Westmont…In 2015, the College of DuPage’s Board of Trustees relied on Deanne Mazzochi to lead the College through a significant reform period. Resolving scandals involving the College’s prior President; finances; and accreditation probation, Mazzochi advanced a series of reforms that included hiring a new College President, earning full accreditation from the Higher Learning Commission; and new financial controls that drastically changed the direction of the College in a positive direction. Mazzochi also sparked various initiatives to bolster economic growth (business incubator Innovation DuPage); workforce development (Project Hire-Ed); and data-driven educational pathway improvements.
Now, serving as State Representative for Illinois’ 47th District, the State of Illinois is tapping Mazzochi’s expertise for The Joint Advisory Council on Higher Education in Illinois, tasked with streamlining processes, maximizing cost efficiencies, and improving educational outcomes for college students across the state.
“Illinois cannot support industries offering high-paying jobs without a well-trained workforce. Our state should be doing more to maximize the number of students completing valuable credit-bearing certificate programs, two-year, or four-year degree programs so they can stay here in Illinois and have a bright future,” Mazzochi said. Adding, “But it is also critical that our higher education offerings remain affordable. We must ensure college students graduate with marketable skills, with little to no debt, and want to stay in Illinois. High college costs are driving students and their families to exit Illinois higher education. We have the ability to reverse this trend if we can get our state in order. Putting processes in place that allow students to complete their required coursework as efficiently and cost effectively as possible is the first step.” Mazzochi successfully passed HB 2512 to improve college cost transparency; and co-sponsored HB 0026 to guarantee admission to Illinois universities to the top 10% of students. Mazzochi also advocated for a 4-year degree pathway capped at a $20,000 cost.
Senate Joint Resolution 41 provides for the creation of a bipartisan and bicameral panel that will study current college student placement procedures at Illinois’ colleges and universities and recommend reforms to ensure maximum value as students pursue a college program certificate, or a two or four-year degree. The council’s findings, including a detailed plan, must be presented to the Illinois Community College Board, the Illinois Board of Higher Education and the General Assembly by July 1, 2020.
“Our educational system cannot work without full strategic alignment to help students at every step of the way. The Illinois Council of Community College Presidents, the Illinois Chief Academic Officers, Chief Student Services Officers and the Illinois Math Association of Community Colleges recognize that too many students are not ready for higher education. They’re in need of remedial, non-credit coursework upon entering college and many others are placed in non-credit remedial classes when they could be successful in true college-level classes,” said Mazzochi. “These higher education leaders have already agreed upon a detailed, common framework that ensures more accurate placement for incoming students. We must build on their framework to facilitate college students’ likelihood of success, with an eye on the competition of academic coursework in an efficient time-frame, and at an affordable cost.”
According to Mazzochi, the advisory council will study all instructional models and developmental course sequences employed for students placed into developmental education in math or English; examine instructional models for students determined to need additional skills development in math or English; and analyze developmental education placement practices and policies employed at public colleges.