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.
Vision, Mission and Strategic Goals
Joliet Junior College, the nation’s first public community college, will be a leader in teaching and learning, and the first choice for post-secondary education.
Joliet Junior College enriches people’s lives through affordable, accessible, and quality programs and services. The college provides transfer and career preparation, training and workforce development, and a lifetime of learning to the diverse community it serves.
- Improve student success with an emphasis on enrollment, retention, graduation, transfer rates, and effective teaching strategies and learning outcomes.
- Increase institutional sustainability with an emphasis on obtaining necessary resources, state-of-the-art facilities, professional development and environmental stewardship.
- Increase and improve partnerships with organizations that support the college’s mission.
- Utilize technology strategically to advance teaching and learning, expand online and alternative delivery methods, and enable effective administrative and support services.
- Improve the success of minority, underrepresented and underprepared student populations in addition to closing the gap between high school and college performance.
- Develop programs that anticipate and respond to labor market demand.
Core Values Rich In Quality
The Joliet Junior College community fosters a caring and friendly environment that embraces diversity and encourages personal growth by promoting the following core values:
The Joliet Junior College community advocates respect for every individual by the demonstration of courtesy and civility in every endeavor. Joliet Junior College celebrates the diversity of our communities and pledges to promote and recognize the strengths as reflected in the employees and students. The belief that no one is more important than another is a routine work practice.
Integrity is an integral component of the common bond among Joliet Junior College community members. Joliet Junior College believes that all staff should demonstrate a professional persona that is responsible, accountable and ethical. These attributes will manifest themselves in each professional behavior and job duty. From these behaviors, the college community models open, honest, and appropriate communication.
Joliet Junior College is dedicated to the formation and enrichment of collaborative relationships as part of the scholarly process. Joliet Junior College encourages the formation of collaborative partnerships within and with other learning communities. As a community of learners, Joliet Junior College supports the personal and professional growth of all who are jointly committed to the advancement of scholarly endeavors. In turn, the academic process at the college can only strengthen.
Humor & Well-Being
The staff at Joliet Junior College recognizes humor as a means for collegial well-being and self-rejuvenation. Joliet Junior College endorses a healthy environment where creativity, humor, and enjoyment of work are encouraged. The Joliet Junior College community creates a positively balanced organizational culture by taking work seriously and celebrating successes.
Encouraging the pursuit of excellence and innovation drives Joliet Junior College through the 21st century. Joliet Junior College values, respects and rewards both creative risk taking and the enthusiastic pursuit of new ideas with foresight. In turn, the Joliet Junior College community must constantly strive to better understand and anticipate the future that it may participate creatively in its design.
Joliet Junior College is dedicated to the quality of its educational programs and services. The college continually appraises and subsequently improves its program and services. Joliet Junior College distinguishes and promotes educational excellence among the college practitioners. The college is also committed to providing quality programs that are both accessible and affordable to Illinois Community College District 525.
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 junior 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. Today, that facility is known as the college’s City Center Campus, which offers a variety of credit and noncredit classes. The City Center Campus provides hands-on experience for JJC Culinary Arts and Hospitality Management students who run the Renaissance Center restaurant and banquet facilities. The City Center Campus also houses the college’s Community and Economic Development (CED) division, as well as the Division of Adult and Family Services (DAFS). Community and Economic Development is the headquarters for workforce preparation, employee training, business development and technology deployment for JJC’s district. The Division of Adult and Family Services works to provide a range of education, job training, employment, and support services for participants and their families. Most programs and services are provided at no cost, and provide funds for tuition, books, transportation and childcare.
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. Romeoville Campus offers a full range of credit and noncredit classes, including accounting, advertising, biology, business, business law, chemistry, computer information systems, culinary arts, economics, education, English, geography, history, management, mathematics, philosophy, political science, psychology, real estate, sociology, speech and word processing.
The Main Campus expanded in 1996 with the Arthur G. and Vera C. Smith Business and Technology Center. The 90,000-square-foot facility houses 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 is home to 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 April 2008, the college’s Board of Trustees approved a $220 million master plan, which will alter the look of the college while enhancing and providing new services to students and the community. The board approved a $9 capital assessment fee in May 2008, which will fund $70 million of the master plan projects, including a new campus center on the Main Campus. In November 2008, district residents approved an $89 million referendum, which will fund the college’s new Nursing and Allied Health building, Automotive Technology expansion, new Culinary Arts and Hospitality facility, and expansion of science labs. All building projects are expected to be completed in 2013.
Accreditation, Recognition and Institutional Quality
Joliet Junior College is accredited by the Higher Learning Commission and a member of the North Central Association, 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 two routes in gaining accreditation: the Program to Advance Education Quality (PEAQ) 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 AQIP website: www.jjc.edu/aqip.
Specialized accreditation refers to programmatic accreditation. Joliet Junior College receives specialized accreditation from the following agencies:
- American Culinary Federation
- Association of Collegiate Business Schools and Programs
- National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation
- National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission
- National Association of Schools of Music
- American Veterinary Medical Association (approved as a program for educating veterinary technicians)
- American Health Information Management Association
- Professional Landscape Network
- 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 several 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. The quality assurance process is guided by the college’s Model for Institutional Effectiveness. 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
The JJC Campus Police Department is a fully sworn, armed and authorized police department. Officers receive training on active shooter situations and lockdowns, as well as room evacuations/clearing drills. The college has an all-hazards emergency response plan and a plan that corresponds with the National Incident Management System, established by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
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 cancelled and/or the college may be closed. When classes are cancelled 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.