President’s Messages 2010

President’s Message, January 2010

Hello students, faculty, and staff: I am hopeful that your holiday season was restful, enjoyable and renewing. During my December 2009 message, I shared with you some information on issues facing new students, along with a discussion of our ability to assist these students and support our workforce. In this month’s message, I will outline additional challenges, suggest mechanisms to meet these challenges, continue my request for you all to contribute and, indeed, take the lead in these initiatives.

As you may be aware, the State of Michigan Community College budget is the only state agency not receiving a reduction in general fund appropriations. Given the current economy, this is very good news. On the other hand, all indications from Lansing are that community colleges will not be so fortunate next year. Between record enrollments and federal workforce resources, community colleges should be able to absorb some of the likely reductions in state funding. All of this means that we will need to take a hard look at next year’s budget. We will also need to continue to distinguish ourselves as a leading higher education institution in the state.

What can we do now to minimize the impact of possible budget reductions while at the same time maintaining our standards of excellence? Several opportunities come to mind:

  • To the faculty: Continue your strong work in the classroom. I have had the opportunity to observe, both directly and indirectly, what you do. This includes biology capstone presentations, theatrical productions, choral performances, collaborative efforts by the business faculty, and many more. Your work is the primary vehicle for student retention and successful transfer.
  • To the staff: Your ability to advise, counsel, manage, lead, coach, and mentor is excellent. I have observed you at orientation sessions, collaborating with businesses, quietly advising students, helping students with registration and financial aid, supporting students in need of assistance, coaching student athletes, and many other activities. This makes me proud to associate with the name Muskegon Community College.
  • To our students: Continue to represent the college with distinction. I have seen you in the classroom, in multiple performance venues, on courts, fields, courses, and mats. You have done well at internship sites, in the workplace, and on the parade route. Your ability to do this while raising families, working full time, making the transition from high school, or making the transition from one employer to another is commendable. You are the reason that we strive to achieve our best as professionals.

What this means is that all of us need to continue to do the things that make us successful members of the community: we strive for excellence, we work hard, and we challenge ourselves to achieve more.

I will continue to support programs that will further our success. In January, the Strategic Planning Committee (strategy@muskegoncc.edu) will begin its community based meetings, including locations in Muskegon, Ottawa, and Newaygo counties. As mentioned before, this process will allow the committee to receive direct input from community members, and allow the community to observe first hand our interest in them.

As usual, you may contact my office at 231-777-0303 or via email at dale.nesbary@muskegoncc.edu. I wish the best to you and your families as we enter this, the second decade of the 21st century.

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.
President

President’s Message, February 2010

Hello colleagues. The month of February brings the last full month of winter along with a number of activities on campus that are of interest to us all. In my January 2010 message, I made reference to some of the challenges facing community colleges in general and MCC in particular. In this month’s message, I will briefly discuss some related issues and what they may yield.

The Strategic Planning and Master Planning processes are in full swing and available on the MCC website. Those active on strategic planning committees may go to MCC Blackboard (MCC Self Study for Accreditation) to access information while the broader community and general public may go here to receive updates. The architectural firm Tower Pinkster was identified to assist with the master planning process and has begun touring campus and meeting with various campus constituencies. Please welcome them as they go about their duties. I continue to urge you to become a part of the processes and indeed, many of you have. Thank you for your hard work.

Also, there have been a number of web postings and press releases about the direction of the College about issues ranging from possible new construction, to new athletic programs, to new and revised academic programs. Here is key information for you:

  • With Board approval, the College recently submitted two proposals to the State of Michigan requesting funding for science ($6.0 million) and art/new media ($7.5 million). The science initiative would help fund laboratory space, an upgrade in the planetarium, and major equipment for the life sciences and related fields. The art/new media initiative would fund visual and performing arts facilities along with general classroom space. These proposals will follow the state capital outlay process, which can last up to eight months. There are no guarantees that these proposals will be approved, however we are confident that they will receive a full and fair airing by the Governor and Legislature.
  • The Board also approved a request to add several athletic programs, including men’s and women’s cross country, bowling, and soccer. The programs would cost approximately $47,000 for staffing, tuition discounting, and equipment and up to $10,000 for field upgrades. Revenues generated from these programs would exceed expenses. Like the instrumental music initiative, these programs are expected to provide additional stabilization to our student headcount and new opportunities for our students.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the Michigan Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Community Colleges will visit MCC later this month (February 26th). While individual legislators have visited the College, this is the first time in the 84 year history of the college that this subcommittee, which approves operating budget funding for MCC, has visited us. This is a notable event in that community college presidents, staff, and trustees from the west Michigan and lakeshore region of Michigan will also visit our campus to testify before the subcommittee. Please welcome our guests as they come to visit what we believe is the most beautiful of the 28 community college campuses in the state.

