The Parkland College Blog

Kaler Science Lecture to Discuss Sustainable Materials Research

Parkland Planetarium Hosts Kaler Science Lecture Series, March 4

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Next up for the James B. Kaler Science Lecture series at the William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College is sustainable energy research.

On Friday, March 4 at 6:30 p.m., University of Illinois assistant professor of materials science and engineering Dr. Nicola Perry will present "Ceramics That Breathe: New Materials Development for Sustainable Energy." Kaler Lecture tickets are $2 or free for Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium.

Perry's research group focuses on functional ceramic materials that can improve the sustainability, efficiency, and durability of fuel cells, electrolysis cells, and batteries. During the talk, Perry will describe how her group makes "solid state ionic" materials, a special class of functional ceramics, and tests them in extreme environments to explore new design guidelines.

Perry earned her bachelor's degrees, one in materials science and engineering and one in French studies, at Rice University. She earned her Ph.D. in materials science and engineering at Northwestern University. She was a postdoctoral researcher at Northwestern, MIT, and Kyushu University, and served on the faculty of the International Institute for Carbon-Neutral Energy Research. She received early career awards from the National Science Foundation and the Department of Energy.

Kaler Science lectures are filmed by Parkland College TV for later viewing. After the talk, the seats will be cleaned before the 8 p.m. show, "Big Astronomy," a program about the staff who maintain Chile's world-class observatories. Admission to fulldome shows is $6 for adults or $5 for children, students, or seniors. Please visit for the show schedule or call 217/351-2568 for information about booking the dome.

Parkland College Announces New Logistics Training Program in Partnership with Caterpillar in Champaign

Parkland College partners with Caterpillar for new logistics training apprenticeship program

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[NOTE: This is the corrected version of the original release from 2/23/22.]

Parkland College announced a new apprenticeship program in collaboration with Caterpillar Integrated Logistics Center, a provider of integrated supply chain solutions.

The program aims to upskill entry-level warehouse associates and prepare them for advancement opportunities within the industry by combining on-the-job learning and mentoring in Caterpillar logistics centers with classroom instruction provided by Parkland.

"Parkland College is pleased to partner with Caterpillar in this work-based learning program," said Derrick Baker, dean of Career and Technical Education. "We have been impressed by Caterpillar's desire to put a program in place that will provide such a great benefit to the community. Workforce development is an important part of our mission, and Parkland looks forward to more opportunities to assist employers by developing these kinds of 'earn while you learn' programs to expand employers' talent pipelines, increase employee retention, and open doors of opportunity for the local community."

The apprenticeship program launches in late March. Apprentices will work full-time at CAT while taking related courses at Parkland. Classroom time is included in the employees' work hours, and they will be compensated for that time. Four courses comprise the related training instruction portion of the program and the 10 credit hours earned throughout the apprenticeship apply toward Parkland's Business Management Associate in Applied Science degree. Caterpillar will cover all educational expenses for their apprentices.

Parkland Preview to Help High School Students Explore Career Interests

Parkland to Host Parkland Preview Open House on March 25

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Parkland College's "Parkland Preview" event for high school seniors will be returning on Friday, March 25 from 12 to 2 p.m. in the Student Union. 

The Parkland Preview allows prospective and admitted students to explore their major with the instructors and staff of Parkland's transfer and career programs. 23 different Parkland programs and departments will be present at the event, including nursing, dental hygiene, surgical technology, arts and sciences, aviation, agriculture, business/computer science and technologies, and more.

Breakout sessions highlighting financial aid, scholarships, and the Parkland experience from a student's perspective will round out the event agenda. Staff from academic departments, specialized programs, student-focused offices, and health professions will be available to answer questions.

During the event, students will have the option to take a tour of campus, talk with an admissions advisor, or make further appointments with student service offices.
Registration is open now at or by calling 217/351-2482.

Parkland Board Approves Tuition Freeze for 2022-2023

Board of Trustees General Meeting, February 16

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Parkland College will keep next year's base tuition rates the same as 2021-2022.

At its regular meeting Wednesday, the Board of Trustees voted to keep Parkland's in-district tuition rates at $148.50 per credit hour (all Tier One courses) through the 2022-2023 academic year, effective summer session 2022. The decision followed the annual Budget Workshop for Parkland Trustees led by Chief Financial Officer Christopher Randles.

