OCC Chancellor Meyer Sets Aggressive Agenda for the Future

OCC Chancellor Timothy Meyer set a bold agenda for the school at its State of the College address Thursday morning before the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.OCC Chancellor Tim Meyer

At its core is student success – transforming the College to one laser-focused on results.  Goals include increasing graduation rates, ensuring employment readiness, improving transferability of courses to universities and assisting underprepared students to be college- ready.

Revamping its finances to ensure long-term financial stability also tops the list of priorities for the College, which this year celebrates its 50th anniversary.

“Community colleges are in the spotlight nationally because we are very accessible – along with the spotlight comes greater public scrutiny, Meyer said. “At OCC, we welcome this increased accountability to students, the community, taxpayers and the government.”

“It is crucial that we focus our efforts on providing a great education for our students and our community,” he added.

With student success and completion rates in mind, the College has taken these important steps:

  • Joined the Higher Learning Commission’s Persistence and Completion Academy this year. The Academy offers an aggressive program helping institutions define, track and analyze data on student success, establish goals and strategies for population groups and implement established goals. It is the College’s intent to significantly improve completion rates by the end of the Academy in 2018.
  • Created the position of Vice Chancellor of Student Services to elevate the importance of providing a “high touch environment” for students.
  • Conducted ground-breaking research on the transferability of courses to four-year institutions, helping OCC further align its curriculum to benefit transfer students.
  • Developed an evaluation tool to guide the College in identifying curriculum gaps.
  • Sought accreditation to issue online degrees and certificates. Pending approval from the Higher Learning Commission, OCC will offer 50 online programs.
  • Signed an agreement with Oakland Schools providing high school students a seamless transition from Oakland Career and Technical Education programs into post-secondary studies at OCC.
  • Led the area in dual enrollment and early college initiatives partnering with K-12 systems to help students prepare for college-level courses, transition smoothly and graduate more quickly.

The College is also setting an aggressive financial agenda to have a balanced five-year budget and pursue a bond rating review from Moody’s and Standard & Poor’s. A five-year forecast in January showed deficits ranging from $15 million for 2016 to $28 million in 2020.

Since January, the College has identified a number of strategies to reduce the projected deficit for 2016 from $15 million to $4.5 million.  The proposed budget reflects changes including a reduction of full-time positions, implementing energy savings, a more competitive model for OCC bookstores and other efficiencies identified by employees.

“Like other K-12 systems and colleges, we are faced with tremendous legacy costs that could cripple our budget if we don’t address them today,” Meyer said.

The College set aside reserve funds to offset the increased liability for pensions of the current, past and future workforce of OCC. In addition, the College is recommending steady contributions to this pension reserve account starting in 2017.

Meyer thanked employees, the community, business and government partners for their contribution to help students achieve their goals and fulfill their potential.

“I strongly believe the work we are doing today will position OCC for another half century of innovation, partnership and development of a healthy and prosperous community.”

With five campuses throughout Oakland County, Oakland Community College is celebrating its 50th year. OCC is the largest community college in Michigan and the 25th largest in the nation. It offers degrees and certificates in approximately 100 career fields and university transfer degrees in business, science and the liberal arts. Nearly a million students have enrolled in the college since it opened in 1965. To learn more about OCC, visit www.oaklandcc.edu.

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Middle School Students Explore OCC through Rotary Partnership

The Rotary Club of Pontiac hosted its annual Career Day on May 7, 2015 at the Career Day 2015 photoLafayette Grand in Pontiac, MI. Approximately 20 businesses and colleges welcomed 94 eighth grade students from three Pontiac middle schools to explore their career interests. The event was sponsored by Oakland Community College, Oakland University and Baker College as well as other program and table sponsors. The students were transported from their school to the businesses or colleges and then returned to the Lafayette Grand for lunch and a speaker.

Oakland Community College was one of the host sites for nine of the students who were interested in the medical, police or fire career fields. They received a tour of the Combined Regional Emergency Services Training CREST site and the shooting range. During lunch, dignitaries Congresswoman Brenda Lawrence, Mayor Deirdre Waterman and Superintendent of Pontiac Schools, Kelley Williams reinforced the importance of education as the key for achieving career goals.

OCC has been a proud sponsor of Career Day for many years thanks to former Board of Trustee member Anne Scott. Anne’s legacy continues with the college’s support of this event by offering volunteers, tours, transportation and or monetary contributions.

The theme of the event was “Light Up Rotary” and through generous contributors like OCC, Rotary Club is able to light up a student’s path to a bright career.

By Candy Geeter

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I am OCC

By Dovid Nissan Roetter

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Dovid Nissan Roetter, third from left, as Rudy the Raider at Detroit Signing Day on May 1.

On Friday, May 01, 2015, I was OCC. Not just as a student, but as a student leader, as a representation of everything my school stands for. I was Rudy the Raider.

Not too long after I joined Oakland Community College, I became involved with Hillel of Metro Detroit. During the past few years, I have become more and more involved with Student Life on OCC campuses and within a year, I found myself becoming the new president of the Jewish Student Organization on campus (a branch of HMD).

