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Success Tip

It takes strength and courage to have a willingness to ask for help and to take it. Also, you are not on this journey alone. There are many willing hands that will support you along the way.


I enjoy spending time with family and friends, learning how to care for my plants and two betta fish, riding my bike and listening to audio books.

Favorite Place at GRCC

I appreciate White Hall because of its beautiful architectural design and antique wood carvings throughout the building.

As the Coordinator of Student Success & Retention Denise Jones works to bridge the gap between faculty and students who need academic support. Denise responds to Early Alerts. She determines appropriate forms of interventions that will assist to promote and improve the academic success of a student who has been placed on her Early Alert list. And then she provides the student with a personalized plan to guide them towards a supportive resolution of any incident which caused them to be placed on her list. 

What moves Denise is being able to connect students with supportive resources that will help them to be successful on their educational journey. She learned how to connect students with helpful and supportive resources on campus, and in the community, as a former Success Coach and Alumni of GRCC.

"I attended Grand Rapids Community College as a first step to my educational journey," she says. "I always wanted to go back to school and earn a degree but was afraid of the entrance tests for math, English and reading. However, after experiencing the death of my father, I gained the courage to take the test and accept the results to start my educational journey to higher education."

Prior to enrolling into GRCC Denise worked in a factory for eighteen years. She also volunteered in her daughter’s classroom as an aid, and worked as an after-school care director for several years. With this experience, she decided to attend GRCC to become a paraprofessional. Her choice of majors evolved into social work as she followed her passion to help those in need.

 "My journey was not smooth sailing because I did not know how to balance being a single parent, working a part-time job and going to school," she said. "It took a tremendous amount of prayer, persistence, determination, and encouragement. Also, receiving help from family members, friends, instructors and sometimes even strangers." 

Denise graduated from GRCC and went on to earn a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Grand Valley State University. She is a proud GRCC alum and proud to help our diverse population of students here at GRCC -- giving them words of encouragement, and sometimes just listening. And most importantly sharing the advice she got here as a student: It is a strength to ask for help.

Denise is part of the seventh Urban Cohort at Cornerstone University’s Theological Seminary where she is working to earn a Master’s degree in Arts in Ministry Leadership. 

Denise Jones
Coordinator of Student Success & Retention
(616) 234-3428
186 Raleigh J. Finkelstein Hall (RJF)