President’s Messages 2012

President’s Message, January 2012

Students, Faculty and Staff:

Welcome! I am hopeful that your holiday season was enjoyable and restful. This month, I will continue a discussion of the five priorities listed in the Muskegon Community College 2010-15 Strategic Plan. Priority #3, Physical Space and Infrastructure, calls for the College to plan, prioritize, evaluate, and fund short- and long-term needs for both on-campus building enhancements and off-campus needs driven expansion. Student success is the catalyst for our priorities. I will share the Colleges’ recent infrastructure activities and what is expected in the near future.

In late 2010, after a year of investigation, data gathering, and strategic planning, Muskegon Community College completed a facility master plan that indicated a clear need for additional instruction space. The master planning process was coordinated by the architectural firm TowerPinkster and included input from students, faculty, MCC’s Board of Trustees, and community members. The final plan defined three academic areas that require expansion to meet student needs: science, health education, and creative/performing arts.

MCC’s Board of Trustees unanimously supported moving forward with the complete facility
improvement plan that includes new construction for the three defined areas and upgrades to some of the existing facilities infrastructure. In light of the $35 million investment required, the trustees elected to implement the plan in phases, with the science addition slated for Phase 1, health education for Phase II, and new facilities for creative and performing arts in Phase III. A copy of the complete plan may be found at (

This past summer, the Board of Trustees invited a group of community leaders to advise the College on how best to move forward with the major components of the Master Plan. Issues discussed included financing options, potential partnerships, and how the Master Plan may best meet the needs of MCC students and the community. The Committee, chaired by current MCC Board Chair Don Crandall and myself, will report to the MCC Board of Trustees at its January meeting.

By making these upgrades, the College seeks to assure our facilities will remain competitive in a 21st century economy. This is not simply a buzz phrase designed to attract prospective students. Groups such as the Lumina Foundation, Talent 2025 ( and the West Michigan Strategic Alliance
( all note that we as a nation must dramatically increase the percentage of
our population with high quality degrees and credentials. Having up-to-date facilities is a part of that process.

Finally, the facility master planning process was designed to align with the College’s Strategic Plan, so that the needs of our students, faculty, and staff are linked with the physical environment in which they work and learn. Indeed, Priority #3 of the Strategic Plan was included specifically to make sure that the “built environment” was considered when the College discussed ways that it may serve the needs of its students and community over the next five years and beyond. We are all committed to making this happen. Have a great January and Winter Semester!

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.


President’s Message, February 2012

Students, Faculty and Staff:

Welcome! February at MCC brings a number of annual events, including the Global Awareness Festival, Black History Month, the American Foundry Society Student Night, multiple student events and many other activities on campus. This month, I will share my perspective on the fourth of five priorities listed in the Muskegon Community College 2010-15 Strategic Plan. Priority #4: Resource Development calls for the College “to develop and sustain new and innovative funding streams, partnerships and collaborative efforts that will produce future financial stability.” Priority #4 targets donor stewardship, alumni relations, grant opportunities, relationship building, communication, and multiyear budgeting.

You may have already seen results, but I will share them with you. Many goals related to Priority #4 are “owned” by the Office of Community Relations. Roughly a year ago, Julie Weller was given the responsibility of staffing the alumni relations at MCC. In this role, she maintains relationships with alums, manages the alumni database, and staffs the Alumni Relations Committee of the Foundation for Muskegon Community College. During the last year, the College has held eight alumni-related events serving 180 alumni, not including non-alums. The alumni database now has over 20,000 contacts and is growing by the day. We need your help to identify alums, former employees, and friends of the College. Please visit Alumni Relations at to find out more.

The Foundation for MCC is helping identify new funding streams. As recently reported, in 2011, the Foundation set a record for its Annual Fund, raising over $157,000. This nearly tripled fundraising for the previous year and sets a firm foundation for what is expected to be a trajectory for the future. Thanks go to Tina Dee, Director of Community Relations, her staff, and all of you who have contributed to the College’s future.

With the hiring of Dr. Adane Kassa, the College expects to build upon the fine work of former Director of Institutional Research and Grants, Anne Meilof. Dr. Kassa and colleagues have submitted a number of grant proposals, including a continuation of our Upward Bound Grant, an infrastructure proposal to the Federal Economic Development Administration and a Health and Human Services support proposal. We hope for success in these proposals and will continue to be more direct and assertive in our approach to attaining grants.

MCC has for some time developed and presented a five-year capital plan. Along with a five-year Strategic Plan and Facilities Master Plan, we are keeping a long term perspective for the College and the greater community. As I have mentioned before, this fiscal year (2011-12) is likely the most difficult that we have faced or will face. One of the reasons that we worked to generate a $1.8 million general fund balance last year was specifically because we know that this year would be much more difficult. That surplus will help the College through this difficult year as we plan for the challenges and opportunities ahead.

