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Clark State's Blondin Helps College Develop Five-Year Plan

Clark State Community College President Dr. Jo Alice Blondin has just finished her first year on the job at the school.  During the first year of her tenure, she has been busy meeting the challenge of developing ways the college can improve.

Blondin came to Springfield last July from the Ozark Campus at Arkansas Tech University to replace Karen Rafinski. She recently helped Clark State develop a five-year strategic plan designed to improve academic programs, enrollment and graduation rates. Blondin explained that a team effort was needed in order to create an effective strategy.

"Everybody was given the opportunity to participate including students, employees, board members, community members and we got an unprecedented amount of participation," she said. "It really and truly is a bottom up and not a top down process."

Clark State has been involved in several high profile projects in Springfield. The college is using $1 million to create a Food and Bioscience Training Center at the old South High School, and will team up with the city to build new hangars at the Springfield-Beckley Municipal Airport. Blondin thinks it's important to connect with the city.

"We need to make sure that we're involving and engaging the community as much as possible," she said.  "In addition to the fact that of our $29 million budget, $11 million comes from state taxpayers, so we want to make sure of course that there is buy-in."

The college just learned that it will host Johns Hopkins University's Engineering Innovation program for local middle school and high school students next summer.

Clark State Community College has a current enrollment of 5,136 students. The college employs a little over 600 people.