Motorcyclist
Glen Oaks to host motorcycle safety training course

Soon the roar of motorcycles will be heard across the campus of Glen Oaks Community College, the new regional host site for the State Motorcycle Safety Training course.

For Michigan bikers to receive a motorcycle endorsement in Michigan, they are required to complete a basic skills course. In the recent past, the course has been held at the Sturgis Middle School.

“Classroom activities introduce the mental and perceptual processes needed to be a good rider and show participants how to process information and make safe decisions,” said Paul Aivars, GOCC director of business outreach. “The riding sessions have participants practice basic controls including clutch and throttle coordination, straight-line riding, stopping, turning, and shifting using the program’s motorcycles. Also included are quicker stops, curves, and swerves. It is important not only to be healthy, but also to have enough fitness, strength, and coordination to learn well and manage the physical demands of riding a motorcycle.”

The Motorcycle Safety Program has been in St. Joseph County and coordinated through the auspices of Glen Oaks since 1998. White Pigeon High School was the first site for the range training portion for several years before it was transferred to the Sturgis Armory for another couple of years and then to Sturgis Public School through 2020.

“With the help of the State of Michigan in repaving a section of the parking lot at the college for range testing, the program has now been transferred to the college,” said Aivars.

Since its inception, hundreds of participants have been trained in operating a motorcycle safely and have earned their motorcycle endorsement on their license — which is now mandatory to ride in the State of Michigan.

Basic Rider classes are offered in one day, either on a Saturday or Sunday.  Range instruction takes place on a Saturday or Sunday using the programs training motorcycles.

Registration for the Motorcycle Safety program takes place in the early spring and due to the high demand, the program fills up fast. Classes are filled up for this spring and summer.

“We are excited about the opportunity to serve as the host site for the program and look forward to many more years of training,” said Aivars.

oak leaf favicon
Glen Oaks ramps up in-seat classes for fall; registration is now under way

Registration is now under way for summer and fall classes at Glen Oaks Community College, and students can take advantage of an increase in on-campus classes.

“Prior to the pandemic, we would typically start fall semesters with about 85 % of our classes in the traditional, face-to-face format,” said Michael Goldin, vice-president of academics. “This fall, nearly half of our classes are being held in-seat, while the remainder are being offered in online, hybrid or synchronous formats.”

“While many students are ready to be back to class in person, we serve a number of different populations,” said Goldin, “and there is now a segment of our students who have gained a comfort level with and prefer the online formats. “Typically, these are the adult students who are trying to work around jobs, childcare and family issues.”

Since last March, the college has offered most of its classes in online and hybrid formats, except for a few skilled trades and lab classes.

“We began the Fall 2020 semester with about 45% of our classes in-seat, and our faculty had to be in a position to convert those classes back to online if necessary – which ended up being the case as a result of the state mandate last November,” said Goldin. “Our faculty rose to the occasion — last spring and again last fall. Hopefully, we won’t be in that scenario this fall.”

With vaccinations now offered for the entire Michigan adult population over the next few months, the expectation is that planned in-seat classes will stay in-seat. “We will continue to monitor the state mandates,” said Goldin, “and as of now, the mask requirement and social distancing will stay.”

For the summer semester, a greater number of online courses is offered, although skilled trades, health professions and lab science courses are offered with traditional face-to-face components.

Morgan Balcom
Balcom steps down as women’s head basketball coach at Glen Oaks

Glen Oaks Community College has announced that women’s head basketball coach Morgan Balcom is stepping down after accepting a new job out of state. Coach Balcom’s made the announcement after last Tuesday’s game.

“These last five years at Glen Oaks have been truly a blessing,” said Balcom. “Once being a player for the program and then being the head coach was truly a great experience. We changed the culture and started to build something special again at Glen Oaks.”

“The credit goes to the young ladies who put all of their heart and soul into the program to bring it back up from the bottom,” said Balcom. “To all of you, I thank you for being great students first and athletes second.”

Balcom served as head coach for the past five years, and was the assistant coach for a year prior to that.

She extends a hearlfelt thanks to Glen Oaks, the players, athletic directors and assistant coaches to help the program grow.

