From left are Julie Andrews, Sturgis Exchange Club, Lindsay Richardson, Sturgis Community Foundation, and Anne Springsteen, TRIO project director at Glen Oaks Community College.
Sturgis Community Foundation awards textbook grant

Glen Oaks Community College has received a $3,000 grant from the Sturgis Area Community Foundation’s Doyle Exchange Fund. The funds will be used to help students in the TRIO Student Support Services program with textbook costs and course materials if their financial aid falls short of covering everything.

“We are excited to offer this additional source of support for our TRIO SSS students, as financial barriers are one of the leading reasons that students are unable to stay in college,” said Anne Springsteen, TRIO project director.

TRIO SSS is a federal outreach and student services program which provides services for students from disadvantaged backgrounds.

“William and Helen Doyle established the Doyle Exchange Awards in 1992 to help support organizations with charitable or educational needs within the Sturgis Foundation,” said Julie Andrews, Sturgis Exchange Club member.  “Through their generous donations we have contributed to over 49 different organizations and 74 programs within the community.”

Dr. David Devier
The new future of Glen Oaks Community College

As we reopen Glen Oaks Community College; many questions are being addressed. The college has been closed to the public since March 17, when all courses were moved to an online format and employees began staying at home to carry out their work.  I am pleased to report that while this situation has been challenging, students received their instruction successfully and the college has continued to move forward on many fronts.  These include new program development and revision, successful grant applications, revision of policies and processes, management of the CARES Act funding for distribution to students, campus capital project planning, and student services including advising, counseling, tutoring, and financial aid support.

The Board of Trustees has been very supportive of the needs that the COVID-19 has created over the past twelve-weeks. Without their input and guidance, it would have been more difficult to weather the challenges. Just one example of their investments was holding monthly meetings via the internet which required considerable planning.

Now that the college is reopening for employees to return to campus, plans for the fall semester are being developed. The actual return plan is a four-phase process, which allows for gradual opening and provides for protection of employees, students and the public.  Like all higher education institutions; GOCC is planning for on-campus courses this fall but with adjustments being made to ensure the health of everyone.  More courses will be offered in a hybrid format where portions of the class will be online and some in-seat. Some types of courses such as technical-lab based offerings must have face-to-face elements to carry out actual hands-on activities.

Of course, GOCC serves the community in many ways beyond direct instruction. These include hosting community meetings, providing special venues such as the Nora Hagen Theatre, Dresser Business Development Center, sports facilities, Hagen Farmstead, and Grand Concourse.  Our ability to continue to provide these services to the community will be determined by the State’s guidelines in place at the time.  We will make every effort to serve the community in even greater ways.  Our mission is to serve all citizens of the region by “Transforming Lives and Advancing Communities.”

While the pandemic has been challenging for all, the college has continued to serve students and the community well and there is no doubt that this will continue.  Please refer to the GOCC website at:  www.glenoaks.edu for the latest information regarding college operation and services.

Thank you for your interest and support.

Brittany Miller
Sturgis senior receives $10,000 Meijer scholarship

Brittany Miller to study graphic design at the Cleveland Institute of Art

Brittany Miller, a 2020 Sturgis graduate, has been awarded a $10,000 scholarship from Meijer Corporation. Miller is in the St. Joseph County Career and Technical Education (CTE) Graphic Design program held at Glen Oaks Community College.

“Brittany is a very talented young lady who has found her passion in life through graphic design,” said Linda Walker, instructor of graphic design. “She’s an incredible artist and designer, most deserving of this scholarship. I’m so thrilled that she is pursuing her dreams with financial support throughout her education at the Cleveland Institute of Art.”

Miller is employed at the Sturgis Meijer store. “I had always contemplated enrolling in a graphic design program in high school, but didn’t pursue it due to lack of confidence and because it was “following” in my sister’s footsteps,” said Miller. “Because of this, as a freshman, I focused more on academics while maintaining my passion for art in my spare time. Fortunately, I excelled in this area, but it was wasn’t what I truly wanted.”

Still set on finding her niche, Miller participated in extracurricular activities including swimming, track and orchestra. Although she gained valuable experiences, she found that even when pursing a different goal, she always ended up coming back to art.

“It wasn’t until my senior year of high school that I finally broke out of the spell,” said Miller. “I realized that my passion for art shouldn’t be dictated by fear. This turning point in my life allowed me to try new art related activities that I’ve always wanted to try, but was too insecure to do before. I participated in more art classes and even became a member of the National Art Honor Society.”

At last, she started the Graphic Design course in her senior year – gaining knowledge in Adobe programs and learning to appreciate peer critiques. Being able to use her love for art in a new light was eye opening.

