The Parkland College Blog

Peer Tutoring Program Gains Top-Stage Certification

College Reading, Learning Assoc. approves 23-year program's tutor training

Parkland College's Peer Tutoring program has been approved for Stage Three, Level 1 tutor training certification by the nationwide College Reading and Learning Association.

This coveted recognition allows Parkland College to recognize its student-tutors as having met the approved CRLA requirements for Certified Tutor Level 1, to assist with the learning of their fellow students. Because Parkland's program is now in the top stage, the CRLA certification lasts five years and is renewable. According to the certification committee, the strengths of Parkland's program include its focus on developmental math, "which is more needed today than in years past," and its use of Productive Tutoring Techniques videos to train peer tutors. 

Parkland College's Peer Tutoring program, established in the mid-1990s, trains student tutors who have been selected based on their academic performance, previous experience, and interest in helping others. These students tutor their fellow Parkland College students in mathematics (all levels), physics, chemistry, biology, computer science, accounting, business, economics, Spanish, and other course subjects.

The CRLA certifies college tutor training programs across the globe, providing tutoring centers with the structure for certifying tutors at one or more levels.

Volcanic Eruption on Hawaii: December Kaler Science Talk

Geologist Steven Marshak to discuss reasons for Hawaiian volcanism, plate tectonics

This December's James B. Kaler Science Lecture at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium presents a "volatile" topic.

"The 2018 Volcanic Eruption on Hawaii: Causes and Consequences of a Natural Disaster," presented by geologist Dr. Steven Marshak, takes place Dec. 7 at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 at the door with the Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium admitted free of charge. 

Beginning in May, 2018, 200-foot-high fountains of lava spurted from a fissure near the east coast of Hawaii. These fountains fed rivers of molten rock that flowed over neighborhoods, roads, and forests, causing the region to be declared a disaster area. Where did the molten rock come from, and why has it piled up to build the world's tallest mountain (as measured from the base to the top)—in the middle of the Pacific Ocean? Marshak will discuss reasons for Hawaiian volcanism, in the context of plate tectonics theory, and will provide a firsthand account of what the eruption looks like, and how people are coping with it. 

Marshak has been at the University of Illinois for 35 years. He is currently a professor in the Department of Geology and the director of the School of Earth, Society and the Environment. His research interests involve structural geology, plate tectonics, and field geology. He has been involved in research projects in the Midcontinent, the Appalachians, and southeastern Brazil, and he studies a variety of issues including the development of tectonic structures and unconformities in cratons; the development of tectonic foliations in rocks; the formation of fold-thrust belts; and crustal evolution during the Precambrian.

Following Marshak's talk, the planetarium will present its holiday program, "Season of Light." Tickets for regular programs range from $5 to $6 per person. For a full show schedule, visit  the planetarium's website or call 217/351-2446. 

Faculty, Staff Excellence Winners for 2018

Employees provided superior instruction, service during 2018 academic year

Parkland College employees were honored with campus and regional awards for superior instruction and service during the school's 2018 academic year. Most were nominated through Parkland College's Professional Development Subcommittees for Faculty and Staff.

Kaizad Irani, Horticulture and Agriculture
2018 Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Award, Illinois Community College Trustees AssociationKaizad Irani

  • A Champaign County Master Gardener, Irani has taught at Parkland College since 2002

  • Has led teams that designed healing gardens locally at Carle Hospital and at St. Jude's Children's Hospital in Memphis

  • His team's design was chosen for the World Trade Center Heroes Park that will be built near Ground Zero in New York

  • Described as a creative force and an enthusiastic, generous, and purposeful professor who instills confidence in every student

  • Expert on topics as varied as Transforming Chaos and Conflict, Mind Mapping, and changing negative thought patterns

  • Has served on the college's Curriculum Committee and Sustainable Campus Committee


Tracy Dotson, Composition
2018 Outstanding Part-Time Faculty Award for Parkland College, Illinois Community College Trustees AssociationTracy Dotson

