SVCC HLC Self-Study Document

Sauk Valley Community College
HLC Self-Study Document

September 19-21, 2011

1B: Service to a Diverse Community

In its mission documents, Sauk Valley Community College recognizes the diversity of its learners, other constituencies, and the greater society it serves.

One component of the Strategic Directions is the college’s statement of Shared Ethical Values. The statement, developed in 2000 by a cross-institutional committee in response to an ICCB directive, clarifies the way in which Sauk carries out its Mission. These values establish an expected behavior for people and departments, for processes and projects, in classrooms and offices. The Shared Ethical Values have been embedded in the Strategic Directions to recognize their proper role in Sauk's efforts to move from its Mission toward its Vision.

Shared Ethical Values: Recognizing that education is the single best means of improving the quality of people’s lives, we the people of the Sauk community commit to living these shared ethical values:

  • Respect: We respect the worth and dignity of all people.
  • Responsibility: We value and advocate that all take responsibility for themselves, their learning, and the environment.
  • Fairness: We advocate fairness and just treatment of all people.
  • Integrity: We expect and constantly stand for integrity, honesty, and ethical treatment of all people.
  • Caring: We value the creation of opportunities in a caring environment.

1B.1: Commitment to Honor the Worth of Individuals

The general endorsement of meeting “diverse needs” of students and the community that appears in the Mission and Vision Statements underlies the value Sauk places on the importance of recognizing the worth of every person. However, the commitment to respect is specifically stated in the Shared Ethical Values pledge to “respect the worth and dignity of all people.”

Dignity is protected when clear expectations for behavior allow an individual to act knowledgeably. Worth is acknowledged by equitable treatment and appropriate support for individual circumstances. Evidence that Sauk acts on its value statements can be found in its policies, a few of which are highlighted below:

  • The Student Code of Conduct explains students’ rights and responsibilities, and appears on the Sauk website with other policies, procedures, and handbooks.
  • The Academic Appeals Policy, within the Student Code of Conduct, establishes a process to deal fairly with student issues pertaining to grades or faculty actions.
  • The Acceptable Use Policy lists policies and expectations regarding the use of the college’s technology resources.
  • Radiology and Nursing programs each have separate admissions and student handbooks. The admissions handbooks, which inform students of the admission requirements, are available on the website. Printed copies of the student handbooks, which inform students of the expectations for conduct once they are admitted, are distributed directly to students.
  • The Student Athlete Handbook is distributed at the annual August orientation for student athletes. Athletes confirm they have been informed of and understand the rules and policies.
  • Employee handbooks describe expected standards of behavior (for example, customer service, privacy rules, etc.) appropriate to each classification’s function.

1B.2: Recognizes Diversity Within the Community

Sauk’s Mission and Vision Statements address diversity as an issue of “needs,” both of students and the community. This directive is mirrored in the Shared Values Statement that the college will “respect the worth and dignity of all people.” Ultimately, the Mission, Vision, and Shared Values Statements move Sauk beyond mere regulatory compliance for protected classifications to overcoming the barriers that keep people from participating in higher education.

Each of the five Strategic Goals contains objectives that direct Sauk's efforts to carry out the mission imperative to address diversity as it relates to removing barriers to education:

  • Goal 1 ties expansion and improvement to diversity by expecting the organization to use “alternative delivery methods” to “expand student access” (Objective 1.3).
  • Goal 2 mandates awareness of students’ diversity as the college seeks to improve persistence, retention, and program completion (Objective 2.1-2.3).
  • Goal 3 points directly to increasing the number of minority students (Objective 3.6) and non-traditional age students (Objective 3.7).
  • Goal 4 points to continuous reassessment of community needs (Objective 4.1). In addition, the objective to “expand and strengthen” programs and services for community members and organizations (Objective 4.2) speaks to Sauk's determination to exercise its Shared Ethical Values with the external constituencies it serves.
  • Goal 5 calls for the college to “redesign the campus for better utilization, efficiency, and handicap access” (Objective 5.2).

Sauk carries out its commitment to help learners overcome barriers through a variety of practices and programs, including the following:

  • Ability: Learning styles are diverse across the campus population. Students are regularly informed about using and adapting their learning styles by the Counseling Office and in various classes, including Orientation (PSY 100). The Special Needs Office helps students to adjust to their physical or cognitive barriers to learning with specific accommodations on a student-by-student, course-by-course basis.
  • Economic: Financial Assistance staff not only provides one-on-one support to students, but also informs the general public of available financial resources. During FY10, for example, the office held ten workshops at high schools, four FAFSA workshops, and three scholarship workshops; presented at 49 Orientation (PSY100) classes; and maintained over 200 scholarship listings on the college website.
  • Preparation: To address the diversity in academic preparation of its students and of the local community, Sauk maintains a Developmental Education Department, supervised by the Director of Academic Development, which coordinates curriculum and services for underprepared students. In addition, an Honors Program provides opportunities for those who are ready for additional academic challenges.
  • Age: One of the ways in which Sauk has helped increase opportunities for adult learners has been through its rapid response team, which has conducted career and academic advising, testing, and registration for employees at plants that have announced a closure. The college also offers reduced tuition to senior citizens, although few use this assistance.
  • Racial/Ethnic: Sauk is in compliance with all of the pertinent laws and regulations regarding service to diverse racial and ethnic populations. In addition, the college employs a Cross-Cultural Coordinator to recruit, support, and help integrate minority students into the college.

Sauk also addresses diversity issues in the surrounding community based on its Shared Ethical Values statements on Integrity and Fairness. These values underlie practices that expose the college community and the district to diverse cultures and social issues. The Cross-Cultural Coordinator’s job description includes a responsibility to “propose and/or provide cross-cultural development activities for Sauk faculty, staff, and students.” Many of these activities reach out into the surrounding Sauk Valley district (Internal Document Link5A.2).