November 2020


Colleagues,

As Thanksgiving approaches, I want to take this time to reflect on a few things that I am most grateful for. First, I am thankful for my family. In times such as these, it is truly a gift to be surrounded by those we love. I am also grateful for the opportunity to serve as the Interim President of Prairie State College. It is an honor to work alongside such a group of tremendous individuals who go above and beyond for our students and community. I want to thank everyone for your contribution to the success of this great institution and for being innovative, flexible, accommodating, and patient as we continue to maneuver our way through this pandemic.

Monthly President’s Updates:
Rather than a weekly update to the college community, a President’s Update will be sent monthly, beginning Dec. 4. All updates will be published on the PSC website.

Thanksgiving Break Reminder:
PSC will be closed for the Thanksgiving holiday beginning Wednesday, Nov. 25, and will reopen on Monday, Nov. 30.

Students Thankful Messages:
Thanksgiving is a time of togetherness and gratitude, and since we cannot be together, we asked our students what they are most grateful for during this holiday season. The Communications and Marketing team will be sharing some of their responses on social media through next week.

PSC Speech Team Earns Individual Awards at Virtual Forensics Tournament:
The PSC Speech Team co-hosted the Region 4 Affiliated Forensics League Virtual Tournament #3 along with Highland Community College on Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. Ahmon Williams of Glenwood took home a bronze medal in persuasive speaking, and Andrew Malone of South Holland earned a Gold Medal in Speech to Entertain. The team is coached by Co-Directors Joshua Green and Dana Trunnell, professors of communication at PSC.

Recruitment and Outreach:
Several initiatives have been conducted to retain currently enrolled students participating in dual enrollment programs and recruit high school seniors. The Recruitment and Outreach Department continues to hold weekly office hours with participants in the Early College Initiative (ECI) program to review their progress and help them navigate various aspects of the institution.

Additionally, staff host virtual high school visits, new and returning student information sessions, and attend high school virtual college fairs. In conjunction with the transfer coordinator, the recruitment and outreach department recently hosted a transfer workshop for high school students. This session highlighted the benefits of completing at PSC and taking advantage of articulation agreements held with various four-year institutions. The staff has also begun working with ECI participating high schools to identify 2021-2022 student cohorts.

PSC Rebound Program:
A new program is coming to PSC designed to assist students who could not continue attending college due to the outstanding balance on their accounts. The PSC Rebound Program presents an opportunity for qualifying students to return to college and complete their degree or certificate by waiving their outstanding balance. The program will begin in spring 2021 and help many in our community receive the credentials to progress to four-year institutions or venture on to new employment opportunities. This program was designed in collaboration between Jaime Miller, Dean of Enrollment Management, and Denise Edwards, College Bursar.

Colleagues,

Officials from the Cook County Department of Public Health have announced that beginning Monday, Nov. 16, at 6 a.m., a 30-day stay at home advisory will go into effect for South Suburban Cook County residents. This measure has been taken to help slow down the spread of COVID-19 and prevent having to implement more restrictive measures. The full press release is attached. Included are the details of the advisory order.

Employees who can work from home should do so until further notice. If you need something from the college, we ask that you retrieve those items on Monday, Nov. 16, by 4:30 p.m. As a reminder for those who will need to work on campus, masks are required while inside the building. Individuals who are sick should stay home and contact their health care provider to determine if testing is needed. Anyone who develops severe symptoms should seek medical care immediately. In-person labs will resume as scheduled, following the guidelines set forth by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Building Access Guidelines.

With the surge of cases, we are faced with a potential mandated shelter in place order in the coming weeks. A task force is in place at the college to oversee COVID-19 related concerns—more about that below. Our primary focus is keeping everyone safe and supporting our students through this last stretch of the fall semester.

Let’s continue to work together and do our part to keep this virus from spreading while at the same time, tending to our awesome responsibility and privilege.

COVID-19 Task Force:
Following the creation of PSC's Building Access Guidelines this summer, we created a Building Access Implementation Team to oversee the details of the guidelines and field questions related to our COVID preparations. That team has since transformed into our COVID-19 Task Force. Information about the Task Force charge, membership, and contact information will be posted on the PSC COVID-19 website early next week.

Veterans Day Celebration:
On Wednesday, Nov. 11, the College hosted a Veterans Day event streamed live on Facebook. Special thanks to Georges Sanon for hosting this event and inviting members of the Bloom High School NJROTC and guest speaker Navy Lt. Stacy Henderson-Shaw to campus to help us celebrate. Here is the Facebook Live Video in case you missed it. Thank you to those PSC employees and everyone who have served to protect this country.

Communications and Marketing:
The Communications and Marketing Advisory Committee discussed ways the college can participate in social media activities at PSC. One suggestion was to create an online form for employees and students to submit ideas and request posts for the college’s main social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn. Whether you have an upcoming event, want to promote a program, or have something you think would be good to post, you can share it through the Social Media Request Form. If you have any questions, please contact Crystal Alston-Nobles at calston@prairiestate.edu.

Weekly Updates Available Online:
President’s Updates from April 2020 until now have been published to the website. This gives the PSC community access to weekly communication and updates from the President’s Office. Thanks to the web content specialist for organizing the updates by month so people can locate the information quickly.

Published Google Numbers:
Approximately 128 employees have been assigned Google numbers at the college. Since we are working remotely, the administration has approved the recommendation to publish Google numbers to the website directory. The web content specialist will be replacing office numbers with Google Numbers early next week. As a reminder, you have options to turn your device on Do Not Disturb after working hours. Here are the instructions.

Office of Institutional Advancement and Foundation Update
The Foundation Scholarship Application for spring opens next week. Communication was sent to students letting them know. A flyer is attached. Please share with students who may need assistance covering college tuition and books. Applications are reviewed in the order in which they are received. Learn more at prairiestate.edu/foundation.

As a reminder, please select the Prairie State College Foundation as your “Amazon Smile” organization as you shop Amazon this holiday season. Your purchases will make a difference in support of PSC Foundation scholarships.

Colleagues,

We were excited to learn that PSC was featured on the front page of the Chicago Tribune as an early voting location. Thanks to all who assisted in bringing this resource to PSC. As you all know, the Presidential election votes are still being counted, and I am sure we are all anticipating the results. Whatever the outcome, let us remain unified as a college and as a community.

During various president's meetings, I have been informed to expect an 8% cut in state appropriation, and our state-funded capital projects will be likely put on hold. Capital projects funded by our local bond funds can continue. I'm hoping to share our financial challenges with a presentation at the December board meeting or possibly in a board workshop.

Veterans Day Celebration:

Veterans Day is next week (Nov. 11), and even though the campus is closed to the public, we will be streaming the following program on Facebook Live.

10:45 a.m. The program opens with the Pledge of Allegiance, followed by the National Anthem.

10:50 a.m. The Honors Ceremony

10:55 a.m. Lt. Stacy Henderson shares remarks about Veterans Day

11:10 a.m. Georges Sanon will share a closing statement to end the program


Virtual Rapid Registration Begins Nov. 9:
As a reminder, Virtual Rapid Registration begins next week. It will run from Nov. 9 to Dec. 11 and again from Jan. 4 to Jan. 29. The team will utilize all online tools including, Student Planning, QLess, Google Voice, Google Meet, Instant Messaging, etc. to seamlessly serve students during this time. Please encourage students to visit prairiestate.edu/start to book an appointment if they want to meet with an advisor or speak with someone in enrollment services, financial aid, or the business office.

Assigned Academic Advising:
Students will now be assigned a designated academic advisor. This will benefit students by having a first-year advisor help connect them to campus resources, navigate the new student experience, and become acclimated to the College. Students will then transition to a program of study advisor in their second year at PSC, who will ensure that they continue to use resources, develop an academic plan, and work toward their specific goals.

Solar Project Update:
After some minor delays, all racking, solar panels, and wiring have been loaded onto the Adult Training and Outreach Center (ATOC). There will still be more work to do on the building, but for now, the focus of the solar installation crew will shift to the Tech Wing, where they have begun loading materials for that roof's array. The Library and Main Building roofs will soon follow. Many thanks to all who are helping this project move forward, including Facilities, the Police Department, and the folks working in affected areas who have been very flexible and accommodating to the construction activities. Please don't hesitate to reach out to Joel (jnightingale@prairiestate.edu) if you have any questions or concerns.

A huge thanks, also, to Kim Pederson and the Marketing team for working to capture this installation process. Check out this Timelapse Video of the ATOC panels being installed.

Demand Response Dispatch Performance Summary:
The College has participated in a demand response program for many years. This demand response program limits electric use when the region's electric grid operator determines that it needs more supply to meet demand. This process only occurs when the electricity demand threatens to outstrip supply, creating a reliability issue in the community. A demand response activation has not happened in the last five years.
Last month we took our annual test to confirm that we could reduce our contractual load. Once again, we were able to meet our load reduction, which will result in the College receiving just over $31,000 this upcoming year. This revenue helps to offset our utility budget.

Communications and Marketing:
The first virtual Communications and Marketing Advisory Committee meeting was held on Friday, Oct. 30. Many topics were covered, including the marketing plan for 2021 (attached). The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 26, 2021, via Google Meet.

Congratulations to Alisha Clark:
Alisha Clark, Manager of Business and Industry Partnerships, earned her Certified Business Engagement Professional (CBEP) certification and designation. Alisha joins an elite group of educators dedicated to excellence in continuing education and training. The CBEP designation demonstrates the individual has the necessary knowledge and skills to engage business and industry successfully as a partner in sector strategies, career pathways, work-based learning, and as a customer with government-funded services.

Drive-Thru Food Pantry Collection for Respond Now:
Stop by St. Agnes Parish located at 1501 Chicago Rd. in Chicago Heights on Saturday, Nov. 14, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m. to donate food. Volunteers will come to your car to collect your donation. See attached for more details.

October 2020


Colleagues,

As many of you know, The Board of Trustees voted against the recommendation to reduce support staff and manager/professional positions as part of a comprehensive strategy in response to declining enrollments, property tax revenue, and state support; much of which has been brought on by the coronavirus pandemic.

The recommendation was made in the best interest of our core mission, and with hopes to reduce further harm to the College operations in the coming months and years. We value our employees -- make no mistake about that, and at the same time we are facing unprecedented financial constraints that we have a duty to mitigate. As personnel salaries and benefits make up approximately 75 percent of the operational budget for fiscal year 2021, personnel costs have to be a part of any strategy we use to make up for lost revenue. We are not alone in this. Colleges across the country are also confronted with these challenges, and we are doing the best we can to stabilize the College’s financial standing.

Since the onset of the pandemic and our shift to a virtual campus, cost saving and recovery steps by the College include the elimination of a Vice President position, a hiring freeze, administrators carrying duties of two administrative positions, the elimination of non-essential travel, discretionary spending, and professional development expenses. The College continues to seek state and federal grant funding as it is made available to offset COVID-19 related expenses.

At every step, our highest priority is to maintain the quality of instruction for our students and provide the necessary technology and other support they need to be successful in this challenging environment. Given the vote at the Board of Trustees meeting regarding the reduction in force, the administration will continue to explore strategies to close the budget gaps facing the College. The Board of Trustees did vote to approve an early retirement incentive program, and communication has been sent from Human Resources to those who qualify.

If you have any questions, concerns, or suggestions, please email pscpresident@prairiestate.edu.

College is Closed on Election Day:

Election Day is officially a state holiday in Illinois, which means PSC will be closed on Tuesday, November 3.


Virtual Rapid Registration Begins Nov. 9:
As a reminder, Virtual Rapid Registration begins next week. It will run from Nov. 9 to Dec. 11 and again from Jan. 4 to Jan. 29. The team will utilize all online tools including, Student Planning, QLess, Google Voice, Google Meet, Instant Messaging, etc. to seamlessly serve students during this time. Please encourage students to visit prairiestate.edu/start to book an appointment if they want to meet with an advisor or speak with someone in enrollment services, financial aid, or the business office.

Local Halloween Events:
For safety reasons, the College will not host its annual Halloween Fun Fest, but local events are happening in Chicago Heights and surrounding areas.

Early Voting:
Thank you to the PSC staff, election workers, and voters for their unwavering support to conduct Early Voting at PSC. Special thanks to Julie DeLong and Esther Pacheco for their pride in the PSC community and civic responsibility to make Early Voting go as smoothly as possible in the Conference Center. To date, the election judges have reported 6,443 voters. For more information on Early Voting at PSC, visit prairiestate.edu/events/earlyvoting.

Communications and Marketing:
The spring 2020 Enrollment Guide will be mailed to every household in the district.

Food Pantry Volunteers Needed:
PSC is partnering with Bloom Township to offer volunteer opportunities to help with their local food pantry. Volunteers are needed on Mondays and Wednesdays. If you are interested in volunteering, call Suzanne at (708)543-2562. You can also donate non-perishable items. If you know of someone in need of food, please direct them to 524 South Halsted Street in Chicago Heights.

Recognition from Gelita USA, Manufacturing Month:
In recognition of October being Manufacturing Month, management from local employer, Gelita USA, expressed the following "We are glad that we took the big step forward to establish a joint maintenance program with Prairie State College. We hope to continue this program and long-term partnership to meet the on-going needs for skilled maintenance employees." -Kevin Bachar, Environmental, Health, Safety, Quality and Administration Manager. Gelita USA partners with PSC to offer the Industrial Maintenance Mechanic Registered Apprenticeship program for their skilled workforce. For more information on how PSC supports apprenticeship, visit prairiestate.edu/apprenticeships.

Office of Institutional Advancement and Foundation Update:
The Foundation recently participated in a three day CASE Community College Advancement Seminar Series, focusing on enhancing advancement efforts during a pandemic. Topics included transformational gifts, website redesign, board engagement, donor diversification, mission-critical projects, philanthropy culture, and crisis management. Even though attended virtually, the Foundation had some amazing takeaways that we look forward to putting into practice.

Please select the Prairie State College Foundation as your "Amazon Smile" organization as you shop Amazon this holiday season. Your purchases will make a difference in support of PSC Foundation scholarships.

Save the date for the Foundation's Virtual Reach for the Stars Gala on February 27, 2021.

Free COVID-19 Testing:
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will be hosting free drive-through and walk-up COVID-19 testing on Saturday, October 31, and Sunday, November 1. The testing hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Blue Island. Testing is free and open to anyone, including children with a parent or guardian. Those who want to be tested do not need to present identification or residency information.

If individuals arrive by 5 p.m. in Blue Island, they will be tested. Please see the information below for the details:

Location: 13636 S. Western Avenue, Blue Island, Illinois (in the parking lot of the former Libby Canning). Masks are required. If you do not have a mask, one will be provided free of charge.

Colleagues,

In the spirit of transparency, I would like to briefly address two upcoming recommendations that will be made at the Board of Trustees regular meeting next week. The first is a reduction in workforce at the College, and the second, an early retirement initiative. As you all know, the pandemic has had a significant impact on the College’s financial standing due to revenue losses and low enrollment.

Along with the Controller and Director of Business Services, Cabinet members have met and worked tirelessly over the past several weeks to develop a plan to help balance the College budget. After much calculation and consideration, we were forced to make some tough decisions, including personnel cuts. This is one of the most challenging and painful decisions I have had to confront in my time at the College, and if something else could be done, we would do it. Unfortunately, we have exhausted all other options.

