The Parkland College Blog

Parkland Foundation to Host "Creating Impact" Celebration

Annual scholarship fundraiser includes cocktails, heavy appetizers, recognition

The Parkland College Foundation will host its 22nd annual community celebration, "Creating Impact," on Thursday, Aug. 15 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Parkland College Student Union in Champaign. Proceeds benefit scholarships at Parkland College.

Program highlights for the event include President's Circle member recognition, a special recognition for alumni attendees, a Creating Impact scholarship appeal, and an opportunity to hear how the Parkland College Foundation creates impact throughout our District.

Tickets are $75 per person or a table of six for $350. This event includes cocktails and heavy appetizers; ticket holders must be 18 and older to attend.

Longview Capital Corporation is the presenting sponsor for this event. For event and ticket information, call 217/351-2464 or email

Parkland College Gets NSF Grant for New Ag Degree Program

Advanced Applicator Technician AAS launches in fall, funded through NSF-ATE

Parkland College has received a third three-year grant from the National Science Foundation's Advanced Technology Education Program to improve training in precision agriculture-related fields.  

At its regular meeting Wednesday, the Parkland College Board of Trustees approved the release of $385,929 in NSF funds for the college's newest degree program, the Advanced Applicator Technician AAS, which launches this fall. 

NSF-ATE projects focus on educating technicians in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) fields. This latest NSF-ATE award will support Parkland's "Curriculum for Advanced Applicator Technicians (CAAT) Project" by funding part-time faculty, training equipment, and travel for student recruitment and faculty professional development.

A part of the new Midwest Center for Precision Agriculture at Parkland College, the Advanced Applicator Technician AAS degree was developed in response to the need of area retail agribusiness leaders. Crop input practices, precision technology developments and continuous government regulation changes all demonstrate a need for greater technical expertise and training in the proper application of fertilizer and chemicals. The CAAT Project focuses on providing future custom applicator technicians with postsecondary training and credentials in this critical career sector of the agribusiness industry, fulfilling current educational and employment needs by preparing highly-skilled technicians. AAS program graduates will be proficient in basic agronomic skills, operating applicator equipment, and applying applicator procedures in accordance with Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency regulations. 

Parkland College received its first-ever NSF-ATE grant (as fiscal agent and sole awardee) in 2016 to fund the Precision Agriculture Curriculum Enhancement (PACE) Project. In fall 2018, the school was awarded its second such grant to fund UAS (drone) curriculum development. For more information on the CAAT Project, contact Assistant Professor Jennifer Fridgen, Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies, at 217/402-3662 or

Parkland's trustee board also heard spring and summer 2019 campus enrollment updates from enrollment management Dean Kristin Smigielski. 

Also at the meeting, Chief Financial Officer Chris Randles presented the tentative budget for FY 2020, which includes an operating surplus of approximately $280,000. The tentative budget will be on display for public viewing prior to final budget approval at the September meeting. 

In other business, trustees approved the following:

  • formal acknowledgement of work contracts connected to the Series 2008 and Series 2009 debt certificates used to pay for Master Plan construction work.

  • purchase of repair services from Poplar Grove Airmotive, Inc., Poplar Grove, Illinois, $69,000.

  • purchase of magnification loupes and lights from Orascoptic of Middleton, Wisconsin for the Dental Hygiene Department, $41,220.

  • purchase from Central Illinois X-ray of Bloomington, Illinois for a digital radiography system for Veterinary Technology, $22,000.

