GCC & Elms College to Offer 4 Bachelor’s Degree Completion Programs

4 Bachelor’s Degree Completion Programs to be available on the GCC Main Campus

At Greenfield Community College, 2+2 equals more than four, it equals earning an accredited Elms College Bachelor of Arts degree delivered on the GCC campus. Culminating a highly collaborative effort by Greenfield Community College and Elms College faculty and staff, GCC President Bob Pura and Elms College President Sister Mary Reap met at GCC to sign the Memoranda of Understanding authorizing the new programs. Starting in Fall, 2015, GCC students who want to pursue bachelor’s degree programs in Business Management & Marketing or Early Care and Education will be able to complete their degrees on the GCC main campus. The two new degree completion programs join two existing Elms College degree completion programs available to GCC students: a Bachelor in Social Work program that is offered on the GCC campus and a fully online Bachelor of Speech Language Pathology Assistant program. This expanded partnership will continue to grow in the future with the addition of other 2+2 content area associate’s to bachelor’s completion programs.

GCC and Elms College’s collaboration expands the options for students who have received a GCC associate’s degree to continue their education toward a bachelor’s degree affordably and close to home. Students start at GCC, are carefully advised to complete a two-year GCC associate’s degree while satisfying Elms College admissions requirements for selected programs, then continue at GCC with the Elms program for up to two years to complete their bachelor’s degree. Courses for the new Bachelor of Arts Degree Completion Programs will be taught by faculty approved by Elms on Saturdays at GCC’s campus in Greenfield. Elms delivers the program at the GCC campus for a significant discount in comparison to studying at the Elms campus in Chicopee.

Applauding the expanded partnership, GCC President Bob Pura said, “Working collaboratively to increase access to the Baccalaureate Degree here at GCC is important to our current students as well as our alumni.  Many GCC students, however, are place-bound because of work and family commitments. It is for those students that we have worked with Elms to create these opportunities. This is a win for our students, a win for the community, and a win for both colleges!”

Elms College President Sister Mary Reap said, “The GCC/Elms 2+2 agreement is one more effort in the partnership begun two years ago with the undergraduate completion program offered on the campus of GCC. America faces a challenge of affordable, high-quality higher education. I am pleased and proud that the joint efforts of our two colleges allow us to respond to this challenge and to find new and innovative approaches to meet the higher education needs of our local communities.”

Collaboration was of the highest level in creating this richly expanded set of options where students can complete the two degrees with the greatest use of their time and credits.

Faculty at GCC and Elms worked closely to articulate GCC’s associate’s and Elms bachelor’s degree requirements to provide a smooth and meaningful educational pathway so students can utilize their GCC course work to effectively enhance their skills and knowledge at a more advanced level. Faculty and staff from both colleges have also worked to coordinate recruitment, admissions, and advising systems to make sure students get the best of both colleges.

Leading the partnership effort have been GCC Chief Academic and Student Affairs Officer Sher Hruska and Elms Vice President of Academic Affairs Walter C. Breau and GCC Dean of Business & Information Technology, Professional Studies, and Social Sciences Kathy Vranos and Elms College Dean of the School of Graduate and Professional Studies Elizabeth Hukowicz. These four leaders applauded the expanded partnership:

Hruska said, “We particularly appreciate this opportunity to work with Elms given the dedication we all share regarding individualized attention and support for students.”

Breau said, “These new programs are accelerated, accessible, and affordable, allowing students to fit continuing education into their busy family and work lives. Higher education is transformative. Our collective goal is to assist students in obtaining both degrees on their way to future success.”

Vranos said, “GCC is thrilled to offer an affordable bachelor’s degree of the caliber of Elms College on its campus in Greenfield. GCC understands the needs of a select group of students who work full-time, often are working parents and for whom it is hard to leave Franklin County for continuing education. Offering programs of this caliber meets a long-time demand for four-year programs on the GCC campus.”

Hukowicz said, “The GCC & Elms 2+2 Partnership means that students will study in familiar settings and remain close to home, family and work during their accelerated sessions. The students benefit from the GCC and Elms community that supports and enriches them.”

