April 2020 Board Report

A virtual commencement ceremony is being planned for May 16, Illinois Valley Community College President Jerry Corcoran announced at Thursday’s board meeting.

“Instead of the traditional ceremony, we will conduct a virtual event next month and invite this year’s graduates to join us at the May 2021 commencement,” Corcoran said.

Thursday’s meeting was held via Zoom technology with only board chair Jane Goetz, vice-chair Everett Solon, Corcoran, board secretary Judy Day and IT director Chris Dunlap in the board room. Other trustees participated remotely via computer or phone.

Corcoran praised IVCC staff for continuing to serve students while following Gov. J.B. Pritzker’s executive order to stay-at-home. Employees have “risen to the challenge” posed by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

“The move to online instruction for the last eight-weeks of the semester has gone incredibly well. Our faculty are deeply committed to teaching and our administrators and support staff are working hard to ensure no student is left behind.”

Corcoran said other major events being delivered in new and creative ways include:

  • A virtual “Explore IVCC” replacing the traditional face-to-face event;
  • Completely online College Parent 101 and nursing information sessions;
  • A financial aid Q & A conducted on Zoom;
  • Podcasts focusing on accessing services remotely and ways to alleviate stress; 
  • Recruiters connecting with applicants, students and parents via text, email and social media; and
  • Development of a possible virtual job fair.

In other COVID-19-releated business, trustees learned:

  • The administration and American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 1810 last month signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) entitled “Sick and Personal Leave Related to COVID-19 Alternative Content/Services Delivery.”
  • The college has developed temporary pandemic leave procedures for employees not affected by a collective bargaining agreement and members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local #138.
  • In response to the disruption of classes, the college is exploring the possibility of offering more pass/fail options for students in the spring semester. Currently, no more than 20 percent of credit hours toward an IVCC degree or certificate can be earned via pass/fail courses.

In other action, trustees approved sabbatical leave for sociology instructor Jared Olesen for the 2020-21 academic year.

Goetz opened the meeting by recognizing student trustee Matthew Klein at his final meeting. The chair said Klein gave generously of his time, energy and talents and contributed to IVCC’s growth. Last month, the board nominated Klein for the ICCTA’s state student trustee award.

Trustees learned:

  • Tony Galindo of Tonica, introduced to trustees via Zoom, is the newly elected student trustee for 2020-21. Galindo, a biology major, received 71 of 142 votes cast in a recent virtual election conducted by the Student Government Association. Galindo’s term begins May 14.
  • Construction of the agriculture storage and routine maintenance facility is on schedule.
  • Dean of Workforce Development Shane Lange successfully defended his dissertation and will earn the EdD from Illinois State University in May.
  • Ashley Gonzales was hired as staff accountant in the business office and part-time Adult Education ABE/HSE instructor Abby Heider Schenck will resign effective May 6.
  • Larry Vahle, a 47-year mathematics instructor, will retire at the close of the spring semester. He taught and tutored the past decade at Ottawa Center. “I have worked with many wonderful, dedicated professionals at Ottawa Center and on main campus. The core values of responsibility, caring, honesty, fairness, and respect are very evident at this institution,” Vahle said.