  • Described as a deeply caring and committed teacher

  • Has established an engaging curriculum and productive classroom community in which students learn from her and from their classmates

  • Valued contributor in departmental meetings, grant-funded assessments, and developmental composition meetings

  • Well-regarded mentor who acclimates new part-time faculty to policies, procedures, expectations, and culture of Parkland College


Chris Warren, Kinesiology
2018 Parkland College Teaching Excellence AwardChris Warren

  • Associate professor and program director of the Kinesiology program, Warren oversaw the development of Parkland College's state-of-the-art training and athletics facility

  • Helped develop the college's Certified Personal Fitness Training program

  • Expanded the Kinesiology curriculum to include four transfer pathways

  • Known as a dedicated and encouraging teacher; students say he creates a fun and engaging classroom environment

  • Assists trainers and clients at Parkland's Fitness Center and monitors many Parkland athletes' training 


Kendra McClure, Communications
2018 Online Teaching Excellence AwardKendra McClure

  • Associate professor of communication, McClure has served at Parkland College since 2010

  • Her online courses stand out because of her attention to detail, clear expectations, and personal interactions with her students

  • Uses feedback from anonymous surveys to make adjustments and continually improve student learning

  • A founder and faculty advisor for Applied Media Promotions (AMP), a student-staffed strategic communication firm on campus


Manuel Rodriguez, Chemistry
Dr. Joseph Cipfl Faculty Workshop and Research Grant Winner

  • Associate professor of chemistry, Rodriguez has served Parkland College since 2010

  • The Illinois Community College Faculty Association (ICCFA) Executive Committee has awarded him one of its four $2,500 competitive faculty grants for 2018

  • His research project is "Introduction to Undergraduate Research for Community College Students"

  • ICCFA, an advisory body to the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB), endeavors to promote excellence in teaching and learning in Illinois community colleges

 

Kris Murray, Accessibility Services
2018 Outstanding Staff Gold Award (5+ Years) Kris Murray

  • Responsible for day-to-day operations in the Office of Accessibility Services, which serves 500+ students

  • Recognized as consummate professional who communicates with students in a caring, respectful, and positive manner

  • Maintains the office's systems and extensive inventory of assistive technologies

  • Works closely with faculty and staff to meet educational needs for students with disabilities

  • Adept knowledge of ADA compliance issues, technology for student accommodations, and community/campus resources


Sarah Hartman, Admissions
2018 Outstanding Staff Green Award (>5 Years)Sarah Hartman

  • Admissions advisor and first contact for prospective students and parents

  • Named to the 2018 Emerging Community Leaders program by United Way of Champaign County

  • Referred to as the office cheerleader whose positive attitude finds solutions and the bright side to any situation 

  • Educates office staff on new procedures, trains them on new software, and helps improve their customer-service skills

  • Extensive services include EEO representation, Parkland College Association (senator), Job Evaluation Committee, Parkland Gives365 group, Policy and Procedures Management Team, and SOAR Vision Committee

Staerkel Planetarium to Host "Dark November" Events

Dark Matter topic for show premiere, science talks

The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College will celebrate "Dark November" with three events on the topic of Dark Matter.
 
Kaler Science Talk
First, University of Illinois astronomer Jeff Filippini will give a talk titled "The Dark Universe" as part of the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series. His presentation will be Friday, Nov. 2, at 7 p.m. Admission is $2 at the door, with free admission for Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium.
 
Over the past several decades, astronomers have been driven to a remarkable conclusion: The objects seen through telescopes form only the tiniest portion of the stuff of this Universe. The vast majority of the Universe is in unseen forms, different from anything known from the laboratory. Galaxies and galaxy clusters are held together by the gravitational pull of invisible clouds of Dark Matter, while a mysterious force called "Dark Energy" drives the Universe to expand ever faster. Dr. Filippini will take the audience on a tour of this invisible universe, from the evidence for its presence to the ongoing search to understand its nature.
 
