February 2023 Board Report

Illinois Valley Community College trustees approved tenure recommendations for three instructors Thursday: Nancy McDonnell in cybersecurity; Ricky Pretzsch in economics; and Kaity Ritter in Medical Assisting.

McDonnell founded the cybersecurity program three years ago and has taken on many computer networking courses. “Nancy is great at connecting with students,” said Dean of Workforce Development Shane Lange.

Dean of Natural Sciences and Business Ron Groleau credited Pretzsch for his ability to engage students by relating classroom topics to real-world applications. He also credited Pretzsch for advising the successful student economics club. Pretzsch himself said, “I am a firm believer in active learning.”

Ritter founded the Medical Assistant program three years ago and one day hopes to expand it to offer an associate degree. She began her college studies at IVCC, went on to earn a bachelor’s and in April will begin pursuit of a master’s.

In other action, the board approved fee increases on 153 courses.

Several full-time faculty, administrators and support staff were approved for a retirement program offering a 5.9 percent increase to their base salary each year until retirement or up to three years post-retirement health benefits paid by the college at a rate equal to 80% of the then-current employee single plan rate.

Retirement dates were approved by the board for 15 individuals, each retiring sometime in the next three years. They are faculty Margie Francisco, Christine Blaydes, Richard Mangold and David Kuester and administrators and support staff Fran Brolley, Walter Waligora, Judy Day, Matthew Suerth, Cynthia Cardosi, Karen Gregorich, Lynn Moore, Marla Forbes, Marlene Merkel, Mark Quincer, and Steve Gillio.

Trustees also approved:

  • The appointment of Dental Assisting Program Coordinator Heather Seghi as interim Dean of Health Professions. Seghi is completing a doctoral degree focused on community college leadership.
  • The retirement request of Executive Assistant to the President and Secretary to the Board Judy Day effective June 30. In her letter to IVCC President Jerry Corcoran, Day said, “Upon retirement I will have been at IVCC for 38 years and worked in Student Services, Academic Affairs and the President’s Office. It has been a privilege to serve the students, staff, faculty, administration and board and an honor to serve the district with you.”
  • The retirement request of Executive Director of Community Relations and Development Fran Brolley effective April 28 after 34 years. In a letter, Brolley noted “indelible memories” such as the 1994 celebration of the Spetzler family, the “magical” 1988-89 men’s basketball season, the $1.2 million bequest from the estate of Dr. Mary Margaret Weeg, “noon-ball” basketball in the gym, and the 2015 IVCC-LPO Hall of Fame induction of his father Ray, benefactor Ralph Scriba and local band Buckacre.
  • The appointment of Demonica Kemper Architects of Chicago as architects for phase 2 of the ag complex, a classroom and lab building. A $3.5 million U.S. EDA grant will cover 80% of the cost. Ag hopes to be in the building for classes in 2024.
  • The $92,511 bid from PerkinElmer Health Sciences of Shelton, Conn., for an “inductively-coupled plasma optical emission spectrometer” to upgrade the ag program’s soil nutrient testing.
  • Seeking proposals for a website Content Management System (CMS) to include design, search engine optimization (SEO) and migration of existing content to the new format.
  • An intergovernmental agreement with the city of Mendota regarding a new tax increment financing (TIF) district.
  • Designating the 2024 fiscal year as July 1, 2023 to June 30, 2024 and budget calendar.
  • Closed session minutes from Jan. 12.

Trustees learned:

  • The Jan. 24 agriculture job and internship fair attracted 17 companies and 49 ag students. Employers included ADM, Ag View FS, Birddog Workforce Scouting, Corteva Agriscience, DeKane Equipment Corporation, Facilitating Coordination Agricultural Education (FCAE), GRAINCO FS, Marquis Energy–Illinois, LLC, Northern Partners Cooperative, Nutrients Ag Solutions, Prairie State Tractor (John Deere), River Valley Cooperative, Strategic Business Solutions (SBST), Sun Ag Inc., and USDA Farm Service Agency.
  • Congressman Darin LaHood visited Jan. 18 as part of the college’s effort to meet with district lawmakers.
  • The Ottawa Area Chamber of Commerce’s Feb. 2 celebration of its move into IVCC’s Ottawa Center attracted about 80 guests. Chamber offices are in the northwest corner of the facility facing Main St. 
  • Hall, Marquette, Mendota, Ottawa, Seneca, St. Bede and Streator competed in the Feb. 3 Regional Academic Challenge. Corcoran credited Ron Groleau, Danielle Jackson, Marlene Merkel, Samantha Manahan, Dawn Watson and Chad Brokaw for successfully hosting the testing competition that drew more than 130 students.
  • Last fall, 158 graduates earned a total of 190 degrees and certificates compared to 149 graduates earning 191 degrees and certificates in fall 2021.
  • IVCC received an additional $39,007 appropriation to facilitate student mental health wellbeing. Pending future appropriations, IVCC will receive $93,000 a year for three years for continued mental health support.
  • Samantha Manahan was hired as interim marketing coordinator effective Jan. 30. She recently earned a master’s in digital marketing from Northern Illinois University.
  • Noting Day’s and Brolley’s retirements, Corcoran closed his report saying, “Together, they have given 73 years to IVCC and are so much alike: gifted, dependable, professional, respectful and respected. We all go our separate ways in a few short months, but I’ll never forget all they have done to make IVCC a wonderful place in which to work and change peoples’ lives.”