September 6, 2016

BY TERI CAMPBELL
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE–While enrollment in community colleges has been on the decline in recent years, John A. Logan College is pleased to be bucking that trend. Enrollment for the fall semester was announced last week at 3,948 students, an increase of 16 percent over fall 2015.

Tim Williams, Dean for Student Services at Logan, said the staff has made a concerted effort to attract and retain students at the college.

“It’s gratifying to see our enrollment grow, and we’re not taking it for granted,” Williams said. “Over the past several months, we’ve really stepped up our recruiting efforts to attract as many students as possible. Through increased high school visits and orientations and the use of social media we’re reaching out to students and letting them know we want them here. We’re making sure they know that they are our top priority.”   

Williams said the enrollment numbers are up in the college’s programs across the board.

“We are up in our traditional baccalaureate transfer programs, and the numbers in our applied technology programs look especially strong,” he said. “Heating and air conditioning, automotive collision technology, electronics, cyber security, and others have shown tremendous growth. These programs are particularly important because they teach students the job-ready skills they need to go immediately into the workforce.”

Another area where Williams is happy to see growth is in the dual credit/dual enrollment program, which is up over 20 percent from last fall.

“We’ve been working very closely with the counselors, administrators, and teachers at our in-district high schools to promote the benefits of the dual credit/dual enrollment program,” he said. “I think that increased cooperation is reflected in the numbers, and we expect them to continue to grow.”   

“The program is a true win-win for the college and for our local high school students,” he continued. “The students are able to take classes tuition free and earn college credit while they’re still in high school. These classes also generate credit hours for the college and give us another opportunity to show students what we have to offer. We’re able to establish relationships with the students that give them a sense of belonging and let them know that John A. Logan is their community college.”

Melanie Pecord, Acting Vice President for Instruction at JALC who oversees instructional services and student services, said the college as a whole is committed to meeting its students’ needs.

“We are focusing on our students’ needs from the moment they walk in the door, starting with the academic advisement process, to scheduling classes, to the classroom experience,” Pecord said. “The student services and instructional divisions are working together as a team with the same goal in mind: providing our students with excellent customer service.”

Pecord said the college has also worked to expand course offerings to accommodate students’ schedules.

“We’ve tried really hard to adjust course offerings and move class times around to accommodate not only the traditional students but also the non-traditional students,” she said. “We have a number of classes offered at night and online to make it more convenient for those students who work full time or have families or other obligations to be able to attend Logan and continue their education.”

John A. Logan College President Dr. Ron House is pleased with the efforts of the staff and believes enrollment will continue to improve.

“Our staff has worked nonstop to broaden our outreach to students and improve enrollment,” House said. “Despite the difficult financial environment in the state, they’ve pulled together and we’ve taken a step in the right direction. We’ve also done some restructuring that brought student services and instructional services into the same division. That has led to a closer connection between the two and a stronger program overall. I believe our increased efforts and this new organization bode well for our continued growth in the future.”