When I first started talking with the board of trustees at Kishwaukee College in December 2015, the state of Illinois was five months into the period of no state budget.
Now it is 16 months later, and still no state budget. While we have received some stopgap state funding, the college for the past two years has operated with an average of 41 percent of the state funding it received in fiscal 2015.
That has meant significant change for the college. Things cannot remain the same with millions of dollars less in revenue.
I applaud the staff at Kishwaukee College for the hard work they have done to make necessary changes to continue to serve the needs of our students.
Since my arrival at the college, it’s not only been a time of reducing expenditures, but it’s also been a time of change in our services and processes to best serve our students.
As we examine how we do business at our organization, we are looking at what we do and how we do it, while staying focused on our students. Through all of these changes and hard work, we need to make sure that we are retaining our excellent faculty and staff to ensure we continue to support the rich tradition of the college by providing an excellent education to our students.
Nationwide, enrollments at community colleges have been declining for several years, and Kish is no exception. Unemployment is down, and there is an inverse relationship with enrollments at community colleges and the economy; when people are able to find employment, fewer people look at going to college and instead choose to work. Kish will be here during the ups and downs in the economy, serving the needs of the community.
There are more than 6,000 students who will attend Kishwaukee College this year. Our goal is to serve our students as best we can by helping them achieve their educational goals.
There are key “success” measures for institutions of higher education, such as graduation, transfer and job placement rates. These are the areas on which we focus.
Increasing enrollment is important, but our main objective is serving the students attending Kish, now and into the future.
I am honored and proud to be serving as president of Kishwaukee College. To learn about the great things happening at Kish, follow me on my blog at drlaurie.kishwaukeecollege.edu.
• Laurie Borowicz is president of Kishwaukee College in Malta.