February 2017 Board Report

The Illinois Valley Community College board Thursday approved a $6 per hour tuition increase and an increase in nursing fees.

Beginning with the summer session, the combined tuition and universal fee will be $130 per credit hour, an increase of 4.8 percent over fiscal 2017. The increase was made in anticipation of state funding remaining at 50 percent of 2015 levels (the last year the state had a budget).

“Right now, our tuition is 7 percent below the state average for community colleges. We expect this increase will keep us in about the same place because it’s the same math everywhere,” said IVCC President Jerry Corcoran. “Every school got just 27 percent of their state allocation in 2016.”

Corcoran added that even with the increase, IVCC will remain one-third the cost of Illinois State and Northern Illinois and one-fourth the cost of the University of Illinois.

This year, the average combined tuition and universal fee rate for Illinois community colleges is $133.42, said Vice President for Business Services and Finance Cheryl Roelfsema.

IVCC will also follow other Illinois community colleges and raise nursing course fees. Total cost of the two-year RN program will rise by $1,600 or $133 per course. IVCC is following a model similar to Rend Lake, Elgin, Rock Valley and Kankakee community colleges.

The high cost of the nursing program is due in large part to the state mandated 1-to-8 instructor-to-student ratio for clinical courses.

For fall 2017, second-year RN students who do not qualify for financial aid are encouraged to seek tuition assistance through the Foundation’s Scholarship Campaign.

In addition, the board approved fee increases to 50 courses, and fee adjustments on five other courses.

In other business, trustees approved the closing of the Reading, Writing and Study Skills Lab beginning this summer. Corcoran said lab students will now be served through additional developmental courses and Jennifer Bubb will be reassigned as a developmental instructor.

The lab provides self-paced instruction for students who place in developmental English or reading. Students completing lab modules are then allowed to enroll in college-level classes.

Corcoran said data covering a three year period revealed similar success rates for lab students and those in traditional courses. “Students completing traditional developmental coursework do as well or better than those completing lab instruction,” Corcoran said.

In addition, costs associated with the lab “are ultimately unsustainable,” he said noting tuition and fees generated by the lab cover just 20 percent of the full- and part-time staff salaries.

“We have great faculty, staff and facilities to accommodate individuals with special needs,” Corcoran said.

In other action, the board approved:

  • With regret, the resignation of trustee Laurie Bonucci of Princeton. Bonucci was elected to the board in April 2013 and had two years remaining in her term. The college is accepting nominations for Bonucci’s seat through 4:30 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 21.
  • The retirement of Dean of Humanities, Fine Arts and Social Sciences Brian Holloway effective March 31. “I wish a strong future for IVCC as a balanced provider of knowledge to transfer students, career students, and the general community, and as a regional center of the arts as well as technical education,” Holloway said in his resignation letter. Holloway is credited with starting the fall “Day of the Arts,” leading the restoration of an antique olio and serving as President of the Illinois Valley Symphony.
  • The 2018 fiscal year for July 1, 2017 through June 30, 2018 and the budget calendar.
  • The $302,700 bid of Vissering Construction of Streator for lighting, wall treatments and painting in the Cultural Centre. The renovations, financed by a bequest from former longtime IVCC Foundation director and trustee Walter Durley Boyle of Hennepin, are expected to be completed for the beginning of the fall semester. The project includes replacing all house lighting in the theater with LED fixtures and installing wall treatments to improve aesthetics and acoustics.
  • Vissering’s $60,135 bid for the replacement of four overhead doors in east campus Building J for automotive, welding and warehousing.
  • A three-year contract with Ferrilli for Information Technology support services to include upgrades and patches, enhanced documentation, system performance tuning and a security review for a total of $63,000 or $21,000 per year.
  • Purchase of tables and chairs from KI of Green Bay, Wis., for $19,434 for a new “active learning space” in Jacobs Library. The enhancements will be paid for from over $18,000 from the library’s memorial fund and $1,300 from a support staff service project in memory of former library employee Joanne Jalley.
  • Release of closed session meeting minutes from June 28, 2016.

The board also learned:

  • IT systems administrator Kevin Champlin resigned effective Jan. 25.
  • The Illinois Valley Labor Management Trustees will hold a business after-hours on IVCC’s east campus March 23, the night before the group’s annual Career Expo at the college. The after-hours will bring more awareness of career opportunities in the building trades.
  • The college received a letter of appreciation for revitalizing its agriculture program from Bureau County Farm Bureau Manager Jill Frueh. “We have heard from our members for many years that this program was needed on the local level,” said Frueh. “We know that this agricultural program is important to our community.”
  • The Feb. 3 Academic Challenge attracted 238 competitors from 11 high schools. First and second place winners advance to the University of Illinois sectional March 20. In addition, students finishing first in each of three divisions in English, engineering graphics, biology, chemistry, physics, computer science and math are eligible for a $300 award from the IVCC Foundation.
  • IVCC administrators plan to meet with an official from Western Illinois University to explore potential new partnerships with dual enrollment, honors articulation agreements, hosting WIU’s general studies program and reverse transfer agreements.
  • IVCC’s Foundation will host its first Giving Day April 6. ‘OneIVCC’ Giving Day replaces previous fundraisers such as 70s Night, Irish Night and the golf outing. The day will include challenges and contests with employees and students. Proceeds benefit the Foundation mission: Providing access to IVCC for every student seeking it.