OGLESBY — Architects of Illinois Valley Community College’s rejuvenated agriculture program said May 11 they expect continued growth as more ag students choose to stay in district to pursue their education.
In his campus update to the board, instructor and program coordinator Willard Mott said the estimated 1,200 ag students in district high school agriculture programs will no longer have to travel far to seek a college degree in ag.
“Agriculture is the largest industry in our district, a significant portion of our tax base, and the number of ag students in district high schools is increasing,” said Mott. “Unfortunately, these students have been forced to travel long distances or perhaps even relocate to study at other community colleges and universities. We are changing that.”
Mott said high school ag enrollments include 183 students at Ottawa, 138 at Princeton, 132 Seneca, 104 Streator, 101 Fieldcrest, 98 Woodland, 95 Serena, 88 Bureau Valley, 80 Midland, 76 Mendota and 73 Putnam County. In addition, LaSalle-Peru High School is bringing back its agriculture program this fall.
A total of 14 students enrolled in IVCC’s program in its first year following major curriculum changes, feedback and support from an advisory committee and the University of Illinois Extension located on campus, extensive marketing and media coverage and by “showing the flag” at ag events across the district.
Last month, the board approved a degree in agricultural business management, and Mott plans to add an agronomy degree and a student organization. The program already has a strong internship program with local agri-businesses that Mott believes will lead to future employment for many of his students.
In other business, trustees approved:
• Continuing Education Center training courses including OSHA safety from 2B Safe of East Moline for $20,000, supervisor and leadership development from Riffle of Davenport for $13,500, and IT and business solutions from Omnikron of Woodland Hills, Calif., for $192,000.
• Annual radio and television advertising contracts for Fiscal 2018 totaling $69,215 and the purchase of $50,000 in WEX fuel cards for the Truck Driver Training program.
• Janitorial supplies from Supply Works of Peoria for $40,000 and annual elevator maintenance from Thyssenkrupp Elevator of Peoria for $26,826.
• Parts and supplies for the automotive department for the coming year from Carquest of Peru for $40,000 and Peru NAPA for $10,000.
• The appointment of Leslie Hofer as the director of human resources effective May 25.
• The retirement of Director of Information Technologies Diann Jabusch effective June 30.
• A one-year extension of the contracts in place for President Jerry Corcoran, Vice President for Business Services and Finance Cheryl Roelfsema and Vice President for Academic Affairs Deborah Anderson.
• A 2 percent raise for employees not affected by a negotiated labor agreement and an increase in the part-time faculty pay scale.
• An addendum to the five-year lease for IVCC’s Ottawa Center reducing rent for the remaining three years.
• A three-year extension of the campus security contract with G4S Secure Solutions.
• Purchase of two network servers and one storage area network devise (SAN) from Dell for $33,695; and purchases totaling $94,195 from CDWG of Vernon Hills for virtual technology expansion and server room Uninterrupted Power Supply (UPS) battery system replacements.
• An enrollment driver magazine to be mailed in July and November to promote fall and spring classes for $35,000 to $40,000. The piece will be directed toward individuals 18 to 40 and will market IVCC’s unlimited transfer options, 19 applied degrees and 32 certificate programs.
• Extending the contract of Tri-City Vending and Foodservice for one year.
The board also learned:
• Resignations from part-time employees include user services assistant Marcus Davies, assistant men’s basketball coach Justin Jacobson, part-time counselor Meg Kowalczyk, citizenship instructor Olga Horn and instructor Don Aleksy.
• The 36th annual adult education recognition ceremony was held May 16, in the Cultural Centre, and on Saturday, May 20, the nurse pinning was held in the Cultural Centre; the 51st annual commencement was at 2:30 p.m. the same day in the gym.
• Public meetings April 27 and May 8 regarding what impact the state budget-impasse is having on community colleges were orchestrated and well attended by faculty, students, staff and board members, Corcoran reported. “I especially appreciated the non-partisan tone of the discussions and everyone’s interest in looking for options to solve problems versus playing the ‘blame game.’”
• A total of 90 employees were honored at the annual recognition event April 28 attended by approximately 170 employees and guests.
• The May 3 Honorspalooza for the Honors Program “was nothing short of outstanding thanks to the leadership and planning of advisor Adam Oldaker,” Corcoran said.
• Human Services’s annual end-of-the-year program for advisory committee members was May 9.
• The Higher Learning Commission’s Institutional Actions Council recently reaffirmed IVCC’s accreditation through 2026-27. Moving forward, IVCC can choose the “Open Pathway” to accreditation intended for well-performing institutions that do not require substantial monitoring or contact from the HLC. Corcoran lauded Anderson for leading the successful accreditation process. “Dr. Anderson has done a superb job as our liaison with the HLC,” he said.
• A new display outside conference rooms CTC124-125 in the Peter Miller Community Technology Center details IVCC’s LEED Gold Certification and the criteria used to achieve “this extraordinary level of recognition,” Corcoran said. The 10-panel display showcases the college’s commitment to sustainable site development, water use reduction, energy efficient building systems, sustainable building materials, maximizing lighting and views, and high regard for air quality.
• The advantages of rejoining the Illinois Community College Trustees Association from executive director Mike Monaghan. ICCTA provides colleges with legislative advocacy and representation, trustee training, public relations, consultation and research.