In addition to workforce reductions, the Cabinet recommends an early retirement incentive program for support staff and managers/professionals at this time. This will aid in our efforts to minimize the number of layoffs and allow for those nearing retirement the chance to depart willingly.

These recommendations alone will not fully resolve our budget concerns. Still, it is a start to bring our budget in line with the reduced revenue and losses at the College. We will continue to assess the budget and make adjustments when necessary. Both recommendations are pending board approval.

Virtual Rapid Registration:

Cabinet has approved Virtual Rapid Registration for the spring 2021 semester. Per the executive summary, the service offices will transition off-campus and serve students through our many online tools. Staff will come into the offices as needed to conduct college business, but as of next week, students will receive services exclusively online.

The team will continue to provide the personal touch which was present during the fall initiative. Virtual Rapid Registration will run from Nov. 9 to Dec. 11 and again from Jan. 4 to Jan. 29. We will utilize all online tools including, Student Planning, QLess, Google Voice, Google Meet, Instant Messaging, etc. to serve students during this time.

Free COVID-19 Testing:
The Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH) will be hosting free drive-through and walk-up COVID-19 testing on Saturday, Oct. 24, and Sunday, Oct. 25. The testing hours are from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in Blue Island. Testing is free and open to anyone, including children with a parent or guardian. Those who want to be tested do not need to present identification or residency information—flyers attached with more details in English and Spanish.

Communications and Marketing:
Our videographer set up a camera to capture a time-lapse of the solar installation roof panels. It will take 3-4 weeks before everything is installed. Stay tuned for the final installation video. Speaking of videos, the team has a new college brand video highlighting affordability and transferability. Take a look.

Communications and Marketing worked with Support Services to develop and print promotional materials for the Conference Center during early voting. Posters are displayed to promote Virtual Rapid Registration, spring registration, new programs, how to enroll, Qless, virtual art exhibits, cost savings, and Non-Credit programs. Over 1200 voters have come to campus in the last few days, and many more to come in the next week as we near Election Day. Viewbooks also have been placed on a rack near the entrance of the Conference Center. The inflatable “wavy man" used for Rapid Registration and Involvement Fest will be placed on Coolidge Street near the parking lot entrance so early voters know where to go. Also, 50 double-sided signs will be on display around campus to advertise PSC as an early polling location.

Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx Stopped by PSC:
Cook County State's Attorney Kim Foxx and husband, Kelley Foxx, stopped by the PSC Conference Center yesterday to cast their votes (photo attached). There are 11 days until the General Election. If you want to vote in-person or drop off your mail-in ballot, you can do so in the Conference Center through Nov. 3. More information here.

Colleagues,

Priority registration for the spring semester begins on Monday, Oct. 19, for currently enrolled students. A reminder email was sent to all fall students to let them know they will be able to choose their classes prior to open registration, which begins Oct. 26.

Prairie State College is subject to the economic downturn in several ways. The primary source of funding we can contribute to is our tuition funding by recruiting and retaining a larger student enrollment. We have developed a plan that will be presented at the October Board meeting to meet the challenge. This is truly a College-wide effort.

Truck Driving to restart spring semester:

We are hiring a faculty coordinator for this program that will run along with medicar and forklift training. The Workforce Equity Initiative program has a waiting list of minority students. Students may earn credit to build upon as well as earn a CDL license.

Early voting begins Oct. 19:
As a reminder, PSC is designated as an early voting location. Voting will be held in the Conference Center-Proven IT Room on the main campus. More information, including dates and times, is available at prairiestate.edu/events/earlyvoting.aspx.

Moving Forward Together: Promoting Diversity, Understanding, and Communication Between Law Enforcement and the Communities They Serve:
Law enforcement professionals are invited to be part of a webinar series to bridge gaps between law enforcement and communities of color. This three-part live webinar series will take place starting Oct. 27. For more information, visit prairiestate.edu/lawenforcement.

Student Highlight:
PSC student Donald Benkendorf completed his Virtual Experience in the NASA Community College Aerospace Scholars (NCAS) program recently, and his team Artemis Navy won 1st place in the mission challenge. Congratulations on this outstanding achievement and thanks to Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy Dr. Haiming Wang and other faculty members who extended support so he could focus on this incredible experience.

Student Halloween Costume Contest:
For safety reasons, the College will not be hosting its annual Halloween Fun Fest this year. However, we are pleased that the Student Government Association (SGA) is sponsoring a Halloween Costume Contest for our students. Three individuals will be selected and announced on social media. First place: $100 Visa gift card; Second place: $50 Visa gift card; and Third place: $25 Visa gift card.

Kids@College Offers Virtual Camps this Fall:
PSC is offering virtual tech camps powered by Black Rocket. With classes starting in November, students in Grades 3-8 can enroll in a full array of digital themed classes from creating their own video games, apps, or Minecraft creations. Students will leave with not only an applicable knowledge of the course but creative empowerment. For a list of course descriptions and to register, visit https://blackrocket.com/online/pra.

Fall Enrollment Numbers:
Attached is a snapshot for the fall 2020 active student enrollment as of 10/14/2020.

Colleagues,

I hope you all have taken the time to enjoy the beautiful weather we’re having. Hard to believe we’re halfway through the fall semester, and spring registration is around the corner. We are actively preparing for the start of another semester offered exclusively online. With new and continued initiatives, including Rapid Registration, expanded marketing efforts, increased recruitment, and enhanced technology, I am confident we will sustain and strengthen our presence in the community and see a considerable improvement in our enrollment.

We already see much enthusiasm in the community, and we are making substantial institutional progress in spite of obstacles. A major obstacle is the financial strain due to enrollment losses at the beginning of the pandemic. Enrollment improved subsequently, however, it did not recover for the losses. We will be making recommendations to the board in October to remediate these losses.

Volunteers Needed for Early Voting:

The Conference Center will serve as a polling place for early voting. Volunteers are needed to work at a welcome desk to coordinate the temperature check kiosk for voters between 4:30 - 7 p.m. Monday - Friday, October 19 - 23, October 26 - 30, and November 2. Please email conferencecenter@prairiestate.edu for more information and to sign up to volunteer.

PSC Response to Trump Executive Order:
Prairie State College remains steadfast in its commitment to creating a diverse and inclusive place to work and learn. Training on the tenets of equity and inclusion are not in opposition to the President's Executive Order. The College will continue to effectively balance federal mandates and the needs of the PSC community.

Solar Installation:
Installation of a 550-kilowatt rooftop solar array will begin on Monday (10/12) with substantial completion expected by mid-December. This installation will cover the roofs of the Main Building, Learning Resource Center, ATOC, and the Tech Wing with about 1,500 solar panels, and is expected to save the college about $25k per year on electricity. We anticipate that the impact on any campus activities during installation will be minimal. Further information will be provided as the project progresses so that any necessary coordination between the installation activities and campus programming can happen. Thank you in advance for your support in this effort to bring this renewable energy resource and commercial-scale teaching tool to our campus.

Office of Institutional Advancement and Foundation Update:
Guests enjoyed a picture-perfect day at the 27th Annual Scholarship Classic Golf Outing on Monday at Idlewild Country Club. We had a very exciting helicopter golf ball drop captured live on Facebook by Kim Pedersen, who took a ride and dropped the winning golf balls. Here's the video in case you missed it https://youtu.be/fvoK7xxshoU.

Thank you to the many college employees, trustees, and Foundation directors who participated in the event, either by golfing, purchasing chances for the ball drop raffle, or making donations to the Foundation. Congratulations to our ball drop winners! Kelly Lapetino won the first-place prize of $500, Susan Klein won the second place prize of an iPad and Magic Keyboard donated by CDW, and Craig Mulling won the third-place award of $250. Thank you also to the many generous sponsors of the event, including Briargate Insurance Services-HUB International, Del Galdo Law Group, Illiana Financial Credit Union, John Kasperek & Co., Kathryn Humecki & Associates, Nourish, Planera Architects, Proven IT, and the Village of Park Forest.

Amazon Prime Day is back starting Tuesday, October 13, and will run through Wednesday, October 14. This is an excellent opportunity to support Prairie State College Foundation scholarships during this epic two days of deals and promotions. Mark your calendar and shop at https://smile.amazon.com/ch/36-3437785 or with AmazonSmile ON in the Amazon Shopping app. AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases to the Prairie State College Foundation. Every purchase will make a difference in the life of a PSC student. Please be sure to please share with your friends and family!

Please save the date for the Foundation's virtual Reach for the Stars gala on February 27, 2021. More information will be provided in the coming months, but all will be able to purchase tickets and “attend” from anywhere they like.

Colleagues,

I want to echo the sentiments of the Board of Trustees Vice-Chair Dr. Ronnie White, who closed the September monthly board meeting with a reminder that, in all that is happening, we must take care of ourselves. Dr. White stated: "COVID-19 has caused a lot of stress...so we just ask that you take care of yourself, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. Take care of you and your families." Thanks, Dr. White for this advice.

As a reminder, PSC offers an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through the Human Resources Department. EAP offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees with personal and work-related issues. For more information, contact Susie Perez at sperez@prairiestate.edu.

College Budget:
Cabinet, along with the Director of Business Services and Controller, is finalizing a modification to our spending plan that attempts to align the uncertain revenues, including tuition, fees, property taxes, and state support, with expenses budgeted, including personnel. As we strive for enrollment, forces beyond our control require an aggressive approach to sustaining and improving Prairie State College. Within two weeks, we will finalize a recommendation that creates a more substantial fiscal base to grow and improve upon. I will share those plans soon.

Appointment of Coordinator of Dental Assisting:
The Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Ms. Dawn Piper as Assistant Professor Coordinator of Dental Assisting, effective Sept. 30, 2020. Ms. Piper earned her A.A.S. degree from Joliet Junior College, her Dental Hygiene Certificate from Prairie State College, and her B.S. degree in Business Administration from Lewis University. Ms. Piper comes to the College with over 17 years of experience as a dental hygienist. She has served as adjunct faculty in the dental hygiene program and is excited to continue to serve students as a professor and coordinator of the recently developed Dental Assisting program. There is no doubt she will grow and develop this program to its fullest potential.

CARES Act Application:
Emergency grants are now available to PSC students experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19. The funds will be disbursed on a first-come, first-served basis. To be eligible, students must meet the following qualifications:

  • Be enrolled at PSC for the fall 2020 semester
  • Have a 2020-21 FAFSA on file with PSC
  • Be eligible for federal financial aid
  • Have incurred an expense related to COVID-19
Here is a direct link to the application https://f8s.co/2428. If you know a student who needs financial assistance, please encourage them to apply. The deadline is Oct. 31, 2020.

Fire Engine Recap:
Thanks to Dr. Daniel Geiter and Professor Chad Vlietstra for giving the college trustee members and local officials the opportunity to view the new Fire Engine. The Workforce Equity Initiative grant funded this purchase. Here are photos from Tuesday's event.

Dylan Cunningham:
We are deeply saddened about the tragic loss of South Holland Firefighter and PSC Alumnus Dylan Cunningham. Dylan graduated from the Prairie State College Fire Academy in 2011 and has worked as a firefighter ever since. Our sincerest condolences go out to his family and friends. Read more here.

Office of Institutional Advancement and Foundation Update:
The Scholarship Classic Golf Outing is Monday at Idlewild Country Club, and students are counting on you to play golf! If you do not play golf, you can purchase a chance to win a prize in the helicopter ball drop. The ball drop will be shown on Facebook live at 12:15 p.m. on Monday at: https://www.facebook.com/prairiestatecollege/posts/10158360965755199.

Our very own Kim Pedersen, the College's videographer and photographer, will be riding in the helicopter to film the golf balls dropping onto the first hole from this exciting vantage point. The three balls that land closest to the pin will receive a prize. Prizes include an iPad, a $500 prize, and a $250 prize. Sign up today at https://give.classy.org/pscgolf20. You can also pay via payroll deduction, check, or credit card. Please email pscfoundation@prairiestate.edu for more information.

The Foundation's Fundraising Committee has met and agreed to hold a "virtual gala" on Feb. 27, 2021, in lieu of the traditional gala. More information will be provided in the coming months, but all will be able to purchase tickets and "attend" from anywhere they like. The Foundation will be looking for virtual table captains to "fill a table" for the event. The theme will once again be Reach for the Stars, and this year's honoree will be Dr. Marie Hansel. The Foundation looks forward to celebrating all of Dr. Hansel's work at PSC to inspire our students and help them reach for their stars.

September 2020


Colleagues,

The United States Presidential Election is on Nov. 3. Our team is sharing and participating in initiatives to encourage our students and community members to vote. We are providing them with important updates and resources about voter registration. Flyers are being created in Support Services, and information will be provided on the PSC website. The College is designated as an early voting location. Voting will be held in the Conference Center-Proven IT Room on the main campus. More information, including dates and times, is available here.

The unveiling of the new Fire Engine:
Join us for the unveiling of the new Fire Engine. This purchase was funded by the Workforce Equity Initiative grant. Professor Chad Vlietstra will be on hand and has supercharged this program. Professor Vlietstra and his team have increased enrollment by 200 percent in this program, with two-thirds of the students being African American. The unveiling will take place in parking lot A, near the main entrance, at 3:30 p.m., just before the scheduled Board of Trustees monthly meeting. If you plan to attend, please wear a mask and remember to practice social distancing. For questions, please contact Dr. Daniel Geiter at dgeiter@prairiestate.edu.

Communications and Marketing:
A credit enrollment guide and Rapid Registration postcard will be mailed to every household in the district and Lake County residents within 30 miles of the College to promote spring 2021 registration.

We are pleased to announce Dr. Melanie Eddins-Spenser has joined the Communications and Marketing Advisory Committee.

Web Server Outages:
Earlier in the week, the college web server experienced intermittent outages stemming from a cybersecurity attack called a denial of service attack. This attack intends not to steal data, but rather to cause disruption by bombarding our web server with a high volume of requests (more than the server can handle), rendering our server inoperable.

Our internal systems and our internet service providers have protections in place, making the interruptions brief, however still unacceptable. Fixing this critical technology link is the top priority. We may place the webserver and single-sign-on programs in the cloud however, server farms go down intermittently every now and then.

Cybersecurity activity is constant and happens more often than you may realize. Just last month, we blocked 21,769 web viruses, 570 web malware, and 26,750 emails identified as Spam. Quite honestly, this work never stops as conditions and tactics continuously change. We will keep you updated.

Strategic Plan Extended:
We have extended our current strategic plan an additional year, through 2023, making it a five-year plan. This will allow more time to achieve our goals while attending to the challenges associated with the pandemic. We will begin collecting data and reviewing key mission statements next academic year (fall 2021/spring 2022). Strategic planning workshops will be scheduled after submission of the Assurance Argument for reaccreditation in fall 2022. The updated strategic plan brochure is attached.

Private Illinois Colleges and Universities Transfer Fair:
Seventeen private Illinois universities will be available to speak with PSC students on Wednesday, Sept. 30, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The transfer fair webpage has the list of schools attending and meeting links. Please encourage students to attend. Contact Transfer Counselor Sarah Hein at shein@prairiestate.edu if you have any questions.

