The Parkland College Blog

Parkland College Foundation to Host Virtual "Creating Impact" Celebration

Creating Impact Virtual Celebration Scholarship Fundraiser

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The Parkland College Foundation will host its 24th annual community celebration "Creating Impact" virtually this year in the form of a week-long fundraising campaign, beginning October 25 and ending October 28. Proceeds benefit deserving students at Parkland College.

The Creating Impact Virtual Celebration will highlight the Foundation's donors and community sponsors, raise funds for students, and include videos that offer an opportunity to hear how the Parkland College Foundation creates impact throughout the district and in the lives of Parkland students. 

The Creating Impact Celebration is the only scholarship fundraiser of the year for Parkland College. At last year's event, the Foundation raised nearly $52,000 for scholarship and student emergency funds. 

To participate in the Creating Impact Virtual Celebration, please visit For more information about how to invest in the Parkland community, call 217/351-2464 or email

Longview Capital Corporation is a presenting sponsor. 

Parkland Board Approves FY 2022 Budget

Board of Trustees General Meeting, September 15

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Parkland College's Board of Trustees has recognized faculty and staff award winners, received an update on the newest solar array, and approved the college's fiscal year 2022 budget.

At its regular meeting Wednesday, the board also received an update from Vice President for Student Services Michael Trame about recent measures the college has taken relating to COVID-19 and Governor Pritzker's Executive Order for vaccination and testing requirements for higher education.

Following college President Tom Ramage's remarks to the board, Beth Bachtold, director of the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning, presented the following awards to staff members:

  • Robert Bielmeier, the Staff Green Award (<5 Years' Service)

  • Debbie Bucher, the 2021 Parkland Teaching Excellence Award

  • Kena Chapman, the Staff Gold Award (>5 Years' Service)

  • Nancy Roth, the 2021 ICCTA Adjunct Faculty Award

Next, Lisa Costello, Giertz Gallery director, and Mimi Nguyen, environmental safety and sustainability specialist, gave the board a summary of the solar array and energy savings projects. The eight-acre solar array has been in operation for over a year and in that time has produced over 2 megawatts of green electric energy, used exclusively on the Parkland College campus. This output has reduced the college's carbon footprint and saved over $24,000 in electrical expenses. A video showcasing the college's solar array is available to view here.

After an update on the Parkland Foundation by Executive Director Tracy Wahlfeldt, trustees approved the fiscal year 2022 budget, which includes a $426,199 operating deficit. 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, trustees approved:

  • fountain courtyard reconstruction and exterior door replacement, a Protection, Health, and Safety project

  • the filing of the following grant application:

    • Illinois Emergency Management Agency (IEMA): FEMA Public Assistance Program (App. #2)

  • the acceptance of funds from external sources:

    • Illinois State Board of Education (ISBE): FY21 Facilitating Coordination in Agricultural Education (FCAE)

    • Illinois Community College Board (ICCB): Early School Leaver Transition Program

    • Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE): Illinois Cooperative Work Study (ICWS) Grant

    • Illinois State Library/Secretary of State: Adult Volunteer Literacy Grant (Project READ)

    • Illinois State Library/Secretary of State: Penny Severns Family Literacy Program

    • Illinois Department of Transportation (IDOT): FY21 Highway Construction Careers Training Program (HCCTP)

    • U.S. Department of Education: CARES Higher Education Emergency Relief Fund (HEERF): SIP Portion (CRRSAA allocation)

  • personnel appointments: 

    • W. Jason Strutz, Director of Technology Infrastructure, Campus Tech

    • Matthew Angel, Enterprise Applications Analyst, Campus Tech

    • Aaron Cunningham, Maintenance Technician/Plumber/HVAC, Physical Plant

    • Daniel Kirsanoff, Technical Support Specialist, Campus Tech

    • Anna Knipfer, Admissions Advisor/CRM Specialist, Admissions

    • HeatherAnn Layman, Parkland Presents Operations Assistant, Arts and Sciences

    • Logan Musgrove, Technical Support Specialist, Campus Tech

    • Daniel Reck, Technical Support Specialist, Campus Tech

    • Joy Sheehan, Dental Clinic Operations Assistant, Health Professions

    • Katelyn Sims, Athletics Department Assistant, Athletics

    • Reggie Walker, Custodian, Physical Pant

    • Maureen Wietecha, Marketing and Digital Content Manager, Marketing

    • Harvest Wolf, Technical Support Specialist, Campus Tech

    • Wendy Farmer, Registered Nursing Tenure-Track Faculty, Health Professions

    • Kyle Lyons, Senior Flight Instructor-Third Class/BasicMed Cert, Aviation

    • Mernice Wakefield, Adjunct Nursing Faculty, Health Professions

    • Jacob Fitton, Flight Instructor, Aviation

    • Heidi Trego, Flight Instructor, Aviation

Dr. Pamela Lau of Parkland College Chosen for National Presidential Fellowship for Community College Leaders

