Sauk Valley Community College HLC Self-Study Document
September 19-21, 2011
Criterion 5: Engagement and Service
As called for by its mission, Sauk Valley Community College identifies its constituencies and serves them in ways that all value.
Although the word “community” was not added to the college name until 1986, service to the surrounding community was embedded in the early founding of the college. In addition to its recommendations for an array of instructional services, the 96-member Citizens Advisory Committee in June, 1964, laid the foundation for the spirit of community engagement. Its vision “that the community college serve as an intellectual and cultural center for the area served” has brought Sauk to the rich and varied partnerships and programs that can be found in place today (Out of the Prairie, pp 7-8).
At Sauk, engagement and service are fundamental to maintaining a strong, effective organization. We have discussed in prior sections the ways in which the college tends to its internal needs for engagement. In this section of the self-study, we will look specifically at the those we serve, taking their identification directly from the Mission Statement, which establishes two groups as the primary recipients of our service:
the students enrolled in our instructional programs (considered “internal” constituents) and
the surrounding community of individuals, organizations, and employers (considered “external” constituents).
Because Criterion 3 and 4 contain extensive discussions and evaluation of the services we render to students and college employees, the primary thrust of this section will be to examine our engagement with external constituencies, except where some distinctive aspect of our engagement with students is called for. External constituents include prospective students, alumni, public and local school districts, businesses, faith-based and social service organizations, youth programs, municipalities, and the general public; as well as the external agencies with whom we collaborate in providing service to our residents, including other colleges, accrediting agencies, and statewide and regional consortia.
Sauk Valley Community College asserts that its service to and engagement with its internal and external constituencies is valuable to both.
Responses to HLC Concerns
Neither the 2002 HLC Reaffirmation of Accreditation Visit Team nor the 2006 Focused Visit Team expressed concerns that pertain to this criterion. They did, however, make Topical Area suggestions based on the request that they “provide suggestions and recommendations regarding the recruitment and retention of adult learners” (p. 3). Each of the team’s recommendations was given consideration. After further study, some of the suggestions were not feasible (History):
Although the river provides a backdrop for activities, offering canoe or kayak courses would disproportionately increase insurance liability.
Programming for senior citizens is provided by other service agencies at lower cost. The college continues to promote use of the fitness center and provide tuition waivers.
Programming for youth has been restructured to provide only those opportunities that are not available from other area service organizations.
Adult education offerings have been offered both on-campus and off-campus; experimentation has shown that both options have value, depending on enrollments.
Based on the team’s advice, Sauk was able to benefit from the following actions:
Increasing its participation in community groups that address adult learners, including an Adult Education Planning Area Council and the local organization, Trabajando Juntos.
Translating an array of promotional materials into Spanish and incorporating translation functions into the website.
Creating marketing campaigns for Adult Ed services that included information to local churches and social organizations.
Placing an electronic marquee at the entrance in 2005 to promote a range of activities and community opportunities.
Making the college grounds more available for community use.
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 (Appendix). 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 ().
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.
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 (): 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)
Source: Adult Education Office
Adult Literacy (): 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
* FY11 data is for the 1st 3 quarters only Source: Project VITAL
Dislocated Workers Center (): 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 (): 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
* FY10 most recent completed year data available. ** Record overlaps make accurate data unavailable. Source: AmeriCorps
Business and Corporate Training (): 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
Source: Personal and Professional Development Office
Personal and Professional Development (PPD) Department (): 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
College for Kids
Events & Trips
Source: Personal and Professional Development Office
5B: Engages with its Identified Constituencies
Sauk Valley Community College has the capacity and the commitment to engage with its identified constituencies and communities.
5B.1: Support for Ongoing Engagement and Service
A college cannot serve a community without knowledge of its constituents’ changing needs. Sauk has developed planning processes which rely on information from annual environmental scanning as the basis for determining its Strategic Directions (2A.2). These environmental scan results are regularly incorporated into operational planning and program review processes as the college assesses its capacity to respond to emerging needs, expectations, and desires of stakeholders.