Office of Institutional Advancement and Foundation Update:
The Foundation held its Annual Meeting on Thursday evening and is grateful for the Board of Directors who participated. Much was accomplished, including the following:

Dr. Saban gave an update to the Board on the current state of the College, including the many activities that have taken place to recruit students and increase enrollment and the work the faculty and staff have put in to ensure students have an excellent experience with online learning.

The new Student Government Association (SGA) Vice President, Mr. Johan Boyo, attended his first meeting as the official SGA representative to the Foundation and discussed how the SGA is working to help students transition club activities to virtual events. The Foundation is looking forward to working with Johan and receiving his updates on the student experience and needs during this time.

A recommendation was approved to amend the Foundation bylaws to include four officers instead of three, including President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer. For the 2020-2021 year, the Foundation officers are as follows:

  • President - Kathryn Humecki, Kathryn Humecki & Associates, Ltd
  • Vice President - Andre Ashmore, Senior Labor Relations Officer, Cook County
  • Secretary - Rebecca Nagle, Assistant Vice President, Old Plank Trail Community Bank, Crete
  • Treasurer - Dr. Thomas Saban, Vice President of Finance and Administration

The Foundation welcomed four new members to the Board of Directors:

  • Dr. Michael Anthony, Vice President of Student Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness
  • Dr. Marie Hansel, Retired, Prairie State College
  • Mr. Kyle Kasperek, Manager, John Kasperek Co., Inc.
  • Dr. David Naze, Interim Dean of Arts & Sciences, Joliet Junior College

A scholarship budget of $146,014 was approved for the 2020-2021 academic year. The Foundation office will be in touch with college employees next week about whether or not there are more funds available for this semester based on what has already been awarded.

The Scholarship Classic Golf Outing is a week from Monday, and students are counting on you to play golf! If you do not play golf, you can purchase a chance to win a prize in the helicopter ball drop. The ball drop will be live Facebook, and the three balls that land closest to the pin will receive a prize. Prizes include an iPad, a $500 prize, and a $250 prize. For more information about the event, including sponsorship opportunities and tickets, visit give.classy.org/PSCgolf20.

Colleagues,

We are beginning to see an improvement in enrollment. Our Rapid Registration initiative was highly successful, and enrollment from Lake County, Indiana residents, and reverse transfer students have increased. We recently added over 40 sections of liberal arts, social science, math, and science classes to meet the demand. The personalized recruiting and retention practices have truly made a difference.

Creating an excellent experience for our students could not happen without the dedication and hard work of our staff, faculty, managers, and administrators. We are weathering these uncertain times and providing our students with the strong support they need to be successful this year. Thank you for all you do.

Mexican Independence Day:
Wednesday, Sept. 16, was Mexican Independence Day. This holiday celebrates Mexico’s declaration of independence from Spain in 1810. On behalf of PSC, I want to wish the people of Mexican heritage a Happy Independence Day.

Student Highlights:
PSC graduate Julia Porco shared some excellent news with us. She is one of 26 international students selected for an internship with Swimming World magazine. Julia transferred to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign this fall and is majoring in Journalism.

PSC released a feature on recent graduate Emanuel “Manny” Gomez, who spent his summer as a NASA intern. Read the full story.

Communications and Marketing:
Communications and Marketing are currently pushing second 8-week courses and developing campaigns for the spring 2021 semester. The team also is working on a virtual college tour to serve as a substitute until we can return to in-person campus visits.

Bus advertisements are still running, featuring recent graduate Destiny Cunningham. Our message, Spend Your First Year With Us, is used to target and encourage prospective students to Start Near, especially during these trying times.

Our television commercial aired on Comcast over 46,741 times. It will begin airing on Telemundo this week. Digital ads are running on the Metra website in Illinois and Lake County, Indiana, promoting the Lake County tuition discount.

Communications and Marketing Advisory Committee:
A Communications and Marketing Advisory (CMA) Committee has been established. The CMA advises the leadership of the Communications, Marketing, and Institutional Support Services offices. The committee will recommend strategies associated with college advertising and marketing projects and develop innovative thoughts and solutions to help create a unified brand to maximize our external visibility, enhance our reputation, and achieve our strategic goals.

The committee will meet once a semester to discuss ways to improve student communications, assist with marketing projects, brainstorm new marketing strategies, and offer suggestions, feedback, and ideas.

Members include:
Brianna Abate, Assistant Professor, Communication
Crystal Alston-Nobles, Manager, Communications and Digital Media
Jay Barriga, Manager, ITR Operations and Client Services
Kristin Carrera, Manager, Marketing
Lucia Garcia Gallegos, Student Government Association President
Joshua Green, Associate Professor, Communication
Kelly Lapetino, Dean, Corporate and Continuing Education
Jaime Miller, Dean of Enrollment Management, Enrollment Services
Justin Pariseau, Associate Professor, History
Christian Ponce, Student Trustee
Oshunda Williams, Manager of Advising

Commencement Video
Here is a link to download the virtual 2020 commencement. This version includes the recognition of certificate graduates, with the honor recognition they have earned.

First Honey Harvest from the PSC Beehive:
This week, the Student Sustainability Club helped harvest the first batch of honey from PSC’s beehive. This involved collecting four honeycomb frames from the hive in the Nature Preserve and using an extractor to spin the honey out of the frames. While we’re excited about this first flow of honey from the hive, the priority is on keeping the bees healthy, so they can continue pollinating. For that reason, our resident beekeeper, Michael Massengill, keeps a close eye on the hive to ensure we leave enough honey for the bees to make it through the winter.

Fall Enrollment Numbers:
Attached is a snapshot for the fall 2020 active student enrollment as of 09/17/2020. Eight-Week Classes begin Oct. 12, so there is still time for prospective students to register this fall.

As you all know, the spring 2021 semester will be offered virtually, with most classes held online. We all share in the responsibility to be actively involved in the continuous improvement of our virtual operation. A particular area of focus is on our efforts to communicate with the students and each other. Connecting in a virtual space is still new to many of us, but we must retain a unified approach to sustain healthy growth within our community at PSC. Let’s continue to provide each other with support in all aspects of our work at the College.

I want to recognize the staff working staggered schedules and keeping our infrastructure safe and maintained—campus Police, Facilities and Operations, ITR, and especially the registration staff in the Atrium each day.

Network Outage:
Last week we experienced a network outage. When a technology outage develops, we engage the top people in the industry and have maintenance agreements for our equipment. Last week’s outage was the result of a break in communication with our storage area network. Our virtual servers access this storage, where most data resides. This data storage was not accessible for a period. We are considering relocating some of this storage to the cloud.

Dental Hygiene Project:
An important project is the dental hygiene lab renovation, which is up for board approval this month. This is an essential service for our community. The Prairie State College Dental Clinic provides certain free dental services to children and community members; there is also a reduced cost for employees. Students working to earn their Associate in Applied Science use this clinic for instruction and on-site training.

Vacation/Sick Leave Forms:
When the College transitioned to a virtual campus in the spring, Human Resources created an online leave form for employees to complete when requesting days off. As a reminder, any leave requests should be completed online for tracking purposes and timely data entry.

COVID -19 Testing Recap:
Aunt Martha’s administered free COVID-19 tests to Illinois residents yesterday. I applaud the proactive efforts of Dr. Michael Anthony, who was instrumental in bringing this service to our campus. More testing dates are forthcoming.

Mental Health Conference:
The seventh annual Mental Health Conference will be held virtually on Thursday, September 24, and Friday, September 25, from 8 to 11 a.m. The Mental Health Conference increases awareness of the complexities of mental illness and provides ways to reduce associated stigmas. This thought-provoking event includes a keynote speaker and five breakout sessions. A reduced ticket price is available for PSC faculty and staff. For more information or to register, please visit https://prairiestate.edu/mhc.

PSC Alert:
We may be working in a virtual environment, but we still experience emergencies that directly impact our students and staff. Please sign up for or renew your account for PSC Alert to ensure you receive the most up-to-date information about campus emergencies and network outages. https://prairiestate.edu/general-information/sign-up-for-pscalert-today/index.aspx.

The last six weeks were highly productive relative to enrollment and student engagement. Take a look at the substantial gains we experienced with the initiative from the Student Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness team, under the leadership of Dr. Michael Anthony.

Rapid Registration:
From July 27 to Sept. 3., the College hosted Rapid Registration, a walk-in and drive-up option for students to register for fall classes. The initiative, coupled with our virtual offerings, has had a significant impact on our enrollment, and I am pleased with the results.

Here are the numbers for credit and remedial courses only.

Before Rapid Registration:
Head Count -42.8% and Credit Hour -44.39%

Numbers as of Tuesday, September 1:
Head Count -22.15% and Credit Hour -21.54%

Credit hour enrollment for fall increased by 52 percent. Headcount enrollment increased by 48 percent. This still leaves us behind, however much closer. We’ll use our new student engagement software to keep close contact with students and prospective students.

We have excellent professionals in counseling and advising that pique the student’s interest during registration. This is proven as many professors reported students are more engaged upon the start of classes. I want to thank Jaime Miller, dean of enrollment management, for her vision and leadership on this initiative. Thank you to everyone involved for their exceptional teamwork, communication, and coordination -- including Academic Affairs for being incredibly supportive by opening additional sections to accommodate students.

Thanks to the Staff Union for their support in developing an MOU to allow employees to work outside of their job description to support the College with temperature checks and other safety protocol aspects as people came to campus.

We would not be able to enroll students without the connectivity and support of ITR. I want to thank them for truly being the backbone of this initiative. And facilities, thank you all for setting up and breaking down in both locations. This was indeed a team effort, and I appreciate everyone's role in making this a success.

Even though this was the last week of Rapid Registration, we will keep moving forward with our effort to drive enrollment. Students can still register online with our virtual options, including WebAdvisor, email, or by requesting a call or Google Hangout.

Involvement Fest:
It was perfect weather to host the 2020 Student Involvement Fest, an annual engaging experience to introduce students to a broad range of clubs and associations to prepare a person for a rapidly changing world. Because the College could not host the event on campus this year, Student Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness hosted a two-day, drive-up event.

Alongside an enthusiastic group of colleagues and student leaders, I had the pleasure of handing out backpacks and engaging with our fall students. I wish to congratulate our staff for taking a more independent and engaging approach on this initiative. Over 400 bags were given out, and the students were excited to receive them. Thank you to everyone who planned, prepared, and participated in this very special event. Here are a few photos https://photos.app.goo.gl/J94Ce9wNomnhyZ3F9.

Revolving Sustainability Fund Fall Application Deadline:
Especially at a time when we are all feeling stretched, it is important to look for ways our College can run more efficiently. That's the reason PSC created the Revolving Sustainability Fund (RSF). Inefficiencies you identify are opportunities for improvement that the RSF wants to help enable! The deadline for the current round of project applications is September 30. Learn more at the Revolving Sustainability Fund tab at the top of the Sustainability at PSC webpage. Get in touch with Joel Nightingale (jnightingale@prairiestate.edu) if you have any questions or project ideas.

Annual Golf Outing:
The PSC Foundation will host its 27th Annual Scholarship Classic Golf Outing on October 5. All proceeds from the event will benefit student scholarships at PSC.

Because of restrictions due to COVID-19, no dinner will be served. Instead, boxed lunches will be delivered to participants on the course. There also will be an outdoor cocktail reception after golf, weather permitting. For more information about the event or to register, email pscfoundation@prairiestate.edu.

COVID -19 Testing Reminder:
Aunt Martha’s will be administering free COVID-19 testing on the main PSC campus on Friday, September 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Links to the pre-registration forms are now available on the COVID-19 page. Please share with students and community members about the testing. More information.

Non-essential travel suspended:
Effective immediately, all non-essential travel is suspended until further notice. Travel that is deemed essential must be approved by the Cabinet. The travel restriction is a proactive measure to decrease expenses, as the College addresses the fiscal challenges brought on by the pandemic. More information to come on this matter. We will continue to keep you informed on updates concerning the budget.

Labor Day:
The College will be closed, Monday, September 7, in observance of Labor Day. Enjoy your three-day weekend.

August 2020


I am grateful to each of you for your contributions and exceptional dedication to our students. We have established a pathway or “supply chain” of services for our students, which is proving effective as we see our enrollment increase. From initial student contact to Rapid Registration to graduation, this chain of events is fulfilling and fruitful when unbroken. Early this week, I became aware of a broken link in the pathway: some students were unable to get their books for the first week of classes. This is partly due to the delay in the post office delivery of textbooks and materials to the Barnes & Noble bookstore.

We have seen the effects of a broken supply chain when related to our economy. A break in the support for teaching and student learning must be avoided. I will be diligent in making sure students have the materials needed in a timely manner. We are all in this together, and it is imperative that we continue to support one another and sustain our commitment to our students and the community we serve.

PSC Welcomes Two New Faculty Members:
On Tuesday, August 25, the Board of Trustees approved the appointment of two new faculty members, effective August 26, 2020.

Rhonda White joins us as the Assistant Professor/Clinical Coordinator, Physical Therapy Assistant. Ms. White earned her A.S. degree in Nursing from South Suburban College, her B.S. degree in Biology from Kentucky State University, and her M.S. degree in Physical Therapy from Indianapolis University. She comes to us with over 20 years’ experience as a physical therapist in various settings, including hospitals and school districts. Ms. White also has 15 years’ experience teaching as an adjunct professor at two-year and four-year institutions such as Morton Community College, Malcolm X College, Chicago State University, and Governors State University.

Jessica Hanson joins us as the Assistant Professor, Nursing. Ms. Hanson earned her A.S. degree in Nursing from South Suburban Community College, her B.S. degree in Nursing from Governors State University, and an M.S. degree in Nursing Education from Olivet Nazarene University. She has 20 years of nursing experience from the University of Chicago and Ingalls Hospital in the neonatal intensive care unit. In this role, Ms. Hanson acted as a “fierce advocate” for her patients and their families. She served as a nursing educator to help parents understand their child’s condition and taught them how to manage it. Ms. Hanson has also taught nursing at Rasmussen College, working with students at clinical sites/rehabilitation centers.

Nature Preserve Trail Project:
Also approved by the Board of Trustees, is the Nature Preserve Trail Project at an estimated cost of $205,080, including architectural/engineering services, construction costs and contingency with two-thirds of the fee paid by an IDNR grant. This project will create an ADA-compliant trail through the nature preserve, including rest areas, and an access bridge from the Southwest corner of parking lot A. This will be the culmination of a protracted process; however, we’ll now have another outstanding community resource.

Involvement Fest:
Each year, the college hosts an event for students to learn about all the clubs and resources available at PSC. Since we cannot host the event on campus this semester, Student Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness is planning a special event for the students.

On Sept. 3 and 4, we will host a drive up Involvement Fest, where students can come and pick up a FREE backpack full of PSC swag and a gift card. I am looking forward to seeing our students. Be on the lookout for an email with more information about this event.

The Office of Equity and Inclusion:
Congratulations to Georges Sanon, coordinator of the Veterans and Military Affairs Center, who was appointed The Veteran's of Foreign Wars,(VFW) Student Veterans Liaison for the Illinois State Department, for the 2020-2021 term.

Congratulations are also in order for Jameta Rogers, director of TRIO Student Support Services, who has been elected the President of Illinois TRIO for the 2020-2022 term.

