Richland Community College
|Community College of Decatur |
|Type||Public, 2 year Community College|
|President||Dr. Gayle Saunders, Ph.D|
|Location||Decatur, IL, USA|
|Campus||Rural 153 acres (0.62 km2)|
|Affiliations||Illinois Community College System|
||This article contains content that is written like an advertisement. (March 2015)|
Richland Community College (RCC), located in Decatur, Illinois, is one of 48 two-year, open-admission colleges of the Illinois Community College System (ICCS), organized under the Illinois Public Community College Act.
Richland Community College serves approximately 3,340 students annually through its main campus, two Extension Centers and other off-campus sites throughout the District, as of the fall of 2013. The Continuing and Professional Education Division provides professional development courses, community education courses, and workforce training to over 4,000 people annually. Annually, Richland serves over 9,000 students.
Richland Community College offers academic/transfer, technical, and non-credit opportunities for learning. Richland's "Open Door" policy allows anyone who believes he or she may benefit from study at the College to enroll. Once students enroll, they have two possible routes: Students with diversified needs and interests who are not seeking degrees may take courses in a variety of areas. While these courses may also be part of particular programs, students may select courses that best fit their goals. Another direction for students is a program of study. A program of study leads to the awarding of appropriate degrees or certificates. Admission to a program of study requires that a student has earned a high school diploma, or a High School Equivalency Certificate based on the GED Test, or meets the "ability to benefit" criteria through a recognized test approved by the U.S. Department of Education.
Richland is organized into several divisions: Business and Technology; Communications, Education, Humanities, and Fine Arts; Continuing and Professional Education; Health Professions; Mathematics and Sciences; Correctional Education; Student Success; and Workforce Development.
Career and Technical Education Options
A number of Richland's career and technical education programs are articulated with four-year institutions to allow for the completion of a four-year degree in an additional two years if desired. To meet the broad range of student objectives, Richland Community College offers several options for career and technical education students:
- Basic Certificate—A basic certificate is an award for satisfactory completion of a series of courses totaling 30 semester credit hours or less. Those programs that have only a basic certificate are designed to provide the necessary skills to obtain an entry-level position. For programs that have a basic certificate as part of a degree, the certificate is an award for satisfactorily completing a series of courses.
- Advanced Certificate—An advanced certificate is awarded for satisfactory completion of a series of courses or curriculum totaling 50 semester credit hours or less. This certificate is designed to provide the technical skills that would prepare an individual for initial employment in the job setting or for those currently employed and in need of advanced study.
- Associate in Applied Science—An Associate in Applied Science (AAS) degree is an award for the satisfactory completion of a prescribed curriculum of 60 semester credit hours or more intended to prepare individuals for employment in a specific field. It also serves those persons already employed in the field who desire to improve their competencies and achieve an associate's degree. A number of the AAS degrees have been articulated and/or capstoned with four-year institutions for completion of a Bachelor's degree.
- Capstone Options—Some career and technical education programs and/or courses transfer to senior institutions although they are not designed specifically for transfer.
Baccalaureate Transfer Options
Richland offers the following types of degrees for students planning to continue their formal education at a four-year university or upper division college in order to obtain a baccalaureate degree:
- Associate in Arts, A.A.—60 credits, minimum of 15 hours taken at Richland
- Associate in Science, A.S.—60 credits, minimum of 15 hours taken at Richland
- Associate in Fine Arts, A.F.A.—64-66 credits, minimum of 15 hours taken at Richland
- Associate in Liberal Studies, A.L.S.—60 credits, minimum of 15 hours taken at Richland
- Associate in Engineering Science, A.E.S.—60 credits, minimum of 15 hours taken at Richland
- Associate of Arts in Teaching, A.A.T.—64 credits
Dual Credit for High School Students
Dual credit allows students to supplement their high school courses with college-level classes for both high school and college credit. Students may take college-level classes for college credit and bank those credits while in high school for later use at Richland or to transfer to a college or university. Students who enroll in dual credit courses have the opportunity to explore career options and save money on college courses.
Continuing and Professional Non-Credit Courses
Richland Community College offers business and corporate training in areas such as occupational safety, workforce training for specific applications, and supervisory management skills. Non-credit courses in a variety of interest areas ranging from piano and horseback riding, to dance, culinary, or sewing are offered.
Additional programs offered at Richland Community College include the Honors Opportunities Program, International Studies, and Articulated 2+2 Programs for students who wish to transfer to another institution and complete a four-year degree after earning an associate degree at Richland.
Richland Community College is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission, 30 North LaSalle Street, Suite 2400, Chicago, IL 60602-2504.