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Dovid Nissan Roetter, third from the left, at Detroit Signing Day

Although I had my hands filled with classes, I did my best to bring a new vibe to the organization and to Student Life in general. I found myself planning events like the Anti-Bullying Dance Day in November, and a Multi-Faith Panel in February. I gathered contacts with various professors, faculty members, students, and people from the community. I was working towards creating a legacy to leave behind when I must say goodbye to OCC’s doors this coming December.

I had never expected it all to pay off so soon. Thursday afternoon, I was walking past Dean Hawkins’ office and he stopped me to chat for a bit. As he used to be the Student Life Coordinator at the Orchard Ridge campus, he knew me by now and I had kept up the relationship even after he switched positions.

After asking how my classes went, he asked if I would like to the school a favor and be the mascot the following morning at a pep rally for high school students deciding on their colleges: Detroit Signing Day. He informed me that the event will be honored with a guest appearance by First Lady Michelle Obama. Naturally, I accepted this immense honor and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. It was the most memorable day of my college experience to date.

Student Life on campus is a thriving program, full of huge opportunities. Whether it is student clubs where you meet your new best friend, or a chance to star in your school’s new commercial, or making a difference to the students you pass in the hallway. It helps you learn how to become a leader in a world filled with followers. It provides ways to help you relax from classroom pressures, and shows you that you do not always have to come to school just to listen to lectures.

The more involved you become, the more chances you will have to give back to your school, to show your love and support of a college that goes out of its way to make you feel special on a daily basis. On Friday I was OCC, tomorrow it could be you.

Dovid Nissan Roetter, a native of Oak Park, Mich., is pursuing an Associate in Liberal Arts degree at OCC. He plans to graduate in December 2015 and pursue a bachelor’s degree in Journalism & Communication. You can read more of his writings at http://www.asoulspeakstoyou.blogspot.com/

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OCC Students Celebrate Detroit College Signing Day Alongside Michelle Obama

Oakland Community College students celebrated Detroit’s First College Signing Day, featuring speeches by First Lady Michelle Obama, University of Michigan football Coach Jim Harbaugh and Grammy winning singer Ciara.

But the real spotlight was on thousands of college-bound students who proudly proclaimed their college choices to thousands of attendees, including 40 students who will attend OCC.

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“Take this in,” Obama told students as she took the stage. “This is for you. All those nights you stayed up studying, all the tests, all the essays, all the applications and financial aid forms you had to fill out, think about all the times you thought you weren’t going to make it, the times you questioned whether you were smart enough, whether you deserved this moment. You made it and we are so proud of you.”

She explained the purpose of signing day.

“Signing day shouldn’t be just for elite athletes but for people like you who have worked so hard. Shining a light on academic achievements is something we don’t do enough of.”

She reminded students it’s not going to be easy.

“When I showed up at Princeton, I was totally overwhelmed,” she said. “I  didn’t have any friends. I didn’t even have the right size sheets for my bed. So naturally, at first, I was pretty lonely.”

She told students to have a plan, talk to advisors, get tutors, seek out professors when they do not understand, be on top of their financial aid, do extracurricular activities, do internships, ask for help when they need it.

“I want to be very clear that getting into college is not the ultimate goal, the ultimate goal is to graduate and get that degree,” she said.

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Judge who led Detroit through bankruptcy is OCC’s commencement speaker

Detroit bankruptcy Judge Steven W. Rhodes is Oakland Community College’s Class of 2015 commencement speaker.bilde

Rhodes presided over the city of Detroit’s bankruptcy, the biggest municipal bankruptcy in U.S. history. In February, together with Detroit Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr, Rhodes was named Crain’s Newsmaker of the Year. He is also a featured speaker at the Detroit Regional Chamber’s 2015 Mackinac Policy Conference on Mackinac Island in May.

Celebrating its 50th anniversary, the College’s commencement ceremony is at 2 p.m., Saturday, May 30, 2015, at the Palace of Auburn Hills. More than 2,000 students are expected to graduate.

“Rhodes is a skilled, thoughtful leader who set the bar high for all involved during Detroit’s bankruptcy proceedings, taking into account the lives of thousands of people and institutions with every decision he made,” said OCC Chancellor Timothy R. Meyer. “There are many lessons our students can glean from this chapter of this region’s history.”

A graduate of Purdue University and the University of Michigan Law School, Rhodes became a federal bankruptcy judge in 1985. He served on the Bankruptcy Appellate Panel for the Sixth Circuit Court, as law clerk for District Judge John Feikens, as Assistant U.S. Attorney and as U.S. Magistrate. Prior to his time on the bench, he worked in private practice and was an assistant federal prosecutor. Rhodes began his legal career in 1973.

Rhodes is a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy and a former associate editor of the American Bankruptcy Law Journal and the Michigan Law Review.

With five campuses throughout Oakland County, Oakland Community College is celebrating its 50th year. OCC is the largest community college in Michigan and the 25th largest in the nation. It offers degrees and certificates in approximately 100 career fields and university transfer degrees in business, science and the liberal arts. Nearly a million students have enrolled in the college since it opened in 1965. To learn more about OCC, visit www.oaklandcc.edu.

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