, Faculty Association President Frank Conner gave an association update. During his report, Connor referenced a recent press release about GRCC students saving money because some courses are using free textbooks and reminded the board and faculty to make decisions that are in the best interest of the students.
“I do want to think about and challenge us to review our decision making process,” Conner said. “When we pat ourselves on the back and release a press announcement about the use of free online textbooks, have we considered the research that’s quite clear–students learn way more effectively when they have a physical textbook. So given this research, does free really meet our primary purpose as a college?”
Conner wanted to make sure the board questions the validity of the results of decisions made that are supposedly in the students best interest.
Budget decisions were not discussed and were set to be dealt with at a later date. To view view the entire meeting click here.
The next Board of Trustees meeting is set for Mon., June 4 in the Board Library at 4:15 p.m.