Wednesday, August 10, 2022

New LCC trustee shares plans

July 19, 2001
Todd Heywood, left, speaks with compostion junior Chad Rehmann, during a rehersal of Heywood —

On July 30, Lansing Community College Trustees Todd Heywood, Kathy “K.P.” Pelleran and Mark Canady will convene with their fellow trustees.

The three ran unopposed when the three spots became open in April. Both Pelleran and Canady had served on the board previously.

But Heywood, a 1993 LCC graduate and co-director of two Lansing theater troupes - Outing Productions and Sunsets with Shakespeare - is new to the board.

A professional actor, he has just finished a production of “Folles” and is currently working with his two companies on “Romeo and Juliet” for August.

In his acceptance speech for the position, Heywood noted several proposals, which included the slowdown of advancement of the Virtual College programming, community meetings in all 14 school districts and a volunteer requirement for graduation to encourage mentoring in the area schools.

“The way I see it working it would be one hour a week for a semester,” he said.

The community service would last all semester for a student. For a two-year degree, a student would have to complete 90 hours of service to graduate, he said.

The service, Heywood said, could be up to each individual but ideally the students would work with K-12 students.

“We know for a fact that kids who are mentored do better than kids who are not,” he said.

However, relations between Heywood and the board have been strained in the past.

He filed suit against the trustees in 2000, accusing four members of holding a meeting in secret to discuss the status of then-LCC President James Anderton IV. Heywood also protested academic cuts that eliminated two programs and suspended three.

But Trustee Brian Jefferies said he is open to the ideas his new colleague will bring to the table.

“I’m not sure what his proposals or programs are,” he said. “But I congratulate him and he will have equal access and input in the meetings.”

But students may have some mixed feelings about the requirement.

Heather Buckley, a French sophomore at LCC, said the idea is overdue.

“I think it is incredibly positive,” she said. “I think it is important for people to get involved with their communities.”

However, Kevin Kitchel said he finds the idea unrealistic.

“Students don’t want to take a math class, let alone community service,” the LCC audio engineering sophomore said.

While Heywood is uncertain of the popularity of his proposal, Pelleran said her past appointment with the board led to many successes for her.

Picking a new president, dealing with wage and hour issues for faculty and staff and exploring present facilities and maintenance for the long haul were some of the issues she wanted to accomplish.

“We picked a new president, and I sat on the committee to look into needs for the next five to 10 years,” she said.

The committee, she said, looked into what improvements are needed so rooms have the proper technological advances, comfort for students and faculty, safety and practicality.

“We have looked at those and know that we have to have a funding source, and we looked into our needs and facilities,” she said.

One possible source for the funding, Pelleran said, might be a possible millage.

“Having served for 12 months (on the board) myself, I can assure you that myself and my colleagues have only the best intentions for students and Lansing Community College.”

Pelleran also serves as director for the Michigan chapter of the Fight Crime: Invest in Kids organization. The group works to fight crime by trying to prevent children from becoming criminals in the first place.

Trustee Olga Holden said she is optimistic about the meeting. Pelleran and Canady, she said, worked well with the board in the past.

“They have brought great ideas to the table and if there is an issue they are unsure of, they ask questions,” she said.

Holden said any new issues brought up by Heywood will have to be discussed by the board.

“It is our hope to work as a team,” she said. “And we are welcoming Todd to the team.”

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