Assistant coach Gabriel Russell is serving as interim head coach through the end of the season.

Becky McKee
Frontliners program is helping students achieve career goals

After 25 years, Rebecca McKee is back in the classroom, although this time it is virtual, and her tuition and mandatory fees are now covered through the Futures for Frontliners program put into place by the State of Michigan last year.

“It’s so different,” said McKee. “All my classes through Glen Oaks Community College are online, which was all a new experience for me; but fortunately, my 23-year-old son has been a huge help in steering me through the hoops of online learning technologies. I don’t own a textbook as my books are online. And since the start of Covid-19, ZOOM meetings with pharmaceutical reps at work has helped my comfort level with technology.”

Glen Oaks had 144 students eligible for the Futures for Frontliners program out of which 98 are currently enrolled.

“Of those enrolled, 66 received funding from Frontliners,” said Tonya Howden, vice-president of student services. “Students who did not receive Frontliner funds may not have met the six- hour credit requirement of the program or may have already received federal/state aid to cover tuition costs. For those who did qualify for the program, Frontliners offered a great opportunity for financial assistance to earn a college credential.”

McKee obtained her medical assistant certificate in 1999 and has been working in a cardiology office in Kalamazoo (Bronson Advanced Cardiac Healthcare) for over 15 years. She is assigned to a doctor and handles the paperwork and prescriptions.

Working toward her Associate of Applied Science degree in Business Management with a Certificate in Business Management, McKee began the program in January. She is working to advance her career in the medical field. “My boss is going to retire in a few years and I heard about the Futures for Frontliners program, so the timing was ideal,” said McKee.

McKee does most of her coursework when she gets home from work and on weekends.  “Even though I can work at my own pace, I want to stay ahead of the course material.” Plans for her would be to finish the program sometime next year.

A Three Rivers resident, McKee has recently been promoted to co-clinical coordinator where the clinical staff report to her. Her job entails making sure providers and patients are taken care of, along with creating daily schedules,

“My Glen Oaks experience has been challenging – but good. I’m looking forward to the next semester,” said McKee.

Dollar bill and coin
Federal funds help GOCC students

For students receiving federal grants at GOCC, it is about to get even better—as additional funding is on the way for support through 2022

Over 369 students attending Glen Oaks Community College this semester will receive federal emergency grants through the Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations Act. While the process of awarding grants is almost complete for this semester, any remaining funds will be available to assist students enrolled over the summer as well.

And yet last week, the college learned that further funding from the new American Rescue Plan (ARP) Act signed into order in mid March, is coming next and may be used to support students enrolled through the 2021-2022 academic year. The expected amount of student emergency grant funding for this program is $1,083,500.

“Shortly after the pandemic hit last year, we received and distributed $288,341 in federal funds from the U.S. Department of Education through the Higher Education Emergency Relief fund (HEERF), authorized by the Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act to help students get through these challenging times,” said Tonya Howden, vice-president of students. “We were able to help students not only last winter term, but we had enough funding to award students who applied for grants in the summer and fall semesters as well.”

The college is now completing round two of funding. In December 2020, HEERF, authorized by the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriations (CRRSAA) Act was signed into effect.

“These funds, also totaling $288,341, require colleges to prioritize grants for students with exceptional financial need, such as those receiving Pell grants,” said Howden. Glen Oaks currently has 262 students receiving Pell grant funding, which is about 47% percent of the traditional student population.

“We asked students to apply and provide detailed information to support financial hardships they have incurred resulting from the pandemic,” said Howden. “We reviewed the applications on a case-by-case basis.”

Other factors affecting awards and amounts include FAFSA Expected Family Contribution (EFC) information, and enrollment intensity – meaning the number of contact hours in which a student is enrolled.

ARP Funds
“We are still awaiting federal guidance on the requirements for distributing these new funds,” said Howden. “It’s a large amount that can assist both new and returning students.

“We also now have many new students attending under the State of Michigan’s Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect programs,” said Howden. “Although the tuition is paid for through the state, the federal funds could help pick up the remaining costs of attendance such as course fees, technology and books, and it may also provide for necessities such as food, housing, healthcare and childcare.”

Combined, the state programs and federal funding provide great opportunities for students to obtain extra financial assistance.

