GLEN ELLYN – Looking for innovative ways to improve college completion rates, Lt. Governor Sheila Simon brought her Complete College Tour to College of DuPage today to hear about a new way the school plans to graduate criminal justice majors.
College of DuPage has launched a “3+1” partnership with nearby Lewis University to make it faster and easier for students to earn a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. Beginning this fall, students can enroll in COD’s associate’s degree program and then, upon completion of the associate’s coursework, take advanced classes at the Glen Ellyn campus that will fulfill requirements for Lewis University’s bachelor’s degree in criminal/social justice.
This program offers a significant cost-savings opportunity to students as they will pay COD rates for their first three years in the program, and then a fraction of Lewis’ rates for the final year. It may also act as a model for other colleges and universities, which can struggle with transfer agreements.
“Illinois is serious about increasing college course, certificate and degree completion,” Simon said during a round table discussion with students, faculty and administrators. “We must increase completion rates so that more students who walk in the door of community colleges walk across the stage at graduation and into an Illinois workplace.”
COD President Robert L. Breuder noted that the 3+1 program is a trend in higher education that will only increase over time.
“This is an exciting, innovative approach to traditional transfer programs,” Dr. Breuder said. “We’re extremely pleased to be at the forefront of this developing trend, which increases access and affordability to higher education.”
Simon announced earlier this year that Illinois leaders want to increase the proportion of working-age adults with college degrees or certificates to 60 percent from 41 percent by 2025. As the Governor’s point person on education reform, she is touring the state’s 48 community colleges to see completion efforts at each campus, while also compiling ideas to overcome the barriers to each college’s completion goals.
“Community colleges are an affordable and valued higher education option for Illinois students,” Simon said. “Motivation to go to college has increased, as reflected in enrollment numbers throughout Illinois, but now we must continue to foster an environment of success where students complete their degrees and certificates.”
During her visit to COD, Simon toured the construction site of the College’s new Homeland Security Education Center, a 65,000 square-foot facility that will provide training for criminal justice and fire science programs and will house the National Law Enforcement Academy and its affiliate, the Suburban Law Enforcement Academy. The first facility of its kind in the nation, the HEC will feature a full-scale, 4-D tactical village, an emergency operations command post, advanced forensics technology and cybercrimes laboratories, and a lecture hall that also serves as a mock courtroom.