Southeastern Illinois College has been planning growth in ag education, especially after University of Illinois eliminated its ACES collaborative just before COVID, so Rend Lake College is partnering with SIC in much the same way to jointly offer an ag transfer education collaborative.
In Fall 2024, SIC plans to roll out its new ag curriculum which will include a bevy of courses for ag transfer through its partnership with RLC.
SIC is building its agriculture program with multiple tracks with certificates and degrees in ag mechanics and ag technology career and technical education (CTE).
New faculty, new infrastructure, and new partnerships are moving forward. However, ag transfer programs, such as in ag education and agri-business, will be offered through Rend Lake College at SIC using both technology and face-to-face in Fall 2024.
“It just makes sense not to reinvent the wheel when our alliance partner has the premiere ag transfer program in the area,” said SIC President Jonah Rice. “That’s the beauty of our alliance—we can capitalize on each other’s strengths.”
“Since our colleges joined forces more than a decade ago, we’ve really committed to finding areas where we can pool resources and share costs in ways that benefit our students,” said RLC President Terry Wilkerson. “This new agriculture training agreement is another example of that partnership working for students.”
Rice said jobs are expanding in the ag industry, and SIC wants to adapt to student and industry need. As such, the college will also roll out new ag certificates and degrees beginning in Fall 2025 with huge improvements and new faculty. New ag classes are planned for both the Harrisburg and Carmi campuses.
The SIC Board recently approved a new Dean of Career and Technical Education position to help steer all the new progress.
“We’re looking at all sorts of new improvements, including a new ag sim lab and more faculty additions in the future,” said Dr. Karen Weiss, who will take the presidential reins from Rice beginning July 1. She has been with the college for a quarter of a century serving in a variety of roles, including CTE Dean.
“This was one program I wanted to launch before I retired. I feel good about this start and know Dr. Weiss will usher in a whole new age of valuable CTE education, given her experience,” said Rice. “And under Karen’s leadership, this and so much more will only make SIC stronger and more valuable to the region.”
“I am always excited when we announce a new collaborative program with SIC,” said RLC Executive Vice President Lori Ragland. Ragland was named the college’s President Designee in December when Wilkerson announced his retirement.
“We understand that obstacles like travel time and transportation can impede learning, so we've worked on an approach to eliminate these barriers,” Ragland added. “We're always exploring creative ways to deliver instruction, and make education more accessible and beneficial for our communities. Our focus has always been our students, because at the end of the day, their success is our success. With student-focused partnerships like this, the future of our college is even more promising.”
“I’m around our students every day – on campus and in the classroom,” Wilkerson added. “They are here for much more than a diploma. They trust us to prepare them – whether that’s transferring to a university or entering the workforce. They are counting on us to give them a solid foundation with state-of-the-art training. We owe it to them to keep finding new ways of doing that. Our graduates can make a real difference in our community and beyond.”
Registration for summer and fall classes will begin March 25 at SIC. Now is the time to fill out the college application (sic.edu/apply) and scholarships application (sic.edu/scholarships). The deadline to complete the scholarship application is Feb. 28. For assistance or to set up an appointment with an advisor, call 618-252-5400, ext. 4130 or email email@example.com.