Richland Community College has been a participating institution in the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) since 2001. AQIP is an alternative process through which an organization can maintain its accredited status with The Higher Learning Commission. AQIP’s goal is to infuse the principles and benefits of continuous improvement into the culture of colleges and universities in order to assure and advance the quality of higher education. AQIP allows an organization to demonstrate that it meets The Higher Learning Commission’s Criteria for Accreditation and other expectations through processes that align with the ongoing activities that characterize organizations striving continuously to improve their performance. 
- Associate Degree Nursing (ADN) -- Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing, Inc. (ACEN)
- Automotive Technology—National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (ASE Certification)
- Radiology (AAS) -- Joint Review Committee on Education in Radiologic Technology (JRCERT)
- Surgical Technology (AAS) -- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs (CAAHEP)
- Medical Transcription (AAS) -- Association for Healthcare Documentation Integrity (AHDI)
- Information Technology—Network Technology (AAS) -- Cisco Certified Network Associate (CCNA) Academy
- Health Information Technology (AAS) -- Commission on Accreditation for Health Informatics and Information Management Education (CAHIIM)
- Culinary Arts (AAS) -- American Culinary Federation (ACF)
- Engineering Technology (Certificate) -- Manufacturing Skills Standards Certification (in progress)
- Welding Technology (AAS) -- American Welding Society (AWS) (in progress)
- Network Technology (AAS) -- CompTIA Authorized Academy Program (in progress)
Richland serves its District with the main campus, located at One College Park in Decatur, and two extension centers. The College’s main campus resides on a site of 155 acres of land. Following substantial growth and expansion, Richland currently contains 293,590 square feet. Richland Community College has two primary off-campus locations: The Fairview Park Plaza Extension Center and the Clinton Extension Center. Several other off-campus sites, including high schools, host classes for Richland Community College. Fairview Park Plaza Extension Center, 1485 King Street in Decatur, provides classroom space for both credit and non-credit classes. Businesses have the opportunity to rent space for training workshops.The Clinton Higher Education Center, located at 140 Sunrise Court in Clinton, IL offers admissions, advising, registration, placement testing, virtual testing, financial aid, and many other services. Credit classes and workshops are scheduled in Clinton as well as other communities throughout Richland's district. In addition to regularly scheduled daytime credit classes held in Clinton, interactive evening credit classes are held via distance learning. General Education Development (GED) and English as a Second Language (ESL) classes are also provided.
Heartland Technical Academy provides dual credit classes for high school students on Richland's main campus. Project READ, which offers free, one-on-one tutoring in reading and math to adults age 17 and older who are not currently enrolled in high school, is located at the Decatur Public Library, 130 N. Franklin in Decatur. Project READ became a program of Richland Community College in 1988.
Located in Decatur, Illinois, Richland Community College is within a 20-mile driving radius for students in the surrounding communities. Decatur was named “Best Small Metro Area” by Forbes Magazine in 2000. Decatur has an affordable cost of living, with a wide variety of housing choices in the city or one of the nearby villages, and is in close proximity to Springfield, the State Capitol. The Decatur area has excellent public and private schools and easy access to public and private universities including the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, University of Illinois-Springfield, Illinois State University, Eastern Illinois University, Illinois Benedictine University, Millikin University, and Illinois Wesleyan University.
Central Illinois is an area rich in agriculture and manufacturing and is home to Archer Daniels Midland, Tate & Lyle, and Caterpillar. Decatur is also the home of the Farm Progress Show, held every two years at Richland Community College. Decatur is the site of the Midwest Inland Port, a multi-modal hub that consists of three class one rail lines, five major roadways, an airport, and intermodal ramp, that connects the midwest to the east, west, and Gulf Coast of America. Approximately 95 million consumers can be reached within a 500 mile radius.
In 1971, the voters approved the creation of the College, primarily limited to Decatur, after unsuccessful referendums sought to encompass a larger area.
On September 8, 1972, classes began for then-Community College of Decatur in the former Millikin National Bank Building, 100 North Water Street.
In December 1973, the Illinois Community College Board endorsed the recommendation that 15 high school districts be annexed to the Decatur College District.
In February 1975, Richland Community College became the new name to represent the expanded district.
In February 1980, a nonprofit foundation was established by the Board to enable the College to receive gifts of money, real property, and scholarship funds and to offer other support to the College.
On March 20, 1984, a $5.8 million bond referendum was approved by voters for an $18.5 million permanent campus at our current site.
On July 16, 1986, Governor James R. Thompson led the groundbreaking ceremony.
On September 6, 1988, classes were held at the permanent site.
The new campus was formally dedicated on November 12, 1988.
In September 1990, work began on the Weidenbacher Greenhouse. The Greenhouse was ready for classes for the Fall 1991 semester.
In March 1992, work began on the Shilling Community Education Center, a 44,600-square-foot structure with auditorium. Shilling Center had its official opening and dedication on April 8, 1993.
In September 2001, Dr. Gayle Saunders became the first female President of Richland Community College.
