IVCC asks students to pledge degree completion

08/26/2011, 8:56 pm

Illinois Valley Community College students will sign a mass pledge to complete their degrees and certificates from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 31, as part of IVCC’s annual Spirit Day celebration and New Student Convocation.

“Statistics show the surest way for anyone to land a job in their chosen field is to finish college and earn a degree or certificate,” said IVCC President Jerry Corcoran.

Phi Theta Kappa Rho Omega chapter officers and advisers, faculty, counselors and administrators will ask students to pledge to complete their degrees and certifications before transferring or entering the job market. The mass pledge is part of a national community college movement.

Phi Theta Kappa members are serving as the student arm of The Community College Completion Corps, a national education initiative. In April 2010, leaders of six national organizations representing the nation’s 1,200 community colleges, signed the “Call to Action,” a pledge to increase student completion rates by 50 percent over the next decade. Phi Theta Kappa was the only student organization asked to participate.

In October, Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden and a community college professor, hosted the first White House Summit on Community Colleges. President Barack Obama, philanthropist Melinda Gates and a host of speakers praised community colleges for serving almost half the nation’s college students and playing a pivotal role in educating the workforce.

Obama has called for community colleges to produce an additional five million degrees and certificates in the next 10 years, part of his goal to restore the United States as the world’s leader in college graduates.

The Illinois Community College Board reports that between 1996 and 2006, there was a 63 percent increase in the number of students completing Illinois community college programs. The ICCB says a typical 25-year-old Illinois community college graduate can expect total lifetime earnings gains of $541,000, 55 percent more than peers who do not complete a community college program. By 2018, 64 percent of Illinois jobs will require postsecondary education versus 58 percent today.

Phi Theta Kappa, headquartered in Jackson, Miss., is the largest honor society in higher education with 1,250 chapters on college campuses in all 50 of the United States, Canada, Germany, the Republic of Palau, the Republic of the Marshall Islands, the Federated States of Micronesia, the British Virgin Islands, the United Arab Emirates and U.S. territorial possessions.

In 2010-2011, IVCC inducted 118 Phi Theta Kappa members. Nationwide, more than two million students have been inducted since its founding in 1918, with approximately 100,000 students inducted annually.

For information, contact Phi Theta Kappa faculty adviser LeeAnn Johnson at 815-224-0308.

The Times Company

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