March 13, 2019 GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — Grand Rapids Community College Provost Laurie Chesley was named president of Central Oregon Community College by its board of directors on Tuesday.
Chesley has been GRCC’s provost and executive vice president for academic and student affairs since 2014 and has been with the college since 2005. She assumes her new role on July 1.
“I’m excited Provost Chesley has this wonderful opportunity, and we will miss her leadership,” GRCC President Bill Pink said. “Throughout her time here, Provost kept the focus on student success, whether they were looking at gaining credits to transfer to a four-year university or building career skills. She is an outstanding educator, and an even better person.”
Chesley taught English at a variety of higher education institutions for 14 years, including five years at Northwestern Michigan College. She has 18 years of administrative experience, including as interim dean of learning at Northwestern Michigan, assistant vice president for academic affairs at Ferris State University, dean of humanities at Montgomery County Community College in Pennsylvania, and then associate dean and dean of Arts and Sciences at GRCC.
“All of my life, beginning in the earliest grades, I have loved ‘going to school,’ and I have spent my entire career in higher education, where I get to do just that,” Chesley said.
“By far, the most rewarding part of my job has been and always will be helping other people -- students, faculty, and staff -- to develop their talents and realize their potential. I feel honored and grateful to have spent these years at an institution where faculty and staff are so committed to student success.”
While at GRCC, Chesley oversaw a number of initiatives designed to get students off to a strong start, help them persist on a clear academic pathway, and successfully move on to their next step, a career or transfer to a four-year institution. She also led the effort to negotiate and implement a new, merit-based faculty evaluation system.
Chesley will be the sixth president in COCC’s 70-year history. She will follow Shirley Metcalf, who has served in the role since August 2014.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming Dr. Chesley to Central Oregon and to this college,” said Laura Craska Cooper, chair of the COCC board of directors. “We were so impressed with her passion for the mission of community colleges and our role of promoting student success and community workforce development.”
Located in Bend, Ore., COCC has about 8,700 students in credit courses and 7,900 in noncredit offerings.
Grand Rapids Community College has been offering educational opportunities in West Michigan for more than 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, and at several locations throughout Kent and Ottawa counties, as well as through distance learning.