  • personnel appointments:

    • Ruthie Counter, Associate Director, Marketing and Public Relations

    • Adrienne Morrison, Director, Child Care Development Center

    • Moises Diaz, Certified Flight Instructor, Institute of Aviation

    • Robin Hayden, Medical Assistant Adjunct Faculty, Health Professions

    • Kerry Janesky, Radiologic Technology Clinical Coordinator, Health Professions

    • Stephanie Manuel, Nursing Adjunct Faculty, Health Professions

    • Charles Mitsdarfer, Agriculture Adjunct Faculty, Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies

    • Jordan Boyer Custodian Physical Plant

    • Maria Garcia,  Custodian Physical Plant

    • Kate Kaput, Compliance Coordinator, Public Safety

    • Joseph Kincheloe, Groundskeeper, Physical Plant

    • Carrie Marvin, Payroll Accountant, Business Office

    • Calvin Wilson, Custodian, Physical Plant

Project READ Parent Lab Receives State Literacy Grant

Penny Severns Family Literacy Grant to fund program through 2021

A Parkland College Adult Education program that trains adult residents to assist their kids and grandkids with school subjects will soon receive funding from a new state family literacy grant and is currently looking for volunteer tutors to boost program offerings.

The Project READ "Parent and Family Learning Lab," which launched in February as "Parent Lab," has been awarded a fiscal year 2020 grant by the Illinois State Library's Penny Severns Family Literacy Program. The state program supports initiatives that provide comprehensive literacy instruction and support to families. To successfully provide this supportive structure for intergenerational learning and empowerment, Project READ must have 20 new tutors trained and certified by August 31.

A collaboration among Champaign Unit 4 Community Schools, the Douglass Branch of the Champaign Library, and Project READ, the Parent Lab features tutors who help adult residents familiarize themselves with the important skills and content that their kids and grandkids are doing at school, primarily by providing personalized English, math and reading support in various subjects.

About 20 participating families—adults and children—will continue to receive the one-on-one adult education (taught by Project READ tutors), K-5 education (taught by Unit 4 teachers), library services, childcare/parenting education (organized by the Parent Com University programs at Unit 4), and parent-child together time offered through the program, according to Dr. Amanda Harris, Project READ director.

"The core group of adults who have participated since the February launch have made measurable gains in their educational focuses (primarily ESL), and they have become familiar with school support staff and services through the tutoring site," Harris said. "They have also obtained library cards and made regular use of the Douglass Branch of the Champaign Public Library.

Parents/adult family member participants must live with a child who goes to a Unit 4 school, be at least 17 years old, and be seeking ESL or Adult Basic Ed services (below High School level).

Those interested in becoming a Project READ tutor and tutoring adults can tutor adults in this new program and in other Project READ tutoring settings, which include Adult Education classrooms, drop-in tutoring sites, and one-to-one sites in the community.  Please sign up for one of the following volunteer training sessions by emailing or by registering at

  • July 18, 6–8 p.m. at Wesley Foundation

  • July 31, 6–7:30 p.m. at Parkland Adult Education  office, Building E, campus

  • Aug. 14,9–10:30 a.m. at Parkland Adult Education  office, Building E, campus

For more information, please call Project READ at 217/353-2662 or

Graduates – Parkland College Spring 2019

Students who earned degrees, certificates listed by hometown

Parkland College recently announced its list of spring 2019 graduates. Included are those who have earned an associate's degree or a certificate.

To view the list of graduates, please visit the Parkland College Graduates web page; students are listed by Illinois hometown unless otherwise noted.

Google-Supported IT Training Program Starts this Fall

Google IT Support Professional (CSC 117) to help fill growing need

Parkland College is launching a new program on campus this fall that trains students for entry-level work as IT help-desk technicians, an initiative supported by Goggle.

Completing the six-credit-hour Google IT Support Professional course (CSC 117) certifies students to provide entry-level IT support in just one semester at Parkland College and help fill a growing need.According to Google, Google Help Desk technicians are in-demand with many national corporations, from GE and Intel to Smucker's and Walmart. The national median wage for IT support specialists is $52,000, and about 150,000 unfilled IT support jobs need to be filled across the U.S.

No experience with computers is needed beforehand to start the program. Students will learn customer service skills along with how to provide troubleshooting support with G Suite apps, system administration, security, networking, and more. The hybrid course features mostly online class time with one evening a week on campus for lab work.

For more information, please contact Cyndia Hinton, program manager (217/351-2414 or or Derek Dallas, faculty chair (217/353-2351 or, Parkland College Business/Computer Science and Technologies.