March 2021 Board Report

Illinois Valley Community College is partnering with Illinois State University and four community colleges to address the teacher shortage, board members learned Thursday. 

IVCC, Heartland, Spoon River, Carl Sandburg, and Illinois Central are part of ISU’s “CommuniTeach: Community Partner Pathway Program” cultivating local talent to become teachers who return to their communities.

“We continue to hear about the problems Illinois superintendents are having filling open teaching positions and finding substitute teachers,” IVCC President Jerry Corcoran said. 

“This will increase access for place-bound students to complete a bachelor’s degree and teacher licensure through their community college with limited trips to ISU,” he said.

“ISU’s coursework is ideal for part-time students since much of it will be online and hybrid with face-to-face instruction just two-to-three Saturdays per semester. It’s perfect for working professionals and nontraditional students,” Corcoran said.

Next fall, CommuniTeach students begin community college courses. ISU classes start in fall 2022. The first graduates will be teaching in 2025.

In other business, the board approved a maintenance certificate developed in consultation with local trade unions, career centers and industry partners.

The short-term, 16-credit, seven-course certificate will help students expedite entry into the workforce with courses in maintenance, welding and electricity, among others.

“Students will learn skills demanded by trade unions and entry-level skills required for maintenance technicians,” said Dean of Workforce Development Shane Lange. 

Courses include wiring, safety, rigging, pipefitting, inspection, technical math and welding.

The board also approved:

  • The $108,700 bid of Lite Construction of Montgomery for Fireplace Lounge accessibility upgrades. The lounge’s wheelchair lift will be replaced with an ADA-compliant ramp, removal of the gas fireplace and adding stairs to the exterior deck.
  • The $288,165 bid of Tri-Electronics of Hammond, Ind., for key card access upgrades.
  • Inactivation of the Therapeutic Massage program due to enrollments unable to match the costs associated with hiring a full-time coordinator. Students in the program not graduating this summer will be offered a one-year ‘teach-out’ to complete their studies. The program, founded in 2000, provided the district with hundreds of massage therapists.
  • Inactivation of the Fitness Center director position effective June 30 and reassignment of Fitness Center director Tony Ruda to full-time instructional duties. The Center has been closed since March 2020 when the pandemic forced most classes online.
  • The administration’s plan to reevaluate faculty staffing needs across the college “and a plan presented by Dec. 31 that matches course-selection offerings with student needs.”  
  • Closed session minutes from Feb. 11.

Trustees learned:

  • Non-tenured faculty renewed for 2021-22 are: Nicholas Fish, EMS; David Garrison, math; Stephen Gibson, industrial maintenance and electricity; Richard Marko, automotive technology; Nancy McDonnell, cybersecurity: Theresa Molln, welding; Rick Pretzsch, economics; Charles Raimondi, electricity and electronics; Kaity Ritter, Certified Medical Assistant; Amber Robertson, nursing; and Anthony Sondgeroth, welding.
  • Cashier Jill Hejl has been hired as an administrative assistant in Continuing Education. 
  • Developmental reading/writing instructor Kathryn Gibbs retired Jan. 1. “Being a part of IVCC when I was a student and also for the past 20 years (as an instructor) has provided some of my best life experiences and has touched me deeply. What a pleasure it has been to work with such amazing and caring administrators, teachers, and staff, along with our delightful students,” Gibbs said in her retirement letter.
  • In the latest data available, IVCC’s student loan default rate dropped to 7.9 percent from 8.9 percent.
  • The IVCC Foundation awarded $343,900 to 299 students this year compared to $339,780 to 271 students in 2019-20 and $334,100 to 286 students in 2018-19.