40 Aspiring Community College Presidents to Participate in 2021-2022 Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship

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The Aspen Institute College Excellence Program today announced that Pamela Lau, Executive Vice President at Parkland College, is one of 40 leaders selected for the 2021-22 class of the Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship, a highly selective leadership program preparing the next generation of community college presidents to transform institutions to achieve higher and more equitable levels of student success.

The Rising Presidents Fellows will embark on the 10-month fellowship beginning in November 2021. Delivered in collaboration with the Stanford Educational Leadership Initiative, the fellows will be mentored by esteemed current and former community college presidents who have achieved exceptional outcomes for students throughout their careers, and will learn strategies to improve student outcomes in and after college, lead internal change, and create strong external partnerships with K-12 schools, four-year colleges, employers, and other partners.

"To become institutions that truly advance social mobility and talent development, community colleges must have presidents with a clear vision for equitable student success," said Monica Clark, director of leadership initiatives at the College Excellence Program. "We have selected these fellows because they share that commitment and are well-positioned to become transformational leaders."

"Dr. Lau is the right choice for this prestigious honor," said President Ramage. "No one is more prepared to rise to the challenges facing community colleges today and lead our campus into the future. I am confident that Dr. Lau will become a leader among the next generation of community college presidents. Her participation in this fellowship will result in innovative, adaptive strategies that will support the continued success of Parkland students."

The Aspen Rising Presidents Fellowship responds to the growing need for a new generation of leaders well-equipped to meet the challenges of the future. Nationally, nearly 80 percent of sitting presidents plan to retire in the next decade. While the traditional pathway to the presidency has often excluded women and people of color, the incoming class of Aspen Rising Presidents Fellows is composed of 68 percent women and 70 percent people of color, and represents institutions of varying sizes and locations.

Together, the 2021-22 fellows are leaders at colleges that collectively serve more than 400,000 students. As well, 67 Rising Presidents Fellowship alumni have become presidents of community colleges that collectively serve an additional 953,000 students nationwide.

Parkland College is a fully accredited public community college serving the needs of District 505, Illinois' third largest community college district. Offering 130+ degree and certificate options for career placement or academic transfer, Parkland has provided vocational-technical skills training and traditional academic instruction to more than 350,000 people since 1967. Parkland College's mission is to cultivate inquiry, practical application of knowledge, and broad enrichment across the community to better serve the intellectual, cultural, and economic development of the district.

The Aspen Institute is a global nonprofit organization committed to realizing a free, just, and equitable society. Founded in 1949, the Institute drives change through dialogue, leadership, and action to help solve the most important challenges facing the United States and the world. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., the Institute has a campus in Aspen, Colorado, and an international network of partners.

Parkland Board Prepares for Return to Campus in Fall

Board of Trustees General Meeting, July 21

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Parkland College's Board of Trustees recently made strategic preparations for the return to campus this fall, including renewal of employee contracts and library database services and the purchase of a new ambulance simulator.

At its regular meeting Wednesday, the board also heard spring and summer enrollment reports from Kristin Smigielski, dean of enrollment management, and reviewed the tentative budget for FY2022. The tentative budget will be on display for public viewing in the college's business office and a public notice will appear in the News-Gazette. 

Trustees approved collective bargaining agreements with each of the college's part-time faculty, public safety officers, professional support staff, and academic employees.

Mark Sheldon, chairman of the Middleground PAC, came to honor Trustee Johnson, a former United States Congressman, during public comments by announcing a new endowed scholarship to the Parkland Foundation in his name. Mr. Sheldon shared that the announcement comes as part of an effort to distribute the funds remaining from Johnson’s prior congressional campaigns to charitable causes.

The board also approved various purchases to support the incoming class for the fall semester, including software for Parkland College Learning Commons' open-access digital repository, SPARK; database resources from EBSCO; and an ambulance simulator. SPARK boasts more than 5,500 digital scholar objects. The Learning Commons (formerly the Parkland Library) will also be supported by a renewed contract with EBSCO, which provides information-research resources and infrastructure. 

