Ag Mechanics, CTE in Carmi, and Staff Changes Discussed at SIC Board Meeting
The Southeastern Illinois College Board of Trustees met April 18, at 6 p.m. in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room on the main campus in Harrisburg. This was the bi-annual organizational meeting, and the board swore in David Dennison, Dr. Frank Barbre, and Debbie Hughes. Officers re-elected include Dr. Pat York as Chair, Dr. Frank Barbre as Vice Chair, and Jimmy D. Ellis as Secretary.
The operations at the Mary Jo Oldham Center for Child Study will transfer to Bright Beginnings Learning Daycare Center beginning in June. All long-time institutional employees have taken new jobs on campus, maintaining full benefits. Current new and grant employees have elected to stay on with Bright Beginnings. Expanded service times and openings will be offered at that time, and rates will remain the same. This move is expected to bring more jobs to the region. According to reports, the center loses about $100,000 a year currently and has not been tied to any academic programs for some time. Going forward with this new public-private partnership will now generate funding for the college.
The board heard reports on higher education trends.
“The Higher Learning Commission annual report on trends in higher ed cites a number of items SIC has engaged head-on these past few years,” said Dr. Jonah Rice, SIC President.
Key items include student mental health, return on investment for credentials, collaborative agreements, leadership development, hybrid work environments, and conservative finance.
“SIC has been at the forefront on all these and more,” Rice continued.
He cited the most recent Sorenson Institute’s Financial Health Scores ranking SIC first in the region for fiscal health taking into account spending on student learning and student support.
“SIC ranks not only first in the region, but we are on par with the state average,” Chief Finance Officer Lisa Hite added. “The college’s Federal Composite Financial Index score (CFI) is nearly a six (6), the highest in twenty plus years.”
The board also heard reports on the excitement about opening the first phase of the Williams Career and Training Center in Carmi on slate for Fall 2023 with CDL, welding, and a full complement of dual credit credentials offered to Carmi-White County High School students.
“This development is going to be great for all of White County—the students, industry, the entire community,” said Board Vice-Chair Dr. Frank Barbre. “The new offerings in career and technical education will help support local business and industry.”
The board also heard of new career and technical education initiatives in agriculture at the college, both in terms of ag mechanics and ag transfer curriculum.
“Our mechanics programs will be shifting more to ag mechanics and we’re looking to expand that area,” said Dr. Tyler Billman, Executive Dean of Academic Services. “The instructors in that area are leading the charge to convert those courses and are establishing new industry partnerships to serve our students.”
More developments will occur with an expected roll out in Fall 2024.
In personnel, the board approved he re-hire of exempt staff, including administrative cabinet, administrative personnel, staff, and tenured personnel. The board also approved the transfer of Ellen Prince, Preschool Age Lead Teacher to Student Resource Assistant; Lindsey Pankey, Preschool Age Assistant Teacher to Business Office Assistant Clerk; Tonya Johnson 2’s and 3’s Lead Teacher to Student Services Assistant; and Ben Ross, Distance Learning Specialist to Executive Director of the Learning Commons.
The board approved the hiring of Eric Vanzant as CDL Instructor and Griffin Hart as CTE Project Specialist for the Carmi Center. They also approved the Nursing Advisory Council Members to include Dana Dalton, Jennifer Hare, Rachael Martineau, and Jeremy Mitchell. Finally, they approved adjunct instructors for the summer and the resignation of the Administrative Assistant to the Executive Dean of Academic Services, Rachel Atkins. The board also passed a policy on exempt employee evaluations, making them annual as opposed to every other year.
The next meeting of the board will be held Tuesday, May 16, at 6 p.m. in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room on the Harrisburg campus.