LCC University Center gets overhaul - The Lookout - LCC's Independent Student Newspaper Since 1959
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LCC University Center gets overhaul

University Center officials

Leaders of the newly reworked LCC University Center are (from left) Transfer Specialist Luke Richards, Transfer Center Director Patty Spagnuolo and Systems and Operations Manager Graham Berke.   Photo by Mallory Stiles

Mallory Stiles

By Mallory Stiles
Editor in Chief

One of the reasons that LCC is ranked amongst some of the best community colleges in the nation is because there are always improvements being made. Even if everything is working fine, LCC strives for better.

This time, the project is a complete restructuring of the University Center, which was formally located on the corner of Shiawassee Street and North Capitol Avenue. The new University Center is downstairs in the Gannon Building, in room 1225.

There will still be representatives from four colleges there to speak directly with students. However, with classes no longer hosted in the same location, there will be less foot traffic and less of a need for space.

While Central Michigan, Siena Heights, Northwood and University of Michigan-Flint are all highly respected schools that allow up to 90 LCC credits to be taken prior to transferring (known as a 3 in 1 program), LCC also has a great deal of students who want to go elsewhere.

So, to meet that need, LCC officials chose to expand, and create an entirely new center known as the Transfer Center, which is now temporarily located in room 2204 of the Gannon Building.

The director of the Transfer Center is Patty Spagnuolo. She is in charge of projects, promotion and working directly with schools to development articulation agreements.

She is also on several boards, including the Capital Area College Access Network Board and the 3CR, which is LCC’s coalition for college and career readiness. Spagnuolo said these board helps her to best know what students need.

“It wasn’t just a location change, but a model change,” Spagnuolo said. “Now, we are broadening the scope. … On June 30, all of our current partnerships will expire, but we look at it as a chance for every school to become a partner.”

While Spagnuolo works tirelessly to give students every option contractually, down the hall, Transfer Specialist Luke Richards works more directly with students to prepare them for the next step.

“I do more of the one-on-one, individual transfer planning and exploration,” Richards said. “A student will come to me and we will evaluate where they are. From there, I help them get to where they want, based on their needs in their current situation.

“I look at course equivalencies, connect them with admission reps at four-year (colleges) and try to align curriculums. I educate students on the transfer process, help them advocate for themselves and connect them with the LCC resources that can enhance their transfer experience.”

Last, but not least, Systems and Operations Manager Graham Berke completes the team. He is constantly looking for new ways to connect students to the people they need to speak with by any means necessary.

“Right now, I am working on bridging the gap with students and WebEx,” Graham said. “If a student wants to talk to someone on WebEx across the state or even across the country, we have the technology necessary here in the Transfer Center.”

To Graham, it’s just important that the technology reflects the same level of consideration that LCC is known for.

“I build all of our systems around that same culture of care,” he said.

Graham would also like to remind students that they often have representatives from colleges either in a booth outside the office, or possibly in the new Transfer Center itself, so a stop-in anytime is always welcome.

If students do stop in, however, it is best to come prepared. Having a vague idea of where one wants to go and what they want to do is a good place to start. It is also suggested that students fill out the transfer success form accessible online and have access to unofficial transcripts.

If students cannot check every item on the list, a stop-in is still welcome. All three of these employees are LCC graduates and transfer students themselves who are eager to help students begin that very same journey.

“We are here,” Spagnuolo said, “to work one-on-one with students to get them where ever they want to go.”

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