Grand Rapids Community College honored three faculty members in the 2021 Excellence in Education Awards Ceremony.
Michael Michewicz, Lori Cook, and Michelle Richter were honored with the awards this year for their dedication to assist students with receiving an education in the 2020-21 academic year.
The original award was established in 1989 to honor an individual GRCC employee for their contributions to the college. In 2000, the award was expanded to provide recognition in the form of a staff excellence honor, and a separate full-time faculty honor. Ten years later, an additional award was added for an outstanding adjunct faculty member.
Committees that represent the various staff groups come together, review, and undergo a selection process to find a recipient for each award at the beginning of the academic year.
Richter, the GRCC nursing program director, was honored with the Full-Time Faculty Award for her exemplary work for the nursing students. Richter was also involved in the restructuring of the curriculum for the program, which has seen a 100% pass rate by students in the last few years according to Pink.
“Before the restructuring, we would average around 80-90% passing rate; we’ve now seen 100% in the last few years,” Pink said. “Our nursing program is vital to our community, and I have yet to hear of a hospital that doesn’t want our students to work for them that graduate through our program.”
“Shelly (Richter) is the life of the party. She always brings positive energy to the room… there will be times where she’ll randomly start singing before a meeting starts,” he continued.
Cook, Director of Admissions and Enrollment Center, received the Staff Excellence Award, which honors staff members for their contributions to the college, higher education and the community.
Cook was in awe when learning the news about being an award recipient, labeling it as a humbling experience.
“It’s an enormous honor and I was humbled and surprised to be this year’s winner,” Cook said. “I quietly do my role and work with an amazing team and to be recognized for that work amongst peers is truly an amazing feeling… I will continue to lead my team and review processes that aren’t student friendly and find improvements to make going to GRCC the easiest decision they ever made.”
The third faculty member to be honored in the ceremony was Michewicz, a music instructor for GRCC. Michewicz was honored with the Adjunct Faculty Award for serving as the GRCC Interim Band Director during the pandemic.
“I am truly humbled, and honored to have received the Excellence in Education award,” Michewicz said. “I am particularly in awe of the outpouring of fellowship and love from my colleagues, students and friends, as they surprised me at my home when presenting it to me; that was awesome.”
“…It is often difficult for me to express feelings, generally speaking, but for sure I can say I’m the luckiest person in the world to work with the wonderful music faculty of GRCC and our students. It has been, and continues to be, the time of my life,” he continued.
Each award recipient will receive a cash bonus as well as a $1,000 contribution to the GRCC Foundation made in their name.
The Collegiate could not reach Richter for comment.
Editors Note: This story was updated to include a comment from Michael Michewicz.