The Office of Institutional Research and Planning is responsible for collecting the data needed to support the environmental scan, which includes district demographics, socio-economic data, and occupational data gathered from a variety of local, state, and national sources. The data collected is also used in creating planning documents such as the Campus Master Plan for facilities and in guiding the development and enhancement of individual programs and services.
Sauk understands that a structured system of engagement is essential to building relationships and that it cannot serve the community without knowledge of its constituents’ needs. Many approaches are used to learn from external constituencies, including formal and informal communication, collaboration with organizations, connection with advisory groups, and grassroots discussions. The college applies information from these sources into its operational planning and program review processes as it assesses its capacity to respond to emerging needs, expectations, and desire of the stakeholders it serves.
The FY11 Strategic Plan objective 4.3 calls for Sauk to systematize the collection and use of community information: “Maintain communication with organizations that have a strategic importance to the college, and act upon information received from those organizations.” Although the primary thrust of this initiative is to glean information from formal and informal relationships, it also serves to encourage employees to continue to be public ambassadors for Sauk. The objective was developed during the self-study when it was discovered that no formal process exists to channel information collected from community involvement into the college:
During the focus group sessions on the proposed Strategic Directions, one of the groups identified a difference between being "seen" in the community and "doing something for Sauk" in the community;
When the self-study finding was shared with the President's Cabinet, PC recommended that the objective be added in order to assure that valuable information from the community is used by the college.
Several college entities have formal roles in connecting Sauk to its district:
The Board of Trustees is the ultimate conduit for communication between the organization and its external constituencies. Trustees are elected by local vote to represent the public to Sauk and Sauk to the community. Their role is to provide transparency, direction, and accountability as outlined in board policy ().
Coordinator of Corporate Training (): The Coordinator of Corporate Training builds long-lasting and beneficial relationships by maintaining one-on-one contact with district business leaders. These relationships provide an opportunity to focus on each business and respond to its needs. The Coordinator chairs the college’s Work Force Council and serves as the liaison to area business organizations such as chambers of commerce, economic development groups, and business service groups.
The Foundation (): The Sauk Valley College Foundation provides a network of community leaders who support the work being done at the college and engage the larger community through various projects:
To raise funds to support the college, it has sponsored a number of community events, including the 40th Anniversary Celebration, Draw-Down Dinner Dance, Hot Car/Cold Cash Raffle, Used Book Sale, 45th Anniversary Celebration, and Reagan Scholarship Luncheon, just to name a few.
When granting scholarships and awards, it invites community members to nominate candidates and to screen scholarship applications.
Events that it regularly co-sponsors with Sauk clubs and organizations include community participants. Recently, the Foundation partnered with the Criminal Justice Club to present a 9/11 Thank You Breakfast for police, firefighters, and EMT personnel throughout the community ().
5B.2: Connections to the Community
The embedding of Strategic Goals and Objectives in the Operational Plan Template assures that each office and academic area considers its connection to community organizations every year (Appendix). The planning process engages the entire campus community and enables outreach projects to originate from assessment and program review, while also allowing a venue for staff creativity. The self-study revealed that even prior to the development of the FY11 Strategic Directions, Sauk was actively engaged with the surrounding community in many ways:
Work Force Councils ():
As required by the ICCB, Workforce Councils have been used as an information exchange for more than 20 years (formerly called advisory councils). These councils elicit valuable occupational information from local employers and inform them of academic concerns and requirements. This process allows Sauk to create and maintain the career programming that the community most requires. As of fall 2010, two sets of Work Force Councils hold regular meetings at the college (a total of six separate councils):
Health Careers Work Force Councils:
Radiologic Technology Council
Emergency Medical Services Council
Work Force Councils:
Business and Technology Council
Human Services/ Early Childhood Education Council
Criminal Justice Council
Sauk’s career program faculty are invited to attend meetings and use council findings as part of their planning. Chaired by the Coordinator of Corporate Business Training, the joint Work Force Councils hold a general meeting at least once annually, and the individual councils, chaired by a Sauk faculty or staff member, meet once or twice a year to discuss data and plan specific projects. A project or issue may be directed to a subcommittee, which may recruit additional people from the college or workplace who do not currently serve on the council. For example, in FY09, a subcommittee was formed to address local industry need for technical troubleshooting. Sauk faculty worked with a local manufacturer to develop and pilot the needed course, with input from the entire Work Force Council ().
