SVCC HLC Self-Study Document

Sauk Valley Community College
HLC Self-Study Document

September 19-21, 2011

Profile of Sauk Valley Community College

Sauk Valley Community College is situated on a 163-acre campus in rural northwestern Illinois, along the scenic Rock River, midway between Dixon and the twin cities of Sterling and Rock Falls (link to digital resource room support). The college district encompasses 1,625 square miles, serving portions of Bureau, Carroll, Henry, Lee, Ogle, and Whiteside Counties--a combined population of just over 100,000 residents Courtesy link to external web resource.

Governance

Sauk is governed by a seven-member Board of Trustees elected by residents of the district and operating under the general supervision of the Illinois Community College Board Courtesy link to external web resource. A non-voting student trustee on the Board represents student interests.

Dr. George J. Mihel has served as the college’s fifth president since July 2005. Reorganization of the administrative structure has reduced the number of vice presidents to one: the Academic Vice President. Some dean and director-level positions have been restructured and reassigned among the dean, director, and coordinator classifications. The current organizational structure shows five more administrators reporting directly to the President than 10 years ago under the prior president (link to an appendixAppendix).

Services

As a comprehensive community college, Sauk provides a range of opportunities in academic transfer degrees, career and technical degrees, adult and continuing education, and community service offerings. The college offers 71 associate degree and 48 certificate programs. Sauk's commitment to the public also includes intercollegiate athletics and cultural offerings. The college’s commitment to serving the diverse needs of the district expresses itself in the existence of an array of support programs and technology services.

Economic Context

The Sauk college district is predominantly rural. Most of the manufacturers that formed the early tax base of the district have closed or moved, leaving a primarily service economy (see Figure i).

Top Taxpayers in 1965
(Source: Out of the Prairie, p. 34)
Top Taxpayers in 2008
(Source: SVCC Business Office)
Northwestern Steel and Wire Manufacturing Wal-Mart Stores (Whiteside) Retail
Commonwealth Edison Utility Duke Energy Lee, LLC Public Service
Medusa Cement Manufacturing Amcore Investment Group, NA ** Financial services
Frantz Manufacturing Manufacturing ISTAR Dixon, LLC Financial services
National Manufacturing Manufacturing CGH Medical Center Health care
RB & W Manufacturing St Barbara Cement, Inc* Manufacturing
Lawrence Brothers Manufacturing Wal-Mart Stores (Lee County) Retail
General Electric Manufacturing Lee County Landfill, Inc Public Service
Charles O. Larson Manufacturing Crest Foods, Inc Manufacturing
Illinois Forge Manufacturing Wakefield Communities (Coventry Village) Health care
*Closed 2009
** Acquired by Midland States Bank in 2010

Findings from the FY09 study, described below, show the shift in employment opportunities:

  • Manufacturing jobs: In Lee County, from 19.3% in 2000 to 17.2% in 2007; in Whiteside County, from 35.7% in 1970 to 17.9% in 2007
  • Service jobs: In Lee County, from 13.4% in 1970 to 28.6% in 2007; in Whiteside County, from 12.9% in 1970 to 26.9% in 2007

The loss of manufacturing jobs and recent economic uncertainty have had the expectable consequence on local employment, with the three counties that form the bulk of the Sauk district all ranking near the top of the state unemployment report (see Figure ii).


  April 2010 April 2011
County Rate Rank* Rate Rank*
Bureau 10.9 31 9.9 15
Carroll 11.7 21 9.2 24
Henry 9.8 49 7.2 80
Lee 11.3 24 9.7 17
Ogle 13.7 3 11.9 2
Whiteside 10.9 31 9.0 30
Illinois 11.4 -- 9.1 --
* Unemployment rank among 102 counties (Highest unemployment = 1)
Source: State of Illinois

New warehousing and packaging businesses along Interstate 88 have provided some new employment opportunities, and negotiations between the state and federal government could eventually open an unused state prison in the Carroll County town of Thomson as a federal facility.

The economic climate is changing the community in ways significant to the college:

  • The poverty level is climbing, as evidenced in Figure iii by free and reduced lunch eligibility rates in the feeder schools:
  FY06 FY11 5 Year Change
Bureau 36.0% 42.4% 4.5%
Carroll 27.1% 46.4% 17.4%
Lee 31.6% 40.7% 6.8%
Ogle 21.4% 37.0% 11.5%
Whiteside 36.2% 46.3% 7.8%
Total 33.3% 43.8% 8.2%
Source: Illinois Department of Education
  • The region is losing school-age population, as evidenced by declining enrollments at the high schools in the Sauk district shown in Figure iv:
  FY06 FY11 5 Year Change % Change
9th grade 1,798 1,559 -239 -13.3%
10th grade 1,824 1,440 -384 -21.1%
11th grade 1,733 1,418 -315 -18.2%
12th grade 1,594 1,361 -233 -14.6%
Total 6,949 5,778 -1,171 -16.9%
Source: Illinois Department of Education

In FY09, the Board of Trustees requested a study to determine why some Illinois community colleges were growing and how Sauk compared to those institutions with the highest growth.  The resulting study, which was used in developing the FY10 Strategic Plan, revealed several demographic characteristics of the Sauk district that differed from the high-growth districts:

  • Proportion of district served: ICCB data showed that Sauk is comparable to the ten high growth districts in the percentage of population using its services. Against a state average of 4.0%, Sauk’s rate was 7.2%, compared to just under 7.5% for the comparison group. However, Sauk showed an increase of 1.5%, while 7 of the 10 other districts showed a decrease ( -1.3 – -1.6%).
  • Population: The comparison group had an increase in total population averaging 7.8%, compared to the state average increase of 3.2% and the drop in Sauk’s district population (-2.2%).
  • Age: Sauk’s population is older: average median age is 40.4 years, compared to 34 years in the growing districts. Sauk had fewer under the age of 18 (22.2%) than the comparison group (26%) and more over the age of 44 (43.3%) than growing districts (33%).
  • Finance: The top 10 districts tended to be wealthier: Although schools inside Chicago had lower median incomes, the average median household income for the comparison group ($53,271) was significantly higher than the average in the Sauk district of $45,700.
  • Educational attainment: Compared to Illinois totals for amount of education, Sauk residents (26.4%) are less likely to have any college degree than the state average (39.7%). And although Sauk runs ahead of the Illinois average for high school diplomas, it is markedly lower in both bachelor and graduate degree holders (see Figure v). One measure of Sauk’s contribution to the district may be seen in the 10.5% of residents who have associate’s degrees, compared to 7.4% of state residents.
County Bureau Carroll Henry Lee Ogle Whiteside Totals IL Totals
% w/college degree 27.70% 21.90% 36.30% 21.50% 28.10% 22.80% 26.40% 39.70%
# w/college degree 1,112 379 2,040 1,000 1,689 1,641 7,861 714,086
Total Population 4,017 1,727 5,620 4,662 6,009 7,211 29,246 1,798,840
< 9th Grade 1.90% 0.30% 1.60% 2.60% 4.60% 4.00% 2.90% 5.00%
9-12 Grade, No Diploma 7.90% 5.90% 7.00% 18.50% 11.30% 7.90% 10.00% 10.10%
High School Grad/GED 34.60% 42.30% 26.90% 32.20% 30.60% 37.30% 33.00% 22.90%
Some college, No degree 28.00% 29.60% 28.20% 25.20% 25.40% 28.10% 27.20% 22.30%
Associate's Degree 11.50% 7.10% 13.60% 9.40% 9.80% 9.50% 10.50% 7.40%
Bachelor's Degree 13.70% 10.80% 19.10% 10.30% 14.60% 11.10% 13.60% 23.50%
Graduate Degree 2.40% 4.10% 3.70% 1.80% 3.70% 2.10% 2.80% 8.80%
Source: US Census Bureau, 2000

Student Characteristics

The students that Sauk serves exhibit both traditional and non-traditional characteristics (see Figure vi). (link to an appendix The Institutional Snapshot provides additional student demographic detail.)

Figure vi: Student Characteristics Fall 2010
Age*Percent
Under 17 years 5.4%
17 – 21 years 51.9%
22 – 30 years 19.6%
31 – 40 years 11.2%
41 – 50 years 6.4%
Over 50 years 5.4%
 
1st Generation (1,044 respondents)* 78.5%
 
Marital Status**Percent
Single 77.0%
Married 18.0%
Divorced 5.0%
Have children 30.3%
 
Employment Status (1,254 respondents)*%
Unemployed 28.0%
Employed <= 15 hours per week 11.4%
Employed >= 15 hours per week 27.8%
Employed full-time 25.9%
Homemaker 5.1%
Other 1.8%
*Source: Information Services
**Source: FAFSA applications

Diversity of Population

Although Sauk has been implementing affirmative action policies for more than 20 years, the challenge remains to serve a leadership role in a rural, ethnically homogeneous locale. The population’s racial and ethnic makeup is relatively unchanged, except for a slight increase in Hispanic residents (see Figure vii):

Figure vii: SVCC Disctict Racial & Ethnic Breakdown
 200320042005200620072008
Caucasian 93.2% 93.1% 93.1 93.0% 92.6% 92.5%
African American 2.3% 2.3% 2.3% 2.3% 2.4% 2.4%
Native American 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2% 0.2%
Asian American 0.5% 0.6% 0.6% 0.6% 0.7% 0.7%
Pacific Islander 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0% 0.0%
Other American 2.7% 2.7% 2.7% 2.7% 2.6% 2.7%
2 or more categories 1.2% 1.2% 1.2% 1.2% 1.4% 1.6%
Hispanic American 6.6% 7,2% 7.2% 7.3% 7.5% 7.6%
District Population 102,781 103,208 103,001 103,079 102,174 101,825
Source: US Census Bureau, 2000

In developing the FY10 Strategic Directions, the Board took into consideration the following statistics, resulting in a Strategic Goal to increase efforts to recruit minority students (Link to another discussion in the self-study 2A.4):

  • Illinois high school graduation rate: 76.7%
    • White: 77.6%
    • Hispanic: 57.8%
  • After grad, 21 & younger in college
    • White: 69.1%
    • Hispanic: 45.3%