Shawnee president transitioning into new role
Dr. Peggy Bradford, president at Shawnee Community College, has been transitioning into her new role.
In her new role, Bradford joined in the recent commemoration of Shawnee Community College’s 50th anniversary.
Bradford will be formally inaugurated as the college’s eighth president during ceremonies which are planned this week.
She’s held community forums in Cairo, Vienna, Anna and Metropolis in an effort to hear from area businesses, community leaders and students.
Those in attendance had an opportunity to express their interest in the college and some of their needs they have in terms of what the college can do in programming.
Bradford said one of the biggest needs she heard was expanding dual enrollment and dual credit in high schools.
Another interest is offering courses to continue education for realty and supervisor and management positions in hospitals.
In addition, Bradford said the forums gave her a chance to see the communities first hand to see what’s available.
She has met with 10 of the 12 school district superintendents in the district to hear their suggestions and recommendations.
Bradford said she found the meetings to be “very eye-opening.” She also found that the superintendents are “supportive of the college.”
Bradford used the examples of the Meridian High School Fast Track program and Vienna High School CNA program as good partnerships with the college and area high schools.
The Meridian Fast Track program allows seniors at Meridian to be full-time college students and be on campus all day, all while finishing their last year of high school.
Vienna High School is looking to expand its CNA program. Vienna has the largest number of students who graduate with their high school diploma at the same time as their associate degree in the district.
“We have to meet the needs of different high schools,” Bradford said.
She said school officials would like to see more Meridian students come to Shawnee College through the Fast Track program.
They would like to see more students in Metropolis get involved with their center, which is only 2 miles away from the high school, by students going there after school or because of early release and get involved.
For Dongola, Century and Joppa schools, satellite classes are utilized in which the instructor is able to interact with those students and they are still able to take advantage of classes that, just based on their numbers, would be too small for the college to offer the courses there.
The Cairo site has just been started up again. It is now located at Cairo High School.
Bradford said they have started a small cohort in the Alexander County community, building classes to keep a college presence in Cairo.
Bradford said that superintendent Andrea Evers and the Cairo School District Board of Education have been accommodating and lets the college use the space free of charge.
In exchange, the college is committed to using a wide variety of courses in Cairo and is making sure they are not only able to offer courses in the credit area, but will offer truck driving adjacent to the high school and make more courses available in the dual enrollment program.
In the Anna-Jonesboro area, Bradford said they have an emphasis on college transfers and Allied Health courses.
The needs are different in the Anna area because they have lots of students.
“That’s been a booming center for us,” Bradford said about the Anna Extension Center.
She said the college is hoping to get more students from the Cobden area in dual enrollment and increase the number of students going to the Anna center.
Because of many of these programs, many students “are able to complete the first two years of their education virtually free while in high school,” Bradford said.
As for future projects for the college, they are currently looking to expand agreements with their four-year partners, which is Southern Illinois University, Southeast Missouri State University, Murray State University and McKendree University.
These agreements helps the students, so when they transfer, they are assured that their courses will seamlessly transfer to those institutions.
“We are trying to develop and expand our partnerships with them,” Bradford said.
Bradford said she was very proud of the colleges’ nursing program.
The LPN program is ranked No. 3 in Illinois and the college will have a 100 percent pass rate from those who recently took the LPN exam.
In addition, Shawnee College has been the location of cultural and community activities, including an event for the August total solar eclipse, performing “The Little Mermaid” on Nov. 3-4, and they recently held their annual high school regional band performance. The college hopes to partner with the Paducah Symphony for future events as well.
More than 500 people attended the college’s recent 50th anniversary celebration.
“I was very pleased that the community came out and supported the college,” Bradford said.
The inauguration of Dr. Peggy Bradford as president of Shawnee Community College is scheduled on Friday, Oct. 13, from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. at Shawnee Community College in Ullin.
The Vienna High School band is scheduled to perform. There will also be a bagpipe player from Marion.
The Shawnee College choir, directed by Lee VanAlstine, will sing. SCC student Taylen Ashby will sing the National Anthem and a color guard will present the colors.
Vienna High School industrial arts teacher Brian Rick is designing and making a mace, which is a part of the ceremony.
Past college presidents, state representatives and other government officials will be in attendance, along with community members. The ceremony is free and there will be refreshments.
“We’re reconnecting with area businesses and making sure that we’re meeting those needs and then try to bring cultural enrichment. We want to be a location where we can provide some of the arts in the area,” Bradford said.
She said the staff is working hard to see everyone in the community.