TRIO Student Support Services submitted a successful proposal and was awarded $261,888 in funding annually for another five-year cycle. This successful submission was a product of interdepartmental collaboration between Equity & Inclusion, Institutional Research, Academic Advising, and Financial Aid.

Annual Golf Outing:
The PSC Foundation will host its 27th Annual Scholarship Classic Golf Outing on October 5. All proceeds from the event will benefit student scholarships at PSC.

There are two new opportunities for this year’s event.

  • For those who cannot join us on October 5, you can still purchase a ticket and use it to golf at Idlewild on a more convenient day. Certificates can be used Tuesday - Sunday through 2021; tee times must be scheduled in advance.
  • The event will feature a Helicopter Ball Drop at the beginning of the tournament broadcasted live on Facebook. A helicopter will drop 200 golf balls, and the three golf balls that land closest to the pin will receive prizes, including an iPad donated by CDW, a cash prize of $500 and a one for $250. Golf balls are $25 each, and participants will be emailed their golf ball number(s) before the event.

Because of restrictions due to COVID-19, no dinner will be served. Instead, boxed lunches will be delivered to participants on the course. There also will be an outdoor cocktail reception after golf, weather permitting. For more information about the event or to register, email pscfoundation@prairiestate.edu.

COVID -19 Testing Reminder:
Aunt Martha’s will be administering free COVID-19 testing on the main PSC campus on Friday, September 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Links to the pre-registration forms are now available on the COVID-19 page. Please help us get the word out about this opportunity. More information >> HERE.

Enrollment Numbers:
Attached a snapshot for fall 2020 active student enrollment as of 8/27/20. As a reminder, the last day of Rapid Registration is September 3. However, students can still register online with our virtual options, including WebAdvisor, email, or by requesting a call or Google Hangout.

Following months of rigorous planning and preparation, the fall 2020 semester has arrived. The success of this semester rests on the commitment of each and every one of us to do our part in providing each student with the care and support needed to navigate their academic journey this fall. While this year will be different in many ways, let us embody our values, including Learning, Excellence, Accessibility, Respect, and Integrity.

As our students tackle their first weeks of classes, and faculty and staff engage them, we must continue to assist our community in the transition to online learning. As I transit the atrium, I admire the dedication and care afforded to our students and prospective students during Rapid Registration, an initiative supported by COVID-19 cleaning protocols, including continual cleaning procedures and social distancing. Our advising team is highly knowledgeable and makes every effort to guide students to an understanding of clear pathways to academic and career success. Because of this, students are better able to make informed decisions and, ultimately, register for classes. I also would like to recognize the administrative assistants. These staff members are highly skilled and reliable individuals who exceed expectations -- including academic course scheduling coordination and operational support.

Our cabinet welcomed Dr. Charmaine Sevier, Executive Director of Human Resources, to campus yesterday. She is a delightful administrator and highly experienced in IL community college human resources administration and leadership. Dr. Sevier will serve on cabinet, and I’m very pleased to have her on-board.

Communications and Marketing:
New Commercial
You may have already seen the new PSC commercial on television. This was shot and produced by the Communications and Marketing Team. Excellent work on the creativity and visuals in this piece -- it does a great job of promoting the College and really captures how classes are taught this semester at PSC.

Here’s the link to the finished commercial: https://youtu.be/OHlxHP-SqWI

Navigating Prairie State College this Fall:
To help students navigate our virtual campus this fall, the team updated a page on the website so students can easily find helpful information and resources. This page will be updated throughout the semester. https://prairiestate.edu/student-services/navigatingvirtualcampus.aspx.

Commission on Dental Accreditation (CODA)
Great news! The CODA officially finalized the College’s 2019 Reaccreditation Review. Our program is fully accredited, with no further reports required for the normal accreditation process until 2027. The College will still be required to submit COVID-19 related reports, the same as every other Dental Hygiene Program.

New Grants Procedures Guide:
Daniel Geiter, Ed.D., manager of grant services, created a manual of protocol and procedures that will guide all future activities at every level of Prairie State College concerning grants. The manual was sent through PSC Announcements and is attached here for your reference.

The grant services team, under the leadership of Dr. Geiter, includes Carolyn Ostrowski, grant accountant; Tabitha Drake, grant accountant; and Elijah Ward, grant writer. Feel free to contact the team if you have questions about these procedures or need assistance with any aspect of the grant process.

COVID -19 Testing:
Aunt Martha’s will be administering free COVID-19 testing on the main PSC campus, beginning Friday, September 11, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The flyer is attached. More information, including instructions and links to pre-registration forms, will be available on the PSC website early next week.

Enrollment Numbers:
Attached is a snapshot for fall 2020 active student enrollment as of 08/20/2020. Please keep in mind that the College offers 14-12 and second eight-week courses.

Thank goodness, power has been restored in the main building, the campus is open, and all primary systems are up and running. Facilities, ITR, and Campus police were communicating throughout to ensure the safety and care of our assets. This was the longest outage I’ve experienced here at the College, and I feel for the folks in Harvey and Flossmoor and other places that still don’t have power. I want to recognize Student Affairs, including Enrollment Services, Financial Aid, and the Bursar. These folks, along with ITR and Facilities, are making Rapid Registration happen.

I am proud of our team for not allowing the storm to derail our efforts to provide students with in-person services. I advocate the “personal touch.” This expression does not seem achievable, considering the times in which we live. Enrollment Services, Faculty, and Deans are able to communicate through this pandemic to advise our students and provide that individual attention and care that is so important to our students and prospective students. Thanks to a group led by Jaime Miller, Dean of Enrollment Services, Rapid Registration was swiftly relocated to the Adult Training and Outreach Center (ATOC), where the staff is still prepared to continue enrolling students who want to register for fall classes.

Rapid Registration Update:
In 12 days of operation, the College has provided 861 walk-in services on the main campus and in the ATOC, and 266 provided at the TWL building.

Enrollment Numbers:
Attached is a snapshot for fall 2020 active student enrollment as of 08/13/2020. As we approach the first day of classes, on Monday, let's also keep in mind that the College offers 14-12 and eight-week courses, so let's continue our pursuit to drive up enrollment by pushing to fill those classes as well.

Faculty Prepare for Fall Semester:
On Tuesday, August 11, full-time faculty began a week of meetings and professional development to prepare for fall 2020. On Tuesday, August 11, faculty participated in Academic Affairs Convocation; On Wednesday, August 12, faculty engaged in various professional development workshops about strategies and best practices for online teaching. On Thursday, August 13, the day was devoted to committee and department meetings. Faculty have worked tirelessly mastering new technologies and adapting or creating new syllabi to maintain the College's reputation for excellence in education.

Barnes and Noble College Bookstore:
Due to the power outage, the Barnes and Noble Bookstore is backlogged on textbook orders for fall. Faculty, please be aware that some students may not have access to required textbooks and materials during the first week of classes. I know how important it is for students to have books at the beginning of class, and I will work next week to address this.

Nursing Ceremony Photos:
The Nursing Department hosted a Drive-up Pinning and Stole Celebration on Monday, August 10. Thanks to everyone involved, for making this a unique and memorable moment for our nursing graduates. Sharing the excellent photos captured by our photographer, Kim Pedersen.

Office of Institutional Advancement and the Foundation:
The Foundation is busy awarding scholarships to students for the fall semester. We had hoped to be sure that students would have books in hand from the BookSHARE program before the first day of classes, but there is a delay due to the power outage. The hope is to distribute textbooks at the beginning of next week.

The Foundation has received 100 applications for fall scholarships, and even though enrollment is down, this compares to 120 applications at this time last year. Thank you to all the volunteers who are taking the time to review applications.

Executive Director Deb Havighorst had the pleasure of addressing faculty during their virtual convocation on Tuesday. She followed up with a recommended announcement for faculty to include in syllabi to help address the students who try to get through the semester without textbooks. This is worthwhile information for all employees to share with students:

"If you do not have the means to purchase the textbook(s) for this class, the Prairie State College Foundation encourages you to visit prairiestate.edu/foundation to learn if you qualify for scholarship assistance. Simply complete an online application, and you will be notified, either way if you can be awarded. Apply today as scholarship applications are reviewed in the order in which they are received. Scholarships are awarded until funds for the semester are exhausted. For questions, please contact pscfoundation@prairiestate.edu."

Once the Foundation has finished collecting the loaner laptops distributed to students for summer classes, the laptop distribution will move forward under the direction of the library. The office is grateful to all of the employees who helped make this happen the last two semesters and the Board of Trustees for supporting the initiative. Associate Professor of English, Dr. Justin Vidovic, shared the following anecdote:

"I'm sure you have been hearing this a lot, but last semester the Foundation's help made a big difference. One of my students seemed certain to fail my class, with almost incomprehensible essays and emails until I realized she was writing everything on her phone! She didn't have a computer. When she got one, I believe through the Foundation, within a couple of weeks, she raised her grade to an A!"

Enrollment Numbers:
Attached is a snapshot for fall 2020 active student enrollment as of 08/13/2020. As we approach the first day of classes, on Monday, let's also keep in mind that the College offers 14-12 and eight-week courses, so let's continue our pursuit to drive up enrollment by pushing to fill those classes as well.

Colleagues,

Quality access to digital resources directly impacts student success. Improving our technology and accessibility of online services is crucial. To meet this expectation, the Board of Trustees approved the recommendation for wireless network upgrades across the entire College. The upgrades will be funded through the CARES Act grant and IT Plan funding. The wireless network is the primary way students access online resources. The current system is near its expiration and is not meeting the students' needs. This plan will also extend our wireless network to the parking lot as a wifi hotspot so students can work from their vehicles if desired.

New Admissions Application:
PSC has rolled out a new admission application. Built on the TargetX platform, the application has enhanced user-friendly, mobile-friendly, and cloud-based features. Once an application is received, it triggers a communication campaign specific to the applicant that provides them additional instructions and next steps. In addition to improving automated communication with prospective students, the CRM allows us to centralize prospective student data from inquiry forms, event registrations, and admission applications for a 360-degree view of our prospects. Having this full centralized view will aid us in providing a positive prospective student experience. This new process is more measurable and manageable and is an added strategic approach for the College to address enrollment.

2020 Virtual Commencement:
Join us tomorrow, Saturday, August 1, 2020, at 2 p.m. (CST) for a very special virtual event, featuring traditional commencement speakers and two student speakers, 2019-2020 Student Trustee Thalía Valdivia, and 2020-2021 Student Trustee Christian Ponce.

You can view the Virtual Commencement at: https://youtu.be/4rLguljNppw. The link will go live at 2 p.m. (CST). Stay tuned after the names are called for a congratulatory message from PSC faculty. (The commencement program is attached.)

Also, to commemorate this day, the marketing team created slides for our graduates to download and share with friends and family.

Rapid Registration Update:
A strong first week for Rapid Registration was led by the Vice President of Student Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness, the Dean of Enrollment Management, including the Dean of Student Development and the Bursar. The College provided 76 drive-up services at the Transportation, Warehouse, and Logistics (TWL) building, and 167 walk-in services on campus. The set goal is to provide 346 services in the TWL, and 461 services in the Atrium. We are well on our way to exceeding our expectations. Thanks to the many staff members that make this opportunity workable.

ICCB Expansion Grant:
PSC is the recipient of the ICCB expansion grant for $100,000 thanks to Dr. Hansel and Dr. Prendergast. The grant is a career pathway for dental hygiene. The students start as high school juniors, and through an early college model, they will have completed their dental assisting certification (41 credit hours) by the time they graduate high school. If the student passes the national certification test and has a cumulative GPA of 3.0, they will automatically be accepted into the select admission dental hygiene program. The pathway will create a sustainable pipeline for district students into the dental hygiene program. The other goal of the grant is to diversify the dental hygiene program. Rich 227 has already agreed to pilot the program, with 16 students for fall. The grant period begins August 01, 2020, and ends on December 31, 2021.

Newly Appointed Controller and Director of Business Services:
Congratulations to Cheri Taylor-Lawton, who was appointed to the Controller and Director of Business Services position, effective August 1, 2020. Cheri earned her MBA from St. Xavier's Graham School of Management and a B.S. in Finance from Illinois State University. She has been with the College for over nine years as a Manager and Budget Analyst. As you must certainly know, Cheri is an outstanding professional, dedicated to student, faculty and staff service and an astute financial analyst. Having worked with her over the years, I am confident that she will continue to do excellent work for the College.

Newly Appointed Human Resources Director:
I am pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Dr. Charmaine Sevier as Executive Director of Human Resources, effective August 24, 2020. Dr. Sevier comes to PSC from Moraine Valley Community College, where she was the Manager of Diversity and Employment, reporting to the Chief Human Resources Officer and the College President. Dr. Sevier earned a B.A. in Psychology from Saint Xavier University, an M.S. from Roosevelt University, and her Doctorate of Education in Stewardship, Leadership & Learning from the University of St. Francis.

Office of Institutional Advancement and the Foundation:
The Foundation received $19,258.65 in funding from the Emergency Grant Funding Program organized by ICCB, IBHE, ISAC, and the Southern Illinois University Foundation. Illinois state public colleges and universities were all beneficiaries of this funding. To date, the Foundation has distributed $14,100 to students from this fund and approximately $3,500 from its COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund. The office submitted data to the IBHE and ICCB last week as they utilize their respective components of the Illinois Longitudinal Data System to provide the demographics and short- and long-term outcomes and minimize the reporting burden on the colleges. Student names and other personal identifiers are not shared.

As you know, the PSC Foundation can assist students with tuition and textbooks but has very little funding to help students with living expenses. Numerous students applied for CARES funding but did not qualify because they are undocumented students, international students or were not eligible for Pell. The Emergency Grant Funding has enabled students to stay in school and provided them with a strong feeling of community and hope.

Recipients included students who are helping their parents pay for groceries, rent/mortgages, or utility bills. Some are homeless and in need of shelter and fundamental necessities. There are also students trying to take care of their children or parents. Most of the applicants have expressed they are experiencing significant financial stress as a result of the pandemic.

As is the case at many community colleges, PSC is experiencing a pronounced decrease in enrollment. These funds helped us keep students enrolled during the spring and summer semesters, and we hope to find more opportunities to assist students this fall.

Office of Apprenticeship:
Prairie State College is a recipient of the Illinois Community College Board, Customized Apprenticeship Programming- Information Technology (ICCB CAPT-IT) grant. This is a four-year interdepartmental initiative focused on high-demand occupational pathways in the Information Technology Pathway Sector. CAP-IT provides an established framework that allows multiple on-ramps for pre-apprentices at various skill levels. For more information, please view the attached flyer and visit https://www.iccb.org/cap-it/.

July 2020


Colleagues,

Quality access to digital resources directly impacts student success. Improving our technology and accessibility of online services is crucial. To meet this expectation, the Board of Trustees approved the recommendation for wireless network upgrades across the entire College. The upgrades will be funded through the CARES Act grant and IT Plan funding. The wireless network is the primary way students access online resources. The current system is near its expiration and is not meeting the students' needs. This plan will also extend our wireless network to the parking lot as a wifi hotspot so students can work from their vehicles if desired.

