Harper College


Under Dr. Avis Proctor’s leadership over the past three years, Harper College has accomplished the following:

College Achievements

  • Named to the 2023 Aspen Top 25 for Community College Excellence, a recognition of the college’s commitment to student success and equitable outcomes. 
  • Launched the FY2021-2024 Strategic Plan with the theme Forward Together.
  • Engaged the community in the inclusive “Your Voice, Our Potential” process to develop the College’s Strategic Plan. 
  • Awarded Leader College of Distinction by Achieving the Dream for gains in student persistence and completion as well as progress made in narrowing achievement gaps for Hispanic and low income students.
  • Received an $18 million gift, the largest in Harper’s history, from philanthropist MacKenzie Scott. These funds were used to launch the Igniting Paths to Success scholarships for 1,600 students and provide grants to five local nonprofits whose missions support the advancement of equity, diversity and economic mobility for underserved and marginalized communities.  

Student Success Achievements

  • Achieved a graduation rate of 37.8%, the highest rate in Harper’s recorded history.
  • Established a collegewide goal to close equity gaps by 20% by 2024.
  • Increased partnerships in the University Center by signing an agreement with Southern Illinois University (SIU) allowing students to complete bachelor’s degrees through the Saluki Step Ahead program. These programs are in Accounting, Paralegal and Public Safety Management.
  • Welcomed the first cohort of 421 Promise Scholars in fall 2019. Awarded 140 Promise Scholars a credential and welcomed the second cohort of 480 Promise Scholars in fall 2020. The Promise Scholars outperformed their peers in course completion, grade point average, and credit hours earned.
  • Awarded more than $21 million to students in emergency financial grants from the Higher Education Emergency Relief Funds. More than 18,000 awards were made to students.
  • Raised more than $28 million through the Inspire Campaign and created 36 new scholarships.
  • Prepared more than 250 faculty for online instruction through courses and supported additional faculty through workshops. The Academy for Teaching Excellence also responded to more than 700 requests for online instruction design or support when the college moved to a remote learning environment.
  • Reduced textbook and course material costs for students by implementing Open Educational Resource (OER) course materials in an additional 222 course sections. More than 5,000 (duplicated) students used OER materials with an estimated total savings of $450,000.
  • Approved 16 student success initiatives allocating $6.2 million to address student needs and enhance opportunities for success. Those initiatives are: Childcare Fees Grant, Emergency Relief Fund, Equity in Technology Access, Finish Line Grants, Hawks Care, Honorlock FY22 Subscription, IDEAShop Discovery, Last Dollar Scholarships, Logistics Certificate at the Learning and Career Center, Open Educational Resources (OER), Reducing Differential Tuition, Short-term Training Scholarships, Summer LAUNCH Bridge Program, Sustaining Promise, Tuition Relief, Women's Program Scholarships.
  • Established new Institutional Effectiveness Measures (IEMs) focused on leading and lagging student success measures and aligned with the college's SOAR framework (Search, Onboard, Advance, Realize). The SOAR framework explores student milestones and outcomes for each phase of the student lifecycle and serves as an organizing framework for the IEMs.   

Diversity Equity and Inclusion Achievements

  • Created the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) led by a Vice President and supported by staff to assist the college in meeting its equity goals.
  • Launched the Cultural Center and common DEI training for all employees.
  • Enhanced the college’s social justice work by offering a Social Justice Studies Graduate Distinction, and creating the Social Justice Faculty Coordinator position and Advisory Council.
  • Adopted the 10 Shared Principles, created in 2018 by the NAACP and the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, to build trust and respect between police and communities of color.
  • Remained committed to developing a DEI culture through consistent DEI programming including lunch and learn sharing sessions, book clubs, community pulse check-ins, and social justice work.

Partnership Achievements

  • Launched Healthcare Apprenticeships as a result of strong partnerships developed with AMITA Health and JourneyCare. 
  • Created a virtual mentoring program in collaboration with Harper’s Alumni group pairing alums and students with industry leaders and experts in their fields for a unique one-on-one virtual mentoring experience. 
  • Added Southern Illinois University as a partner in the University Center to offer four year completion degrees in Accounting, Paralegal and Public Safety Management. 
  • Partnered with Pace Suburban Bus to start a new bus route (697) that brings students to the main campus more efficiently to and from the Northwest Transportation Center in Schaumburg. 
  • Created new continuing professional education courses in collaboration with the Palatine Fire Department to bring instruction closer to local fire districts. 
  • Partnered with the Village of Palatine and shareable technology company Koloni, to bring a healthy and environmentally focused transportation option to the community.  
  • Worked collaboratively with Rush Medical Center to build a Medical Assistant Apprenticeship Program. 

Operational Achievements

  • Partnered with the Cook County Department of Public Health (two clinics) and CVS through the White House's Pharmacy Partnership Program (one clinic) to offer COVID-19 vaccine clinics for our community.
  • Completed the Facilities Master Plan that will guide campus development through 2030.
  • Implemented Oracle Cloud Finance and Human Resources system.
  • Accepted into the American Association of Community College’s Artificial Intelligence Incubator Network which will streamline efforts to bring new technology programming to the college.
  • Joined the Northern Illinois Police Alarm System (NIPAS) Mobile Field Force to bring extra resources to the college that maximizes the effectiveness of the college’s initial response efforts  when a major event occurs.
  • Completed a risk management assessment that informed changes necessary to mitigate financial and physical risks to the college.
Last Updated: 12/14/23