Joe Gibbons receives SC4 Distinguished Faculty Award

Joe Gibbons has been selected as the recipient of the St. Clair County Community College (SC4) Distinguished Faculty Award for 2022. Gibbons has been a professor of chemistry at SC4 for 31 years.

For Gibbons, staying focused on his students and their needs is essential. He is proud of their accomplishments and stays in contact with numerous former students, now calling many of them friends. “It has been a privilege to accompany them on their journeys,” Gibbons says.

In addition to a full-time teaching schedule, Gibbons has served the College in a variety of other ways.

He has taken a leadership role as a department chair several times, currently serving as department chair of SC4’s Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics Division (STEM). In this position, he brings a thoughtful, historical and forward-thinking perspective to STEM departments and disciplines.

Gibbons also has been at the forefront of assessment at SC4 throughout his 31 years of service, leading committees and taking on significant projects to ensure that the information extracted from assessment data is meaningful and leads to improvements for SC4 students.

Also nominated this year for the SC4 Distinguished Faculty Award were Sandra Geliske in radiologic technology, Brandis Hubbard in biology, and Katy McCullough in nursing.

The Professional Development Committee annually coordinates nominations of faculty by their faculty peers for the Distinguished Faculty Award (DFA). As a member of NISOD, SC4 award nominees and winner also are submitted for the NISOD Excellence Award.

​​​​​​​The winner is awarded a Golden Apple and also receives a $1,000 stipend to use toward professional development. NISOD provides medals to all of the nominees and a plaque for the winner.

Gain valuable Microsoft Office skills this fall

If you’ve taken a basic microcomputer applications course, you understand the value the training provides in your daily academic, personal or professional life.

You can take your computer skills to an advanced level this fall by enrolling in SC4’s Spreadsheets CIS-200 course with Professor Colleen Forsgren. Through a combination of lecture and hands-on experiences, students will learn the skills needed to make effective use of spreadsheets, including worksheet design, problem organization, use of advanced functions, data analysis, advanced charts and graphs, spreadsheet automation and presentation of results.

“Intermediate and advanced Microsoft Excel skills are incredibly valuable,” said Forsgren. “This technology proficiency is required in a vast range of industries and occupations, and it is the most common software competency listed in job postings.”

In Professor Forsgren’s class students start with a quick overview of basic spreadsheet skills, then embark on a deep dive into skills which are most valuable in the workplace, including:

  • Accurately utilizing advanced functions, such as lookup and financial functions
  • Analyzing data, including the use of pivot tables and pivot charts
  • Creating meaningful charts and graphs to explain data
  • Grouping, sorting, and filtering data
  • Validating data
  • Automating work with macros by creating computer code to execute a series of instructions and actions

At the end of every semester, students are asked “What was your best learning activity in this class?” Professor Forsgren stated, “The most common answer every semester is the Professional Project.”

The multi-week project takes students into a real-world work scenario where the accuracy, efficiency and professional presentation must be perfect. “The project uses skills taught in class and aligns with workplace expectations,” continued Forsgren. “While the need for a final product without error is required, this is more like a work assignment with review, feedback, and revision to get to the end goal.”

SC4 faculty love hearing from former students about the impact they had in their educational journey of success. These stories are often shared with current and future students as encouragement to keep going after their goals.

“I love teaching this class because students write me after the course telling me how they used the skills in their current position or how their advanced proficiency with Excel helped them get a job,” Forsgren said with pride.

Registration for fall semester is now open for on-campus and online classes starting the week of Aug. 23. Check out a full list of classes being offered at

New to campus, visit Professor Forsgren and the SC4 campus community look forward to welcoming you to campus.

New African-American History course available at SC4

SC4 is offering an exciting new online history course this fall. Professor Patricia Frank completed her master’s thesis on African-American history and is looking forward to sharing her expertise with students enrolled in HIS 233 —African American History.

The course focuses on the time period from 1619 up until Reconstruction and includes materials through the lens of the African-American experience. The class begins with a review of major African kingdoms and their early interactions with Europeans and Muslims. The Atlantic Slave trade is then covered, with the capture of Africans, the horrific Middle Passage and sale in the Americas. The course also includes material regarding life and work among enslaved people and free blacks, rebellions and revolts, abolitionists, the Civil War, and the era of Reconstruction.

According to Frank, “The text is heavily biography based, so not only will students learn the broad outline of American history and the African American experience, but this format allows them to ‘meet’ specific individuals which should help them feel a more intimate connection to the material.”

Understanding African American history is crucial to understanding American history and will benefit students in the world today. “I hope students understand that there would be no America as we know it without the toil, suffering, and contributions of African-Americans,” said Frank.