New Admissions Application:
PSC has rolled out a new admission application. Built on the TargetX platform, the application has enhanced user-friendly, mobile-friendly, and cloud-based features. Once an application is received, it triggers a communication campaign specific to the applicant that provides them additional instructions and next steps. In addition to improving automated communication with prospective students, the CRM allows us to centralize prospective student data from inquiry forms, event registrations, and admission applications for a 360-degree view of our prospects. Having this full centralized view will aid us in providing a positive prospective student experience. This new process is more measurable and manageable and is an added strategic approach for the College to address enrollment.

2020 Virtual Commencement:
Join us tomorrow, Saturday, August 1, 2020, at 2 p.m. (CST) for a very special virtual event, featuring traditional commencement speakers and two student speakers, 2019-2020 Student Trustee Thalía Valdivia, and 2020-2021 Student Trustee Christian Ponce.

You can view the Virtual Commencement at: https://youtu.be/4rLguljNppw. The link will go live at 2 p.m. (CST). Stay tuned after the names are called for a congratulatory message from PSC faculty.

(The commencement program is attached.)

Also, to commemorate this day, the marketing team created slides for our graduates to download and share with friends and family.

Rapid Registration Update:
A strong first week for Rapid Registration was led by the Vice President of Student Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness, the Dean of Enrollment Management, including the Dean of Student Development and the Bursar. The College provided 76 drive-up services at the Transportation, Warehouse, and Logistics (TWL) building, and 167 walk-in services on campus. The set goal is to provide 346 services in the TWL, and 461 services in the Atrium. We are well on our way to exceeding our expectations. Thanks to the many staff members that make this opportunity workable.

ICCB Expansion Grant:
PSC is the recipient of the ICCB expansion grant for $100,000 thanks to Dr. Hansel and Dr. Prendergast. The grant is a career pathway for dental hygiene. The students start as high school juniors, and through an early college model, they will have completed their dental assisting certification (41 credit hours) by the time they graduate high school. If the student passes the national certification test and has a cumulative GPA of 3.0, they will automatically be accepted into the select admission dental hygiene program. The pathway will create a sustainable pipeline for district students into the dental hygiene program. The other goal of the grant is to diversify the dental hygiene program. Rich 227 has already agreed to pilot the program, with 16 students for fall. The grant period begins August 01, 2020, and ends on December 31, 2021.

Newly Appointed Controller and Director of Business Services:
Congratulations to Cheri Taylor-Lawton, who was appointed to the Controller and Director of Business Services position, effective August 1, 2020. Cheri earned her MBA from St. Xavier's Graham School of Management and a B.S. in Finance from Illinois State University. She has been with the College for over nine years as a Manager and Budget Analyst. As you must certainly know, Cheri is an outstanding professional, dedicated to student, faculty and staff service and an astute financial analyst. Having worked with her over the years, I am confident that she will continue to do excellent work for the College.

Newly Appointed Human Resources Director:
I am pleased to announce that the Board of Trustees approved the appointment of Dr. Charmaine Sevier as Executive Director of Human Resources, effective August 24, 2020. Dr. Sevier comes to PSC from Moraine Valley Community College, where she was the Manager of Diversity and Employment, reporting to the Chief Human Resources Officer and the College President. Dr. Sevier earned a B.A. in Psychology from Saint Xavier University, an M.S. from Roosevelt University, and her Doctorate of Education in Stewardship, Leadership &Learning from the University of St. Francis.

Office of Institutional Advancement and the Foundation:
The Foundation received $19,258.65 in funding from the Emergency Grant Funding Program organized by ICCB, IBHE, ISAC, and the Southern Illinois University Foundation. Illinois state public colleges and universities were all beneficiaries of this funding. To date, the Foundation has distributed $14,100 to students from this fund and approximately $3,500 from its COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund. The office submitted data to the IBHE and ICCB last week as they utilize their respective components of the Illinois Longitudinal Data System to provide the demographics and short- and long-term outcomes and minimize the reporting burden on the colleges. Student names and other personal identifiers are not shared.

As you know, the PSC Foundation can assist students with tuition and textbooks but has very little funding to help students with living expenses. Numerous students applied for CARES funding but did not qualify because they are undocumented students, international students or were not eligible for Pell. The Emergency Grant Funding has enabled students to stay in school and provided them with a strong feeling of community and hope.

Recipients included students who are helping their parents pay for groceries, rent/mortgages, or utility bills. Some are homeless and in need of shelter and fundamental necessities. There are also students trying to take care of their children or parents. Most of the applicants have expressed they are experiencing significant financial stress as a result of the pandemic.

As is the case at many community colleges, PSC is experiencing a pronounced decrease in enrollment. These funds helped us keep students enrolled during the spring and summer semesters, and we hope to find more opportunities to assist students this fall.

Office of Apprenticeship:
Prairie State College is a recipient of the Illinois Community College Board, Customized Apprenticeship Programming- Information Technology (ICCB CAPT-IT) grant. This is a four-year interdepartmental initiative focused on high-demand occupational pathways in the Information Technology Pathway Sector. CAP-IT provides an established framework that allows multiple on-ramps for pre-apprentices at various skill levels. For more information, please view the attached flyer and visit https://www.iccb.org/cap-it/.

Colleagues,

This time last year, our campus was full of students, faculty, staff, and community members. I truly miss those days. However, rather than be nostalgic, I am pleased to participate in the camaraderie among our PSC employees, even through virtual interactions. Let’s continue to work together to preserve a sense of community and show that we are still here to serve and provide excellence in higher education.

For fiscal year 2021, we must keep in mind the fiscal challenges, including enrollment unpredictability, and uncertainties associated with a global pandemic. The College is addressing those challenges and taking a more in-depth look into our financial planning to lay the groundwork for long-term growth and success.

Uncertainty about future revenue collections, including tuition and fees, require a reassessment of our balanced budget. Decisions about the budget will be guided first by our commitment to maintaining the affordable, accessible, and quality education students expect and deserve from PSC. It is my mission to approach our financial planning with deep compassion and understanding about how each decision may impact the College and employees.

Rapid Registration Begins Monday:
Rapid Registration will be held from July 27 through September 3. More information at prairiestate.edu/start. Thanks to the committee, facilities, and staff for their hard work in making this happen. We also appreciate the staff members who will be coming to campus to help our students get registered for the fall semester. #WeArePSC

2020 Virtual Commencement Update:
The 2020 PSC Virtual Commencement is on August 1 at 2 p.m. Our team has been working to prepare a momentous event for the Class of 2020, and we hope you will join us to celebrate their accomplishments. Thanks to everyone who played a part in bringing this together. A link will be shared early next week.

Virtual Speech Camp Update:
Communication Professors Joshua Green and Dana Trunnell, along with the Prairie State Speech Team, hosted their annual Summer Speech Camp from July 6-16, 2020, this time in the virtual environment. The challenges of meeting virtually did not stop 49 high school students, mostly from the South Suburban area, from preparing for the fall 2020 competition season. As one student participant commented, “I am so happy that you and your team decided to continue with camp even during these uncertain times. The beautiful gifts that speech provides is something that needs to be shared with the world no matter the circumstances.”

Under the guidance of Professors Green and Trunnell and their staff of 13 area high school coaches and PSC Speech Team members, the students prepared one competition-ready speaking event during their two weeks in the camp. Past camp director and retired PSC faculty Ed Schwarz attended the showcase on the last day of camp, observing, “I feared that there might be a reduction in the quality and enthusiasm of performances compared to previous years, but was quickly relieved and impressed to see the usual high quality of performance and content.”

Institutional Support Services Access:
While the College is operating virtually for the fall semester, and instruction will be delivered primarily online, Institutional Support Services (ISS) wants to ensure that PSC employees have access to its services to meet the needs of the College and the students we serve. Be on the lookout for a campus-wide email from ISS, outlining the hours and services available.

Student Satisfaction Survey:
As mentioned last week, the College conducted a student satisfaction survey during the spring semester. The survey asks students to assess both the importance and their level of satisfaction with 50 items. This information allows us to identify and celebrate our strengths. More importantly, the survey identifies challenges (areas of high importance and lower satisfaction) to undertake targeted improvements in these areas. When we compare our 2016 and 2020 results, we can be proud that we have increased overall student satisfaction. However, when we benchmark ourselves against the national comparison group, it is clear that we have work to do. A one-page snapshot of the results is attached. For additional information, or to schedule a Data Summit, contact the Director of Institutional Planning, Effectiveness and Accreditation, at jbonavia@prairiestate.edu.

Student Success:
Electrical engineering major Ricardo Martinez has been invited to visit a NASA facility this fall. He says he is excited to meet NASA engineers and scientists and be “blown away” by the experience. Ricardo will graduate from PSC in spring 2021.

Corporate and Continuing Education:
Corporate and Continuing Education is hosting Career In Less Than A Year virtual information sessions, introducing a wide range of non-credit vocational courses so individuals can learn the necessary skills to launch a career in less than a year. Staff will be available to answer questions, share funding options, and much more. There is no cost to attend, but registration is required. More information at prairiestate.edu/previewpsc.

Enrollment Update:
Attached is a snapshot for fall 2020 active student enrollments as of 7/22/20.

Colleagues,

Without question, our focus is to continue ensuring the health and safety of our community and to support the academic success of our students. In the coming weeks, the college will launch an initiative that will require some employees to return to campus. Please know that we are aware of the concern, and are doing all we can to ensure the building locations are safe for staff and students. The initiative, mentioned below, will help provide our students and community with additional options to assist in the registration process.

Rapid Registration:
Students will have three options to register for fall classes. Drive-up registration will be held at the Transportation, Warehouse, and Logistics (TWL) building across from the main campus. Walk-ins will be held in the Atrium by appointment only. Rapid Registration sessions will take place from July 27 through September 4. Students also have the option to register online. A committee, led by the Dean of Enrollment Management, is in place to execute this initiative. Please encourage the community to register for classes at PSC this fall. More information at prairiestate.edu/start. (Flyer attached.)

Enrollment Update:
Attached is a snapshot for FA20 active student enrollment as of 7/15/20. Recruitment and retention is truly a unified effort, and as a team, we need everyone on board to drive student enrollment.

Communications and Marketing:
Marketing is designing a postcard to be mailed to current “Active Residential” counts based on the district zip codes for 106,621 households. The postcard markets Rapid Registration, fall courses with flexible options, and the Virtual Open House on August 4. The billboards are in production and will be up soon. (See attached.)

Sustainability Update:
Success in Collaboration: Renewable Energy Courses/Certificates
A collaboration between the Sustainability Office and the Industrial Electrician Program has resulted in two new certificates being offered for the first time in fall 2020. Four new courses will give students the opportunity to pursue certificates in Wind or Solar power, and a career in the booming clean energy industry. Grant funds also enabled the purchase of state-of-the-art training equipment.

Sustainability isn’t just about solar; it can be injected into any course! If you want to collaborate to create new sustainability-focused courses, or integrate sustainability into existing courses, get in touch with Joel Nightingale at jnightingale@prairiestate.edu.

Data Summits (CLT):
A series of one-hour Data Summits began yesterday, hosted by the Director, Institutional Effectiveness, Planning, and Accreditation, and the Director, Institutional Research and Planning. The summits’ goal is to share findings from the Ruffalo Noel Levitz Student Satisfaction Inventory (SSI). Follow up meetings will be held to discuss strategies and ideas on creating change.

Human Resources Director:
Cabinet has wrapped up interviews this week for the Director of Human Resources position. All of the finalists were exceedingly qualified and would be an excellent fit for the job. A recommendation will be made to the Board of Trustees at the July 28 meeting.

State Mandated Holiday:
Election Day is now a state holiday in Illinois. Colleges, even those online, must close for business on November 3, 2020.

Student Success:
Recent PSC graduate Cassaries Johnson accepted the Dual Degree Promise full-tuition scholarship from Governors State University. Many thanks to Coordinator, Male Success Initiative (MSI), and Enrollment Advisor William Berkley for his constant support of Cassaries and guiding him to this opportunity. #WeArePSC

Office of Institutional Advancement and Foundation Update:
The summer 2020 scholarship application opened April 20 and closed June 5. A total of 122 applications were attempted, with 74 applications being successfully submitted and reviewed. Fifty-two applicants were offered awards, totaling $15,924.15 with an average award of $306.24 per student. Of the students who applied, 69 percent requested textbooks, and the Foundation loaned 32 books valued at $5,413.50 as part of the BookSHARE program.

The fall 2020 scholarship application opened to students on Monday, July 13, and 43 applications have been attempted with 16 applications successfully submitted. The application can be found at https://prairiestate.academicworks.com. When referring students to apply for a scholarship, please be sure they know that applications are reviewed and awarded in the order they are received, so it is in their best interest to apply sooner rather than later. As always, students and employees with questions can email the office at pscfoundation@prairiestate.edu.

The annual golf outing will be held on October 5. The Foundation must be able to depend on the generous donations of our alumni and friends, as well as earnings from its investments to meet student needs. We are grateful for the Foundation directors who regularly serve on the Investment & Finance Committee to ensure the portfolio meets performance benchmarks including: Tim Woloszyn, Committee Co-Chair, Fifth Third Bank; Patrick Ormsby, Committee Co-Chair; Brent Frank, Love Funding; Kathryn Humecki, Kathryn Humecki & Associates; and Rebecca Nagle, Old Plank Trail Community Bank. Dr. Saban also serves on this committee as the Foundation’s Treasurer.

Please note that students who still have need for the summer semester are asked to email pscfoundation@prairiestate.edu. Students who have an emergency need outside of tuition and books can complete the form at https://f8s.co/243h.

Colleagues,

The fall semester is upon us, and we are diligently working on enrolling students and providing them with the resources and virtual connectivity needed to be successful at Prairie State College. Let's continue to get the word out about our wonderful institution, and encourage our community to start or resume their academic journey at PSC this fall!

Rapid Registration:
Be on the lookout for Rapid Registration! This is a combined initiative created by the Office of Student Affairs and Institutional Effectiveness. Further information will follow.

Inclusion:
Inclusion can be enhanced in ways that seem insignificant at the time. Our Cabinet changed our meeting agenda format. The emphasis became on discussion and decision items rather than department/divisional reports. As a result, the agenda format helps us to focus on challenges using a more holistic, inclusionary approach.

Air Handling Units:
Our air handling upgrade, completed this summer, provides substantially improved airflow and exhaust. Improved filtration in each air handler captures smaller particles. Importantly, the new system draws in more outside fresh air (beyond code requirements), diluting and reducing inside air recirculation. Thanks, Facilities!

Table Talk Series:
The College will host a Table Talk Series featuring PSC faculty, administrators, and staff. These live online discussions are centered around pathways and support available at the College, and they are designed to help students learn about PSC's educational opportunities and services. Attached is a list of upcoming sessions.

Enrollment Update:
Attached is a snapshot of FA20 active student enrollment as of 7/08/20. We hope the initiatives that are already underway, and those that are forthcoming will help drive our enrollment for the fall semester.

CARES Act Report:
A CARES Act report is live on the PSC website. Go to https://prairiestate.edu/covid19.aspx, click CARES Act, and the drop-down has the CARES Act Report. The CARES Act has been integral in supporting our virtual transition.

