June 18, 2021 Fran LeFort
The contract for Dr. Rose B. Bellanca as President and CEO of Washtenaw Community College has been extended for an additional three years.
The WCC Board of Trustees on Wednesday unanimously approved in a 6-0 vote to extend Dr. Bellanca’s contract as President and Chief Executive Officer through June 30, 2024.
Named as WCC’s fourth president in 2011, Dr. Bellanca is responsible for the organization, administration and strategic direction of the college, which typically serves more than 100,000 students and community members a year, employs nearly 1,500 full- and part-time employees and has an operational budget of more than $100 million.
Dr. Bellanca thanked the board for its support and confidence. “I am just as optimistic and excited about the future of Washtenaw Community College and the promise for our students as I was on my first day of teaching at a community college,” Dr. Bellanca said.
With more than 20 years of executive leadership in higher education, Dr. Bellanca led WCC to its recent Reaffirmation of Accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission. During her presidency, the college passed two millage ballot proposals by overwhelming margins—77.5% in 2020 and 70% in 2016.
The college has maintained steady enrollment under Dr. Bellanca during a period of national decline. She has implemented numerous innovations in teaching and student services to proactively respond to disruptive forces in higher education.
WCC launched the state-funded Futures for Frontliners and Michigan Reconnect programs to educate frontline workers and adult students. As of May, 1,644 Futures for Frontliners students and 758 Reconnect students have enrolled at WCC.
In response to COVID-19, WCC expanded and improved remote instruction and student support services in compliance with executive orders and guidance from county, state and federal public health agencies, including advising, tutoring and other wrap-around services to support student success in online courses.
Dr. Bellanca has driven efforts to provide high quality, affordable education, making WCC the college with the lowest in-district rate and lowest fees in the state. In April the Board of Trustees approved the fourth consecutive year of tuition freezes for in-district students, continuing a long-term trend during her tenure of instituting minimal or flat tuition increases.
During the past year, WCC was designated as a National Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Defense Education for the college’s Applied Science Cybersecurity associate degree program. The designation is granted by the United States National Security Agency and the Department of Homeland Security and recognizes the rigor of the college’s curriculum in addressing current cybersecurity trends.
She was the driving force behind the establishment of the Advanced Transportation Center in 2014, providing a multidisciplinary approach to workforce training for professionals and skilled laborers in the areas of mobility, advanced manufacturing and automotive services. WCC is in year five of the UMTRI Center for Connected & Automated Transportation grant and has procured a grant-funded 2021 Ford Mach-E battery electric vehicle for lab education and outreach across the cybersecurity/IT and advanced technologies program areas.