“After attending the class for a few months, I knew it was my calling,” said Miller. “With the skills I’ve learned so far, I was able to apply creativity into the activities I had joined. For instance, I created t-shirt designs for the high school’s musical. I also had the opportunity to create fliers for my positive school Culture club that was promoting a self-defense class. By doing these mini projects, I became aware of why I loved graphic design so much. Helping others through art catered to my selfless nature. That is why in the future, I wish to fulfill my goal of owning a design studio that helps create these visions for others.”

Miller was recently accepted to the Graphic Design program at the Cleveland Institute of Art. “This Ohio-based art school has the tools I need to challenge myself and push me further into the design world,” said Miller. “In order to achieve this goal, I plan to continue working at Meijer just like my mom, sister, and brother have to reach their goals. Overall, being awarded this scholarship is helping me achieve my dream of attending CIA.”

In addition to her Meijer award, Miller will receive a combined sum of awards through the Cleveland Institute of Art totaling close to $30,000, leaving her contribution at a fraction of the entire cost of her education. The Open Door Gallery in Sturgis has also contributed $500 toward her education and an exhibit of her work is slated for summer 2021.

The Fred and Lena Meijer Scholarship is a private scholarship fund established by Fred and Lena Meijer in 1975 for children of Meijer team members and enhanced in 2010 to include Meijer team members. Scholarship awards are determined by the Grand Rapids Community Foundation, a non-profit agency that considers (inclusively) academic or technical achievements, financial need, special circumstances, and participation in school and community-based activities/organizations in the selection of scholarship award winners.

oak leaf favicon
GOCC employees begin return to campus June 15

CENTREVILLE, MI — Glen Oaks Community College employees will begin to return to campus in phases beginning on June 15. Students and visitors should make appointments prior to visiting campus. Employees have been working remotely since mid-March as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Our employees are attending virtual meetings this week as we plan for a return to work in a limited fashion,” said Dr. David Devier, Glen Oaks president. “We want to start serving our student population in person, as long as we can do so safely.”

“We have created a flexible plan that adopts best practices for health and safety,” said Devier. “Since Glen Oaks is a public facility, the plan requires face masks (for employees, students and visitors), and promotes social distancing protective measures.” Masks may be a fabric face covering from home, or surgical type mask and the college will make them available for persons who need them.

Although staff will work a schedule that in many cases may include both an on-campus and remote rotation, employees working on campus will be required to complete an electronic health screening questionnaire upon arrival to work. In addition, anyone who has tested positive for COVID-19 will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

“Our maintenance and custodial staff have been busy, not only assuring that the campus is thoroughly cleaned and sanitized, but they have installed Plexiglas barriers in service areas as an additional precaution,” said Devier.

Students and visitors can make appointments in advance prior to visiting campus and may do so by calling the main number at (269) 467-9945; or the Admissions Office at (269) 294-4253.

Drone view of campus
Glen Oaks plans for safe reopen in phases; face-to-face classes to resume in fall

As the executive order is lifted, employees at Glen Oaks Community College will begin to return to work on June 15, and the faculty and staff are learning what those plans entail.

“We take this seriously and want to be sure we are taking the necessary precautions at the college to protect the health and safety of our students, faculty, staff and visitors,” said Dr. David Devier, Glen Oaks president. “We have a team which created a “Return to Work” plan that incorporates best practices, taking into consideration recommendations from the Center for Disease Control and the World Health Organization. Our work environment will look different as we address new safe work measures.”

College employees received an email stating that the plan would be communicated through a series of Zoom meetings, as well as via the COVID-19 website, and the shared drive of the Glen Oaks network. “The team has done a lot of research and hard work to find the best way for Glen Oaks to safely move forward,” said Devier. “We will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and adjust accordingly.”

The main points of the plan calls for a phased reopening ranging from Phase I (now campus closure); Phase 2 (limited campus access as governor’s executive orders are lifted, and employee training and campus disinfection is complete); Phase 3 (campus is open to public following safety protocols); and Phase 4 (campus returns to normal operations).

The plan addresses personal protective equipment, social distancing, and workplace sanitization, among other things. Face masks are still required in enclosed public spaces per state executive order and can be a fabric face covering from home, or surgical type mask. The college will make them available in the main campus entrance area for persons needing them.

Students and guests will be required to make appointments in advance prior to visiting campus and may do so by calling (269) 294-4253. The college continues to serve students with online instruction and support services for the summer semester which began in mid-May.

