The Parkland College Blog

Peer Tutoring Program Gains Top-Stage Certification

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

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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.

Parkland Volleyball Punches Ticket to Nationals

Cobras sweep Lincoln Trail in District J Championship

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GODFREY, Ill. — The No. 2 Parkland Volleyball team advanced to 2018 National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) Division II Nationals with a 3-0 sweep of Lincoln Trail (25-11, 25-9, 25-9) on Saturday in the District J Championship match.

NJCAA DII Nationals will be held in Charleston, W. Va, November 15–17, at the Charleston Coliseum Convention Center.

Following the match, freshman setter Rachel Verdun was named Region 24 Player of the Year and Head Coach Cliff Hastings was named Coach of the Year. Verdun was also named First Team All-Region, as was sophomore middle blocker Shelby Nunamaker, freshman libero Brooke Norder and freshman outside hitter Ryleigh Warfel. Sophomore Katelyn Riffle was named to Second Team All-Region.

"The team is coming together and peaking at the right time of the year," Hastings said. "They have put together a great body of work throughout the season, but we've played these 55 matches to prepare for these final six matches. The girls have done all the right things to be efficient and successful at the two district matches. Now we march forward at Nationals for four more."

Now 53-2 on the season, Parkland will be making its 11th consecutive trip to the National tournament, a streak that dates back to 2008. The Cobras have won three National Titles (1999, 2015, 2016), and have not missed the tournament since Hastings took over in 2009. The Cobras will enter the 2018 tournament on a 17-match winning streak, their second longest of the 2018 season.

Again dominant, the Cobras' offense blitzed the Lincoln Trail defense to the tune of a .487 hitting percentage behind setter Rachel Verdun's 34 assists. Committing just six total attack errors, and just two in the final two sets, the Cobras attack was led by 10 kills from freshman outside hitter Ryleigh Warfel who hit .368 overall. Freshman Amanda Greening added in eight kills of her own, on an errorless .727 hitting percentage, while sophomore middle blockers Maddie Allen and Shelby Nunamaker each contributed six kills with only one error between them.

Boosting the offense was a service game that totaled 12 aces in just three sets. Setter Ashley King led the servers with three aces, while Warfel and Ellie Stone each had two.

In addition to leading the team in kills, Warfel also helped steady the back row with nine digs to lead the Cobras. Maggie Sorensen added in seven digs, while Brooke Norder and Stone both chipped in six.

A 16-team field, the NJCAA DII National Tournament is a double-elimination format with the final two teams facing off in the DII National Championship match at 4:30 p.m. Central Time Saturday, Nov. 17. For more information on the tournament and how to purchase tickets, visit the Charleston Convention Center website.

[Article by Chad Beyler]

Faculty Member Wins ACE Award for Community Arts Leadership

Peggy Shaw to be honored by 40th North with Artist ACE Award Nov. 8

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A Parkland College faculty member has earned community-wide honors for her leadership and contributions to culture and the arts in the area.

Peggy Shaw, Art and Design faculty in the college's Fine and Applied Arts department, won a 2018 ACE Award from the Champaign County Arts, Culture and Entertainment Council (40 North). The organization will hold its 14th annual ACE Awards ceremony Nov. 8, 6 p.m. at the City Center, 503 S. Chestnut St., Champaign.

ACE Awards honor individuals, businesses, artists, teachers, arts organizations, volunteers, and government and community leaders whose hard work and creative efforts enrich the culture of Champaign County. All seven ACE Award category winners embody the spirit of the local arts community with their passion, energy, and dedication to the creative culture of the community.

According to the 40 North website, Shaw won the Artist ACE Award for "making work that is publicly accessible yet deeply personal, work that commands a large room while engaging the individual viewer in a quiet, intimate space, for the immersive power of her work through the courageous revealing of her personal story, for evolving and developing compelling new ways to contribute to the local arts community, inspire students, support colleagues, and the people around her."

Shaw teaches digital photography, darkroom photography, video production and photography portfolio classes in the Art and Design program. Parkland College's Professional Development Subcommittee for Faculty selected her as its 2016 Illinois Community College Trustees Association Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Award for Parkland College. A member of Parkland College's faculty since 2007, Shaw helped establish the school's Educational Video Center (now PCTV) and was part of the team that initiated distance learning efforts at the college. In addition to developing the popular Photography AAS degree, she has created various courses related to photography and video production. 

Shaw received her BFA degree in painting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and her MFA degree at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her photography has been exhibited nationally and has won numerous awards in both photography and video, including fellowships from the Illinois Arts Council and the Arts Midwest/National Education Association Regional.
ACE Award winners were chosen from public nominations by an independent panel of community-based judges representing a broad cross-section of Champaign County. Anyone can submit a nomination for an ACE Award.

Volcanic Eruption on Hawaii: December Kaler Science Talk

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

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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

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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