As usual, you may contact my office at 231-777-0303 or via email at dale.nesbary@muskegoncc.edu. Please continue to strive for excellence and enjoy the month of February.

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.
President

President’s Message, March 2010

Hello colleagues. Recently, I discussed the status of the State of Michigan budget and its potential impact on Muskegon Community College. In this month‘s message, I will continue these discussions along with an update on various issues related to the College.

In mid-February, Governor Granholm released her 2010-11 budget proposal. On the positive side, the budget is “hold harmless” for community colleges. This means that she is again recommending no cuts to community colleges. However, there are no guarantees that this level of funding will remain. While the Governor‘s budget is balanced, the balancing comes from a combination of spending reductions and revenue enhancements (read “tax increases”). There is little appetite in Lansing for tax increases, therefore it is expected that additional spending cuts are forthcoming. Other highlights of the Governor‘s budget impacting community colleges include a yet to be defined early retirement incentive/disincentive as well as recommendations that all state agencies are scheduled for budget reductions, with the exception of education (two-year colleges, universities, and K-12 schools). We will continue to advocate for our students to support robust funding levels and keep you informed.

A detailed analysis of the budget has been prepared by the Michigan Senate Fiscal Agency and may be found at this link: http://www.senate.michigan.gov/sfa/Publications/BudUpdates/OverviewGovsRecFY11.pdf.

On other topics, we are pleased to report that the Muskegon County Board of Commission recently approved an extension of Muskegon Area Transportation Services bus service through 10:40 p.m. This means that our students, staff, and faculty will have the ability to reach our campus at times more convenient to them.

As you may know, MCC is examining its on campus security profile. As a part of the review, a request for proposals was recently issued, to which six (6) companies responded. The RFP requests a minimum level of Security Services to include a patrol officer 24/7/365. This minimum is well above our current coverage. The scope of duties also includes a review and continual updates to emergency and evacuation plans. A review committee has begun the process of evaluating each proposal. It is anticipated that a recommendation will be made to the President and final approval by the Board of Trustees no later than April 21, 2010, with an expected contract start date to be July 1, 2010.

Finally, the 2010-11 budget process continues. The information submitted to your office directors/division vice presidents continues to be reviewed. We expect that a draft budget will be submitted to the MCC Board of Trustees at the April board meeting. Your Vice President/Director will communicate with both you and administration/budget during the process. As usual, you may contact my office at 231-777-0303 or via email at:dale.nesbary@muskegoncc.edu.

Please continue to strive for excellence and enjoy the month of March.

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.
President

President’s Message, April 2010

Hello colleagues, students, and community. Last month, I updated you on the status of the State of Michigan budget and its potential impact on Muskegon Community College. In this month‘s message, I will extend this discussion and update you on a number of campus activities.

State of Michigan Budget. As of this date, the Michigan State Senate budget recommendation for Community Colleges includes a 3.1 percent reduction. This represents a reduction of approximately $300,000 from the Governor’s recommendation for MCC. Coupled with a possible five percent reduction in local property tax revenues, non MCC (non tuition related) revenues stand to be down by over $1 million for the upcoming fiscal year. Even with continued high levels of student enrollments, it is unlikely that this revenue decrease may be mitigated. I have asked the Cabinet to work together, and with you, to identify potential savings along with possible sources of new revenues.

Retirement Legislation. The state employee retirement incentive remains an active piece of legislation. The legislature is on Easter recess and is expected to take up the bill when they return in approximately two weeks. More information may be found at the following link:http://www.senate.michigan.gov/sfa/Publications/Memos/Memo031510SERS.pdf .

Commencement. As the academic year winds down, the 2010 Commencement ceremony approaches. General information may be found at the following link: http://www.muskegoncc.edu/commencement. Mr. Andrew Levin, Chief Workforce Officer for the State of Michigan will serve as Commencement Speaker, while Dr. Glenn Swartzlander will be honored as our Distinguished Alumnus.