New Student Orientation:
The First Year Online Orientation has been updated and is now available on our website. All students are welcome to complete the online orientation, but first-time college students under the age of 24 are required to do so, preferably before they register for classes.

https://www.softchalkcloud.com/lesson/serve/zZ5DnKpCgHMPaS/html.

Office of Institutional Advancement and Foundation Update:
The Foundation received a generous donation from an alumna this week with a heartwarming message:

Dear Foundation,

Please accept my enclosed donation. I graduated from PSC and have fond memories as a student there. Please put the donation where it is needed most.

Thank you, Janet

Janet's donation has been included in the COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund. Donations for the fund are still being accepted at give.classy.org/COVID19pscstudents.

The Foundation also received a grant from the Flossmoor Service League. The following is an excerpt from the letter that accompanied the donation:

We are pleased to share with you our grant for $2,000 to help fund scholarships for students in need. We value your efforts and wish your programs continued success. We hope that our support can enable you to continue your efforts in reaching out and making a difference in the lives of those in need in our communities.

The Fall 2020 scholarship application opens to registered students on Monday, July 13. The application can be found at https://prairiestate.academicworks.com/. When referring students to apply for a scholarship, please be sure they know that applications are reviewed and awarded in the order they are received, so it is in their best interest to apply sooner rather than later. As always, students or employees with questions can email the office at pscfoundation@prairiestate.edu.

Next week the Foundation will open the registration site for the 27th Annual Scholarship Classic Golf Outing on Monday, October 5, at Idlewild Country Club. We will have two new opportunities for this year's event!

If you cannot join us on the new date this year, you can still purchase a ticket but use it to golf at Idlewild on a day that is more convenient for you. Tee times must be scheduled in advance, and certificates can be used Tuesday - Sunday through 2021.

The outing will feature a helicopter golf ball drop on the day of the event. Whether you are golfing at the event or not, you can purchase a golf ball with the chance that it will land closest to the pin when dropped from a helicopter hovering above. If you haven't seen one in action before, here is an example: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VFDhaidH44U.

As stated previously, students who are still in need for the summer semester can email pscfoundation@prairiestate.edu. Students who have an emergency need outside of tuition and books can complete the form at https://f8s.co/243h.

Corporate and Continuing Education:
Opportunity Works: Sector-driven internships for young adults in suburban Cook County:
Opportunity Works is a grant-funded program that places young adults in subsidized internships. The objectives are to expose students to viable careers, expand their skill sets, and connect them to the training and resources they need to achieve long-term employment in growing industries. The program aims to serve young adults between the ages of 16-24 who are out of work and school and live in targeted south suburbs. Individuals can apply online at OppWorksApp, or for more information, contact oppworks@prairiestate.edu.

Candlelight Vigil:
A candlelight vigil will be held on July 17, from 7 to 8 p.m., at the amphitheatre on the main campus, in memory of all service members/veterans who have been victims of sexual assault, harassment, and injustice in the military. (See attached flyer for more information.)

Colleagues,

It has been another great week at PSC! Although the pandemic has transformed the way we operate, we will continue to provide our students with access, support, and pathways to academic excellence. Thank you for your patience and understanding as we work together to prepare for the fall semester.

Board of Trustees Approved Appointments:
The Prairie State College Board of Trustees approved the following appointments during the 824th regular meeting on June 30.

Dr. Kisha Wells
Interim Dean of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences, effective July 1, 2020.

Annette Dolph
Interim Dean of Mathematics, Natural Sciences, and Academic Standards, effective July 1, 2020.

Dr. Megan Hughes
Interim Dean of Allied Health and Emergency Services, effective July 1, 2020.

Desiree Schierholz
Assistant Professor of Dental Hygiene effective August 11, 2020.

Valerie Moore
Outreach and Engagement Librarian and Assistant Professor, effective August 2020.

Commencement Update:
Commencement boxes were filled and sealed this week, and we're excited to get them out to the Class of 2020! Thanks to our staff and faculty for getting this done safely and efficiently.

Virtual Commencement will be hosted on August 1, at 2 p.m. Members of the commencement committee have been working to prepare a very special virtual event for the Class of 2020. We hope you will join us on August 1 to celebrate their accomplishments. A link will be shared to the public closer to the event.

Communications and Marketing:
Communications and Marketing expanded advertising to Pandora and Telemundo television. Also, four new billboards have been placed in our district. The team also ordered college branded face masks that will be available soon (photo attached). This is a great way to represent PSC in the community. #pscstrong

Student Success:
Prairie State College student Ben Smith was officially admitted into the Mechanical Engineering program at the University of Southern California (USC) this week. USC is ranked 22nd in the national universities category by US News and World Report.

Office of Institutional Advancement and Foundation Update:
Since so many who read this update regularly donate to and support the Foundation, we wanted to share the following acknowledgment we received this week:

Thank you for your generous award. This scholarship will help me get closer to my goal of earning a Doctorate in Physical Therapy. Completing the summer chemistry class I am currently enrolled in will put me at over halfway through completing the necessary prerequisites for applying to doctoral programs next year. As I take foundational science courses, I am also working as a rehabilitation aide at a local outpatient physical therapy clinic. Awards like yours allow me to split my time between the clinic where I get real, hands-on experience, and the classroom where my foundation is being laid. I am grateful for your choice to be a donor for Prairie State College and will surely remember the help I received due to your generosity along my journey. Thank you!

Eniola
Future Doctor of Physical Therapy

This week, at Cabinet's request, the Foundation established the Marina Krtinic Memorial Scholarship Fund in memory of Marina Krtinic, who served as the Controller at Prairie State College since 2013. Marina passed away on April 21, 2020, after a long, hard battle with illness. She has left a lasting impact on the college, and her colleagues sincerely miss her kindness, hard work, and dedication to PSC.

Marina was a licensed CPA with an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management and MS/Economics from the Russian Academy of Finance & Economics. Cabinet has chosen to designate a scholarship in her name for international students with demonstrated financial need who are majoring in business or accounting. Donations to the fund may be made at https://give.classy.org/marinakrtinic.

At the faculty's request, a donation page was established to make donations to the GED Testing Fee Scholarship Fund in memory of Mr. Melvin Schott, father of Professor Andy Schott, who passed away last week. Donations can be made at https://give.classy.org/GED-Schott, and Professor Andy Schott will receive notification of those who have made donations in his father's memory. The amounts of individual donations are confidential and will not be shared. The GED Testing Fee Scholarship Fund assists students in need at PSC who have gone through the steps to prepare for the GED test but do not have the means to pay the testing fees. The Adult Education Department at PSC chooses the recipients of this award.

As stated previously, students enrolled in the summer semester, who still have a need, are asked to email pscfoundation@prairiestate.edu. Students who have emergency needs outside of tuition and books can complete the form at https://f8s.co/243h. Donations for the COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund are still being accepted at https://give.classy.org/COVID19pscstudents.

Please save the date for the 27th Annual Scholarship Classic Golf Outing, which will be held at Idlewild Country Club on Monday, October 5.

Corporate and Continuing Education
Occupational Safety and Health Virtual Conference
Prairie State College and the Chicago South Area Office of Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are hosting the second annual Occupational Safety and Health Conference. Participants will have access to all online breakout sessions on Wednesday, July 22, and Thursday, July 23, 2020. For more information or to register, visit prairiestate.edu/safety or https://sosh2020.eventbrite.co

Happy Independence Day, everyone! Have a safe and fun holiday weekend.

June 2020


June is Pride Month, and as we continue to celebrate inclusion and diversity at Prairie State College, I want to take this opportunity to recognize our LGBTQ+ students, staff, and faculty. This month was chosen to commemorate the riots held by members of the LGBT community against a police raid that took place at the Stonewall Inn in New York City on June 28, 1969. It is our privilege to serve a diverse group of students, and work alongside colleagues from a vast array of backgrounds. For Pride Month and every month, we celebrate you!

New Director of Nursing:
Congratulations to Professor Danielle Coleman, on her appointment as our new director of nursing!

Office of Institutional Advancement and Foundation Update:
Commencement boxes were filled and sealed this week, and we're excited to get them out to the Class of 2020! Thanks to our staff and faculty for getting this done safely and efficiently.

The summer scholarship application has closed, and the fall application will be open to registered students on Monday, July 13. Please remind students that applications are reviewed as they are received, so the sooner they apply, the better their chances of receiving awards before classes begin. Students who are still in need of assistance with school-related materials this summer are asked to email pscfoundation@prairiestate.edu. Students who have an emergency need outside of tuition, and books can complete the following form https://f8s.co/243h. Donations for the COVID-19 Student Emergency Fund are still being accepted at give.classy.org/COVID19pscstudents.

The Foundation's Full Board met this week and approved updated Investment and Spending Policies and discussed open positions for the 2020-2021 year, which will begin with the Annual Meeting in September and the official start of the fiscal year on October 1. The Fundraising Committee shared ideas on presenting the fall gala as a virtual event with ideas for holding Stand Up for Scholars online. The Foundation is also preparing for the 27th Annual Scholarship Classic Golf Outing, which will be held at Idlewild Country Club on Monday, October 5.

Corporate and Continuing Education:
Prairie State College is hosting a Illinois Workplace Transparency Act webinar on June 30. Presented in partnership with Favaro & Gorman, LTD., Attorneys at Law, this webinar will focus on employer obligations and employee rights under this new Act. For more information and to register, visit https://prairiestate.edu/corporate-continuing-education/continuing-professional-education/illinoisworkplacetransparencyact.aspx

As a reminder, Prairie State College employees are not required to purchase tickets or attend this webinar.

Operating Budget:
We completed a balanced operating budget for Fiscal Year 20-21. This budget was submitted for tentative approval at the June board meeting. This is the third year in a row we have operated without a tuition increase! Thank you, PSC community.

Happy Juneteenth, everyone! Today, we honor the emancipation of enslaved people in the United States. The Juneteenth Flag colors are red, white and blue -- a reminder that slaves and their descendants were and are Americans [image attached]. We encourage you to learn more about the history of Juneteenth at https://www.history.com/news/what-is-juneteenth.

Dreamers:
I am pleased to hear that The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that the current administration cannot carry out its plan to eliminate the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) Program. While there is still much work to do on immigration reform, this ruling was an important one. Our Dreamers matter, and we’re excited about this enormous win. #HomeisHere

Equality and Inclusion:
The Dean of Equity and Inclusion, and Director of Institutional Effectiveness, Planning, and Accreditation, are reviewing some climate surveys that will adequately assess the college campus, specifically the experience of students of color when utilizing campus services, from the classroom to financial aid to extracurricular activities. The team also identified some race and equity-specific training we would like to offer to the entire campus community. They were developed by CORA (Center for Organizational Responsibility & Advancement).

Sustainability:
PSC’s quarterly Sustainability Update newsletter will highlight the intersection between race and the three realms of sustainability: environment, society, and economy. The summer issue of the newsletter will provide an overview, while subsequent issues will take a deeper dive into each realm. Be on the lookout for the upcoming newsletter.

Virtual Speech Camp:
Prairie State College will host its Annual Summer Speech Camp, July 6 through July 16, 2020. The camp meets virtually from 1:15 to 5:15 p.m., Monday through Thursday. Our highly qualified faculty from the PSC Communication Department will help each student prepare and polish one competition-level piece during the two-week camp. Please share the attached flyer with the community—more information at prairiestate.edu/speechcamp.

Congratulations to Dr. Jessica Nastal:
Very exciting news about Dr. Jessica Nastal, associate professor of English, who has been selected to be on the National Equity and Access Grand Challenges Project. Congratulations, and thank you for representing Prairie State College!

Office of Institutional Advancement and Foundation Update:
The Foundation has awarded over $16,500 in books and tuition to 52 students with an average award of $320 per student. Additionally, the Foundation has loaned 32 books to 22 students through the BookSHARE program. The loaned books are valued at over $5,400. The fall application will be open to registered students on Monday, July 13.

The Foundation has disbursed nearly $12,000 to students from the PSC Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Fund, and still has approximately $8,000 in the emergency fund. Some of our students are truly struggling right now, as seen in this entry from the emergency fund application:

Since COVID-19 my family and I have been very negatively affected. Both of my parents have been laid off from their work. Therefore, my sister and I have decided to work at Amazon, 40-hours a week, to keep up with certain costs. These costs include car notes, mortgage of the house, our father’s and grandparents’ medical prescriptions, and home necessities. We have been so caught up with these costs that I have not had the chance to save up for school.

If you know a student who could use this assistance, please have them complete the form at https://f8s.co/243h. Donations for the emergency fund are still being accepted at https://give.classy.org/COVID19pscstudents.

Students continue to borrow laptop computers from the Foundation for summer classes. If you know a student looking to borrow a laptop or requesting any other assistance that the Foundation may be able to provide, please have the student email pscfoundation@prairiestate.edu

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The Foundation’s Executive Committee met this week in preparation for the Full Board meeting to be held on Tuesday, June 23. The Foundation is preparing for the 27th Annual Scholarship Classic Golf Outing, which will be held at Idlewild Country Club on Monday, October 5. Upon the recommendation of the Fundraising Committee, the Executive Committee will be proposing plans for a “virtual gala” to the Full Board next week, including details on who will be named as the second recipient of the “Reach for the Stars” Award. Stay tuned!

Corporate and Continuing Education:
Kids@College offers Young Rembrandts, On-Demand Art Classes (Ages 5-12)
Looking for fun art activities to help your kids get creative this summer? PSC and Young Rembrandts offer weekly hour-long lessons delivered from your computer. Students will be exposed to a wide variety of subject matter, artistic concepts, art history, and mastery of their materials. Plus, they will complete a different piece of artwork during each lesson. Registration includes six weeks of on-demand lessons for just $35! For more information, email psceducation@prairiestate.edu.

Advance Your Career Track: 12 Secrets to Success Webinar:
Prairie State College invites you to join us for this life and career pathway webinar to transition from where you are on your career path to where you would like to be. Thursday, June 25, 9-noon. For more information, visit prairiestate.edu/success or register at prairiestate-success.eventbrite.com

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PSC In the News:
Check out the article published in the Homewood-Flossmoor Chronicle this week about our Nursing Program. PSC helps nursing students prepare for the routine and the extraordinary.

As we face down a dual pandemic, the College will continue to promote and celebrate equity and inclusion in our community and work to keep our students and colleagues safe, while condemning any acts of racism at PSC. Administrators, faculty, adjunct faculty, managers, staff, and police, have a responsibility to uphold our values and continue our transition to online learning excellence and to push through for our students.

In just the last few days, I have received numerous emails about a few of our students and recent graduates. I have highlighted some of them as a reminder of the impact we have had and the significance behind our work at this great institution.

Student Success:
A story featuring two of our recent graduates was published to the website and featured on social media today. Liliveth Nwanguma was accepted into Johns Hopkins University, and Destiny Cunningham was accepted into Stanford University. Both will participate in a virtual workshop from 2 to 3:30 p.m. on June 24. This online event, titled "From PSC to Top Tier Universities on a Full-ride," will be moderated by Counselor/Transfer Coordinator Sarah Hein.

One of our CNA students, Toby Perez, was accepted into the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland. She was nominated by Congresswoman Robin Kelly.

Cody Arnold researched under Dr. Shaibat and presented at The Illinois Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (ILSAMP) Symposium, where he earned 2nd place in chemistry. He will be attending the University of Illinois at Chicago on a full scholarship.

