Going hand-in-hand with a program in Streator, Illinois Valley Community College will enroll more Chinese students this spring as part of an agreement approved Thursday by the board.
Trustees endorsed a dual credit and English as a second language program with Foreign Service (China) Group of Hong Kong beginning with the start of spring classes on Jan. 9.
Although the college expects only a handful of students to participate in the program the first year, Yang Hong, Foreign Service CEO, anticipates more to follow with the potential of 20 per year moving forward.
An IVCC teaching center will be established at Streator's Sherman School, now owned by Foreign Service, to serve both international and local American students. Foreign Service bought Sherman School for a teacher training facility.
IVCC President Jerry Corcoran said the agreement would provide "scholarly interaction, cultural interchange and other forms of academic collaboration."
"The timing for this partnership is perfect," he said. "We are excited to see what develops."
Corcoran said there is potential for a "1+2+2" model that would involve Chinese students learning English their first year, taking high school and college dual credit courses the next two years and attending a four-year college the final two years.
Prior to enrollment, IVCC will require each participant take the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) to determine their ability to listen to, speak, read and write English.
Students will be charged in-district tuition and will receive the 25 percent discount for dual credit courses.
In other news, the board learned IVCC is awaiting confirmation by next week it will receive nearly $165,000 in state capital funding for demolition of the barn south of campus and construction of a dual storage/ag lab facility.
The project, which would require at least $60,000 from the college, will replace the 1940s-era dairy barn with a building to house agriculture program equipment and a lab for the new agronomy program. The college architect will design the structure in consultation with the board's facilities committee.
In other business, trustees approved deactivation of the criminal justice program's forensics AAS degree and certificate.
Vice President for Academic Affairs Deborah Anderson said in a memo, "Continued decline in enrollment, low completion numbers and few job opportunities indicate the program is unsustainable."
Students already in the Forensics Specialist AAS will be allowed to complete it this year through a "teach-out."
The board also approved:
• Purchase of National Electrical Code training classes from NTT Training of Centennial, Colo., for $20,000. Cost of the course is recovered through fees charged to clients by the Continuing Education Center.
• Purchase of furniture for common areas in buildings A, C, E and the library from KI of Green Bay, Wis., for $18,500. The furniture will be similar to the tables and chairs in the Student Life Center.
• Academic calendars for fall 2019 through summer 2021.
• An intergovernmental agreement with Peru for a new downtown TIF.
• Nominating petitions for the April 2 trustee election will be accepted in the President's office between 8 and 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday, Dec. 10 to 14 and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday, Dec. 17. Seats held by board chair Jane Goetz and trustee Amy Boyles will be up for election.
The board learned:
• The administration, working with the Student Government Association, is planning to open a micro food pantry for students unable to afford sufficient nutrition. "We believe this will be a good fit for us because of the great relationship we have with the Illinois Valley Food Pantry and the tremendous response we've had from donors to our Foundation's Student Emergency Living Needs fund," Corcoran said.
• Ralph Scriba, a 1951 IVCC alumnus now living in Southern California, has donated another $50,000 to IVCC, this time to provide training equipment for the nursing program. The gift, which marks $350,000 in Scriba donations since 2013, will upgrade nursing's clinical patient simulation manikins.
• A total of 158 summer graduates earned 183 degrees and certificates compared to 175 graduates earning 200 degrees and certificates in 2017.
• The Foundation's 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 27, Scholarship Recognition Reception in the gym is expected to draw about 400 scholarship recipients, donors and family members.