When Mitchell Larson was choosing a college, he was looking for one that would offer the opportunity to study overseas. Learning that the College of Lake County offered a study abroad program, he enrolled at CLC, and in Fall 2013 he participated in the program, spending a semester studying at Xi'an International University (XAIU) in Xi'an, China.
Under CLC's program, students travel to China accompanied by one or two lead faculty members. The students enroll in courses taught by the CLC faculty and by Xi'an International University faculty, attending classes with both their CLC counterparts and Chinese students. While at Xi'an, the CLC faculty teach courses in their fields that are available to both the CLC students and XAIU students.
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Larson was one of 11 students who studied at XAIU last fall. The students traveled to China accompanied by history professor Dr. David Groeninger. Larson and Groeninger discussed their experiences in China during a presentation to the CLC board of trustees at Tuesday night's regularly scheduled board meeting.
Groeninger said that CLC's program at XAIU is a "tribute to the college." He indicated that professors from other schools are often "stunned" to hear that a community college offers such a program.
Larson said he enjoyed both his classes and the opportunity to make a presentation on American football to Chinese students at the American Culture Center at XAIU. CLC opened the cultural center in 2012 with grant funding received from the U.S. Department of State.
Groeninger said that the cultural center is very active in sponsoring programming, and the students participated in an American movie festival and in social events like a Halloween party and Thanksgiving dinner, also attended by Chinese students. While participating in such events, the CLC students remained "academically focused," he said.
Larson said he enjoyed attending classes with Chinese students and found them very willing to help the CLC students. He said that two of his most challenging classes were a beginning Chinese class and an art and literature class that included learning Chinese calligraphy. "Even the Chinese students have a difficult time with drawing the characters," he said.
Tuition and fee decision deferred
Concerned about the impact of raising tuition and fees on students' ability to afford attending CLC, the board deferred taking action on a proposed increase of $13 per credit hour in tuition and fees for the 2014-2015 academic year. To help them in making this important decision, the trustees asked the college administration to provide more information on the budget impacts of different levels of tuition and fee increases.
"Raising tuition should always be our last option for balancing the budget," said Board Chairman Amanda Howland after the meeting. "In considering any tuition increase, we want to be sure we've looked at all other options."
Joint agreements approved
Agreements with Elgin Community College, Gateway Technical College, Harper College, McHenry County College, Kankakee Community College and Triton College were approved to allow students to enroll at courses not offered at their own institutions, paying in-district rates.
Human resources actions
The board granted tenure to faculty members Ruth Belec-Olander (Biological and Health Sciences), Nathan Breen (Communication Arts, Humanities and Fine Arts) and Josephine Faulk, Sonia Oliva and Christopher Utecht (Social Sciences).
2015-2016 academic calendar and summer work week
The academic calendar for the 2015-2016 year was approved. Fall Semester classes will begin Aug. 24, 2015; Spring Semester, Jan. 19, 2016; and Summer Session, June 6, 2016.
The board also approved a flexible work week schedule for summer 2014, continuing a long-standing practice. The ten-week summer work week will be in effect from Monday, May 26 through Friday, Aug. 1. The plan keeps the college open five days a week but allows employees a more flexible four-day summer work week.
The board approved the following:
Purchase and installation of a new boiler for Building 7 and a cooling tower for the C Wing, both on the Grayslake campus, from Air Con Refrigeration of Waukegan for $217,565.
Purchase of copy and specialty paper from Unisource Worldwide of Addison at a cost of $85,095.45.
Purchase of a gas chromatograph and spectrometer for use in chemistry courses from Sargent-Welch of Arlington Heights at a cost of $47,435.
Purchase of a DEXA bone densitometer from Hologic Inc. of Bedford, Mass., for $63,000.