August 1, 2017

CARTERVILLE — A glowing 93-page report by the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) indicates that John A. Logan College has met all the criteria needed for reaffirmation of accreditation, College officials noted during Tuesday’s board of trustees meeting.

“Everything in the HLC report speaks of academic excellence at the College,” said Glenn Poshard, a member of the John A. Logan College Board of Trustees. “I read the report completely and this was an exceptional report. Everyone should be congratulated. That is a fine, fine report.”

Melanie Pecord, acting vice-president for instructional and student services, led a team of college personnel who contributed to the HLC’s months-long process leading to its final report.

“I’m very happy to bring this report to you,” Pecord said.

The College must go through the process every 10 years.

“Collectively, we’d have no idea how many thousands of man hours went into the HLC process,” said Dr. Ron House, College president. “And all of this took place with no extra pay, just an incredible commitment from everyone who took part in it.”

Tuesday’s meeting began with Chairperson Bill Kilquist discussing the yearly maintenance of his air conditioner at home.

“I had a super, young man come to the house to do the maintenance,” Kilquist said. “I asked him where he went to school. He said, ‘John A. Logan College.’ He said he loved going to school here.”

The College’s heating and air instructor, Jason Stutes, was chosen as the 2017 Faculty of the Year and his program has been hailed as one of the top in the nation.

Jacob “Jake” Rendleman, a member of the board of trustees, noted two upcoming golf tournaments, one to raise money for the College Foundation and the other to raise money for the College’s softball program.

The First Annual John A. Logan College Softball Golf Tournament is set for August 4 at Keller’s Crossing at Stone Creek. It will have an 8 a.m. start. It is being organized by head softball coach Taylor Orsburn.

“This golf tournament is an example of what coaches are doing in response to their budgets being cut,” Rendleman said. “They are trying to help themselves and working very hard to do so.”

The board made note of another major contribution to the athletic department, $435,425 from the Harrison-Bruce Foundation. The money will be used to improve the baseball and softball complex.

“What a tremendous gift,” Poshard said.

The College Foundation’s golf tournament will be held August 11 at the Crab Orchard Golf Course in Carterville.

The Foundation also raised $18,500 through the Toby Keith concert held at Black Diamond Harley-Davidson in Marion, Rendleman noted.

“Black Diamond is a great supporter of the College,” Rendleman said. “They allowed the Foundation to sell sponsorships for the concert that netted this money. This was a great success.”

The board of trustees also heard from R.J. Sussman, the College’s director of IT policy, concerning the College’s information security plan. Like any other institution or corporation, a major data breach, could be costly, Sussman explained, which is why preventing any such crime is extremely important.

Sussman explained a number of actions the College is taking to prevent any such breach.

Brad McCormick, vice-president for business services and college facilities, also gave a presentation at Tuesday’s meeting. McCormick discussed the financial benefits to the College following the passage of a budget by the State of Illinois.

While state funding has decreased considerably over the past several years, and especially during the two years the state went without a budget, McCormick noted that while things are “not perfect” and far from what they were in 2010 — when the state contributions were the most — state money expected in 2018 is a great relief.

Taking the state budget into account, board of trustees member Dr. Ray Hancock noted that “my biggest concern (now)” is increasing student enrollment and credit hours at the College.

Other members of the board agreed.

At the end of Tuesday’s meeting, the board moved into new business and, as part of that, recalled three additional members of the faculty who had previously been laid off due to budget cuts as the College struggled financially during the time the state went without a budget.

The announcement of the recall was met with applause from those sitting in the crowd.

The board adjourned until its August meeting.