Whitman woes

While viable and charming, the Whitman center seems in need of TLC.

For years, MCCC has been searching for ways to improve the Whitman Center.

MCCC was established in 1964, but classes were initially held at the Ida Public Schools until the current campus on Raisinville Road was available in October 1967.

The Whitman Center was built in 1991, and though it is somewhat more modern, it is lacking in resources.

Chelsea Belair attended the Whitman Center for her first year-and-a-half of college.

The Erie resident said she has since transferred to the main campus for higher-level classes.

“I like the Whitman Center because it’s closer to my house versus the main campus,” Belair said. “I wish it offered more class options for those of us who are further into our degrees.”

Ken Mohney, MCCC’s anthropology professor, teaches regularly at both the main campus and Whitman Center. He is hopeful for the center’s future.

“MCCC students enjoy the center, and the staff has further opened their doors by offering dual enrollment,” Mohney said. “Spring Arbor University is a

Christian college which offers classes through the Whitman Center to Toledo students.”

“The Whitman Center is a very viable part of MCCC,” President Kojo Quartey said. “It is what ties us in with the south county and provides access to individuals from Ohio.”

Located at 7777 Lewis Avenue in Temperance, the Center is two miles from the Ohio border, and offers a closer option to those living in other cities like Erie, Temperance, Lambertville, and Toledo.

Belair said the Whitman Center helps save her time and money. 

“It takes me about 15 minutes to drive from the Whitman Center to the main campus,” Belair said.

The location is also popular among the professors.

“The center is in a nice wooded location and we have seen deer, fox, turkeys, and other critters in the woods,” Mohney said.

“There is also a different but pleasant vibe – difficult to describe, but it’s there.”

Though the smaller classes may benefit some students, the number of classes offered can be an issue.

“While some students go to both Whitman and main, it seems as if there really are a number of students that go to Whitman but don’t want to go to main,” Mohney said. “Of course, to have more classes, folks need to sign up – and with already small classes, adding extra is always tricky.”

Belair said her brother previously signed up to take a chemistry class for his degree, but it was soon cancelled due to low numbers.

Another cause for concern is how the separation between the two campuses impacts the overall student experience.

“The main campus offers more social activities and gatherings as well as resources for tutoring,” Belair said. “I think if the Whitman Center implemented similar things it would be better.”

“There also is less tutoring and fewer writing fellows available than at main,” Mohney added. “This is simply a product of distance and lower enrollments.”

Professor Lori Jo Couch, head of the Writing Center, says she’s received requests for “Knock, Knock Visits” (classroom presentations), and has accommodated those requests by sending writing fellows to the center.

“There have been times, including this semester, where a writing fellow has been assigned to the Whitman Center,” Couch said. “But we have not had enough appointments scheduled there to justify committing resources at this time.” 

There is currently one writing fellow assigned to the Center, Kole Gross. Including a fellowed class, he has assisted only ten students.

“I would like to see the Whitman Center a little more lively,” Gross said in an e-mail. “It seems quiet and many students just come and go to class without a thought of being involved in school functions, because there really is not a lot going on.”

Gross does not mince words when detailing what he thinks needs to be done at the Whitman Center.

“I would like to see more time and resources put into the Whitman Center, whether that is from the writing fellow program, student government, the Agora, or other clubs and events associated with MCCC,” he said.

“If the number of students, classes, or faculty requests were to grow, we would certainly evaluate the situation at the Whitman Center again,” Couch said.
Quartey asserts that he considers the center very much an extension of the main campus.

In 2012, the MCCC Board of Trustees decided the Whitman Center would no longer offer spring and summer classes. There has also been discussion of closing the Whitman Center.

Quartey said it is a good location and he intends to keep the building open.

“When you think about it, there are individuals in this community who, perhaps, cannot get up to our campus in Monroe,” he said. “The Whitman Center is our way of honoring our commitment to the southern county. It’s our conduit to Bedford schools.”

Mohney teaches one to three classes per semester, and said he normally has 10–20 students per class. 

“Classes, especially recently, are a little smaller than main campus but sometimes smaller is better,” he said. “Whitman does a good job offering classes to a population that might not want to come to main campus.”

Overall, Mohney enjoys the outpost. He hopes more students find their way to the center.

“Staff and students seem to really like the place,” he said. “The folks that work there are all first rate and keep things running smoothly.