Formal Organizational Memberships:
Sauk employees gather information and feedback about community needs through membership on professional boards and participation in organizations, including the following examples:
Workforce Investment Boards (WIBs - ): Sauk has two WIB's within its district. The President serves on the North Central Illinois Works WIA Board, which serves the counties of Bureau, LaSalle, Lee, and Putnam, and the Dean of Instructional Services serves on the Northwest Illinois Workforce Investment Board, which serves Carroll, Jo Daviess, Ogle, Stephenson, and Whiteside counties.
Lee County Emergency Preparedness Council: The Dean of Institutional Research and Planning serves on the countywide group that coordinates preparedness and shares information.
Illinois Wind Working Group: The Academic Vice President represents Sauk in this group of educators, wind energy developers, manufacturers, and economic development professionals. The group promotes new developments in the wind industry within the state and offers education to local areas considering the development of wind-related resources.
Health-related committees: Each of the nursing faculty currently serves on at least one health-related committee within the community to help keep the college's health professions training and information current.
Sauk employees are involved in and serve their home communities extensively. In the fall 2009 staff survey (), over 95% reported that they feel they represent the college when they are engaged in their community work. The survey indicated that 60% of Sauk employees spend up to ten hours per month volunteering and 5% spend 16 or more hours per month. College employees reported serving on over 280 community committees and boards representing local municipal government, economic development boards, faith-based groups, fraternal organizations, social service agencies, service groups, and personal development activities. Existing personal associations between Sauk employees and community organizations have resulted in cooperative community events such as the Big Read, YWCA Women of Achievement Luncheon, and the Red Cross Blood Drive, just to name a few. Faculty community involvement is systematically encouraged through the employee self-evaluation process (), which asks each employee to respond to the question “How have you contributed to your community during the last year?”
Sauk recognizes the growing power of social networking as a tool to connect with external constituents. The college invests staff time in creating and maintaining this media, which is easily reached by links on the college’s homepage.
The college Facebook page began in April of 2008. Since then, various offices (for example, Financial Aid) and student clubs have also created pages. As of June 1, 2011, there are 846 fans on the site (). In addition, the Sauk Valley College Foundation maintains the Sauk Alumni Facebook page that began in May 2009. As of June 1, 2011, there are 158 fans on the alumni site ().
A Twitter feed is used as a means of communication with college employees and the community to make announcements about upcoming events at Sauk. The college re-posts the items from the Facebook page ().
A Rich Site Summary (RSS) allows subscriptions which deliver college-related news on a variety of topics to be delivered automatically to the subscriber’s browser or desktop ().
A Sauk YouTube site allows community access to a variety of videos, including instructions for using library services, interviews with students and faculty, and performances ().
5B.3: Academic Activities Connect Students to the Community
Building bridges that connect Sauk students to the larger community in which they live is recognized as an important goal for the college.
