November 06, 2007

Shawnee college students benefit from partnership

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University, in conjunction with Shawnee Community College, today (Nov. 6) opened another SIU System Service Center aimed at helping students achieve their higher education goals

The center, operating on the SCC campus in Ullin, will better integrate and expand education opportunities for area students by streamlining cooperation between SCC and the SIU system.

The SCC site is the sixth 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.

"My thanks to SCC President Larry Choate and his outstanding staff for partnering with us," SIU President Glenn Poshard said. "This center, and the others like it, exemplify the commitment all of us in higher education in Southern Illinois have to serving the needs of our entire region. This innovative approach is yet another way SCC and SIU can use to help our students achieve their educational and career dreams."

Earlier this year, the University opened additional system service centers at Southeastern Illinois College campus near Harrisburg, John A. Logan College in Carterville, Southwestern Illinois College's Red Bud campus, Rend Lake College in Ina, and Olney Central College in Olney.

Workers at the service center will advocate for the University, SCC 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.

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, SIU counselors monitor such students and provide ongoing feedback on their transcripts to facilitate their continuing education at the University.

Service center workers will help students who want a bachelor's degree to easily make the transition from SCC to the SIU system.

Mary Finley, director of the service center, said it is a support system for SCC students and non-students to make SIU their choice for higher education.

"We are planning campus tours for prospective students to the Carbondale campus and will make regular visits to SCC's three extension centers in Anna, Cairo, and Metropolis," Finley said. "We hope to increase the enrollment at SIU from our southern five counties."

The cooperation between the two institutions means students can work toward a bachelor's degree in three different programs on site at SCC, Finley said.

Choate said the college is pleased to provide space for the center, which will serve both SIU and SCC students.

"We are always looking for additional ways to partner with other institutions to ensure our students have ample opportunities available," Choate said. "The SIU System Service Center is a great addition to our campus and we hope many students will take advantage of the services they provide."

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.

The center is located in the central hallway at SCC's main campus building. It will be open various times during normal business hours and by appointment. Call 618/634-3330 for more information.