Laurie Chesley named GRCC provost



Leah Nixon

Director of Communications


Dec. 10, 2014 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. The dean of Grand Rapids Community College's School of Arts and Sciences will step into the role of provost.

President Dr. Steven C. Ender announced the selection of Laurie Chesley this morning.

“Having Dean Chesley move to the provost position is a wise use of her talents and abilities," Ender said. "Her character, courage and integrity will help GRCC move ahead into its next century."

GRCC’s provost-executive vice president for academic and student affairs reports directly to the president and serves as the chief academic officer, with major responsibilities for strategic planning and guiding all aspects of teaching and learning in support of student success.

"This is a great time to be at GRCC, and I'm honored and humbled to be named the next provost," Chesley said. "I appreciate the opportunity that my colleagues and President Ender have given me to serve the institution in this capacity."

Chesley has 14 years of administrative leadership experience that includes positions as dean of humanities at Montgomery County Community College, assistant vice president for academic affairs at Ferris State University, and interim dean for learning at Northwestern Michigan College. She became dean of GRCC's School of Arts and Sciences in 2010. Before moving into administration, she taught English at higher education institutions, including community colleges, for 14 years. She still teaches occasionally, most recently in Ferris' Doctorate of Community College Leadership Program.

Chesley, who earned her doctorate in English from the University of Notre Dame, has received the National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Faculty Excellence Award, the National Chair Academy Regional Teaching and Learning Leadership Award, and the Michigan Chapter of the American Council of Education Network’s Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award. She is a graduate of the Michigan Academy for Leadership Training and Development and the AACC Future Leaders Institute. She has given presentations at numerous conferences, including the International Chair Academy and the League for Innovation in the Community College. She also has six years of experience as an Academic Quality Improvement Program peer reviewer with the Higher Learning Commission.

AGB Search was hired this spring to assist GRCC with filling the provost position, which opened in May when Gilda Gely became Aquinas College’s provost. The consulting firm met with GRCC’s search committee and with focus groups throughout the campus. Chesley and the two other semifinalists -- Tony D. Hawkins, instructional dean of humanities at Montgomery College in Maryland, and Bill Pink, vice president of academic affairs at Oklahoma State University -- then participated in open forums and met with various campus groups this month.

Patti Trepkowski, GRCC associate provost and dean of instructional support and interdisciplinary studies, has been filling the provost position on an interim basis.

Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for 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, as well as at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties.