Kaskaskia College held the first of its fall series of
Community Advisory Board meetings on Friday October 18 at the Greenville
Education Center. Meetings in Vandalia,
Salem, Trenton and Nashville will follow in the coming weeks.
The purpose of these meetings, as stated by KC President Dr.
Jim Underwood, is twofold. One purpose
is to inform the community of the status of the College and its philosophies
and growth, and the second is to solicit input from community members and
leaders on ideas of how the College can better serve the population. More than 24 invitees and KC personnel were
Dr. Scott Crothers, newly minted Dean of Student Success for
KC and Greenville native and resident, acted as host for the meeting.
Mrs. Jerri Davenport, Director of the Greenville Center,
gave a synopsis of the history of the center, which started as a storefront
space in 2002, serving a relative handful of students with a small number of
courses. In the ensuing decade, the
center has grown in enrollments and offerings to the point, in 2008, when a
new, revamped Center was opened at its present location at 209 North 3rd
Street, site of the old thrift store.
The new space has much more room for classes, offices including small
business incubator offices, and laboratories, including computer labs for
student and community use.
Dr. Underwood praised the job that Davenport and the other
directors of the education centers have done before giving an overview of the
status of the College and the initiatives it is pursuing, including a series of
new building projects in Vandalia, Trenton, Nashville, and on the main campus
near Centralia. Other initiatives noted
were the ongoing and developing partnerships the College has with its 15
University alliance partners, the Illinois Department of Corrections, and the
burgeoning education partnership with the Federal Penitentiary in Greenville,
where inmates can currently take classes in Microsoft office and hope soon to
be able to earn college credit in the institutions ongoing Cabinet Making
class. It was noted that education is a
major factor in reducing the number of inmates who wind up back in
incarceration after release.
Dr. Greg Labyak, KC’s Vice president of Instruction, gave a
rundown on new classes and courses available at the Greenville Education
Center, which include Medical Billing and Coding, and a number of
Pre-professional programs, which Dean Kellie Henegar spoke about.
Dr. Labyak also opened up the floor for comments, questions
and concerns about how the College can better serve its students and
communities. Many comments praised the
job the College is doing in being responsive to needs and concerns. Some questions were asked about the Nursing
Program, especially in the possible need for a number of certified school
nurses in the future should legislation requiring them be passed at the state
Other questions concerned the status of the College’s GED
preparatory program and tutoring services through its Reading Link
program. Ms. Lisa Atkins, Director of
Adult Education and Literacy reported that the old model of GED testing will be
phased out in January of next year to be replaced by computer based
testing. She reported that only a number
of sites are certified by the state to conduct this testing at the moment, with
KC’s main campus being one. Work is
ongoing to allow the testing to migrate out to the College’s other educational
facilities. Mention was also made of
KC’s unique policy of offering a scholarship for two years of tuition at the
College for GED graduates who prepare through the college program. A graduation ceremony for GED completers will
be held at the College’s Lifelong Learning center on October 29, which KC Board
of Trustees chairman Bill Hawley called “a truly uplifting experience.”
A catered lunch was provided by 2 Martha's Hospitality Art
and Gifts in Greenville. Many comments
praising the quality and taste of the food were made.