3C.2: Campus Supports Interaction of Students and Faculty
The ways that students come into person-to-person contact with faculty both inside and outside of the classroom may play an important role in a student’s learning experience. Creating opportunities for students to meet, interact, and take on projects with other students around shared interests is also an important charge for the college, especially given the rural location of the campus.
Like all community colleges, Sauk has many students who desire only to come to class, master the required outcomes, and return home. But many Sauk students look to the college to provide an environment that supports and respects their personal and social interests. To that end, various activities serve the diverse student population:
Performing arts: Students can participate in concert band and theatre productions as extra-curricular activities.
Student organizations: An array of student organizations provides social, educational, recreational, and cross-cultural opportunities. Any group of at least eight students is eligible to establish a club by recruiting an advisor and complying with the rules set out in the Student Organization Manual. Clubs come and go based on changing student interests and the availability of faculty and staff to be advisors, but the list that follows identifies the clubs active at the time of the self-study:
Association of Latin American Students (A.L.A.S.)
Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC)
Criminal Justice Club
Disaster Relief Club
Health Career Club
International Students Organization (ISO)
Magic Club, a gaming group focused on a collector card game
Promoting Respect, Individuality and Diversity for Everyone (P.R.I.D.E.)
Recreational Sports Club
Single Parents Association
Unique Abilities, an association of students with special needs
United Neo Otaku (U.N.O.), an anime interest group
Student government: Student Government Association (SGA) provides leadership opportunities for students. Besides representing the student body to the administration and Board of Trustees, SGA allocates funding to student organizations and sponsors a variety of extra-curricular activities and programs throughout the academic year.
Intercollegiate athletics: Sauk has 10 athletic teams with about 140 student athletes. Many of the teams study together in addition to their athletic activities.
Student Ambassador program: The Student Ambassador program is open to all Sauk students who volunteer to represent the college on campus and in the community. The program is designed to enrich the leadership skills of students who assist with college recruitment and public relations activities through personal appearances.
The campus provides places where students can gather. The cafeteria is a popular gathering place and has been furnished with a ping pong table for student use. The LAC encourages students to bring study groups into its casual study setting. Informal seating and study areas are scattered throughout the building. Creating additional student gathering space is one of the aims of the 2010 Facilities Master Plan.
Interaction with Faculty
The importance of student access to faculty cannot be overstated, and Sauk addresses that principle in several important ways:
Class size: Keeping class sizes small allows students more access to teachers for help and support. Class sizes are capped at levels determined by administration or, for online courses, by contract. The caps for some classes have been increased during the past few years as the number of sections were reduced in an effort to reduce the expense of offering classes with minimal enrollments. However, the average class size remains below the state average, as demonstrated by ICCB statistics for 2009 (see Figure 3iv).
Figure 3iv: Average Class Sizes - 2009
Average Class Size
Source: Illinois Community College Board
Technology: Faculty also provide students their college-supplied email addresses on each syllabus, so both full-time and adjunct faculty are accessible to students via email regardless of the type of course. Also, in fall 2010, 143 on-campus course sections offered online support using a course management system. According to IT data, this was approximately one-third higher than the previous year. Faculty using Blackboard, the system in place at that time, increased student access to course resources, assignments, and their grades; reduced the need for handouts; and supported students who missed classes. In addition, an internal email feature gives the student another access point for individual contact with and help from the teacher.
Office hours: Full time faculty members maintain at least six office hours per week, as set by contract. Scheduled between 8 a.m. and 9:30 p.m., office hours are held in the faculty office, LAC, or other approved instructional area. Faculty teaching internet courses may schedule one office hour to be spent online for each internet course. There are currently no office hour requirements for adjunct faculty.