Pass Rates, Civility, Dual Credit and Workforce Topics Discussed at SIC Board Meeting


HARRISBURG, Ill. (Feb. 25, 2019) — The Southeastern Illinois College Board of Trustees met Feb. 19 to discuss legislative priorities, 100 percent pass rate scores in nursing, workforce development initiatives in Carmi, a Student Government civility project and a duel credit report, among other things.

Illinois Community College Trustee Association (ICCTA) representative Dr. Frank Barbre reported on the Community College National Legislative Summit which he, President Dr. Jonah Rice, and Chris Barr (institutional research and effectiveness administrator) attended. The group met with Rep. John Shimkus, Sen. Tammy Duckworth and Sen. Dick Durbin to discuss three main federal legislative priorities. Topics included strengthening Pell Grants, investing in education and workforce development and reauthorizing the Higher Education Act.

The board also listened to concerns about the minimum wage hike impact. According to internal financial research on student workers and part-time employees (not vendors or contractual employees), the additional cost to SIC would be approximately $1.2 million by 2026. Administrators will be discussing, studying and reacting to this bill recently signed by the Governor. The cost to the institution will increase once full calculations are made.

The Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation has posted the 2018 national and state pass rates for candidates who have completed the National Council Licensure Exams to become a registered nurse and licensed practical nurse. The data are based on candidates completing the licensure examination for the first time upon graduation. Both the practical nursing and associate degree nursing programs at SIC earned 100 percent pass rates for 2018. Only four out of 42 programs in Illinois received 100 percent pass rates for ADN programs.

Rice said, “We have great faculty, clinical partners and tough program standards. We emphasize quality first and foremost over quantity, and these impressive pass rates are a testament to that fact.”

Several initiatives are in the works at the David L. Stanley White County Center regarding workforce development. Holly Healy, director of the Center, is working with the Carmi Police Department for ongoing training as well as several local businesses for computer training.

Lori Cox, associate dean of workforce and community education, noted that a new mine from Indiana has been added to the fire training roster this year. SIC will be hosting on-site the eighth Mine Rescue Skills Competition coming up in mid-June.

The SIC Student Government will be promoting the civility pledge kickoff and sign up students the week of Feb. 25 outside the cafeteria. President Rice and student trustee Alex McRoy came up with the idea and student government endorsed the plan to promote better attitudes among students toward each other in conversations and on social media. Students who wish to take part in the civility pledge will sign the proposal and a banner which will hang in the cafeteria. Civil discourse with debates not fights will be promoted.

The board officially approved the naming of the theatre stage in the George T. Dennis Visual & Performing Arts Center the ‘Allan G. Kimball Stage.’ Kimball thanked the board for the honor. He was presented the award at a surprise ceremony Feb. 9 during the intermission of his production The Boys Next Door.

“Twenty-one years ago, Dr. Oldham [former president] told me that SIC was a family, and I truly believe it is!” said Kimball. “I have loved this job for all these years and the people that I’ve worked with.”

The board also learned that the SIC Art Department has partnered with Little Egypt Arts Association in Marion to host the Intercollegiate Art show March 12-31.

In renovation news, the board awarded the bid for the Learning Commons to Evrard-Strang Construction, Inc., of Marion. Work will begin this spring to improve access, study areas, research, and general upgrades to the entire Learning Commons Area including the Melba Patton Library and the Dana Keating Student Success Center.

The board learned about a dual credit report, and that talks continue with multiple area high schools regarding bussing students to SIC in the afternoons to take advantage of career and technical education. SIC has a robust dual credit program, especially with career and technical education courses.

“That coordination and alignment helps students gain a credential and start earning sooner than later,” said Dr. Karen Weiss, vice president of academic affairs. “Many area high schools are taking advantage of dual credit in the afternoons at SIC.”

Additionally, faculty and staff were praised for a good job in recruiting, as approximately 300 high school students made visits to campus in the last month for a variety of events.

In personnel, the board approved tenure status for Aaron Aul as physics instructor and Brenda Knight as nursing instructor and the re-employment for the 2019-2020 academic year for non-tenured faculty members Sessaly Davis, Sylvia Moore and Jessica Wright. The board approved a resolution regarding grant-funded employees and the hire of Bethany Mathis as the assistant director of financial aid, Jessica Wright as full-time biology/chemistry instructor, Sessaly Davis as full-time nursing instructor and Amanda Payne as assistant to the executive dean of academic services. The board also accepted the resignation of biology instructor, Mila-Maring Sims and approved the employment of a number of adjunct faculty.

The next meeting of the board will be Thursday, March 21, at 6 p.m. in the Rodney J. Brenner Board Room at SIC. More information about SIC can be found at