Solomon Sodipe is a Computer Science major currently doing a Cybersecurity internship with Argonne National Laboratory.

Communications, Marketing, and Support Services:
The marketing team wrapped up the taping of the 2020 virtual commencement this week. A special thanks to Pat Trost, in the president’s office, for providing the script and coordinating the speakers. Kim Pedersen and Enrique Lopez will be editing the videos and creating highlight slides for the August 1 event. Graduation boxes will go out the first week of July to all graduates. Great job to members of the commencement committee on pulling this together.

Lake County marketing continues with adding geofencing (digital) ads to all Lake County high school students, and unemployed and underemployed residents. Billboards also are being placed near Lake County, Indiana. Radio ads (WGCI and B96) will include a blurb about the Lake County tuition discount as well as fall registration. The team also just renewed advertising with South Suburban News, running a 1/2 page each month.

Corporate and Continuing Education::
In the news! PSC was showcased in the Daily Southtown Column: Southland colleges offer courses for cannabis industry job seekers and aspiring entrepreneurs.

Responsible Vendor Compliance Training
PSC offers the state-required responsible vendor compliance training to ensure dispensaries in the south suburbs are meeting the workforce required regulations when selling and handling cannabis. We offer virtual training to the general community and can accommodate additional training requests for dispensaries. The next 4-hour virtual training will take place on July 13 from 4-8. For more information or to register, visit: Cannabis Regulation Training: Dispensary Agent Certification.

Office of Institutional Advancement and Foundation Update:
The Foundation has awarded nearly $15,000 in books and tuition to 47 students with an average award of $308 per student. Additionally, the Foundation has loaned 31 books to 21 students through the BookSHARE program. The loaned books are valued at over $5,300. The fall application will be open to registered students on Monday, July 13.

The Foundation has disbursed approximately $10,000 to students from the PSC Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Fund. If you know a student who could use this assistance, please have them complete the form at https://f8s.co/243h. Donations for the emergency fund are still being accepted at https://www.classy.org/campaign/covid-19-student-emergency-fund/c277848.

Students continue to borrow laptop computers from the Foundation for summer classes. If you know a student looking to borrow a laptop or requesting any other assistance that the Foundation may be able to provide, please have the student email pscfoundation@prairiestate.edu.

The Foundation's Investment & Finance Committee has met on several occasions since March to keep a careful watch on its investments during this uncertain time. The committee is working closely with the investment company to monitor the funds with hopes to recover any losses that have been sustained. The committee is also working closely with the president's office in revising the Foundation's Investment Policy and Spending Policy.

The Foundation's Fundraising Committee has also been meeting regularly to determine the best way to fundraise during the current climate. The 27th Annual Scholarship Classic Golf Outing was rescheduled to be held at Idlewild Country Club on Monday, October 5.

Retirement Announcement:
Dr. Marie Hansel, vice president of academic affairs and dean of faculty at Prairie State College, is not only a PSC graduate but after a nearly 25-year career in nursing, she returned to Prairie State College in 2005, and served as a tenured nursing faculty member for five years, Dean of Allied Health and Industrial Technology for three years, and as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty for seven years.

Congratulations, Dr. Hansel! May this next chapter of life bring you endless time to do more of what you enjoy! You will be missed.

Today, I want to emphasize our values, especially about embracing diversity. As mentioned in the message to the community on Monday, PSC is committed to creating a safe campus community that works to eliminate structural and institutional racism. We will continue to make changes, evaluate our practices, enhance the learning experience, and ensure that everyone is treated equitably. This is our promise. Silence does nothing to change the status quo. We will continue to speak against racism, injustice, and oppression. It has no place at Prairie State College, and it will not be tolerated.

Employee Assistance Program:
As we tread through these difficult times and cope with individual experiences, the pandemic, and trauma, I want to remind you of the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) offered through the Human Resources Department. EAP offers free and confidential assessments, short-term counseling, referrals, and follow-up services to employees who have personal and/or work-related issues. For more information, contact Susie Perez at sperez@prairiestate.edu.

Executive Director of Human Resources Position:
Based on the communication I have received, there is an urgent need to fill the Executive Director of Human Resources position. To that end, the job has been posted on the website at https://prairiestate.peopleadmin.com/postings/2469.

Governor Pritzker Issues Disaster Proclamation:
Governor JB Pritzker signed a disaster proclamation for 14 counties in Illinois to expedite the use of state resources, personnel, and equipment to help municipalities keep residents safe. Attached is an update from the lobbying firm of Alfred G. Ronan Ltd.

Phase 3
While many of the stores and organizations are opening in Illinois, this does not impact PSC, as we will continue to operate virtually through the summer session and fall semester.

Summer and Fall Enrollment:
Attached are the snapshots for FA20 and SU20 active student enrollments as of 06/03/2020.

Congratulations to Vice President Anthony:
Dr. Michael Anthony has been elected to the Illinois Community College Chief Student Services Officers (ICCCSSO) Executive Board. He will serve a two-year term as the Secretary for the commission.

Corporate and Continuing Education:
Leading and Motivating Multi-Generational Workplaces Webinar
PSC is hosting an upcoming webinar to help employers and employees effectively manage the benefits and challenges of a multi-generational workplace. From Boomers to Gen Y, we will focus on generational differences in communication and learning styles, work experience and expectations, and group dynamics. June 18 from 8-11:45 a.m. Registration Fee: $59, Continuing Education Units available for an additional fee.

Webinar details: Multi-Generational Workplace Webinar
Registration (GL payment)

Dear PSC Faculty, Staff, and Students -

Today, I reach out to the remarkable Prairie State College community to offer words of comfort, and share our commitment in a time when we need it most. I am heartbroken to see the vestiges of hate, violence, and oppression erupt in our country yet again. It is a terrible thing whenever a life is lost, and it is even more devastating when the life that is lost occurs at the hands of those sworn to protect and serve. I am terribly troubled by these violent events.

As our country and campus continues to make strides to recover from the pandemic, and now the fallout from nationwide protests, I can promise a concerted effort for real and sustained change. We will move beyond incremental and nuanced changes that only scratch the surface of more significant problems. Educating future leaders is a privilege that requires additional responsibilities, and those responsibilities include working toward continuous improvement. PSC is committed to making changes that will better our campus and society as a whole.

The College also is committed to empowering critical thinkers who will challenge the status quo and work to end the division among our people. We will continuously examine our own practices to ensure we treat everyone equitably. We will deepen our efforts to be inclusive and foster enduring respect and appreciation for our differences. We will continue to pursue initiatives that produce well-informed and influential leaders who will make significant changes to disrupt oppressive patterns of power and privilege. The leaders we create today will have the tools to improve our collective tomorrow. They will have the ability to erase the equity disparities in healthcare, education, and wealth distribution.

Together, PSC stands with you in solidarity. In this support, I offer an unyielding effort to continue to create a safe campus community that works relentlessly to eliminate structural and institutional racism. We will continue to stand alongside those hurt most deeply by inequity and continued violence. Students who may need to speak with someone during this time can contact Counselor Shannon Word, sword@prairiestate.edu, for confidential counseling. Employees are encouraged to use the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) through Human Resources.

While the world works to become the place it should be, I can offer you the guarantee that PSC will embody the changes we want to see in social justice and equality. We do not have all the answers yet, but we are committed to working together to always do better. We have recently created a new position focused on Equity and Inclusion. Our new Dean of Equity and Inclusion Tiffany Brewer will be a major part of that work, as will all of you. Please email Dean Brewer at tbrewer@prairiestate.edu to share your thoughts about how we do this, and how to be a part of the work.

We are a strong and resilient group, and I am so honored to have the opportunity to lead you through these tumultuous times.

#PSCStrong

May 2020


The College will continue to operate virtually, with most employees working remotely for the near future. While we would love to see each other face to face, we yield to safety concerns. We are observing the Governor’s and CDC guidelines. The summer session and fall are online except for certain allied health programming requirements for labs and clinicals. Employees who can work from home should (at this time).

Student services are available online, and advisors will schedule appointments using Google Hangouts. Business transactions are online. In planning for resumption of in-person instruction, we have acquired appropriate personal protective equipment and installed signage and protective shielding. Cleaning and sanitizing all public areas and offices will be continued. However, “reopening” under current conditions is a complicated process at best with strict guidelines. Next week we will be sharing the proposed guidelines with campus leadership.

Working from Home:
Safety prevails, and we are effective remotely. Employees who can efficiently perform their jobs from home are encouraged to do so. The College provides loaner laptops if yours is not efficient, or we will extend a faculty program by using our SchoolDude work order system for acquisition of appropriate communication technology to perform your job efficiently from your home. We must supplement and upgrade home technology in order so that the teaching, learning, and communication experience for students and staff is optimum.

CARES Act:
The CARES Committee is in the process of reviewing CARES Act Funding Requests. Only a few applications have been submitted for consideration. We want to encourage each area/department to submit an application for funding, as this is the College’s opportunity to make advances in distance delivery and communication that will be necessary to offer students an excellent online experience and provide faculty and staff the resources they need to teach and communicate effectively.

Communications, Marketing, and Institutional Support Services:
An estimated 10,000 postcards were mailed yesterday to target Lake County residents who are unemployed and underemployed, and in-district high school and university students. These are only a few of the many initiatives going on in the Communications and Marketing Department. Please take a look at the 2020 Marketing Plan (attached.)

Office of Institutional Advancement and Foundation:
As of May 28, 61 students successfully submitted scholarship applications for the summer term, and the Foundation has awarded nearly $11,000 in books and tuition. Students will be picking up BookSHARE books and loaner laptops at the College in a safe, contact-free manner on Friday, May 29 from 10 a.m. - 12 p.m. If you know a student who needs assistance with tuition and books for the summer session, please have them complete the application at https://prairiestate.academicworks.com/. If you know a student looking to borrow a laptop or requesting any other assistance that they may be able to provide, please have the student email pscfoundation@prairiestate.edu.

The Foundation is awarding emergency funds to students who do not qualify for CARES funding and were enrolled in the spring semester or in the summer session. Students who have applied were contacted this week and will receive funds next week. If you know a student that needs assistance from the PSC Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Fund, please have them complete the form at https://f8s.co/243h.

As a reminder, the Foundation continues to accept donations for the COVID-19 Emergency fund at give.classy.org/COVID19pscstudents; and the 27th Annual Scholarship Classic Golf Outing will be held at Idlewild Country Club on Monday, October 5.

Corporate and Continuing Education:
PSC is offering virtual summer STEAM camps powered by Black Rocket. Students ages 8-14 can enroll in our digital arts programs exclusively online. Whether learning how to design a video game or learning the basics of coding, these programs will take students skills to the next level. For a list of course descriptions and to register, visit https://blackrocket.com/online/pra.

Retirement Announcement:
Congratulations to Dr. Debra Prendergast, Dean, Math, and Science, who is retiring as of May 31. She has been with the College for 10 years, and I want to thank her for her dedication to PSC, and we wish her all the very best.

Congratulations to Dr. Janice Kaushal:
Dr. Janice Kaushal successfully defended her dissertation this week. Her degree is in Leadership for the Advancement of Learning and Service in Higher Education from Cardinal Stritch University. The title of her dissertation is: Where do College Administrators and Students Stand on the Issues of College Costs, Value, and Affordability?

The spring semester has come to an end, and I couldn't be more grateful for your hard work, especially over the last few months. The teamwork and collaboration between departments made this transition possible. This is a job well done. We're all doing our level best to support our students and the PSC mission and values.

Weekly Update:

Summer Hours:
Although the college continues to operate virtually due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we still will observe summer hours, in effect through Friday, August 7, 2020.

Regular office hours during the summer will be 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday and closed on Fridays. Please note, departments that typically remain open after 4:30 p.m. outside of the summer schedule may have exceptions to this schedule.

Enrollment Update:
We continue to work on increasing the summer enrollment numbers. We are now down only 15 percent for the summer, which is a vast improvement from being down nearly 50 percent just a month ago. Thanks to all who are working diligently to help increase enrollment.

Attached are the snapshots for FA20 and SU20 active student enrollments as of 05/20/2020.

Communications and Marketing:
The Communications and Marketing team has been working on several campaigns and initiatives to promote the college in recruitment and retention areas. Please take a look at the 2020 Marketing Plan (attached.)

Also, thank you to everyone who contributed to the departmental video, it turned out great. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRYvp3vtCk8.

Student Success:
Recent graduate, Liliveth Nwanguma has been admitted to:

  • Johns Hopkins with an almost full ride
  • The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill also with an almost full ride
  • Southern Illinois University Carbondale on a full ride
The Communications and Marketing team also will be featuring Liliveth in an upcoming press release along with Destiny Cunningham, who was recently admitted into Stanford University.

Transfer Programs:
A number of virtual transfer events will take place this summer. More information will be available on the PSC event calendar on the website.

Career Services for Transfer Students
Wednesday, June 17
2–3:30 p.m.
Google meeting link: meet.google.com/yjr-dvrr-svc

From PSC to Top Tier Universities
Wednesday, June 17
2–3:30 p.m.
Google meeting link: meet.google.com/fzg-nupk-cwb

Dual Degree Partnership with SXU, including new scholarship opportunities
Wednesday, July 1
2–3 p.m.
Google meeting link: meet.google.com/ajp-yeaj-ppg

Sustainability:
The Sustainability Office and Facilities Department are taking advantage of the quiet campus to replace old fluorescent tube lamps with new LED tubes. These lamps use only half the power to offer the same (or better) quality of light as fluorescent tubes. LEDs also last much longer, which saves time maintaining and replacing lamps, especially in hard to reach fixtures.

Office of Institutional Advancement and Foundation Update:
As of May 21, 50 students have successfully submitted scholarship applications for the summer term. Students are also asking to borrow laptops for the summer, and the office will work to ensure students have laptops before their classes start. If you know a student who is looking for assistance with tuition and books for the summer session, please have them complete the application at https://prairiestate.academicworks.com/. If a student needs assistance from the PSC Foundation COVID-19 Emergency Fund, please have them complete the form at https://f8s.co/243h. If you know a student looking to borrow a laptop or requesting any other assistance that they may be able to provide, please have the student email pscfoundation@prairiestate.edu.

The calling campaign to congratulate 402 students who petitioned for graduation was a great success, and callers reported they could hear in the students' voices they were pleasantly surprised by the phone call. Graduate responses included, but were not limited to:

  • Thank you, this truly means a lot.
  • TRiO and OMD deserve a thank you!
  • Oh that is so nice, thank you!
  • Please make sure to tell the person that thought of this thank you and what a great idea it was.
  • Thank you for thinking of me!

In addition to the overwhelmingly positive reaction by graduates, this idea proved successful because it allowed the college to address other issues, thereby providing excellent customer service. Just a few of these issues include:

  • Several students who dropped classes were re-engaged by their caller to register for another term.
  • A student with a need for food was connected with counseling.
  • A student with a payment question was put in touch with the Bursar.
  • A student who needed help choosing a class was connected with an advisor.
  • A student with a degree question was connected with Enrollment Services.

Thank you to all of the college employees who volunteered to participate in this program. The Foundation plans to call graduates next year as well.