Taste of Tomorrow. It is my understanding that this year’s Taste of Tomorrow outreach activity was a record breaker. Thanks to the hard work of many staff, faculty, administrators, and students, 453 guests visited our campus last Saturday. Excellent work!

Earlier this week, Department Chair Jeff Stipes informed me that Al Thomas (MCC Auto Tech faculty member) has been chosen to attend the “Biofuel Academy” at the Madison Area Technical College and the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point this summer. Al is one of 25 attendees selected from 300 applicants from 13 states. Congrats Al!

Finally, I would like to thank you all for the work that you do. Whether it be Taste of Tomorrow, preparing for a gallery opening at Overbrook, College Goal Sunday, printing hundreds of flyers on short order, team practice in 35 degree weather, or grading hundreds of tests (multiple times during a semester), your efforts are very much appreciated. As usual, you may contact my office at 231-777-0303 or via email at:dale.nesbary@muskegoncc.edu.

Please continue to strive for excellence and enjoy the month of April.

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.
President

President’s Message, May 2010

Hello colleagues, students, and community. Last month, I updated you on the status of the State of Michigan budget and its potential impact on Muskegon Community College. More on the budget process will be forthcoming in the next few weeks. In this month‘s message, I will shift back to a number of policy issues that may be of interest to you.

Commencement. First, thanks to all of you involved in the recent MCC Commencement Ceremony. A full house at the Frauenthal Center saw over 160 participants walk across the stage. Our speakers Mr. Jacob Smallegan (student), Mr. Andrew Levin, Chief Workforce Officer for the State of Michigan (commencement speaker) and Dr. Glenn Swartzlander (Distinguished Alumnus) were excellent. The MCC Singers, the West Michigan Concert Winds, and the Muskegon Regional Pipes and Drums performed admirably.

Retirement Legislation. The state employee retirement incentive remains an active piece of legislation. The Michigan House of Representatives passed a version of the bill on Tuesday of this week, meaning the Senate and House versions of the bill SB 1227 H-4 substitute:[2]) is expected to go to conference committee next week. This is substantial progress toward a final retirement bill; thus, we will provide you with a substantive analysis once the conference committee reports its version.

Higher Learning Commission Reaccreditation Process. As you may know, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC) will visit the College as part of our 10 year HLC reaccreditation process. During the last two years, an HLC Committee met with the intent of gathering input from all corners of the College. Over the next three months, the Committee will complete its work by drafting a “self study” of the institution. The self study will be submitted to the HLC in midsummer and a site visit team from the HLC will visit the College in late October. The Committee, chaired by Richard Doctor (English Department) and Anne Meilof (Institutional Research and Grants) will continue to solicit input and provide information to the college community. Please contact them if you have any questions or wish to be involved.

Planning Processes. The Strategic Planning Process scheduled for Monday May 10 (9:00 am in 1200 Stevenson Center) is one of the last scheduled meetings of the Strategic and Master Planning committees. I want to thank committee members for participating and to welcome anyone interested in additional input to attend. The ideas coming from this process will drive the planning process for our curriculum, student life, administrative activities, and community outreach/relations for the foreseeable future. Feel free to contact committee chairs Dr. John Bartley and EVP Diana Osborn with further input.

I hope that you are enjoying the gorgeous spring days we are experiencing. Continue to strive for excellence and enjoy the month of May.

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.
President

President’s Message, June 2010

Hello colleagues, students, and community members. Spring has turned to early summer and the MCC campus is looking lush and green thanks to the weather and our campus maintenance staff.

MCC Student Jack Kent Cooke Scholar
MCC Student Justin Arnold has been selected to receive a Jack Kent Cooke Foundation Undergraduate Transfer Scholarship. Justin is one of 40 Scholars selected this year to receive the award from among nearly 500 applicants. The scholarship is for up to $30,000 per year and is intended to cover a significant share of the student’s educational expenses – including tuition, living expenses, books and required fees – for the final two to three years necessary to achieve a bachelor’s degree. Awards vary by individual, based on the cost of tuition as well as other grants or scholarships he or she may receive. Congratulations to Justin!

