We were updated on the changes at Southeast Community College at Lincoln South Rotary Club on June 14. Dr. Paul Illich, President of SCC, was our speaker.
Southeast Community College has 3 campuses and 6 learning centers. They serve over 14,000 unique students for credit courses and nearly 19,000 for noncredit courses. They offer over 60 career/technical programs which help to provide the skilled workforce for Southeast Nebraska.
Dr. Illich said that when he was hired it was to take SCC to the next level. He proudly announced that 87% of the graduates found employment in Nebraska.
Shortly after he arrived they conducted a complete study of the status of the school. They quickly identified that there was a need to expand the capacity in order to meet the need for skilled workers and to make the courses more available - improve access to the courses.
They found that, even with the current learning centers, they were not reaching enough areas. With improvements students can now complete a full 2-year program at any of the Learning Centers - they will not need to travel to a campus to complete their studies. Everyone within the service area is within 35 miles of a Campus or Learning Center.
Their plans included identifying at least one major project on each campus. Those plans included new or expanded facilities and upgrading areas to better serve the students. Among the projects:
  • Health Sciences building in Lincoln           
  • Diesel Tech building in Milford
  • Interdisciplinary Center in Beatrice
  • Learning Center inf Falls City
  • Residence Hall in Milford
  • Residence and Dining Halls in Beatrice
The new Health Sciences building at Southeast Community College will set the stage for future building at Southeast Community College. It will be the first classroom facility on the campus that is not attached to the primary facility. It will be located on the south end of the campus near O Street. As people drive into Lincoln from the east on Highway 34 (O Street) it will be the first building they see and is designed to impress and welcome everyone to Lincoln. It is designed with a lot of glass - to let the light in and so you can see out and, as you walk through the facility you will be able to see the activities in all of the learning areas.
The Crete Carrier Diesel Technology and Welding Center can fit 9 semi tractors and multiple combines to allow multiple teams to work on the equipment and learn simultaneously. There will also be a number of welding bays to improve that program.
The Interdisciplinary center in Beatrice is designed to support all of the programs on the campus. The facility will allow for more programs and classes at all times.
Many of us have heard about the culinary arts program at Southeast Community College. But, Dr. Illich wanted to be sure to tell us about the new teaching chef (formerly from The Dish in Lincoln) and that it is truly fine dining with seating up to 8 people.
A major change at Southeast Community College is the change from quarters to semesters. This is a major change but very important to the students so that the study periods will align with other colleges - particularly UNL.
Dr. Illich also talked about the new SCC logo with the tag line Your Path to Possible. You can see the "path" through the center. The logo is about partnerships - like to hands together.
BIO: Paul Illich, President Southeast Community College
Dr. Paul Illich was named president of Southeast Community College on July 1, 2014, after serving McLennan Community College in Waco, Texas, for 17 years.
Illich has led Southeast Community College (SCC) to a number of significant accomplishments, including the development of the College’s 2015-19 Strategic Plan, which has provided clear direction in relation to program development, enrollment, student success, financial management, facilities planning, and program and partnership development. The College also completed its first comprehensive Facilities Master Plan in 2016, of which $70 million of Phase I projects is currently in progress to ensure it expands its capacity to provide a qualified skilled workforce and affordable access to higher education. He has provided direction for other significant accomplishments at SCC, including:
  • The opening of six learning centers throughout the 15-county service area.
  • The College’s three-year transition from a quarter academic calendar to a semester academic calendar.
  • The College’s recent accreditation review to ensure SCC is in good standing with its accreditation body.
Illich has served as president of the Joint Board of The Career Academy, a collaborative partnership with Lincoln Public Schools, and has served on the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development Committee, the Greater Lincoln Workforce Economic Development Board, and the National Center for Excellence in Electronics Board.
Illich has a Ph.D. in experimental psychology from Texas A&M University in College Station.