FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Director of Communications
Aug. 3, 2016 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — The newly renamed Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Center for Equity and Inclusion is expanding its work, both on and off the Grand Rapids Community College campus.
Diversity education has been a part of GRCC's mission for 20 years, with the generosity of Bob and Aleicia Woodrick providing a formal center for that work in 2006. Under the leadership of founding director Christina Arnold, the Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Diversity Learning Center is recognized for the Diversity Lecture Series, the Latino Youth Conference, the Institute for Healing Racism along with several annual awards celebrating the many champions who work to educate and unify the community. John Cowles, dean of Student Success and Retention, emphasized that those programs will continue as the center adds to its social justice mission.
"When the center opened, our emphasis was on educating individuals on diverse issues and perspectives," he said. "While that will still be a role in the center, we want to have conversations around equity and inclusion to enhance our work in this area. We are pleased to continue to honor Bob and Aleicia Woodrick in this work by naming our center the Bob and Aleicia Woodrick Center for Equity and Inclusion."
Arnold, who has worked at GRCC in various positions for 37 years, is retiring and has helped craft the center's expanded role.
"I am privileged to have had the opportunity to lead a dedicated group of staff, faculty and students as the center provided programming creating a strong community collaboration sustained through community and college support, " she said. "Our newest goal is to build on that success -- increasing the center's strength as an internal GRCC resource for faculty, staff, and students."
GRCC’s College Success Center, which focuses on access as well as targeted interventions and support, will move under the Woodrick Center umbrella. Domingo Hernandez-Gomez, who was the College Success Center’s associate director, will succeed Arnold as director of the Woodrick Center.
"We're going to be focusing on student success by looking at equity and inclusion," Hernandez-Gomez said. "We want the center to provide the tools, resources and support to individuals -- students, faculty and staff -- to be successful in whatever goal they are pursuing."
An academically under-prepared student, for example, might take advantage of the FastTrack program to strengthen his or her skills, while an ESL student might use the GRCC website in Spanish, and still another can join a campus mentoring group, he said.
"Everybody needs different things in order to succeed," Hernandez-Gomez said. "We want to make sure that all our students not only feel like they belong here, but that they are given the means and opportunity to grow and thrive."
Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 100 years. Established in 1914, the college offers degree courses, certification and training programs, and workshops and personal enrichment classes. Offerings are held on GRCC’s downtown Grand Rapids campus, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.