National Champions/Athletic Excellence
In that vein, a traditional spring sport extended into summer this year, when the MCC Softball team got on a roll that couldn’t be stopped, claiming the conference, state, regional, and eventually the NJCAA Division II National championship. Congratulations Jayhawks! Of course this accomplishment wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication and hard work of the players over the entire season, as well as the perseverance in the development of the softball program under the guidance of Coach Matt Houseman, assistant coach Colleen Morse, and Athletic Director Marty McDermott. I appreciate all those who made time to congratulate our team at the May 26 celebration in the Bartels-Rode Gymnasium. It was great to see such great support of our team.

I also note that our other spring sports had tremendous success as well. The Baseball team set an all time MCC record for victories and the Golf team boasted two national qualifiers. Clearly, MCC represents the best option for students wishing to pursue athletics beyond the high school level. We are all proud of these student athletes as well as the faculty, staff, and families who support them.

State Retirement Incentive
A number of important administrative news items that will have considerable impact on the future of MCC have been in the news recently. In mid-May the Michigan State legislative bodies passed, and Governor Granholm signed, a bill incenting state employees to retire. The effects of this bill on the College are still being determined, but as many of you are affected by this legislation, there is the possibility for greater than normal staff turnover at MCC. As you know, we have been planning for this eventuality since January of this year. Moreover, an educational meeting for employees has been held on this topic and it goes without saying that we are working diligently to deal with this process, with the overall goal of providing the best possible education for our students.

Budget Setting and Tuition
As you may have read, recent board action by the Board of Trustees raised tuition 6.57% for in-district students. While no one likes to see education become more expensive for our students, this increase was necessary due to an anticipated 3.1% cut to community college funding from the State of Michigan, as well as an estimated 3.8-5% reduction in property tax revenue. Additionally, the College reduced ongoing operating expenses, making approximately $500,000 in cuts to the current year budget. Nonetheless, MCC’s tuition rate of $77 per contact hour remains one of the best educational values around. We continue to be proud of the excellent, quality education that is offered at MCC for the price.

Achieving the Dream
Last but not least, signifying a commitment to student success and institutional improvement, Muskegon Community College (MCC) has joined Achieving the Dream: Community Colleges Count. With support from Kresge Foundation, Muskegon Community College joins 26 other community colleges from around the country in becoming members of Achieving the Dream and identifying strategies to improve student success, close achievement gaps and increase retention, persistence, and completion rates.

Conceived in 2004 by Lumina Foundation for Education and seven national partner organizations, Achieving the Dream is focused on creating a “culture of evidence” on community college campuses in which data collection and analysis drive efforts to identify problems that prevent students from succeeding—particularly low-income students and students of color—and develop programs to help them stay in school and receive a certificate or diploma. With these new institutions, Achieving the Dream’s network now includes more than 130 institutions in 24 states and the District of Columbia, reaching more than one million students.

Please continue to strive for excellence and enjoy the month of June.

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.
President

President’s Message, July 2010

Hello colleagues, students, and community. Hopefully, your summer has been restful and productive. In this month‘s message, I will again share information on a number of policy issues that may be of interest to you.

Retirement Incentive/Statute
As noted in last month’s message, the state of Michigan retirement incentive was signed into law. A total of 27 MCC employees chose to take advantage of the statute, 17 of whom are faculty. Moreover, four faculty and three staff requested and were granted “extensions” under the law, meaning that they will remain on payroll, some through June 2011. We wish them all the very best as they enjoy their newly found life after work. Here is some of what has taken place on the academic side to prepare:

  • VP for Academic Affairs Teresa Sturrus has been working with department chairs and faculty (in some cases for months) to prepare for anticipated retirements.
  • Positions will be filled with a combination of regular, one year, and adjunct appointments.

Several key retirements have taken place on the administrative side as well:

  • EVP Diana Osborn (45 years), VP Janie Brooks (25 years), and Associate VP Joe Doyle (21 years) all have taken advantage of the incentive.
    • Diana will retire as of June 30.
    • While formally retiring, Joe was granted an extension of up to one year and will serve as Interim VP for Administration.
    • Again, while formally retiring, Janie was granted an extension of up to one year and will continue to serve as VP of Student Services.
  • Searches will begin as soon as practical to replace these and other administrative retirees.
  • As mentioned in my earlier messages, we have been conducting analyses of the impact of retirements since early this year and have also been reviewing human resources issues for nearly a year. More on this in the next section.