“We will welcome back our students for face-to-face instruction for the fall 2020 semester,” said Devier. “However, we are converting many face-to-face classes to a hybrid format (less than 50 percent online), and will offer a greater number of online courses. Although we place great value on face-to-face instruction, this shift in thinking is so that we can be ready should there be a second wave of the virus outbreak – flexibility is key.”

This plan also allows the college to serve the more vulnerable populations as well as those who may not be as comfortable coming to campus.

Nursing Pinning Ceremony -- prior year
Glen Oaks announces changes to nursing program

With the goal of attaining accreditation from the Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing (ACEN), Glen Oaks Community College has revised its Associate of Applied Science in Nursing program to align with the requirements of the Michigan Board of Nursing.

“Although plans were moving along over the past year to work toward these changes, we were able to expedite the process as a result of the high demand for nurses due to COVID-19,” said Sara Birch, director of nursing at Glen Oaks.

Effective with the Fall 2020 semester, Glen Oaks will launch new nursing program requirements to prepare students to test for the NCLEX-RN exam, administered by the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN). Upon passing, one becomes certified as a registered nurse.

Previously, the college offered a laddered program where students completed a one-year program preparing them to test for the Licensed Practical Nurse (LPN) exam, and then a year later, test for the NCLEX-RN.

“We will eliminate the LPN program and instead students will enroll in the two-year, associate degree nursing program,” said Birch. “However, licensed practical nurses can still apply and enter the second year of the program in advanced standing by transferring in their practical nursing credentials to receive 30 credit hours toward the program requirements.”

“After reviewing the ACEN accreditation requirements for LPN and RN programs and comparing offerings with other community colleges in Michigan, and considering the significant effort required to maintain accreditation in both programs, the Department of Nursing found it more beneficial to put all of the effort into the two-year program,” said Birch.

“Most students who enter the nursing program intend on completing their associate degree,” said Birch.

 

US Education Dept. logo
Glen Oaks to award over $288,000 in CARES Act emergency funding to eligible students

Glen Oaks Community College will award $288,341 in emergency grants to assist eligible students whose lives and education have been disrupted by the Coronavirus outbreak.

The funding is part of the overall $6 billion package from the U.S. Department of Education through the Higher Education Emergency Relief fund, authorized by the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act in early April.

“We are so pleased for our students who will receive these funds to help them through this challenging time in their educational journey,” said Glen Oaks President David Devier. “We look forward to continuing to serve them going forward.”

Students must meet a number of criteria in order to be eligible for these grants. High school students are not eligible. Students who were enrolled in face-to-face classes for the Winter 2020 semester should visit: glenoaks.edu/coronavirus for detailed requirements.

“We know that many students’ lives were affected by the Covid-19 outbreak in many ways,” said Tonya Howden, vice-president of student services. “Many of our students are struggling to meet basic needs, such as housing and food as they or their family members may now be unemployed. Others lack access to computers or the internet and we are encouraging students to use these funds to help them meet these needs.”

Students may use the emergency grants to cover expenses related to the disruption of campus operations, including cost of course materials, technology, food, housing, healthcare, and childcare. The emergency grants will not need to be repaid.

Amounts allocated to students will be determined by eligibility requirements and the number of credit hours in which students were enrolled during the Winter 2020 term. Students were notified of the grants through a college-wide email on April 27.

If students have questions regarding eligibility of the emergency funds, they should contact the Financial Aid Office at (269) 294-4260 or financialaid@glenoaks.edu.

Kori Stroh with welding gear on
Local CTE student is recipient of Breaking Traditions award

Sturgis High School junior Kori Stroh is a recipient of the Breaking Traditions Award presented by the Michigan Department of Education. Stroh is in the St. Joseph County Career and Technical Education (CTE) Welding program held at Glen Oaks Community College. The award recognizes students pursuing technical careers considered nontraditional for their gender.

Why welding? “I attended a Career Exploration event during my freshman year,” said Stroh. “I found welding both interesting and scary as I’m kind of afraid of fire — so I guess I decided to face my fears. I’m enjoying the program and like the experience of being at a college.”

Although somewhat frightening at first, Stroh now enjoys the process of creating something and especially treasures a holiday ornament, that spelled out the word JOY, she made for her mother last Christmas.

“It’s unusual to have a first-year student receive this award,” said Alyse Bannister, welding instructor. “I’ve enjoyed having Kori in my class since the first day we met — she has really come out of her shell this year.”

Although the COVID-19 pandemic has put a lot of the lab welding training on the backburner, Stroh has been able to do some bookwork and online components for the course, in addition to her Sturgis High School classes.

Throughout the state, there were 58 high school students and 4 college students receiving awards.