The Elms College Business Management & Marketing Bachelor of Art degree is built on top of the GCC Business Administration Transfer Associate of Arts degree and GCC’s Early Childhood Education Associate of Science degree feeds into the Elms Early Care and Education Bachelor of Art degree.

For more information on the GCC/Elms College 2+2 Bachelor’s Degree Completion Programs:

Students who have not completed GCC degrees should contact GCC Admissions at (413) 775-1801 or admissions@gcc.mass.edu.

Students who have completed GCC degrees and want to apply for admission to a two-year Elms College Bachelor’s Degree Completion program should contact Kristine Gomes, Elms College Coordinator at (413) 835-1772, gomesk@elms.edu.

By Mary McClintock, ’82

New Certificate Program to Advance Corrections Careers

Greenfield Community College’s new Corrections Certificate Program is part of a community solution to reducing incarceration. The nine-course Certificate focuses on inmate management, treatment, and re-entry into the community and fits within the nationally recognized Transition from Jail to Community Model (TJC) currently in use at the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office. The Program prepares students for employment in the corrections field, increases the knowledge of people already employed as corrections officers, and gives them career enhancement opportunities. All credits earned toward the Corrections Certificate can be applied to GCC’s Associate in Science degrees in Criminal Justice. Students may start taking courses toward the Certificate this spring and the first Certificates will be awarded at the end of the 2015 fall semester.

Kathleen M. Vranos, GCC’s Dean of Business & Information Technology, Professional Studies, and Social Sciences, said, “For those who want to improve the quality of life for everyone in our community and make an impact on the lives of individuals, the Corrections Certificate offers access to a rewarding career pathway with strong compensation. GCC’s new Corrections Certificate challenges the inevitability of repeat offenders.”

David Lanoie, GCC adjunct faculty member in Criminal Justice and former Superintendent of the Franklin County House of Corrections, and Walter Nieliwocki, Coordinator of the GCC Criminal Justice Program, developed the Certificate after reviewing corrections-related certificate programs nationwide. The Corrections Certificate includes existing GCC courses in criminal justice, law, sociology, psychology, and communications as well as a new course taught by Lanoie on Contemporary Inmate Management and Treatment Practices. Lanoie brings his experience working with Sheriff Christopher Donelan in applying the TJC model as a holistic approach to assisting inmates in successfully returning to the community. Franklin County is one of only six counties in the U.S. identified by the National Institute of Corrections with TJC status.

Lanoie said, “Franklin County and Hampshire County’s Houses of Correction use an assessment and clinical model for managing and treating inmates that has been proven by research to assist them in dealing with the underlying issues that lead to criminal behavior. This Certificate gives current and future corrections staff a broader perspective of their role in the corrections system and helps develop corrections staff who are well-rounded individuals with an understanding of both the security and treatment of inmates.”

Applauding the new Certificate, Franklin County Sheriff Chris Donelan said, “The timing of this is perfect because of the transformation going on at the Franklin County House of Corrections. Gone are the days of jail guards counting heads and enforcing discipline. Modern corrections officers are part of a comprehensive team that includes social workers and clinicians and they are as engaged in changing inmates lives as anyone else at the House of Corrections.”

Walter Nieliwocki, Coordinator of the Criminal Justice Program, said, “Corrections is very meaningful and rewarding work. This Certificate, part of GCC’s ongoing commitment to our community’s needs, will give students the opportunity to move toward an interesting career with excellent pay. For those already working in corrections, there are employer financial incentives for those who further their education through such programs as GCC’s Correction Certificate.”

It’s not too late to get started toward making an impact in our community. For information about the Corrections Certificate visit gcc.mass.edu/corrections/. contact Walter Nieliwocki at 413-775-1136, nieliwocki@gcc.mass.edu.