“Ultimately, our goal is for our students to complete their academic goals,” said Howden. “By relieving some of the financial barriers, students are on a better path to achieving success.”

Glen Oaks grads marching in
Glen Oaks announces in-person commencement plans without guests; event to be live-streamed to public

Glen Oaks Community College has announced plans to hold an in-person commencement ceremony to include both 2020 and 2021 graduates. The event will be live-streamed and an edited video will be made available following the event and hosted on the college’s social media sites for others to view.

The ceremony will be held at Ken Schuler Court in the Glen Oaks gymnasium on Friday, May 7 at 7 p.m. Nursing and Allied Health pinning ceremonies are being planned with similar protocols for Saturday, May 8 at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. respectively.

“We recognize the importance of commencement, but we are also committed to hosting this event in as safe a manner as possible,” said Dr. David Devier, Glen Oaks president, “Although we are able to increase the number of people allowed during indoor gatherings per the governor’s recent order, we will still be unable to accommodate family members and guests.”

The college plans to seat the students, faculty and platform participants in accordance with social distancing and mask requirements. More specifics will be communicated as plans progress.

Glen Oaks canceled graduation plans in May 2020 to avoid in-person gatherings as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Dr. David Devier Glen Oaks President
It is time to return: Michigan’s community college tuition support programs

For those who have not heard, the state of Michigan has created and funded two tuition support programs to help individuals garner college certificates and degrees. These programs entitled, Futures for Frontliners and Project Reconnect, were recently signed into law by the Governor.

The Futures for Frontliners program applications are closed for this budget year, but it is expected that the program will be funded again in the state’s next budget based on the great enrollment success it has received. Glen Oaks currently has a significant number of Frontliners enrolled and the hope is for this continued engagement. To stay informed on this program, visit:  michigan.gov/frontliners on a regular basis to learn the latest concerning the next funding cycle opportunity.

The Michigan Reconnect program application process is now under way for the summer and fall semesters.

To be eligible for Michigan Reconnect, one must:

  1. Be at least 25 years old at time of application
  2. Have lived in Michigan for a year or more
  3. Have a high school diploma
  4. Have not yet completed a college degree (associate or bachelor’s)

 

This full tuition support allows one to earn an associate degree or Pell-eligible skill certificate at one’s in-district community college. For those attending college in the district where they live, tuition is free. For those attending a college not in their district of residence, Reconnect pays the in-district portion of the tuition and the student pays the remaining balance.

  1. Apply online for Michigan Reconnect by visiting: michigan.gov/reconnect.  The application takes less than five minutes to complete and can be done on a mobile phone. If one is having difficulties using a mobile device, it is recommended to use a different browser or computer.
  2. Apply to community college. All community colleges and tribal colleges in Michigan qualify. Apply to Glen Oaks by visiting: Glenoaks.edu, and clicking on the Apply for Admissions Now tab. Current GOCC students do not need to complete this step.
  3. Submit your FAFSA. This is financial aid provided by the federal government.
  4. Enroll in an eligible program and start classes. You must be in school at least half time and stay enrolled continuously through graduation.

Remember, tuition is free at an in-district community college, and Michigan Reconnect pays that portion of the tuition, while the remainder is paid by the student.

These programs and initiatives support Michigan’s goal to increase the number of working-age adults with a skill certificate or college degree from 45% today to 60% by 2030.

Glen Oaks stands ready to serve your educational needs and assist you in accessing these exciting tuition support programs aimed at adding value to the lives of our community members. Visit: glenoaks.edu today to begin planning for your future!

David Victor
David Victor steps down as head basketball coach at Glen Oaks

Glen Oaks Community College has announced that men’s head basketball coach David Victor is stepping down to pursue other opportunities.

“I would like to thank President Dr. David Devier, Athletic Director Matt Brawley, former Athletic Director Courtney Ivan, and all my current and former players over the last six seasons, for giving me the opportunity to coach the sport I love,” said Victor.  “Glen Oaks has always held a special place in my heart, since my dad coached here in the early 90’s, and I am proud to say I could follow in his footsteps and coach a team and for a school that has always been one of my favorites.  I know I have made lifelong connections and relationships with my players, and I hope I have represented the program to the best of my ability.”

