Over the past several months, Illinois Central College has worked on our “Blueprint for the Future” or strategic plan. As with any strategic planning process, a number of issues and ideas surfaced from community input that we can respond to quickly. Others will take longer to investigate and implement. I’d like to focus on some of the changes we’ve made at Illinois Central College in response to our community’s and our customers’ immediate needs.
One of the most significant changes we made is to create more flexibility in how and when students pay for their classes. Before this change, our process created barriers for students by dropping them for non payment early in the registration and enrollment process. We’ve changed the timeframe for when these drops occur and are creating new ways for students to pay for classes. This adjustment was made in response to our students needing more options in financing their college careers.
Our community also told us we were wasting our money sending every household an ICC schedule. The feedback also indicated the community still wanted to know what ICC is doing. So we stopped mailing the schedule and started mailing a newsletter. People still can get the schedule by going online or calling 694-5-ICC. So far, the response from the community has been positive.
Business leaders conveyed to us we needed to create more partnerships to respond to the ever-changing needs of commerce and industry. We have a special team of administrators and staff working on streamlining, defining, and leveraging the more than 100 business partnerships we already enjoy. They also are looking for ways to create new partnerships that benefit both the partner organization and the college. While we still have more work to do, the team is making progress in this arena.
We heard we needed to work more in cooperation with high schools and elementary schools. We have a process management team already working on creating more opportunities for high schools to provide classes that give dual credit (high school and college credit) for high school students. We have a special 21st Century Program developing with Manual High School. Through this program, “Start the College Commotion,” Manual High School students can take college-level courses before and after regular high school classes and get a jumpstart on their college careers. And we’ve already been meeting with Dr. Kay Royster on how ICC and District 150 can work together.
People in central Illinois told us we need to encourage and foster diversity. In the past year, we welcomed several foreign exchange students through our affiliation with the Youth for Understanding program. We developed special outreach programs for African-American students. Our recruitment event, “Changing Faces in the New Millennium,” introduces minority students to ICC and college in general. This year ICC hosts a unique minority student orientation called “The Blueprint” to help students get acquainted with the college. And to heighten our own staff and faculty sensitivity toward different cultures, we’ve initiated and continue diversity education.
Community leaders asked us to participate in the Regional BioCollaborative initiative. We’ve gladly joined with others in the area to support the consortium. ICC offered our electronic library services to all members of the collaborative and continues to investigate how we can build the workforce needed to support the initiative.
These are just a few of the issues and ideas we responded to in the last year or so. We continue to look for ways of meeting our mission for our community. If you have ideas or issues you’d like us to consider, feel free to e-mail me at [email protected]. IBI