By Abbie-Lauren Meredith, News Editor –
How MCC can better meet the needs of the larger community is the big question being
asked as part of a year-long strategic planning process.
A listening tour is in progress, and three of the four open forums have been completed in
downtown Muskegon, at the MCC main campus, and at the MCC Ottawa Center in Grand
Haven. A fourth event will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 7, at the MCC Newaygo
“People are telling us what they see as MCC’s strengths – such as technical
preparedness, preparation for transfer to four-year institutions, and the rigor of our courses,” said
Dale Nesbary, MCC president. “They specifically mention our allied health programs, including
nursing, and certificate programs in technology and manufacturing.”
Among visions for the future, area residents are saying they would like to see Ottawa and
Newaygo counties become in-district so students would pay the same tuition rate as students in
Muskegon County. In-district students pay $102 per contact hour, while out-of- district students
pay $190 per contact hour. Tuition for in-district students is significantly lower due to a county-
Other suggestions include more internships with area businesses and more classes in the
community at off-campus centers, including Grand Haven, Holland, Coopersville, and Newaygo.
The last strategic plan took about a year to plan and this year Nesbary says they have
even bigger goals.
“The areas that I would like to see improvement in are a more effective pathway to jobs
and gainful employment,” he said. “I want to make sure that students who graduate or transfer
from MCC have the skills and resources to secure a well-paying job. We are doing all of this for
the students and committee. Our key goal is student success. We want students to be able to get a
well-paying job so we are focused on building our infrastructure and curriculum.”
In addition to the listening tour, a community needs assessment committee conducted
surveys of various community members to determine what academic programs are required to
meet student and community needs. There also will be public forums toward the end of the
process to seek input on the plan’s draft.
A five-year strategic plan for MCC being developed this year, and the listening tour is
one small part of the overall process. More than 180 volunteers are serving on seven committees
to construct the 2017-202 Strategic Plan. The seven committees are steering, academic needs
assessment, community engagement and input, facilities, health and safety, organizational
support, and student success.
In addition to MCC faculty, staff and students, there are representatives from local school
districts, business and industry, higher education partners, local and state government, and
various community organizations.
The process began last fall, with the new plan commencing on July 1. An implementation
team will be in place for the five-year life of the new plan to monitor and report progress.
“We believe that true integrated strategic planning should be an enduring part of our
culture, not just a limited project,” Nesbary said.