To quote Martin Luther King, Jr, “When the history books are written in future generations, the historians will say, “There lived a great people – a black people – who injected new meaning and dignity into the veins of civilization.” 

“I also hope students will reflect on the constitutional promises the United States made to all of its citizens, be aware of the struggles that have been fought to try to realize those promises, and join the work yet to be done to fulfill the claim that ‘all people are created equal’ with rights to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’,” continued Frank.

Professor Frank is eager to teach this course as it allows her to revisit an important topic in history. “I especially like seeing how this field has changed and evolved,” expressed Frank. “I’ve spent the past several months preparing course materials.”

Registration is now open for fall semester, which begins Aug. 23. There is still time to enroll in HIS 233 as well as other diversity, equity and inclusion relation courses.  Check out a full list of classes being offered at

New to campus, visit Professor Frank and the SC4 campus community look forward to welcoming you to campus.  

Getting ready for fall semester with Professor Langan

Are you ready to start or continue your educational journey but not quite sure what path to pursue?

SC4’s business and accounting courses are a great place to start. “Minimum exposure to the topics we teach can prepare a person for a lot of the challenges and opportunities they will face the remainder of their life as either informed consumers or via employment in the business environment,” said Professor Terry Langan. He recommends that, “Undecided students should sample some classes to grow their view of the world and possible career choices.”

Professor Langan has been teaching a variety of accounting and business classes at SC4 for 30 years. The SC4 courses provide a solid base of knowledge in key business subjects such as accounting, business law, management, selling, marketing and economics.

“I’ve come to the realization that sometimes my impact isn’t immediate,” continued Langan. “I have former students approach me years later to let me know something I said or assisted with had a big impact on where they eventually found success. That is extremely rewarding.”

Professor Langan encourages new students to develop as many relationships with fellow students and instructors as possible. In the real world, it’s not always what you know, but who you know. He also advises students to take their education seriously. “Show up, be prepared, and do more than what is expected.”

Attending SC4 is a wise choice for students, especially considering its cost compared to the traditional four-year university is a real deal. “I truly believe SC4 is able to send students to university well prepared to be successful in their academic endeavors,” said Langan.

For example, our business transfer degree allows students to complete more than 60 credits toward a bachelor’s degree — with some agreements with institutions such as Northwood University, Siena Heights University and Walsh College permitting a full three years at SC4 before transferring.

Langan shared, “I’m looking forward to meeting students in person once again, getting to know them, and assisting with all aspects of their education.”

Registration for fall semester is open and classes begin the week of Aug. 23. A list of available on-campus and online can be viewed by visiting

Not a student yet? That’s ok. There’s still time. Visit and fill out your free application today.

Professor Langan and the campus community are looking forward to welcoming you this fall!

Getting ready for fall semester with Professor Jones

If you are from the Blue Water Area there’s a chance you are familiar with Jim Jones. Jones got his start as a graduate of SC4 and has been teaching criminal justice classes for the college since 1997. In addition to teaching, he brings real life experiences to the classroom — as he’s currently a part-time police officer with the Marine City Police Department and previously served 28 years as a full-time officer for the Port Huron Police Department.

“My role at SC4 is overseeing and teaching in our Criminal Justice Generalist program,” said Jones. “The excitement about being back on campus is about the students, no matter what future visions or career aspirations they may have.”

There are critical shortages of police, corrections, and federal law enforcement officers. People with a desire to help others and who want to lead are great candidates for a career in criminal justice. At SC4, our students practice crime scene investigation (CSI) techniques, attend trials and other court processes, participate in field trips, and gain exposure to the field through presentations by active police officers and other criminal justice professionals.

Jones’ advice to new students is, “Don’t count yourself out. Know you can make a difference and find successes. What you say, what you do, and what you contribute to society matters.” As a professional in the criminal justice field, “Your future, and our future, is found in your hands,” continues Jones. Let SC4 help you be successful in this chosen career path.

“As a former student and graduate of SC4, I know how important this institution can be in one’s life,” shared Jones. Often, students will begin their studies, not really knowing where the future will take them or uncertain of what career they want to pursue. “Within a few short years, the same students are found working in their field of choice and making a positive contribution to the communities in which they live and thrive.”

SC4 offers an Associate of Applied Arts and Sciences degree in Criminal Justice and four skill sets related to criminal justice in corrections, generalist, law enforcement and homeland security.

For those wishing to further their education, SC4 has a partnership with Ferris State University to complete a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice that can be completed without leaving our campus.

Lastly from Jones, “Having new students arrive every year, and getting to know them, is one of the most exciting and rewarding parts of my job.”

