SIC Board Reviews Progress of Opportunities

August 24, 2020

HARRISBURG, Ill. (Aug. 24, 2020) - The Southeastern Illinois College Board of Trustees met Tuesday, Aug. 18, in the Heritage Room due to social distancing requirements, to hear about new grants received by the College and separate State funding for the Carmi Center expansion, review a tentative budget, and pass two action items. A proposed plan for public use of the hand gun range and new shotgun range was also presented for review.

The Board heard about multiple new grants the college received that will bring in tens of thousands of dollars into the College. The federal Student Support Services (SSS) grant was established to help low-income, first generation and students with disabilities. The TRIO/Student Support Services program at SIC will use this grant to provide a broad range of services to help students succeed. SIC will receive the $340,815 SSS grant each year for five years.

The Illinois Community College Board awarded SIC with a $62,905 Career and Technical Education (CTE) Improvement Grant. SIC will use this grant to provide high-touch advising and support to CTE students.

“The CTE Improvement Grant will allow us to hire a CTE Navigator that will assist all CTE students in overcoming barriers to success,” said Lori Cox, associate dean of workforce and community education at SIC. “We look forward to offering this new support system to make a difference for our students’ education and lives.”

The Mary Jo Oldham Center for Child Study was awarded the Child Care Restoration Grant, a grant funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid, Relief and Economic Security (CARES) Act Coronavirus Relief Fund. According to the Illinois Professional Development System website, the grant was created to “support the economic health of child care providers as our economy reopens in the coming months.”

Southeastern has also applied for a USDA Distance Learning & Telemedicine grant of $114,170. The grant funds would be used to install telemedicine video connections between students of SIC and Harrisburg Medical Center. The grant funds would also be used to connect to Egyptian Health Department for mental health services. A telemedicine exam/consultation room containing equipment such as specialized digital exam scopes in addition to video connection equipment would be established on the SIC campus.

“A second aim of the grant is to provide a range of STEM classes via distance learning to 8 of our area high schools: Carrier Mills-Stonefort, Galatia, Norris City, Gallatin Co, Pope Co, Hardin Co, Harrisburg and Carmi-White Co,” says Karla Lewis, SIC Associate Dean of Learning Commons. “Two campus classrooms would be equipped with technology such as video cameras, document cameras, digital whiteboards and other instructional equipment for our instructors to lead the STEM classes delivered to the district high school students.”

“I couldn’t be prouder of the teams who worked on all these grants,” says SIC President, Dr. Jonah Rice.

Regarding the Carmi Center expansion, the Board heard that the State plans to provide the funding. Rice said the College has had two agreements in the past, but the State had to pull the funding. More confirmation is being sought from the State on their share of the promised funding.

“We need the career and technical space in White County, no doubt,” says Rice. “We just need to practice due diligence.”

The Board agreed that the project has great merit. Considerations were discussed regarding the currently reserved funding for the project, including possible use for initial construction while the College waits on the State’s share. The administration will bring back options to the Board in September along with specifics for how “phase one” of construction would look while waiting on state funds.

Upon review of the tentative budget, a deficit of about $600,000 was discussed. The deficit is chiefly due to the enrollment decrease from the impact of COVID-19, a commonplace both across the state and nation.

“Many students are struggling financially, are having to work more, or simply taking a gap year from education,” explains Rice. “We expect a bit of a bounce back next year, but a full recovery will take a while. Until then, we will continue our conservative fiscal management and engage mitigation strategies.”

A proposed plan for public use of the handgun range and new shotgun range was also presented for review. CTE and Special Projects Coordinator Ricky Sauls with Lori Cox, Associate Dean of Workforce & Community Education, created a plan for public use of the recently upgraded facilities.

“The trap range is nearing completion with about 80% already finished,” explains Eddie Fitzgerald, Director of Environmental Services. “We’re looking at it being complete in the next few weeks.”

The major significance of the new trap range will be the ability for the SIC Clay Breakers trap team to practice in-house, rather than travel to outside practice spaces.

The Board also passed two action items: a policy on wearing face masks on campus and acceptance of the employee notification form for COVID-19 protection.

Personnel items approved at the meeting included the hiring of Tucker Murphy to the position of Administrative Assistant to Executive Dean of Academic Services. Tiffany Brannock was hired as the Associate Director of Enrollment Services. Amy Mings resigned from the position of SBDC Career Evaluator.

The next meeting of the board will be held Tuesday, Sept. 22, at 6 p.m. in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room. More information about SIC can be found at