As the nation’s first public community college, Joliet Junior College has a history of being an innovative and forward-thinking institution. Through quality instruction, affordable tuition, academic programs that lead to jobs and transfer, and convenient locations, Joliet Junior College is the first choice for higher education in the seven-county district it serves.
Joliet Junior College is an innovative and accessible institution, dedicated to student learning, community prosperity, cultural enrichment, and inclusion. Joliet Junior College delivers quality lifelong learning opportunities empowering diverse students and the community through academic excellence, workforce training, and comprehensive support services.
Joliet Junior College will be the first choice.
Joliet Junior College’s academic programs and support services ensure the opportunity for goal achievement and student success through career development, personal enhancement, and universal accessibility.
- Provide education pathways that promote completion.
- Improve data accessibility and integrity.
- Collaborate with employers and the community.
- Improve community awareness and strategic marketing.
- Improve internal communications.
The Joliet Junior College community fosters a caring and friendly environment that embraces diversity and encourages personal growth by promoting the following core values:
Respect and Inclusion
Joliet Junior College advocates respect and inclusion for every individual by demonstrating courtesy and civility in every endeavor. Joliet Junior College pledges to promote and recognize the diverse strengths of its employees and students, and to value and celebrate the unique attributes, characteristics, and perspectives of every individual.
Joliet Junior College sees integrity as an integral component of all work done at the College. Joliet Junior College employees demonstrate responsible, accountable, and ethical professionalism. Also, Joliet Junior College models open, honest, and appropriate communication.
Joliet Junior College promotes collaborative relationships as part of the scholarly process, including partnerships within the institution and with other learning communities. Joliet Junior College supports the personal and professional growth of employees and is committed to the advancement and support of intellectual growth, regardless of employment position at the College.
Humor & Well-Being
Joliet Junior College recognizes humor as a means for employees and students to achieve collegial well-being, development of strong work teams, and self-rejuvenation. Joliet Junior College provides a healthy environment where creativity, humor, and enjoyment of work occur, including recognizing and celebrating success.
Joliet Junior College supports and encourages innovation and the pursuit of excellence. Joliet Junior College values, respects, and rewards both creative risk-taking and the enthusiastic pursuit of new ideas with foresight and follow-through.
Joliet Junior College supports quality in the workplace and its educational programming by continually reflecting, evaluating, and improving on programs and services. Joliet Junior College is built upon a foundation of quality programs and services, while also implementing continuous improvement in order to ensure excellence.
Jolliet Junior College recognizes that true sustainability involves a commitment to environmental, social, and economic improvement. Joliet Junior College encourages planning, solutions, and actions that provide benefits for students, employees, and the community.
History of the College
Joliet Junior College is the nation’s first public community college. J. Stanley Brown, superintendent of Joliet Township High School, and William Rainey Harper, president of the University of Chicago, founded JJC in 1901 as an experimental postgraduate high school program. The college’s initial enrollment was six students; today, JJC serves more than 38,000 students in credit and noncredit courses.
Brown and Harper’s innovation created a community college that academically paralleled the first two years of a four-year college or university. Within a few years, the concept of “community” had grown to include students outside the existing high school district.
By December 1902, the Board of Trustees officially sanctioned the program and made postgraduate high school courses available tuition free. In 1916, the Board of Trustees officially named the post-high school program Joliet Junior College. The following year, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools accredited the college, and the State Examining Board approved selected courses for teacher certification. Enrollment at the time numbered 82 students.
In the years that followed, JJC responded positively and creatively to the pressures of a world war, depression and rapid social change. The college met the challenge of a growing technological society in the 1920s and 1930s by expanding the curriculum to include programs in business and industrial training. The return of war veterans in the 1940s and 1950s prompted further curriculum development in the area of two-year occupational programs. Both the transfer and occupational divisions of the college grew at a steady pace.
In 1965, the Illinois Legislature enacted the Illinois Junior College Act, creating specific districts served by various community colleges. JJC was to serve people in parts of seven counties in northern Illinois. By 1967, college enrollment approached 4,000 students. In February of that year, the citizens of 12 high school districts in portions of Will, Grundy, Kendall, LaSalle and Kankakee Counties voted to establish Illinois Community College District 525-an area to be served by JJC.
