District 214, EIU partnership allows adults to get degrees in Arlington Heights

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Suburban residents will be able to complete bachelor’s degrees in Arlington Heights as part of a new partnership between Eastern Illinois University and Northwest Suburban High School District 214.

Adult learners enrolled in EIU’s General Studies program can soon take evening and weekend classes at the Forest View Educational Center, 2121 S. Goebbert Road, as well as online, under the arrangement with District 214’s Community Education program.

District 214 and EIU officials held a ribbon-cutting event Friday at EIU’s new office at Forest View. An open house for the university’s General Studies program is scheduled from 5 to 7 p.m. Monday, Jan. 22, for prospective students.

The program accepts up to 100 semester hours from regionally accredited universities, including 78 hours from community colleges.

The two institutions have also formed a partnership that will allow District 214 students to earn early college credit from EIU while still in high school. The dual-credit courses, in subjects including college algebra, speech and English composition, will be offered at all District 214 high schools at a reduced rate, officials said.

The district offers some 60 dual-credit courses in partnership with colleges including Arizona State University, Harper College, National Louis University and Northeastern Illinois University. During the 2016-17 school year, students were enrolled in more than 3,000 dual-credit courses.

“We are excited to offer another avenue for students and adults that expands opportunities for success in college and careers,” Superintendent David Schuler said in a news release.

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January 20, 2018 at 07:03PM

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District 214, EIU partnership allows adults to get degrees in Arlington Heights

ISU, Heartland say nursing pact helps students, community

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NORMAL — An agreement signed Thursday between Heartland Community College and Illinois State University will help students, hospitals and the community at large, those involved say.

The dual-enrollment agreement allows Heartland nursing students to start work on their bachelor’s degrees before graduating from Heartland.

The two schools already had an agreement that provided a smooth transition into ISU’s RN-to-BSN program for registered nurses with an associate’s degree who want to earn a bachelor of science in nursing. But this lets students get a head start on the process.

Among those planning to participate is Ben Tucker of Bloomington, who is in his second semester as a nursing student at Heartland.

Starting this fall, he will be taking his regular classes at Heartland and starting ISU classes online.

Tucker, an Air Force veteran who eventually wants to become a nurse practitioner, said this program will help him achieve his goal.

Tucker said he chose nursing for a career because “I like the variety of the scope of practice” and “it will allow me to help others.”

Heartland President Rob Widmer said the agreement provides a “cost-effective, high-quality opportunity for nursing students in our community.”

While taking ISU classes as a Heartland student, Tucker and others in the dual-enrollment program will pay Heartland’s much lower tuition rates.

“We all have one thing in common as educators, that is the success of our students,” said Widmer.

Representatives of Advocate BroMenn Medical Center in Normal and OSF HealthCare St. Joseph Medical Center in Bloomington attended the signing ceremony in Heartland’s nursing lab.

Toni Bishop-McWain, director of cardiovascular services at OSF, said, “This collaboration is exciting to me because we can reach that goal.”

Bishop-McWain said, “There’s always a constant need” for nurses at the hospital.

Laurie Round, chief nursing officer and vice president of patient services at BroMenn, noted the importance of nurses with bachelor’s degrees “to manage the increasing complexity of both patients and the health care system.”

She said, “The dual-enrollment partnership brings together two great nursing programs to provide our students an expedient and affordable route to a baccalaureate degree.”

Nursing is not the only area where the two schools collaborate.

ISU and Heartland recently signed an agreement enabling students in Heartland’s honors program to transfer into ISU’s honors program. Heartland has a similar agreement with Western Illinois University.

“We’re always looking to see where we can impact students and make it easier for them to succeed,” said Widmer.

Faculty members from both schools communicate about curriculum issues so classes taken at Heartland match what’s needed at ISU, he said. Widmer and Dietz also meet regularly to discuss common concerns.

In nearly all recent years, Heartland has been the leading source of transfer students to ISU, according to ISU spokeswoman Rachel Hatch.






