The Parkland College Blog

Parkland College has received high marks for financial soundness from external auditors and is enhancing career and technical programs at the college through a recent increase in federal grant funds. 

The Parkland College Board of Trustees officially accepted the Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR) from Martin Hood, LLC, at its meeting Wednesday. The report presented the college with an unqualified "clean" opinion of its FY 2019 financial statements, the best type to receive from independent review. The audit highlights the college's exemplary fiscal management and includes reports on Parkland's schedule of expenditures of federal awards and its internal control over financial reporting and compliance.

Also at their meeting, trustees received an update on how a $643,000 Carl D. Perkins grant Parkland received for AY 2020 is being used to strengthen career and technical programs and support students in underrepresented groups. Through the Strengthening Career and Technical Education for the 21st Century Act (Perkins V), the US Dept. of Education is providing more than $1.2 billion in federal aid this year to bolster CTE programs across the country. 

Pamela Lau, Executive Vice President, reported that the Perkins funds are being used in several major ways. First, they will help develop an apprenticeship office at Parkland College; this effort will accelerate the development of apprenticeships with the College, which has obtained status as a US Department of Labor intermediary, one that proactively addresses workforce needs for both employees and employers. The funds will also allow the college to provide career-exploration software, soft-skills training, summer camps, and other work-based learning tools for students. Under the leadership of Bobbi Scholze, Parkland's dean of career and technical education, the College will continue expanding pathways to obtain CTE credentials in collaboration with Parkland's Adult Education and Community Education units. Finally, Parkland will make capital equipment purchases and lab and software upgrades that help boost CTE program technology.

In other business, the board approved the following:

  • purchase of body-worn cameras and associated hardware and software from WatchGuard, Inc., Allen, Texas, $22,355;

  • purchase of a 15-passenger commercial bus from Midwest Transit Equipment of Kankakee, $50,628;

  • retaining Henneman Engineering, Inc. of Champaign for the development and design of the campus electronic door lock upgrade, $509,850;

  • purchase of the pre-exposure rabies vaccine administration from McKinley Health Center in Urbana for veterinary tech students, $21,420;

  • receipt of funds from the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) Workforce Equity Initiative. College officials publicly announce the grant award on Thursday, Oct. 24, at 10 a.m. in the Student Union atrium.

  • personnel appointments:

    • Gerald Lighty, Faculty, Ag/Engineering Science Technologies

    • Carrie Harris, Program Manager, Community Education

    • Josh Houston, Maintenance Tech/Electrician, Physical Plant

    • Jenna Hooker, Police Officer, Public Safety

Trustees Approve Budget, Administrative Transition

Dr. Pamela Lau appointed executive vice president

The Parkland College Board of Trustees approved its FY 2020 budget and officially announced plans to promote the college's chief academic officer to executive vice president as part of an executive transition plan.  

At their regular meeting Wednesday, trustees promoted Dr. Pamela Lau to executive vice president, with plans to appoint her as president upon the retirement of Dr. Thomas Ramage. Ramage, a 21-year employee of the college, has served as president since 2007.

Trustees met during a closed session last month to discuss Ramage's retirement and next steps, after which Board of Trustees Chairman Gregory Knott issued the announcement to Parkland employees.

"Community college trustees from across the country talk about the importance of transition planning and how critical it is to the stability and success of their respective institutions," Knott said. "We are taking proactive steps to put it into action here at Parkland College.

"Over the next three years, Dr. Ramage's role will remain unchanged, but he will be bringing Dr. Lau alongside him in the process to learn the complexities of the college presidency. We have set Parkland up for a seamless transition, and the institution will be stronger because of it." 

Lau joined the Parkland College faculty in 1995 as a teacher in its developmental reading program; she became director of the program in 2003. In 2005, she led the task force that coordinated the school's academic support services into the one-stop Center for Academic Success (CAS), serving as CAS's founding director. After her promotion to dean of academic services in 2010, Lau was fundamental in obtaining the third Title III grant in Parkland’s history. In 2015, she became interim vice president for academic services at Parkland College and accepted the permanent position the following year. In 2017, she won an Emerging Chief Academic Officer Award from the National Council of Instructional Administrators.

The board also adopted the final budget for the 2019-2020 year, which includes a $282,504 operating surplus. Chief Financial Officer Chris Randles first presented the tentative budget in July, and the budget was on display for public review and input starting Aug. 1.  

