On Nov. 2, Lorain County Community College President Dr. Marcia Ballinger spoke at the annual President’s forum.The event, in which
LCCC students, faculty, and staff were in attendance, was an opportunity for Dr. Ballinger to offer her insights to the campus community.
“We were created to serve the unique needs of our local communities,” Ballinger said during her first forum since taking office.
One of the first initiatives that Ballinger spoke of was the ongoing development of the president’s student engagement team. Comprised of diverse students, the team will meet with Ballinger twice a year to offer student perspectives and share their experiences with the administration.
“What I’m hoping to do, in cooperation with student senate, is to create this team because I recognize that having you provide your voice with regards to engagement and advice and guidance is extremely important,” Ballinger told students.
The president hopes to use this team of students to communicate with and engage the student-body and keep students involved in the college’s strategies.
Dr.Ballinger focused on ‘Vision 2020’, a strategy adopted by the LCCC Board of Trustees in Sept. 2015 which outlines the college’s mission through the year 2020.
The first priority of ‘Vision 2020’ is to reduce the time and cost of student degree completion.
“We recognize that student debt is a major issue, that costs are a major issue,” Ballinger said. “Our Associate Provost for Student Success and Enrollment Stephanie Sutton, and Dr. Jonathan Dryden, your provost and vice president for academic and learner services, have led so many efforts working with faculty, to really look at reducing your time and costs to degree completion.”
Also brought to the attention of those in attendance was Senate Bill 4, a piece of legislation in the Ohio State Legislature that would require state funded colleges to cut the cost of attendance by five percent for in-state students.
Textbook affordability also plays a key role in the cost of tuition, and Ballinger said that academic divisions within the college are negotiating textbook prices with publishers. Faculty are also exploring the option of Open Educational Resources (OER), which are low to no cost and would replace textbooks in the classroom. Ballinger stated that LCCC librarian Christine Sheetz has created an OER guide for faculty to search for more affordable materials.
A redesign in the implementation of math and English courses was another strategy discussed at the forum. Ballinger said that placing students in the correct courses to satisfy requirements is one of the keys to student completion.
She also touched upon the advising redesign that occurred at the beginning of fall semester. The president noted that students were more interested in having one academic advisor instead of seeing a different advisor each time. This, Ballinger said, would allow advisors to foster relationships with students. Students also have the flexibility to request a new advisor if the arises.