Joliet Junior College is repurposing its Romeoville campus as the base for its new University Center.
During an open house on Feb. 6, officials with the college took time to highlight how students can turn to the facility to complete coursework and gain guidance in pursuit of a Bachelor’s degree.
The event provided people with the opportunity to tour the building, pick up literature and get questions answered.
Jeanette Konieczka, the college’s adult pathways and university services manager, said those that participate in Joliet Junior College’s 3-plus-1 agreement will take some classes at the college, and for their final year, students have the option of completing coursework in pursuit of a Bachelor’s degree with a partner institution.
“It ends up being a tremendous costs savings because our tuition is lower than anyone’s,” she said. “The other thing that’s great about the 3-plus-1 agreement is that when you get to the final year with the university, those courses are either going to be offered online or at the Romeoville campus.”
The college has formed partnerships with several institutions, including Eastern Illinois University, Governor’s State University and Southern Illinois University. The programs made available vary, ranging from business administration and kinesiology to criminal justice and child development.
“We focused on the ones that work best with what JJC offers as far as courses and programs,” Konieczka said.
She said the courses and programs offered target pathways to career-focused degrees.
Konieczka said for those that prefer traditional classroom instruction over online courses, the partner institutions will work with Joliet Junior College to ensure that a faculty member is available.
“They most likely will look to hire somebody,” she said. “They also could potentially look to Joliet Junior College faculty to hire them.”
Aside of classrooms, the University Center includes space for students to gain access to, among other things, advising, financial aid guidance and student support services.
Konieczka said the University Center opens up great possibilities for students preferring to study locally.
“It opens up opportunities because if you want a Bachelor’s degree but are geographically-bound and moving isn’t an option, you’re limited with the number of choices that you have,” she said.
Konieczka said those that attend classes at the college’s main and Morris campuses could benefit from the University Center and what it aims to offer.
At Joliet Junior College’s Morris campus, the offerings primarily consist of general education. The coursework ranges from English and math to psychology.
Sarah Hintze, the college’s workforce skills and Morris education center manager, said the coursework available at the Morris campus is commonly used to build the foundation for an Associate’s degree, which could lead students to pursue a Bachelor’s degree through the college’s University Center.
“We help advise them through their educational path at JJC,” she said.
Hintze said those who earn their Associate’s degree through the college’s Morris campus may go on to attend the University of St. Francis, Lewis University, Governor’s State University or Illinois State University to earn a Bachelor’s degree.
“When we go into the classrooms to talk to the students about the services we do offer here at the Morris campus, a lot of them say my goal is to get my Associate’s degree and move on for a four-year degree,” she said.
Other offerings at the college’s Morris campus include those in the workforce education department and that help people build proficiency in English as a second language.