New Campus Supports Mid-Michigan’s East Side
For several years, LCC has offered courses in a variety of satellite locations on the east side of the market it serves—Haslett, Okemos, Mason, East Lansing and others. In the fall of 2005, taking a cue from the school of synergy, it opened LCC East, located, appropriately enough, on the east side of Hagadorn Road across from Michigan State University. Here, students from teen to senior citizen can choose from courses ranging from accounting to watercolor painting.
A few years ago, Brian Jackson, LCC East coordinator, left the world of working on political campaigns for public relations at LCC. “Rather than promoting a candidate,” he said, he promotes the college. “It’s an easier sell.” And he’s our tour guide of the East “Campus,” a two-story building comprised of 13 classrooms, a couple of common areas with a coffee shop feel, several private offices, and lots of free adjacent parking. “The strategic plan is to have these learning centers across the mid-Michigan area,” Jackson said. Although LCC has a presence in St. Johns and Howell, “We wanted to provide service within the tax district.” This district is comprised of 15 school districts. “People who live in the school district pay a millage,” he explained, “And we wanted to look … at how we could serve those on the east side of our tax district better.”
Jackson said that LCC has always had a very strong relationship with Michigan State University. In fact, some instructors teach at both institutions. They work collaboratively to serve the citizens of mid-Michigan in order to help them complete their academic goals. In Jackson’s words, this is critical, because, “We need more students to be completers. We need more people to get those job skills in order for our economy to improve. And we see ourselves as a key partner in that.”
Of the 40,000 students who attend MSU, hundreds are dual-enrolled at MSU and LCC, and Jackson said LCC is seeking ways to customize instruction, increasing that number and ultimately benefiting the state by increasing the number of graduates. Besides servicing MSU students, Jackson said LCC East also caters to “MSU staff looking for retraining [and] people getting into grad school who need [for instance] that one stats class. So it’s not just an undergrad audience.”
In order to keep enrollment climbing (more on those figures in a minute), Jackson said, “I’m talking with the high school counselors about what they are hearing and looking for, and getting out to the community, to get involved with different groups, to really make sure we’re providing the classes that the community needs.”
Jackson believes that the East Campus is “also going to reach more prodigy-type high school students, being so close to … Okemos, East Lansing, Williamston and Haslett.” Case in point: “We had a 14-year-old already take the assessment that has her skip the first level of college writing.” Add this class of student to the mix, and you have a diverse group of students, many who could potentially be working on the same project together. Jackson said that, “Compared to the other two centers [in Howell and St. Johns] we have a larger return-to-learn population.” The average age of an LCC student is 28, although Jackson was quick to point out that that doesn’t mean there are a lot of students that age. It’s the combination of older (50+) and 18- to 21-year-olds that make the median age 28.
The East Campus features classrooms with the latest in instructional technology, including three-dimensional digital imaging devices that would make the Jetsons jealous. Jackson said classes start at 8 a.m. and run through 9 p.m., providing the flexibility that the student body demands. And that body is on the increase, from about 200 students (500 enrollments) in fall 2005 to about 1,000 students (1,700 enrollments) for winter term 2007. With growth like that, and a capacity of 2,000 bodies, the question begs asking: What happens when LCC East runs out of space? “My job,” Jackson said with a smile, “is to fill it up and let others decide where we go from there.”
One of those people is Jackson’s boss, Jean Morciglio, who did a great deal of research before putting the plan that would become LCC East together. For instance, she found that when the Clinton County facilities consolidated, enrollment doubled. Following this lead, classes offered at East Lansing and Okemos high schools, together with courses at the Hannah Center and Senior Center in East Lansing, were brought to the East Campus, along with a host of new ones. Add in student advisers, tutors, assessment tests, and places to study and you get a “much higher quality learning experience” in a collegiate atmosphere.
For the business community, LCC East provides tools such as small business technology development center seminars, and one-day computer seminars, along with basic courses to help people complete their degree, or just stay up with the times.
Jackson summed up the LCC East experience this way: “We have a track record of excellent instruction, small class sizes, and personalized service that has served this community extremely well and will continue to do so. LCC East provides that personalized service for those who work or live in those east side communities. That’s what LCC East provides.”
It sounds like all they’re missing is a football team.
Author: Jack Schaberg
Photography: Terri Schaberg
LCC East Campus
Brian Jackson, LCC East Coordinator
2827 Eyde Parkway, East Lansing
517-483-9307 • www.lcc.edu/east