GRCC Faculty team up with Hope Network to provide holiday gifts to children

Posted on Updated on

gofundmeimage1We need your help!!!  The Faculty Association at Grand Rapids Community College has partnered with Hope Network’s DART program to provide gifts for children in need!

We are asking GRCC faculty to please join the Association in sponsorship gifts for 2 children this holiday season.

Two ways to help: You can donate money on our gofundme site at  or donate gifts (see need list and drop off site below).  We will use 100% of the funds donated to sponsor children this holiday season on behalf of the faculty at Grand Rapids Community College.

What: Hope Network’s DART Program is a residential treatment program for children ages 8-18 years old with severe developmental and behavioral disorders. The children they serve live in a special facility and rarely see their families. Please help contribute by making this holiday season special for these children.

When: Donations will be accepted until Thursday, December 17.

Who: We are sponsoring a 13 year old boy and an 8 year old girl who are DART children. Any additional funds collected beyond what these two children need will be used to sponsor an additional child!

Donate gifts directly: If you would like to purchase a gift from the children’s wish list, see the link below. You can drop off donations on the 4th Floor of College Park Plaza (Christina McElwee) or in 212 of the Applied Technology Center (Katie Vander Meer). You can also drop off financial donations at either site as well. Wish list link: 

About us: This gofundme is organized by faculty members Christina McElwee and Katie Vander Meer on behalf of the Grand Rapids Community College Faculty Association. All funds and gifts collected will be reported out at Faculty Council.

Thank you so much GRCC Faculty in sharing in the joy of this holiday season. Please feel free to pass along this funding page to others who might wish to support Hope Network’s DART program!

Professors in Poverty – a response from our President

Posted on

On November 24, in connection with Thanksgiving, I emailed GRCC faculty about adjunct professors in poverty.  It generated a lot of positive responses, so I wanted to share what you can do about ACTING on this.

  1. Support the request in the video with petition signatures and donations. Here is the website for this campaign:
  1. And share this video!

  1. Get more information.  For example, the graphic with Myth 1 at telling, but there’s no attribution to the source, so it might not be valid.  Also, the GRCC library licenses Adjunct Nation, formerly Adjunct Advocate, in e-format at .  On-campus users click into the title; off-campus users must log on with last name and 7-digit Raider number.  Although the screen says through 2014, it is a current license and provides 2015 content.
  1. Publicize the information.  Some of that we can do through the Faculty Association web site and Face Book, but that’s limited.  For public media outlets to pick up on things takes a lot more effort.  For example, the national adjunct walk out day in February 2015 (not sure of that date) generated a lot of press, including a big article in the Grand Rapids Press. Read the article from March 2015 highlighting work of one of our Adjunct instructors Mike Miller here:

Informing students should be important.  They should care and do care.  For example, the Professors in Poverty video generated the most complex and passionate discussion between students in three GRCC classes for a research topic this semester.  They had access to over a dozen educational related videos.

  1. Come up with solutions, even if they’re partial and little, and act.  For example, the faculty negotiating team has consistently advocated for adjuncts with mixed results.  For the administration has proposed a full-time temporary teaching position, but there hasn’t been widespread support for it.  For me to mention it here doesn’t mean that I support it, either.

A solution for the “road warrior” adjuncts could be for all the higher ed institutions in West Michigan to get together and create shared, tenured full-time faculty positions.  By “shared” I mean that a faculty member’s work load, pay and benefits would be distributed pro rata among the institutions that the faculty member is working for.  I’ve not heard of this being done any place and I don’t even know if it’s doable.  But why not talk about it?  Even if it’s a bad idea, it will generate awareness and possibly some better ideas.

All in all, I think that the current adjunct system years ago worked reasonably well for students and institutions when there were few adjunct faculty.  Now, I think it works poorly because colleges and universities hire so many adjuncts instead of creating tenure-track positions.  For anything to change, adjuncts will have to be a lot more proactive, ideally with the support of full-time faculty and administrators.  Adjuncts nationwide have become more proactive in the last few years.  Locally – not so much.

Fred van Hartesveldt, Faculty Association President.

