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Local Column

Borowicz: A plan for the future at Kishwaukee College

Kishwaukee College’s 50th anniversary is winding down, with two events remaining. On Saturday, we will host the Foundation Gala on campus. The evening will be shiny and gold, as we celebrate the 50th and raise money for student scholarships. The 50-for-50 scholarship campaign has raised $35,269 to date. We are fortunate to have such generous friends supporting our students in reaching their higher education goals.

At our homecoming event Sept. 15, we shared the college’s new five-year strategic plan. The plan includes a new mission and vision statement.

Our mission statement reflects what we do every day: “Kishwaukee College improves lives through quality, affordable education.”

Our vision statement demonstrates what we are aspiring to be: “Kishwaukee College will be a leader in providing innovative education in the local community.”

We have also added nine college values, reflecting what we stand for and believe in. Finally, the plan includes five strategic initiatives that provide a roadmap for guiding us forward: student success, external partnerships, valuing employees, continuous improvement, and resource management. The full plan can be viewed at kish.edu/strategicplan.

Each fall, the college sets goals under the five strategic initiatives. Given the changing landscape of education, goals need to be evaluated and revised annually. It is the time when we evaluate how we performed on our goals last year, and what our priorities need to be for the current year. The entire college community, with input from business and community partners, is involved in goal setting, as it takes all of us to move our services to students and stakeholders forward.

Some of the highlights from the 2017-18 school year:

• Increased the retention of our students at the college by 1.5 percent.

• Increased the program completion of our students by 1 percent, with an 11 percent increase in program completion over the past three years

• Implemented a new agribusiness program.

• Increased the number of athletic teams to nine, and increased the local high school graduates to 70 percent of student athletes.

• Increased continuing education offerings at the college and in our local communities by almost 20 percent.

• Developed a facilities master plan and a technology plan that supports the future needs of our learners.

• The goals set for the 2018-19 school year are on our website: kish.edu/goals. Focus will include:

• Understanding and embracing cultural diversity.

• New program development including hospitality, culinary, certified medical assistant and a part-time nursing program.

• Expanding our partnerships with area high schools and NIU.

• Implementing a fully online associate degree and enhancing online learning instruction.

• Reducing the cost of textbooks for students.

• Reviewing and updating the safety plan for our campus.

The college’s final 50th anniversary event will be held Dec. 11. We will host a closing reception in our art gallery, featuring “Faces of Kish.” Assistant professor of art and design Miles Halpern will be displaying his watercolor paintings of people from the Kishwaukee College community.

There are many great things happening at Kish, and I am proud and honored to lead an organization that improves the lives of our community members every day.

• Laurie Borowicz is president of Kishwaukee College. She can be reached at 815-825-9333, or by email at lborowicz@kish.edu.

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