Administrative Reorganization
During the past year, the three vice presidents and human resources staff have been conducting position audits of all administrative positions at MCC. Among other things, the audits considered the academic master plan and the potential impact of the strategic and campus master plans. Moreover, the reorganization takes into account the college’s past, current, and future growth trends, particularly the ongoing shift of first time college students from four-year to two-year colleges. The likelihood and ultimate enactment of the 2010 state retirement incentive provided a prime opportunity to move an institutional reorganization plan forward. These changes are intended to better position MCC to advance our mission to meet individual and community needs, and to maintain a high level of excellence in all that we do.

A draft of the reorganization was shared with the Board of Trustees at its June meeting and additional detail will be shared in July. Once the basic framework of the reorganization is in place, the plan will be shared with the broader college community. As the strategic and campus master plans are implemented and community input is incorporated, additional changes will likely take place. MCC is working with the School of Communications at Grand Valley State University to conduct a series of surveys that will help determine community perceptions and the needs of various constituent groups. Thank you in advance for your forbearance as we move through these times of change.

The Upcoming Fall Semester
As has been the case during the past several years, enrollment continues to trend upward, this year driven by increased interest by FTIAC (first time in any college) students, continued interest in adult workforce students, and an overall interest in new programs and courses at Muskegon Community College. While a number of community colleges are experiencing an expected slowdown in enrollment, your efforts are keeping MCC at the forefront of growth, something that we could not have guaranteed even just a few months ago. In other fall news, we will continue to keep you up to date on the upcoming Higher Learning Commission reaccreditation. As we move through the summer, more information will be added to our MCC HLC website. Thank you to all of you who have been involved in data collection, service, and supporting the HLC Steering Committee. Particular thanks go to Richard Doctor, Instructor of English and longtime HLC Steering Committee Co-Chair. Richard is retiring after nearly 34 years of service to Muskegon Community College.

Please enjoy the summer months, including the MCC Shoot for the Stars Golf Outing on July 30, Summer Celebration, Bike Time and other area activities. As usual, continue to strive for excellence. Please mark your calendars for MCC’s Fall 2010 Welcome Days, August 25-26, 2010. Further details will follow.

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.
President

President’s Message, August 2010

Hello colleagues, students, and community. I am very much looking forward to the launch of another successful academic year. In that vein, I will again share information on a number of policy issues that may be of interest to you.

Administrative Reorganization
As reported in a previous message, a draft administrative reorganization was shared with the Board of Trustees at its June and July meetings. The Trustees endorsed the plan, which was shared with staff in mid July. I noted that additional input from the college community will be taken over the year, particularly given the numerous retirements and the changing state and local fiscal environment. A part of the input process will be an all campus forum to be held, with a tentative date of August 12. Please look for more information via email. Thank you in advance for your forbearance as we move through these times of change.

Master Planning Process
The master planning subcommittee of the strategic planning committee completed its work during the late spring. Since that time, architect TowerPinkster has been putting the final touches on a 2010-2015 Muskegon Community College master planning document. Thank you to those of you on the subcommittee as well as all who contributed to the process. A draft will be presented to the MCC Board of Trustees at its August meeting. At that time, the Board will be asked to review the draft and prioritize projects and priorities included.

The Upcoming Fall Semester
As mentioned in earlier messages, our enrollments continue to trend upward and look to eclipse last fall’s records. I will ask for your help to ensure that we move into the semester smoothly. Many of our classes are already filled to capacity, leaving few options for students needing critical course options. Although we continue to add sections and planned for growing enrollments, the recent state of Michigan retirement incentive has left many colleges without key faculty and placed us in competition for the limited number of qualified instructors available. Department chairs and academic affairs staff may be in contact with you to ask for your help in identifying potential additional instructors for fall and winter courses. Please offer your suggestions of qualified adjuncts and other academic instructors to your department chair or Vice President of Academic Affairs, Teresa Sturrus (teresa.sturrus@muskegoncc.edu) at Muskegon Community College.

Achieving the Dream Continued
Second, the College will begin working toward integrating our activities toward priorities articulated in the upcoming Achieving the Dream (ATD) initiative. The ATD process allows for the college to benefit from the expertise of faculty and staff from other institutions skilled in the art of student success and persistence. Based upon our own data, ATD will allow for us to develop and enhance our student success and completion practices, whether they ensure that students complete an associates degree or certificate, or complete a single course designed to train students for specific skills or jobs. ATD Team Leaders Kelley Conrad and Jenny Klingenberg will be in communication with campus faculty and staff to help us move through the beginning phases of the process.

