Plans for a Brighter Future Laid Out at JALC Board Meeting
March 27, 2019
It wasn’t long ago that John A. Logan College and other institutions around the state couldn’t fathom looking into an uncertain future. But now, John A. Logan College administrators are not only looking into the immediate future, but they are also able to create long-term goals for the College. John A. Logan College President Dr. Ron House, and Vice Presidents Brad McCormick and Melanie Pecord all highlighted recent success at the College while laying out plans for future growth at the March meeting of the College’s Board of Trustees. While all three administrators reported on different areas of the College, all agreed that the collaboration and teamwork demonstrated by the College’s faculty and staff during the difficult times is why the College can now look with hope into the future.
“We have a large number of individuals and programs that are working together for the betterment of our curriculum and services we provide,” said House during his report to the Board. “We have microcosms of people, programs, and disciplines that are outstanding at this College, and I can’t praise them enough.”
House added that while the College can now breathe a little easier, there are still reminders of the 23-month budget stalemate that the state experienced just a few years ago.
“We are in a much better financial situation than we were, but we are not rich, and by other community college standards we don’t have the same percentage of money that other colleges do,” said House. “We aren’t bragging, and we aren’t suggesting that the College is out of the woods financially, but compared to where we were a couple of years ago, we have turned the corner, and we want people to know that we are no longer in that situation or are no longer even thinking about laying off staff.”
Board Chairman Bill Kilquist read several recent news headlines that highlighted what Dr. House was referring to and thanked faculty and staff for their efforts.
“All of these things are because of many of the people in this room and your fellow staff out there, so I want to commend each and every one of you for doing a tremendous job in getting us back to where we should be,” said Kilquist.
In addition to the President’s report, Acting Vice President for Instruction Melanie Pecord gave an update on both the student services and instructional divisions to the Board. Pecord highlighted several recruitment and retention efforts at the College that has led to over 50 percent of the College’s in-district high school graduates enrolling in the College.
“We continue to build our relationships and are very visible in all of our district high schools. We maintain a presence and visit each high school at least ten times a year,” said Pecord. “We speak to superintendents, principles, guidance counselors, and of course, students, and they all know our team by first names. There has been a deep relationship formed, and we are very proud of that.”
Pecord added that internally student services and instruction are working closely together to enhance student success.
“Our advisors are sitting in on classes and attending department meetings. This is important because they know and hear what is going on which allows them to give students greater insight,” said Pecord. “This is all part of our team approach to make sure we are helping our students the best we can.”
Vice President for Business Services and College Facilities Brad McCormick reported on the financial forecast through 2022. A forecast that McCormick feels confident in because of the stability the College is experiencing.
“We have had years that we generated more money, but we spent more money as well,” said McCormick. “This represents what Dr. House was referring to in that we have been able to put things back together despite those two years that were the budget impasse.”
In other Board news, Trustee Becky Borgsmiller reported that a grant from the JALC Foundation had been used to purchase electronic charging stations around campus. According to Borgsmiller, there will be 12 permanent stations and 40 portable sets that can be checked out.
On the consent agenda, the Board approved the results of the Student Trustee election. Hanna David was elected for a second term as the Student Trustee. A Statement of Final Construction Completion for a lab/classroom renovation was approved.
The Board of Trustees will meet again in regular session on Tuesday, April 23 at 7 PM. For more information contact the College at 618-985-3741.