By Mike McKissack
College of DuPage and Literacy DuPage recently signed a memorandum of understanding designed to improve student learning and employment opportunities and increase efficiency.
College of DuPage Dean of Continuing Education Joe Cassidy said the collaboration will benefit both students and the DuPage community.
“Students will benefit from the combined focus and resources of both organizations working collectively to prepare them for immediate employment and continued study at the college level,” he said. “The collaboration will also eliminate duplicative costs by merging two similar tutoring programs while taking advantage of College of DuPage’s resources and systems and greater economies of scale.”
Through the partnership, which is focused on non-traditional Adult Basic Education and English Language Acquisition students age 18 and older, the College will provide support in program and course development, student registration, student services, marketing and outreach, office space and administration.
Literacy DuPage, occupying office space within COD’s Continuing Education office suite, will register its students with the College’s Continuing Education program and assume the COD ABE/HSE/ ELA tutoring program, support matriculation into COD’s courses and programs, and contribute financially to COD’s annual operating cost.
Literacy of DuPage Director Therese McMahon said the agreement will result in the significant expansion of program resources for students.
“Our collaborative efforts will increase access and success for Literacy DuPage’s students by providing a pathway for them to enroll in Adult Education and other courses and supports offered through the College,” she said. “COD’s Adult Education students will likewise benefit with additional classroom support offered by Literacy DuPage’s tutors. By centralizing and coordinating tutoring services for all students enrolled in COD’s and Literacy DuPage’s English Language Acquisition and Adult Basic Education programs, sharing staff and resources, the partnership will improve student-learning outcomes while lowering overall costs to taxpayers.”
The partnership came about, in part, through common goals held by the College and Literacy DuPage, and further strengthened by collaboration between the two organizations in COD’s recent Writing in the Community class, as well as Literacy DuPage’s work with the College’s international students.
“Continuing Education at College of DuPage constantly looks to partner with like-minded organizations that share the College’s mission, vision and values,” said Cassidy. “Both organizations have been exploring direct collaboration for quite some time, aligning strategic goals and planning how each organization could help the other better serve the greater DuPage community.”
The College’s work to increase community partnerships also found support from DuPage County Board Chairman Dan Cronin.
“I applaud the continuing efforts of the College of DuPage to strengthen their collaborative efforts with community organizations throughout the county,” he said. “This partnership with Literacy DuPage will consolidate educational services, while increasing administrative efficiency and program outcomes to help more adults learn English, and improve their reading, writing and math skills. Bottom line, it will benefit our DuPage County residents.
Literacy DuPage is a community-based organization serving more than 30 communities in DuPage for over 40 years. The non-profit recruits and trains volunteers to provide free tutoring for adults seeking to improve their English speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. Annually, 400 Literacy DuPage volunteers provide tutoring for 500 adults. It is estimated that close to 100,000 DuPage residents need help improving their English skills. To learn more about Literacy DuPage, or to volunteer visit www.literacydupage.org.
College of DuPage is regionally accredited by the Higher Learning Commission. Serving approximately 25,000 students each term, College of DuPage is the largest public community college in the state of Illinois. The College grants seven associate degrees and offers more than 170 career and technical certificates in over 50 areas of study.
(Pictured above, from left to right: Therese McMahon, Joe Cassidy and Literacy DuPage Board Chair Jean Demas)