September 12, 2007

Partnership benefits John A. Logan students

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University, in conjunction with John A. Logan College, today (Sept. 12) opened an SIU System Service Center aimed at helping students achieve their higher education goals.

The center, operating on the JALC campus in Carterville, will better integrate and expand education opportunities for area students by streamlining cooperation between the college and the SIU system. The JALC site is the third of seven planned for various local colleges in Southern Illinois and marks an innovative partnership between the University and area colleges that will help students pursue their goals in several ways. The University previously opened centers at Southeastern Illinois College near Harrisburg and Southwestern Illinois College's Red Bud campus.

"My thanks to John A. Logan College President Robert L. Mees and all of the outstanding folks here for partnering with us," SIU President Glenn Poshard said. "This center, along with the others now open or opening soon, exemplifies our longstanding commitment to serving the needs of our entire region. Working with our community colleges, our goal is to help students achieve their educational and career dreams."

Workers at the service center will advocate for the University, JALC and students. They will broker student services and act as ombudsmen and liaisons between the schools for both students and faculty. They also will create innovative new approaches to help students and the schools work together for common good.

Service center workers will help students who want a bachelor's degree to easily make the transition from JALC to the SIU system. They also will assist students with dual enrollment, taking classes at both JALC and SIU at the same time, if necessary. Officials also are exploring giving dual-enrollment students the option to use SIU facilities and participate in SIU programs on a fee basis prior to their arrival on campus.

SIU, JALC and the local Regional Office of Education also are exploring offering SIU classes on the JALC campus at night and on weekends. The service centers also will help coordinate that effort and assist students with enrolling in those classes.

Brad Simpson, director of the JALC service center, said his goal is to help all students reach their potential.

"We're trying to get in touch with these community college students at a much earlier time than we have in the past," Simpson said. "We help them select a major and prepare an academic plan, showing them what courses they can take at John A. Logan that transfer to SIU. Then we provide them feedback on their progress.

"It's really a dual admission program that helps students get on track earlier and get in the pipeline to come to SIU," he said. "We're doing very well. We recruited more than 70 students this summer alone."

The service center also will assist with the existing "2 plus 2" program, designed to help students make efficient use of their community college education so that credits easily transfer to SIU. Under the program, which Simpson has coordinated since 1994, SIU counselors monitor such students and provide ongoing feedback on their transcripts to facilitate their continuing education at the University.

SIU officials hope the service centers also will increase the University's visibility within the region, encouraging local students to consider its programs in conjunction with local community colleges. It also will help the University identify students who express an interest in attending SIU early in their higher education career, allowing SIU counselors to help them achieve their goals.

Mees said the service centers will promote solid educational opportunities for local students.

"John A. Logan College was pleased to be the first community college asked to host an SIU transfer center," Mees said. "I feel that this will not only strengthen the tremendous relationship we already have with SIU but will also provide our students with a seamless transition from one great institution to another."

The center is located in the upper level of the main building at JALC. It will be open during business hours, Monday-Friday, and by appointment. Call 618/985-2828, extension 8563 for more information.