Morton College Undergoes Visionary Reorganization

 Morton College, the second oldest community college in Illinois, announced January 26th that its Board of Trustees has approved the recommendation of the college’s President to reorganize some of the college’s leadership roles in an effort to save the institution more than $112,000 for the remainder of the fiscal year. Effective immediately, three administrators will transition to new roles and two positions will not be filled. Funds from the cost-savings will be used to benefit student success.

"The budget stalemate in Springfield has affected us all,” said Dr. Stan Fields, President of Morton College. “Noting the state’s financial crisis and our commitment to a flat, responsive organizational structure, it is prudent to continue to search for efficiencies to ensure the very best experience for our students’ success. All of us at Morton College, including our Trustees, faculty and staff, are committed to ensuring the very best for our students and the community we call home.”

Since February 2016, the college has found ways to streamline operations, cutting nearly $1.1 million, with a net savings of more than $615,000 to date. The cost-savings initiative has been led by Dr. Fields with support from its Board of Trustees. The reorganization is another step in the process to improve the college’s fiscal standing and enhance its offerings, in line with its mission. The new appointments, under the reorganization, to the Morton College leadership team, include:

Dr. Keith McLaughlin, Interim Provost: Dr. McLaughlin has more than 24 years of experience working in community colleges across the country. Since joining the Morton College staff in 2010, he has served as Associate Dean of Instruction, Dean of Careers & Technical Education, Vice President of Institutional Advancement, and most recently, Vice President of Institutional Planning & Effectiveness. Dr. McLaughlin holds a Ph.D. in higher education administration with specialization in community college from the University of Texas at Austin.

After many years of dutiful service, Morton College’s former Provost, Dr. Muddassir Siddiqi, resigned to assume a new role as President of Houston Community College, effective February 1.  

Marisol Velazquez, Director of Student Development: Previously, Ms. Velazquez served as Director of Student Activities and as adjunct faculty for a special seminar course. Prior to joining the Morton College team in 2008, she worked for the City of Chicago assisting youth in securing quality employment opportunities and served as a Teaching Assistant at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Ms. Velazquez earned a Master’s degree in Urban Planning & Policy and holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts & Sciences from the University of Illinois at Chicago.

William Jacklin, Athletic Director: Under the reorganization, Mr. Jacklin will continue to serve as Athletic Director, a role he has held since 2015, and will also take on the duties of Director of Student Activities. Previously, Mr. Jacklin taught elementary and middle school and coached boys and girls soccer and boys basketball at schools within the district. He holds a Master’s degree from Olivet Nazarene University in educational leadership and a bachelor’s degree in exercise sports science from Carthage College.

“We are assigning responsibilities to staff that best leverage their unique talents,” said Dr. Fields. “In doing so, we’ll be able to thoughtfully reallocate resources to benefit student success.”

The Board of Trustees approved the President’s recommendation to not fill the positions of Director of Student Activities and Vice President of Institutional Planning & Effectiveness at this time, resulting in cost-savings from salaries and benefits. There were no staff layoffs under the new reorganization, and no student or community services were eliminated.