Adjunct Faculty Spotlight: Patricia Dockham

Posted on

Patricia Dockham is an adjunct instructor the Physical Science Department where she currently teaches Chemistry 120 — SurPatricia Dockham copyvey of General Chemistry Laboratory. She began teaching Chemistry 130 Lecture at GRCC in August, 2011. She enjoys teaching and tutoring at the high school and college level. Both her parents were high school teachers, as were many of her aunts and uncles. Her grandfather, Verne Dockham, was a Michigan conservation officer and field guide for ornithologists who explored the habitat of the Kirtland Warbler. Learning about his service, she was motivated to pursue a career in science, research and teaching.   Patricia studied chemistry and biochemistry at the University of Nebraska where she was awarded a doctorate in Biological Science in the field of biochemistry. Currently, in addition to her work at GRCC, she tutors high school physics and chemistry for two home school groups in Kent County. She also works as a free-lance editor for Words and Numbers, a science educational service.

Dr. Dockham spends a considerable amount of time volunteering in the legal profession as a litigation preparation expert. She started volunteering as a licensed residential builder in the rough and tumble area of construction law support, and later expanded into the area of civil litigation and criminal defense. She reviews case files, court records, trial transcripts, and media reports to take a fresh look at a case, and compare hard evidence to the timeline and fluid witness testimony. Motivated to do volunteer work, in large part by GRCC’s 2014 challenge for the College’s 100 Years of Community Service, last year she took a look at the case of Michael Elliot, the Ionia 2014 Super Bowl escapee, who has long maintained his innocence in his original convictions for over 20 years.

Patricia learned that Mr. Elliot’s DNA samples were taken during the initial investigation even before his trial in 1994. Interestingly, the prosecution did not use the DNA results at trial, meaning they looked for his DNA but did not find it at the murder scene, in vehicles or at secondary crime scenes. It is often said “Absence of evidence is evidence itself”, especially DNA evidence, so a convincing argument can be made that Mr. Elliot was not at the crime scenes. An attorney statement found in a co-defendant’s file confirms how weak the case against him actually is: “As the Court is aware, there may have been some serious problems with at least one of these persons ever even being bound over on those charges….” Her special interest is in researching and providing support in innocence cases such as his, where she researches and obtains the documents that an incarcerated, but wrongly convicted individual does not have access to.

In addition to teaching, tutoring, and volunteering, Patricia enjoys gardening and caring for cats and dogs. She works with a friend who raises mastiff pups for whom she does website maintenance and advertising.

Faculty Spotlight: GRCC English Department

Posted on Updated on

On October 9, 2015, the GRCC English Department full-time faculty participated in their annual Learning Day. This is a day that is designated for professional development, departmental growth, and strengthening the department as a whole. This year, Learning Day was held at Thought Design Learning Studios in Rockford, Michigan. Thought Design offers a holistic and diverse learning experience to improve thinking and brain health. English Department faculty participated in numerous activities and exercises focused on the latest brain science and how that relates to empathy, building relationships, and making better connections with students. The session concluded with the entire department working together to prepare a meal from scratch to further promote improved communication, new ways of thinking together, and problem solving. Hats off to the English Department for continuously striving to grow personally and professionally to better serve our students.

Check out pictures and student testimonials below!

GRCC partners with EC-Council to offer Certified Ethical Hacker program

Posted on

ecSept. 25, 2015 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — From the University of Michigan to the Pentagon, no computer network is completely safe from cyber attacks. A new program offered by Grand Rapids Community College will soon equip students to fight them.

GRCC’s computer information systems department is now Michigan’s first EC-Council Academic Accredited Training Center through the International Council of Electronic Commerce Consultants, also known as EC-Council. Students will learn the latest hacking techniques, tools and security measures. After completing the coursework, they will be able to take the Certified Ethical Hacker exam.

Read the full release at:

GRCC Faculty Picnic raised money for students!

Posted on Updated on

GRCC Faculty held its annual faculty picnic on Saturday, September 12, raising money for the GRCC student food pantry and the GRCC student scholarship fund! A total of $125.00 was donated to the student food pantry, and $53 was collectpicnicfuned for the scholarship fund! GRCC faculty and their families had a great time at this annual pig roast, where the traditional volleyball game was turned into paddle ball, and children laughed and played in the park and had fun with the games, face painting, and crafts. A fun time was had by all!

Check out all the photo’s by clicking on the link below!

Faculty Picnic 2015 Photo’s


And Now…The Minutes

Posted on

Latest Faculty Council minutes are up!  Find them under the Member Resources menu above.

What’s there to read?

  • Skillport Training: The deadline for the Ethics module is November 13.  Adjunct and full time faculty are advised to wait to do it until it is resolved through negotiations or the grievance process.
  • Possible Scholarship Creation:  Update from the FA Scholarship committee and active survey at
  • The Educational Support Professionals (ESP) group has filed an unfair labor charge with the Michigan Employment Relations Commission (MERC) against the College.

For all the details, you guessed it – read the minutes!