Recently, Kaskaskia College held the third of its Community
Engagement meetings at the Greenville Education Center. The purpose of the meetings is twofold: to
inform the communities of the status of the College, and to solicit input on
how the College can better serve the needs of area communities and employers.
The College has prepared a booklet for distribution at these
meetings entitled “Kaskaskia College Report to the Community 2013-14.” Dr. Jim Underwood, President of KC, led
attendees through some of the highlights included in the booklet, including
reports on college enrollments, tuition rates, and job placement numbers.
Most all colleges and universities have experienced
enrollment declines over the last several years, according to Dr. Underwood,
but Kaskaskia College has been able to maintain its enrollments near the peak
12,000 student number it first achieved in 2010. “We are able to maintain our enrollments due
in part to the new programs and training we are able to provide as a response
to the needs of our communities,” Dr. Underwood said. “That is what makes these meetings so
valuable. When a need for training is
brought to our attention, we are able, in many cases, to act expeditiously on
An example of this is a request for a Medical Billing and
Coding program to be offered in Greenville that was voiced at last year’s
Community Engagement meeting. As a
result of that request the program is now in place to meet the needs of area
health care providers.
Kaskaskia College has also been able to keep its tuition
rates in check, despite the lowered state funding it has experienced over the
last few years, maintaining the thirteenth lowest rate among the State’s 48
community colleges. “We must make modest
increases to maintain the quality of our services,” Dr. Underwood said. “But unlike some other institutions that wait
several years to adjust tuition rates, then find it necessary to have a huge tuition increase, our philosophy is to
make smaller, more affordable adjustments as the need arises.”
Dr. Underwood also touted the College’s University Alliance
program, in which KC works with four-year colleges and universities to offer
degree programs wholly or partially on the KC campus. Kaskaskia College recently signed “2+2”
agreements with Greenville College to prepare students for degrees in Biology
and Bachelor Degree Nursing by ensuring that students enrolled in pre-Biology
or Associate Degree Nursing at KC will be able to seamlessly transition to the
degree programs at Greenville College.
The question of how to best advertise the KC’s course
offerings and programs to the community came up, and attendees with the City of
Greenville said that they would look into options for expanding efforts in getting
the word out.
It was also suggested that KC become more involved in the
cultural life of its communities by holding speaker seminars, concerts and
other entertainments, and guest lecturers in the communities as well as on the
main campus, and community nights, open to the public, for KC to present its
services and training opportunities to potential students and their families.