By Mary McClintock, ’82

Student Recognized by New England Educators

Megan Doull’s instructors at Greenfield Community College aren’t the only ones who know she’s an exceptional student. Educational leaders from across New England recognize Doull’s academic success. At their annual Fall conference, members of the Learning Assistance Association of New England (LAANE) presented Doull with the LAANE Student Scholarship. Highly recommended by GCC faculty, Doull was chosen from applicants from across New England. LAANE’s $500 Student Scholarship is awarded to a student who is enrolled in a bachelor or associate degree program, has completed at least 6 credits of developmental course work, earned at least 24 credits, and has a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.20. LAANE, a regional affiliate of the National Association for Developmental Education (NADE), is a non-profit organization dedicated to the acceptance, advancement, and improvement of developmental education through research and practice. Developmental courses are taken by students whose college entrance exams show they do not have adequate preparation for some college-level courses; developmental courses serve as  a pathway into college-level courses.

Doull, 19, from Colrain, has taken developmental courses at GCC and made a highly successful transition from developmental courses into college-level courses. She is currently taking prerequisites in preparation for applying to GCC’s Associates Degree of Nursing program. Doull was on the Spring 2014 Dean’s List (over 3.50 term grade point average), and on the Summer 2014 President’s List (4.00 term grade point average). After completing her Associates Degree, Doull plans to study toward a Bachelor of Science in Nursing, perhaps through GCC’s partnership with Endicott College or at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Commenting on Doull’s success at GCC, GCC English Instructor and Co-Coordinator of Peer Tutoring, Cindy Snow, said, “Megan Doull knows what she wants and she works like mad to get there. Megan is excelling at Greenfield Community College. She started at GCC with fair to good skills, curiosity, intelligence, and drive; she applied herself wholeheartedly, and moved on to solidify her accomplishments and develop excellent skills. She’s the sort of student every instructor wishes to have in class. She was never late, never left early, and she volunteered in class on a regular basis. She also worked well in small groups, guiding her peers if they drifted off task, and tackling projects with enthusiasm. I enjoy watching her progress and can’t wait to see her graduate and attain her goals.”

Reflecting on the LAANE award, Doull said, “It has been very gratifying to have my hard work noticed. I never thought something like this would happen and it’s really helped motivate me. The biggest thing I’ve learned at GCC is to try. I was scared to try at first, but GCC helped me gain hope. Everyone at GCC has helped me be able to get this scholarship; I wouldn’t have been able to do it without their help. I’m a year ahead of where I thought I would be in working towards being a nurse.”

Doull graduated from Franklin County Technical High School where she studied Health Technology and became a Certified Nursing Assistant. The clinical hours in high school helped prepare her for her future career. During her senior year of high school, she completed the Emergency Medical Technician Basic course, receiving six GCC college credits. Doull has studied at GCC since fall 2013 when she took three developmental classes and one credit-bearing class. In January 2014, she took an intensive college level English composition class. In Spring 2014, she took two credit courses and two developmental courses. During the summer 2014 sessions, she studied an intensive version of Anatomy and Physiology. Currently, Doull is taking a psychology course, Sociology 101, Microbiology, developmental math, and her humanities elective, Middle Eastern Dance. Along with studying, Doull enjoys spending time with her boyfriend, helping out family members with chores, and volunteer work. She also enjoys hunting and has hunted her whole life. She and her family eat everything they harvest, and Doull values spending time outdoors in the peace of nature.

Commenting on her experience at GCC, Doull said, “I chose Greenfield Community College because it is close to where I live and their nursing program has an outstanding reputation and job outlook. I know GCC’s nursing program is extremely competitive and acceptance is not easy, so this gives me incentive to put my utmost effort into my studies. GCC is full of hardworking students. This atmosphere of intellectual peers and experienced, caring professors and staff make it a setting to thrive in academically and socially. The college trains its students well for their careers, as both my aunt and family friend experienced in nursing jobs after receiving their GCC degree. My goal was, and is, to show dedication in my studies so I have a strong reputation in the college when applying to its nursing program.”

Nationally, studies indicate that over 50% of students entering community colleges take developmental courses.  Doull’s success stands out.

