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Cathy Taylor
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SIC Hopes for Promised Funds to Expand Carmi Center

The Southeastern Illinois College Board of Trustees adopted the annual budget, discussed the extension site in Carmi, and learned about current enrollment during last week’s meeting.

The board learned that enrollment at the David L. Stanley White County Center in Carmi is experiencing growth and rental usage like never before, due in part to the new vet assistant program, which will now be taking an unscheduled second run in January due to high interest.  Enrollment at the Carmi Center has tripled credit hours – adding more than 200 hours as compared to last year – and the college is planning to add another new program in Carmi during the fall 2018 semester.

“Given such growth, we are running out of room at the center, and we hope to see movement from the state on the funds promised many years ago for the career and technical education expansion in Carmi,” said President Dr. Jonah Rice.  “We need that expansion to serve local industry.  If Springfield does get a capital bill, as we’ve heard might happen, I hope the center is in the mix.  Rep. Reis and Sen. Righter have been huge supporters of SIC in our northern region.  We appreciate their support and advocacy to serve industry.”

According to school officials, most community college enrollments in the state are down, per early reports.  SIC is up two percent in full-time enrollment compared to fall 2016, however part-time enrollment went down by around nine percent and full-time equivalent enrollment is down about five percent.  Currently, approximately 1,700 students are enrolled.

Besides the positive news in enrollment at the Carmi Center, SIC’s fire science and archery courses in the Chuck Hearn Outdoor Recreation Complex are reported as stronger than usual for this year.  Additionally, commercial driver’s license (CDL) classes are planned for Oct. 10.

The board also heard about a new enrollment management plan to expand dual credit and dual enrollment with high schools that have expressed needs in vocational areas, such as the new veterinarian assistant certificate.  The board also heard a report on the success of SIC’s retention efforts with a 66 percent success retention rate on outreach success from spring to fall enrollment.

“Our staff has done a remarkable job on retention efforts for our students,” said Chad Flannery, Executive Dean of Student Services.  “The data demonstrate a significant uptick in where we were.  They understand and live our mission in serving students.”

The board learned of new unfunded regulations from Springfield on nursing accreditation.  Trustees were informed that the college is researching exactly what this will mean for the nursing program, which is already ranked number one in the state.  Administrators explained that it appears the mandates may only result in increased reporting and costs due to additional travel, additional fees and more administrative overhead.

The next meeting of the board will be Tuesday, Oct. 17 at 6 p.m. in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room at SIC.