Next month, I will complete my conversation regarding the MCC Strategic Plan and look forward to the remainder of the year. Please contact me at, via phone at 231-777-0303, or stop by my office at Room 400, Main Building.

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.


President’s Message, March 2012

Students, Faculty and Staff:

Welcome back from Spring Break and to the second half of the semester! Last November, I began discussing the five priorities outlined in the Muskegon Community College 2010-15 Strategic Plan. To date, I have addressed the first four and will use this message to focus on the remaining one: Priority #5: Human Resource Management.

Employee “on boarding,” effective implementation of technology, and organizational structure are among the human resources best practices identified by our Strategic Planning Committee. While these concepts may seem to some to be a mundane function of the College, our people are the most important piece of the puzzle with regard to how well MCC serves our students and our community. If our faculty and staff are unresponsive to the needs of today’s students, then we as a college are not doing our job.

Fortunately, MCC remains student-centered with a specific plan for keeping our employees both engaged and productive. Research from organizations, including The National Association of Colleges and Employers ( and the American Council on Education (ACE), outlines the importance of having effective human resources practices. MCC strives to improve its practices daily and to offer its employees opportunities to enhance their skillsets regularly.

MCC’s LIFT Institute serves as the College’s professional development center. LIFT (Learning, Innovation, Futuring, Technology) provides faculty and staff an outlet for collaborating and communicating on a broad range of professional development issues, uniquely having a focus on the future needs of employees. Staffed with administrative personnel and faculty on release time, LIFT provides employees with a real opportunity to learn and share with colleagues. Seminar Days, held at the start of the fall and winter semesters, offer faculty and staff another avenue for participating in interactive sessions focused on campus professional development. Seminar Days tap into the skills of both on-campus and off-campus experts.

Professional development takes many forms. MCC has sponsored several interesting speakers on campus during the past year. They have come to us via student groups, faculty organizations, and administrative programs. The list includes: Artist Alvey Jones  Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Futurist Ramez Naam (, Newsweek correspondent John Barry (, and author David Sedaris.

On the operational front, MCC has worked diligently to employ HR best practices at a number of levels.

Priority #5: Human Resource Management. MCC recently acquired Insight, an application software tool that will allow MCC job candidates to apply online. Implementation of Insight is expected no later than May 2012.

MCC is working to align human resources recommendations from this Strategic Plan and the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) reaccreditation process. The HLC Reaccreditation Assurance Report, released in Spring 2011, offered suggestions to MCC for enhancements to its Human Resources procedures. We responded with an online application process and ongoing diversity training on campus. Meanwhile, the College is conducting a search for an Administrative Director of Human Resources to fully support human resources and diversity efforts on campus.

Our effective and engaged workforce provides one cornerstone to our mission of “offering programs that respond to individual, community, and global needs.” Indeed, all the components of MCC’s Strategic Plan are critical to our economy and to making Muskegon and West Michigan strong in the foreseeable future.

Lastly, an open line of communication is paramount in any organization, including an institution of higher learning. The only way that I may learn of your ideas, concerns and interests is if we communicate. For my part, I have been writing these President’s Messages since my first months on campus. I also hold monthly open forums to hear your ideas and I meet with all academic and staff departments as well. Please take advantage of these opportunities. Faculty, staff, students and the general public are welcome to contact me. You can reach me by phone at (231) 777-0303 or at

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.


President’s Message, April 2012

Students, Faculty and Staff:

During the last five months, I shared with you my perspective and asked for your input on the Muskegon Community College 2010-15 Strategic Plan. Thank you to those who were a part of the process and who continue to provide input, support, and suggestions for improvement in the plan.

Beginning this month and in subsequent messages, I will share other issues on the horizon and seek your feedback on how we may best understand and address them.

To paraphrase the philosopher John Dewey, “a problem well stated is a problem half solved.” Strategic planning processes assist in our understanding. Having good information helps institutions, or individuals for that matter, to move forward. The following is a link to a newly designed institutional dashboard for Muskegon Community College. The Muskegon Community College Dashboard provides measurements of several key performance indicators with the previous four years of historical trending. The Dashboard is designed to help us all reach Dewey’s goal of understanding where we are as an institution and where we need to go.

The Dashboard measures a wide array of indicators important to success at MCC. These include: Enrollment Status, Gender, Academic and Co-Curricular Program Areas, Tuition Rates, Retention, Awards Conferred, Financial Aid, Faculty Counts, Staff Counts, Revenue, and Expenses. The level of success is indicated by red and green arrows. The simple interpretation is that green is good; red represents areas that need attention.