Registration for fall semester is open at SC4 and classes begin the week of Aug. 23. A list of available on-campus and online can be viewed by visiting

Not a student yet? That’s ok. There’s still time. Visit and fill out your free application today.

Professor Jones and the campus community are looking forward to welcoming you this fall!

Popular insect lab part of Professor Webb’s BIO 101 course this fall

SC4’s Essentials of Biology (BIO 101) course addresses the nature of biology as a science. Students learn core biological concepts and engage in the analysis and communication of biological subject matter.

This is an introductory course for non-biology majors. “Students will be better informed on issues that affect their everyday lives,” said Professor Dave Webb. “They will understand how science works and how critically important it is to make decisions based on legitimate scientific evidence.”

Two current examples of the above are climate change and the Covid-19 pandemic. Webb states, “Students will learn how to distinguish scientific reality from misinformation.”

Webb is one of several professors teaching this course on campus this fall. While the course objectives are the same, the labs are unique to the professor allowing them to teach to a particular area of expertise and interest.

For example, taking advantage of Webb’s training in entomology, his fall class begins with a five-week sequence of labs centered on insect identification. Students learn:

  • How to use two different types of microscopes
  • Insect anatomy and the key features of major groups of insects
  • The techniques used to identify specimens of the different major groups of insects
  • How to collect insects in the field

“A field trip to collect insects is the most popular lab of the semester,” continues Webb. “It’s close to campus, which is convenient, and best of all — we’re outside.”

It’s important for students to experience biology out in the field looking at living organisms. While laboratory biology remains undeniably important, there is still much to be learned from biologists who roll up their sleeves, go outside, and get dirty.

Registration for fall semester is now open and seats are available for BIO 101 sections. Check out a full list of classes being offered at

New to campus, visit Professor Webb and the SC4 campus community look forward to welcoming you to campus in August.

Stage Makeup class offers a fun experience this fall

Have you ever wondered what it takes to turn an everyday actor into a dramatic character? Do you want to learn how one alters their appearance with the use of makeup, or perhaps discover secrets to create the best Halloween face to surprise your circle of friends and family?

Then SC4’s Fundamentals of Stage Makeup (THA 107) class is for you! Instructor Stewart Reed loves teaching this class because it’s a great combination of academic content and fun. “It’s part theatre, part art, and part personal development,” said Reed.

Technically the course is a study of theatrical makeup, its techniques, basic principles and practical application. “Students will be able to do stage makeup on themselves or others,” continues Reed. “Whether it’s a little bit of old age on yourself, or doing fantasy makeup on 30 students — we can make great looking images and stay hygienic.”

Class assignments include creating clowns, fantasy, fake nose, medical simulations, mustache, old age, and zombie, to name a few. The class also has discussion topics related to diversity components such as age, beauty, gender, sickness, skin color, and class — all of which involve makeup. The course offers unique opportunities to collaborate with other programs on campus, such as the SC4 nursing program. “In the past we’ve had nursing professors come to class to ‘diagnose’ the student ‘illness’ based on the makeup.”

Additional topics include skin health, product safety, and part of the class is accepting your face as it is. “I like the class because we become a fun, close-knit group,” said Reed. “It’s hard to stay aloof when you’ve seen each other in a fake mustache, covered in fake blood, or make a life casting of someone’s face.”

If you are ready to explore the fundamentals of stage makeup through a combination of reading assignments, lectures, demonstrations and supervised practice sessions, space is still available. You can check out a full list of classes being offered at Classes begin the week of Aug. 23.

New to campus, visit Instructor Reed and the SC4 campus community look forward to welcoming you to campus in August.

Getting ready for fall semester with Professor Armstrong

Fall semester will be here before we know it and Professor Sharon Armstrong cannot wait to get back into the classroom for face-to-face in-person classes.

She teaches nursing classes at SC4 and loves sharing her passion for moms, babies and nursing in general with students.

The past year has presented challenges with using the hands-on teaching strategies often found in nursing. “I’m looking forward to direct interaction with students in my advanced assessment class,” said Armstrong. “It’s hard to teach assessment online.”

A career in healthcare is a great choice. Jobs are available in our community, and the training and education received at SC4 can take you anywhere in the United States — or around the world.

Armstrong continues, “Students will be challenged and discover, though nursing is a difficulty profession to prepare for, anything worth doing is worth working hard for.”

Advice for incoming students from Professor Armstrong:

  • Plan to devote the time needed to study and learn.
  • Reach out to your instructors early when you need help.
  • Get a planner or app with a calendar to get organized and plan ahead.
  • Take advantage of the many resources SC4 offers to help you be successful.