Madison Schlabach studies online classes.
Executive order relaxes restrictions for Glen Oaks health care students to move into workforce

Students in both the Nursing and Allied Health programs at Glen Oaks Community College will be able to move into the workforce a bit sooner in light of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s efforts to meet the increased need for healthcare personnel as a result of COVID-19.

The campus moved to full online learning in mid-March which became somewhat of a challenge, not only for students receiving hands-on lab training, but especially for students training in clinical sites.

“Many of the healthcare facilities began imposing clinical student restrictions in early March,” said Sara Birch, director of nursing at Glen Oaks. “Our students were no longer allowed to work on their clinicals, so we originally thought they would have a lot of makeup lab work to do when the college opened back up.”

Glen Oaks plans to graduate 20 students enrolled in the Level I program, which prepares them for the Practical Nursing Exam, and 16 students in the Level II program, which prepares them for the Registered Nursing exam, at the end of semester.

“In response to the governor’s order, we have been working with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) to guide us in expediting the licensure of our nurses about to enter the workforce,” said Birch, “and LARA provided direction to teach 100 percent online. This allows our students to complete the Nursing program and apply for a temporary license during this unprecedented time.”

The nursing faculty were already switching up how they were teaching as the college moved to the online platform – but this now meant instructors had to teach both lab and clinical portions of the program online.

“Our nursing faculty have gone above and beyond and have such a heart for wanting to meet our student’s needs – I’m proud of how they have stepped up and how they continue to stay in contact with their students,” said Birch. “For them this new parameter means using a combination of different teaching resources – ranging from online lectures and computerized modules and research to online materials made available by different nursing educational companies.”

“In one case, Keith RN, an educational platform for nursing instructors, provided a COVID-19 Simulation for instructor use, and Susan Lewis, nursing instructor, was able to roll it out as part of her Leadership in Nursing course.”

Fifteen students in the Allied Health programs at Glen Oaks were also affected.

“For me, a number of my lecture classes were online from past semesters,” said Carol Naccarato, director of Allied Health/Medical Assisting, “so that transition was easy.”

“The more difficult hurdle was the clinical class where we teach things like sterile procedures, first aid skills and several different types of injections,” said Naccarato. “Although there are online platforms, study guides, PowerPoint presentations, video content and assignments on a variety of the topics we go over in class – nothing actually replaces the hands-on portion in this course.”

An area nursing home allowed five nurse aide students to finish the last two weeks of the program after the campus closed. “These students have since completed the program and are employed in the workforce,” said Naccarato, “and provisions have been made for them to test for certification after the testing sites are reopened in mid-May.”

Students in both the Medical Administrative Specialist, Medical Coding and Phlebotomy programs are also finishing their classes online and will also be able to finish and graduate at the end of the semester. “Thankfully, the phlebotomy practicums were completed earlier in the program,” said Naccarato.

“With respect to the Medical Assisting program, the accrediting body has not relaxed the hands-on skills lab requirements for the program,” said Naccarato. “These students will need to finish up when they can get their training finished and skills checked off in person – hopefully, this will occur over the summer.”

“Glen Oaks is pleased to do what we can to help our healthcare students meet the requirements and graduate students at the end of this semester,” said Naccarato, “even if it means in some cases they are providing limited services to patients in the interim.”

Registration begins April 13
Registration is now open for summer and fall classes at Glen Oaks

Students can now register for both summer and fall classes at Glen Oaks Community College—and although the campus is closed, the Student Services staff is working remotely to help students steer through the process in light of the COVID-19 outbreak.

Summer classes begin on May 18, and all summer classes are now being offered online. Fall classes begin on August 31and are expected to run both face-to-face and online as they have in the past.

“Online learning has been around for a while, and though it can be intimidating, there a number of benefits,” said Tonya Howden, vice president of student services. “Today’s online classes incorporate many different tools that can enhance course content including pre-recorded lectures, live video instruction, links to supplemental resources, and engaging discussion threads.”

“While there are challenges to online learning, it provides students with the convenience and flexibility of working from any technological device at anytime and anywhere they have Wi-Fi access,” said Howden. “Students can customize their learning environments, save on travel time and costs of travel, and most importantly, have time to think, research, and reflect before contributing to class discussions and assignments.”

Glen Oaks not only provides remote services to help one get started such as orientation and advising, but there are also online library and tutoring and testing services available to assist students in their courses.

Prospective students should go to glenoaks.edu and click on the APPLY NOW button to get started, or students may call (269) 294-4253, or email: admissions@glenoaks.edu for further information. The last day to register for summer classes is May 12.