We are not alone in assessing our effectiveness. Research shows that many public sector organizations incorporate performance measures as a part of their strategic plans and budget processes. The National Conference of State Legislatures and The Pew Center on the States recently found that at least 22 states use them in their budgeting process. Performance budgeting has its roots in the first Hoover Commission, authorized by Congress in 1947. Indeed, measuring how government and education may be evaluated has been an important issue for the greater part of a century.

According to the Higher Learning Commission, the U.S. Department of Education and the State of Michigan, we are moving in the direction of outcomes for governmental entities. The Governor and the Michigan State Senate are seeking measures and associated metrics for community colleges.

As a former graduate student at the Evaluation Center of Western Michigan University and having served as Executive Assistant to the Director of the Office of Budget and Program Evaluation for the City of Boston Massachusetts, I understand that self-reflection and evaluation are integral parts of any continuous improvement process.

The MCC Mission proudly states that we are a “center for lifelong learning which provides persons the opportunity to attain their educational goals by offering programs that respond to individual, community and global needs.” But how do we demonstrate that we are being true to these words? To the person on the street, this promise may read as “academic speak.” Ultimately, our Dashboard provides us with a useful and comprehensive barometer for demonstrating to ourselves and the world that we understand and care about helping our students gain the knowledge and skills to be successful individually, in our community, and globally.

As usual, please contact me at 231.777.0303 by phone, via email at, or stop by Room 400 to share your ideas.

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.


President’s Message, May 2012

Students, Faculty and Staff:

As promised in April, this message represents the first in a series designed to share issues on the horizon and to seek your feedback on how we may best understand and address them. The following excerpts are from a letter being sent to students, faculty, staff, and the greater community. This letter focuses on funding options supporting facilities in the MCC Master Plan, including how you may get involved and share your thoughts.

Muskegon Community College is experiencing exciting growth and opportunities. Enrollment has reached 5,234 students, with continued growth expected for the foreseeable future. To accommodate this growth—and to extend the useful life of three of MCC’s core facilities—the MCC Board of Trustees is considering seeking voter approval of a ballot measure this fall to fund additional instructional space and building improvements, including expanding the College’s presence into Downtown Muskegon. If pursued, the measure would appear on the November 6, 2012 ballot.

Funding to support Muskegon Community College’s highest priority needs

The improvements under consideration by the MCC Board of Trustees would focus on the College’s highest priority facility, instructional equipment and technology needs:

Science Facility Expansion: Expansion of and improvements to MCC’s aging science wing would benefit many current and future programs, including Agriscience, Alternative Energy, Anatomy and Physiology, Biofuels, Biology, Chemistry, Ecology, Emerging Technologies, Emergency Medical Technician, Fire Science, General Education, Geology, Math, Microbiology, Nursing, Physics, Pre-Engineering and Respiratory Therapy. The existing lab space and equipment would be updated and modernized to keep pace with changing program demands. The proposed improvements also include six new labs and six new instructional classrooms.

Health Education: The 50-year-old Bartels-Rode Gymnasium is the most heavily used building on campus. With expansion and improvements to this facility, MCC would be able to expand current offerings and implement new programs such as Health Sciences and Recreation Management. Other current and future programs that would benefit include Athletic Training, Criminal Justice, Fire Science, General Education, Health, Nursing, Nutrition, Physical Education, Recreation and Respiratory Therapy. The improvements would also allow for the implementation of campus recreation programming, which would be available to the entire community.

Creative and Performing Arts: The Art Department is currently located in a cramped, 8,400-square-foot, pole barn style building. The Facility Master Plan calls for construction of five new art studios, three instructional classrooms, an exhibition gallery and a kiln room, as well as improvements to the Overbrook Theater and band/music area. Current and future programs that would benefit include Art, Band, Broadcasting, Communication, Dance, Entrepreneurship in the Arts, General Education, Humanities, Journalism/New Media, Music, Theatre, Performing Arts and Visual Arts. An expanded lab and multimedia classroom—to support the addition of a Communication Technology/Technician program—is also part of the proposed improvements.

Downtown Satellite Facility: The Facility Master Plan calls for the development of a downtown Muskegon satellite facility. The 35,000 sq. ft. project would not only address the College’s need for more instructional space, it would serve as a much- needed catalyst to economic development in the downtown area. Downtown satellite facilities implemented by other community colleges in Michigan and nationally have proven to be extremely successful. The MCC Board of Trustees is confident that the proposed satellite facility would help improve the quality of life in downtown Muskegon, benefit existing downtown retailers, restaurants and other businesses, as well as attract new businesses to the downtown area. The estimated monthly tax impact of the proposed $30.6 million of improvements is $1.98 per $100,000 of a home’s market value. The College currently has no outstanding voter-approved debt.