Follow Lenore Sobota on Twitter: @pg_sobota



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January 19, 2018 at 05:08AM

ISU, Heartland say nursing pact helps students, community

Some ICC instructors get a chance to continue teaching or retire

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EAST PEORIA — Five of the 10 full-time Illinois Central College faculty members who recently learned they were no longer qualified to teach at the community college now have new options.

The ICC board of trustees voted unanimously Thursday to offer eligible former faculty members a voluntary early retirement package or the possibility of a paid sabbatical to take the courses necessary for certification to teach. Tuition costs would be reimbursed at the end of the one-semester sabbatical.

Four of the five are eligible for the retirement incentive, which equals one-third of their base salary. But all five could choose the paid sabbatical, though it would have to approved first by ICC President Sheila Quirk-Bailey.

“These are quality faculty, we don’t want to lose them,” Emmanuel Awuah, vice president of academic affairs, told board members as he explained the sabbatical offer.

The other five faculty members affected by new teacher-qualification guidelines will continue to teach in areas where they are certified.

Though it did not come up at the board meeting, more than 25 percent of the community college’s part-time faculty were also affected by changes in the college’s accreditation requirements.

Quirk-Bailey said the college is providing low-cost courses on campus, which would make it easier for many of the part-time teachers to gain certification.

Dozens of teachers were notified over Thanksgiving break that they would no longer be eligible to teach courses that transfer to four-year colleges. Some of the teachers had taught at ICC for more than a decade.

In June 2015, the Higher Learning Commission, the accrediting agency for about 1,000 institutions in 19 states, issued revised guidelines on faculty qualifications. The guidelines require teachers to have a master’s degree or graduate-level credits in the courses they teach.

Of the colleges 491 part-time faculty members, 91 were told they were no longer eligible to teach. The new guidelines affected 10 of 167 full-time faculty members.

HLC is scheduled to visit the campus in 2020. Administrators said they want to see faculty get the credentials they need by 2019.

Pam Adams can be reached at 686-3245 or padams@pjstar.com. Follow her on Twitter @padamspam.

 

 

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January 18, 2018 at 07:31PM

Some ICC instructors get a chance to continue teaching or retire

LLC president: Community college an affordable alternative

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Over the past decade a crisis has been brewing that has the potential to profoundly impact the very foundation of higher education. The crisis surrounds the precipitous rise of student loan debt. Over the past decade student loan debt in the United States has grown by 150 percent, topping out at $1.4 trillion. As Forbes magazine notes, “student loan debt is now the second highest consumer debt category – behind only mortgage debt – and higher than both credit cards and auto loans.”

More than 44 million U.S. residents, roughly 14 percent of the population, are saddled with student loan debt. The data demonstrates that student loan debt is forcing many individuals to delay major life events, like purchasing a home, getting married or having children.

Fortunately, college students in our area have the opportunity to create a future with a much brighter forecast. By choosing Lake Land College to start, or earn, their college degree their future life plans can include vacations, new cars, a walk down the aisle and mortgage payments. Lake Land College’s tuition and fees for two years are about $7,800, including textbooks. In contrast, the average cost for tuition and fees for the first two years of a bachelor’s degree from a public university is about $28,000. Add on the cost of housing, estimated at $20,000, and the purchasing of textbooks, estimated at $2,600 and the tab for those two years quickly escalates.

In essence, it’s a comparison of $50,000 to $8,000 for the first two years of a bachelor’s degree. That’s an enormous difference when thinking about the potential debt facing a college graduate. The gap grows wider when compared to private colleges or technical schools.

As an institution, we are committed to creating an environment where a student can earn a college education and enter the workforce with minimal debt. Two ways that we assist students are through Lake Land College Foundation scholarships and the Presidential Scholarship. All high school students have the opportunity to qualify for the Presidential Scholarship by graduating in the top 15 percent of their class or earning a 1240 on the SAT or 26 on the ACT. Each year, the Lake Land College Foundation awards nearly $400,000 in scholarships to deserving students. I encourage all who will be attending Lake Land this fall to complete the application by February 1 at 5 p.m. online at lakelandcollege.edu/scholarships/.