Reach for the Stars Campaign Launch
This month we launch our fundraising campaign to support upgrades to the Carr-Fles Planetarium. Our goal is to replace the 38-year-old equipment and create a state-of-the-art education and entertainment destination for everyone to enjoy. Look for more information in your mailbox or visit www.muskegoncc.edu/reachforthestars .

Please enjoy the remainder of the summer and remember to mark your calendars for MCC’s fall 2010 Welcome Week, August 23-27. Events include a Scholarship Giveaway, Job Fair, MCC Idol contest, and lunch with the president. More information will be available at www.muskegoncc.edu/welcome on August 9th.

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.
President

President’s Message, September 2010

Fall Greetings from Muskegon Community College!
First of all, thank you to all involved in Faculty Seminar Days and Welcome Week. As usual, a wide variety of interesting programs were conducted by the L.I.F.T. Institute to support the processional development of faculty and staff. Concurrently, the first full Welcome Week was held at MCC, serving hundreds of incoming students and their families. These programs were interesting, fun, and implemented in a very professional manner.

Achieving the Dream
With support from the Kresge Foundation, MCC has joined 26 community colleges from around the country in making a two-year commitment to focus its efforts on closing performance gaps among student sub-groups including students of color and low-income students. As an Achieving the Dream (ATD) institution, MCC will receive assistance from experienced practitioners in building a culture of evidence campus-wide, using data to identify problems, setting priorities, and measuring progress toward increasing student success. Achieving the Dream colleges make lasting changes in policies, programs, and services that are integrated to support success for all students.

Higher Learning Commission Re-Accreditation
Going hand in hand with ATD, is MCC’s re-accreditation process, which also focuses on the fundamentals of student success. The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC) will visit the College as part of our 10-year HLC reaccreditation process. The HLC Committee has completed its work by drafting a “self study” of the institution, which will be submitted to the HLC next week, prior to the Commission’s visit to MCC in October. For more information on the reaccreditation process, please visit www.muskegoncc.edu/hlc. We are committed to both of these processes, and are willing to do anything to help our students succeed, whether it be a single class, a certificate, or an associates degree.

New Academic Programs
The College will continue offering its strong liberal arts and sciences core along with a well respected set of technical and professional offerings. Among the new courses of study and programs offered by the College are:

  • Solar, Wind and, Biofuels certificates
  • Instrumental Music programs including Wind Ensemble, Jazz Ensemble, Activity Band, and Commercial Music Program
  • Autism and Social Coaching Program
  • Film Production coursework
  • A four year Business Leadership degree program offered jointly with Grand Valley State University offered here on the MCC campus
  • Three articulation agreements with Ferris State University in the area of media production, computer information systems, and computer systems technology
  • New athletic programs, including Cross Country, Bowling, and Soccer, all with squads for women and men

Strategic Plan
MCC continues its strategic and facility master plan updates. As part of this process, the Board of Trustees has examined opportunities for the college and is planning to prioritize potential facility projects later this month.

Please enjoy the month of September and as usual, we welcome your input into your community college.

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.
President

President’s Message, October 2010

Hello colleagues. I am hopeful that you are having a successful fall semester. This month, I will review several key campus initiatives and reflect upon the successes of the last academic year.

Higher Learning Commission Reaccreditation Process

Later this month, the Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools (HLC) will visit the College as part of our 10 year HLC reaccreditation process. The HLC Site Visit Team, led by Dr. David H. Devier, Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs with Clark State Community College, will visit MCC on October 25-27. The team will meet with a broad array of students, faculty, staff and trustees during that time. Please extend them courtesy, a warm welcome, and be prepared to respond to their questions. For more information on the HLC reaccreditation process, please visit the following webpage: www.muskegoncc.edu/hlc.

Strategic and Master Plans

The 2010 Strategic Plan and 2010 Facilities Master Plan have been completed. Thanks again to all of you who provided guidance and input through subcommittee work, review of drafts, and working with our master planning architect, Tower Pinkster. The Board of Trustees is currently reviewing the Strategic Plan and will rank and provide comments at its October board meeting. The Board will also review the Facilities Master Plan and rank the projects by priority at the same time. Once Board review is complete, the final versions of the plans will be available on the MCC website around November 1st.

