Lake Land College: Community College-University Collaboration to Benefit Students and Community

Member Spotlight

In an historic meeting, Lake Land College and Eastern Illinois University trustees committed to building upon opportunities between the two institutions for the benefit of their students, communities, and state. 

During the April 23, 2015, joint board meeting, trustees learned of the many partnerships the university and community college have developed over the past few decades. They also identified opportunities for future collaboration. 

Located just 11 miles apart, the university, in Charleston, IL, and college, in Mattoon, IL, have a strong, supportive relationship. Students in East Central Illinois benefit from the 52 articulation agreements that allow Lake Land graduates to seamlessly transfer and earn a bachelor’s degree. More than 70 percent of Lake Land College’s students who transfer attend Eastern Illinois University. Likewise, each year, many Eastern Illinois University students supplement their schedules with a Lake Land College general education class, such as American Sign Language, math, social science, or humanities.

To ease the transfer process, the Eastern Illinois University Transfer Coordinator regularly visits campus and holds individual appointments with Lake Land College students. This past spring, the institutions signed a reverse transfer agreement that enables students who complete coursework at both Lake Land and Eastern Illinois to combine their credits to earn an associate degree from Lake Land College. 

As the higher education landscape continues to change, Lake Land College President Josh Bullock and former Eastern Illinois University Bill Perry said they both felt it was important to continue the collaborative dialogue at the trustee level. 

According to a recent study conducted by the Digest of Education Statistics,Illinois has the third highest percentage of students who leave the state to pursue higher education. 

“We want to pool our resources and meet these challenges together,” Bullock said. 

One challenge facing the state is the gap in the number of job openings in the manufacturing sector and the number of qualified applicants, known as themiddle skills shortage in the workforce. Trustees discussed opportunities to address area industry demand for more employees to possess manufacturing skills, vocational trades and technology skills, and leadership skills. The discussion included suggestions for enhancing educational and training partnerships with area businesses. 

At the end of the day-long meeting held on Lake Land’s campus, trustees agreed to six action items that will be guided by a joint board subcommittee, consisting of two representatives from each institution. The full boards will meet biannually. 

Specific opportunities for the subcommittee to explore include: creating partnerships for nursing, criminal justice, renewable energy, and agriculture programs; establishing joint privileges for students such as athletic passes, library services, cultural events, honors programs, or housing; hosting joint alumni events; and expanding articulation agreements or three-plus-one programs. 

In June, Eastern Illinois University welcomed President David Glassman to campus. He continues to support the collaborative nature established under Dr. Perry. Under the leadership of Dr. Glassman, Eastern Illinois University administrators and faculty have met with their Lake Land College counterparts to continue dialogue on collaborative academic programming.

In September, the Alumni Association offices joined forces and held two events for dual alumni. More than 500 local alumni were invited to a reception and a football tailgate. The two organizations also worked together to establish a new scholarship that will benefit a student who transfers from Lake Land College to Eastern Illinois.