Trustees discuss tenures, falling enrollment

Stephanie Bias, Assistant Culture Editor

Student demographics and tenure recommendations were discussed by the Illinois Valley Community College Board of Trustees on Thursday, Feb. 9 at 6:30 p.m. in Room C-307.

The Board began their third meeting of 2017 with a discussion of student demographics from the fall term of 2016. Mark

Gryzbowski, Associate Vice President of Student Services, presented a demographic report that allowed those present to form a better understanding of who the students of IVCC really are.

Gryzbowski’s report compared data from 2014, 2015 and 2016. According to Gryzbowski, enrollment numbers are down at Illinois Valley Community College.

Gryzbowski partially attributed this loss to the current financial crisis in Illinois.

“Students are leaving Illinois [for other universities] at an unprecedented rate,” Gryzbowski said. Gryzbowski also stated that the average age of students at IVCC has fallen from 24 to 23 in the last three years.

“The nontraditional student has failed to reenroll with us,” Gryzbowski explained. Despite these disappointing figures, Gryzbowski did share some exciting news regarding local high school students.

According to Gryzbowski, local high school students are enrolling at IVCC at unprecedented rates. Seventy-one percent of Mendota Township High School, 66 percent of LaSalle-Peru Township High School students and 49 percent of Streator Township High School college-bound students are enrolling at IVCC immediately following graduation.

Gryzbowski concluded his report by expressing excitement about the role that IVCC plays in the lives of local students.
President Jerry Corcoran then expressed sentiments to those affected or displaced by recent tornadoes.

Corcoran also encouraged those in attendance to attend and spread the word about the IVCC Foundation’s new fundraiser, Foundation Giving Day.

Tenure recommendations were then discussed. Tracy Lee, English Composition and Creative Writing Instructor, and Emily Lesman, Laboratory Instructor and Developmental Mathematics Instructor, were recommended for tenure, a three-year process where professors are evaluated and observed 11 different times.

It was noted that both Lee and Lesman studied at community colleges and are now teaching at a community college.

“They are some of our best and brightest staff,” a coworker noted. “Emily is so passionate about her students. She does as much mothering, mentoring and coaching as she does teaching. Tracy has tripled the creative writing enrollment, and I’ve heard that she’s a great storyteller.”

In addition, the Board discussed staff retirements and resignations, upcoming bills and renewing IVCC’s membership with ICCTA. The Board of Trustees convened at 7:10 p.m. and will meet again on Thursday, April 13 at 6:30 p.m. in Room C-307.