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KC Education Centers offer more than convenience

Kaskaskia College Education Centers, located in Greenville, Salem, Nashville, and Trenton, and the branch campus in Vandalia, offer the convenience of KC classes without the travel to the main campus, but they also offer a variety of services to both students and their communities.

Built based upon Kaskaskia College’s philosophy of “bringing education to the times and places convenient to the learner,” the Education Centers were first opened in small spaces to gauge the demand for KC services in the communities.  After soaring enrollments and increasing opportunities to fill needs in the areas served by the Centers, KC has expanded upon their original plans, and to date have built or expanded new spaces for all but the Trenton and Nashville centers, with expansion projects underway for those facilities.

In the past, students at the Education Centers and the Vandalia campus were allowed to earn only half of the credit hours needed for a degree locally, and needed to travel to the main campus to finish their studies.  But with an agreement ratified in 2012, all of the Centers can now offer full degree and certificate programs locally.  In light of this development, KC has been moving forward by expanding its offerings at the Education centers and branch campus.  They are able to do this in two innovative ways.

While a good number of face to face classes take place at the Centers, no single venue can offer every class that a student might need.  KC has addressed this issue with the advent of Interactive TV (ITV) classes and online offerings.  ITV classes use state of the art interactive video technology to allow students from all over the district to attend a single class that can originate from any Education Center or campus.  Every Center and campus has at least one ITV classroom, which not only allows for interested students to attend classes without the need to travel; it also allows for classes to be made viable through attendance by a few students at several locations.  This has dramatically increased the number and variety of classes offered off campus.

Another burgeoning technology aiding in this effort is online class offerings.  While a small number of online classes were offered in the past, the increase in students now able to access computers and the internet has allowed for a huge expansion of online classes.  Even a quick look at the online classes offered in the KC Class Schedule on the KC website (http://www.kaskaskia.edu) shows that in some programs, online classes are the norm, rather than the exception.  This has proved to be a boon to students whose schedule does not allow them to attend regular face to face class meetings.

Kaskaskia College has also implemented an initiative called Weekend College.   Geared mostly toward career and technical students, Weekend College classes meet on Friday evenings and on Saturdays to allow for working adults and others with rigid work schedules to also gain education to further their careers or to add on to their skill sets.  This newest innovation has proved very popular and will continue to grow.

In addition, each Center has an open computer lab which is free to use by any student or community member, offering not only access for online classes, but for any other computer needs a visitor may have.  These computer labs have proven to be a very popular service, and have helped tremendously to cement positive relations between the College and the communities.

When the expansion of the Trenton and Nashville Centers is complete, each Education Center will house several Small Business Incubators.  These offices include internet and phone services, and are designed, through the Small Business Development Center (SBDC), to allow for business startups to gain a foothold with very little overhead costs.  These offices are available for a lease period of three years with a nominal fee, and have helped a number of startup companies to focus on growing their businesses.  Kaskaskia College is committed to the economic development of the region, and its funding of the business incubator offices is an example of that commitment.

Another service the Education Centers are providing to their communities is as serving as a venue for business meetings and gatherings of civic and community groups.  All but the Trenton and Nashville centers have conference rooms available, and a set of rooms that can serve as individual classrooms but can also be expanded, with retractable walls, to serve as a meeting place for larger groups to meet.  The expansion plans for Trenton and Nashville will also include these spaces, which are modeled on the Lifelong Learning Center on the KC main campus.

Aside from formal education, each Center also offers a variety of Community Education Classes.  These credit and non-credit classes offer instruction in a wide variety of interests, from getting the most out of your iPhone or iPad and digital camera, to genealogy, beekeeping, home canning, quilting, art, basic computer use, and much more.  As a service to the senior citizens of the district, Community Education classes are offered for free or for a reduced fee for students aged 60 years and over.  During the summer months, the Centers also offer fun and informative activities for children with the Kids in College at Kaskaskia, or KiCK classes.

The bottom line for the staff of the Education Centers and branch campus is customer service.  From the directors to the maintenance staff, each employee is focused on meeting the needs of the students and community members and creating a friendly, welcoming atmosphere.  Feel free to visit your local Education Center or campus and see for yourself how KC’s Education Centers are a great asset to the students, communities, and people they serve.

For more information, please contact the Education Center Directors:  Jerri Davenport, Greenville Center at 618-664-9394 or 618-545-3465; Ruth Barczewski, Nashville Center at 618-327-9136 or 618-545-3485; Janice Eischens, Salem Center at 618-548-9001 or 618-545-3425; Arlene Covington, Trenton Center at 618-224-2666 or 618-545-3475; or Mary Schulze, Vandalia Campus at 618-283-1780 or 618-545-3445.​



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