Clubs and organizations (): The Student Government Association and student clubs provide many co-curricular activities that allow students to engage with the community and vice versa. Following are a few of the clubs and events they have sponsored or assisted with that serve or involve the Sauk Valley area in FY08 and FY09:
Student Government: Habitat for Humanity; Ronald Reagan 99th Birthday Luncheon
Student Parent Association: AAUW Book Sale; Thanksgiving Food Baskets
Criminal Justice Club: Secret Service Agent program (open to community)
Student athletics (): Sauk’s sports programs include baseball, men’s and women's basketball, cross country, golf, softball, men’s and women's tennis, and volleyball. Home games attract fans, friends, and family. Sauk hosts invitational and sectional tournaments (see Figure 5vi). Local radio stations regularly broadcast Sauk games and coaches submit information to local newspapers. Fans can stay in touch with their favorite team by visiting the Sauk website, where the Athletic Director posts results and highlights. As an additional bridge into the community, the athletic teams do public service projects, including volunteering at summer sports camps for local youth.
Externships: Many of Sauk’s career programs require internships or practicums, which are designed to strengthen, enhance, and extend student learning by providing students with valuable hands-on training and work experience. Externships also provide an entry-level labor pool for area employers and local employment opportunities for students.
Health careers: All health career programs require significant time in clinical settings. Sauk has 44 formal contracts with clinical and internship sites. Clinical experiences are supervised by Sauk faculty and facility professionals.
Business: Internships are required for students pursuing AAS degrees in accounting, management, marketing, and office and administrative services. These internships require that students work 10-15 hours per week for a business or public office.
Other CTE programs: Based on the needs of the degree, a variety of other individual programs also require internships:
Electronic Engineering Technology
Early Childhood Education
Heating, Refrigeration, and Air Conditioning
Criminal Justice: Law Enforcement
Social Service: Human Services
Mechanical Engineering Technology
Fine Arts: Sauk's art, music, and theatre programs and creative writing classes share students' talents developed in the classroom with the community by offering art shows, concerts, plays, open-mic nights, poetry readings, and film presentations. For example, the Short Film Contest invites the community to view student submissions, which are juried by professional film producers and critics. Students also take their work off campus to area schools, festivals, and other local venues. For example, a local bookstore-coffeehouse is a frequent host of open-mic nights for the creative writing students. The community is also provided opportunities to participate in the arts on campus. About 1000 people a year attend one or more concerts, and theatre audiences average about 250 people a production, according to faculty estimates. Community members are also invited to audition for theatre productions and are regularly found in the cast.
5B.4: Facilities Available to the Community
Sauk opens its doors to community groups to host conferences, training, and other events. Although Sauk is the largest conference facility in the area, the college is careful not to market its facilities in ways that would compete with private meeting sites. Board policy defines the priorities for facility use and the types of groups that are required to pay rental charges (). Other educational institutions and most not-for-profits are able to use the facility rent free.
The 2010 Master Plan includes improving the community access to the building by clustering services around specific entrances. Renovation began in January 2011 when the Personal and Professional Development offices were moved from the West Mall to the East Mall. Other steps will be taken as the phases of the Master Plan come about. These changes will enhance community services already available on campus:
Library services: District residents may request a library card and check out print and digital resources from the Learning Resource Center (LRC). Interlibrary loan privileges are not extended to residents because of non-compete arrangements with local public libraries. The LRC staff conducts three or four high school class tours a year.
Testing: In the summer of 2010, the Testing Center was opened in a newly renovated 1,650-square-foot space. Tests proctored for external constituents include internet classes from other institutions, Dantes Subject Standardized Test (DSST), Independent Study Program (ISP), and College Level Examination Program (CLEP). This facility consolidated the same services that had previously been offered in various locations on campus.
Technology: Sauk allows the public access to its technology capabilities. Computers and wireless access are available throughout the building. Users pay a small fee for the LRC printer and copy machine.
Emergency facility: The college facility is available in case of a community-wide emergency. Sauk's emergency plan describes the three primary emergency functions:
Shelter for the Lee County Health Department and Red Cross for any regional disaster.
Emergency inoculation site for the Lee County Health Department. The H1N1 flu outbreak in 2009 allowed the college its first opportunity to cooperate by assisting with vaccine acquisition.
