5A.1: Extends Capacity
Although all Illinois public colleges are experiencing funding issues due to the state's budget crisis, Sauk attempts to extend its capacity for service by planning, allocating resources wisely, and leveraging grants, gifts and collaborations:
- Taking small steps: When a project exceeds the college’s ability to accomplish it, Sauk tackles it in manageable segments. For example, Sauk obtained the services of a facility planning firm during the spring of 2009 to assess the college facilities and make space and facility recommendations. Sauk then hired an architect to draw up a master plan, which was available for college community comment in spring 2010. The final plan is designed to allow Sauk to seek funding to do construction in phases, accomplishing the plans with the funds available for each step ().
- Seeking alternatives: The President's Cabinet explores alternatives to cutting programs and services when funding is reduced. For example, in FY09, the State of Illinois stopped funding the grant that supported Project VITAL (). Based on the number of students served and the history of community support of the program, the President’s Cabinet made the decision to roll Project VITAL services into the Adult Education Office for one year. While reduced Adult Literacy services continued under this reorganization, the State of Illinois announced re-funding and restored Project VITAL.
- Applying for grants: Sauk uses grant funds to increase its capacity to provide community outreach programs. The Director of Foundation and Grants researches state, federal, and local grant opportunities and assists staff to write and submit grant proposals. In the case of Project VITAL, for example, the Director was able to secure a large enough gift from a local community leader to help fund learning materials for the college’s Adult Literacy initiative until state funding was restored.
5A.2: Attention to Community Diversity
Sauk responds to the mandate of its Shared Ethical Values to “respect the worth and dignity of all people” and “to value the creation of opportunities in a caring environment.” Some of the programs that serve Sauk students also reach into the community and strive to break down the barriers that prevent disadvantaged or minority groups from participation in higher education:
- Cross-Cultural Coordinator (): Sauk helps minority students overcome the cultural barriers they often face as they prepare for college and when they arrive on campus. The Cross-Cultural Coordinator provides information and assistance not only to minority students, but also to their families, including services such as interpreting and referrals to community and college resources. Two programs foster engagement between Hispanic students and the community:
- The Association of Latin-American Students (A.L.A.S.) is a club, open to all students, to enrich their college experience and raise cultural, political, and social awareness. A.L.A.S. promotes the Hispanic culture to the campus community and beyond by sponsoring a variety of events throughout the year: Leadership Development program, Holiday Parade, Day of the Dead observation, and cultural excursions, among others.
- Since 2005, Sauk has used grant funds to maintain Families United for a Strong Education (FUSE). The purpose of FUSE is to help Hispanic families with children in grades 4 to 12 to overcome barriers that limit their academic success and to set high educational goals. Adults are encouraged to get involved in their children's educations and are connected with ESL and GED classes when necessary.
- Veterans affairs (): Recent Illinois legislation has resulted in the creation of a new Veterans Service Coordinator position that formalizes services that were previously provided informally by the Counseling Office. Veterans and their families may receive assistance with educational benefits, counseling, and readjustment services. In addition, the program’s FY11 Operational Plan shows projects designed to do outreach to the local veteran and active guard communities to encourage their use of educational benefits.
- Student Support Services (SSS - ): A federally funded TRIO program, SSS is designed to assist students who are first-generation, low-income, and/or with disabilities to achieve academic success. Services, provided annually to about 200 students, include those designed to help overcome the barriers that often cause these students to give up their dreams of a degree, whether it is lack of family support, lack of access to texts or computers, or need for an accommodation to make learning possible. Each semester, the Sauk Valley College Foundation or the college provides additional funding for $450 tuition waivers to 25 SSS students.
- Student Needs Coordinator (): The Coordinator serves as an information resource and community liaison regarding college students with disabilities. On campus, the Coordinator facilitates accommodations requested by students with disabilities. She encourages student referrals on campus and from off-campus sources, especially area high schools. Community awareness of the program and the accommodations are evidenced by an increased enrollment of students with special needs. In FY10, the program served a record 130 students.
- Career days (): Funded by a Perkins Grant, the Partnership for College and Career Success (PCCS) program coordinates day-long programs to encourage students to explore careers that are non-traditional for their gender. Practicing professionals and Sauk staff collaborate to provide presentations, demonstrations, tours, and hands-on experience. Programs currently held regularly include Men in Nursing, Women in Engineering and Technology, and Women in Criminal Justice.