GCC’s Peer Tutoring Program Co-coordinator Norman Beebe serves on the Executive Board of LAANE and chairs the conference proposal committee. Over 100 educators from throughout New England attended the 2014 LAANE conference.

For information about LAANE, visit www.laanechapter.org.

For information about developmental education at GCC, contact the chairs of GCC’s English and Mathematics Departments: Christine Jones Monahan, English Department Co-Chair, 413-775-1273, monahan@gcc.mass.edu and Steve Poulin, English Department Co-Chair, N326 775-1233, poulins@gcc.mass.edu, and Linda Cavanaugh, MathematicsDepartment Chair, 413-775-1455, cavanaugh@gcc.mass.edu.

By Mary McClintock, ’82

 

GCC Leader in Training Public Safety Professionals

National leaders and area employers know Greenfield Community College’s Emergency Medical Services (EMS) and Fire Science Technology (FST) programs are at the forefront of training public safety professionals. GCC-trained Emergency Medical Technicians and Paramedics consistently perform better on certification exams than the national average and are sought after by regional employers who know GCC EMS graduates are well-trained. This fall, GCC’s Fire Science Technology program was recognized by the National Fire Academy as a Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) college. FESHE is a collaborative partnership between higher education institutions, the National Fire Academy, and the United States Fire Administration. FESHE Recognition means GCC’s FST program’s curriculum, text books, course descriptions, and degree requirements conform to the high standards instituted by the FESHE collaborative. Along with receiving a degree from an institution recognized as achieving a higher standard, GCC FST students will receive a certificate from the National Fire Academy and have greater ease when transferring credits to other schools or having their credentials recognized by other states.

Emergency Medical Services providers must pass psychomotor and cognitive exams to be certified. For the past two years, 100% of GCC Basic EMT students have passed the national psychomotor exam. For the past three years, GCC Basic EMT students’ first time pass rate for the cognitive exam has been 80%, in comparison with a national average of 69%. For the past three years, GCC Paramedic students’ first time pass rate for the national certification cognitive exam has been 85%, in comparison with a national average of 72%. For the past five years, 88% of the students initially enrolled in the 20-month Paramedic program graduated and received a Paramedic Certificate. Most GCC-trained Paramedics are gainfully employed as Paramedics. GCC is the first location in western Massachusetts to offer the new national Paramedic psychomotor exam and people from throughout the northeast come to GCC to be tested.

Commenting on GCC’s Paramedic Program, Monty Ruff, Assistant Professor in the Paramedic Certificate Program,said, “Even though EMT stands for Emergency Medical ‘Technician,’ my mantra is that we’re not training students to be technicians, we’re training them to be clinicians. Clinicians have the ability to think critically and apply their knowledge in emergency medical situations. GCC’s EMS program teaches critical thinking along with the technical skills.”

The FESHE Recognition comes after a complete overhaul of GCC’s FST program to meet national standards. GCC continues its collaboration with Berkshire Community College so  students can take FESHE curriculum courses offered by either school. Many of GCC’s FST courses are taught online or in a hybrid on-site/online format to meet the needs of students, including full-time firefighters furthering their careers. Every semester GCC offers at least one fully online FESHE-recognized course.

Charles “Butch” Garrity, GCC FST Adjunct Faculty member and Deputy Chief of the Lanesborough Fire Department, said, “GCC should be proud to have achieved recognition as a FESHE institution providing the best for its students, instructors, and the fire and emergency medical services community.”

GCC’s EMS and FST Program Director Dawn Josefski said, “I appreciate the financial and programmatic support that GCC provides to the EMS and FST programs so we can implement the best education possible for EMS and FST personnel. Our high standard of education means our graduates can provide a high level of care to the public.”

Interim Dean of Professional Studies Kathy Vranos said, “GCC is extremely proud of the dedication and competence of Dawn Josefski, Monty Ruff, and all of the adjunct faculty as they lead these programs. Their commitment to high quality standards and training for students in the EMS and FST programs is exemplary and sets an extraordinary example of professionalism and teamwork for students in this field for the life of their careers.”

