Upton to visit Glen Oaks August 9 to announce $900,000 congressional grant for distance learning enhancements

U.S. Rep. Fred Upton will be on the campus of Glen Oaks Community College at 10 a.m. on Tues., Aug. 9 to announce and celebrate a $900,000 grant to implement a safe, effective and cost-efficient distance learning model for all Glen Oaks students with an emphasis on high-school dual-enrolled students. The event will be held in the Dresser Business Development Auditorium.

The grant project features the installation of videoconferencing technology to allow instructors to broadcast synchronous live instruction from their classrooms.

“Currently, our dual-enrolled students must either commute to campus or take offerings hosted in their local districts,” said Dr. David H. Devier, Glen Oaks president. “This restricts their options since school transportation isn’t always available depending on the district and the high schools are limited in what they can offer at their sites.”

At Glen Oaks, the project will upgrade four campus classrooms with the installation of infrastructure and videoconferencing technology.

The project calls for the activation of previously installed fiber internet cable from the college to the ISD in order to provide feed to the high schools throughout the county.

For area high schools, the project includes outfitting up to two classrooms in each of the 11 local school districts with the basic videoconferencing capabilities for students to participate in synchronous dual enrollment courses.

“In the end, the project allows us to upgrade aging infrastructure at the college to ensure reliable delivery of distance learning instruction,” said Devier “Plans are to start bidding on the project this fall with the work beginning in early 2023. We plan to offer the first set of synchronous dual enrollment courses in fall semester 2023.

Joel Mishler
Glen Oaks names Joel Mishler as athletic director

Glen Oaks Community College has named Joel Mishler as the new athletic director replacing Mike Rasmussen who recently accepted the principal position at Branch Area Career Center.

Mishler was the Glen Oaks Viking baseball coach from 1992 to 2002. His winning teams advanced to regional competitions for nine consecutive years; however, it was in the spring of 2000 when the team won the regionals, and the Vikings took third place nationally in National Junior College Athletic Association Division II.

Mishler attended Westview High School and later studied at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Az., graduating with a degree in business management.

Mishler taught business classes for the past 18 years at Northwood High School in Nappanee, Indiana, part of the Wa-Nee Community School System.

In addition, he owned and operated a restaurant, bakery, and bed and breakfast business for 21 years.

Currently, Mishler is an MLB scout for the Tampa Bay Rays, and he has scouted for the Miami Marlins and Orioles off and on over the past 25 years.

A baseball enthusiast, Mishler founded and ran the Indian Chargers Academy and Teams for 13 years (2006 – 2019) a baseball/college development organization out of Northern Indiana that has helped over 200 participants go on to play college baseball. He mentored more than 15 of the organization’s college-age coaches to become college and high school coaches.

He will begin his position at Glen Oaks on August 2.

Glen Oaks Seal
Glen Oaks to host 54th Annual Commencement, Fri., May 6, in-person; ceremony to be livestreamed for public

Glen Oaks Community College will hold its 54th Annual Commencement ceremony at 7 p.m. on Friday, May 6, in Ken Schuler Court (Glen Oaks gymnasium). The Nursing Pinning ceremony will be held on Saturday, May 7 at 10 a.m. in Ken Schuler Court.

Graduation and the Nursing Pinning ceremonies will be livestreamed for public viewing. The Allied Health Pinning Ceremony will take place during the main graduation ceremony on Friday night.  Graduates will have the opportunity to have their photos taken professionally following the walk across the stage.

There are 181 pending graduates with degrees and/or certificates being awarded. The average graduate’s age is 26 years old – the youngest is 16 and the most senior is 61 years young. Their grade-point average is 3.325.  Two dual enrolled high school students will be graduating from Glen Oaks with an associate degree before they graduate from their own high schools. There are 41 Early Middle College graduates. A total of 135 graduates will participate in Friday evening’s ceremony to receive their degrees and/or certificates.

Glen Oaks President Dr. David H. Devier will preside over the ceremony and will recognize recipients of several special awards. (NOTE:  A special media release following graduation will feature more information on the awards and the recipients along with photos from the evening’s events.)

President Devier will confer the degrees and Dr. Christine Hammond, interim vice-president of academics, will serve as grand marshal for the ceremony. Tonya Howden, vice-president of student services, will read the names of the candidates as they walk across the platform to receive their degrees.

Color guards from the Sturgis VFW will present the flags for the ceremony and the Vintage Brass will provide the music.

