SVCC HLC Self-Study Document

Sauk Valley Community College
HLC Self-Study Document

September 19-21, 2011

5C: Demonstrates Responsiveness its Constituencies

Sauk Valley Community College demonstrates its responsiveness to those constituencies that depend on it for service.

5C.1: Collaborative Ventures

An important collaboration for Sauk is its working relationship with local K-12 schools. The primary responsibility is carried out by the Student Services Office through a variety of outreach initiatives. The Counseling staff has a long history of regular contact with local high schools, including administering on-site placement testing and registration. In addition, the Student Needs Coordinator cooperates with developing Individual Education Plans (IEP) to assist students transitioning to Sauk.

Sauk has historically maintained three staff positions to serve as liaisons with district schools, including Recruiter, Coordinator of High School Relations, and Tech-Prep Coordinator (2.5 FTE), to inform students and families about Sauk opportunities and to prepare students for college. Due to budget constraints, the positions were consolidated into one full-time position, Coordinator of High School Relations, whose duties are designed to accomplish the following objectives:

  • Coordinate the Partnership for College and Career Success program (PCCS): Sauk provides the coordination for Illinois’ version of the federally-funded tech prep program, which transitions students from high school into a postsecondary institution in the student's chosen career program. Based on approval of high school course outcomes, certain high school courses are accepted as Sauk credits to students who satisfy criteria established by the college (see Figure 5vi).
  • Maintain contact with area high schools: The Coordinator facilitates an annual consortium meeting with the district’s high school guidance counselors and monthly meetings with the high schools' PCCS program coordinators. In addition, Discover Sauk days, which are offered on campus, provide transition activities for local high school juniors and seniors.
  • Provide career information: The Work in the Real World career conference has been held at Sauk for the past seven years, as a collaborative effort among Sauk, BEST Inc., Partners for Employment, and Whiteside Area Career Center. At the conference, high school students learn about a variety of career opportunities and meet with local employers. This popular conference has seen a 62% attendance increase from FY08 to FY10. The Coordinator also plays an important role in the programs for under-represented career events (link to an another section of the report5A.2).
  • Coordinate dual enrollment: The Coordinator works with the ICCB dual enrollment program, which provides eligible high school students with opportunities to enroll in college-level courses while still in high school (see Figure 5vi). These classes may be offered at the high school or on Sauk's campus as either dual enrollment (college credit only) or dual credit (both college and high school credit).
Figure 5vi: Enrollment in Programs for High School Students
Dual enrollment 1,098 1,351 1,186 1,045 1,022
PCCS 507 446 400 284 700*
* Method of counting students was changed during FY11
Source: Information Services

Another vital collaborative area for Sauk is its partnerships with other higher education institutions that allow it to expand opportunities for study and degree attainment.

  • Northern Illinois Online Initiative for Nursing (NIOIN): To address a shortage of nurses identified in numerous regional studies, Sauk cooperated in a collaborative partnership to provide an online nursing program for area students. Sauk’s NIOIN partners, including Highland, Kishwaukee, and Rock Valley Community Colleges; eight hospitals; and the Workforce Investment Board (WIB), began the process in 2005. Although rejected for a grant, the program received WIB and hospital partners' support to enable the hiring of a director. The program was approved by the IBHE in April of 2008 and by the Illinois State Board of Nursing the following September.
    • The degree has been articulated to Bachelor of Science (BSN) degrees at NIU, Rockford College, and OSF St. Anthony College of Nursing.
    • The first 31-student cohort graduated in May 2010 with degrees from their respective colleges. All eight of the Sauk cohort passed their NCLEX examination on the first attempt.
    • NIOIN received statewide recognition when it was awarded a 2010 Innovation Award by the Illinois Commission of Community College Administrators.
  • Agriculture degree: In August 2008 Sauk partnered with University of Illinois' College of Agricultural, Consumer and Environmental Sciences (ACES) to offer ACCESS, a collaborative initiative that offers an Associate of Science degree in Agriculture. Students who complete the prescribed transfer program at Sauk will be admitted to the College of ACES at the junior level in a relevant field of study. Enrollment in the three years of the program has varied from one to seven students, which is on target with expectations.
  • Criminal justice partnership: Sauk and Highland Community College have a long-standing agreement by which the Sauk criminal justice faculty coordinate and teach for both colleges. For a number of years, shared courses were offered primarily via compressed video. However, in FY10, due to the high demand at the Highland campus, the program was expanded by offering more on-campus sections. Currently, Sauk’s Professor of Criminal Justice facilitates Highland's program by mentoring Highland’s adjunct faculty and coordinating internships for the Highland students, as well as teaching three credit hours at Highland. The program at Highland serves 40 to 45 students every semester.
  • Out-of-district enrollments:  Sauk partners with other Illinois community colleges to enable students to enroll in an out-of-district community college to pursue a career program not offered in their home districts (see Figure 5vii for enrollment data):
    • Community College Career Education Cooperation is a state-wide practice for all Illinois community colleges.  Out-of-district students pay tuition to the college at which they enroll, and that college charges the student's college of residence a state-calculated "charge back" rate.
    • Community College Career Education Agreement, in which Sauk participates with 23 other Illinois community colleges, allows residents of any of those districts to enroll in selected career programs at the other partner college at in-district costs.  As a result, the home college does not incur the expense of the Cooperation arrangement described above.
Figure 5vii: Cooperative Education Enrollment Data
Enrollments through cooperative agreements
District students going away 57 52 44 63 18*
Credits earned out of district 702 1,096 762.5 1,064.5 482*
Out-of-district students coming in 94 69 63 142 129
Credits earned at Sauk 1,178 1,114.5 820 1,321.5 711.5
Enrollments with chargeback
District students going away 13 11 13 14 7*
Credits earned out of district 264.5 238.5 226.5 343 112.5*
Chargeback expense $34,761 $38,445 $32,802 $58,613 $15,295*
Out-of-district students coming in 0 0 0 0 0
*As of March 2011
Source: Business Office

