Although the word “community” was not added to the college name until 1986, service to the surrounding community was embedded in the early founding of the college. In addition to its recommendations for an array of instructional services, the 96-member Citizens Advisory Committee in June, 1964, laid the foundation for the spirit of community engagement. Its vision “that the community college serve as an intellectual and cultural center for the area served” has brought Sauk to the rich and varied partnerships and programs that can be found in place today (Out of the Prairie, pp 7-8).
At Sauk, engagement and service are fundamental to maintaining a strong, effective organization. We have discussed in prior sections the ways in which the college tends to its internal needs for engagement. In this section of the self-study, we will look specifically at the those we serve, taking their identification directly from the Mission Statement, which establishes two groups as the primary recipients of our service:
- the students enrolled in our instructional programs (considered “internal” constituents) and
- the surrounding community of individuals, organizations, and employers (considered “external” constituents).
Because Criterion 3 and 4 contain extensive discussions and evaluation of the services we render to students and college employees, the primary thrust of this section will be to examine our engagement with external constituencies, except where some distinctive aspect of our engagement with students is called for. External constituents include prospective students, alumni, public and local school districts, businesses, faith-based and social service organizations, youth programs, municipalities, and the general public; as well as the external agencies with whom we collaborate in providing service to our residents, including other colleges, accrediting agencies, and statewide and regional consortia.
Sauk Valley Community College asserts that its service to and engagement with its internal and external constituencies is valuable to both.