March 2024 Board Report

The Illinois Valley Community College Board on Thursday hired two veteran employees to fill new dean positions tasked with assessing and improving student performance and success.

Dr. Kathy Hart was appointed Dean of Institutional Effectiveness, a position tasked with overseeing and guiding institutional research, quality improvement, and strategic planning. Hart holds a doctorate in educational leadership and policy analysis and has been employed at IVCC since 2018.

As Dean of Student Success, Crystal Credi will develop, implement, and monitor student success strategies and coordinate related departments, including Career Services, Counseling, Retention, and Project Success. Credi holds a master's in organizational leadership and has been employed at the College since 2013 in several student support roles.

The creation of both of these positions reflects a Higher Learning Commission initiative and the College’s commitment to data-informed processes and student success.

In other action, the board ended a six-year freeze on tuition by approving a modest increase and also authorized the adjustment of several course fees.

Effective this summer, students will pay $140 per credit hour in combined tuition and universal fees, compared to $135 per credit hour previously. The overall $5 increase includes a $3 increase in tuition and a $2 increase in a technology fee. A student activities fee will remain unchanged.

IVCC’s tuition had remained at $125.60 for six years. With the increase, tuition is still lower than nine of the 11 community colleges in Illinois.

The increase is designed to keep pace with escalating post-pandemic costs and the escalating cost of technology enhancements, said President Dr. Tracy Morris.

The Board also authorized changing 73 course fees. After an annual review of 300 courses with fees, the administration had recommended increasing 62 fees, decreasing two, removing one fee, adding three new courses with fees, and eliminating five courses and their fees. Increases, when recommended, reflected rising materials costs or purchase of materials for new or revised courses.

In her monthly report, Dr. Morris:

  • Congratulated the winners of annual faculty and staff awards: nursing professor Amber Robertson won the Stephen Charry Memorial Award for Teaching Excellence (full time faculty and counselors); Counselor Debbie Burch was selected as the Outstanding Part-Time Faculty Award (part-time faculty and counselors), and Jill Wohrley, Financial Aid Reconciliation and Compliance Specialist was awarded the Connie Skerston Memorial Award for Support Staff Distinguished Service.
  • Noted the addition of a freezer to the Eagles Peak Food Pantry, enabling the pantry to supply a larger variety of foods. Over the last quarter of 2023, the pantry served 213 households, including 200 children.
  • Recognized organizers of Black History Month and Women’s History Month activities on campus.
  • Noted that 40 employees contributed to raising more than $11,800 in the Employee Giving Campaign to benefit the IVCC Foundation and the 21st Century Scholars Society gained three new members/supporters and six honorary members, bringing the total to 51.
  • Noted that adult education enrollment in GED and English as a Second Language programs stands at 278 students.

In other action, the Board:

  • Authorized a three-year cash farm lease with Holly Farms of Granville for 116 acres at $326 per acre or $37, 817 per year, and also contracted with Holly Farms for combining and grain hauling at $200 per acre and 35 cents per bushel.
  • Authorized seeking bids for a Haas CNC Mill for the manufacturing program at an estimated cost of $43,000.
  • Supported the City of Ottawa’s extensions of each of its four tax increment financing districts.
  • Contracted with Sikich LLP for three years for financial auditing services.
  • Updated board policies governing board meetings and Freedom of Information Act procedures.
  • Learned of the appointments of Lisa Witalka, Curriculum and Course Scheduler; Sarah Trager, Dual Credit and Enrollment Coordinator; and Juan Rodiguez, IT Technical Support Analyst.
  • Learned of the appointments of Kora Jones and Allison Baker as part-time dental hygiene instructors.
  • Reappointed 10 non-tenured faculty: Lyndsey Beetz, Dental Hygiene Instructor/Coordinator; Christian Carboni, Welding; Scott Fox, Manufacturing Technology; Jonathan Hubbell, Criminal Justice; Sara Legrenzi, Nursing; Camden Parks, Chemistry; Shannon Slaight-Brown, Art; Jennifer Timmers, Agriculture Instructor/Coordinator; Greg Whightsil, Industrial Maintenance and Electricity, and Garrick Whitehead, Computer Networking.
  • Resignations of Anthony Cox as assistant women’s soccer coach and Joel Kozlick as IT support lead.
  • Reflecting an honor it had created earlier for retired College Presidents, the Board established an emeritus status procedure for faculty, adjunct faculty, staff and administrators.
  • Announced IVCC’s nominations for Illinois Community College Trustees Association awards:  SABIC of Ottawa, Business/Industry Partnership Award; employee/student Lynn Keyt of La Salle, Gregg Chadwick Student Service Scholarship, and student Gregory Williams, Lifelong Learning Award.