SVCC HLC Self-Study Document

Sauk Valley Community College
HLC Self-Study Document

September 19-21, 2011

5A: Learns from its Constituencies

Sauk Valley Community College learns from the constituencies it serves and analyzes its capacity to serve their needs and expectations.

Sauk’s current commitment to external and internal constituencies is founded in and guided by its Strategic Directions (link to an appendixAppendix). The Mission and Vision Statements directly charge the college to act “in response to” and “to meet the diverse needs of its students and community.” FY11 Strategic Goal 4 specifically guides the college to be responsive to the non-academic needs of the community.

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 (print copy in resource room).
  • 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 (link to digital resource room support). 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 (link to digital resource room support): 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 (link to digital resource room support): 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 - link to digital resource room support): 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 (link to digital resource room support): 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 (link to digital resource room support): 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.

5A.3: Constituents are Well-Served by Outreach Programs

Sauk is engaged in responding to the needs of its community by providing meaningful outreach in many forms:

  • Adult Education (link to digital resource room support): The Adult Education Office helps adults earn a GED or improve English language skills and encourages them to transition to higher education or vocational training. Currently, over 21% of Sauk's district population over the age of 25 does not have a GED or high school diploma and 7.2% are in need of ESL services. Funded through a combination of federal and state grants, the Adult Education Office serves about 350 students per year with on- and off-campus services (see Figure 5i).
    Figure 5i: Adult Education Enrollment
    GED (ABE & ASE) 240 201 290 271 233
    ESL 73 82 108 87 90
    Totals 313 283 398 358 323
    Source: Adult Education Office
  • Adult Literacy (link to digital resource room support): For almost 25 years, Sauk has hosted Project VITAL, a state grant-funded literacy program that recruits and trains tutors to provide free one-on-one tutoring services to adults who are unable to read at a 9th-grade level. In FY10, Project VITAL had 82 tutors working with 115 students in excess of 690 hours per month in 60 towns within the college district (see Figure 5ii).
    Figure 5ii: Students in VITAL
    ABE students 134 133 98 79 80
    ESL students 65 71 92 108 85
    Total students 199 204 190 185 165
    Volunteer tutors 120 124 133 103 92
    Tutoring hours 6,731 5,867 5,175 3,171 3,059
    * FY11 data is for the 1st 3 quarters only
    Source: Project VITAL
  • Dislocated Workers Center (link to digital resource room support): The Dislocated Workers Center provides employment-related services to employers and job seekers under the Workforce Investment Act (WIA). Sauk collaborates with Illinois Valley Community College to share a program that serves Lee, Bureau, Putnam and LaSalle counties, with a full-time coordinator housed at Sauk. In the past eight years, the case load at Sauk has increased from serving an average of 85 people per year to serving over 240 people per year. Individuals served at the Center can enroll in college training programs, receive job search assistance, or both. For employers, the Center offers referrals, pre-screening of applicants, and on-the-job training. All professional services are at no expense to either the business or individual.
  • AmeriCorps (link to digital resource room support): ABC AmeriCorps' mission is to "work with children, youth and families in education programs and community-based agencies to increase academic and life skills.” AmeriCorps uses federal funds and local contributions to provide district schools and human service agencies with trained volunteers, who receive education vouchers. It has increased the number of Sauk’s community partnerships while meeting a variety of needs: providing education, tutoring, and mentoring activities for the area’s children, youth, and families as well as environmental, public safety, homeland security, and other human service needs (see Figure 5iii).
    Figure 5iii: AmeriCorps
    Members 36 61 65 76 61
    Sites 26 26 26 26 26
    Hours served 22,199 ** 17,091 17,834 14,944
    * FY10 most recent completed year data available.
    ** Record overlaps make accurate data unavailable.
    Source: AmeriCorps
  • Business and Corporate Training (link to digital resource room support): Sauk develops and conducts training programs designed to meet a local employer’s specific training needs. Trainers adapt content to specific company requirements with training conducted on-site or on campus. Logistical details, such as scheduling, location, credit or non-credit, are coordinated to meet the needs of the company and its employees (see Figure 5iv).
    Figure 5iv: Corporate Training
    Organizations 10 18 9 5 7
    Courses/workshops 37 233 283 6 10
    Contact hours 9,360 8,787 14,979 3,015 4,992
    Trainees (duplicated) 1,296 2,249 2,040 295 191
    Source: Personal and Professional Development Office
  • Personal and Professional Development (PPD) Department (link to digital resource room support): PPD serves over 3,000 people annually through a variety of programs (see Figure 5v):
    • Personal Enrichment courses allow students to gain new skills, improve their personal lives, or just indulge in the enjoyment of learning. About 250 public class programs are offered each semester.
    • Pre-professional preparation courses develop the skills required to join the workforce by obtaining a credit or non-credit certificate, such as Commercial Truck Driving, Dental Assisting, Pharmacy Technician, and Professional Medical Coding. Some individual courses, including Food Sanitation, Home Inspection, and Commercial Truck Driving, are designed to prepare the student to meet certification requirements and prepare for license testing.
    • Professional Enrichment courses are intended to quickly develop new skills and knowledge to help students advance in their current jobs or make a career change. Topics include OSHA safety, soft skills, and software applications.
    • Online programs, provided through partnerships with Ed2Go and Gatlin Education, allow students access to more than 100 online programs focused on workplace skills.
    • College for Kids is a long-standing enrichment program for youth. To avoid competing with other providers of youth recreational programming, College for Kids was recently refocused on academic enrichment, including trips to local and regional museums and academic camps.
    • A variety of non-class activities are initiated by the PPD staff, including events and conferences, such as the annual spring Child Fair, daytrips throughout the region, and longer trips in partnership with educational tour providers.
    Figure 5v: PPD Enrollments
    Personal Enrichment 1,076 842 523 481 363
    Pre-Professional (credit) 140 152 110 92 84
    Pre-Professional (non-credit) 0 25 97 133 93
    Professional Enrichment 277 166 53 93 80
    Online 51 70 55 52 21
    College for Kids 277 153 139 130 16
    Events & Trips 2,172 4,074 2,402 1,971 1,654
    Totals 3,993 5,482 3,379 2,952 2,311
    Source: Personal and Professional Development Office