JJC President delivers 4th annual State of the College address

President Dr. Judy Mitchell delivered the fourth annual State of the College address on Tuesday, Sept. 17.

For the last four years, President Mitchell has addressed the college’s progress and new institutional initiatives made within the last year. This year the event, which took place at the U-Building Auditorium at Main Campus, was open through RSVP to community members, stakeholders and local legislators. It was also live-streamed on Facebook.

Mitchell began her speech by thanking everyone in attendance and reminding them that none of the school’s success would be possible without them. She said, “…we all have the ability, every single day, to positively impact our students. Regardless of our position, the shift we work, the division we’re a part of– we are all important in the students’ success.”

She proceeded to acknowledge the positive feedback the school received from the 2018 National Survey of Entering Student Engagement, a survey given to students every other year. Students were asked if they would recommend JJC to a friend or family member, to which 98 percent of those who responded said yes.

Among many other successes highlighted was JJC’s achievement of making Forbes’ top 100 employers list for Illinois. Coinciding with this news, Mitchell announced several achievements made by some of JJC’s very own faculty members. This included Chef Tim Bucci’s win in Certified Master Chef designation– one of only 67 in the world, and the only one in Illinois.

JJC has continued to grow in diversity, much like most other community colleges in the U.S..

Based on the results of a Diversity Climate Survey and Needs Assessment, Mitchell announced the college’s renewal of its Diversity and Inclusion Plan.This plan aims to create success for all students by nurturing the need for an inclusive culture across the institution.

The 2016-2018 plan had much success in informing and engaging the campus community on this priority. The 2018-2020 plan has focused on implementing these core values into hiring and employment and student engagement.

“…our primary goal is to nurture a positive climate. These things take time, and it will not happen overnight, but I’m confident that if we work together our efforts will have a great impact,” Mitchell said.

She stated that the priorities in this plan will align with the plans in the college’s new 2020-2023 Strategic Plan, which was approved in early September by the Board of Trustees. This plan has birthed a new mission and new vision statement, along with six new goals that Mitchell states she believes are representative of opportunities to make the institution grow.

During a time when our planet’s wellbeing is of high concern, Mitchell announced that JJC has the installation of a new solar array in the works. This new installation will be located on the east side of Main Campus.

Not only will it be saving the college money through reduced energy costs, but it will also reduce its environmental impact, support its sustainability efforts, and “encourage future academic opportunities.”

Following the president’s speech was a presentation by Dr. Kathy Wolz. Wolz expressed her excitement to showcase the school’s new virtual reality technology. This new technology has been introduced to nursing students in an effort to enhance their learning experience.

Although her presentation focused on how the nursing department is utilizing this technology, Wolz assured the audience that it is not exclusive to nursing faculty only. “…be aware this is open to all departments, and it’s really only limited by your own creativity and your own innovation,” she stated. Students can quite possibly expect this technology to be used by many locations in the near future.

Mitchell concluded the event by once again thanking all of those involved with the school’s success. “Our collective actions have a ripple effect… your individual actions have certainly had far-reaching impact over the thousands of students, faculty and staff. Together, we will ensure that Joliet Junior College is not only the first choice for education, but the best choice.”