In October 2001, Richland became one of only a few community colleges within Illinois to use the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP) rather than the traditional self-study for its reaccredidation. Richland representatives received the initial training for AQIP and identified three Vital Projects for the College.
On November 1, 2002, RCC held its first Founders’ Day Breakfast to celebrate 30 years.
On December 3, 2002, the new Macon County Soil and Water Conservation District building built on RCC campus was dedicated. This is the second partnership of its kind in the nation.
On January 11, 2003, the new Schrodt Health Education Center that houses all health profession programs was dedicated and opened for classes.
On January 30, 2003, the Board adopted the Richland Community College Core Values of Commitment, Respect, Excellence, Accountability, and Diversity.
In July 2003, a new partnership between Richland Community College and Partners in Education was created, and Partners in Education moved its offices to the Richland campus.
In August 2003, the Mueller Student Center was remodeled.
In September 2003, Richland Community College’s Project READ and the Decatur Public Library formed a partnership, and Project READ was relocated to the second floor of the Decatur Public Library to provide centralized services for community members.
In Fall 2005, Richland entered into agreements with Logan, Lincoln, and Jacksonville (including Pittsfield Work Camp) Correctional Centers to offer programs to Department of Corrections students. Classes are held at the Correctional Centers.
In June 2006, ground was broken for the Agribusiness and Occupational Technology Center.
In September 2007, the ground was broken for the Early Childhood classroom and Fitness Center.
The Agribusiness and Occupational Technology Center was dedicated in November 2007.
On February 16, 2008, the Agribusiness and Occupational Technology Center was renamed the Dwayne O. Andreas Agribusiness Education Center.
In September 2008, ground was broken for the Center for Sustainability and Innovation.
The Fitness Center opened in its new location in Fall 2008.
In January 2009, the Fairview Park Plaza Center opened as a site for credit and non-credit classes.
The Adele P. Glenn Academy for Early Childhood Education was dedicated on April 8, 2009.
On April 29, 2009, the Industrial Technology Center was renamed the Walter and Alice Scherer Industrial Technology Center.
The Center for Sustainability and Innovation opened in July 2009; it was dedicated in Fall 2010.
In August 2009, the wind turbine started operation; it was dedicated in September 2009.
In August 2009, the Automotive Program relocated its classes to Richland’s campus.
In May 2010, the first graduates of the Culinary Arts Institute participated in Commencement.
In August 2011, ground was broken for the National Sequestration Education Center, a partnership of the U.S. Department of Energy, Archer Daniels Midland, The Illinois Geological Survey, Slumberger, and Richland Community College.
The National Sequestration Education Center opened for use in fall 2012.
In December 2012, Governor Pat Quinn visited Richland to announce the funding for the redesigned Student Success Center.
The Clinton Extension Center was dedicated in November 2013 to move delivery of courses and services from Clinton High School.
Groundbreaking for the Workforce Development Institute, which will house several Career and Technical Education Programs and a new Fitness Center, was held on April 2, 2013.
The Richland Transfer Academy, which offers the General Education Core Curriculum (transfer courses) in a stream scheduling format, opened in August 2012; the Academy is open to any student interested in completing the GECC within 4 semesters.
At the 2013 American Association of Community Colleges Annual Meeting in April 2013, Richland was recognized as one of five finalists for the 2013 American Association of Community Colleges Award of Excellence in the Outstanding College/Corporate Partnership category.
Groundbreaking for the Student Success Center and North Wing Addition was held on October 30, 2014. The Student Success Center will centralize all student services on the Richland Community College Campus, including recruitment, academic advising, testing and assessment, enrollment, financial aid and scholarships, career planning, transfer support and job placement.
- "Richland Community College Accreditation Status". The Higher Learning Commission. 2009. Retrieved August 15, 2009.
- Johnson, Jane (2008). "RICHLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE INSTITUTIONAL DATA BOOK 2008-2009". Richland Community College. p. 9. Retrieved August 15, 2009.
- "RCC History". Richland Community College. 2008. Retrieved August 15, 2009.
- Public Community College Act (110 ILCS 805/), Illinois General Assembly, 1978, retrieved August 12, 2009
- From the President, Richland Community College, 2008, retrieved August 15, 2009
- Johnson, Jane (2008). "RICHLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE INSTITUTIONAL DATA BOOK 2008-2009". Richland Community College. p. 10. Retrieved August 15, 2009.
- Johnson, Jane (2008). "RICHLAND COMMUNITY COLLEGE INSTITUTIONAL DATA BOOK 2008-2009". Richland Community College. pp. 2, 3. Retrieved August 15, 2009.
- "ILLINOIS COMMUNITY COLLEGES". Illinois Community College Board. 2008. Retrieved August 9, 2009.
- Richland Community College; official site