Two years ago, previous Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel’s Evansville Education Roundtable established a subcommittee to focus on increasing our area's rate of post-secondary and adult educational attainment. This group employed the services of the National College Access Network (NCAN) to conduct a gap analysis on the college access environment in Vanderburgh County. The goal of this gap analysis was to assess the feasibility of establishing a college access initiative that could potentially serve all students and families in Vanderburgh County. The recommendations included in the report encouraged the creation of a comprehensive, systemic college access center in Vanderburgh County. To download the full report, click here.
Members of this subcommittee and other community leaders traveled to Cleveland, Ohio, to visit with career advising staff members of schools and locations that have established, NCAN-supported college access services in place. As a result of the trip, the decision was made to move forward with the establishment of a college access center serving southwest Indiana.
A Steering Committee has been established to provide the oversight for the creation and sustainability of the new Southwest Indiana College Access Network (SICAN). Members of the SICAN Steering Committee include the following community/educational leaders:
- Jonathan Weinzapfel, Mayor, City of Evansville
- Dr. Vince Bertram, Superintendent, Evansville Vanderburgh School Corporation
- Mike Duckworth, EVSC Board of School Trustees
- Niel Ellerbrook, Chairman and CEO, Vectren Corporation
- Dr. Ray Hoops, President, University of Southern Indiana
- Dr. Stephen Jennings, President, University of Evansville
- Bob Jones, President and CEO, Old National Bank
- Bob Koch, President and CEO, Koch Enterprises, Inc.
- Dr. Dan Schenk, Chancellor, Ivy Tech Community College of Indiana
- David Wagner, Executive Director, Carver Community Organization
- Dr. Talitha Washington, Assistant Professor, University of Evansville
Channelle Ragland was named the SICAN Executive Director in April 2008. Ragland will provide overall leadership and managment to ensure that SICAN programs and services help more students pursue additional education and training after high school.
“This is a great opportunity, not only for our school corporation, but for the entire community,” said Vince Bertram, EVSC superintendent. “Channelle will be instrumental as we develop this program, and she will work toward meeting our community’s top priorities of student success and increasing the college-going rates of our students.”
Ragland previous served as the community outreach director of the YMCA of Southwestern Indiana, Inc., where she also served as Indiana tobacco prevention and cessation voice hub coordinator. Before that, she held positions with the Evansville Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Community Action of Southern Indiana.
Ragland earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Indiana University-Southeast in New Albany, Ind. She is currently pursuing a Master’s of Social Work from the University of Southern Indiana. In addition, she has certifications from Indiana University School of Philanthropy in Fundraising for Small Nonprofits, and from the YMCA in Community Development – Principles and Process, Supervision, and Principles of Youth Work – Working with Teens.
Ragland currently is a member of the Board of Directors of Holly’s House and Give Back Tri-State, is involved in Leadership Evansville, and is a member of the Evansville Board of Public Works.
Southwest Indiana College Access Network