In other business, the board approved the following:

  • the revised employment contract for President Ramage that extends through June 30, 2023;
  • the employment contract for Dr. Lau through June 30, 2023;
  • Environmental Control Solutions, Inc. of Springfield's bid to install a new Building Automation Control System, $151,295; 
  •  to renew the annual agreement and purchase of WinPRISM and PrismWeb software from PrismRBS, LLC of Lincoln, Neb. through June 2022 for a total of $53,271;
  • use of Protection, Health, and Safety funds for a campus-wide door lock upgrade, $2.2 million;
  • K.K. Stevens Publishing Co. of Astoria's bid for printing and mail preparation services for Community Education, $24,947.21; 
  • funding of the S Building renovation through the State of Illinois Capital Development Board, $126,840;
  • funding of the Campus Fountain Courtyard/Service Drive Improvement project through the State of Illinois Capital Development Board,  $425,000.
  • personnel appointments:
    • Suzanne Jones, Director of Counseling Services, Student Services
    • Amanda Briggs, Aviation Team Leader, Institute of Aviation
    • Jonathan Moore, Aviation Team Leader, Institute of Aviation
    • Laura Sutter, Veterinary Technology Faculty, Health Professions
    • Tracey Burgess, Selective Admissions Associate, Admissions & Records
    • Ricky Deer, Technical Support Specialist, Campus Technologies
    • James Kiser, Technical Support Specialist, Campus Technologies
    • Nicole Olmo, Accounts Receivable Accountant, Cashiers Office
    • Gabrielle Rodmaker, Graphic Designer - Media Communications Specialist, Marketing & Public Relations
    • Brandy Smith, Police Officer, Public Safety

Parkland College Outstanding Faculty, Staff Honored

Trustees also renew contracts for key administrators at Wednesday meeting

The Parkland College Board of Trustees recently honored faculty and staff members earning 2019 state and national awards for outstanding service.

At its monthly meeting Wednesday, the board also renewed contracts for two key administrators.

In his report for trustees, Derrick Baker, dean of learning support, presented plaques for outstanding service in 2019 to the following Parkland College faculty and staff:

  • Jessica Jackson, academic success coach, Center for Academic Success: Parkland College Staff Green Award (<5 Years of Service)

  • Jody Littleton, associate professor in communication: Illinois Community College Trustees Association Full-time Outstanding Faculty Award Nominee 

  • Jessie McClusky-Gilbert, program manager of professional development, Community Education: Parkland College Staff Gold Award (5+ Years of Service)

  • Laura O'Connor, associate professor in English: Parkland College Teaching Excellence Award

  • Laura O'Donnell, instructor in art and design, Illinois Community College Trustees Association Part-time Outstanding Faculty Award Nominee  

Also during the meeting, trustees renewed employment contracts through June 2022 for Pamela Lau, vice president for academic services and Michael Trame, vice president for student services. 

Trustees also approved the following:

  • plans initiating the request of Resource Allocation Management Program funds to build a new $22.2 million Physical Sciences Training Center at the main campus. The additional 27,000 square feet of space would lie adjacent to the L wing, allowing for expanding enrollment in chemistry, biology, health professions and other STEM-related programs. Under RAMP stipulations, Parkland must fund 25 percent of the cost, or approximately $5.5 million. Trustees have retained IGW Architects of Urbana to assist in preparing the RAMP submission to the Illinois Community College Board.

  • agreement with AT&T to install two wireless small cell sites on Parkland's campus, accepting an annual payment of $4,800 to cover expenses.

  • the bid from Boley’s A-Z Cleaning of Urbana for janitorial services for the Institute of Aviation, $36,000.

  • exempt purchases:

    • aviation ramp services  from Flightstar, Savoy, $69,000;

    • aircraft maintenance services from Flightstar, Savoy, $280,000;

    • aviation fuel from Avfuel Corp. of Ann Arbor, Mich., $225,000;

    • an International Harvester combine from Birkey’s Farm Store of Urbana, $36,000;

    • white paper from Veritiv Operating Company of Morton, Ill, $25,320;

    • tractor trailer driving services from Rock Gate Capital, DBA 160 Driving Academy of Evanston, Ill., $550,000;

    • medical coding and billing training services from Condensed Curriculum International of Fairfield, N.J., $25,000;

    • training materials and assessment services from SDI of Champaign, $30,000;

    • classroom and lobby furniture from KI, Inc. of Green Bay, Wisc., $74,200.

  • reappointment of Meyer Capel as legal counsel for the board for FY 2020, $250 monthly retainer.

  • personnel appointments:

    • Justin Kuey, Certified Flight Instructor, Institute of Aviation

    • Jake Fredericks, Certified Flight Instructor, Institute of Aviation

    • Gwen Smith, Senior Accountant, Business Office

    • Joshua Pratt, Custodian, Physical Plant

Trustees Tour Health Lab, Raise Salaries

Erik Johnson to become new Staerkel Planetarium director

The Parkland College Board of Trustees toured the school's simulation lab Wednesday and approved annual salary increases for its administrators and confidential and supervisory staff.

The board also hired a new director for the William M. Staerkel Planetarium to replace longtime director David Leake, who will retire in June.

