COMMERCIAL-NEWS | ROBERT TOMLINSON - Glen Oaks Community College President Dr. David Devier gives his State of the College address during Thursday’s meeting of the GOCC Board of Trustees.

Initiatives, projects highlighted in GOCC president's address

CENTREVILLE — A recap of major initiatives and projects, as well as a look back at the academic year that was, highlighted Glen Oaks Community College President Dr. David Devier’s State of the College address Thursday.

Giving the address to GOCC’s Board of Trustees at their monthly meeting, Devier said while he couldn’t capture everything the college did in the previous year, the college did well for itself in the 2021-22 academic year.

“Never have so few done so much so well,” Devier said. “We’re the little college that could. We’re remaking this place in our own image.”

Glen Oaks, Devier said, has been “extremely busy” in the last year, noting the number of projects and initiatives that took place during the 2021-22 academic year ranked highest in his tenure as president.

“The last year in particular has really been a blur. Even though we were in a pandemic and there’s still a pandemic, we’ve really just been tearing it up,” Devier said. “We have a small group here that are always charging ahead every day. We’ve had challenges of course, but not as many as we’ve had in the past.”

Devier first highlighted the community engagement the college has done, beginning with hosting electric company trucks in their parking lot following the storms in August 2021 as a staging area of sorts, as well as hosting COVID-19 vaccine clinics for several months up until May’s commencement ceremony.

Also highlighted was the college’s hosting of a health fair and the county job fair, hosting the CTE Spring Fling, participating in Sturgis Fest, hosting bystander intervention training, and hosting performances of “Gilligan’s Island: The Musical.” Devier noted the “Gilligan’s Island” performance may be the last theatrical production the college holds, as the Nora Hagen Theatre is scheduled to be renovated into mainly educational use as a large lecture hall.

Following the community engagement recap, Devier discussed some of the campus activities, including induction ceremonies for Phi Theta Kappa and Epsilon Pi Tau, as well as the annual student awards, the annual student art show, and the college’s first All-Sports Banquet. In addition, Devier gave special mention to a gathering agriculture equipment tech students did in memory of Nick Shultz, an adjunct instructor who passed away due to COVID-19.

“He was our outstanding adjunct [award winner] in 2021, and it was a great loss,” Devier said. “They all gathered at the college to remember his life.”

Later in the presentation Devier noted the college’s nursing program has been admitted for candidacy for accreditation by the Accreditation Commission for Education for Nursing (ACEN). In addition, Devier said the college’s Allied Health programming is now combined with the nursing unit.

Devier called the candidacy a “remarkable achievement.”

“This is a big deal,” Devier said. “We’re positive we’ll sail through accreditation.”

Devier then went through all of the different campus facility improvements and projects that have gone on throughout the year. Those included the renovation of the tech wing, a new automotive classroom, new welding booths, a new auto lab, the repair of the old maintenance building and the construction of a new one, a facelift to the board room and A Wing hallway, a new athletics media room donated by KalBlue, the new athletics logo, a new welcome wall mural, and finally, the new capital outlay project and south side renovation.

A number of pictures were shown of the capital outlay project and south side renovations, with commentary by Devier throughout. In addition, he discussed the design work for the south side renovation, which has been completed by architecture firm Design Collaborative. Some of the significant parts of the project include creating four athletic locker rooms, modifying the Nora Hagen Theater into an instructional auditorium, creating a new Allied Health lab, creating a large instructional classroom on the second floor of the D Wing, modifying spaces around the gym for offices, training and storage rooms, a new gym roof, and a new exterior wall system.

Devier also gave an update on the status of their application for a United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) loan for the project, noting that they hope to have a loan approved by September.

A number of grants and other financial awards were discussed, including a $900,000 earmark from U.S. Rep. Fred Upton for IT infrastructure, as well as separate grants from the National Science Foundation, a grant for their TRIO program, and the college’s selection to participate in a grant with the American Association of Community Colleges and Google.

Finally, Devier gave an update on the Fall 2022 semester enrollment, noting that the headcount is currently projected to be 795 for the upcoming semester, which is up just over 26 percent from Fall 2021. Vice President of Student Services Tonya Howden said the number is “day to day” at the moment, and could be more or less as the summer goes on.

“Enrollment is looking great,” Howden said.

Following the presentation, the board had a discussion reviewing the college’s strategic plan and updating them on goals and plans for the next few years.

Robert Tomlinson can be reached at 279-7488 ext. 22 or robert@threeriversnews.com.

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