The Parkland College Blog

New Career Program Degree, Certificates

Trustees approve three new credentials at meeting

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Parkland College officials approved curricula for three new career credentials and learned more about a new student start-up cohort coming this spring.

At its regular meeting Wednesday, the Parkland College Board of Trustees approved the school's new Advanced Unmanned Aircraft Systems certificate, the Agriculture Retail Operations certificate, and the Advanced Applicator Technician AAS degree. The programs will go through a final review for approval with the Illinois Community College Board and, in the case of the AAS degree, Illinois Board of Higher Education in the new year.

The nine-credit-hour Advanced UAS certificate course capitalizes on a field seeing significant growth and sector diversification; drone operations affect defense, precision agriculture, remote sensing, journalism, municipal police and fire, real estate, and other industries. Parkland's Institute of Aviation offered its debut UAS certificate this fall and is using National Science Foundation grant funds to increase this valuable training. Building on the current certificate, the Advanced UAS certificate course will prepare aviation and UAS students with specific skills in drone data collection, improving employment as commercial UAS operators.

The Agriculture Retail Operations certificate and its parent program, Advanced Applicator Technician AAS, are a part of the planned Midwest Center for Precision Agriculture at Parkland College, and were developed in response to the need of retail agribusiness leaders within the precision agriculture sector. The AAS program will prepare students for careers as advanced applicator technicians. Graduates will be proficient in basic agronomic skills, operating applicator equipment, and applying applicator procedures in accordance with Department of Transportation and Environmental Protection Agency regulations. The certificate program will prepare students in inventory management, agribusiness-related computer applications, as well as the basic agronomic and computational skills required in day-to-day operations at retail facilities.

Stephanie Stuart, Parkland College's vice president for communications and external affairs, gave a status report on the new CobraVenture student entrepreneur cohort. Eleven current Parkland students representing a variety of academic disciplines were selected to participate in the program debuting next month.

Trustees also approved the following:

  • purchase of a flight training device from Frasca International, Inc., Urbana, for $335,000. The purchase of the Frasca Piper Archer AATD flight simulator will provide the training platform needed to adjust to ongoing aircraft upgrades and will more economically train flight instructors on new aircraft equipment.

  • personnel appointments:

    • Julia Hawthorne, Director of TRiO/Student Support Services, Student Services

    • Tracy Kleparski, Director of Student Life, Student Services

    • Jacob Walwer, Certified Flight Instructor, Institute of Aviation

    • Justin Jacobson, Certified Flight Instructor, Institute of Aviation

    • Jonathan Goebel, Head Coach/Fitness Center Director, Athletics

    • Stephanie Manuel, Nursing Adjunct Faculty, Health Professions

    • Maret Matthew, International Student Services Advisor, Admissions

    • Katie Raisner, TRiO/Student Support Services Advisor, Student Services

Ready for a bachelor's or master's degree? Use your Parkland credits! The following colleges will have representatives on hand this spring in the Student Union (unless otherwise noted) to discuss four-year degrees and transfer options.

Eastern Illinois University
College Center, X wing lounge
Thursday, March 14
Monday, April 8
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Ryan Howard

School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Wednesday, March 27
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Sioban Lombardi

Private Illinois Colleges, Universities Fair
Wednesday, April 10
10:30 am–1:30 pm

University of Missouri-St. Louis
Monday, April 15
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Zakery Tierney

University of Illinois Springfield
Monday, April 15
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Miranda Swope

Aurora University
Tuesday, April 16
10 am–1 pm
Representative: Barbara McCarthy

Parkland College Board of Trustees Petitions Filed

Four candidates will run for three seats opening up in April

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Parkland College officials announced today that four candidates have filed to run for positions on the Parkland College Board of Trustees.

Bianca Truitt Green of Champaign, Jonathan Westfield of Savoy and Douglas Jones of Champaign have filed for the two six-year trustee terms that are expiring next April. Green and Westfield are incumbent trustees who have served on the board since 2015 and 2017, respectively. Jones is a surgeon at Christie Clinic in Champaign.

James L. Ayers of Monticello, also an incumbent, has filed for the four-year term expiring in April. Ayers has served the on the board since 1989.

The two six-year terms will run through April 2025, while the four-year term will run through April 2023. The election will be held April 2, 2019.

Green Infrastructure Certification Course Offered in January

Parkland College state's only licensed provider of NGICP training

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Parkland College has become the only licensed provider in Illinois of a nationally recognized training and certification course in green infrastructure, a fast-growing approach to managing stormwater and creating more eco-friendly urban environments.

The Water Environment Federation's National Green Infrastructure Certification Program helps prepare individuals to professionally and properly build, inspect and maintain green infrastructure projects and includes professional development requirements that maintain this workforce skill set. Individuals who become certified through the NGICP can open the door to expanding career opportunities related to green infrastructure. In 2016 alone, nearly 1.7 million workers were directly involved in designing, constructing, operating and governing U.S. water infrastructure spanning a variety of industries, according to NGICP research

Parkland College's National Green Infrastructure Certification Program training course is scheduled for Jan. 28–Feb. 1, 2019, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m at Parkland College Community Education, 1315 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign, with afternoon labs on Parkland's main campus.

Certification benefits include:


  • Expansion of participant skills and knowledge of building, inspecting and maintaining Green Infrastructure (GI) systems

  • Greater awareness of GI career opportunities

  • Proof of participants' commitment to supporting sustainable performance of GI practices

  • Exposure to employers looking to hire skilled GI workers and employees who have certification through the NGICP Certification Database 

For more information on the NGICP at Parkland or to register, please visit or call Community Education at 217/351-2235.

Men's Soccer Student Named Scholar All-American

Ethan Norton honored by United Soccer Coaches

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Parkland College Men’s Soccer sophomore defensive back Ethan Norton has been named a Scholar All-American by the United Soccer Coaches. Norton earned Second Team honors.

Norton, who is studying finance, holds a 4.0 grade point average entering his final semester at Parkland. On the pitch, the Danville, Ill., resident earned Region 24 First Team All-Region honors after starting 14 of the team’s 15 matches. Starting in five Cobra shutouts, Norton also contributed offensively with assists in four matches.

In order to be eligible for the honor, athletes must be a sophomore in athletic standing, maintain a minimum 3.30 cumulative GPA (on a 4.0 scale) and start more than 50 percent of all games. Additionally, players must exemplify elite athletic ability as proven by playing honors.

Norton is the first Cobra to receive the honor since midfielder Alex Zarco was selected following the 2016 season.

[Article by Chad Beyler]