How long has Richland Community College served Macon County?
Richland Community College was founded in 1971 and was originally named Community College of Decatur. In September 1972, classes began in the former Millikin National Bank Building, 100 North Water Street, Decatur. As the need for a local community college grew, 15 school districts were annexed to the Decatur College District in December 1973. In February 1975, the name Richland Community College was born as it flourished and later moved to a rented warehouse in Park 101, Federal Drive in Decatur in August 1979. In March 1984, a $5.8 million bond referendum was approved by voters for an $18.5 million permanent campus on its current site. Ground was broken in July 1986, and the first classes were held in September 1988. A full history of the college can be found at www.richland.edu/about/campus.
What makes doing business in Decatur/Macon County unique?
This is a great time for residents and our students here in Decatur and Macon County. It is a community with great people and amazing resources and leadership committed to working collaboratively to improve the community and region. As we grow our partnerships with local industry, businesses, and organizations, we can easily see the emphasis this community is placing on education and training in order to fill the numerous jobs available locally. We are excited about the opportunities ahead as we continue to develop these relationships and play a role in making our area a great place to grow and thrive.
Does the college have any news, recent victories or accomplishments to share such as an expansion or remodeling?
Trust, Grow, Thrive – Last year we introduced Partners In Leadership (PIL) in the College, with the intent to develop a Culture of Accountability through the development of Institutional Key Results, Focused Feedback and Personal Accountability.
Over the course of the last seven months we have been heralding the merits of our Key Results; Trust, Grow, Thrive. We are committed to the philosophy that all efforts start with and must be modeled by leadership. This venue is an effort to increase communication, transparency and trust at Richland. As the staff and faculty walk around campus and engage with the community, we can feel an increased level of excitement and energy in the College and the efforts we are engaged in to increase enrollment, retention and student success.
While PIL may have been new to Richland, our willingness to dive in has been unparalleled and our initial results are positive as well.
A Growing and Changing Campus – The construction and opening of Student Success Center and Carroll Center for Innovative Learning earlier this year has given us the physical space needed to support our philosophy of putting students first at Richland.
The Student Success Center is a high-tech, dynamically responsive space that delivers a new experience for students. It is a one-stop approach that enhances the overall student experience, supporting student engagement, persistence, and success. This new space houses academic advising, financial aid, records, testing, and the cashier’s office. The overall improvements allow our current and future students to easily connect with Richland student services in student-focused areas that are comfortable and easily accessible.
The Carroll Center for Innovative Learning hosts an active learning based curriculum to engage our students in higher levels of thinking. This innovative style of learning requires flexible learning environments that promote both project learning and real world problem solving. This new environment grooms students with the skills and work-based experience they need to succeed as leaders and contributing members of the community. Finally, these improvements make our programs more attractive to four-year universities, encouraging more 2+2 programs that will provide seamless education paths to our students pursuing a bachelor’s degree. Upgraded facilities encourage these institutions to bring their programs to our campus, strengthening our academic partnerships with these institutions.
Is the college offering a new product or service?
On the horizon for Richland are some changes in current academic programs, which include expansion of the agriculture program and the addition of a medical assisting program this fall as well as developing strategic pathways in our Criminal Justice program to leverage and accentuate the Macon County Law Enforcement Training Center operated by Richland. Finally, we are in the planning stages of building a Cyber Security program for the Fall 2019.
Thanks to a recent $1.5 million grant from the State of Illinois we are developing great partnerships with local industry to provide Essential Skills and Industrial Skills training for manufacturing and expanded healthcare programs to students so they can be prepared for one of the many jobs that are available in the local economy.
On October 16, through a partnership with Good Samaritan Inn, Richland will open a College food pantry on campus to serve our students who may be experiencing food insecurity and don’t know where their next meal will come from. We know that more than 50 percent of college students across the nation state they “do not have enough food nor the money to afford additional food” – this food insecurity in higher education has a direct impact on the success of student persistence, especially if students basic needs are not being met.
Is the college currently recruiting or hiring employees?
Richland is an amazing place to work with a lot of employment opportunities for part-time and full-time positions. We are especially interested in adjunct (part-time) instructors. We believe that the real world experiences the business and industry individuals have can positively contribute to a stronger learning environment. You can find Richland’s job opportunities, as well as its employment application, at www.richland.edu/hr/jobs.
Richland Community College is our featured business in the October 2018 newsletter’s “Industry Highlight” section. Would your business like to be featured in an upcoming issue? Contact Brandy by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 217-422-9520 for more details.