While we often hear requests from legislators and commitments from university presidents to minimize the cost of higher education, community colleges in Illinois have been living up to that commitment for more than 50 years. And, students are taking note. In Illinois, two-thirds of the undergraduate students enrolled in public higher education are attending community colleges. In our own Lake Land College district, community college is the top choice among high school graduates with more than 50 percent of the college-bound class of 2017 starting the fall semester as Lakers.

The higher education landscape continues to evolve with emerging technologies and heightened demands for workforce training. Community colleges are agents of change that readily adapt to the evolving needs of the communities we serve, yet one area we will hold steadfast is in our pledge to maintain opportunities for a quality, affordable college education.

Josh Bullock is the president of Lake Land College

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January 18, 2018 at 02:53PM

LLC president: Community college an affordable alternative

University of Illinois Springfield Student Union Building now open

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SPRINGFIELD, Ill.(WAND) – The University of Illinois Springfield officially opened the new $21.75 million Student Union Building during a ribbon cutting ceremony on Sunday, January 14, 2018. The first-ever student union will serve as a social hub for student life and foster a greater sense of community on the growing campus.

UIS Chancellor Susan Koch was joined by U of I President Timothy Killeen, Springfield Mayor Jim Langfelder and student leaders in cutting the ribbon.

“This building, the next step in the growth and success of this young university, is important for many reasons,” said Koch. “Most of all, it is important to our students and our future students and I have no doubt it will enrich the entire academic community here on campus and the larger Springfield community in ways we haven’t even yet imagined.”

The two-story, 50,000-square-foot student union anchors the campus’s south quad, providing campus dining services, a Starbucks coffee shop, a ballroom with seating for up to 450 people and a Student Leadership Center that houses student government, volunteer offices and workspaces for student organizations.

Approximately $6.25 million in private funds has been raised towards the $8 million goal to fund the construction of the $21.75 million facility. The private fundraising effort continues. The remaining cost will be paid through campus funds and a construction fee that students approved in 2012.

The new facility will fill a void that officials say has grown since UIS became part of the University of Illinois system in 1995. The campus was originally founded in 1969 as Sangamon State University, catering to upperclassmen and graduate-level students, but is now a traditional four-year school that lacked the central gathering place that student unions provide at most colleges across the nation.

“It reflects a commitment to the student experience here at UIS that is so deep and unwavering that this state-of-the-art building rose amid an historic state budget impasse and without a dime of taxpayer support,” said U of I President Timothy Killeen. “The credit goes to you – our students, alumni and supporters – for your support and generosity and to Susan and her team for their hard work and persistence to make this long-held dream a reality.”

An open house immediately followed the ribbon cutting. Food Service and Starbucks will begin regular operations in the building when students return to campus for the beginning of Spring Semester 2018 classes on Tuesday, January 16.

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January 14, 2018 at 03:24PM

University of Illinois Springfield Student Union Building now open

Illinois students creating video games for social good

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CHICAGO — Students at DePaul University in Chicago are creating video games that raise awareness for mental illnesses and other afflictions.

Students at Deep Games Laboratory in DePaul’s College of Computing and Digital Media are working on projects that address bullying, help those with anxiety overcome their fears and teach sickle cell anemia patients ways to stay healthy, The Chicago Tribune reported .

All of the projects involve “the human experience and insight into ourselves,” said associate professor Doris Rusch.

The games are like a self-help book that give people the tools to help themselves, she said.

“But you have to do the work,” she said.

No studies have yet proven that video games are effective treatment on their own, but they can present a new method to reach patients who have mental health afflictions, said Psychiatrist Dr. Nina Vasan of Stanford University.

