The Parkland College Blog

Parkland Community Update

Parkland Community:

We want to inform you of a shooting incident that occurred last night at the Parkland Point apartment complex located adjacent to campus, which resulted in the death of a 20-year-old young man.

We are deeply saddened that a life has been lost and know that many Parkland students live in the complex and may have witnessed or heard the incident. Parkland College’s crisis team will be offering walk-in counseling services on Monday, November 1 from 10-noon for any students needing to talk and will provide additional supports throughout the week. Students who need more immediate assistance can contact 217-359-4141, 2-1-1, or 815-570-9586.

The escalation of community violence in recent months has had a profound impact on our community. We know that while this violence may occur off-campus, the resulting trauma and feelings of fear enter our building every day. We remain committed not only to creating a safe learning environment but also to supporting the basic needs and mental health of our students through our network of services. Please do not hesitate to reach out to the Dean of Students ( or Counseling Services ( if you need support.  

We implore each of you to be aware of your surroundings and be part of the solution by making positive choices that bring you closer to your goals.  As always, you can report suspicious behavior by contacting the Parkland College Police Department at 217-351-2369 or by dialing 911.


Thomas R. Ramage, Ed.D.

President, Parkland College

Staerkel Planetarium to Present Kaler Lecture on Microreactors

Staerkel Planetarium to Present Kaler Lecture on Microreactors

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The William M. Staerkel Planetarium at Parkland College is hosting a talk on nuclear microreactors for the James B. Kaler Science Lecture Series.

On Friday, November 5 at 6:30 p.m., Dr. Caleb Brooks, associate professor in the Department of Nuclear, Plasma, and Radiological Engineering at the University of Illinois, will present "Rethinking Nuclear Power: Small Systems, Big Potential." Tickets for Kaler Lectures cost $2 or are free for Friends of the Staerkel Planetarium.

Nuclear microreactors are a new class of nuclear fission technology that various U.S. departments plan to deploy over this decade. As the name implies, they are much smaller than conventional reactors, but their design allows them to be factory-built and delivered to sites by truck, rail, or ship. Since they require minimal onsite construction, they can offer a plug-and-play source of energy, which is useful in locations limited by isolation or natural disasters.

Brooks earned B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. degrees in Nuclear Engineering from Purdue University and began working at the University of Illinois in 2014. He established the Multiphase Thermo-fluid Dynamics Laboratory to study nuclear systems and reactor flows, and he investigates hybrid energy approaches for existing and future power systems.

The seating capacity in the planetarium is currently limited to 60 people. The Kaler Science Lectures are filmed by PCTV. After the talk, the seats will be cleaned before the 8 p.m. showing of Phantom of the Universe, a program about the search for dark matter. Admission to fulldome shows start at $5. For a show schedule or booking information, please call 217/351-2446 or visit

Parkland College SHIELD CU Testing Site Moves to E Building

SHIELD CU Testing at Parkland moves to E Building

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Beginning Saturday, October 30, Parkland College's SHIELD CU testing site will be located in the E building on Parkland's main campus.

As building access is restricted, the E building must be entered through door E1; use the B5 parking lot for closer access.

Testing hours at the new site are: Monday, 8:30–11:30 a.m.; Tuesday, 8:30 a.m.–4 p.m.; Wednesday, 1–4 p.m.; Saturday, 10 a.m.–3 p.m.

You must use the Safer Community app to receive your test results from SHIELD CU testing. For more information about the app, building access, or Parkland's COVID Monitoring System and guidelines, please visit

2021 State of the Art Ceramics Biennial: The Living World in Clay

Giertz Gallery Hosts 2021 Ceramics Biennial, curated by Chris Berti

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"The Living World in Clay" curated by Chris Berti
Exhibit: October 25, 2021February 5, 2022
Reception: October 28, 5:30–7:30 p.m.; weather permitting, conversation is encouraged outdoors
Artist Lecture: Janis Wunderlich, November 11, 10:30 a.m., available on Zoom and in L111
Gallery closed: November 24 (5 p.m.)November 28 for Thanksgiving; December 18January 9 for Holiday Break; and January 17 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. — Ceramic works by nationally recognized artists will feature in the Giertz Gallery exhibition "The Living World in Clay" this month and into the new year.

Artist and professor of Art and Design Chris Berti curates the 2021 State of the Art Ceramics Invitational. The exhibit, which brings together a "cross section of contemporary artists who invoke the rich tradition of incorporating human and animal figures into ceramic form," opened October 25 and will run through February 5, 2022.

An opening reception will take place tonight, October 28, from 5:30–7:30 p.m. in the gallery. Weather permitting, the courtyard doors will be open to encourage conversation after viewing the exhibit.

