2012 St. Clair County Community College

Visual and Performing Arts Campus and Community Expansion
2012 LAND Institutional Excellence Award
St. Clair County Community College
Dr. Kevin Pollock, President

Name of Team and Participants

  • Dr. Kevin Pollock, President-Arts Vision leadership
  • Shawn Starkey, Executive Director of Public Relations, Marketing and Legislative Affairs
  • Celeste Skalnek, Executive Coordinator, Arts Calendar for Campus and Community
  • Rebekah Brown, Executive Coordinator, Curriculum and Programming
  • Karen Jezewski, Administrative Assistant, Faculty Coordinator, Community Galleries, Receptions
  • Tom Kephart, Adjunct Theater Faculty
  • Stewart Reed, Adjunct Theater Faculty
  • Mary Hackstock, Adjunct Music Faculty
  • Cheryl Kaski, Adjunct Music Faculty
  • Eric Senkmajer, Adjunct Music Faculty
  • Holly Pennington, Adjunct Fine and Graphic Arts Faculty
  • Alfred Gay, Adjunct Fine and Graphic Arts Faculty
  • Dwayne Croff, Adjunct Fine and Graphic Arts Faculty
  • Sarah Slobodzian, Adjunct Fine and Graphic Arts Faculty
  • Jill Rowan, Adjunct Fine and Graphic Arts Faculty

Rationale for Nomination

In August 2011,at a college-wide staff and faculty presentation, SC4 President Dr. Kevin Pollock announced that despite the enormous challenges that all institutions would be facing, a major initiative for St. Clair County Community College would be to expand the role of the arts and serve as the cultural center for the Blue water area. Although only one full-time faculty member and the remaining ten faculty members were all adjunct instructors, college leadership added interim positions to develop initiatives and programming, and began its journey-one that has been creative, challenging,and deeply collaborative. The entire Visual and Performing Arts faculty supported this focus on making arts even more integral to the campus and community and strengthening offerings for students. After participating in an off-campus retreat, faculty created new offerings to be held on Fridays, such as stage combat and professional speaking and presence. An instructor from the clay program and a theater instructor/director prepared new courses that were approved by the curriculum committee. As faculty worked together on projects extending past their teaching responsibilities, including adding a summer enrichment arts camp for K-12, the new Coordinators met together and worked with the Executive Director of Public Relations, Marketing, and Legislative Affairs to plan enhanced events, create added awareness, and boost community and campus enthusiasm for SC4 arts.

The Art and Computer Design faculty reviewed its programs and realigned sequences to improve student success, the music faculty worked to bring in additional donations of instruments and monetary resources and continued mentoring students through the music club and other activities including the blue water area’s premiere series of free noon concerts. This year, the arts calendar was increased by a third and events and programs were supported by a Coordinator who succeeded in bringing in two local grants and two Michigan Humanities Council Grants to fund additional free workshops and events for students and the community. The arts calendar and ticket purchases are now available online. Recently, a clay instructor was selected to prepare a sculpture installation for the College’s new Innovation Center.

Additional expansion activities have included professional development workshops for K-12 arts teachers, participation in Port Huron’s Arts Hop, Hands-on-Art and Blue Water Film Festival. This summer the College will link our new event, Jazz and Art on the River with the Port Huron Mackinac race and Blue Water Festival. Our theater instructors regularly sit on community theater boards and perform in local productions such as Will on the Water, a small Shakespeare festival produced by the local company, Enter Stage Right. The faculty and coordinators are actively engaged in mentoring current students and strengtheni ng transfer paths. Future plans include continuing to expand offerings, bringing additional new courses to the curriculum committee for review, establishing additional transfer paths and Associate degree emphasis in Fine and performing Arts, providing additional workshops designed to attract high school students to SC4, and enriching current programming with seminars, lectures or short term arts classes that are not offered elsewhere.

Change is often an uneasy process but at its core reflects the very heart of the creative process, as Picasso notes, “I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” The arts faculty and leadership at St. Clair County Community College are engaged in the process of learning,creativity, and ultimately, transformation. Please consider awarding this team the Institutional Leadership award as they are providing a rich experience for the campus and community and enhancing the future for their students.