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Board of Trustees accepts $883,093 National Science Foundation grant

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Oct 27, 2016

The Board of Trustees accepted a competitive grant of $883,093 from the National Science Foundation’s Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program at the Oct. 25 board meeting. The project is a partnership between CLC (the grant initiator and fiscal agent), Anne Arundel Community College in Maryland, Florida State College in Jacksonville, Fla. and the Florida Advanced Technological Education Center. Mechanical Engineering Professor Margie Porter is the grant’s principal investigator, and CLC’s portion of the award is $449,445.

“The college is very happy to receive this grant, which addresses a critical workforce need in Lake County’s manufacturing sector,” said Board Chair Dr. William M. Griffin.

According to the National Association of Manufacturers, only 30 percent of parents encourage their children to enter manufacturing and only 17 percent of people view it as a top career choice. Mechatronics is a high-paying, highly skilled career that is ultimately portable to any part of the United States. Mechatronics technicians are qualified to install, maintain, troubleshoot and repair automated, “intelligent” machinery used in manufacturing.

Grant funds will be used to develop a new technician curriculum and create a mechatronics associate degree at CLC. Low-cost, hands-on, mechatronics trainers for use in high schools and community colleges also will be created to begin high school career pathways to higher education in mechatronics. Professional development opportunities for high school and community college instructors also will be offered. The grant period is from Oct. 1, 2016 to Sept. 30, 2019.

Porter, who will oversee the grant, has been a CLC faculty member and chair of the mechanical engineering technology department since 2002. A graduate of Northwestern University’s mechanical engineering program (B.S. and M.S.), she has worked in industry for 16 years and is finishing her doctorate in education. She led the mechatronics program element of CLC’s first mechatronics grant.

“The demand exceeds the supply for mechatronics technicians in our district. The intent of this project is to prepare students to become world-class mechatronics technicians using active learning strategies with adaptable expertise,” Porter said.

CLC has received two previous awards from the Advanced Technological Education (ATE) program in the laser, optics and photonics program that created a certificate and an associate degree with high school dual credit pathways. The college has also been involved in two ATE grants from the National Science Foundation, two awards in the S-STEM program and several other NSF-funded projects.

CLC Police staff and department honored

Jim Hutton, regional planning coordinator for ILEAS (Illinois Law Enforcement Alert System) presented CLC Police Chief Tom Guenther with the ILEAS Preparedness Award. The certificate of completion recognizes the department’s “superior planning and preparedness.” According to ILEAS, of the 101 police agencies represented in the Northern Illinois ILEAS region, the CLC Police Department is one of only six police agencies to complete the certification.

CLC Police staff honoredIn addition, three CLC Police Department employees received commendations for their combined efforts that resulted in saving a life. Chief Guenther presented the Life Saving Award to Officer Harry Bekiaris for his outstanding performance Sept. 8, when he prevented a woman from jumping off a building in downtown Waukegan. From left: Board Chair Dr. William M. Griffin, Officer Nick Treantafeles, Telecommunicator Cathy Vasquez, Officer Harry Bekiaris and Chief Tom Guenther.

“As she began to lean forward initiating a fall that would certainly result in serious injury or death, you lunged for her, grabbed her arm and pulled her to safety,” Guenther said during the presentation. “You then listened compassionately to her worries while waiting for medical assistance to arrive. Your heroic response undoubtedly saved a life. Your actions bring great credit upon you, the Police Department and the College of Lake County,” Guenther said. Telecommunicator Cathy Vasquez and Officer Nick Treantafeles also received commendations for their rapid responses and professional assistance during the incident.

Board Chair Dr. William M. Griffin thanked the officers and said “The CLC Police Department is very well trained and does a great job of ensuring safety on all of our campuses.”

New degree program

A new 24-credit hour certificate in retail management was approved by the board. The certificate will prepare students to manage a variety of retail sale operations/merchandise lines and understand the scope of retail management. The certificate, endorsed by the Western Association of Food Chains and Food Marketing Institute, is relevant in any retail sector since its course content and learning outcomes mirror those advocated by the National Retail Federation. The certificate will provide entry and mid-level education and practical skills for advancement in retail.

The Business and Social Sciences division developed the certificate in conjunction with local retail companies. The retail sector has a strong presence in Lake County and enjoys moderate to strong growth potential. The certificate can serve as a pathway to many other positions in sales and management. The certificate will become effective for Spring Semester 2017.

Tax levy approved

The board approved a proposed tax levy for the 2016 tax year of $68,000,000, a 4.82 percent increase from the total $64,875,039 extension for 2015.

The Lake County Clerk will determine the actual amount of taxes to be extended on the 2016 levy after applying the tax cap formula, including adding new property to the tax base. The college anticipates that the tax rate for capped funds in 2016 will be approximately 31 cents per $100 of equalized assessed valuation, up slightly from the 29.9 cents rate in 2015. The total of all levies, when combined, is $69,735,840, representing a 4.7 percent increase from the total $66,587,615 extension for 2015.