Janis Wunderlich will present an artist talk on November 11 at 10:30 a.m. This event is open to students, faculty, and staff at Parkland College in L111, and available virtually on Zoom. Register at

Exhibit participants comprise artists and faculty from across the United States, including Ricky Barnett of Bakersville, North Carolina; Joe Bova of Santa Fe, New Mexico; William Brouillard of Lakewood, Ohio; Lynn Hobaica of Bakersville, North Carolina; Peter Jadoonath of Shafer, Minnesota; Kirk Lyttle of St. Paul, Minnesota; Jenny Mendes of Chesterland, Ohio; Tilla Rodemann of Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts; Rimas VisGirda of Champaign, Illinois, and Janis Wunderlich of Monmouth, Illinois.

Cups Fundraiser. In tandem with the Ceramics Biennial exhibition, Giertz Gallery will host its biennial fundraiser, "Coffee and Tea: Cups and Dessert" on December 9 from 4–7 p.m. With each ticket, guests will select from handmade ceramic cups donated by the Parkland College ceramics program faculty and students, and enjoy desserts, tea, coffee, live music, and a silent auction. Bid on or purchase artworks donated by Art and Design faculty and students, including vases, bowls, teapots, pitchers, jewelry, and scarves; auction items make perfect holiday gifts. A link will be available soon at to view auction pieces ahead of time and place bids.

Tickets for "Coffee and Tea: Cups and Desert" are $25 in advance or $30 at the door, with advance purchase recommended; attendees will have the option of attending from 4–5:30 p.m. or 5:30–7 p.m. A new selection of cups will be available for each time period, and will be chosen on a first come, first served basis. Tickets can be purchased online at or by phone at 217/351-2485. All proceeds support the Giertz Gallery.

Gallery hours are 10 a.m.–5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m.–7 p.m. Thursday, and noon–2 p.m. Saturday. The gallery will be closed from 5 p.m. Nov. 24 through 28 for Thanksgiving break; Dec. 18 through Jan. 9 for winter break; and Jan. 17 for Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

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.

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

Parkland Board Hears Report on SWFT Program

Board of Trustees General Meeting, October 20

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At their regular meeting Wednesday, Parkland College's Board of Trustees heard updates from department leads, including a report on the college's Support for Workforce Training (SWFT) program.

Alicia Beck, director of the SWFT program, gave an update regarding the program, which is supported by a $1.2 million grant from the Illinois Workforce Equity Initiative (WEI), a consortium of Illinois community colleges providing free short-term training and student supports through an equity lens.

Since 2019, the SWFT program has served nearly 350 students in short-term certificate programs across a variety of in-demand industries, including healthcare, transportation, manufacturing, construction, and technology. The grant program, championed by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus and locally by State Representative Carol Ammons, aims to move African-American residents into career pathways that pay family-sustaining wages. To date, Parkland has exceeded its goals for enrollment and participant diversity. Students obtaining employment in their career area have reported average starting wages between $19-$21 per hour.

Dean of enrollment management Kristin Smigielski provided the board with enrollment reports from Summer 2021 and Fall 2021, and Josh Birky, program manager of grants and contracts, gave an annual grants report.

Next, trustees reviewed and approved the re-submission of a capital improvement project to the Illinois Community College Board (ICCB) under the Resource Allocation Management Program (RAMP). With the local growth of health professions and STEM fields, the project would build a new Physical Sciences Training Center, a 27,000 sq. ft. construction addition to campus primarily used as chemistry and biology labs and classrooms, to allow for expanding enrollment in these courses.

In other business, trustees approved:

  • the purchase of:
    • services from ProTrain, $30,000
    • elevator service and maintenance from Kone, Inc., $30,879
    • employment services contracting with Manpower, $275,000
    • bid for Phase 1 of upgrading exterior and interior door locks from Bodine Electric, $1,995,261
    • two-year pricing agreement for services from Rock Gate Capital, DBA 160 Driving Academy
  • the filing of the following grant applications:
    • Illinois Community College Board: Governor's Emergency Education Relief Funds (GEERF II)
    • Illinois Green Economy Network (IGEN): Renewable Energy Resources Trust Fund (IEPA funding)—Energy Efficiency Internships
  • the acceptance of funds from external sources:
    • NASPA-Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education: 2021 First-Generation College Celebration Grant
    • U.S. Department of Education: Child Care Access Means Parents in School (CCAMPIS)
    • Illinois Community College Board (ICCB): Apprenticeship Grant: Customized Apprenticeship Programming—Information Technology (CAP-IT) (DOL-ETA, Year 3 funding)
  • personnel appointments: 
    • Kim Pankau, Associate Dean, Health Professions
    • Sarah Hartman, Interim Associate Director, Admissions
    • Jason Maldonado, HR Specialist, Human Resources
    • Katherine Neal, Employment Coordinator, Human Resources
    • Martha Jacobson, Employment/Employee Relations Manager, Human Resources
    • Anita Taylor, Department Assistant, Arts and Sciences
    • Eddie Walker, Custodian, Physical Plant
    • Kenyatta Whitfield, Custodian, Physical Plant