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Posted on Sat, Oct 22, 2011 : 3:14 p.m.

WCC building open house Sunday to show off renovations

By Staff

The public is invited to attend an open house Sunday at Washtenaw Community College to celebrate the renovations and renaming of the college's Occupational Education building.

That afternoon it will be renamed the Larry L. Whitworth Occupational Education Building, in honor of WCC's recently retired president, according to a news release.

The open house is from 3-4 p.m. Sunday at the college, and a brief ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony for guests precedes the event.

Self-guided tours will highlight some environmentally friendly changes to the building, including rubber flooring and carpeting made from recycled materials, drinking fountains that accommodate refilling water bottles, lighting sensors, LED lights and rooftop solar panels.


Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Oct 23, 2011 : 12:24 a.m.

"They should have named the fitness center after him; he certainly didn't do any favors to the occupational education programs at WCC while he was there." Really? Vast sums of money were spend upgrading the OE and TI buildings. New programs were created in Motorcycle and Broadcasting. Programs in Auto Service and Auto Body repair saw huge investments in new equipment The CIS department has developed some of the area's most up-to-date instructional programs in the areas of computer security and networking The Visual Arts Department (an Oc Program) has one of the state's most modern facilities The Criminal Justice program is one of the best in the state. The number of full-time occupational faculty went up while that of gen ed went down, meaning that gen ed students, who make up the vast majority of WCC students, were far less likely to have a full-time faculty teaching their classes than were occupational students. Yeah, that's definitely giving short shrift to the occupational programs. Good Night and Good Luck

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 1:26 p.m.

I tire of this. After this, I surrender the field. &quot;I notice that you didn't mention anything about the college's budget deficit. How's that coming along?&quot; I did address the deficit. You don't like the answer because it does not fit into your ax-grinding agenda. Fine. Yes, the numbers were for 150% of &quot;expected&quot; time. The reason that is the measure is that, as of 2000, 62% of all college students take more than 4 years to finish their degrees, and 38% take more than five years. Source: <a href="" rel='nofollow'>;CONTENTID=7328&amp;TEMPLATE=/CM/ContentDisplay.cfm</a> An additional reason for WCC's low rate (and that of most CCs)--already mentioned but apparently ignored by you because you can't blame Larry for it--is the very high rate of students who enter WCC needing remediation. In other words, WCC has to do what parents and the K-12 system have failed to do before the student can even begin to undertake a degree program. This is not a recipe for on-time degree completion. But, since this is not Larry's fault, no one expects you to acknowledge this reality. As for your description of new federal financial aid rules: Wrong. Federal aid is available to those students enrolled in degree or GAINFUL EMPLOYMENT CERTIFICATE PROGRAMS of at least 16 credits—and the vast majority of certificate programs consist of at least 16 credits. Maybe if you gave the registrar a call, like I did, you'd know this. Yes, enrollment dropped in the fall--as they did at CCs across the state--to levels of two years ago--a time when there was a huge and unpredicted increase in enrollments. And it is telling that you appear to revel in that news. Gee, ya don't think it has anything to do with the ending of that part of the Obama stimulus that paid people to go to CCs, do ya? Naaaaaaaaaaah. Must be Larry's fault. But I'm certain that restarting the interior design program will fix that. LOLOLOLOLOLOL GN&amp;GL


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 12:29 p.m.

Actually, if YOU try reading my sources, the graduation rate you cite is the 150% rate, meaning the rate for students who didn't complete their degrees on-time, but eventually graduated. The two-year graduation rate was FOUR PERCENT in 2006 and SIX PERCENT in 2007. You're right. The figures don't include certificates, but that's only because certificates don't actually represent COLLEGE DEGREES, so they aren't counted in the graduation rate. I'm glad your expectations for construction are so high, but you'll have to admit that the industry's performance over than past 5 years has been less than stellar. Of course, if all you looked at was the campus construction, you might have missed that. Remind me, how much were the over-runs on those projects again? As for the federal financial aid requirements, non-degree (i.e. certificate) students are NOT eligible for federal financial aid, except in very narrow circumstances. To be eligible for federal financial aid as a non-degree student, the student must: plan to be enrolled in preparatory courses necessary for acceptance into a degree program (limited to one consecutive twelve-month period) OR plan to be enrolled in a required teaching or counseling certification program plan to be enrolled at least half-time (Graduate level students: 4 credit hours during Fall or Spring or 3 credit hours during Summer; Undergraduates: 6 credit hours during any single semester) I know we've covered this before, but you seem to be stuck on certificate programs. They count as NON-DEGREE programs, therefore the students in them aren't eligible for federal financial aid. (By the way, did you notice the big drop in enrollment for the Fall semester? What was it? 10%? That's quite a tumble, isn't it?) I notice that you didn't mention anything about the college's budget deficit. How's that coming along? Oh, wait. We still have it.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 2:15 a.m.