Next Steps

The College is implementing a comprehensive public outreach program to inform the community about MCC’s facility needs and proposed solutions. In addition to multiple direct mail pieces, we will be hosting a community town hall meeting on Tuesday, May 22 (5:30-6:30 pm, Stevenson Center for Higher Education, Room 1100) and conducting a community opinion survey. We will also be presenting to civic clubs, business organizations and other community groups. The MCC Board of Trustees will not make a decision to pursue a ballot measure—and the specifics of the package, if pursued—until later this summer.

As usual, please contact me at 231.777.0303 by phone or at to share your ideas. Thank you for your thoughts and enjoy the rest of spring and summer.

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.


President’s Message, June 2012

Hello colleagues, students, and the College community:

In addition to sharing updates on campus happenings, I will continue a discussion which began before I was officially appointed as Muskegon Community College President. During my interviews, I shared my belief that MCC is a ”destination college,” meaning that students come to us because we have unique attributes that set us apart from other colleges. Our proximity to Lake Michigan, our very strong academics, creative and performing arts programs, and athletic prowess are among those attributes.

Now, three years later, the College has completed a Strategic Plan, a Facilities Master Plan, a four- county Community Needs Assessment, and has surveyed Muskegon County residents to better understand how we are perceived and what additional programs and services the community believes we need to offer.

We have learned much and have begun to act, now that we are armed with this knowledge.

The College needs to re-engineer its physical space to fit the requirements of a 21st century economy and to further enhance our reputation as a destination college. As a part of this process, MCC is exploring a possible increase in the millage supporting the college. George K. Baum and Company is providing consulting services to the College in this regard. The College continues to research our infrastructure needs via public forums and outreach.

Paul Hanley of George K. Baum will present the survey results to the MCC Board of Trustees on Wednesday, June 20. Over the summer, the Board will decide on whether to proceed with a millage initiative. From now until August, I will combine tours of our facilities with my monthly forums, the first of which will occur this Wednesday, June 20, at 2:30 p.m. The tour will begin in the Stevenson Center Lobby.

Campus activity is not limited to the Facility Master Planning process. The College is currently renovating the Carr-Fles Planetarium located in the Main Building on the MCC campus. Once the reconstruction is complete, MCC will boast a state-of-the-art digital planetarium, offering the most sophisticated level of technology available. Thanks to MCC Astronomy Instructor Jon Truax, our faculty and staff, many generous donors, and our Board of Trustees for making this happen. Our students and the community will benefit greatly.

In May of this year, the U.S. Department of Education approved a five-year, $250,000 grant to Muskegon Community College to support our TRiO Upward Bound Program. An estimated 233 programs at colleges nationally did not receive funding for the next fiscal year. Thanks to Robert Ross, our Upward Bound Director, and the many staff and faculty who helped transition the 107 (and counting) students who have benefitted from the program.

As usual, please stop by Room 400 with any questions or comments, or contact me at via email or call 231-777-

Have a great summer semester!

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.



President’s Message, July 2012

Hello colleagues, students, and the College community:

Earlier this month, Dr. Thomas Haas, President of Grand Valley State University, and I cosigned an agreement in MCC’s Stevenson Center that establishes a reverse transfer associate’s degree between MCC and GVSU. The agreement allows Muskegon Community College students who earned 30 or more credit hours, but not an associate’s degree before transferring to Grand Valley State University, to have the opportunity to receive that degree (

First, I would be remiss if I did not note that the reverse transfer agreement is the culmination of the hard work of GVSU and our own staff, led by MCC Dean of Academic Services and Registrar Jean Roberts. Thank you Jean and all who spent long hours designing the system!

The reverse transfer agreement, an extension of the transfer agreements in place between MCC and GVSU, requires both institutions to develop a method for documenting processes,communications and a timeline in support of the reverse transfer associate degree, as well as a method to track its success. Based on the number of credits a student is shy of that degree,Grand Valley will transfer back to Muskegon Community College those credits applicable to the associate’s degree had the student remained at MCC. One-third of all college students nationally transfer from their original college within five years. These numbers are similar for Michigan students.

According to President Haas “The mission of our respective institutions is student focused…in this case, what we are doing is capturing the opportunity to recognize student achievement. What’s really great about this is that it also provides an opportunity for both the community college and the university to share this credentialing with the business leaders in West Michigan and beyond.”

Dr. Haas hits the nail on the head. The advantage to the student is the second degree will make them more employable. A recent report notes that for every college degree or certificate earned, that individual will likely earn more income and is more likely to be employed. ( This agreement greatly simplifies the process of earning an MCC degree for students who transfer from MCC to GVSU without an associate’s degree.

Conversations between college and university presidents and the CEOs of business in the West Michigan region led to creating the initiative. These discussions crystallized under the structure of TALENT 2025. A lack of college degree and certificates among the region’s residents emerged as an important area of concern.