The board also heard an enrollment update from Dean of Enrollment Management Kristin Smigielski, and approved the removal of a $10 processing fee for students applying to Health Professions programs.

In other business, trustees approved:

  • updates to Policy and Procedures Manual, Policy 8.21

  • 2022-2023 Course Fee Schedule

  • base bid plus alternate classrooms 1 through 5 from Midwest Computer Products, Inc., $416,172

  • the purchase of:

    • ALEKS PPL testing units from McGraw-Hill Global Education Holdings LLC, $60,000

    • services from ThriveDX SaaS Inc., $60,000

    • base bid plus alternate classrooms 1 through 5 from Midwest Computer Products, Inc., $416,172

    • audit services of BKD CPAs & Advisors for FY2022-FY2024, $187,575

  • the filing of the following grant applications:

    • Illinois Community College Board (ICCB): Competency-Based Education Program Development

    • Illinois Community College Board (ICCB): FY22 Transitional Instruction Innovation Grant

    • Illinois Community College Board (ICCB): Developmental Education Innovation Grant for Co-Requisite Implementation

  • the acceptance of funds from external sources:

    • Illinois Community College Board (ICCB): Innovative Bridge and Transitions Grant

  • personnel appointments: 

    • Megan Johnson, CVT Lead Lab Asst., Health Professions

    • Nicole Olmo, Accountant, Business Office

    • Samuel Standerfer, Infrastructure Specialist, Network Support Services

Giertz Gallery to Host "Better Angels: Work by Steven Hudson"

Giertz Gallery Presents "Better Angels: Work by Steven Hudson"

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"Better Angels: Work by Steven Hudson," featuring art by Champaign-based artist Steven Hudson, opens February 14 at Giertz Gallery at Parkland College.

The exhibit, which includes paintings, drawings, and sculpture by Hudson, will run through March 29. An artist's reception will be held on Thursday, February 17 from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. featuring live music by the Cobra Lounge Trio. Hudson will present a gallery talk at 6:15 pm. An additional artist lecture will take place on Wednesday, March 2 at 2:30 p.m. on Zoom.

The exhibit, reception, and lecture are free and open to the public. Please register for online events at

"We are delighted to exhibit Steven Hudson's artwork," says Giertz Gallery director Lisa Costello. "He is a local artist with national stature, and we are fortunate to have the opportunity for a solo exhibition. His art deals with existential questions that we all struggle with, and through his inclusion of simple and iconic symbols of mass-produced and disposable objects, the work resonates more profoundly–we can identify with his figures and their predicament."

Hudson records a sometimes beautiful but always melancholy portrait of human vulnerability in the epic tradition of oil painting. His work foreshadows our current environmental annihilation, and his narratives offer stories of survival and transcendence amongst the familiar debris of our time. Navigating the space of an unspecified cataclysm, he creates a twilight time that is far removed from the clutter and pace of our existence.

"I paint, draw, and make sculpture and installation art in a rigorous representational manner that is heavily informed by the academic traditions in figurative art," Hudson says. "I do this because it is the kind of work that I admire most, and because it invokes the centuries-long history of painting. I make artworks that explore the humblest gestures, exposing the fragility of our own day-to-day lived moments."

Hudson is a teaching associate professor in The School of Art and Design at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. He holds a BFA from Southeastern Massachusetts University and an MFA from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. His artwork has been reviewed nationally and internationally, including ARTnews, New American Paintings, and the Chicago Tribune. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the National Endowment for the Arts/Arts Midwest Individual Artist Grant and the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship Individual Artist Grant.

Gallery hours are Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday, noon to 2 p.m.

In compliance with state pandemic mandates, Parkland College has restricted access entryways and door checkers stationed at entrances. For Giertz Gallery, we suggest using the M1 parking lot on the north corner of campus. Enter through the M1 door and follow the gallery signage. The gallery is located in the north side of the X-wing and overlooks the outdoor fountain area.

Giertz Gallery acknowledges support from the Illinois Arts Council Agency. Parkland College is a section 504/ADA-compliant institution; for accommodation, call 217/351-2505 or email

For more information about the exhibit or the gallery, please visit or call the gallery office at 217/351-2485.

[Image: "Hotspot", oil and mixed media on canvas, 60x80 in, 2022]