March 21, 2014

The Southeastern Illinois College Board met Tuesday night to hear updates on the College’s building maintenance plan and legislative updates.

The College has been holding internal stakeholder forums this spring to gather input on facilities improvements and needs.

“We are combining those forums with stakeholder feedback from our internal and external strategic planning surveys during our environmental scanning process to begin work on a report to take to the board,” said Dean of Administrative Services, David Wright.

The process will be completed sometime next year.

President Jonah Rice said the themes from groups so far has been attention to buildings A, B, and C, the three oldest buildings on campus.

“We have some deferred maintenance that must be addressed and also some upgrades to student spaces,” Rice said.

“Given that enrollment in the State has dropped post-recession, the need for additional brick and mortar construction is not the main focus.  The real need is to improve what we have.  That is most pressing.”

Enrollment analysis was also presented.  SIC’s enrollment is higher than the state average, but all colleges in the state are engaging drops in enrollment, reported trustee Jim Ellis.

Ellis attended the Illinois Community College Trustees Association meeting in Chicago last week.

The state average drop in enrollment was 6.7 percent.  SIC dropped only 5.3 percent.  The average peer college drop was 9.96 percent, almost double of SIC’s dip.

The Board heard that credit hours were down at all regional colleges despite any headcount reports.  Credit hour generation is how colleges are funded by the state.

“Given an overall shrinking population in high school students in our state, enrollment trends will be down especially for full-time students,” said Vice-President for Academic and Student Services, Dr. Dana Keating.

Illinois is exporting more than 17,000 students a year in terms of net college student enrollment.  In other words, 17,000 more students leave the state to go to college than enter from other states.

“Because SIC is affordable and maintains quality programs, we are still the higher education choice for approximately half of our district high school seniors,” said Keating.  “When you count dual credit and early college programs, we reach many more than that.”

College officials said retention, persistence, and completion efforts will be key in the future.

“SIC has one of the highest completion rates in the region, but we want to--need to--continue to improve,” said Keating.

Legislative updates were dominated by budget discussions.

Colleges, universities, and state agencies are hearing that they may only receive a six-month budget from the state for next year.

“Add to that complexity for annual budgeting the uncertainty of mid-year cuts of up to double digits, and it’s going to be a blind stab in the dark when creating a budget for next year,” said Rice.

The Board also discussed possible security improvements as well as approved the college’s risk management program and plan.

Personnel action included the re-employment of administrative and professional personnel.  The board employed Laura Lowery of Omaha as the Student Services Support Specialist and Marzel Scates of Omaha as the Payroll/Accounting Clerk and accepted a resignation from Greg Keller, Human Resources Assistant.