Reception center in case of a nuclear accident at the nearby Byron nuclear power plant.
Grounds: The grounds are available and have been used for tennis meets, cross country events, community walks and runs, to name a few.
Prairie plot: For over 20 years Sauk has partnered with the local chapter of the Quad City Natural Area Guardians to maintain an 11.1-acre prairie plot in the front lawn and a 2.2-acre plot to the east of the building. Recently, ABC AmeriCorps secured a grant to expand the east plot and make it handicap accessible. A paved pathway to the existing plot and benches have been installed. The grant also calls for paths through the extended new plot so the community can more easily access the area.
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 (5A.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
* 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
Credits earned out of district
Out-of-district students coming in
Credits earned at Sauk
Enrollments with chargeback
District students going away
Credits earned out of district
Out-of-district students coming in
*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
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
5 Year Totals
University of Phoenix
University of Illinois
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 ( 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
Events for Non-English speakers
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.
5D: Internal and External Constituencies Value Services
Internal and external constituencies value the services Sauk Valley Community College provides.
5D.1: Evaluation of Services Involves Students
Sauk has several mechanisms by which students may participate in various evaluation processes:
Student Evaluation of Courses:
Sauk has an established system of classroom course evaluations, asking students to complete a two-page rating survey with space for comments. Protocol requires that the teacher be absent from the room, that inter-office mailing of the surveys to the Vice President of Academics be handled by a student, and that the forms be held in that office until after the posting of final semester grades. The surveys are then returned to faculty so they can make any necessary instructional changes. No use is made of questions regarding technology, classroom environment, or curriculum relevance. At the time of the self-study, there is no similar mechanism in place for any online courses except for those in the NIOIN program; however, a task force of faculty has begun the process of developing an evaluation process for online courses.
Sauk periodically conducts institution-level surveys for the purposes of gathering data from students or graduates:
Graduate Follow-up Survey: For over 20 years, Sauk has regularly surveyed transfer-degree graduates, asking them to rate their perceptions of the quality of the institution and report whether they have transferred or entered the workforce. The survey, which consistently revealed graduates’ high level of satisfaction with Sauk, had little impact on operations and was discontinued in 2008.
Career and Technical Education (CTE) Survey: The ICCB requires colleges to survey graduates from specified CTE programs each spring. The ICCB compiles the submitted data and provides comparison data to Sauk to use in the related program reviews. The number of graduates from any particular program has generally been too low to make these results an effective measure.
Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI): During the spring 2010 semester, nearly 300 students from high enrollment classes, such as English and Psychology, completed the SSI inventory. Although students rated Sauk positively in numerous categories, attention is being given to the areas that need to be improved, with some action plans specifically identified in Operational Plans. Ideally, the SSI should be administered every two to three years, but due to budget constraints, it is planned to be repeated in four years.
Scheduling survey: In January 2007, the college conducted a student survey designed to determine the types of class schedules that were most preferred by students and to answer questions about a number of other scheduling-related issues. A key finding was that students preferred a class schedule where they could attend Monday through Thursday and eliminate coming to campus on Fridays. This change was phased in as discipline-specific teaching and learning issues were addressed and resolved and was fully implemented in FY11.
At the time of a program review or in association with special projects, student surveys may be conducted to gather qualitative or quantitative data. Other types of student feedback are regularly collected in association with campus activities. Here is a sampling:
Classroom: When asked to identify the classroom evaluations they conduct, about a half-dozen instructors reported that they survey their students about specific units or classroom issues. These range from formative assessments to gauge comprehension of material to formal evaluations of course content or practices.
Activity feedback: The Student Services staff regularly survey participants in department programs, including students involved in Orientation (PSY 100), loan counseling, and special needs. All student athletes are surveyed regarding their expectations and goals for coming to Sauk at entry and again at exit to determine if their goals and expectations were met.
