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Local Column

Borowicz: Kishwaukee College –keeping it local

In just three short weeks, the fall semester will be upon us, and Kishwaukee College will once again be bustling with students.

While enrollment is down slightly for fall, we had a strong summer session, which helps the college financially going into the fall term. The Board of Trustees has set three thematic goals for the year, based on the feedback heard at community and business listening sessions.

These include reducing the college’s dependency on state financial aid, building the philanthropic support for the college, and reconfiguring athletics to emphasize recruiting district high school graduates.

From these goals, employees will begin to set their goals for the year at in-service Aug. 24. We need to continue to look at opportunities to meet the needs of our constituents now and in the future. One of the most interesting things we heard from a business leader recently is that Kishwaukee College not only needs to prepare students for current jobs, but help prepare them for the jobs that don’t yet exist.

We need to teach our students to be lifelong learners who are able to learn new skills as technology changes.

This past year, 84 percent of the students attending Kishwaukee College were residents of the college district at the time of application. Some of our unique programs, such as Diesel Power Technology, Horticulture and Truck Driver Training, attract students from outside our district.

We are happy to serve students and businesses on a regional basis, but our primary focus continues to be on our local students and those who pay the property taxes that support Kishwaukee College.

The Board of Trustees is committed to ensuring we continue to focus our efforts on serving local students, and one of the college goals for the year is to change our athletics program to one that primarily recruits local athletes. We want Kishwaukee College to be a place where our talented local high school athletes have an opportunity to continue to play sports in college.

Having more local students on our team rosters will support community engagement and the success of our athletic teams.

In the past three years, 155 area businesses have hired a Kishwaukee College graduate. Meeting the needs of the local business community has long been a goal of the college, and we are working to make this connection even stronger during the coming school year.

By developing a strategic workforce plan, the college will enhance its customized training for businesses, continuing education for working individuals, and additional internship and other work-based learning opportunities for college students.

It is by listening to our stakeholders that we will enhance the sense of community we are striving for at Kishwaukee College. A feedback link recently has been added to the college web page at www.kishwaukeecollege.edu/suggestion. I am proud to be leading the college during this exciting and transformative time in higher education.

• Laurie Borowicz, Ed.D., is the president of Kishwaukee College in Malta. She can be reached at 815-825-9333, or by email at laurie.borowicz@kishwaukeecollege.edu.

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