2nd bar graph on your site--overall graduation rate = 15% Transfer rate = 26% This, of course, does not count the certificate programs you so despise. And when one considers the large number of students who enter WCC needing remediation in either reading and/or writing and/or math (last I saw, in excess of 60%--no link--sorry), these numbers ought not surprise. Students who &quot;make it&quot; through K-12 and who are still reading and writing at a 7th grade level are not likely to graduate from WCC or from any other community college. I expect construction to bounce back far more quickly than will &quot;interior design.&quot; &quot;As for the certificate programs, all of those will need to be reworked back into actual degree programs due to changes in the federal financial aid rules which will no longer pay for cheapie, worthless certificate programs . . . &quot; Nope. Not true at all. What the federal gov't no longer will pay for (as an example) is someone getting a certificate in welding and taking a guitar class. &quot;. . . which the county employers made clear that they didn't want.&quot; Really? You, of course, have evidence of this? When did they en masse make their displeasure known? The HCL was unusually critical of ONE administrator, and they are gone. Overall, the school received a 10-year clean bill of health--no subsequent reports due. It is a result that almost never happens, and did not happen under the previous administration (Yes, the '99 visit happened at the start of President Whitworth 's second year and, as such, must be seen mostly as a product of his predecessor) Just keep grindin' that ax. Oh, and try reading your sources. GN&amp;GL


Mon, Oct 24, 2011 : 12:34 a.m.

Graduation rate source: National Center for Education Statistics <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> 4% in 2006 6% in 2007 Yes, the graduation rate was THAT low. The deficit is an issue, and it's a big issue. It's something the college didn't have before Larry got here, but it's something we the taxpayers will be dealing with long after he's gone, unless he's planning on taking the deficit with him. The college administration was for many years both academically and financially responsible. Now, not so much. Would the college even have a deficit if every single building on campus hadn't been renovated? Larry's tenure has been characterized by the expenditure of an enormous amount of cash on building renovation, not educational leadership. You keep assuming that I have an axe to grind. I don't, other than that the community college is an excellent resource for this area and it's been badly abused by short-sighted decision-making on the part of the administration and the Board that refused to take into account the economic realities of Michigan. Construction technology amid a housing collapse that eclipses even the Great Depression. Really? As for the certificate programs, all of those will need to be reworked back into actual degree programs due to changes in the federal financial aid rules which will no longer pay for cheapie, worthless certificate programs - which the county employers made clear that they didn't want. You're not being completely forthright with what the NCA accreditation committee found regarding WCC. It wasn't all sunshine and rainbows. In fact, they were unusually critical of the administration in certain areas. The vast majority of the college's students aren't transfer students. They take classes with no clear intention of either transferring credits to a four-year institution or earning a degree. I understand WCC far better than you're willing to admit.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Oct 23, 2011 : 10:17 p.m.

Again, if the measure of the success in oc, in the middle of the worst economic downturn in 70 years, is whether or not there are jobs for oc students, every oc program at the school outside of culinary and medical would be shut down. &quot;The College isn't in better shape than it was 12 years ago; it simply isn't.&quot; Says you. NCA/HCL would disagree. As for the deficit--keep on harpin' on that. Just shows you're more interested in grinding your ax than you are in understanding the college's funding stream and what has happened to it over the last 5 years. Degree programs decimated? Funny, that's not what NCA/HCL thought. As for graduation rate 1) cite your source, please. Doubt it's that low; and 2) the vast majority of the college's students are transfer students. Most could care less if they get a degree. The goal is to get 60 credit hours that state institutions will accept, whether or not those 60 meet graduation requirements. You really don't understand what goes on at WCC, do you? Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Oct 23, 2011 : 7:43 p.m.

I'm quite well aware of where the College's money comes from. You're ignoring the fact that Larry's pet academic programs have largely been failures. What could the college have done with all of the money that got wasted on construction technology during the recession? The satellite campuses? The fitness center? The low quality workmanship on the T&amp;I building reconstruction? The huge pricetag for the &quot;energy saving&quot; changes to the OE Building? Every construction project that was undertaken on his watch came in late and over-budget. Perhaps that's partially responsible for the deficit, no? The college went on a big renovation spree under Larry and spent a lot of cash, but that cash hasn't translated into more graduates or better academic programs. Just more expensive buildings. And let's not forget about the ill-advised and rather lavish board retreats. The College isn't in better shape than it was 12 years ago; it simply isn't. The College didn't have a deficit 12 years ago. Now it does. Degree programs were decimated and replaced with worthless certificate programs. The college's graduation rate dropped to 4%. Perhaps that's all acceptable to the people you know, but it doesn't pass muster with anyone I know.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Oct 23, 2011 : 6:24 p.m.

