Looking back at Macomb Community College in 2016

By: Maria Allard | C&G Newspapers | Published January 11, 2017

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MACOMB COUNTY — As 2016 came to a close, a new Macomb Community College president was chosen to lead the school.

On Dec. 21, MCC Board of Trustees member James Kelly — chair of the Presidential Search Advisory Committee and chair of the college’s board — announced the selection of school provost James O. Sawyer IV as Macomb’s president designate. The appointment is pending negotiation and approval of an employment contract by the Board of Trustees.

“Even with a competitive and qualified candidate pool, Dr. Sawyer was clearly the best choice.” Kelly said in a prepared statement. “His long-standing experience with the college and community, as well as his solid background in business, will ensure a smooth transition with a knowledgeable leader ready to fully leverage Macomb’s strengths while effectively guiding the institution into the future.”

The selection of Sawyer as the college’s sixth president is the culmination of a national search that officially opened in September 2016 to identify a replacement for retiring Macomb Community College President James Jacobs. 

Other events happened during the year at MCC. For starters, students are paying 3.2 percent more per credit hour for the 2016-17 school year because of a rate increase approved in the spring of 2016.

Students and staff are enjoying an updated “C” Building at the South Campus in Warren after it underwent a number of renovations. The renovations cost $8.5 million and were funded with $4.25 million from the state, along with a match by the college through its capital projects fund.

An uneasy feeling came about at MCC when, on March 29, a 20-year-old student was reported missing from South Campus. The student was found safe in another state a week later and had left Michigan voluntarily.

On a positive note, MCC faculty members Maria Ramos, Vikki Gordon and Gary Mitchell were named as recipients of the 2016 National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Excellence Award. NISOD recognizes community and technical college educators who have demonstrated an outstanding commitment and contribution to their students and colleagues. Also last year, the college was granted gold status by the Veteran-Friendly School program through the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency.

In June, college officials announced that the school had received a $12,000 grant from the Metro Health Foundation to be used to provide six $2,000 scholarships for nursing students. Macomb’s nursing program, a selective admission program, prepares students for National Council Licensure Examination exams and a career as a registered nurse. 

Classes in the manufacturing trades also remained in the forefront. On Sept. 8, representatives from eight state community colleges, including Macomb, met for a press conference in Lansing to announce details of an articulation agreement. The college officials signed a Michigan Coalition for Advanced Manufacturing articulation agreement at Lansing Community College that they say will create mobility for students in manufacturing programs. The agreement is designed to ensure that M-CAM students can move their M-CAM credits from one college to another within the coalition for advanced standing, entry or transfer.

“M-CAM has created vital pathways for individuals to earn industry credentials and connect with employers in Michigan’s advanced manufacturing sector,” Jacobs said. “This articulation agreement takes M-CAM’s impact a step further by making the credit that program graduates earn portable within the coalition, enhancing their ability to pursue further education and credentials, supporting career progression.”

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