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2002 Advancement Section
The 2002 visiting team did Sauk the courtesy of providing advisement on several topics. Here is a brief summary of how the college has responded to various suggestions:
Topical Area: Recruitment of adult learners:
“. . .The Team was asked by college officials to provide suggestions and recommendations regarding the recruitment and retention of adult learners, particularly in the areas of ABE, GED, ESL, senior programs, and general interest topics” (p 3). The college considered each suggestion and took action where the suggestion was feasible ( 5B.2):
- Sauk has joined community groups to obtain advisory input, including the Bilingual Advisory Committee of Sterling Unit 5 Schools and Trabajando Juntos, as well two separate Workforce Investment Boards. In addition, the college maintains an Adult Education Area Planning Council and a variety of community-based Work Force Councils.
- In FY05, Sauk identified two target markets for promoting adult education classes and services: a) individuals who were in need of services like GED and ESL; and b) individuals who did not need services themselves, but were close to those who did (relatives or employers, for example). As a result, in FY06 and FY07, schedules and information were sent to local churches and social service agencies about adult education services and appropriate Personal and Professional Development (PPD) and community service activities.
- Adult education has experimented with class locations without any significant change in enrollment. While it has been a predominantly community-based program with only a few courses offered on campus, all classes were recently moved to off-campus locations. For FY12, several low enrollment class locations have been discontinued and are being rescheduled on campus.
- The electronic marquee sign was placed at the college entrance in 2005 and has been used regularly to promote AE, PPD and community service events, theatre and music productions, and adult recruitment events.
- Sauk's facilities have been made more available to the community. High schools have held tennis tournaments and a conference cross-county meet. The Sauk gym has been made available to several local high school basketball teams while their gyms were undergoing renovation or repair. Sauk regularly hosts the Sauk Valley Newspaper’s basketball all-star game. The general public regularly comes to Sauk to use the tennis courts and to walk in-doors or on the track.
- The river continues to provide a beautiful natural backdrop for the college’s outdoor activities. For example, the theatre program has periodically conducted a Shakespeare Hike event where college actors perform various Shakespeare scenes on the lawns between the building and the river. However, Sauk’s insurance carrier continues to advise against offering canoe and kayak classes due to increased liability.
- A combined publication of credit and non-credit offerings was attempted briefly as a cost-cutting measure, but as of 2007, the Sauk course schedule is available only online while the non-credit courses are still provided in a printed catalog through general mailings; as specific event notices on posters; as news releases in local newspapers; and in special mailings to past participants. Local employers receive promotional information for general-interest, large events like the Child Fair. This combination appears to reach the public in a cost-effective manner.
- Having already investigated the National Elderhostel Program prior to the 2002 visit, the college had been advised that Sauk's rural location made success unlikely. However, Corporate and Community Services did operate a senior program independently and under the auspices of Elderhostel’s Learning in Retirement. While there was initial interest, enrollments declined because other local organizations were able to offer free or low-cost senior programs. Sauk prefers to cooperate rather than compete with other local senior service organizations.
- Sauk continues to promote the fitness center as a credit class to adults and senior citizens, who receive tuition waivers. The college has strong competition, however, as local agencies such as park districts, the YMCA, and the YWCA have established fitness centers in the higher population communities of the district.
- Sauk has utilized senior citizen workers through Experience Works and AmeriCorps in Admissions, PPD, Learning Resource Center, and public relations/marketing.
- Local youth programming has taken a similar direction as senior citizen programming. The number and variety of programs available locally to youth have grown significantly. Parents tend to choose local options in favor of driving out to campus. As a result, PPD has successfully restructured its youth programs into special interest camps which do not compete with other local service programs.
- The promotional items that would be of greatest interest to the Spanish speaking population have been translated into Spanish, including, for example, adult education information and schedules; career planning literature; FUSE mailings. In addition, the college website now has a link that allows the entire website to be translated into multiple languages. This is promoted to potential ESL students.