Thank You Notes Formalized

Each month, I provide the Board of Trustees what I call “Thank You” notes, recognizing the efforts of students, faculty, and staff for their accomplishments. These are included in my President’s Report to the Board. These ideas are generated at biweekly Cabinet meetings, during which I ask the Cabinet for thank you(s) that I may bring to the Board. For example, last month, I thanked Sally Birkam, George Maniates, Greg Marczak and their respective staffs for their outstanding efforts in bringing Welcome Week to fruition. From this month on, I would like to formalize that process. I will call upon each of you to suggest outstanding efforts by staff, faculty, students, and colleagues to the Cabinet. I will then forward the top suggestions to the Board in my monthly report to them. I will also ask for the person(s) recognized to attend the Board meeting if they are available to be recognized by the Board. Please send along your suggestions to the Cabinet and thanks for your efforts.

Team Building and Success

One of the ways that a team is defined is by the product that it produces. I say that your work product has been outstanding, telling me that this institution is coming together as an even more effective and cohesive unit. What are some of the products produced? Here are some examples:

  • A very successful Welcome Week. Students, staff and faculty took this idea, a first time activity for MCC, and ran with it. As a result, in excess of 400 incoming students and numerous vendors were on campus to learn about MCC and enjoy an opportunity to see the most beautiful community college campus in Michigan. The leadership of Sally Birkam, George Maniates, and Greg Marczak among many others contributed to the success.
  • Creative thinking by faculty and staff lead to the replacement of all of our “workhorse” classroom microscopes, over 100 in all. Thanks to Theresa VanVeelen, affiliated faculty, and Joe Doyle for generating some outside the box financing ideas to accomplish this.
  • Updating the Master Plan and Strategic Plan concurrently. Approximately 40 faculty, staff, trustees, and students participated in making this happen. Why is this unusual? Typically, strategic plans are completed, then a master plan is begun. The best practice of completing both concurrently is highly unusual. If you had not come together to move this process forward, the College would not be in position to put forward its most ambitious master planning process since the 1960s.
  • Launching multiple new/enhanced academic programs and certificates, including, solar, wind, biofuels, and instrumental music. This took time, effort, energy, and dedication to accomplish, along with the collaboration of multiple faculty and staff.
  • Launching four new athletic programs, with two more coming, is a huge challenge. Having full squads to compete in the first year is even more difficult. Very dedicated coaches, counselors, students, faculty, and staff worked tirelessly to see this goal achieved. As a result, MCC now has more students, student athletes, excitement, and another piece of the student engagement puzzle in place.

These accomplishments don’t happen by themselves. They take effort, vision, an intelligent approach to work, and most importantly, teamwork. I thank you all for pulling together to make this happen. Finally, I hope that you are enjoying the gorgeous fall colors and the beautiful days we are experiencing. Continue to strive for excellence and enjoy the month of October.

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.
President

President’s Message, November 2010

The Fall season has kept Muskegon Community College very busy with a robust student enrollment, a number of community events, and many administrative activities, including:

HLC Reaccreditation Process

The week of October 25th brought MCC the completion of the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) institutional reaccreditation Site Visit process. The HLC Site Visit Team completed its review of MCC and is recommending full 10-year reaccreditation. While the total process is not yet complete and the Team is recommending some areas for improvement for the College, the tenor of the draft report is very positive. We all should celebrate this moment in the process.

The MCC HLC Steering Committee, faculty, staff, students, trustees, administration, community members, and many former and retired MCC personnel helped move the process forward. All should be rightfully gratified. The Steering Committee, chaired by Institutional Research and Development Director Anne Meilof, will remain engaged with the MCC community and with the HLC. The Committee will continue to work diligently toward completion of the process. Finally, a thank you is in order for the HLC Site Visit Team. Comprising a member of the faculty, a dean, a director of finance, an academic vice president, and a president, the team committed significant time and energy to the process.

Achieving the Dream Is Here!

Next week, the College will begin working in full force toward integrating our activities toward priorities articulated in the upcoming Achieving the Dream (ATD) initiative. The ATD Kickoff will be led by Dr. Linda Watkins (ATD core team advisor) and Dr. Lynda Villanueva (ATD data team advisor). Dr. Watkins is retired President or San Jacinto College South in Beamer Texas, while Dr. Villanueva is Associate professor of Psychology and Director of Transitional Education at Brazosport College in Lake Jackson, Texas.

