SMC trustees review 2020 accomplishments

DOWAGIAC — The Southwestern Michigan College Board of Trustees reviewed 2020 accomplishments Monday night during its regular monthly meeting conducted remotely via Zoom.

The list, presented by President Dr. Joe Odenwald, includes the development of SMC’s first online courses, preparation of the 2020-23 strategic plan to be published in January, negotiating a contract for enhanced food service, increasing emergency reserves given the broader financial insecurity facing higher education in the near term, receiving NJCAA approval to resume cross country next fall after 25 years, creation of a new Roadrunner mascot logo, being voted Best Local College for the third straight year by Leader Publications readers and establishing the Grady Scholars program for minority student leadership development.

Odenwald and board Chairman Tom Jerdon visited 27 public meetings in every municipality, plus three school boards and both political parties.

SMC also secured pledges of more than $30,000 for the Roadrunner Recruiting Gallery in the Charles O. Zollar Building, significantly upgraded information technology infrastructure and approved two new allied health programs, Associate in Applied Science in MRI Technology and Associate in Applied Science in Neurodiagnostic Technology in partnership with the Michigan Community College Association.

“We have a ways to go to get through [the COVID-19 pandemic],” Odenwald said. “As the vaccine is distributed, we’re going to have better days, but we’re not waiting until it’s over to figure out where we need to go. We’re building for the future now.”

“More than two dozen campus representatives worked to compose the college’s first strategic plan in a decade,” Odenwald said. “It’s one of the best things I’ve ever seen us put out,” Jerdon added, referring to the design and content of the plan.

In other news, Starbucks will be coming to campus this spring. SMC signed a multi-year agreement with Canteen to re-open the Zollar Café in the Student Activity Center for the spring 2021 semester. The new café will offer most of the Starbucks drink menu — coffees, teas, lattes, cold brews, macchiatos and Frappuccinos. Food items will include donuts, pastries, muffins, fresh deli salads, fresh sandwiches, fresh wraps, fruit parfaits and yogurt parfaits.

In addition, the board acknowledged 11 donations totaling $9,800 to the SMC Foundation and accepted 17 gifts to the college totaling $7,625.

Trustees also adopted a new 2021 meeting time of 8 a.m. on each second Wednesday.

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