The Parkland College Blog

Spanish-Language, Sensory-Friendly Shows at Staerkel Planetarium

Planetarium's Winter Shows Include Spanish, Sensory-Friendly Options

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Sensory-friendly and Spanish-language shows will be returning to the Staerkel Planetarium as part of their winter lineup.

One World, One Sky: Big Bird's Adventure will premiere on Saturday, December 4 at 1 p.m. Following a 30-minute break to clean seats, Cosmic Colors will start at 2:30 p.m. These sensory-friendly shows will feature "lights up, sound down" settings to provide a relaxed, move-around-as-needed atmosphere for guests with autism spectrum disorder, sensory sensitivities, or young children. Sensory supports and social stories are available for all visitors. Presenter Tania Swigart is a preschool teacher who works with children with special needs.

The planetarium is also offering more Spanish-language shows with Un cielo, un mundo: La aventura de Big Bird and Astronomía a gran escala on November 20 and December 18. Un cielo, un mundo: La aventura de Big Bird, which offers an introduction to the night sky over Sesame Street and China as Elmo and Hu Hu Zhu take a trip to the moon, begins at 1 p.m.

Astronomía a gran escala will start at 2:30 p.m. after a 30-minute break to sanitize seats between shows. This fulldome video shows why Chile is home to many world-class observatories and highlights the people who work on these instruments. Presenter Ricardo Covarrubias Carreno, Ph.D., teaches astronomy at Parkland College and offers tours of the night sky over his native Chile.

The seating capacity in the planetarium is currently limited to 60 people. Admission to fulldome shows start at $5. For a show schedule or booking information, please call 217/351-2446 or visit

2021 Ceramics Biennial: Janis Wunderlich to Present Artist Talk

Giertz Gallery Presents Artist Lecture by Janis Mars Wunderlich

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Giertz Gallery will be hosting an artist lecture by ceramic artist Janis Mars Wunderlich on November 11 at 10:30 a.m. as part of the 2021 State of the Art Ceramics Biennial.

Participating in the exhibition "The Living World In Clay," Wunderlich's talk will be held in lecture hall L111, down the hall from Giertz Gallery, and also virtually on Zoom. To learn more and register, please visit

Wunderlich received a BFA from Brigham Young University and an MFA from Ohio State University. One of ten children, she grew up in a devout Mormon family with Amish relatives. She spent many years raising her own five children while balancing a strong dedication to creating and exhibiting her detailed figurative sculptures. Inspired by her Cherokee storyteller/folk-artist grandfather, her evocative, surrealistic imagery captures the dualities and complexities of being human. She is currently an assistant professor of art at Monmouth College in Illinois. She was awarded an individual artist fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council in 2020.

Wunderlich's work, The Embrace (27 x 12 x 6 inches) is multi-fired, underglaze, glaze, and melted glass. "These embracing figures are inspired by our critical current dialogue about anti-racism—about lifting each other up to build a better community, a better world," says Wunderlich. "These figures are literally strengthening each other through their complete embrace. The world revolves around them, and all eyes watch, as this act of embrace is what keeps many elements suspended in balance.

"My art tells stories that acknowledge the immensity of our physical and emotional inadequacies, the burdens we bear, and our many vulnerabilities. It also celebrates the buoyant strength of the human spirit to hope and persevere as we rise above the ashes to overcome obstacles. My intimate interactions as a daughter, mother, nurturer, friend, wife, and teacher inspire universal narratives about our collective human search for resilience and purpose."

Artist and professor of Art and Design Chris Berti curates the 2021 State of the Art Ceramics Biennial "The Living World in Clay." The exhibit opened October 25 and will run through February 5, 2022, and features artists and faculty from across the United States, including Ricky Barnett, Joe Bova, William Brouillard, Lynn Hobaica, Peter Jadoonath, Kirk Lyttle, Jenny Mendes, Tilla Rodemann, Rimas VisGirda, and Janis Wunderlich.

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.

Spring 2022 Enrollment Blitz Happening Now

Spring 2022 Enrollment Blitz Starts Today

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Parkland College is helping residents sign up for Spring 2022 classes both at the campus and virtually through a one-stop enrollment services event.

During Spring Enrollment Blitz, new and returning students can receive help from the college's Student Services offices, including Admissions and Records, Financial Aid and Veteran Services, Assessment Center, and Academic Adising.

Campus offices are open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. and staff will also be available to help virtually on Zoom. Zoom will be open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on November 3, 10, 17, and 30; December 1, 7, 8, 14, and 15; and January 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 (10 a.m. to 2 p.m.).

