INA, Ill. (Dec. 13, 2011 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE) – Rend Lake College President Charley D. Holstein announced tonight at the Board of Trustees monthly meeting that he will not seek to renew his contract as president when it expires June 30 of 2012. Holstein said he is leaving to pursue other professional opportunities, spend more time with his three children – the youngest of whom is 6 – and focus on completing his PhD. He will have served RLC for more than four years when he leaves the office at the end of June.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here at Rend Lake College,” said Holstein. “The years have gone by very quickly and I want everyone to know I will continue to work hard at moving Rend Lake College forward until my last day.”
RLC Board of Trustees Chairman Bryan Drew said the Board holds great respect for the leadership Holstein has shown during his tenure as president.
“Charley is definitely leaving Rend Lake College better than he found it and, for that, the Board offers its gratitude and good wishes,” said Drew. “Thanks to the combined efforts of the faculty, staff, Foundation and administration at Rend Lake College, we are better off now than four years ago.”
Drew acknowledged the Board’s commitment to the college and said it will soon begin establishing a timeframe and process for the recruitment and selection of Holstein’s successor.
Holstein, 47, first came to the college in 2008. Prior to that, he worked for a large private sector investment firm after retiring from the U.S. Army as a decorated combat officer. As the college’s chief administrator for nearly four years now, Holstein has guided RLC in numerous advancements while battling tumultuous times in state funding.
Some major milestones the college realized over the past four years include a maximum 10 year accreditation by the Higher Learning Commission in 2008 and inclusion on the Aspen Institute’s list of the top 10 percent of two-year public colleges in the nation with the best graduation rates. HLC officials recently gave RLC a glowing review of the only follow up report it requested of the college in the accreditation process. RLC is in the process of undergoing what is arguably the most significant campus-wide technology upgrade in the college’s history. This upgrade, which will streamline all college functions and provide internet-based services for RLC students, is anticipated to be complete in 2013.
RLC has enjoyed record enrollment and has had a record number of students graduate each year. In 2009, the decision was made to disaffiliate the Studio RLC cosmetology program from Paul Mitchell Cosmetology Schools. With complete continuity in the curriculum – but now available to students at half the cost – enrollment soared, eventually exceeding capacity and triggering the startup of an evening program.
The college ramped up efforts toward offering its first online degree, became one of two colleges statewide to offer all four Associate of Arts in teaching degrees recognized by the Illinois Community College Board, and joined a partnership to offer the first online hybrid Associate of Science in nursing program in college history. Overall online and hybrid course offerings continue to rise, as credit hours from these classes have more than doubled since 2008.
The campus landscape changed dramatically. RLC resurrected its coal mining program with the construction of a 20,000 square-feet training center in 2009 and later complemented the curriculum with a facility for the mine rescue and fire safety training program.
The college was unable to financially support a project that began in 2010 to expand its satellite campus in Pinckneyville. Instead of tabling the expansion, college leaders and the RLC Foundation worked together. The Foundation raised money and contributed its own funds. In August of 2011, the doors were opened to a major science lab and computer center addition at the Murphy-Wall Pinckneyville Campus that enables students to earn a complete associate degree without having to travel to Ina. The expansion was completely funded by the Foundation and donations from residents in the Pinckneyville area.
In 2009, one of four planned science lab overhauls was completed on the main campus in Ina and workers recently put the finishing touches on a $278,000 renovation to the welding lab in time for student use there this semester.
Over the past few years, the college has abounded financially, despite operating in arguably the most alarming state funding predicament in its 44-year history.
“We find ourselves in the best financial position we have enjoyed in more than 10 years,” said Holstein. “That is something everyone on this campus and our Board should be extremely proud of. Considering the financial difficulties we have faced over the past several years with state funding, it’s a testament to the creativity and sacrifices everyone has been willing to make to shore up our financial position. We were able to strengthen our financial position considerably without ever having to make personnel cuts, layoffs or furloughs, and that is something I am extremely proud of.”
The recent audit of RLC’s financial operations shows the college to be in a very stable financial position, especially considering the recent lag in uncollected revenue from the state for fiscal year 2011.
“As a team, we have accomplished a lot of things in the past several years - all of which I am extremely proud to have been a part of,” he added. “We developed a functional strategic plan, created a Facilities Master Plan, established a participative environment across the institution, and worked hard to improve our services and offerings to our constituents. Performance indicators are up at RLC and I feel comfortable the college is in a great position to continue to move forward. Rend Lake College abounds with high-quality professionals who are dedicated to our students and our communities. I see nothing but great things on the horizon for this college and I will enjoy watching it grow.”