Trustees held their May meeting at Parkland College's Health Professions wing, in the Parkland on Mattis building, in order to tour the Huff-McGrain Simulation Laboratory. Named in 2013 for retired Nursing faculty JoAnn McGrain and the late Dr. Joanne Huff, the college's high-fidelity simulation lab is home to two computer-controlled, full-sized mannequins named iStan and MetiMan, manufactured by CAE, as well as an obstetrics simulator, Noelle and her baby, made by Gaumard. The American Nurses Association (ANA) and the National Council of State Boards of Nursing (NCSBN) support and recognize the use of simulation as designated clinical hours. 

The Huff-McGrain simulation lab is slated for an upgrade this summer to accommodate the increasing demand for simulation; simulation use at Parkland College has increased greatly in recent years. Expansion plans include the addition of two simulation bays, a dedicated debriefing room, a mobile nurses station and upgraded operator stations. The lab provides clinical simulation instruction to students enrolled in the associate-degree nursing, LPN, Occupational Therapy Assistant, Respiratory Therapy, and Emergency Medical Services programs. The mannequins mimic the vital signs and physiological response of living humans, allowing students an additional level of practice in recognizing and responding to medical and emergency situations. Students develop their teamwork and clinical skills through the simulated clinical experiences and debriefings the lab provides.

Parkland's trustees approved 3 percent (or up to 3.5 percent, pending state budget) annual salary increases for the college's administrators and confidential and supervisory staff, matching similar increases for professional support staff.

Among its personnel appointments for May, the board approved the hiring of Erik Johnson as director of the school's planetarium to replace David Leake. Winner of the 2017 North Central Region of the Astronomical League Award and a founder of the Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society (CUAS), Leake has served on the college's astronomy and physics faculty since 1989. Johnson, an associate professor of astronomy at Parkland since 2011, will begin as director Aug. 12.

Trustees also approved the following:

  • exempt purchase of services from Carle Regional Emergency Medical Systems of Urbana, $25,600.

  • exempt purchase of the Scholarship Manager online scholarship program license through 2022 from Next Gen of Jacksonville, Fla., $22,000.

  • PHS purchase of construction services from Open Road Paving of Urbana for campus walkway/B1 and B7 parking lot repairs, $1,432,166.

  • selection of Commerce Bank of Champaign as the college's procurement card (PCard) vendor.

  • additional personnel appointments:

    • Joshua Weber, Physics tenure-track faculty, Natural Sciences

    • Kory Allred, Construction adjunct faculty, Agriculture/Engineering Science Technologies

    • Kaitlyn Uden, Talent specialist, Human Resources

    • Oliver Swann, Library Technical Services Specialist - Acquisitions, Library

New Trustees, Student Trustee Sworn in at Parkland College

James Ayers, Bianca Green, Jonathan Westfield, Lydia Gallaher receive oath of office

The Parkland College Board of Trustees accepted the results of the April 2 municipal elections, swearing in three trustees as well as its newest student trustee.

During their regular meeting Wednesday, trustees administered the oath of office to James Ayers, Bianca Green, and Jonathan Westfield. Ayers will serve a four-year term while Green and Westfield will serve for six years. Trustees also swore in new student trustee Lydia Gallaher. She was elected by the Parkland College student body April 10 to serve a one-year term as the student representative on the governing board for the college.

The board reviewed committee recommendations for a new general insurance brokerage services agency; the majority of the college's insurance policies are set to expire June 30.

Trustees also approved the following:

  • purchase and installation of new flooring for rooms in L wing and Aviation institute, from TSI/Commercial Flooring of Champaign, $29,990.

  • purchase of consulting for strategic enrollment management (SEM) from CLARUS Corporation of Alliance, Neb., $35,000.

  • purchase of lounge furniture for B, C, and M wings from KI, Inc., of Green Bay, Wisc., $69,178.

  • purchase of classroom furniture from KI, Inc., of Green Bay, Wisc., $60,080.

  • purchase of classroom furniture from KI, Inc., of Green Bay, Wisc., $38,049.

  • purchase instructional/office computer hardware and software, $1,605,000.

  • purchase licensing and maintenance of instructional/office computer hardware and software, multiple vendors, $1,110,528.

  • disposal of a two row corn picker (Ag/Engineering Science and Technologies and an electric fork truck (Community Education) due to age and wear.

  • personnel appointments:

    • Morgann Quilty, Director, Parkland College Library

    • Brian Morgan, Theatre Director/Theatre Tenure-Track Faculty, Fine and Applied Arts

    • Leann McPike, Computer Technology Center Director, Business/Computer Science and Technologies

    • Marya Burke, Counselor, Counseling Services

    • Mary Vidoni, Academic Advisor, Counseling Services

    • Natalie Heath, International Admissions Advisor, Admissions

    • Tylor Vannarath, Groundskeeper, Physical Plant

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