The Parkland College Blog

Parkland College's Arts and Sciences division announces the creation of a new department: Arts, Media, and Social Sciences (AMSS).

At the request of the Vice President for Academic Services and the Dean of Arts and Sciences, faculty chairs, full- and part-time faculty, and staff in Fine and Applied Arts (FAA), Humanities (HUM), and Social Sciences and Human Services (SSHS) formed a working group in fall 2020 to explore how to more efficiently integrate the three departments with organizational options that best served the student body and staff, while working to save on costs. 

The chosen proposal included integrating FAA and SSHS into one department called Arts, Media, and Social Sciences, leaving HUM as is. The proposal, which called for the new department to officially begin in fall 2022, was approved in spring 2021.

"The merging of the Fine and Applied Arts with the Social Sciences department will create a more efficient administrative structure, and more importantly, a close working relationship between the creative and dynamic faculty working in the separate departments," said Joseph Walwik, dean of Arts and Sciences. "We are excited to see the important role this new department will play in continuing to serve the students of Parkland College."

The merger is not expected to disrupt day to day activities for students or staff. No personnel, classroom, or faculty offices changes are required. The AMSS department office will be located in C120, with the chair's office in C121.

FAA and SSHS faculty and staff elected Isabel Scarborough, the current faculty chair for SSHS, for a three-year term as the new AMSS faculty chair beginning in summer 2022. Professor of Art and Design Matthew Watt will serve as assistant chair.

Scarborough holds a doctorate in cultural anthropology, is a Fulbright Scholar, and Parkland's program director for anthropology and sociology. She was awarded a national Community College Faculty Fellowship by the American Council of Learned Societies for 2021-2022. She joined Parkland College in 2012 and has served in a number of college committees, including as co-chair for academic assessment. She is passionate about teaching and community outreach.

For more information about AMSS, please visit

New Early Childhood Educator Degree, Tuition Support

New Early Childhood Educator Degree at Parkland College

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Parkland College is launching a new early childhood education program, and area childcare workers can apply for free funding to cover tuition costs.

Students who earn Parkland's Early Childhood Education (ECE) AAS degree will now be able to transfer their credits to obtain a four-year degree, something they could not do with the college's previous Early Childhood Development degree, according to ECE Program Director Amy Chamley.

"It's a new bridge/transfer path, but the same top-notch Parkland curriculum we are well-known for,” Chamley said. "Our two-year program can prepare you for eventual work as a head teacher, assistant teacher, or director in a DCFS-licensed childcare center or home-based program."

Designed for people interested in making a positive and immediate impact on young children's growth and development, Parkland's ECE degree features supervised, hands-on instruction and professors with real-life experience in the field. Students spend time observing and working with children at Parkland’s Child Development Center and other area programs and facilities. The program's flexibility accommodates both full- and part-time students, with classes available on-campus and online; future teachers can work while they earn their degree.

Once students complete the required minimum 60 semester credits to earn their associate's degree, they can either enter the workforce as daycare or preschool workers or opt to transfer as a junior to a four-year program in early childhood education to finish a bachelor's degree and obtain their Illinois Professional Educator License (PEL). Obtaining the PEL would allow them to teach young children in Illinois public schools (birth to second grade), private elementary schools, and Head Start.

"It's training you can make fit into your life," Chamley said. "Earn the degree and start your own home daycare or become director-qualified by taking one extra course with the AAS curriculum."

Because Illinois, like the nation, is experiencing an early childhood teacher shortage, the state invites residents with childcare education experience to apply for the Illinois’ Early Childhood Access Consortium for Equity (ECACE) Scholarship Program to help pay for Parkland's training. The scholarship covers an academic year's worth of college credits.

Employment of childcare workers is projected to grow eight percent from 2020 to 2030, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, with an average 150,300 openings projected across the country annually.

For additional information on the Early Childhood Education Associate in Applied Science degree at Parkland, visit

Parkland College to Honor Veterans with Virtual Ceremony

Veterans Day is Wednesday, Nov. 11, 2020

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Parkland College honors the men and women who serve in the US military. The college will hold a 2020 Veterans Day virtual ceremony on Wednesday, Nov. 11.

Due to the COVID-19 crisis, the celebration will be held virtually this year. Parkland's virtual ceremony includes a PowerPoint tribute to student, staff, and faculty veterans on the Parkland College Facebook page, posted on Veteran's Day.

The 2020 Veterans Day observance is sponsored by the Student Veterans Association at Parkland (SVAP).

Anxiety Awareness Day, March 25

Parkland to offer free screenings, information and assistance for community

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The public is invited to Parkland College March 25 for Anxiety Awareness Day, noon to 1:30 p.m. in Room D244. Information and assistance will be available for better understanding and treating anxiety, the most common mental health issue in America today.

This event has undergone some changes and is now focused on being an interactive, drop-in resource fair for students and community members. The resource fair will include: information about the symptoms and treatment of anxiety; directions for obtaining effective help; multiple community organizations specialized in offering mental health resources; Parkland College clubs and departments focused on offering assistance to students; the ability for participants to take online screenings; and various giveaways and free food.

Free confidential screenings will also be available in Parkland's Counseling Services in Room U267 immediately following the program. Such screenings are available year-round at Parkland upon request.

Parkland College, in conjunction with the Champaign-Urbana Mental Health Public Education Committee, is presenting this free session. For additional information, please contact Katie Schacht in Counseling Services at 217/373-3924 (

Information about anxiety disorders is available from the National Institute of Mental HealthFreedom from Fear, a national nonprofit mental illness advocacy organization, has excellent information. Additionally, information about mental health issues and local resources can be found on Parkland College's Counseling Services website. This website also provides information about how students may obtain personal counseling services at Parkland. 

New ECCA Education Pathway to Help in Area Teacher Shortage

New education dual credit pathway for area high schoolers

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Parkland College and Education for Employment #330 have partnered on a way to help fill the gap in the district's Pre K–12 teacher shortage.

The new Early College and Career Academy Education Pathway, which starts in the fall, will provide early training for area high school seniors who know teaching and working with young people is their calling, according to EFE #330 Director Nick Elder.

"It will also provide an opportunity for students who are undecided about their career path to gain some experience and decide if education is a fit for them," he said. "This program is being jointly developed by Parkland and our local school districts, a great example of secondary and post-secondary collaboration to ultimately provide a seamless transition into a high-need career area for our students."

The new pathway will feature four courses high school students can take:

  • Introduction to Education (EDU 101)

  • Educational Psychology (PSY 220)

  • Introduction to Special Education (EDU 104)

  • Introduction to Child Psychology (PSY 207)

The program includes a practical experience assisting in local school district classrooms, jointly developed by Parkland College and the student's high school. Interested students should check with their counselor for school-specific program prerequisites.

Launched in November 2014, the Early College and Career Academy is a collaboration of the EFE #330 K-12 career and technical education cooperative and Parkland College. At the academy, high school juniors and seniors earn dual credit for courses in certain skill-based programs: Automotive, Collision Repair, Computer Networking, Computer Programming, Criminal Justice, Emergency Medical Services (Health Professions or Fire Service focus), Certified Nursing Assistant, Industrial Technology, and now, Education Pathway. Many of the ECCA classes take place in the Parkhill Applied Technology Center on the far northwest side of campus. The academy benefits not only area students, but also local businesses, due to the increased skill level of the incoming workforce.

For more information on the new ECCA pathway, please email Elder at or by phone at 217/355-1382. The ECCA office at Parkland College is Room A113.