TALENT 2025’s vision is for West Michigan to be recognized globally as a top 20 region in the U.S., a place where entrepreneurship thrives and employers want to locate because of the diverse talents of those who work, learn, and live here. TALENT 2025 seeks to create a truly integrated talent development system by connecting business, community, and education leaders with specific outcomes in mind. Programs like the reverse transfer agreement, internships, and College Work and Readiness ( are already making a difference in our community. Both Dr. Haas and I have served as members of the Talent 2025 Leadership Council ( since its inception in 2010 and are committed to its continued success.

What does this mean for you? For students, you have an additional network of employers prepared to assist you in career planning as well as an additional pathway for completing an MCC degree. For faculty and staff, you have an additional data source to help guide students and members of the community. As for all of you involved in our student success initiatives, it provides another tool to help Muskegon Community College students achieve their goals.

As usual, please stop by Room 400 with any questions or comments, or contact me at via email or call 231-777-0303.

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.


President’s Message, August 2012

Students, Faculty and Staff:

Welcome! MCC continues to prepare for the Fall 2012 semester. I am hopeful that your summer went well and that you are ready for an exciting Fall 2012. This year “Welcome Week” begins on Monday, August 20 with classes beginning on Saturday, August 25. The week will focus on orienting our students, faculty and staff to MCC’s student success agenda. Additionally, Faculty Seminar Days will continue its long-running and successful orientation sessions for MCC’s full time and adjunct faculty.

Here’s what’s been happening at MCC this summer:

  • In June, the Muskegon Community College Board of Trustees voted to pursue a millage to pay for a science/technology wing, arts center, health facility and other improvements. These improvements are designed to help MCC students meet the talent development needs of a 21st century economy, as well as help the college meet the demands of continued near record enrollments. The millage would fund $30.6 million in improvements, costing a homeowner $1.98 per month on a $100,000 home. During the next several weeks, you will receive more information on this initiative.
  • The Institutional Research and Grants Office is preparing an Economic Development Administration (EDA) grant, to request funding for the construction of a MCC Technology Center. The project idea has been selected for further consideration by the EDA and the West Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission (WMSRDC), and the final application is being prepared for a November submission.
  • The MCC Graduation on Time mentoring program is designed to help remove barriers to students completing. Many MCC staff have volunteered to mentor up to 10 incoming students as part of this student life program.
  • Faculty Seminar Days take place on August 23-24 with a robust agenda of presenters and lightning rounds. The keynote presentation will be given by Arleen Arnsparger, project manager of the Initiative on Student Success at the Center for Community College Student Engagement at The University of Texas at Austin. (
  • A number of new degree/certificate programs will launch this fall, among them the Associate in Manufacturing Engineering Technology and the Associate in Engineering – designed for students who either wish to enter the workforce after graduation or continue their engineering education at a four-year institution (
  • Women’s Soccer will begin this fall at MCC. A full contingent of student athletes will take the field, completing the rollout of six new intercollegiate athletic programs.
  • Founder’s Day is celebrated each year on the third Thursday in September to salute MCC’s founders and all the students, instructors, and alumni who have played an integral role in MCC’s success. This year, Founder’s day will comprise activities here on camps as well as a Roaring Twenties style event ( held from 6-8:30 pm on September 20th.
  • The College has opened its newest location in Ottawa County at the Grand Haven Community Center Complex MCC will continue to offer classes at Grand Haven High School, Spring Lake Middle School, and other locations as needed. Enrollment in Northern Ottawa County has more than doubled since Fall 2011 and the Fall 2012 target of 175 students has already been exceeded.

With a current three percent enrollment growth over last year, we are again on track to achieve the second highest student headcount in our history. By way of comparison, 22 of the 28 community colleges in Michigan are seeing enrollment declines, with one institution down 16 percent from last fall. Congrats to Student Services and all the faculty and staff who work to recruit our students and help them to succeed.

Finally, I can say unequivocally that because of your efforts, the College is at the threshold of accomplishing great things. I am hopeful that you will join me, the Board of Trustees, and your colleagues in this endeavor.

As always, please feel free to contact me at, via phone at 231-777-0303, or stop by my office at Room 400, Main Building on campus.

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.


President’s Message, September 2012

Students, Faculty and Staff:

As is the case each month, the president’s message shares happenings around campus, along with my views on issues impacting Muskegon Community College generally. Last month, I shared information around a number of student success initiatives on campus, fall programming, and some details on our major infrastructure improvement initiative. This month I will share two topics. First, I will speak directly to our students on the value of education. Second, I will provide information regarding the upcoming bond initiative, the research that moved us in this direction, and what you may do regarding the initiative.

The Value of Education
I have often discussed the value of a college education as it pertains to individuals and communities. According to Talent 2025, a group of business, education, health care, and community leaders, additional education dramatically increases earnings potential and dramatically decreases unemployment rates.