As mentioned earlier, the ATD process allows for the college to benefit from the expertise of faculty and staff from other institutions skilled in the art of student success and persistence. Based upon our own data, ATD will allow for us to develop and enhance our student success and completion practices, whether they ensure that students complete an associate degree or certificate, or complete a single course designed to train students for specific skills or jobs. ATD Team Leaders at MCC have worked with the College community to form “core” and “data” teams designed to help us understand our challenges and to implement state-of-the-success tools designed specifically for MCC. These tools will work hand in hand with the ongoing HLC accreditation process and ensure that MCC is able to articulate student needs and satisfy them in an efficient and effective manner.

Reorganization Continued

As you may be aware, MCC is in the process of making some changes due to the 27 recent/pending retirements. These changes provide the opportunity to look at things from a new perspective and find new efficiencies to help us better serve our students and community. One of the efficiencies is in the Office of Community Relations. It is my intent that the College have one point of contact for anything brand, communications, or image-related. To this end, the area currently known as “Graphics” is now managed by the Office of Community Relations. Some duties related to these areas will be reassessed once we have a new VP of Administration in place.

What Else is on the Horizon?

Growing Enrollments. Enrollments to date for Winter 2011 are above the previous year. Thanks to the yeoman’s efforts of Student Services staff, particularly student services and financial aid. This makes it even more important for the College to develop and implement the data analytic tools and student success processes resulting from Achieving the Dream.

Board Prioritization of the Facilities Master Plan. On November 17, the MCC Board of Trustees plans to prioritize key recommendations of the 2010-15 Facilities Master Plan. Recommendations include but are not limited to enhancements to the Bartels-Rode Gymnasium, visual and performing arts space, science/lab space, a downtown Muskegon location, and campus way finding. These decisions will set the direction of the College and go and place an indelible stamp on the college that will be appreciated for years to come. The hard work of the Board must be recognized as this work comes on the heels of budget approval, review of campus reorganization, support, review and participation in the HLC reaccreditation process and many other challenging processes.

Please enjoy the fall months here on campus, including the lecture series, plays, performances, athletic events and other activities that make MCC great. As usual, continue to strive for excellence.

Sincerely,

Dale K. Nesbary, Ph.D.
President

President’s Message, December 2010

Hello students, faculty, and staff. I am hopeful that you are all preparing to enjoy the upcoming holiday season as well as some well needed rest and relaxation. Last December, my message shared with you some of the challenges facing community colleges generally and MCC specifically. Of particular interest, I noted that of every 100 Michigan ninth graders, only 18 will graduate within six years of the time that they matriculate or enter college. Another statistic noted was that 50 percent of all jobs in the nation to be created by the year 2025 are “middle skilled” positions. The takeaways from these statistics were as follows:

  • Community colleges have a mandate to support the education of our young people
  • At least half of the jobs created in the foreseeable future will require at least some college.
  • To remain competitive, we all must focus on assuring that our students and workforce are educated, trained and competitive.

In response, I asked you to continue and to stay engaged in community organizations such as K12 schools, church, government or related organizations. I also asked that you work hard and work smart to help serve our students and community. You have done exactly that. For example:

  • The college has completed a draft 2010-2015 Strategic Plan, including a comprehensive Facilities Master Plan. Approximately one quarter of all full time employees were involved in this process, as were community members, trustees, and students. These plans will help the College meet the needs of a 21stcentury economy
  • Twenty-five new programs have been created since mid-2009. These include numerous articulations with our four-year partners, the first new joint programs with Western Michigan University since the founding of the Stevenson Center, and the first new onsite four-year program with Grand Valley State University since the founding of the Stevenson Center.
  • Nearly half of all full time MCC employees attended the rollout of Achieving the Dream. This student success centered process has been launched at less than 10 percent of the nation’s community colleges.

I was very pleased to see this level of participation at MCC. It demonstrates that you are willing to give your time and energy to help our students not become a mere statistic, but to succeed in demanding and challenging times. It makes me very proud to serve as your president.

Finally, please let me know how I may be of service to you by contacting my office at 231-777-0303 or via email at dale.nesbary@muskegoncc.edu. Enjoy the holidays and the best to you and your families.

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.
President