By Tim Hood, Highland Community College
February 20, 2018
Highland Community College has an exciting announcement on the horizon. Within the next month, we hope to be home to an international program bringing people from all over the world to Freeport.
Although we are still in the transfer-of-program process, I would like to share with you as much information as possible regarding the International Preservation Studies Center.
The internationally recognized, one-of-a-kind program started in 1980 at the former Shimer College campus in Mount Carroll. Students from across the U.S. and other countries enroll in classes to develop skills in the preservation of artifacts, architecture, museum collections and other historic pieces. Unfortunately, due to overhead and maintenance, the 14-acre campus with 14 historic buildings was too much for the small nonprofit to support. Last year, the Campbell Center Board decided that IPSC needed to find a new home to keep the program going.
Highland and other state universities were approached with an invitation to consider purchasing IPSC. Because of the excellent working relationship between Highland and the Campbell Center with mutual strong levels of support, Highland became the preferred recipient of the program. However, before considering any new Highland program, we carefully evaluate or assess viability and community impact.
We found the program’s enrollment numbers have more than doubled in the past three years, bringing the total of enrollments to nearly 300 in 2017. Instructors are contracted part-time from across the globe, and classes must achieve minimum enrollment in terms of covering costs in order to run.
We also discovered that Highland’s humanities, social sciences and fine arts division, in concert with our Lifelong Learning program, provides an ideal fit for IPSC. Lifelong Learning brings community education to the footprint of our towns. The goal of Lifelong Learning is to offer both credit and noncredit courses throughout Highland’s four-county district, delivering learning opportunities that range from personal and professional enrichment to certification preparation.
The program’s vision is to serve all populations throughout the college’s district, including community members, seniors, and the region’s business professionals. While IPSC is expected to be housed on the main campus, other Lifelong Learning courses are available throughout the year in communities throughout our college district.
Beyond the obvious values for Highland, there are opportunities for Freeport and the surrounding area with the IPSC acquisition. We expect to welcome more than 200 new students and 50 instructors within the first year to Highland. We are optimistic that the enrollment number will jump back to 300 in 2019. These individuals will stay here, shop here and dine here, sending a financial ripple effect throughout our communities.
We are excited about the potential of offering hospitality from our communities to these individuals as they enjoy visiting and learning in our beautiful northwestern Illinois area — bringing the world to our corridor. Please, join us in this collaborative effort. We are so pleased to share another great example of how Highland is “All In.”