Recent changes have been made to Olney Central College as a result of receiving funding from a Title III program that is supported in part by a five-year grant awarded to Olney Central College from the U.S. Department of Education effective October 1, 2018. The estimated total cost for all project activities is $2,506,775 financed by the grant award of $2,249,968 (90%) and $256,807 (10%) by Olney Central College.
The mission of Olney Central College is to deliver exceptional education and services to improve the lives of our students and to strengthen our communities. The Title III project has two components 1) Developing High-Demand, High-Quality Programs and 2) Strengthening Advising Services. Both of these components are highly correlated to the mission of the College.
Development of High Demand Programs
Funding has allowed for the addition of a revised Information Systems Technology (IST) program. OCC staff understand that it is increasingly important to prepare students studying technology fields for the needs of the industry in order to remain competitive in the education industry. The IST curriculum and lab equipment were outdated and required an update in order for OCC to deliver exceptional education within this program.
The funding provided by the grant resulted in OCC hiring an IST Specialist who is able to utilize substantial resources and time to develop a program that is recognized as a provider of industry standard educational equipment and curriculum. The total renovation project investment is around $44,000 and is considered a major renovation that helps to improve what Olney Central College has to offer students. This renovation along with the modernized IST equipment purchases of $109,000 allows students to benefit from the use of technology that is also used in the industry.
Strengthening of Advising Services
OCC is also addressing the mission of improving the lives of students by enhancing advising services. The advising staff are now utilizing proactive advising tools, techniques and resources. The advisors are proving to help students feel more comfortable asking for help and strengthening the relationship with their advisees.
A recent survey of students asking them to assess their feelings on the redesigned advising services, quoted one student as saying “They (Student Support staff) are very helpful and understanding. They always find an answer to a question without a second of hesitation.”
In addition to redesigned advising services, the Student Services area has recently been redesigned for better accommodation to students
The grant also provided funding for a new text message communication platform between Student Services and students. The start of this service (text messaging) began with the Fall 2019 semester in order to allow for a full academic year of evaluation. Instant feedback occurred from both students and the advisors that show appreciation of the text messaging system.
One advisor stated, “The texting platform is very user friendly, easy to access, and a great way to communicate with students so far. I have used it four or five times in the last two days to communicate schedule changes, questions, and concerns."
Another positive note is that a recent survey shows that 86% of students expressed satisfaction of the redesigned advising services within OCC.
Illinois Eastern Community Colleges does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, age, marital status, religious affiliation, veteran status, national origin, disability, genetic information, or any other protected category.