You, apparently, are not familiar with the economics of the college. Let me *educate* you: 1) Tuition pays about 28% of the college's budget. Hence, for every student who enrolls, 72% of the cost of their education is paid by someone else. 2) That &quot;someone else&quot; is the county taxpayer via property taxes. Property values, in case you haven't noticed, have declined significantly over the past few years, and hence revenues (down 7% this year) 3) After property taxes, the single largest source of revenue is from the state, which has also declined significantly (down 3% this year) So let's review, shall we? Enrollment up, 72% of which is subsidized by taxpayers. Tax revenues--72% of college revue--substantially down (10% this year). Result: deficits. As for interior design: LOLOLOLOL Lots of jobs there. As for what other people think: I know no one who understands the college's operations who thinks WCC isn't in better shape than it was 12 years ago--that is, except for those who have an ax to grind because, say, the interior design program got cut (LOL). But for those who want an objective measure: compare the NCA report of 1999 with that of the HCL of 2009. By EVERY objective measure in those reports, the college is in better shape now than it was then. But, I guess, folks with an ax to grind know more. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Oct 23, 2011 : 5:14 p.m.

It's very difficult to say that a program like Interior Design had declining enrollment when it only operated for one year and its numbers were fine. Construction Technologies, on the other had, had low numbers and an even lower completion rate. Of course, construction's not really the program you want to push during a recession, is it? Yet the college threw good money after bad on it for a decade. If you're familiar with the College's budget then perhaps you'll share your wisdom on the deficits the College has been experiencing. Odd, given that enrollment was at a record high just last year, don't you think? You won't find too many people who will agree with the statement that Larry left the college in better shape than he found it in. I'm simply saying that the Board of Trustees should have put Larry's name on the building he rammed down everyone's throats.

Edward R Murrow's Ghost

Sun, Oct 23, 2011 : 4:51 a.m.

CAD and Interior Design?? Really?? Those programs were eliminated because they had steeply declining enrollments. Certificate programs do not mean that the student cannot get a degree. They are a way for students who have no interest in getting degrees to receive the training they need to get a job. Don't like the spending on construction and broadcasting? Sounds to me like you have a bone to pick with an area that got cut. If the recession were driving the train about which Oc programs were cut, they'd all be down to bare bones right now. But I do hear there's lots of hiring going on in the interior design field. LOL. CIS and CJ not occupational? That's rich. WCC has two occupational divisions. Both programs are in one of them. Results: awarding winning programs in welding, auto body, and auto service? Yes, I'm very familiar with the budget. Thanks for asking. Good Night and Good Luck


Sun, Oct 23, 2011 : 3:37 a.m.

Vast sums of money spent on buildings simply don't equate to program improvements. Degree programs were replaced with certificates. (This just in: employers don't want certificates. They want degrees.) Viable degree programs were eliminated. (CAD and Interior Design to name a couple, but there are several more that had good enrollment numbers that are no longer available. If you count them up, you'll find that those that were eliminated were in .... ta-da... Occupational Education!) Vast sums of money were wasted on programs that didn't create any jobs. Construction Technology, for example. And in a deep recession, no less. (What was the justification for even creating that program?) You can lump Larry's &quot;film school&quot; in this category, because as you know, broadcasting is a major source of employment these days.) CIS and criminal justice - not occupational education programs, and again, facilities don't equate to improved curriculum, improved degrees and improved job placement. Degrees do, but Larry's &quot;contribution&quot; to occupational education was to replace real, honest-to-goodness degrees with certificates. Vast sums of money have been spent on *certain* auto programs but again, stop looking at the publicity and start looking at the RESULTS. Speaking of all of the facilities improvements (you know, the ones that didn't translate into programmatic improvements, increased graduation rates and increased job placements), have you looked at the college's budget lately?


Sat, Oct 22, 2011 : 7:59 p.m.

They should have named the fitness center after him; he certainly didn't do any favors to the occupational education programs at WCC while he was there.

Dr. Vag

Sat, Oct 22, 2011 : 7:43 p.m.

3-4pm? I'll need at least 45 minutes to find a parking space.