ECC was founded in 1968 and classes began in September 1969, making 2019 a historic year. The College wrapped up its 50th anniversary celebration by participating in several area parades during the summer, and in September an event on campus featuring activities, including a car display, petting zoo, inflatables and food trucks. A class reunion was also held for alums to see old friends.
In addition, ECC sealed a time capsule containing mementos of the past 50 years to be opened in 2068 for the 100th anniversary.
Looking ahead, President Dr. Jon Bauer said the college will focus on its new strategic plan, SOAR to 2024. “We begin this new year focused on developing the initiatives in our new strategic plan that will greatly enhance our college and our surrounding communities,” he said. “Last year will be remembered as a springboard for our current plan,” Bauer added. “I will remember it as one of the most exciting and substantial years in recent memory for East Central College.”
The college is governed by a board of trustees. The board includes six members, two from each sub-district.
ECC students can complete their first two years of coursework toward a bachelor's degree and then transfer to a four-year institution. In addition, there are more than 25 career/technical programs are offered with Associate of Applied Science (AAS) and certificate options available for students preparing to enter the workforce. The Union campus sits on over 200 acres. The college also has two locations in Rolla and offers classes in Washington.
Soar to 2024
In August, the Board of Trustees approved a new 5-year strategic plan — SOAR to 2024.
The architects of the plan enlisted the assistance of students, administration, faculty, staff, trustees, community members and business leaders to ensure that all stakeholders had a voice in the process.
SOAR to 2024 features a new mission and vision for the college, as well as a new set of values and five major strategies: Pathways, Partnerships, Employees, Financial Strength and Rolla.
New Dual Credit Opportunities
The college implanted a plan last year to provide more educational opportunities to area students through an earlier college experience. In December, trustees authorized free dual credit classes to high school students who are on the federal Free and Reduced Lunch program. The new initiative took effect in the 2020 spring semester that began Jan. 21. This move provides an avenue for ECC to remove the barrier for high school students who don’t have access to traditional financial aid.
Students taking dual credit classes are taught in their high school by a teacher from their school who is certified in that discipline by ECC. The college grants the student credit hours upon completion of the class.
Data show that students who participate in early college programs are more likely to enroll full-time after high school. Early college can shorten the time to degree and reduce the overall cost of higher education for students and their families.
ECC Brings Back Baseball, Adds Women’s Soccer
In December, trustees also agreed to expand the slate of sports offerings to include men’s baseball and women’s soccer. Women’s soccer will start in fall 2020 and men’s baseball will return to the field in spring 2022. The baseball program was discontinued in 2001 due to budget cuts after starting in 1974.
Men’s baseball will have a roster of 35 players while women’s soccer will have a roster of 25 student-athletes. There are three primary reasons for moving forward with these two sports: enrollment, student success and revenue generation.
Historically, student-athletes have a higher grade point average, course completion rates, and graduation and transfer rates than non-athletes.
Free Textbook Project
During the 2019 summer semester the college began to provide lower cost textbooks for students. In some cases textbooks are free. Community college students spend an average of $1,400 on books and supplies each year and this initiative lessens the burden for them
ECC is using open educational resources (OER) that are either copyright-free textbooks, or have a license that allows for reuse. Students will get the same quality information at little or no cost.
The idea began with the English department where students were paying about $140 for a required textbook. Now, those students are using a textbook that only costs $34.
The project is expected to be expanded to other classes as the college continues to look for methods to lower the barriers for students.
Higher Learning Commission Visit
A team from the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) completed its on-site work in November. The College remains fully accredited and has taken positive steps to improve in the areas from assessment to planning to governance.
The HLC team read and heard about a number of significant, substantive changes that have occurred over the past few years. The energy and engagement was evident throughout the visit, and is reflective of the work happening on campus every day.
In 2020, the college will move forward in implementing SOAR 2024. ECC also will focus on its assessment, evaluating new programs and revising policies.
A grant is being sought by the ECC Foundation to repair and improve the walking trail on the Union campus. In addition, the Foundation will begin spearheading a fundraising campaign to raise funds to upgrade the current baseball field.
The college anticipates the completion of a greenhouse near the ECC Training Center in Union. The greenhouse is substantially complete and it will enhance the college’s culinary program. It is funded with federal, state and local dollars.
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