SIC Board Approves New Outfitters and Wildlife Management Program

May 23, 2018

The Southeastern Illinois College Board of Trustees met last week to approve multiple courses and a new program that will have national appeal -- Outfitters and Wildlife Management (OWL).

This program is a reinvention of SIC’s Game Management Program that was popular for decades.

“We knew we needed to totally rethink that program, and this is what our team researched and implemented,” said Dr. Jonah Rice, SIC President.

The program compliments Southeastern’s Outdoor Recreation curriculum and outdoor student teams including archery, indoor and outdoor, as well as shooting.

Officials say the OWL Program will be one of a kind program, as was the Game Management Program.

“We recruited students from all over the country for the Game Management program,” said Vice President Karen Weiss. “This reinvention will be the same.”

Officials say that this program offers great employment for outdoor enthusiasts, and the employment outlook for jobs in this field are strong, including those who want to be outdoor entrepreneurs.

“The outdoor industry is booming across the nation, and this program will appeal to anyone who likes the outdoors and wants to make a living at it,” said Ben Ross, Career & Technical Education Special Projects Coordinator. “One of the best ways to learn about wildlife conservation is to be part of it, and this program combines the two. It’s really exciting to see this taking shape.”

The program has been sent to state bodies for final approval given the board’s approval of the certificate, degree and courses.  Once approved, it is anticipated that the first classes will begin in Fall 2019 on the Harrisburg campus with multiple outdoor labs.

College officials say since this is a reinvention of a long-standing program at Southeastern, they expect final approval to come soon. Multiple colleges have provided letters of support for the program to be a regional program as well.

“It makes sense to work together and share programs rather than compete with one another,” said Executive Dean of Academic Affairs, Gina Sirach. “We’re glad to have so many partners in education who support one another.”

Southeastern shares many programs with neighboring colleges, such as health information technology, culinary arts, veterinary assistant, and massage therapy with Rend Lake College, as well as coal mine training with Illinois Eastern Community Colleges, among others.

In other business, the board approved revisions to policies on position descriptions and organizational charts and passed the annual prevailing wage ordinance and working cash fund resolution.

The board also reviewed an agreement with the Saline County Conservancy District for use of the college water tower. The board expects to sign the agreement at its July meeting once the final agreement draft is complete.

In personnel, the board approved the employment of full-time UMWA financial aid specialist beginning June 4  - Brianne Douthitt; part-time financial aid assistant beginning May 14 - Bethany Mathis (transfer from part-time student resource assistant); full-time UMWA payroll/accounting clerk beginning June 4 - Devona Morales (transfer from part-time TRiO program specialist); and a number of adjunct faculty.

The next meeting of the board will be Tuesday, July 17, at 6 p.m. in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room at SIC.