RLC earns $35k in grants for upcoming year

RLC earns $35k in grants for upcoming year

INA -– Three Perkins Leadership grants have kicked off the new fiscal year at Rend Lake College with a bang. Totaling $35,000, the grants will help RLC better serve current and future students, and the community through extended class offerings, resources, and information.

Lori Ragland, Vice President of Career Technical Instruction, said the grants will provide important and much-needed relief to improve campus for everyone involved.

“At Rend Lake College, we continuously look for avenues to help our students overcome the barriers that impede their success,” said Ragland. “A dynamic group of individuals have already hit the ground running and are eagerly starting work on these projects. We hope each grant will give us more ways to expand services and opportunities for students, faculty, and staff at all levels.”

With the Pathways to Results (PTR) Implementation Communities Year 2 Grant, RLC is planning to help improve services to students, based on analysis and ideas generated in previous participation of the PTR Year 1 Grant.

As one of four colleges to receive the $15,000 grant, RLC plans to assist part-time students and nontraditional students with quality resources outside of normal campus hours. Part-time students were 48 percent of the RLC student population in Fall 2015. Nontraditional students, or those over the age of 24, comprised 30 percent of the population that same semester.

Some of these extended resources could include advisement, tutoring, and RL Cares. Additionally, the college will look into the First Year Experience orientation program requirement for part-time students, extending hours for online assistance, developing part-time curriculum guides, and providing professional development for faculty and staff to increase awareness of barriers facing part-time and nontraditional by age students.

In one local community, the $10,000 Dual Credit Enhancement Grant will help RLC develop and deliver more course offerings to Zeigler-Royalton High School. Funding will be used to purchase distance learning equipment to be installed at the high school, which will allow students to take advantage of more college classes beginning this year.

The final grant, the Special Populations Support Grant of $10,000, will help students preparing for a nontraditional career with resources and on-campus activities. Nontraditional careers are defined as those in which the individuals from one gender comprise less than 25 percent of the total individuals in that occupation or field of work. Examples of this include women in agriculture or men in nursing, among others.

Funding will go to support several campus activities already in the works, such as Career Day, Kickstart Your Journey, Career Fair, and Job Fair. During these events, students will be educated on the benefits of working in a nontraditional career and given options for future career paths. Funds will also provide for professional development for faculty and advisors.