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New IVCC program gives high schoolers head start

Transfer Academy gives chance to complete general education courses

Incoming student trustee Matthew Klein (left) of Peru, speaks with Illinois Valley Community College board chairwoman Jane Goetz (middle) and outgoing student trustee Joseph Marenda, of Spring Valley, before Thursday’s meeting. Student Government Association election results were announced during the meeting.
Incoming student trustee Matthew Klein (left) of Peru, speaks with Illinois Valley Community College board chairwoman Jane Goetz (middle) and outgoing student trustee Joseph Marenda, of Spring Valley, before Thursday’s meeting. Student Government Association election results were announced during the meeting.

Illinois Valley Community College will pilot a Transfer Academy this fall allowing dual-credit high school students to be released in the afternoon for classes at the college's Ottawa Center, board trustees learned at a meeting Thursday.

The initiative will allow high school students to complete general education core courses over four semesters, with the possibility a few summer courses may also be needed, according to a news release from the college. 

“The schedule at Ottawa Center will be well-suited to students pursuing studies in humanities, social sciences and those uncertain what their major will be,” Deborah Anderson, vice president for academic affairs, told trustees. 

Students will receive a 25 percent tuition discount, and those qualifying for the federal Free and Reduced Lunch program will pay nothing but the $5 registration fee.  

“I anticipate this will bring a new demographic to the Ottawa Center in the afternoons as students are released to take classes there,” Anderson said. “I am also optimistic the experience of the college campus will attract more students to IVCC after high school graduation.”

IVCC also is developing a plan to allow dual-credit students seeking STEM-related careers — jobs in science, technology, engineering or math — to attend afternoon classes on the main campus, according to the college news release. 

Cybersecurity program

The board also learned Thursday the college’s 60-credit Associate of Applied Science degree in cybersecurity has been approved by the Illinois Community College Board. 

Beginning this fall, the program will address demand for skilled workers in information security and will cross-train information technology staff to protect networks from cyber threats. Courses include Managing Information Security, Digital Forensics, Security+, Cybersecurity Scripting, Computer Ethics and Ethical Hacking. 

A 2017 study by the Center for Cyber Safety and Education estimated there will be a 1.8 million worker gap in the information security workforce worldwide by 2022. Security analysts earn a median hourly wage of $45.26 with an annual salary of $94,134, according to the Illinois Department of Employment Security. 

In other business

The board approved:

• Sabbatical leave for the fall semester for Lauri Carey, a biology and horticulture instructor. During the sabbatical, Carey will work to improve curriculum and instructional methods in biology. 

• The retirement of welding instructor Paul Leadingham, effective June 30. 

• The $1,469,000 bid of Dodson Plumbing, Heating & AC of Pontiac for the Building C air handler unit/chiller replacement. 

• Purchase of 71 PCs from Dell Inc. for $47,831 for rooms E215, CTC119 and B213.

• Three-year licensing from CDW of Malwarebytes Anti-Malware/Anti-Virus software for $24,000. The cloud-based software manages and protects college devices, even off-campus. 

The board also learned:

• La Moille High School will begin a Career Start program in fall 2019, allowing its students to enroll in IVCC Career and Technical Education courses as part of their high school coursework.

• IVCC nominated The Results Companies of Streator for the Illinois Community College Trustees Association 2019 Business/Industry Partnership Award. The customer service and sales call center has worked with IVCC since 2016 to provide its employees continuing education and college credit toward a customer experience and sales certificate. To date, 108 employees have completed the program and another 41 are now enrolled. 

• Final cost of the Dr. Mary Margaret Weeg Cultural Centre accessibility upgrade was $638,530, about $230,000 under budget. New seating and ADA-compliant ramps to each side of the stage were among the enhancements. The project was partially paid for from a bequest of more than $620,000 from the estate of Walter Durley and Hazel Marie Boyle. 

• Final cost of the exterior stairs upgrade was $138,652, about $95,000 under budget. 

• A new three-year lease has been approved with the Economic Development Corporation of North Central Illinois for $4,284 per year.

• The retirements of Financial Aid Reconciliation and Compliance Specialist Lorri Foockle effective Friday, April 19, facilities groundskeeper Mike Minnick on Tuesday, April 30, textbook buyer Jackie Carlson on Friday, June 28, and part-time music instructor and Wind Ensemble conductor Gene Montgomery on Saturday, May 18.

• Recent Student Government Association elections resulted in Matthew Klein, of Peru, winning as student trustee; Kaitlyn Ruppert, of La Salle, as SGA president; Lillian Moskalewicz, of La Salle, as vice president; Cierra Espinoza, of Oglesby, as treasurer; Andrea Medina, of La Salle, as SGA secretary; Haley Fittanto, of West Brooklyn, as sophomore representative; and Megan Brooker, of Granville, and Karlee Arjes, of Peru, as sophomore programming board members. 

• Project Success, a federally-funded TRiO program serving students who are first-generation, low-income or with disabilities, scored a perfect 15 on the Department of Education’s annual performance report for how well a program meets its objectives.

• The IVCC board and chairwoman Jane Goetz hosted the Illinois Community College Trustees Association Northwest Region April 3. Computer-aided design instructor Dorene Data presented on the college’s MIMIC (Making Industry Meaningful in College) program and on an initiative to increase the number of women in technology fields.

• The nursing honor society Alpha Delta Nu inducted 16 members Monday. 

• IVCC sophomores Lillian Rodrigues, of Mendota, and Nic Bollis, of Peru, were honored for extraordinary academic achievements at Tuesday’s All-Illinois Phi Theta Kappa banquet in Springfield. As Illinois’ New Century Transfer Scholar, Rodrigues earned a $2,250 scholarship. Both she and Bollis will attend Northern Illinois University next fall. Rodrigues plans a career as a physician’s assistant and Bollis as a pediatric cardiologist.

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