The new partnership between Rock Valley College and Northern Illinois University is one of just a few big things to happen at the college this year. RVC has three major alliances underway. As administrators see it, they're moving into a new era of teaching.
Monday, was the start of classes and it all kicked off with a major announcement. RVC says students can now get a four-year engineering degree from NIU without having to leave Rock Valley's campus.
"RVC starts a new year with a lot of momentum," says Frank Haney, chair of RVC board.
The first day of school was also the first day for students at RVC's new aviation maintenance building.
Students who are successful here, will be a pipeline directly into AAR, the new jet repair facility set to open at Rockford's Airport.
"We were graduating 30 people and now we have 120 students signed up 80 in the fall, 40 in the spring so we are really excited about that," says Mike Mastroianni, president of RVC.
A new partnership was also started this spring between Rock Valley College's nursing associates program and the OSF College of Nursing.
"Students can then come here at a cost effective price. They can start working at our local hospitals and then start working on their bachelor's," says Ellen Storm, dean of the RVC nursing program.
RVC's president says the reason behind all the partnerships is enrollment. RVC has been battling declining numbers. The student population at rvc is 7,700 for the 2014-2015 school year. That's a 12-percent drop from 2010.
"We can't give a four-year degrees but we can partner with people who do and if you are willing to do that partnership it helps your enrollment as well as the enrollment at the four year institution," Mastroianni says,
RVC is building a new facility for the OSF partnership. The new health sciences center is expected to open spring 2017. RVC says it will use existing space for it's engineering partnership.