The new ambulance simulator will provide Health Professions students with "real-life" emergency medical training. It will consist of a "rear box" patient treatment compartment with lighting, storage, air, ventilation, sound, and power for auxiliary equipment.

In other business, trustees approved:

  • updates to the Policy and Procedures Manual

  • the bid from DiaMedical of Michigan for the ambulance simulator, $38,990

  • the bid from TSI Commercial Flooring for the removal and installation of carpet in the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS) space in the Parkland on Mattis facility, $43,590

  • Canteen Vending Corporation as the vending service provider beginning August 1, 2021 through July 31, 2024

  • adoption of the resolution affirming the College's participation in the Champaign County Multi-Jurisdictional Hazard Mitigation Plan Update 2020

  • renewal of the 3-year lease with Education for Employment (EFE) through July 1, 2024

  • the purchase of:  

    • new grounds equipment from Deere & Company, $90,055

    • SPARK Institutional Repository renewal, $25,856

    • EBSCO Parkland Learning Commons Package renewal, $33,113

  • the filing of the following grant applications:

    • U.S. Department of Education: Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS)

    • Illinois Community College Board (ICCB): FY22 Scaling Apprenticeship Program Supplemental Grant

    • Illinois Community College Board (ICCB): Apprenticeship Grant: Customized Apprenticeship Programming—Information Technology (CAP-IT) (DOL-ETA, Year 3 funding)

  • the acceptance of funds from external sources:

    • Local Workforce Development Board 17—LWIA 17 Youth Committee: WIOA Youth Programming

    • Illinois Community College Board (ICCB): Early School Leaver Transition Program

  • personnel appointments: 

    • Tracey Hickox, Instructional Services Coordinator, Learning Commons

    • Rebecca Lewis, Selective Admissions Associate, Admissions

    • Julianna Liffick, Assistant Teacher, Child Development Center

Parkland Board Honors Late Trustee Jonathan Westfield

Board of Trustees General Meeting, June 16

Parkland College's Board of Trustees honored late trustee Jonathan Westfield and made key appointments and purchases at its Wednesday meeting. 

Before attending to the Board's regular business, Chair Bianca Green led with a moment of silence to honor Mr. Westfield's life and service to Parkland following his passing on June 5. Mr. Westfield served as a trustee from 2017 until stepping down from his position earlier this year. 

In regular business, the board approved Matthew Kopmann as the school's new police chief. Kopmann has worked at the college since 2008. In that time, he has served as a field training officer, college relations officer, and an officer recruiter and hiring committee chair. A former Parkland College alum, Kopmann graduated from Northwestern University's School of Police Staff and Command in 2019.

Trustees also approved the assignment of Morgann Quilty, formerly the director of the Parkland College Library, to the new position of associate dean of the Parkland College Learning Commons, which will be launched next month. Based in the Parkland College Library, this physical and virtual hub for learning will unify multiple student support departments to create a space for students to connect with academic support services.

Among the reports presented to the board was the annual college marketing presentation. Erin Shannon, director of marketing and public relations, outlined future strategic direction for the marketing department.

Also, during the meeting, trustees voted to approve a series of purchases to support Community Education's virtual and in-person course offerings, and extended the successful partnership with 160 Driver's Academy, which provides the personnel, equipment, and other services for the CDL training program.

In other business, trustees approved:

  • the bid from K.K. Stevens Publishing Co. for Community Education's printing needs, $38,374

  • the reappointment of Meyer Capel as legal counsel for the Board for fiscal year 2022

  • the purchase of:  

    • CARLI databases renewal through the University of Illinois, $41,616

    • services from Rock Gate Capital, DVA 160 Driving Academy, $680,000

    • services from ATI Training, Home Inspection Institute, $40,000

    • services from Black Rocket Productions, $25,000

    • services from ed2go, $25,000

    • legal services from Grey & Associates, $35,000

    • services from ProTrain, $40,000

    • services from SDI, $25,000

    • furniture from Krueger International, $250,000

    • license agreement for Payscale MarketPay Core and MarketPay Jobs from Payscale, $57,000

  • personnel appointments: 

    • Derrick Baker, Dean, Career and Technical Education

    • Matthew Kopmann, Director/Chief of Police, Public Safety

    • Morgann Quilty, Associate Dean, Learning Commons

    • Steve Barbee, Director, Campus Technologies

    • Rebecca McNaught, Senior Director, Campus Technologies

    • R. Michael Corbin, Financial Aid Assistant, Financial Aid

    • Ryan Doebel, Technical Support Specialist, Campus Tech

    • Jordan Johnson, Career Counselor, Counseling and Advising/SWFT