For two years, the college rented facilities at the original Joliet Township High School building. In February 1968, the Board of Trustees selected 368 acres on the west side of Joliet for a new campus. In April 1969, the Board voted to build interim facilities consisting of 17 temporary buildings on the new site. The college began offering classes at its new location in September 1969, serving 4,130 day and evening students. The $50 million Main Campus was fully operational in the fall of 1974. During 1973 and 1974, both the area and the population of the district expanded with the addition of Peotone, Dwight, Odell, and the area of Lemont that is in Cook County. Today, the 1,442-square-mile district serves a population of more than 650,000 in Will, Grundy, Kendall, LaSalle, Kankakee, Livingston, and Cook Counties. To better serve people throughout the district, off-campus instructional sites have been established at many high schools in the college district, as well as civic centers, churches, libraries, and businesses.
In the fall of 1980, the college opened an instructional site at the Louis Joliet Renaissance Center at 214 N. Ottawa Street in Joliet’s downtown City Center.
In January 1993, JJC opened the Romeoville Campus at 1125 W. 135th Street in Romeoville, a 35,000-square-foot facility with 18 general classrooms; biology, chemistry and computer skills labs; a library/learning resource center; and offices for student services, faculty and administrative support.
The Main Campus expanded in 1996 with the Arthur G. and Vera C. Smith Business and Technology Center. The 90,000-square-foot facility housed several state-of-the-art microcomputer labs; the Business and Computer Information and Office Systems departments; and the Electronics Engineering Technology, Electrical/Electronic Automated Systems Technology, Construction Technology and Computer-Aided Drafting programs. The facility also became the home of many of JJC’s Community and Economic Development workforce services that assist business and industry in adapting modern technologies directly into the workplace.
In 2000, the Main Campus opened the Veterinary Technology and Industrial Training Building and Centennial Commons campus student housing, which is run by an outside management group.
With significant growth in student population from Grundy County, JJC opened the Morris Education Center at 1715 N. Division Street in Morris in fall 2001.
In 2007, the John H. Weitendorf Sr. Agricultural Education Center was opened to serve the needs of JJC agriculture and veterinary medical technology students. The property is located on Laraway Road in Joliet and was donated by JJC alumnus John H. Weitendorf.
In 2008, the college embarked on a five-year master planning process to design and complete seven major projects which were to encompass the most sweeping physical changes to the Main Campus in over 40 years. In 2009, the 11,626 square-foot Greenhouse Facility opened to serve the needs of horticultural students and the community. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Silver building is located on the eastern edge of the Main Campus.
In the spring of 2011, the 40,577-square-foot Facility Services Building opened and is located on the north side of the Main Campus. The LEED Gold structure centralizes buildings, roads, grounds, and maintenance functions of the college. In the summer of 2011, the 114,500-square-foot, three-story Campus Center opened and is located on the east side of Main Campus. Considered the new front door to the campus, the LEED Silver building centralizes student services and houses the library and administrative offices. Also that summer the college formally opened its new 17,000 square-foot Automotive Technology Expansion, located on the south side of campus. In the summer of 2012, the 37,009-square-foot Natural Science Expansion was completed on the south side of the Main Campus.
With the start of 2013 spring semester, the college opened its 124,000-square-foot Health Professions Center, which houses the high-demand nursing, allied health, and emergency services programs. In addition to increased academic space and improved equipment, the new building gives the college the opportunity to expand into other allied health fields based on employment needs and labor market demands.
In January 2017, the long-awaited, six-story City Center Campus opened for classes at 235 N. Chicago Street. At 96,000 square feet, the stunning new high rise in downtown Joliet houses workforce development, GED/ESL training, adult education and culinary arts. Two student-run restaurants are also housed in the facility, and are open to the public on limited days. The design includes many sustainable technologies and is also targeting LEED Silver certification though the United States Green Building Council.
Looking to the future, the college has continued to expand to meet the dynamic needs of its community. Ongoing projects include construction of the JJC Event Center on the southwest side of the Main Campus, opening fall 2017. It features two basketball courts, configuration options for competition basketball and volleyball tournaments, portable batting cages, conditioning space, and perhaps most importantly, enough space to accommodate both athletic competitions and graduation ceremonies. Additionally, the college has expanded the Romeoville Campus by adding more than 49,000 square feet. Since it opened in 1993, enrollment has grown 45 percent in the last 10 years. The new two-story facility includes student services, a bookstore, cafeteria, classrooms, and science laboratories.
Accreditation, Recognition and Institutional Quality
Joliet Junior College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission, one of six regional accrediting agencies in the United States.