Our office would also like to share an email of gratitude received on May 21. The Foundation could not do what they do to assist students without the support of the rest of the college:

Good morning Ms. Havighorst,

I haven't seen you in a very long time and I hope all is well. I wanted to personally email you and thank you so much for everything you've done for me in these last two years. When I learned that I had been accepted into the nursing program I didn't know how I would pay for it at all. The scholarship opportunities I was given in the last two years have helped me tremendously. Not only have I been blessed with scholarships, I have also been blessed with a great advisor and professors. Thank you for being there for me throughout this program. I genuinely appreciate it. I just wanted to let you know I officially graduated with honors, next up is NCLEX!

Sincerely,
Mistura

Memorial Day:
As a reminder, the college is closed on Monday, May 25, for Memorial Day. Enjoy your nice long weekend.

Good morning, PSC Pioneers -

Today would have marked our 61st Annual Commencement, and we are all disappointed about having to cancel our in-person ceremony this year. Still, we are not going to let the pandemic stop us from celebrating our PSC graduates. The commencement committee has been working diligently on planning this virtual event. On August 1, 2020, the college will host a virtual ceremony featuring faculty, staff, and administrators. Students will be recognized on social media in the coming weeks, as well as during the ceremony. They also will receive a commemorative graduation box with PSC swag and graduation apparel.

The attached letter was emailed to students this week. Please encourage any upcoming PSC grads to fill out the PSC Graduate Recognition Form, so we are sure to recognize all graduating students.

CARES Act:
The CARES Act process at PSC began on May 1 with over 600 applicants on the first day, and 875 in total. Funds are being disbursed soon. Thanks to the CARES Act committee for successfully creating and initiating this first phase. A very special thanks to the financial aid team and the Bursar for making this work in an equitable way for our students.

As the committee enters Phase II of the CARES Act funding, the focus will be placed on the $1,261,000.00 allocated for infrastructure and technology upgrades to pursue excellence in distance learning. This is our opportunity to make changes that will be necessary for fall 2020 courses.

Plans for the Fall Semester:
Experts predict that the COVID-19 virus may spike again at the end of summer and again during flu season, so PSC is taking precautionary measures to protect our students, employees, and community. The college will continue operating virtually during the fall semester, and all classes will be held online except CTE labs.

Until further notice, we advise employees to work remotely in compliance with the spirit of the Governor’s executive order.

SU20 Drop for non-payment and payment options:
Cabinet agreed to suspend the deregistration for non-payment for the summer term. Faculty will report those students who do not attend so they can be de-registered and charges removed. For example, 31 percent of currently enrolled students have outstanding balances and could have been dropped for non-payment.

A four-month internal payment plan has been established, which will allow students the months of June through September to pay for their summer courses. If you know a student who may benefit from this incentive, please direct them to the online form.

Personnel Changes:
As you are aware, there have been some changes in personnel. I understand that this may cause some concern, but I want to assure you that we are poised to move forward.

Skyway Art Competition:
Two PSC students won awards at this year’s Skyway Art Competition! (The show was juried and presented online.)

Karen Harbin: Award of Merit for Grace, a sculpture produced last fall in the 3-D Design course.

Teferi Hill: Award of Excellence for Self Portrait at 21, produced last fall in the Painting I course.

Office of Institutional Advancement and Foundation Update:
The Office of Institutional Advancement and PSC Foundation have been busy supporting students during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the coordination between ITR and Student Affairs, 40 laptops were distributed to students who needed assistance accessing their classes online. Approximately 30 of those students have enrolled for the summer session and will continue to use the computers. The others returned their laptops to the college Friday, along with students who returned 116 books the Foundation loaned during the spring semester as part of their BookSHARE program. Safety provisions were taken for a no-contact drop off that ran very smoothly.

The Foundation is currently reviewing summer scholarship applications. If you know a student who is looking for assistance with tuition and books for the summer session, please have them complete the application at https://prairiestate.academicworks.com/.

The Foundation has been accepting donations for its COVID-19 Emergency Fund at give.classy.org/COVID19pscstudents. Over $3,700 was raised to help students, and an additional $1,200 was raised on May 5 as part of the international GivingTuesdayNow program. The Foundation has also partnered with ICCB, IBHE and ISAC, and is a recipient of the Public University and Community College Student COVID-19 Emergency Fund. This week the Foundation received a distribution check of $12,102.51 with hopes to receive a second disbursement this summer. The Foundation’s first goal with this fund is to assist students in need who do not qualify for CARES Act funding. If you know a student in need as a result of coronavirus, please have them complete the form at https://f8s.co/243h. If you know a student looking for any type of assistance that Deb’s team may be able to provide, please have them send an email to pscfoundation@prairiestate.edu.

As a special gesture towards the new graduates, volunteers were solicited to call the 402 students who petitioned for graduation to congratulate them. Twenty-two employees took the time on Friday to call these students with a special message: Good morning/afternoon ____________. This is _________ calling on behalf of Prairie State College. We realize tomorrow would have been your Commencement Day and wanted to take a moment to personally offer congratulations on your graduation. Everyone at PSC understands how difficult this semester has been. We want you to know how proud we are of you, for all that you have overcome and accomplished, to get to this day. Best wishes for your future endeavors and welcome to PSC alumni status! The response from the phone calls was overwhelmingly positive.

The Foundation’s 27th Annual Scholarship Classic Golf Outing, scheduled for Monday, June 1, will now be held at Idlewild Country Club on Monday, September 28. Please save the date; more information will be forthcoming.

I hope that everyone is having a happy and safe Mother’s Day.

We are becoming quite effective with our distance collaboration as we operate virtually while planning for the future. I recommend that you watch the video of one of our outstanding graduating students, Destiny Cunningham.

Stay at Home Order and Phased Guidance:
We continue to monitor the CDC recommendations and follow ICCB guidance and the governor’s recent Restore Illinois five-phase plan as we implement a college reopening strategy. This includes planning for and implementing physical guidance relative to social distancing, including spacing in classrooms and labs, directional signage, and lexon clear plexi-glass-like shields for personal transactions as applicable. We also are purchasing PPE as we can find the PPE available. These steps are in preparation for more employees returning to campus and the eventual resumption of in-person course instruction. The health and safety of our college community is our highest priority, and we are taking every available precaution as we move through the governor’s plan.

During these tumultuous times, the administration understands the anxiety and fear of job loss across the state. PSC will continue to pay employees according to the executive order intent. However, as a unit of local government, we must make data driven cash projections that will guide us as we comply. Know that the administration is making every effort to minimize the effect this pandemic will have on college employment.

Virtual Town Hall Events:
Thank you to everyone who participated in this week’s livestream events. They were a great success. It is important that we continue to make ourselves available to students to partner with them through these challenging times. I encourage you to watch the videos here: Session 1, Session 2. There is some important information shared that everyone on campus should be familiar with.

HVAC Project Update:
Our current state capital project is the HVAC project replacing the Main building cooling unit, including digital controls in Main and Tech and the Conference Center. In April, the mechanical contractor completed the start-up of all the cooling units, the electrical contractor completed connecting the new electrical service, and the system controls contractor completed installation of the digital controls in Tech Building. This is a complex state-supported renovation moving ahead.

Biology Lab Update:
The clean out is complete, and Facilities is making plans to get started on the renovation. Construction is slated to begin sometime next week. Thanks to the science faculty for this collaboration and design guidance.

Commencement Update:
As you know, the college has decided to hold a virtual commencement ceremony on August 1. The Commencement Committee met this week to update on the plans. As Commencement originally was scheduled for May 16, the team is discussing ways to recognize the students with a special message next week.

Enrollment Update:
Attached to this email is the most recent enrollment update from the Institutional Research Department. PSC is adding programs in technology education as well as meeting students’ technology-driven needs.

Student Success:
Huge congratulations to graduating student Destiny Cunningham on her recent acceptance into Stanford University. Destiny has a number of transfer opportunities, but we share in her excitement of adding Stanford to that list. Watch her find out here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1A2SSyYd5RNs5FQFVxY41p4YeUGuF05GR/view.

Colleagues,
Hard work continued on campus this week. Many efforts are being made to continue in our mission of providing opportunities to students and the community. Here are some highlights.

PTK Induction Ceremony:
Professor Justin Pariseau hosted a virtual Phi Theta Kappa induction ceremony, recognizing 37 students for their hard work and persistence in achieving academic excellence and their commitment to scholarship, leadership, service, and fellowship. You can watch the recording of the ceremony online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=50H-oZhy374&feature=youtu.be. Congratulations to these remarkable students, and thank you Professor Pariseau for organizing this celebration for them.

Upcoming Virtual Town Hall Events:
We continue to reach out to our students virtually through a number of online opportunities. Next week, members of the faculty, staff, and administration are participating in two livestream events focused on getting students and community members the information they need to continue in their pursuit of higher education at Prairie State College. The first session is on May 5, and will focus on academic, classroom, and community resources. The second is scheduled on May 6, and will focus on registration, financial aid, and employment. Speakers will address a number of frequently asked questions that the college has received since going virtual in March.

Nursing Program Placement Testing and Information Sessions:
Kudos to the Nursing Department and Testing Services areas, who have been working diligently to give qualified students the opportunity to take the HESI exam for fall enrollment in the nursing program. The in-person exam will be held on the campus during the first week of June. Testers will be required to follow the CDC recommendations regarding social distancing and the state of Illinois and college requirement that anyone in a college building must wear a face covering during the entirety of their time on campus. Professor Patti Eberhardt also has scheduled a virtual information session about the nursing program on May 7. Nearly 200 students will be invited to log in to learn more about the program and how to get started.

CARES Act Emergency Funding:
Now through May 10, eligible PSC students who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of COVID-19 can apply for funding through the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The act includes a Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF) that provides funding to institutions to be used in the form of emergency financial aid grants for student expenses related to the disruption of campus operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The funds will be disbursed on a first-come, first-served basis. You recently received an email from PSC Announcements with more detailed information. Please refer to that and consider sharing with any PSC students who qualify. Within the first day the application had opened, nearly 600 students applied. Thanks to the CARES Act committee members for quickly organizing this important initiative.

Enrollment Update:
Attached to this email is the most recent enrollment update from the Institutional Research Department. We are pursuing creative new opportunities for outreach to potential students.

Giving Tuesday:
Giving Tuesday is May 5. The Foundation is participating in #GivingTuesdayNow, an emergency response to the need caused by COVID-19. The day will focus on generosity, citizen engagement, and support for communities and nonprofits around the world. Funds donated on Tuesday will support students with basic human needs of food and shelter, as well as tuition and books for the upcoming summer and fall semesters. To donate, visit https://www.classy.org/campaign/givingtuesdaynow/c284464. Thank you to Deborah Havighorst and the Foundation staff for supporting this important initiative.

Library Grant:
The Prairie State College Library recently was selected as the recipient of a $500 Game On! Grant from the American Library Association. Adjunct Professor Matthew Root ently was interviewed about the grant and how it will be used. You can learn more by visiting http://www.ala.org/news/member-news/2020/04/prairie-state-college-library-selected-recipient-first-500-game-grant-gamert. Congratulations to Dean Carolyn Ciesla and the library staff.

Transfer Opportunity Videos:
Transfer Coordinator Sarah Hein has posted a series of videos designed to help graduating students move forward with their transfer plans and current students to plan for future transfer and take full advantage of resources available. These are an excellent resource for our students. You can take a look at them online now at https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAE9ZqxB9UwaQdG0ArAIaqg/videos. Thank you to Professor Hein for providing this information to our students.

Transfer Opportunity Videos:
I am pleased to report that PSC’s Men’s Soccer Coach and Academic Advisor Carlos Reyes yesterday was named the Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Coach of the Year. You can read more here: Reyes Named Skyway Conference Coach of the Year. Congratulations to Coach Reyes!

April 2020


Even in light of the challenges we face on a daily basis there are positive results occurring throughout the campus community. I highly recommend the Honors Program Reception video for your pleasure. Lives are being touched by our outstanding faculty and staff.

Earth Week:
The college celebrated Earth Week April 20 through 24. Sustainability Coordinator Joel Nightingale prepared daily information and ideas for things people could do at home and share via the college’s social media. Click here to view a flipbook of the week’s activities.

Virtual Honors Program Reception:
Professor Alanna Cotch hosted a Virtual Honors Program Reception for the students who have qualified for the prestigious program this coming fall. Dean Elighie Wilson gave a nice welcome to the students, Transfer Coordinator Sarah Hein spoke about transfer opportunities, Advisor Gabriella Diestelmeier discussed registration, and faculty members shared information about their honors courses, including Professors Joshua Green, Thomas Nicholas, Christa Adam, Cynthia Cornejo, George Streeter, and Justin Pariseau. I highly recommend that you watch the thoughtful and engaging Honors Program video (attached). This production speaks volumes about our outstanding faculty and advising. https://drive.google.com/file/d/16gPJi_EBo7RWC_FFdrdp_XD9eBNOJEfP/view?ts=5ea2feda

Biology Lab Renovation:
Facilities is proceeding with the biology lab renovation project that was approved at the March Board of Trustees meeting. The college has secured contracts and insurance, and contractors completed a site visit. The contractors are eager to start work, while following social distancing and other CDC and college guidelines. This project is scheduled to be completed by fall 2020. Facilities staff is coordinating with faculty to complete the first phase of the project – room cleanout.

SXU Partnership:
Transfer Coordinator Sarah Hein announced that we recently finalized a new opportunity for our graduates - the Dual Degree Partnership program with Saint Xavier University. This partnership includes a variety of benefits for PSC students who sign up for this early advising program. Attached to this email is the final agreement between PSC and SXU.

Foundation:
The Foundation has loaned laptops to approximately 40 students with the assistance of ITR, Helen Manley, and Dean Felix Simpkins. We are asking any college employees who have contact with students to encourage students to contact the Foundation with any needs at all, and we will do all we can to assist them during this trying time. Students should contact the foundation at pscfoundation@prairiestate.edu.

Virtual Commencement:
The Commencement Committee met this week to discuss the college’s planned virtual commencement ceremony, now tentatively scheduled for August 1, 2020. The committee continues to work on the details of the ceremony, but all are working hard to put together a virtual experience that the students who are graduating this year will be proud to participate in.

Enrollment Update:
We continue to work on increasing the summer enrollment numbers. Attached to this email is the most current report provided by our Institutional Research Department. The Marketing Department launched a number of recruitment initiatives, including direct mail, website, social media, text messaging, and various advertisements to try to reach potential students who can take advantage of our online course options this summer. ICCB expects colleges to be 100% online this summer. PSC already has made the transition to offer only online classes for the summer. We are closely monitoring the situation for any implications for fall, including the possible requirement to provide PPE, if necessary, as Governor Pritzker continues to modify his stay at home order and people begin to return to campus.

Employee Assistance Program (EAP) for PSC Employees:
There is clear indication that the COVID-19 pandemic can have an effect on the mental health of many, including anxiety related to a job loss or other life changes. Our EAP provider, Perspectives, is available 24/7 to offer support to you and your household members. They are monitoring developments regarding COVID-19 in real time, answering FAQs and sharing relevant information on their website. Refer to the email from Susie Perez, HR, for more information. EAP services are confidential, no cost to you and available when you need them!

March 2020


First Workshop Description