“Leaving, especially in the middle of a season, was not an easy decision to make, but I had an opportunity that ultimately was best for me and my family, and I needed to take on that new challenge, said Victor.”

Victor also serves as an admissions clerk at the college. His coaching responsibilities were effective with last Saturday’s game and his last day at the college will be March 5.

Victor will be the new sports information director at Cleary University, located in Howell, MI.  Cleary is a NAIA school in the Wolverine Hoosier Athletic Conference.

Assistant basketball Coach Mike Hunter will take over as interim head coach for the remainder of the 2021 season.

Winners Cup
Glen Oaks seeks nominations for Distinguished Alumni, Fellows and E. J. Shaheen Teaching Excellence Awards

Glen Oaks Community College is asking the community’s help in seeking individuals for three awards that are presented annually during the college’s graduation ceremony, which is scheduled for Friday, May 7. They are the Distinguished Alumni Award, the Fellows Award, and the E. J. Shaheen Teaching Excellence Award. Graduation planning is currently in progress and more information will be announced as details become available.

Distinguished Alumni Award

The Distinguished Alumni Award is given each year to a Glen Oaks alum who has demonstrated achievement in his or her career field, service to the community or outstanding contribution to the college.

Fellows Award
The Fellows Award is given to an individual or institution who has provided outstanding support of the college as evidenced by long-term dedication and commitment to the college, extensive community level support for the college and/or direct and continuing support of the college and students. Former and retired employees may also be considered for this award.

  1. J. Shaheen Teaching Excellence Award
    The E. J. Shaheen Teaching Excellence Award is presented annually to an outstanding faculty member. The nominee should exemplify high professional standards, excellence in teaching and whose position as a faculty member reflects upon the value of education to his or her students and the quality of education. The appointment includes a monetary award.

More specific details and requirements for the awards, as well as the nomination forms, can be found at:  www.glenoaks.edu/about-us/awards/. The information is also available from the Glen Oaks President’s Office or Student Services Office.  Students, staff, former students, and community members are encouraged to submit nominations to reach the President’s Office at Glen Oaks by 4 p.m., Mon., March 22, 2021.

Financial currency
Application deadline for GOCC President’s and Dean’s Scholarships is Mar. 1

Area high school students are reminded that the deadline to apply for the Glen Oaks President’s and Dean’s scholarships for the 2021-2022 academic year is March 1.

To be eligible students must be a 2021 graduate from a public or private high school in St. Joseph County or a public high school within the Glen Oaks service area (Cass County residents attending Three Rivers, Constantine or White Pigeon High Schools; students attending high schools in Branch County in Michigan; and students attending high schools in LaGrange, Elkhart, Steuben and St. Joseph Counties of Indiana).

For the Presidential Scholarship students must have a minimum GPA of 3.5 to be eligible for up to $4,000 per year. For the Dean’s Scholarship, worth up to $2,000 per year, students must have a minimum GPA of 3.0.  Students must meet the minimum GPA requirement after the first semester of their senior year.  Both scholarships may be renewable for a second year.

“A Glen Oaks Presidential Scholarship will be awarded to one student from each of the eight high schools in St. Joseph County, one scholarship for a student attending a private high school in St. Joseph County, and two additional scholarships will be awarded to students residing in the Glen Oaks Service Area,” said Jean Zimmerman, director of financial aid. “For the Dean’s Scholarship, we will award two students from each high school in the county, two students attending a private high school in St. Joseph County, plus two scholarships for students residing in the Glen Oaks service area.”

To access the scholarship descriptions and application please go to: glenoaks.edu/current-students/financial-aid/Types-of-Aid and select Scholarships. The scholarship descriptions and the link to the application are listed under Currently Active Scholarships.

To be considered for these awards, all application materials must be received in the Glen Oaks Financial Aid Office by 4 p.m. on March 1, 2021.

Contact the GOCC Financial Aid office with questions by calling (269) 294-4260 or email financialaid@glenoaks.edu.  Office hours are 8:15 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday with the college being closed between 11:30 a.m. and 12:30 p.m. due to current limited staffing.