November 30, 2007

SIU opens service center at Kaskaskia College

by Tim Crosby

CARBONDALE, Ill. — Southern Illinois University, in conjunction with Kaskaskia College, today (Nov. 30) opened another SIU System Service Center aimed at helping students achieve their higher education goals.

The center, operating on the KC campus in Centralia, will better integrate and expand education opportunities for area students by streamlining cooperation between the college and the SIU system, officials said.

The KC site is the seventh and final site planned for various local colleges in Southern Illinois. Earlier this year, officials opened service centers at Shawnee Community College in Ullin, Rend Lake College in Ina, Olney Central College, Southeastern Illinois College near Harrisburg. John A. Logan College in Carterville and Southwestern Illinois College's Red Bud campus.

The new centers represent an innovative partnership between the University and area colleges that will help students pursue their goals in several ways, said SIU President Glenn Poshard.

"We are grateful to Kaskaskia College President Jim Underwood and his outstanding staff for their hard work and willingness to partner with us," Poshard said. "These centers exemplify our longstanding commitment to serving the needs of our entire region. I consider myself an example of how education can transform a life, and this innovative approach is yet another tool KC and SIU can use to help our students achieve their educational and career dreams."

Workers at the service center will advocate for the University, KC 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 staff members will help students who want a bachelor's degree to easily make the transition from KC to the SIU system. They also will assist students with dual enrollment, taking classes at both KC 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.

Marty Garrett, director of the SIU System Service Center at KC, said the center will open doors for KC students who wish to continue their education.

"It will enlighten our KC students about the possibilities the SIU system has to offer, keeping them informed on the latest developments and newest programs there," Garrett said. "KC is an excellent community college and SIU is an outstanding university. This center is a wonderful commitment by presidents Underwood and Poshard and we want to make this partnership work. We want to make it a smooth transition from KC to SIU."

SIU officials hope the service centers also will increase the University's visibility within the region, encouraging local students to consider the University's programs in conjunction with local community colleges. They 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.

Underwood said KC is pleased to partner with SIU in expanding student opportunities for higher education.

"The creation of the SIU System Service Center on the KC campus will be of great assistance to our students who are planning to transfer to an SIU campus," Underwood said. "The center will serve many other coordinating functions as we work together to expand higher education programs and services for our citizens."

The center is located in room 105 of the Health and Business building. Garrett's hours are 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday; 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Thursday and by appointment. Also, student workers will be in the office at various times during normal business hours Monday-Friday. Call 618/545-3116 for more information.