CHICAGO – Two years into the Reinvention of the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), Chancellor Cheryl Hyman announced today that Illinois’ largest community college system has already made gains for students and city taxpayers alike.
City Colleges of Chicago forecasts it will grant nearly 3,300 associate degrees in 2012, up 800 from 2011 and double the number ten years ago. In addition, an estimate released today indicates CCC’s graduation rate in 2011 was 10 percent, up two percent in just one year, three percent over two years, and the highest in ten years. The 2011 graduation rate estimate must be validated by the Illinois Community College Board and the U.S. Department of Education, a process that could last until 2012. The 2012 graduation rate estimate will not be available until early 2013.
Hyman also announced her administration’s efforts at eliminating redundancies and inefficiencies by centralizing key operations have saved $41 million over the last two fiscal years. The savings will be reinvested into the classroom by hiring more advisers and tutors and upgrading technology and facilities.
“While much work remains to be done, there are clear signs we are improving outcomes and giving our students a better shot at relevant career and educational opportunities,” said Hyman. “We are ensuring our students receive credentials that are valued by both employers and four-year colleges, and at the same time we are living up to our promise to serve as responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars.”
City Colleges began its Reinvention shortly after Chancellor Hyman took over in April 2010, quickly laying out four clear Reinvention goals, which first and foremost included dramatically increasing the number of students who earn credentials of economic value.
“Mayor Emanuel recognizes the tremendous value in the quality, affordable education that City Colleges provides, and he challenges Chancellor Hyman and our board each day to better prepare our students to secure the jobs of today and tomorrow. Today, we are closer to realizing his vision of a community college system that can serve as an economic engine of Chicago,” said Paula Wolff, Chair, City Colleges’ Board of Trustees.
The expected record number of graduates in 2012 is due in part to CCC’s new emphasis on encouraging timely completion of a degree. The number of advisors already has been doubled, bringing the advisor-student ratio from 920:1 to 450:1 and helping ensure students have clearly defined academic and professional goals.
Over the last few months, CCC worked with students with 45 credit hours or more – some of them with more than the 60 credit hours normally necessary to graduate –to ensure they took the remaining classes necessary to meet foundation and major requirements for an Associate of Arts degree and on to jobs or further education.
CCC also today released Reinvention Chapter 2, which outlines major strategic initiatives already underway.
Key milestones for the Reinvention initiative include:
College to Careers, through which City Colleges is working with industry partners to modernize its occupational programs, starting with healthcare and transportation, distribution and logistics. College to Careers is supported by a $520 million capital campaign that will make academic enhancements at all seven colleges, including creating a new Malcolm X College campus and a new TDL Center at Olive-Harvey College.
The summer bridge program, Level Up, which has already reduced the time spent in remediation by one full semester for students in the program.
The dual enrollment program, which allows more than 2,000 CPS students a year to earn college credit while in high school, and has doubled in size
Wellness centers, which offer students social/emotional support, have been opened at all seven City Colleges and in just the first three months of this year, more than 1,500 people have received individual counseling, 200 have been active in support groups and several dozen have been referred for psychological and other services.
Enrollment by credit-seeking students is up 16 percent the last two fiscal years.
Transfer agreements have been signed with the Illinois Institute of Technology, the University of Illinois’ Urbana-Champaign and Chicago campuses, DePaul University and Lewis University. The number of students transferring from CCC to DePaul has more than doubled in the last five years– going from 750 CCC transfers to 1,600. Those transferring to the Illinois Institute of Technology with $25,000 presidential scholarships have increased from 26 to 80 in the same timeframe.
As part of a comprehensive review to bring benefits more in line with the market, City Colleges’ reduced its benefits liability by more than $1 million a year. The reforms have included: ending sick day payouts for new non-union hires, increasing health insurance co-pays and deductibles, ending premium-free health care for senior CCC leaders and rescinding free lifetime health care for those same leaders upon retirement.
Earlier this month, City Colleges reached a new labor agreement with AFSCME, which represents its adult educators. For the first time at City Colleges, up to 8 percent of adult education instructors’ compensation will be tied to progress toward student achievement goals set by the State of Illinois. City Colleges also worked with the union to invest in professional development and class preparation to fully support instructors.
“City Colleges’ Reinvention is by no means complete,” said Hyman. “We still have to long way to go before we fully deliver on our promise, but with this progress and the new programs like College to Careers recently launched by Mayor Emanuel, CCC is positioning Chicagoans to compete in the global economy.”
Reinvention Chapter 2 follows Chapter 1, released in April 2011, which chronicled the findings of Reinvention’s diagnostic phase and outlined the unique taskforce structure of the reinvention effort. To read more about the Reinvention initiatives underway at City Colleges of Chicago, go online at http://ccc.edu/menu/Pages/Reinvention.aspx