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Headcount Up, Hours Down, Budget Balanced at SIC

September 27, 2018

The Southeastern Illinois College Board of Trustees met Tuesday, Sept. 18, in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room to approve the college’s fiscal year 2019 balanced budget, discuss the upcoming Outfitters and Wildlife Management program, learn of an uptick in headcount for enrollment, approve a one-year union contract, and more.

The board approved a position description for the new Outfitters and Wildlife Management program, which begins in the fall semester of 2019.

“This is an exciting program that will be on a national level,” said President Dr. Jonah Rice. “The outdoor industry is growing and this program is a natural fit for SIC, as we have a history of success in this general area.”

He said the unique portion of the program will be the hands-on dimension of the profession and the outdoor laboratory element. This will include a new full-time faculty position to begin in the fall of 2019.

The board approved the use of bond funds to match state dollars to refurbish the new Learning Commons Area, which encompasses the Melba Patton Library.  Improvements include new ceilings, lights, electrical additions and remodeling. The state funds are for deferred maintenance projects, and the improvements are long overdue from prior leaks before a new roof was installed.  Local legislators will be on campus Oct. 17 at 2 p.m. to review the proposed improvements.

The board also discussed options for investment of college funds, and requested that administration report back this fall with options for the board to consider. Public notification will follow.

Enrollment at the time of the board meeting is up about 1.5 percent in headcount, according to executive dean of student services Chad Flannery. One reason for this increase is the one-on-one outreach to many students who chose not to return this past spring semester. The outreach resulted in a nearly 40 percent retention rate of those former students for this fall.

“We helped give over 100 people the opportunity to continue on a path to success. I appreciate all staff who spent hours doing that for those students,” said Flannery.

He went on to say conversely that credit hours are about 4 percent down, so while there are more students, they are taking fewer hours. He said part of the reason may be that so many students are taking advantage of dual credit while in high school.

Vice president of academic affairs Dr. Karen Weiss informed the board that Carmi-White County High School leads the region in dual credit in terms of numbers of students who benefit from free tuition. The school also leads the region in terms of the number of dual credit classes and dual credit hours.

“The advantages of dual credit will help so many students in terms of controlling college costs and keep them ahead of their peers as they continue their college experience after they graduate,” said Weiss. “We are so thankful for all our regional partners who help students and parents by working with us.”

SIC’s dual credit program results in hundreds of thousands of dollars in free tuition for students.

The board also learned that SIC will meet with multiple state and federal officials, as well as state workforce leaders to discuss possible use of the Golconda Job Corps site. SIC will host a meeting in October with these stakeholders.

The board approved the fiscal year 2018 review of all programs.

“Program review is a requirement, and yes, it takes a lot of work by many SIC staff. While it can be viewed by some as burdensome regulation, we like to view it as a way to brag about our nationally and state-recognized programs and people.” Rice said.

He said a huge reason so many SIC programs succeed is the one-on-one attention that many staff provide, as this has been a hallmark of the college.

“It’s still like what one of my former SIC instructors and eventual colleagues, Dr. Joan Ferrell, use to do,” Rice said. “It took a lot of mentorship on her part and she even mandated students to come to office hours—but that paid off in terms of student success.”

He said that mission continues today, and expressed appreciation for all those who go that extra mile to help SIC students succeed.

Chris Barr, institutional research and effectiveness administrator, presented the new dashboard and benchmark data system for the college. The data being compared and analyzed will help drive strategic actions and make more data-driven enrollment and budgetary decisions.

The board approved the UMWA Collective Bargaining Agreement as a one-year contract offering a 3 percent raise to all UMWA employees as well as an updated starting salary of $21,150 to meet the 2017 living wage. The board approved a cost of living increase for exempt employees. Non-bargaining employees who earn $64,999 or less will be given a 3.25 percent cost of living increase and non-bargaining employees who earn $65,000 or more will be given a 3 percent cost of living increase effective July 1, 2018.

The board approved the job description revisions for the educational technology specialist position and the student success center assistant position. They also accepted the resignation of the student success center and testing coordinator, Cathie Mieldezis; the resignation of Mary Jo Oldham Center for Child Study (MJOCCS) teacher, Amber Herrmann; and the retirement of Building Illinois Bio-Economy curriculum and training director, Renee Loesche.

The board approved the hiring of student success center assistant, Marcella Motsinger; TRIO/SSS program specialist, Taylor Lauer; assistant teacher for the MJOCCS, Crystal Morse, and a number of adjunct faculty.

A private board retreat is scheduled for October, during which the board will be briefed on multiple issues by staff and a guest speaker. The next meeting of the board will be Tuesday, Oct. 23, at 6 p.m. in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room at SIC.

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Photo Caption: The 2018-19 Southeastern Illinois Board and Administration includes (sitting l-r) Lisa Dye, recording secretary for the board; Alex McRoy, student trustee; and Debbie Hughes, trustee. Standing (l-r) are Dr. Jonah Rice, SIC president; Blake Bradley, trustee; David Dennison, trustee; Dr. Frank Barbre, vice chair and ICCTA representative; Richard Morgan, trustee; Dr. Pat York, chair; and Jim Ellis, secretary.