Complete College Tour promotes Illinois completion, graduation goal
SPRINGFIELD – May 10, 2011. Lt. Governor Sheila Simon brought her Complete College Tour to Lincoln Land Community College today to learn how faculty, staff and administrators are working together to improve student completion rates.
Lincoln Land Community College is exploring a “First Year Experience” program to acclimate new students to LLCC and increase their likelihood of success. This program features an early alert system so assistance can be provided when a new student experiences academic or other issues. It is one of six initiatives that stem from LLCC’s participation in Foundations of Excellence, a nationally recognized self-improvement program, administrators said.
“Many students who enroll at community colleges aren’t prepared to do college-level work,” Lt. Governor Simon said. “I’m learning what community colleges are doing to reach and retain these students so they can complete college on time and with a meaningful certificate or degree.”
The Lt. Governor also toured the college’s newly renovated Learning Lab where first-year and returning students access the free and expanding support services, which include one-on-one tutoring; science, writing and math centers; supplemental instruction; online resources and workshops on study and test-taking skills. In fiscal year 2010, students logged 12,799 hours in the Learning Lab, with more than 1,300 visits from first-year students.
“Lincoln Land is committed to the academic success of our students, which is evidenced by our participation in the Foundations of Excellence program and the First Year Experience initiative. We are also working to expand support services such as those provided in our Learning Lab,” LLCC President Charlotte Warren said.
Todd Nabb, Whitney Pasquesi and Natalie Richardson, students at Lincoln Land Community College, said the Learning Lab is helping them complete their degrees. While Pasquesi uses the Learning Lab for additional support in chemistry classes, Richardson serves as a bi-weekly tutor. Nabb began using the resources of the Learning Lab before becoming a volunteer tutor himself.
“I truly believe that the LLCC Learning Lab is an education center of excellence and incorporates a forward-looking approach to education through people and process,” Nabb said. “My GPA is directly linked to my use of the LLCC Learning Lab – the success of the Lab has become my success."
Simon announced earlier this year that Illinois leaders want to increase the proportion of working-age adults with college degrees or certificates to 60 percent from 41 percent by 2025. As the Governor’s point person on education reform, she is touring the state’s 48 community colleges to see completion efforts at each campus, while also compiling ideas to overcome the barriers to each college’s completion goals.
“Nearly two-thirds of all jobs in the future will require a college education, whether that’s a certificate, associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree,” Simon said. “But at today’s pace, less than half of our workforce will ever achieve that level of education. Illinois is serious about making reforms that will prepare our students for the next generation of good-paying jobs.”
Lincoln Land tracks several performance indicators for student retention, completion and employment, the most promising being their licensure/certification pass rates and employment of graduates. In fiscal year 2010, 97 percent of students passed licensure/certification exams and according to Illinois Community College Board/Illinois Department of Employment Security data, 80 percent of graduates earning a certificate or associate degree in occupational programs, were employed within six months to a year of graduation.
Additionally, in fiscal year 2010, LLCC students completed 78 percent of credit hours attempted, slightly higher than the state average of 77 percent. Lincoln Land Community College is the largest community college district geographically in Illinois, composed of all or parts of 15 counties over 4,115 square miles. The college currently has eight locations in addition to the main campus and annually enrolls approximately 17,000 students in both credit and non-credit courses.