Simply put, Education pays.

This is particularly important in the current economy and in West Michigan. While we in Muskegon are enjoying an improving economy, we still have much work to do. The percentage of adults having attained a four year degree or above nationally is 27. The percentage in Michigan is just under 24, while the percentage in Muskegon County is 16. The College has instituted a number of programs to help Muskegon and West Michigan to turn this around. According to the Lumina Foundation and others, to the extent that you complete, you are more likely to be successful. MCC faculty and staff are reading the book “Completing College: Rethinking Institutional Action” by Vincent Tinto, to better understand what impacts a student’s ability to succeed in college.

Here on campus, the College offers the Counseling and Advising Center, Veterans Center, College Success Center, Tutoring Center and the Special Populations Office. These student success initiatives are designed to help you as students complete individual, courses, certificates, and degrees. Please take advantage of these programs.

Also, the College has instituted a comprehensive Student Success and Completion Agenda for 2010-16. It includes a College Readiness Component, Early Engagement programs and College Completion initiatives. The Graduation on Time Program is one such college completion initiative, designed to remove barriers to student success and to keep students on track to graduate on time from MCC. 40 college staff, including myself, are taking on 10 mentee students to help them complete their degrees/certificates.

Students, you are part of the solution in that you are here, working hard toward more education, skills, and talents, which will enable you to be more competitive. This is why the programs discussed above are so important to your success and the success of the College. Thank you for helping Muskegon and West Michigan become more competitive!

The MCC Bond/Millage Initiative
As I discussed last month, in June the Muskegon Community College Board of Trustees voted to pursue a millage to pay for a science/technology upgrade, arts center, health facility and other improvements. These improvements are designed to help MCC students meet the talent development needs of a 21st century economy, as well as help the college meet the demands of continued near record enrollments. The millage would fund $31 million in improvements, costing a homeowner $1.98 per month on a $100,000 home.

Many of you have asked what you may do to assist. Here is what I suggest:

  • Visit This will help get/keep you up to speed on the 2010-15 MCC Master Plan and benefits of completing the projects included in it.
  • Visit This will help get/keep you up to speed on the 2010-15 MCC Strategic Plan. This Plan included a core committee of 27 community members and was developed in concert with the Master Plan. Over 100 community members were involved in all committees and working groups. Both the Master and Strategic Plans identified the need for the infrastructure upgrades included in the millage/bond initiative.
  • Review the attached document regarding dos and don’ts. This is important for MCC employees and students. While you may be involved in political activities outside of work, the use of public funds for the election of a candidate or the qualification, passage, or defeat of a ballot question is prohibited 

Per the Strategic and Master Plans, the above initiatives will provide students a better environment in which to succeed. An update regarding the bond initiative will be provided to the Board of Trustees this week. Keep an eye out for more as the campaign develops.

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.



President’s Message, October 2012

Students, Faculty and Staff:

As you know, the President’s Message shares happenings around campus, along with my views on issues impacting Muskegon Community College. Last month, I shared information on the value of education as well as the College’s capital improvement plan and bond campaign. This month, I will share more on the bond campaign as well as update you on lots of exciting news on and around campus.

In arguably the most exciting news of the last month, if not the past year, Muskegon Community College, as part of the national Credentials to Careers coalition led by Northern Virginia Community College, will receive a $500,000 grant to implement a new CAD/CNC program for use by local employers, Anderson Global and Alcoa Howmet ( Partners in this grant include the Aspen Institute, Mott Community College and several other nationally respected colleges. The funds are being provided through the Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA) Community College and Career Training initiative. The program promotes skills development and employment opportunities in fields such as advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, as well as science, technology, engineering and math careers through partnerships between training providers and local employers. Congratulations to Adane Kassa, Rosemary Zink, Teresa Sturrus, Ed Breitenbach, Trynette Lottie-Harps, Tom Martin, Tom Groner, Beth Dick and Dan Rinsema-Sybenga for making this happen.

In other news:

  • As was discussed last month, the Muskegon Community College Board of Trustees voted in June to pursue a millage on the November 6th ballot to fund a science/technology upgrade, arts center, health facility and other improvements. These enhancements are designed to help MCC students meet the talent development needs of a 21st century economy, as well as help the college meet the demands of continued near record enrollments. The millage would fund $31 million in improvements, costing a homeowner $1.98 per month on a $100,000 home. Look for more on the College’s infrastructure needs ( Information on the millage and campaign is readily available on the web and social media.
  • MCC’s first Continuing Education class in Newaygo County was offered at The Stream last month. Students completed six Quick Books sessions that extended over three weeks. Many of them were interested in starting their own business or were current business owners. They received a certificate of completion at the end of the series. The College is planning to offer more workshops and seminars in Newaygo County.
  • Enrollment Services along with the Shoreline Counseling Association and the Muskegon Community College Higher Education Consortium hosted the annual College Night at the Bartels Rode Gymnasium on September 24. MCC hosted the event on campus for the first time in 15 years.
  • Dr. Megan Donohue will use her scientific expertise to explain the future and ultimate fate of the earth, the sun, and the universe in her lecture, “Astronomy’s Future: The End Times of the Universe,” on Thursday, Oct. 25, in the Overbrook Theater. The 7 p.m. talk is free and open to the public. The talk is a part of the month long Muskegon Area Arts & Humanities Festival and serves as the opening talk of the 10th Annual Muskegon Community College Lecture Series.
  • Led by MCC Instructor Al Thomas, the MCC Motorsports Club’s electric dragster, “Short Circuit,” established yet another unofficial world record in the DR-G 96-volt class on Sept. 16 at the Mid-Michigan Motorplex quarter-mile track in Stanton, MI. MCC freshman Zak Kirchner of Grant, MI, drove the student-built vehicle to its record-setting speed of 46 mph during one of four races the dragster completed on a sun-drenched afternoon. Last October with another MCC student driver, “Short Circuit” established the 48-volt world mark.
  • The Second Annual ReunionFest, was celebrated Saturday October 20 and coordinated by the Office of Community Relations and Julie Weller. Muskegon Community College graduates who returned to campus were treated to an afternoon and evening featuring planetarium shows, campus tours, archive photo displays, dinner and the opportunity to see the student play, The Adding Machine, in Overbrook Theater (it was great, by the way!)
  • It bears repeating that thanks to the generosity of Reach for the Stars campaign donors, the stunning IMAX-like Carr Fles Planetarium officially reopened to the public in September. “I think it’s going to blow people’s socks off,” said Planetarium Director Jon Truax to a local reporter in comparing the new planetarium to the archaic 40-year-old system it replaced. “By comparison, this will be jaw-dropping.”

As always, thank you for your work in the classroom, in the community, and for representing yourselves and the College well. There is a reason why Muskegon Community College is held in high regard. That reason is you.

Please feel free to contact me at, via phone at 231-777-0303, or stop by my office at Room 400, Main Building on campus.

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary, Ph.D.


President’s Message, November 2012

Students, Faculty and Staff:

As you know, the President’s Message shares happenings around campus, along with my views on issues impacting Muskegon Community College. This month, I will share a retrospective on the bond campaign.

As you know, the MCC Bond Question (Campaign) did not pass, with 35,160 yes votes to 35,846 no votes. Moreover, the College was 687 votes (<1percent) shy of succeeding. Thank you all for the effort that you put into the years of research leading up to the campaign, as well as the work that you did supporting the campaign. Many of you attended a special all-campus meeting on November 7 to review the results and share your thoughts. At that meeting, I mentioned that information would be forwarded as it becomes available and that I would summarize what we discussed in upcoming communications. Following is a brief summary of what was discussed and some post-election analysis, some of which comes from campaign consultant George K. Baum and Company.

  • Precincts with the highest support were those in Muskegon Heights, North Muskegon, many of the City of Muskegon precincts, Roosevelt Park and many of the Norton Shores precincts. Precincts in Blue Lake, Dalton, Fruitport, Moorland, Ravenna and Sullivan show less support.
  • Baum asked the Muskegon County Clerk’s office for information on the breakout between yes versus no votes for those voting via permanent absentee ballot. These are typically more senior voters and in most areas throughout the nation you would expect to see a drop-off in support of almost any tax. However, we don’t see that, with 49.52% voting yes and 50.48% voting no. This is probably a good thing if the MCC Board considers placing the measure back on the ballot during a non-presidential election.
  • A number of factors likely led to the defeat of the bond, including the state ballot proposals, all of which went down to defeat, and all of which preceded our bond question on the ballot. There was also a “no tax” theme running throughout the election cycle, and varying opinions on the necessity of the projects in our bond question (downtown, art, science, health).

While our bond question was not successful, it was close enough to call for detailed analysis, which will be prepared for the Board over the next few weeks and months. Here are some reasons why it may be worth our time to consider giving the ballot question another shot:

  • The question failed by less than one percent of votes cast on the question…this is little more than the total number of full and part time employees at MCC.
  • Two other community colleges attempted infrastructure proposals on the ballot. MCC was closest to passing. Jackson and Macomb were defeated by 28 percent and 5.2 percent respectively.
  • The very real infrastructure challenges remain. During the past three years, MCC engaged in a strategic and master planning process engaging over 100 faculty, staff, students, and board representatives. This process identified these critical needs. The College also conducted extensive survey research, engaged a community advisory committee, and was assisted by Baum in additional analysis leading up to the decision to move forward with the bond question.

