By Shane Madden
While the selection of Grand Rapids Community College’s 11th president was the highlight of the Nov. 21 board meeting, the trustees had other work to do as well.
The meeting began with a presentation from vice president of Finance and Administration Lisa Freiburger. She walked the audience through the approval of a property tax resolution, another seeking approval to extend the Michigan New Jobs Training program with Magna Mirrors for two more years, and one giving her the authority to sign for the renewal of the schools brewpub license for the culinary program.
Provost Brian Knetl and Associate Provost Sheila Jones then took to the podium to go over GRCC’s Strategic Leaderships Team’s “Strategic Plan ’22-‘25.” Some key focuses moving forward include; “reviewing scheduling and program optimization within new modalities,” LGBTQ+ Inclusive Fundamentals Team working to “support all and each student,” and campus sustainability efforts.
Next to the podium was Director of Purchasing Paula Gleason Zeeff, to give a report of GRCC’s purchasing dollars over the last year. Overall dollars are down as a result of the diminished enrollment, a trend facing many institutions, but primarily this report focused on the recent increase in the percentage of GRCC’s dollars being used to purchase from minority vendors.
In what could be his last presidential update, Interim President Juan Oliveraz gave an update on the Michigan Department of Education civil rights review which focused on compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.
“In late October, a seven-member crew came in with their yardsticks and their tools and measured just about everything and every building…” Oliveraz said. “In the exit interview they relayed to me how positive they felt about the school and where we are. They feel that everything looked great. We do know that in their final written report they will mention a few things that were not major. Things like dispensers on the wall that may be too high, or in the way of a blind person, so we will have to address those kinds of things. Nothing came up that was major.”
Oliveraz announced another GRCC partnership with University of Michigan Health West.
“(U of M) committed $440,000 to us for nursing students. They are going to pick up the tuition costs and other related costs. They are going to start with 15 students in the winter of ‘23, and then 10 students each semester for the next two years… With the possibility of a job during and afterwards.”
He finished his update by commending GRCC’s athletic programs performances, with both cross-country teams and the volleyball team competing in nationals during the last few weeks.
The rest of the meeting consisted of the board discussing and voting on the next president, the culmination of an eight-month process. When the votes had been cast, Charles Lepper was named the 11th president of GRCC.
For more on the naming of the new president, click here.