5C.2: Transfer Policies Supportive of Learners

Transfer programs are a major part of Sauk’s Mission; therefore, effective transfer policies and practices are a vital part of college operations. Sauk's transfer rate typically meets or exceeds the state median, as illustrated in Figure 5viii below:

Figure 5viii: Transfer Rates
Sauk 37.8% 40.8% 36.3% 39.3% 42.7%
State median 38.9% 36.9% 36.2% 35.5% 35.9%
Source: ICCB

The transfer rate is supported by a variety of college practices:

  • Illinois Articulation Initiative (IAI): Sauk participates in a statewide transfer agreement among 109 private and public colleges and universities. Students who complete Associate of Arts or Science degrees may transfer as juniors. About 25% of Sauk courses are recognized as transferable by IAI, and many other courses are considered on an individual basis. Three faculty and one administrator currently volunteer to serve on IAI statewide curriculum advisory panels, which are responsible for developing course recommendations and approving courses. The information obtained through IAI advisory panels and the IAI website is incorporated into Sauk’s transfer-based associate degrees in order to meet current course articulation requirements at the IAI partner institutions.
  • Resources for students: Another factor in students successfully transferring is Sauk’s effort to engage students in the decision-making process, which is carried out through several means of communication:
    • Sauk’s transfer policies are easily accessible on a designated webpage maintained by the Counseling Office, and information for individual student use is provided in SOAR.
    • Sauk’s Transfer Coordinator (.1 FTE) is the liaison between Sauk and other Illinois institutions. The Coordinator ensures that students are receiving accurate transfer information. In addition, the core of seven counselors and advisors (3.5 FTE) provide transfer counseling to students.
    • Each November, representatives from more than 80 colleges, universities, vocational-technical schools, and the military gather on campus to answer students’ and parents’ questions about their respective institutions and programs. The largest gathering of its kind in the district, College Night is co-sponsored by area high schools.
  • Transfer agreements: Sauk has implemented additional institution-specific transfer agreements and other specialized partnerships with four-year schools. See Figure 5ix for transfer rates to these partner colleges.
    • Sauk partners with Western Illinois University (WIU) and Northern Illinois University (NIU) to offer a dual admission program that provides students the opportunity to gain admission while attending Sauk. Students begin their college career at Sauk, complete a transfer Associate Degree, and complete their Bachelor's Degree at one of these institutions. This cooperation provides students the advantage of academic advisement each semester and a seamless transition between institutions.
    • Sauk and Southern Illinois University (SIUC) have a formal Two Plus Two agreement in which individualized plans are designed to evaluate transfer credit, monitor academic progress, and provide students with transfer equivalence listings tailored to their specific major. This initiative is designed for community college students who have selected a major that can be completed in four years and plan to earn an AA or AS degree prior to transfer to SIUC.
    • Bradley University’s Academic Advisement Agreement with Sauk is designed to help students by giving them a personalized curriculum for their selected major and providing students with on-going advisement regarding every aspect of the transfer process.
    • Sauk has recently entered into an agreement with Ashford University that allows Sauk students to transfer up to 90 credits regardless of whether they have completed a degree. Formerly Mount St. Clare, Ashford University's campus has long been a viable choice for Sauk students who transfer as commuter students because of its location in Clinton, Iowa.
Figure 5ix: Most Common Institutions to Which Sauk Students Transfer
 200620072008200920105 Year Totals
Northern Illinois 35 41 40 59 57 232
Western Illinois 26 35 30 33 16 140
Ashford 7 33 37 41 20 138
Illinois State 14 11 22 20 18 85
University of Phoenix 5 11 16 18 14 54
Southern Illinois 8 9 8 5 8 38
University of Illinois 4 6 4 3 6 23
Source: Information Services

