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Greenfield Community College

More state grants for GCC

Will allow for GCC to expand online courses, connect students with regional STEM program

GREENFIELD — There will soon be even more Greenfield Community College online courses, faculty time will increase in the college’s department-focused tutoring studios and a handful of students will be able to take advantage of a regional science and technology enrichment program.

The college learned this week that it received $132,000 in state grants to continue work started by grants awarded in past years. The state allocated $7.5 million this year from its Performance Incentive Fund to pay for 14 new public college projects and continue paying for 47 ongoing projects.

Last year’s $179,000 grant allowed GCC to develop new online courses and train faculty on how to teach them. The college now offers an entire program (associate’s degree in liberal arts) online and students enrolled for 1,570 online courses last year compared to 1,062 the year before. GCC earned $92,000 this year to continue this work.

And in 2011, GCC received a $122,000 grant that allowed them to boost faculty tutoring time. The college received $40,000 more this year for this program.

Sheryl Hruska, the college’s chief academic and student affairs officer, said that staff were just in the beginning stages of assessing how the money would be spent this year for these two projects.

In a separate $239,000 grant given to the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, a handful of GCC students will have access to a regional program that promotes career readiness in science, technology, engineering and math.

The grant pays for the “413 STEM Ready Academy” — a nine-day intensive orientation and residential program hosted at MCLA during the summer. The program will host sessions for GCC, MCLA, Berkshire Community College and Holyoke Community College and will be available for recently graduated high school seniors and currently enrolled community college students.

At the summer session, students will learn more about the fields and related career opportunities. Enrichment courses will then be offered at each of the campuses to continue that training during the year.

Hruska said she wasn’t sure how many students would be able to carve the time out of their family and work schedules to participate in the summer program. But the campus component of the program will be available to additional GCC students, she said.

MCLA has begun conversations with each of the campuses about the program and more details will be available in the coming weeks, she said.

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