Filippini is an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He completed his undergraduate degree at Harvard University and his PhD at University of California, Berkeley, where he searched for Dark Matter using advanced detectors located deep underground. After a postdoctoral position at California Institute of Technology, he arrived at UIUC in 2015. His research probes the history and workings of our cosmos using sensitive cryogenic detectors deployed at the South Pole and aboard stratospheric balloons.
 
Show Premiere
The Staerkel Planetarium opens a new fall show on Dark Matter called "Phantom of the Universe: The Hunt for Dark Matter" at 8 p.m. Friday, Nov. 2. The show will run Friday and Saturday nights until the Thanksgiving weekend, when it will be replaced by "Season of Light."
 
From the journey of protons racing through the world's largest particle collider in Europe to up-close views of the Big Bang and emergent universe and the nearly mile-deep descent to an underground experiment in South Dakota, this planetarium show is designed to immerse audiences in the search for this elusive material. The hunt is on! Narrated by Tilda Swinton.
 
"Phantom of the Universe" tickets are $6 for adults, $5 for students, seniors and children under 12, with free admission for Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium.
 
CUAS Talk
UIUC scientist Dr. Lauren Pearce will give a talk entitled "Dark Matter: Why Do We Think It's Out There?" Thursday, Nov. 8 at 7 p.m. Her talk, part of the monthly Champaign-Urbana Astronomical Society meeting at the Staerkel Planetarium, is free of charge.
 
For centuries, astronomers have used their telescopes to study the wonders of the universe: planets, stars, galaxies, etc. In the last century, however, astronomers have started studying something they can’t see in their telescopes: Dark Matter. Pearce will examine the lines of evidence that have convinced astronomers Dark Matter is in fact out there. Audience members will even discover a little about its properties and, time permitting, will discuss some ideas about what it could be.
 
Pearce is a post-doctoral researcher and Fortner Fellow at the UIUC. She is a theoretical cosmologist whose work incorporates particle physics. Her current research focuses include connecting Higgs physics to the generation of the Universe’s matter/antimatter asymmetry and using the cosmic microwave background radiation to constrain interactions between the hypothesized inflation and other fundamental particles. Previously, she has worked on self-interacting Dark Matter models. A native of western Pennsylvania, she completed her PhD at UCLA and was previously a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota. 

A calendar of shows and presentations is available at the planetarium website.

Explore Parkland College academic programs, campus life, support services and more during the school's annual Fall Open House.

This event will take place Friday, Nov. 2 from noon to 3 p.m. in the Student Union atrium and in the L and H buildings for its Health Professions programs.

Designed for high school students, parents of college-bound students, and community members, the Parkland College Fall Open House allows visitors to tour the campus; have their questions answered from admissions, financial aid, and counseling representatives; view student demonstrations and explore the college's innovative features. Breakout sessions on financial aid and the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program also will take place during the open house.

For those interested in criminal justice or forensic science, the Parkland College Forensic Science Lab in Room X104 will be open for public viewing from noon to 2 p.m. that day. The science behind criminal investigation is more challenging and satisfying than popular media portray. Students can view the tools of the trade including fingerprinting techniques, DNA gels and skeletal remains, and an instructor will be on hand to talk about the chemistry of it all.

The Health Professions portion of the open house will take place in the L wing of the main campus and at the H building located in Parkland on Mattis, 1309 N. Mattis Ave. in Champaign. The Dental Hygiene, Nursing, Radiologic Technology, Respiratory Care, Surgical Technology and Veterinary Technology programs will be featured in the L wing, while the Nursing, Emergency Medical Services, Fire Service, Massage Therapy, Medical Assisting, Nursing Assistant, Occupational Therapy and Practical Nursing programs will be featured at the H building. Visitors can enjoy chair massages from Massage Therapy students, get their vitals taken from Medical Assisting students and view lab demonstrations from Nursing and Occupational Therapy students in the H building.

For more information about the Parkland College Fall Open House, contact Admissions and Records at 217/351-2482 or admissions@parkland.edu.

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