A short video, “Impacting our Frontliners,” will be shown and features two Glen Oaks frontliner students who will be graduating: Jordon Dowell, Associate of Applied Science in Nursing and Kenneth McClish, Associate of General Studies.

Family, friends and members of the community will be able to view the commencement ceremony and the nursing pinning ceremony live on three different platforms: the Glen Oaks website (glenoaks.edu); the Glen Oaks Facebook page or the Glen Oaks YouTube channel.

 

SJC Job Fair
St. Joseph County Job Fair – Wed., April 20, 3 p.m. to 5 p.m.; nearly 40 area employers will be on the Glen Oaks campus

After a two-year hiatus as a result of the pandemic, the St. Joseph County Job Fair returns on Wed., April 20, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m., and will be held in Ken Schuler Court (gymnasium) on the campus of Glen Oaks Community College.

Job-seekers will have the opportunity to meet employer representatives to learn about and apply for all positions that are currently open whether they are summer jobs, internships, remote work, or part- or full-time jobs.

“This is a great opportunity for job seekers to connect with a number of employers all in one location,” said Valorie Juergens, executive director of communications and marketing at Glen Oaks. “We know that a lot of people are at work during the typical workday, but may be interested in pursuing a different position/employer so we are now holding the event in the afternoon to accommodate those who may be more available to attend later in the day.”

Nearly 40 employers are registered for the event and participating businesses either have current openings or anticipate openings.

Participants needing a ride to the event can contact the St. Joseph County Transit Authority 48 hours in advance at (269) 273-7808 and receive free bus transportation.

The annual event affords employers the opportunity to meet qualified, talented and diverse applicants.  A list of participating employers for the job fair can be found at: glenoaks.edu, under the Business and Industry/Job Fair tabs.

Coach L-M
Cross country returns to Glen Oaks; Livingstone-McNelis is named head coach

The Glen Oaks Vikings will be running again this fall. The college is adding  men’s and women’s cross country in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II level and will participate in the NJCAA Region 12 and the Michigan Community College Athletic Association (MCCAA). Peter Livingstone-McNelis has been hired to spearhead the program.

 

Livingstone-McNelis (or Coach L-M, as he prefers) coached women’s track and field as a grad student at the University of California Berkely. He served as the head coach for Kalamazoo College for seven years. He has a bachelor’s in Psychology from Kalamazoo College, where he was an All-Conference and All-Region Cross Country performer.  Coach L-M also holds a master’s in Clinical Psychology from John F. Kennedy University in California where he specialized in sports psychology.

 

“The timing is right,” said Mike Rasmussen, GOCC athletic director. “We’ve been talking about this for quite awhile. It’s important to provide both academic and athletic experiences for our students. There’s a lot of competitive runners here in the county, and we are fortunate to have a great course right here on campus. Coach L-M is a high-energy, passionate coach who will do a great job getting the program up and running.  He is focused on recruiting high-level student-athletes to Glen Oaks.”

Those interested in further information or running cross country next fall should contact Livingstone-McNelis at: plivingstonemcn@glenoaks.edu

Graphic design panel review
Graphic design students present branding projects to panel of judges

The CTE Advanced Graphic Design students presented their branding projects to a panel of local advisory board judges in mid-December. The project timeline was approximately six weeks for the dual enrollment students to create a fictitious company, logo, marketing, print materials, website homepage and commercial storyboard. The four students had 10 minutes to explain their projects and the judges then scored the work based on concept, presentation and many other components. Instructor Linda Walker guided the students through the Advertising Design course final project.

 

Photo: Rich Damewood explained his project to the panel in detail. Judges from left were Jennifer Yesh, ISD; Joey Hamilton, Superior Receipt; and Alek Haak-Frost, Watershed Voice.

Vaccine and Testing Clinics on Tuesdays
New hours for weekly COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinics at Glen Oaks

New hours for the free COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinics at Glen Oaks Community College are:  Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. — through Dec. 14.

The weekly clinics are for students, employees and members of the community. They are coordinated through a three-way partnership between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency and Glen Oaks, and are held in the college’s Dresser Business Development Auditorium, near the main campus entrance. No appointment is necessary.

Those meeting the requirements for the Pfizer booster shot may also receive it during the event.

For more detailed information, contact the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency at: (517) 279-9561 or visit: bhsj.org

New hours for weekly COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinics at Glen Oaks

New hours for the free COVID-19 testing and vaccine clinics at Glen Oaks Community College are:  Tuesdays from 9 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and from 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. — through Dec. 14.

