GRCC names provost


Laurie Chesley. Courtesy GRCC

The new provost at Grand Rapids Community College is an experienced administrator and educator.

GRCC said last week that it has named Laurie Chesley, who was GRCC’s dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, to the role of provost and EVP of academic and student affairs.

Chesley reports directly to Steven Ender, president, GRCC.

She replaces Patti Trepkowski, who had been filling the provost position on an interim basis.

The role

Chesley said that the provost is the college’s chief academic officer and has oversight of academic affairs, student affairs, grants, institutional research and planning.

She will also oversee strategic planning and guidance related to teaching, learning and student support programs.

As provost, Chesley hopes to improve student advising, the "personal connections we make with students" and the "pathways our students follow throughout the institution, so they are very clear and seamless."

Chesley added that she's "incredibly excited, eager to get to work and also, at the same time, humbled by the responsibility that has been given me."

Ender said selecting Chesley as the provost is a wise use of her talents and abilities.

“Her character, courage and integrity will help GRCC move ahead into its next century,” Ender said.

Higher education background

Chesley joined GRCC in 2010 as the dean of GRCC’s School or Arts and Sciences and has years of administrative leadership and teaching experience.

Prior to working at GRCC, Chesley served as the dean of humanities at Montgomery County Community College, assistant VP of academic affairs at Ferris State University and interim dean of learning at Northwestern Michigan College. She’s also taught English at higher education institutions, including community colleges.

With both an administrative and teaching background, Chesley said she has gained broad insight from the experiences.

“I have been fortunate enough to be involved in a number of initiatives across the areas that I now oversee that have given me some insight into their work and their challenges,” Chesley said. “I have also taught for about 14 years, so I intimately know the work of the faculty.”

Chesley earned her doctorate in English from the University of Notre Dame.

Over the years, she’s won several honors: National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development Faculty Excellence Award; National Chair Academy Regional Teaching and Learning Leadership Award; and Michigan Chapter of the American Council of Education Network Distinguished Woman in Higher Education Leadership Award.

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