Armstrong also shared this about choosing SC4 for your educational journey, “The small class sizes and outstanding individual support cannot be beat — you truly are known at SC4.”

Registration for fall semester is open and classes begin the week of Aug. 23. A list of available on-campus and online can be viewed by visiting

Not a student yet? That’s ok. There’s still time. Visit and fill out your free application today.

Professor Armstrong and the campus community are looking forward to welcoming you this fall!

Getting ready for fall semester with math Professor Paul Bedard

Math is part of the curriculum for all SC4 students, no matter which program they choose. While some students are intimidated by math, Professor Paul Bedard helps make math fun as he absolutely loves teaching the subject! He is looking forward to seeing students in person soon and shares some insight to help them get ready for fall semester.

“Face-to-face teaching allows me to see the wrinkle of frustration between their eyes resolve into comprehension,” said Bedard. “I can’t wait to hear them excitedly debating ideas outside my office.”

SC4 offers math courses for all academic programs and skill levels, from review of basic operations, math literacy, foundations of math to intermediate and advanced courses like algebra, trigonometry, calculus, statistics, and differential equations.

Professor Bedard shares that like many students, he initially struggled with math too. His approach to teaching is to help students see math not as a burden but as opportunity. “It’s not about being right or being fast, it’s about opening up, taking a risk, and making the universe give up its secrets.”

For Professor Bedard, teaching is the privilege of being part of so many intellectual adventures, discoveries, and moments of truth. “I love to encourage students to see past their fears and self-doubt and take a leap.”

His advice to new students is to take a moment, breathe, and realize this is the only time in your life when thinking, talking, reading, discovering, exploring, and experimenting will be your main job. “Question everything. Be bold. Have fun. Demand clarity and express yourself,” said Bedard.

One more reason for students to take his class — “I hand out free candy!”

Registration for fall semester is open at SC4 and classes begin the week of Aug. 23. A list of available on-campus and online can be viewed by visiting

Not a student yet? That’s ok. There’s still time. Visit and fill out your free application today.

Professor Bedard and the campus community are looking forward to welcoming you this fall!

Exciting new virtual reality Human Biology course now available

Human Biology (BIO 160) is an introductory class that can be taken by students as a science credit and also is a requirement for some health-related programs at SC4.

Brandis Hubbard, professor of biology, is running a new virtual reality course this fall where students will be meeting with their instructor in a virtual classroom twice a week using Oculus Quest Headsets.

“When I began my teaching career at SC4, I was struck by the number of students that struggled to get to class for various reasons; including travel time, weather, and work or family constraints,” said Hubbard. “I felt VR technology would be a huge asset to these students.”

Students also will have access to the virtual space outside of class times where they will complete lab work by recording themselves in VR and submitting their work via Canvas, SC4’s online classroom platform.

Oftentimes anatomy can be hard to visualize for students – using mostly one-dimensional images within the textbook. The use of models or cadavers can be very helpful but come with their own limitations – like not being able to see the exact movement a muscle makes or how that movement effects/interacts with other body parts.

VR technology allows class attendees to be in the room and interacting with the professor in real time. The technology, while fun and exciting, does a great job of educating a student in a way that even goes beyond being in the classroom.

According to Hubbard, “VR technology overcomes the limitations we find with text images, models, and cadavers, in a fun and interesting way, leading to a better understanding of the material.”  

Specifically, within the VR space, students will be able to interact with the human anatomy as if it were a model of an entire body in the classroom but with the added benefit of being able to make some parts transparent (to see the relation to other parts), making “cuts” across the body to see the relationships between parts from a different angle, and most impressively, being able to put themselves in front of and inside of different organs as they are functioning.

One example experience is to watch a beating human heart, remove a layer to see the blood pumping through the different vessels and chambers, overlay the electrical impulses that cause the heart to pump/beat and see how those electrical impulses cause the muscles of the heart to pump blood, all while noticing how the valves work within each vessel or chamber.

SC4 is one of a few higher education institutions using VR technology to teach and  research has shown it improves student engagement, interest, and understanding of the material. “SC4 is proud of Professor Hubbard for her pioneering efforts to bring the latest technological learning experience to our students,” said Ethan Flick, chief academic officer – arts and sciences.

Moving forward, Professor Hubbard hopes to offer VR in other biology courses that are required for health professionals such as registered nurses, medical doctors, and physician assistants.

“I am very pleased to bring this exciting learning technology to the students at SC4,” said Hubbard. “I hope the course will prove beneficial to those training for future health careers.”

Registration for fall semester is now open and seats are limited for the BIO 160-64 VR section. Check out a full list of classes being offered at

New to campus, visit Professor Hubbard and the SC4 campus community look forward to welcoming you to campus in August.