In one game, called Soteria, players control the actions of a character who suffers from anxiety and must work to overcome the character’s fears. The game teaches patients that avoiding what makes them anxious may be advantageous in the short term, but won’t be the most beneficial in the long term, Vasan said.

The games would ideally be used alongside counseling from a mental health professional, but provide an option that may be less daunting and more accessible, Rusch said.

“The number of people who need mental health help is so much more than we can provide,” she said. “We need to find new tools to help them.”

The laboratory’s games are all available to play for free online, Rusch said. Some are also marketed to organization or mental health professionals, she said.

Vasan noted that like most medications and treatments, there are benefits and risks. Video games can be addictive, she said. The World Health Organization recently recognized video game addiction as Gaming Disorder.

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Information from: Chicago Tribune, http://ift.tt/sYd3cl

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January 14, 2018 at 10:41AM

Illinois students creating video games for social good

Protecting your online information: LLCC offers new cybersecurity program and public workshops

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Thirty years ago, we thought of security as locking the doors to our house or car. Businesses would put up a fence around their property or install an alarm system.
In today’s digital world, security takes on a whole new meaning. Cybersecurity has become vital for protecting individuals and families, as well as organizations (government, military, business, educational, financial institutions, corporations and others) that collect and store confidential data on computers, mobile devices and information transmitted through the internet. In the past few years we have been plagued by news about data breaches and millions of people’s private information stolen.

Cybersecurity is the means of protecting data, networks, programs and other information from unauthorized or unintended access, destruction or change. As the number of internet and mobile users grows, so does the opportunity for cybercrimes. Small mistakes in securing data or the lack of understanding in using social networking tools can prove detrimental to one’s security. These issues are just an example of the need to develop cybersecurity professionals to protect and prevent data from being used inappropriately. If data are not properly secured or if users are not educated about the use of social networking tools, hackers or unauthorized users can spread viruses designed to steal data for financial gain or inappropriate use.  

Techrepublic.com notes the shortage in skilled cybersecurity professionals is increasing, reaching a projected talent gap of 1.8 million. At Lincoln Land Community College, we joined forces with the National Security Agency and the Center of Academic Excellence in Cyber Operations and Cyber Defense to design a degree in cybersecurity. The NSA and CAE support the President’s National Initiative for Cybersecurity Education (NICE) which furthers the goal to broaden the pool of skilled workers capable of supporting a cybersecure nation.

LLCC’s cybersecurity program is designed for students who wish to enter the workforce as a cybersecurity professional. The certificate program can be applied to an associate’s degree. Students explore attacks against networks and computer systems along with necessary defense mechanisms, such as end user tools, tips and techniques to counter attackers. Hands-on projects, competitions and case studies are used to master the cybersecurity concepts.

LLCC will offer the cybersecurity program beginning this fall in the traditional semester courses; however, we are excited to announce the development of Competency Based Education (CBE) with our cybersecurity certificate. The CBE approach allows students to advance based on their ability to master a skill or competency at their own pace. This method is tailored to meet different learning abilities and can lead to more efficient student outcomes.  

This spring the computer networking faculty will be hosting two workshops, free and open to the public. The Security Awareness Day program is scheduled for Feb. 10, 1-2 p.m. in Logan Hall Room 1133 on the LLCC Springfield campus. LLCC instructors will be presenting ways to secure your computer and yourself from viruses and discussing current cyberattacks. We welcome community members to come and learn how to protect themselves from outside hackers.  

On May 1, from 6-7 p.m., LLCC instructors will present “Is Your Wireless Safe?” also in Logan Hall Room 1133. Attendees will get tips on how to protect their home wireless system and see if they are safe when they are out using the public Wi-Fi at their favorite coffee shop.  

To register for workshops and learn more about LLCC’s cybersecurity program, please visit the LLCC Cyber Center webpage at http://ift.tt/2FzZe6M.

Jeff Mehan is a professor of computer networking at Lincoln Land Community College.

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January 14, 2018 at 01:45AM

Protecting your online information: LLCC offers new cybersecurity program and public workshops