Ultimately, the decision to move forward was not made lightly. Our student’s needs were and should be the key consideration if the Board decides to go to the public again. I know that you know this, but it bears repeating. If there are any doubts that our students could benefit from upgraded classroom and co-curricular space, please do the following:

  • Walk through our science laboratories and space.
  • Walk through our Bartels-Rode Gymnasium and health space.
  • Walk through our art building.
  • Talk to our students, faculty, and, staff about what you saw and what they experience.

Then take a walk through the same spaces in secondary schools and community colleges in our region. You will see that nearly all have been renovated or totally rebuilt since ours was originally constructed. You will see top-notch instruction taking place in space that is for the most part clearly top notch.

I concluded that the condition of our academic and co-curricular space was and still is not acceptable. All of the above research and even an election defeat of less than one percent has not changed my opinion or the opinions of over 35,000 voters who cast yes votes.

Regarding next steps, the College needs to consider the following:

  • Review the election results in detail to better understand the election itself (voting patterns, engagement on and off campus, experience of other colleges etc.).
  • Survey and work with our community to see what they believe should change with respect to the original bond question (scale back, rework, add, remove components).
  • Consider which election to place a revised ballot question. Multiple options are available (generally up to four times each year), and we need to understand which would be the best for MCC.

Thank all of you again for your efforts. I understand that you all are busy taking classes, teaching classes, running programs, and living your lives. I very much appreciate that you are willing to spend time making MCC a better place for our students and community. Please keep your eyes open for more information.

Dale Nesbary



President’s Message, December 2012

Students, Faculty and Staff:

First of all, thank you for your support over the past year in helping our students achieve their dreams and improve their chances for success. As 2012 comes to a close, we are celebrating the many accomplishments of our students, faculty, and staff. Information about how we have done this over the past year is available in our newest annual report, which may be viewed online at Following, I will highlight what’s been happening around campus lately.

Four top student finalists from MCC’s recent annual Writing Contest will have their work entered into a statewide competition with publication in a magazine and attendance at a professional conference awaiting the winners. Per contest coordinator and MCC Instructor Gretchen Cline, six winners and three honorable mentions were selected from categories of fiction and poetry amid a record number of submissions by MCC students. Only the top two in each category had their work qualify for the statewide competition. Local prizes included $125 for first place, $75 for second place, and $50 for third place. For more details, please visit this webpage on the MCC website In other news:

· As you may know, MCC is launching a web portal to replace the current website and has established a working group to facilitate development. MyMCC is designed to provide our community with a single point of access to many web and administrative applications including Datatel, learning tools such as Blackboard and Course Signals, communication tools for students (email, facebook, mobile apps), electronic resources (links to the library, academic policies, etc.) and general information (announcements, dates and events, news, personal alerts, and targeted content). Students, faculty, and staff will have a single login, eliminating the need for all of us to memorize multiple passwords and/or web locations. The MCC Board has experienced a version of MyMCC via the MCC Board Portal and the working group has met for months, crafting the overall MyMCC portal. The Office of Information Technology expects this project to be complete by spring 2013.

· After opening in Fall 2012, the MCC Grand Haven Center is off to a strong start and will continue to serve Ottawa County residents in future semesters. Located at 421 Columbus Street, the Center consolidates and increases offerings in northern Ottawa County. Eighteen classes will be offered next semester, up from 13 offered at four locations previously. Seventeen of the eighteen classes will be offered on the Columbus Street site, with one offered at Spring Lake Middle School.

· Organized by the Student Services Division, over 340 students from Muskegon, Newaygo, and Ottawa counties attended the College Visit Day to learn of opportunities here at MCC. College Visit Day offers 10th through 12th grade students a better understanding of what it takes to succeed in college. Faculty and staff presented to groups on Monday, December 10th and Wednesday, December 12th. The visitor count of 330 is a strong improvement over the 50 students who attended in year one.

· HR has gone live with NeoGov, our on-line application and applicant tracking system. The NeoGov system will increase efficiencies for applicants, human resources staff, and search teams. Applicants will be able to complete and submit applications on-line, track their progress within a search, receive timely feedback, and use one submitted application to apply for multiple positions. For more information, please contact the Human Resources Office.

· On November 26th, the College hosted tours of our campus with State Senators Darwin Booher and Goeff Hansen, as well as State Representatives Marcia Hovey-Wright and Holly Hughes. The purpose of the tour was to inform legislators about MCC’s infrastructure needs. Senator Booher is Chair of the Senate Community Colleges Committee and incoming Chair of the Joint Legislative Subcommittee on Capital Outlay. The state capital outlay process provides an additional possible funding option for ongoing college infrastructure needs.

Finally, please enjoy the holiday season. Whether you are traveling or have loved ones visiting, have a great time, be safe, and lets all look forward to a more successful 2013.

Best regards,

Dale Nesbary