Outreach programs: Student surveys provide the primary feedback from participants for the outreach units of the college. PPD course participants complete surveys to evaluate presenters and provide ideas for new classes. High school students participating in any of the events sponsored by the High School Relations Office, such as Discover Sauk visits, are asked for feedback to guide program improvement. Adult Education has recently added a student evaluation form to its array of student interactions.
5D.2: Service to the Community
Sauk is engaged with a variety of activities designed to serve the local community. In some cases, service activities are a vital part of the purpose of an organization; in others, they simply arise from a desire by a group of college community members to make a difference in the lives of others. Below is a partial list of volunteer activities that the college undertakes for the benefit of the community:
Blood Drive: An annual service project sponsored by SGA for the American Red Cross. As of 2009, the project has been expanded to one each semester. In fall 2010, 51 pints of blood were collected from 52 donors.
Job Fair: This community event is co-sponsored with Sauk Valley Newspapers and allows area employers to set up booths and provide employment information to job seekers. There are commonly more than 25 employers and military representatives, meeting with approximately 500 job seekers.
Child Fair: This annual spring event attracts over 45 vendors and 1500 participants who care about and for the community’s children. For 25 years, this annual event has brought families together to learn and play while area merchants, social service agencies, health-care organizations, and community groups share information on child health, welfare, learning, and advocacy.
5D.3: Evaluation of Services Involves the Community
Sauk maintains a "Community Correspondence" file in the President's office for communication from constituents and community leaders. The President routinely shares the positive comments with appropriate staff and faculty. Negative communications receive a personal response from the President or his designee. The file contains hundreds of letters, notes, emails, and letters to the editors providing testimony to the positive impact the college, its staff, and its programs have on the community. It is clear from the constituent correspondence that Sauk is considered a community asset.
Other types of evaluation from the community are elicited in response to specific programs and activities:
Internships: Internships which place students with community employers have value to the business constituents as well as the student participants. Although individual academic programs have consistently tracked employer evaluation, the college has not collected or analyzed this data at an institutional level. As of spring 2011, the use of a standardized internship contract and the alignment of program objectives for career programs will allow employer evaluations to provide institution-wide data that can be used to improve externship opportunities both for students and for business partners.
Personal and Professional Development (PPD) courses: The office asks all PPD students to evaluate the classes in which they participate. These are reviewed by the Coordinator and shared with the instructor. The evaluation survey provides qualitative as well as quantitative data, plus an opportunity for students to request additional programs. When they make requests, students commonly request more or advanced classes in the topics they have just completed. PPD attempts to honor such requests whenever possible.
Program review: Program review teams are encouraged to involve a community member or industry expert to provide an outside perspective (Appendix). A survey of FY10 Program Reviews showed that about half involved an outside participant on the team.
5D.4: Community Values Services
Sauk maintains significant, positive relationships with local, state, and federal representatives from the district. The representatives have demonstrated their support during campus visits and in a variety of ways:
In 2008 US Representative Don Manzullo and in 2009 State Representative Jerry Mitchell were the keynote speakers at Commencement. Both testified to the importance of Sauk to the community.
On January 30, 2010, US Congressman Bill Foster was on campus for a "thank you" reception for his help in securing funding for nursing equipment and to tour the science labs and nursing instructional area.
In recognition of community colleges and specifically Sauk’s service to the district, the Mayors of Dixon, Sterling, and Rock Falls proclaimed April 2011 as National Community College and Sauk Valley Community College Month.
A quick scan of co-sponsors and participants in college outreach efforts reveals the respect that local community leaders have for the college, expressed through their tangible support of myriad projects and partnerships. Examples include Sauk Valley Newspapers’ sponsorship of an annual job fair and the 45 participants in the annual Child Fair.
