September 2020 Board Report

Project Success, Illinois Valley Community College’s program for first generation, low-income and students with disabilities, has been awarded federal funding for another five years.

IVCC President Jerry Corcoran informed the board Thursday the program that serves approximately 165 students annually has locked in U.S. Department of Education funding through 2025.

The program was granted funding based on its proposal for the 2020-25 grant writing competition for TRIO Student Support Services.

“Our grant award notification indicated we will receive $334,000 per year for the next five years,” Project Success Director Chris Herman said.

The college’s four-member staff provides academic and personal counseling, career planning and financial literacy instruction.

In other business, the board approved three RAMP capital requests for fiscal 2022. RAMP is the official request for state funding for capital improvement projects.

A $5.1 million Library/Student Success Center involves moving the Student Technology Help Desk, Writing Center and Peer Tutoring Center from the Learning Commons to Jacobs Library. IVCC’s local match would be nearly $1.3 million.

A $2.8 million Professional Development Center involves relocating the Center for Excellence in Teaching, Learning and Assessment (CETLA) into the current Learning Commons to become a resource site for faculty and staff training. IVCC’s portion is $716,000.

A $4.1 million Agriculture Center would include a lab, classroom and student space in an Ag Complex adjacent to the recently completed storage facility. The college’s share is $1.2 million. 

The proposals are Community College Capital Resource Allocation Management Program (RAMP) projects.

Following a public hearing, the board gave final approval to the 2021 budget – a plan not expected to result in a tax increase.

Overall, revenues are projected at $32.1 million, less than one percent over 2020. Expenditures of $32.5 million are up less than one percent over the previous year. The general fund is $22.5 million, an increase of 1.4 percent.

In other action, the board approved:

  • Purchase of two replacement Palo Alto Firewalls from VDA Labs for $44,154. Firewalls provide internet connectivity and security.
  • Renewal of Ellucian Colleague maintenance and support for one year for $286,114.
  • A resolution designating the dates, times and place for filing board nominating petitions for the April 6 election. Petitions can be filed in Room C301, the board secretary’s office, from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, Dec. 14-18 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 21.
  • Following closed session, approved and retained closed session minutes from the Aug. 13 meeting.

The board learned:

  • Nasrina Bellel of Marseilles is co-winner of the 2020 Illinois Community College Trustees Association’s Paul Simon Essay Contest. Bellel, a single mother and small business owner, wrote about how IVCC changed her life. The college’s first recipient of the statewide award will be honored by the ICCTA at IVCC’s Oct. 8 board meeting.
  • The college will host a virtual grand opening of its new Agriculture Center at 11 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 24. View the ceremony at
  • Corcoran credited Oglesby Mayor Dom Rivara and other city representatives for offering to partner with the college on a campus solar farm. “Oglesby is determined to generate renewable energy and would like to explore the possibly of a solar-energy training center on campus. They will first need to secure outside funding to help make such an idea a reality.”
  • IVCC agriculture students now have the ability to pursue an ‘Earn and Learn’ career with GRAINCO FS and AgView FS. Under the partnership, select ag students will enjoy paid internships, summer jobs and two years’ reimbursement of all educational expenses. After completing the AAS in agriculture, they will have guaranteed full-time employment with one of the companies for three years.
  • The ag department also partnered with Mid-American Growers (MAG) of Granville to strengthen its new cannabis production certificate. Students will learn about the industry by interning at MAG. The program, which began this fall, focuses on production of industrial hemp (fiber and oil) and marijuana. Corcoran credited Reed Wilson, special projects assistant to the president, for orchestrating both partnerships.
  • A total of 132 summer graduates earned 142 degrees or certificates compared to 167 earning 177 degrees and certificates a year earlier.
  • Custodian John Delaney resigned effective Sept. 11.
  • A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the American Federation of Teachers (AFT) Local 1810 entitled “Full-time Counselor Alternative Service Delivery” was included in the board’s “Items for Information” section.

In “public comment,” Local 1810 President Tracy Lee addressed the board and was critical of the “lack of transparent and sincere communication on campus, something we feel is directly related to a lack of shared governance.”