5C.3: Building Bridges to Diverse Communities

Although Sauk has a homogeneous district with limited racial diversity, the college has committed itself through its Strategic Directions to exposing students and the community to diverse cultures and social issues (link to another section of the report 4C.4). Therefore, cultural events and diversity awareness activities for students are open to the community. Below is a sampling of recent college programs and events that provide diversity awareness opportunities to the Sauk district:

  • Lysistrata, " a theatre production about feminism and peace activism, April 29 - May 2, 2010
  • "Legacy of Struggle and Transformation," a presentation about acceptance of cultural diversity, April 28, 2010
  • "Junior Health Care Academy," a health professionals and health awareness program for educationally and economically disadvantaged minority youth, March 3 - April 4, 2009
  • "Imagen Mexicana, Silver City," a presentation on the migration of Hispanic population to Northwestern Steel and Wire, May 6, 2009

Figure 5x presents the frequency of events engaging the community in diversity-sensitive cultural activities and the total number of participants in each fiscal year. Note that workshops and events were also held for non-English speakers, helping to bridge the cultural gap between all constituents served.

Figure 5x: Diversity Event Attendance Numbers
Cultural events 25 296 26 194 36 758 31 521 27 620
Events for Non-English speakers 2 145 9 103 11 134 13 291 10 295
Totals 27 441 35 297 47 892 44 812 37 915
Source: Cross-Cultural Coordinator

5C.4: Local Partnerships

Sauk partners with local agencies and organizations whenever goals intersect. These partnerships have been beneficial to the college and the community by enabling services and by sharing resources:

  • Sauk Valley Partnership: The President and other community leaders identified a need for collaboration among not-for-profit organizations. Many of these groups had parallel concerns on how to effectively leverage their resources and communicate their messages. In FY09, the college invited several not-for-profit organizations such as the YMCA, park districts, and art centers to explore ways of collaborating to benefit the community. The Sauk Valley Partnership, under the leadership of Sauk's Coordinator of Personal and Professional Development, was formed for the purpose of sharing resources and coordinating schedules and publicity. The first result was a single schedule flier to market youth and adult activities. The flier was produced through 2010 when costs became prohibitive and the decision was made to seek alternative options. The partnership has also opened up new cooperation among organizations, such as sharing equipment and facilities. Although the existing ten partners have not tracked the impact on enrollment and the savings realized in their marketing budget, each reports that the collaboration is of significant benefit to its organization.
  • Reagan scholarships: In 2009 Sauk formed a partnership with Eureka College to provide scholarships for Sauk students to transfer to Eureka. This partnership with President Ronald Reagan's alma mater provides an opportunity for the Sauk district to showcase its rich history as Reagan's birthplace and boyhood home. At a Ronald Reagan Birthday event where the scholarship was announced, Michael Reagan spoke on leadership to an audience of over 175. An annual Ronald Reagan Birthday Luncheon is intended to raise funds for the scholarship as well as to provide educational opportunities for students and community, hearing well-known speakers address leadership, service, and values.
  • Service agencies: Since 2009, the Single Parent Committee has been charged with helping single parents who are attempting to obtain an education. Thanks to local grants from the United Way and other local organizations, the committee has been able to provide over $20,000 in emergency assistance.
  • Health Department: In October, 2009, the Sauk Valley College Foundation, the Sauk Theatre program, and Whiteside County Health Department partnered to show the film Jumping Off Bridges, which addresses the topic of teen suicide. Over 200 students and community members viewed the film, listened to a presentation by the film's director and producer, and participated in a panel discussion. Counselors from Sauk and area high schools were in attendance, and area social service providers had resources on display at the on-campus event.
  • Wind industry partners: Sauk sought and developed an educational partnership with Clipper Windpower, Inc., developing training and testing materials that can be used by both Sauk students and Clipper employees. This partnership has provided the curriculum enhancements used in wind energy and related courses, such as electronics, electricity, and hydraulics. In this ongoing effort, Clipper is providing the industry expertise and Sauk is providing faculty, facilities, and accreditation as the programs are developing. Clipper employees throughout the organization will be able to take advantage of this education both on campus as well as by internet courses.
  • Health industry partners: Area health-care providers are vital for supporting Sauk’s allied health career programs. KSB Hospital and CGH Medical Center employ one adjunct faculty member; in addition, the hospitals, nursing homes, and clinics periodically donate equipment, supplies, or staff time as in-kind contributions to the program. This support testifies not only to a shortage of healthcare workers, but to the value these employers place on the importance of Sauk's ability to produce highly qualified healthcare workers.
  • University of Illinois Cooperative Extension: The Cooperative Extension is consolidating the Lee, Carroll, and Whiteside county units into one district office which will move to the Sauk campus in 2011. This collaboration will benefit local residents by offering facilities centrally located within the consolidated district.