The weekly clinics are for students, employees and members of the community. They are coordinated through a three-way partnership between the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services (MDHHS), the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency and Glen Oaks, and are held in the college’s Dresser Business Development Auditorium, near the main campus entrance. No appointment is necessary.

Those meeting the requirements for the Pfizer booster shot may also receive it during the event.

For more detailed information, contact the Branch-Hillsdale-St. Joseph Community Health Agency at: (517) 279-9561 or visit: bhsj.org

College Seal logo
A small tribute to the late Bruce Swinburne, founding dean of Glen Oaks Community College

By Valorie J. Juergens
Executive Director of Communications and Marketing
Glen Oaks Community College

Glen Oaks Community College received word this week that Bruce R. Swinburne, the founding dean of the college, passed away in late May.

Being from out of state, I first heard the name Bruce Swinburne associated with Glen Oaks in 2015 when we were putting together a 50th anniversary video of the historical beginnings of the college. A small number of retirees gathered together that year to help provide insight into what those early years were like. Bruce Swinburne’s name was brought up on numerous occasions.

“Glen Oaks early staff had the little job of getting students to a school that didn’t exist – and a faculty that wasn’t hired – so both Swinburne and Michael Myckowiak, (dean of vocational and technical instruction), made frequent trips to all of our high schools,” said the late Richard Cripe, professor emeritus and former counselor.

“Bruce Swinburne went out recruited and talked to untold numbers of the high school community and he finally got the first student – No. 00001 – Gilbert Edgerton, to sign up to be the first student at Glen Oaks,” said Richard Schlimgen, professor emeritus and former counselor. “He was so excited he bought a cake to celebrate, and he said you know, I hope it gets easier than this.”

Swinburne, who was hired at Glen Oaks in 1966, is said to have created a “community enthusiasm” for the college shortly after his arrival. He did his homework – surveying students, business leaders and agricultural leaders to help determine the program offerings during those first years. “It was Swinburne who inspired students to enroll,” according to author Leland Thornton in his book “Glen Oaks Community College.”

During a Burr Oak Rotary Club meeting, Dean Swinburne informed the group, “Glen Oaks facilities have been planned to provide for all who desire a higher education. All those with this ambition are eligible for admission.”

By the following year, recruitment became easier as a result of his efforts combined with more recruiting tools that became available – financial aid programs, accreditation and scholarships – many of which Swinburne is credited for successfully establishing.

When the first day of classes rolled around on September 15, 1967, the headcount was 729 students. “Bruce Swinburne had done a remarkable job,” said Thornton.
Swinburne’s time at the college was short lived, as he resigned in June, 1968, to pursue his doctorate degree, but his high energy and enthusiasm in the early days of Glen Oaks should be remembered.

View the GOCC 50th Anniversary video
Swinburne’s obituary

Aerial photo of campus
Glen Oaks plans for safe winter term by moving more courses online

In a proactive move to better safeguard the campus from Covid-19 for the Winter 2021 semester, Glen Oaks Community College is moving a larger percentage of its in-seat classes to either online or hybrid formats. The college’s Coronavirus Task Force recently made this decision in consideration of the recent community spread of COVID-19 in St. Joseph County.

“There is potential for an increase in positive cases and additional mandates over the holidays,” said Dr. David Devier, “and the decision was made to help keep the safety and health of our students and employees in the forefront.”

In a recent survey, although the ideal method of course delivery is face-to-face, students shared that they would prefer not to have the format changed in the middle of the semester as has was the case last winter and fall.

“We remain hopeful that the vaccine rollout will bring the virus under control; however, it is hard to predict how quickly the community spread will decline, or whether additional flare-ups will cause more closures,” said Devier.

Many of the Winter 2021 courses previously listed as hybrid or face-to-face have moved to synchronous (taught during the previously scheduled time via Zoom) or asynchronous (completely online). Some courses requiring lab components—certain sciences, automotive, agriculture, welding, nursing, and allied health, etc., will meet on campus to complete the portions of the classes that cannot be completed online.

Students are being notified of the changes this week as plans continue to be finalized.

Winter 2021 classes begin on Monday, January 11. New students wanting to enroll in winter classes should do so as soon as possible by visiting Glenoaks.edu and clicking on the Apply Now button. Most services are continuing virtually. If questions, students can contact the Admissions Office at (269) 294-4253 or admissions@glenoaks.edu.