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Credit Hour Compliance and Finances are Major Topics at SIC Board Meeting

Lt Gov and Pres Rice

Dr. Jonah Rice, SIC president, talks with Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti about coal mine training and plans for a simulated mine training facility at the college during a visit on Oct. 22.

The Southeastern Illinois College Board of Trustees met on Oct. 20 in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room to learn about the new federal compliance on the credit hour as well as hear the latest financial update on the state budget impasse.

Administrators provided the board with information explaining how the federal government now requires evidence for the amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes.

Vice president, Dr. Dana Keating noted, “While this process is mandated to us, it also provides instructors an opportunity to examine and document the rigor of their courses and the expectations they have for students.  We want to ensure we have a quality process in place that will result in a good outcome when the Higher Learning Commission accreditation review takes place.”

Dean Gina Sirach reported, “The focus is on student learning and how it occurs in different settings. Since we now have different methods of course delivery, i.e. online, hybrid, face-to-face, etc., we must document that the coursework both, in and out of the class time meets the expectations of the credit hours assigned to the course. Faculty are currently auditing courses to ensure that all course assignments and requirements meet the expectations.”

Faculty engaged in a workshop in early October to learn more about this new mandate.

The board also learned that the college received official notification from the Illinois Community College Board of its very positive recertification visit.

“The five-year stamp of approval from the ICCB was good news,” said Dr. Jonah Rice, college president.  “I want to thank the entire campus community for contributing to that great success.”

Administrators also updated the board on the state budget impasse and impact on the college.

To date, SIC, like all higher education institutions, has not received any state funding to run the college, Rice noted.

“We are 41 percent funded by the state,” said Chief Financial Officer David Wright.  “This delay will put a pinch on cash flow later in the spring.”

Officials noted that if the college were in the same financial shape as in 2009, SIC would face significant cash flow problems in the near future.

“A conservative fiscal approach has helped us weather this for now and we can sustain ourselves longer than we could have just five years ago due to sound financial planning, but at some point the state has to decide on a budget and tell community colleges and universities the direction they are taking us,” Rice said.

College administrators said they’ve been told to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

The board also heard updates on the Southern Illinois Collegiate Common Market’s lack of contract with the state for off-site education.  SICCM board members will engage discussions regarding cash flow and lack of contract.

Updates were provided to the board on open positions, financial aid and refund policy proposals, discussions regarding food service courses off-site, and a visit from Illinois Lt. Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti on Oct. 22 to visit the college’s coal mining and burn tunnel training areas in the Chuck Hearn Outdoor Education Complex.

In personnel, the board accepted the resignation of Michele Intravaia, food service manager, effective Dec. 1.

There will be a special meeting on Thursday, Nov. 5 at 4:30 p.m. and the next regular meeting will be held Dec. 8 at 6 p.m.


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