- Sauk has hosted several cultural events on campus to encourage the participation of minority groups, including Dia de los Muertos and a variety of FUSE-sponsored events. In addition, Sauk participates in community cultural events, including Dixon’s Cinco de Mayo celebration and the Sterling/Rock Falls Fiesta Parade.
- Community Services pulled away from a community-based program in the mid-1990’s due to the low enrollment and a high class cancelation rate. Most programs are now offered only on campus. To make the campus more inviting to community members, the 2010 Facilities Master Plan includes reconfigurations taking place during several phases of the project that will turn the East Mall entrance into a community entry.
- Employing community college private analysis companies for market analysis was too expensive to pursue, but participation in the Sauk Valley Partnership has improved the college’s ability to coordinate non-credit educational offerings in a way that cooperates rather than competes with community providers.
Topical Area: Private Funding:
“SVCC is probably limited in what additional private funding initiatives it can undertake with the current level of staffing and institutional priorities. However, some immediate opportunities exist” (p. 5).
- The alumni mailing list was updated during FY07 in response to the suggestion that “updating the alumni mailing list could serve as a preparatory step to re-activating the alumni association” (p. 5). Creation of an alumni webpage in 2007 was followed by a Facebook group in 2009.
- Funding for federal programs as suggested by the visiting team has been difficult to obtain and retain in recent years. Although AmeriCorps and Trio grant funding has been threatened a couple of times, Sauk has been able to retain the grants without any reduction in services.
See 5A.1 for a discussion of ways that Sauk extends its capacity for service.
Topical Area: Student Housing:
“The Team recommends that the college administration consider placement of the facility on the college campus proper (perhaps immediately east of the main college building) so as to encourage student interest in the facility. While not a major factor, students do look for convenience factors in their consideration of housing options, particularly in the winter months . . .” (p. 6).
For student housing to be constructed as suggested, the college would have had to sell the land to the Sauk Valley College Foundation and would have lost control of grounds that could be used for future expansion. The student housing was instead constructed just east of the campus on private land that had been donated to the Foundation specifically for that purpose. Given that the project has not been financially viable, Sauk's decision not to part with any acreage was sound (2B.4).
Topical Area: Leadership and Communications:
The team found “a degree of [leadership] disharmony . . . to be problematic in terms of communications, production, and the orderly flow of college activities . . . Additionally, faculty and students also cited communication challenges during the Team’s visit to the college” (pp. 6-7).
- Leadership positions have been re-organized several times. First, academic and student support service administrative duties were combined in FY04 in a Vice President of Learning Services position. Under a new president in FY06, the two positions were separated again as part of an organizational restructuring that established that all other functions serve teaching and learning. In that shift, the number of vice president positions was reduced to one: The Academic Vice President. The chief student services officer and the chief business officer were both reclassified at the dean level.
- During the years preceding the 2006 Focused Visit, several things occurred which improved communications. The Sauk community united to respond to the shortcomings identified in the comprehensive visit’s findings. Changes in organizational structure broke down silos and improved cooperation and teamwork. Committees were formally charged to engage in specific activities, and their meeting minutes were posted on the college website for all employees to read.
- The President formalized administrative meetings into the President’s Cabinet, consisting of the president’s direct reports, and the Administrative Council, consisting of all of the administrators. The minutes of these regular meetings are sent electronically to all employees, then posted on the college website.
Topical Area: Mission & Accreditation:
- "In keeping with GIR 1, the college should consider the modification of its mission statement and include language that declares, '…that it is an institution of higher education'" (p. 7). This language change was incorporated in the 2006 revision of the Mission Statement.
- "Additionally, NCA-HLC requires that the college provide complete accreditation contact information. Both college catalogs (i.e. 2000-2002, 2002-2004) do not provide this level of detail. Thus, the college should ensure that future publications include the HLC-NCA name, address, phone number, and email address" (p. 7). This change was made in the 2004-2006 catalog and has remained in place up to and including the current online version. The college has also included the HLC mark of affiliation on the website in accordance with HLC requirements and guidelines.