October 2020 Board Report

Illinois Valley Community College’s Nasrina Bellel of Marseilles was honored Thursday night for winning the Illinois Community College Trustees Association Paul Simon Student Essay Contest and read her “compelling story of hope restored” to the board.  

Bellel, a single mother of five and small business owner, had read her essay at the college’s May 16 virtual commencement. She said she was at a low point in her life when she applied to IVCC in 2019.  

“The life I had worked dutifully on for years was fractured. I felt hopeless. I was unsure how much I would be able to accomplish with a high school diploma issued 14 years ago, limited employment history, and a struggling small business.  

“I was terrified at the notion of starting over, yet I knew moving forward was the only way back to the real me – the person with hopes and dreams beyond the title of wife or mother,” she said.  

“Acceptance into IVCC did just that. It reignited a spark in me that I hadn’t felt in years. Everybody I’ve met, from the instructors and advisors, to the security guard who directed me to bookstore, have been kind, caring, and helpful.  

“Becoming a student at IVCC has changed my life immeasurably in a mere matter of months. It has restored my self-worth and placed me on a path lined with attainable goals to help shape my future and ensure my success. 

“I’ve never felt more driven or confident in my own ability to create a better life for my children and myself,” Bellel said. 

Board chair Jane Goetz said Bellel is the first IVCC student to earn the statewide Simon award but not the first to have her life transformed by the college.  

“Nasrina, your essay is representative of the experience of so many of our students,” Goetz said. “You came to IVCC in search of hope, direction and a promising future. You received all three from our talented and supportive faculty and staff. Thank you for sharing your beautifully moving and inspirational story.” 

ICCTA President Jon Looney awarded Bellel a certificate and $500 check. He was accompanied by ICCTA Director of Finance Stephanie Spann and Director of Communication Kim Villanueva. 

Looney said Bellel’s essay was a “story of hope restored,” adding, “You are the reason why colleges like IVCC exist.” 

In other business, the board approved an engagement with Kroll for data breach notification and communication support for $259,157.  

Kroll will also provide consumer identity monitoring, fraud consultation and identity theft restoration for students and staff who were potential victims of the April data breach. 

Kroll was recommended by the law firm of McDonald Hopkins. In their experience working with Kroll, McDonald Hopkins noted Kroll “provided the best client experience.” 

The board also approved: 

  • Authorizing President Jerry Corcoran to begin preparing the 2020 tax levy. A tentative levy will be presented Nov. 12 for approval and a final levy Dec. 10. 
  • Protection, Health and Safety Projects for the 2020 tax year include $738,590 for a key card system upgrade and $100, 419 for replacement of the Fireplace Lounge wheelchair lift with an ADA-compliant ramp. The latter project includes adding stairs off the Fireplace Lounge deck.  
  • Continuation of the cash farm lease with tenant Luke Holly for 146 acres of college farmland at $308.25 per acre or $45,004.50 annually.  
  • Offering a 457(b) Deferred Compensation Plan through SURS. Employees can now deposit funds in either the TIAA-CREF-administered plan which was established in 2004 or the SURS plan.  
  • The annual $10,000 local match to support Project Success, the federally-funded program serving approximately 165 low-income, first-generation and students with disabilities annually. Specifically, IVCC’s match helps low-income students offset tuition, books and supplies.  
  • High deductible health plan-health savings account contributions for full-time employees. In January, IVCC will contribute $2,500 for individual coverage and $5,000 for “employee plus one” and family coverage.   
  • A certificate in Advanced Dental Office Management for students seeking employment in a dental office, rather than chairside dental assisting. It incorporates more complex business courses in marketing and management.               
  • Accepted with regret the retirement of longtime nursing instructor Deb Pumo effective Dec. 31. In her retirement letter, Pumo said, in part, “It is with a heavy heart that I hang up my stethoscope and leave my position at IVCC which I have loved and performed for the last 37.5 years … While I look forward to enjoying my retirement, I will dearly miss friends, colleagues, and of course the main reason I teach, my students. As a retiree I will continue to support IVCC, a little ‘diamond’ in the valley, which offers superb educational opportunities to students.”
  • Semester calendars for fall 2021, spring, summer and fall 2022 and spring and summer 2023.  

The board learned: 

  • A recent IVCC Foundation Giving Day raffle raised over $900. 
  • Corcoran said the Foundation office is working on a 21st Century Scholars Society virtual ceremony to highlight this year’s class of scholars and Society members. 
  • A total of 153 employees completed health screenings last week. 
  • In a campus update, Vice President for Academic Affairs Deborah Anderson discussed institutional learning outcomes. “Four institutional learning outcomes reflect the values, skills, and abilities our faculty believe all college educated persons should possess: communication, inquiry, social consciousness and responsibility,” Anderson said.  
  • Corcoran and Vice President for Business Services and Finance Cheryl Roelfsema met last week with Oglesby Mayor Dominick Rivara to further discuss the city providing electricity to the college including a potential solar energy-generating facility. “Right now, all we need to do is wait and see what’s brought forward by the mayor and his team,” Corcoran said.   
  • Last week, Southern Illinois University’s new chancellor, provost and others met virtually with IVCC Student Services officials regarding “new and very attractive options” for IVCC students considering transfer to SIU through a unique 3 + 1 arrangement. “In the student’s third year, they would pay IVCC’s tuition rate instead of SIU’s; in other words, a 2 + 2 at the cost of a 3 + 1,” Corcoran said. 

The Association of Community College Trustees recently published Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (2020): A Checklist and Implementation Guide for Community College Boards. “We’re hoping it can be the focus of review by the college’s Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Committee under the auspices of the Strategic Leadership and Planning Council,” Corcoran said.