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JALC Board Holds Remote Board Meeting as College Continues Business as Usual in an Unusual Time

Published on April 27, 2020

Due to the shelter in place order issued by Governor JB Pritzker the decision was made to cancel the March meeting of the John A. Logan College Board of Trustees.  With the order being extended through the month of April, Board members and the administration began to put plans in place to ensure that an April meeting of the Board of Trustees would take place.

On Tuesday, April 21 with a little help from modern technology the John A. Logan College Board of Trustees meeting went on as scheduled at 7 PM.  Members of the Board and administration participated in a conference call that included a phone number that was provided to the public to listen to the meeting.  The public phoneline included the capability to communicate with the Board during the normal portion of the meeting reserved for public comments. The Board meeting was just another example of how John A. Logan College is working to continue business as usual in an unusual time.

“This was a situation that a month ago was changing by the minute,” said College President Dr. Ron House. “As we have had to transition to online learning, advising and recruiting our faculty and staff have done a remarkable job adjusting.  But, what I have admired the most are the faculty and staff that are more proficient in technology volunteering to help others.”

Vice President for Instruction Dr. Melanie Pecord summarized the efforts of the entire John A. Logan College community during the COVID19 Pandemic.

“The locations of our desk may have changed, but the work of the college continues.”  Pecord made the statement during her report where she highlighted the efforts of faculty and staff to deliver online classes and student services remotely.   

“In addition to online instruction we continue to advise and offer other student services remotely, said Pecord. “We have all learned new technologies and had to be creative in how we communicate and work with students and each other, but it is working.”

“I think you are all doing a fantastic job,” said Trustee Jake Rendleman. “This had to be done quickly and you have all worked together remarkably well and your efforts have resulted in little disruption for our students.”

Vice President for Business Services and College Facilities Brad McCormick echoed the sentiment.

“I have been extremely impressed by the ability of people to transition and take control of their area during this time,” said McCormick. “We have moved forward with the budget process for next year and continue to meet remotely on a regular basis to ensure the planning process continues.

Most of the discussion throughout the meeting focused on concerns for students.  Trustees expressed concerns for student and College finances, the ability to transition to online and summer and fall enrollment. Trustee Jake Rendleman reported that the John A. Logan College Foundation had made funds available to students that have experienced hardship from the loss of jobs during the shelter in place order.

“The Foundation has made $10,000 available for the JALC Foundation COVID 19 Emergency Grants,” said Rendleman. Students have been given the opportunity to apply for the grant that will not exceed $500 per student.”

Rendleman added that about 35 students had applied for the grant and that the applications would be reviewed in the coming days.

President House added that the IT department has done a tremendous amount of work to assist both students and faculty during the transition to online noting that the department had provided laptops to several students and staff to be able to work from home.

“I can’t say enough about the amount of yeoman’s work that the IT department has done to assist students and staff,” said House. “From expanding WIFI to allow students to use the parking lot to the providing laptops they have done a tremendous job.”

House added that all colleges and universities are concerned about fall enrollment because of the uncertainty of when restrictions will be lifted.

“There is concern about enrollment, but we are talking weekly with other college presidents and that picture will be clearer as restrictions are lifted,” said House.  “When we know what our ability will be to be on campus we will have a better picture of that will be, but be assured that we are continuing to reach out to and recruit students.”

In other Board news, Trustees approved the results of the Student Trustee election and seated Joshua Payne of Carbondale as the student representative for 2020-21.

Dr. Pecord reported that the College’s nursing department had received accreditation. She also noted that, College’s Phi Theta Kappa chapter had won the Distinguished College Project Award for their video promoting student attendance, and had been named a top 100 chapter.  Dr. Pecord also informed the Board that the College was one of 15 schools out of 500 applicants to receive a Cybint Grant.

A construction contract to JL Robinson Construction was awarded for renovations. A contract for asbestos abatement was awarded to Midwest Service Group.

A banking services proposal was approved and awarded to Banterra Bank.  Tedrick Group was approved as the insurance broker for the period beginning May 1, 2020, and ending April 30, 2025, pending final agreement by College legal counsel.

A number of personnel items were approved from the previous scheduled March meeting.  No new personnel items for April were presented.

The next scheduled meeting of the Board of Trustees is scheduled for May 26 at 7 PM.  A decision regarding the meeting format will be made closer to the date of the meeting and will depend on current restrictions.