At Thursday night’s SIC Board of Trustees meeting, President Jonah Rice, Ph.D., informed the board that plans are underway for Southeastern Illinois College to serve as the starting point for the inaugural Shawnee Marathon and Half-Marathon, slated for Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013, and sponsored by the Harrisburg Park District.
The college campus’s combination of ample parking space for a large crowd of runners and long history as a training ground and regional cross-country course made it an ideal location to stage the initial phase of the run.
“It’s an honor and a pleasure for Southeastern Illinois College to be able to play host as the launching site for this event,” said Rice. “Southeastern has a history of promoting individual and community wellness initiatives, and we look forward to working with the park district to make this a memorable day for all involved.”
Other News and Events
Commencement exercises are scheduled for Friday, May 10, beginning at 7 p.m. in Joseph Deaton Gymnasium. This year’s Distinguished Alumnus and featured speaker will be Toby Brooks, Ph.D., a 1996 SIC graduate who is currently an assistant professor at the Texas Tech University Health Science Center in Lubbock. Additionally, the pinning ceremony for SIC nursing students will be held at 4 p.m. that day in the gym.
Rice informed the board members of continued challenges in community college funding expectations that came out of last week’s ICCTA meeting and Lobby Day. The Governor’s budget proposes to reduce state grants for fiscal year 2014 by five percent under fiscal year 2013 levels. The proposed reductions would come on top of several years of funding reductions, even as enrollment at community colleges continues to shine – such as Southeastern’s 4 percent increase this spring. Statewide, enrollment is now nearing the record highs of 2010, but community colleges are being asked to provide more services to students, with less funding than they received 20 years ago.
The board also received a presentation on financial projections from Tim Walker, vice president of administration and business affairs. A study by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities suggested that nationwide, states are spending 28 percent less per student than they were just five years ago, and that it will be many years before states can resume funding education at pre-recession levels. Such challenges leave SIC – like all other colleges – with the choice of cutting costs, raising tuition, or a combination of both.
The board also approved an inter-district agreement with Rend Lake College that – pending that institution’s board approving it as well – would link the two schools together to provide specialized oil and natural gas (ONG) training programs to meet anticipated need for skilled workers in those fields as ONG exploration ramps up throughout southern and southeastern Illinois.
Page 2 of 2 - Several of SIC’s very successful competitive teams were recognized at the meeting, including Model Illinois Government, the Forensic Falcons, Shotgun team, Archery team, and Cosmetology. SIC’s Student Government sponsors and leadership distributed a student activity packet to the Board.
Ellen Prince was recognized as May’s SIC Spotlight Employee. Prince works as a lead preschool teacher in the Mary Jo Oldham Center for Child Study, is an SIC graduate, and has worked at the college for 18 years.
The board approved the resignation of Dan King as Outdoor Recreation and Tourism Business Specialist, Heidi Flannery as career and technical education liaison and transition coordinator, and Ashley Schultz as financial aid assistant. The board approved the employment of Jerri Harbison as a full-time math instructor, and the transfer of Jeff Kisner, automotive instructor, to the temporary position of auto maintenance specialist. Sean Jones was approved as a new adjunct physics instructor.
The meeting adjourned at 8:27 p.m.