5D.5: Workforce Development Activities Are Valued
Sauk has a long history of economic development initiatives, consistently supporting training, small business development, and regional economic development. Corporate Training remains a vital outreach, despite the departure of many of the district's major manufacturers. Training is handled by the PPD staff, which facilitates customized training and enrollment in credit courses for area employers. After providing business counseling to entrepreneurs and small businesses for more than 20 years, Sauk’s Small Business Development Center (SBDC) was closed in FY09 due to a change in grant funding requirements.
Over the years, Sauk’s involvement in regional economic development efforts has shifted from industrial development toward an emphasis on workforce readiness. The Workforce Investment Act (WIA) combines federally-funded job training programs in Illinois into a workforce development system coordinated by Workforce Investment Boards (WIB). Sauk has two WIBs within its district, which have approved 61 of Sauk’s programs for WIA funding. During FY10, when four local employers announced closings, eliminating 750 jobs, WIA funds have been available to assist in retraining. Annually, well over 100 individuals from the district receive training and re-training through these WIA programs (see Figure 5xi). In addition, on average, $150,000 from the WIA partners is provided for training dislocated workers, low income constituents, and youth (see Figure 5xii).
5D.6: Programs Meet Continuing Education Needs
Sauk meets the continuing educational needs of licensed professionals primarily through its Coordinator of Business and Community Education. The college currently offers programs for the following:
Food Sanitation (recertification)
Teachers (continuing personal development classes)
OSHA training (certificate classes)
Nursing Home Administrators (continuing personal development classes)
Child Care Providers (continuing personal development classes).
In addition, Sauk has partnered with other providers:
University of Illinois to conduct Childcare University for childcare workers
Ed2Go and Gatlin Education to offer an array of online courses
Health Educators of the Rock River Valley, a consortium of regional health-care providers, to provide about 9 continuing education credits per year for nurses.
Sauk continues to explore opportunities and will provide the following new continuing education opportunities during the fall 2011 semester:
real estate brokers licensure for real estate agents
Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) human resource certification courses
a boot camp for board members of not-for-profit agencies.
Sauk’s building and grounds provide a unique venue for large-scale activities and conferences in the district. Supplying our facilities for district-wide activities like the annual job fair and child fair, which also engage volunteer efforts by Sauk employees, demonstrates a deep commitment to use the facilities in ways that benefit the community.
We recognize and honor diversity among our internal constituents, which may be seen in the work of the Support Services Department and various support programs. In addition, we provide leadership and opportunities for engagement with diversity in the surrounding area, primarily through our outreach activities and public performances.
Outreach initiatives are clearly responsive to our local needs and conditions. An example is our commitment to continue to provide adult literacy services when grant funding was withdrawn because of our awareness of its importance in and to the surrounding community.
Despite exemplary levels of personal volunteerism by employees, the self-study revealed some deterioration in Sauk’s institutional relationship and involvement within community organizations. The self-study committee recommends that key members of the college organization be required by their job descriptions to serve as liaisons of Sauk to the organizations identified as having strategic importance.
Formal links to communicate student evaluation data into the planning system do not appear to exist. The self-study committee recommends that the college develop such mechanisms when it revises the evaluation process.
Although Sauk offers an array of licensing and certification opportunities through its Personal and Professional Development programs, few continuing education options are available for the area’s practicing professionals. The self-study committee recommends that the college should do marketing analysis related to appropriate continuing education opportunities.
Opportunities for Growth
Partnerships between Sauk career-focused clubs and community professionals provide educational opportunities for students. However, the self-study found that few such clubs exist. The self-study committee recommends that the college provide resources to ensure their creation and continuance in order to increase student access to these community connections.
Sauk’s facilities provide unique conference space in the district for events and are used by community groups for a variety of events. However, organizers sometimes have to coordinate with several separate college offices. The self-study committee recommends that the college consider coordinating conferences through a single-point contact.
Because Sauk values community service, the self-study committee recommends that the evaluation forms for administrators and staff should include a related question.
Although Sauk engages in appropriate environmental scanning of data, the self-study committee recommends the college develop additional surveying methods and tools that provide community assessment of services.