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Community College Relations

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Community College Relations

NIU’s Division of Outreach, Engagement, and Regional Development facilitates outreach and institutional “in reach” to establish community college partnerships that help the region’s students and communities gain the skills, knowledge, and economic development data needed to maintain the region’s well-being and prosperity. Northern Illinois University (NIU) is at the heart of an educational region also served by 20 community college districts (26 colleges). Approximately 35% of NIU graduates have attended a community college.

Regional community college enrollments for fall 2012 were over 250,000: 40% of these students are pursuing transfer-oriented associate degrees; 27% are career and technical education (CTE) students, many of whom now want access to the baccalaureate. NIU is an established leader in creating innovative pathways for community college students, including CTE students, whether they are traditional transfers or travel-restricted working adults.

Engagement with the community college sector produces vital regional development outcomes.

    1. Off-campus bachelor’s degree-completion programs, in partnership with the region’s community colleges, are producing solid enrollments as we expand programs, locations, and online offerings.

Community College Partnership Enrollments: Baccalaureate Completion


Baccalaureate Completion

  1. NIU and the region's community college are engaged in program articulation discussions that work through complex issues related to curriculum content, rigor, and alignment. These conversations are aided by the fact that many community college faculty members earned their degrees at NIU.
  2. A reverse transfer process – to be piloted in spring 2013 – will allow community college transfer students to send NIU credits back to their community college to complete an associate’s degree. This win-win program serves students, institutions, and the northern Illinois region by expanding the number and range of workforce credentials. NIU plans to extend this option to community colleges across the region.
  3. NIU's Higher Education Transitions Committee combines representatives from community colleges, local high schools, and the university to improve college readiness for incoming students. In 2012-13, the committee is focusing on alignment of expectations in mathematics.
  4. OEIT’s Center for Governmental Studies, a highly respected resource for the entire Illinois community college sector, provides economic development and impact analyses as well as assistance in environmental scanning, strategic planning, and program evaluation.

For more information, contact Paul Crawford, Director of Community College Relations, (815) 753-9677, pcrawford@niu.edu.