Since Parkland College's spring semester classes begin January 10, Enrollment Blitz is especially useful for those who have yet to complete all the steps in their enrollment. This event will help students prepare for a great new semester by completing an admissions application, filling out financial aid information, and registering for classes.

For more information on Spring 2022 Enrollment Blitz, go to, contact Admissions and Records at 217/351-2482 or email

New Industry Apprenticeship Program at Parkland College

Birkey's Farm Store partners with Parkland to train ag equipment techs

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Parkland College and Birkey's Farm Store announce the launch of a new, nationally recognized apprenticeship program to train agriculture and construction equipment technicians.

As an expansion of Parkland and Birkey's decade-long partnership, the new Birkey's CNH Service Equipment Technician Apprenticeship Program pairs formalized on-the-job training with technical coursework to help Birkey's develop more highly skilled employees, according to Derrick Baker, dean of Parkland's Career and Technical Education division.

"We are thrilled to be able to serve both Birkey's and our students through this new apprenticeship program," Baker said. "This kind of program is not only a cost-effective way to help employers recruit, prepare, and retain qualified technicians, but it also serves students by providing access to high-wage, high-skill, in-demand jobs alongside their educational training. And it does so in a way that values the skills and expertise of experienced workers as they pass on their knowledge to a new generation. It's a win-win, not just for Birkey's and the students, but for the whole community."

Newly registered with the U.S. Department of Labor, the Birkey's CNH Service Equipment Technician Apprenticeship Program incorporates the college's Case New Holland (CNH) Service Technician Associate in Applied Science with on-the-job training and mentoring in Birkey's stores throughout Illinois and Indiana over a three-year period.

The program began this fall with 11 first-year apprentices and six second-year apprentices. Upon completion of the apprenticeship, graduates will receive a nationally recognized journeyworker certificate from USDOL in addition to Parkland's CNH AAS degree. Birkey's Director of Human Resources Curt Carter says the program will help the company reach important industry-based goals.
"Birkey's is always on the lookout for new talent to help ensure a strong future in the farming and construction industries," Carter said. "We want to do our part to enable the workforce by providing well-trained technicians to service our customers' equipment. The CNH Service Technician Apprenticeship is an exciting way to achieve these goals and provides apprentices the opportunity to become skilled technicians who have a bright, promising career ahead of them."

Parkland's 65-hour CNH program will prepare students to maintain and repair equipment used in Case New Holland, Case IH, and Case Construction dealerships. Heavily lab-focused, the hands-on training includes coursework in hydraulic systems, powertrains, electrical systems, fuel systems, service department operations, welding, engine theory and overhaul, and air conditioning.

CNH dealers who wish to participate can receive support and technical assistance from Parkland College, an approved USDOL apprenticeship intermediary, who will expedite the registration process with the apprenticeship agency. After registering, dealers can immediately enter employees into the Service Equipment Technician program. Next, dealers will identify master-level employees who are capable of and willing to mentor apprentices. Dealers will then identify potential candidates or incumbent workers who would benefit from the apprenticeship program and enroll them.

Birkey's Farm Store has served Illinois and Indiana since 1954 with product sales and support and a network of 17 locations and 400+ employees. The company, headquartered in Champaign, Illinois, owns and operates a network of full-service Case IH agricultural and Case construction equipment stores throughout Illinois and western Indiana. The Birkey's network serves the Illinois communities Annawan, Arthur, Bloomington, Casey, Galesburg, Gibson City, Henry, Hoopeston, Macomb, Mattoon, Newton, Oakland, Polo, Propheststown, Shelbyville, and Urbana, as well as Williamsport, IN.

For more information about the Birkey's CNH Service Equipment Technician Apprenticeship Program, please contact Education Liaison and Recruitment Specialist Travis McClure at Businesses located in Parkland's District 505 can contact Parkland Apprenticeship Coordinator Aimee Densmore at

Registration Now Open for Spring 2022 Semester

Open Registration for Spring 2022 Classes Starts Today

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Open registration for Parkland College Spring Semester 2022 starts November 1. See a full listing of available courses at

Spring semester classes begin the week of January 10 (for full 16-week and first 8-week sessions) and later. At Parkland, you can learn to fly a drone, network computers, build homes, save lives, and more. Or save big on tuition by transferring your Parkland credits to universities. 

Eligible students may be able to receive additional funding of up to $800 - visit to learn more.

See the Registration Guide for dates and deadlines, drop and withdrawal steps, tuition and fee information, and more. Students may need to meet with an academic advisor before registering by emailing For a listing of registration steps, please visit

Register by January 9 for classes that begin January 10, by January 30 for classes that begin January 31, and by March 6 for classes that begin March 7.