For information about GCC’s Emergency Medical Services and Fire Science Technology programs, contact Dawn Josefski at 413-775-1761 or josefski@gcc.mass.edu.

By Mary McClintock, ’82

Student Civic Engagement Project Helps Local Farm and Food Bank

On November 2, Greenfield Community College volunteers will take their commitment to civic engagement off campus and out to the field. GCC students, staff, and faculty will participate in a gleaning trip sponsored by GCC’s Civic Engagement and Service Learning program on Sunday afternoon, November 2 to rescue food from area farms and bring it to those in need within the community. Gleaning is the gathering of produce after the harvest. Farmers are often unable to sell all of their produce, either because of imperfections or because they simply cannot harvest it all. Participants in this project will collect the excess produce and donate it to area food pantries including the GCC Food Pantry and Franklin County Community Meals Program through a community organization based in Springfield, Rachel’s Table. Since 1992, Rachel’s Table has been working to alleviate hunger and reduce food waste in Western Massachusetts. Alyce Stiles, Director of Workforce Development at GCC and also a Board member of Rachel’s Table, will lead the November 2 event. Stiles said, “As THIS community’s college, this gleaning trip is a wonderful way to give back to our community and help those who are in need of high quality, nutritious produce that is in our surrounding fields.” Abrah Dresdale, Coordinator of GCC’s Farm & Food Systems Program sees many benefits for GCC students participating in a gleaning event, regardless of their field of study. Dresdale said, “GCC students involved in gleaning as civic engagement get to share an experiential activity outside of the classroom. This is often a bonding experience for students that helps build the GCC community. They also get a close-up view of the waste in agricultural production. In the U.S., one-third of agricultural production goes to waste. Gleaning helps capture some of that food loss and divert it into the charitable food system. When GCC students, staff, and faculty go out into the fields or orchards and glean, they get to harvest the produce, weigh the boxes, see how many hundreds of pounds of food they’ve saved from rotting in the fields, and then take it to a food pantry. In the past, I’ve seen students put  produce they’ve gleaned on the food pantry shelves, then see people come into the pantry, take an apple picked by a GCC student off the shelf, and eat it. It is empowering and inspiring. So much of food production and distribution is out of the public view. People who participate in gleaning are able to connect the dots of how the food system works and become active participants in shaping the local food system.” The November 2 gleaning trip, one of many programs sponsored by GCC’s Civic Engagement and Service Learning program, is being advertised through social media and email. Students who have already signed up for the event include members of the GCC Student Senate and the GCC Student Veterans organization, VetNet. Commenting on civic engagement at GCC, Judy Raper, GCC’s Director of Student Development, said: “Currently the program offers about two civic learning programs a month. They are strictly volunteer activities and students do not get credit. We have an ongoing relationship with Stone Soup Café in Greenfield and our students volunteer there on a monthly basis. Staff and faculty are always invited to these programs and at least one staff member is always present. We have a civic engagement advisory board which is a group of Franklin County partners we meet with twice a semester to get feedback regarding how we can meet community needs as it relates to service. We also encourage our partners to submit service and internship opportunities to our website.” Jessica Harwood, Gleaning Coordinator for Rachel’s Table, said, “We are looking forward to the GCC students harvesting and donating produce right in their own community in Franklin County. This is the eighth year of our gleaning program. During that time, we have engaged over 500 volunteers to harvest and donate over 70,000 pounds of produce to area agencies. Our volunteers include youth groups, school and college groups, church members, and community volunteers, ranging in age from 11 to seniors. We maintain an email list of people who are interested in volunteering.”

For information about the November 2 GCC gleaning trip and GCC’s Civic Engagement and Service Learning program, visit http://www.gcc.mass.edu/cesl/ or contact Judy Raper at (413) 775-1819 or raperj@gcc.mass.edu. For information about Rachel’s Table’s gleaning program, visit www.rachelstablespringfield.org/gleaning.html or contact Jessica Harwood at jnanharwood@gmail.com.

By Mary McClintock, ’82