Student Govt. starts year with big ideas

Drum roll, please! JJC underwent many changes over the summer. One of the biggest changes that students should be aware of is the new office for academic advising.

Returning students may remember the former Counseling Department and The Office of First Year Experience, which were both located within the same office. On May 20, 2019, shortly after the end of the spring semester, the college launched the Student Advising Center.

In 2015, JJC received a $2.1 million Title III grant from the U.S. Department of Education under the Strengthening Institutions Program. According to the JJC Newsroom, this sum was granted to “help the college fulfill its goal of improving student engagement, achievement, persistence and completion.”

A document exported by the school’s Communications and External Relations Department explains the mission behind the redesign of the college’s academic advising office, which is to “provide distinction and clarity of the roles between academic advising and counseling (mental health support).”

As part of the college’s mission, the SAC initiated the Guided Academic Pathway model, which several community colleges statewide have already adopted as well. GAP advising  is designed to guide students in choosing a career path that is right for them and ensuring success in completing that path.

Sasah Tillman-Richardson, new manager of the SAC, will be overseeing the center’s First Year Program, Success Coaches, clerical staff, and student workers. Academic advising will be provided by advisers and coaches.

“As the new Manager of the Student Advising Center (SAC), my number one goal is to make all students feel welcome and supported at Joliet Junior College,” Tillman-Richardson stated. “It’s important to make sure that our students have support in identifying clear educational goals and creating a plan to accomplish them.”

It can undoubtedly be a huge challenge to have to juggle personal conflicts and school. In order to ensure student success, students seeking mental health support can now visit the Office of Student Rights and Responsibilities, where they can receive professional assistance from Student Wellness Advocates.

“We have a diverse student population and with that comes diverse needs including personal concerns, crisis intervention, trauma support, etc.,” Tillman-Richardson said. “My hope with the new model is that JJC students are comfortable asking for help and advocating for what they need whether it be educational or personal. Staff will collaborate to meet the needs of our students regardless of what they are.”

Unlike the former Counseling Department, the SAC works on an appointment only basis. Students will need to either stop in or call ahead to make an appointment. The center usually may offer walk-ins during peak registration times only.

Office hours will also be held at the Romeoville and City Center Campuses. For students who for some reason cannot meet an advisor in person, the center offers phone and virtual advising appointments.

The SAC can be found at the Main Campus in the A 1155, where the former Counseling Department was located. For more information, call (815) 280-2673 or email  A staff member will be happy to help!