Accreditation is a voluntary process whereby colleges and universities seek accreditation status from a nongovernmental body. According to the Higher Learning Commission Overview, “accreditation by the Commission and by other nationally recognized agencies provides assurance to the public, in particular to prospective students, that an organization has been found to meet the agency’s clearly stated requirements and criteria and that there are reasonable grounds for believing that it will continue to meet them.” While accreditation is a voluntary process, colleges and universities that are not accredited are ineligible to receive federal and often state funding. Accreditation status could also affect other quality assurance processes, like state recognition or the transfer of credits.
Colleges and universities can elect to participate in one of three routes to gain accreditation: the Standard Pathway, Open Pathway, or the Academic Quality Improvement Program (AQIP). Since 2001, Joliet Junior College has participated in the AQIP process. The goal of participation in AQIP is to infuse the principles and benefits of continuous improvement into the culture of the institution. According to the AQIP website, “with AQIP, an institution demonstrates it meets accreditation standards and expectations through sequences of events that align with those ongoing activities that characterize organizations striving to improve their performance.”
More information about AQIP can be found online at www.aqip.org or at the Joliet Junior College accreditation website: http://www.jjc.edu/institutional-research/Pages/accreditations.aspx.
Specialized accreditation is also known as programmatic accreditation. Programs at Joliet Junior College receive specialized accreditation from the following agencies:
- Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing
- American Culinary Federation
- American Health Information Management Association
- American Veterinary Medical Association (approved as a program for educating veterinary technicians)
- Commission on Accreditation of Allied Health Education Programs
- National Association of Schools of Music
- National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation
- National Commission on Orthotic and Prosthetic Education
- National Kitchen and Bath Association
Recognition is a state statutory term describing the status of a community college district in Illinois that meets instructional, administrative, financial, facility and equipment standards as established by the Illinois Community College Board. Joliet Junior College currently has recognition status through the Illinois Community College Board.
In addition to accreditation and recognition, Joliet Junior College has processes to ensure academic quality. Joliet Junior College has a strong commitment to the assessment of learning. Assessment at Joliet Junior College is coordinated by the Student Learning Committee, which ensures that academic programs meet stated learning goals. Institutional effectiveness at Joliet Junior College is the process for measuring and ensuring that Joliet Junior College meets stated goals and mission. Data collected through assessment and by the Institutional Research and Effectiveness office measure Joliet Junior College’s performance. Operational planning procedures, including budgeting, assessment, human resources, communications, financial, technology, academic, enrollment management, marketing and academic planning, ensure that college resources are devoted toward institutional priorities.
Illinois Community College District 525 is one of 39 community college districts governed by the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) under the Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE). The ICCB was created by the General Assembly under the provisions of the Illinois Public Junior College Act of 1965. Its primary responsibilities are to coordinate the educational programs offered through the community college system, to allocate state funding for capital expansion, and to act on curriculum changes proposed by individual community colleges.
JJC is directly governed by a seven-member Board of Trustees, all of whom are elected from within the district for six-year terms. A student representative, elected annually by the student body, is a non-voting member of the Board. The officers of the Board are chair, vice chair and secretary, all of whom are elected by their peers.
Safety and Emergency Preparedness
Joliet Junior College is staffed by a fully certified Police Department whose officers are Peace Officers under Illinois law. These officers and a support staff of civilian Campus Safety Officers provide for your safety and security on campus. JJC has some 500 security cameras throughout its campuses as well as 70 plus Sector Leaders who assist in emergency situations that may arise. JJC conducts training for staff in Active Shooter response as well as in many other safety related areas such as First Aid, evacuation and emergency response. JJC also conducts campus wide annual fire and tornado drills as well as drills related to active shooters and other potential emergency situations. JJC has an extensive All Hazards Emergency Operations Plan and is a certified Storm Ready campus. Part of this preparation includes the ThorGuard lightning prediction system which has been installed on Main Campus. Additional information on security issues and policies is available on the JJC Police and Environmental Health & Safety websites at:
In the event of severe weather or other situations that may pose a threat to the safety or welfare of students or staff, classes may be canceled and/or the college may be closed. When classes are canceled or the college is closed due to weather or other situations, the college uses an emergency notification system to communicate with students, faculty and staff.
Methods of communication may include: email, Web, phone/text messaging, and/or local media outlets. More information is available at www.jjc.edu/about/emergency-info.