INA – Rend Lake College is getting closer to offering an online degree option for students.
College officials have been working on developing this program since 2008. The next step is obtaining permission from the Higher Learning Commission, a regional accrediting organization.
Christina Kuberski, vice president of academic instruction for RLC, said she expects the program to receive this permission soon.
“The classes are in (the) process of being developed,” Kuberski said. “The first year is ready, so it will certainly be available by fall of next year at the latest.”
The online degree program came up as an information item at Tuesday night's RLC Board of Trustees meeting.
Currently, the college offers a variety of online courses, but has no complete online degree program.
If this effort is successful, RLC will initially offer online options for an Associate in Science Degree and an Associate in Arts Degree in General Studies.
“It's important because our students, more and more of them, want to learn online and have that flexibility, and so it allows us to reach that population,” Kuberski said. “Right now, we can offer classes online, but we can't offer a complete degree, so it allows us to do that.”
Getting the online program approved is a complex process. The college has to formally request permission from the Higher Learning Commission. Also, the commission sends a visiting team to the campus to make an evaluation.
Kuberski said the visiting team has recommended that RLC be allowed to offer 5 percent of its degrees online. The commission will vote on this recommendation at their fall meeting.
Also on Tuesday, the RLC Board approved creating a new position – director of the AHEC Center. The job has not yet been filled.
Creating the new position is part of RLC's ongoing effort to implement a grant-funded AHEC program in partnership with Allied Health.
The program will give area high school and middle school students the chance to work toward a career in the medical field. Specifically, AHEC will offer job shadowing and internship opportunities, as well as scholarships.
“There's a benefit big time,” said Kim Robert, dean of Allied Health. “There's a benefit to the students, to the college, and to the whole surrounding area.”
Other RLC Board actions Tuesday included:
n Appointment of Emily Bowers as a biology instructor.
n Appointment of Ann Sutton as a testing and placement specialist.
n Creation of the position of a medical coding instructor.
n Approval of advertising for an additional cosmetology instructor.
n Approval of the tentative fiscal year 2014 budget.