GRCC faculty to students: ‘We love you, we miss you, and we are here for you’

March 26, 2020 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. – Grand Rapids Community College professors have a message for students who made the shift to distance learning as a response to the coronavirus crisis: We love, we miss you and we are here for you.

Faculty members from across campus shared words of encouragement to students in videos posted on the college’s social media.

The first video is available here:

A second video is available here:

GRCC suspended face-to-face instruction on March 11, with faculty members transitioning all classes through distance learning.

Business professor Garry Brand said he’s been recording his own videos to encourage students and stay connected.

“A parade of teachers went through our neighborhood honking horns and displaying signs like ‘We miss you’ in their car windows,” he said. “I thought, ‘We can’t do a parade for our large student body, but we could do a series of video messages.’ I’m hoping this will spark more videos and let our students know how much we love them and miss them!”

Brand said he connected with Klaas Kwant, of GRCC’s Media Technologies Department, and recruited colleagues, who were happy to participate. Faculty members recorded their greetings with laptops and phones, and sent them to Kwant to edit together.

“We’re definitely living with some uncertainty now,” English professor Christina McElwee told students. “But one thing you can be certain of is that we love you, we care about you and we are here for you. Stay strong.”

Professor Leigh Kleinert shifted lessons to distance learning by teaming up with fellow biology professor Brian Mikula and nursing professor Dawn Zuidgeest-Kraft to put together a lab covering the urinary system for their classes. But she knows it’s a different experience for many students.

“This isn’t what you signed up for,” Kleinert told students. “But I want you to know we’re all thinking of you and we’re working really hard to make lemonade out of lemons. We really appreciate your patience and your resilience.”

Others reminded students of support available. Advising, counseling and other services are still available remotely, and professors can direct students to academic resources. The college also maintains a website – – listing college and community resources for a variety of challenges students are facing.

“We’re here to support you in any way we can,” said Erin Busscher, who oversees the Academic Advising and Transfer Center. “You’ve got this. Finish the semester strong.”

Grand Rapids Community College offers learners of all ages opportunities to gain credits for degrees or transfer and in-demand career skills leading to rewarding careers. GRCC was established in 1914 – Michigan’s first community college -- and offers affordable classes on weekdays, evenings, Saturdays and online at locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.

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