Category Archives: Business, Agriculture, Engineering Sciences & Technologies, and Computer Science & Information Technology

Top Four Reasons to Earn an Online Business Degree

Thinking of studying to earn a degree in business? You might consider the benefits of taking your classes online! Parkland College offers business degrees, certificates, and classes you can take completely online. Here are the four top reasons an online business degree might work for you:

Flexibility. People are busy and their time is valuable to them. Online courses allow students to work at times that are convenient for them and stay on schedule to graduate, so they can advance their careers. Here is what a couple of our students had to say:

Parkland allows me to complete an entire degree by taking online classes. This is important to me as an adult with a full-time career.Robert M.

I only needed a few courses to complete my degree, and Parkland online courses have fit my busy schedule perfectly. I will be graduating this spring rather than having to take summer classes. I appreciate the freedom that online classes provide! – Julie P.

Opportunity. Parkland College prides itself with transferring students to top universities to continue their degrees, and with preparing students to move directly into the workforce. Local employers tout the quality of Parkland graduates.:

It has been my pleasure to hire many Parkland students over the last five years for the U of I Community Credit Union. These students possess the ability to adapt and learn their environment along with contributing to the team in their departments. Parkland students accept the challenge of learning and appreciate the environment in a workplace that allows them to excel. – UICCU staffer

Support. Parkland offers the same quality education and support to its online students that it offers at its campus. Our online students notice our commitment to our systems; they also notice our employees’ commitment to them.

They [Parkland] are continuing to update their systems for students to stay up on what is going on in the world.

Parkland staff is always helpful and knowledgeable whenever I have questions. When taking classes, I always feel as if the professors want you to succeed.

Affordability. Last, but certainly not least, Parkland students have the business savvy to notice a good deal when they see it.

I feel that the tuition is reasonable for all that a student really gets at Parkland, which includes the right education and tools I need to succeed in the workforce.

Parkland College’s online business apply to a variety of degree and certificate programs that can be completed without coming to a campus classroom. So, GO AHEAD, invest in yourself!

[Lori Wendt is the learning management system specialist for the Professional Development and Instructional Technology department at Parkland College.]

Racing Toward a Bright Future

Parkland graduate Kyle Bemount is going places, FAST! Bemount, who earned his associate’s degree in Industrial Technology in 2011, is making a name for himself, both in racing circles and through the efforts of his business, Bemount Performance. I recently caught up with him and we talked about his experiences at Parkland, including his role as a part-time instructor, in addition to his ventures outside of school.

 

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T: What did you study at Parkland?
K: I originally enrolled in the Industrial Technology program at Parkland in the fall of 2008, right after I got out of the Marine Corps. I wanted to do welding and fabricating and that sort of thing. I had some hands-on experience and liked it, so I wanted to further educate myself.

T:  Thank you for your service! Where did your degree in Industrial Technology lead you?
K: While I was earning that degree, I also worked pretty much full time at my stepdad’s shop, painting and fabricating. When I graduated, I used the tools I learned and kept heading in that direction. I had never really given motorsports a chance to reach out and grab me. Then, Parkland built the new facility, and I was here for a car show and thought maybe it was worth checking out. I scheduled a meeting with Jon (Ross, director of the automotive program) and he gave me all the information I needed. I liked what he had to say, so I decided to try for another degree in Automotive Motorsport technology.

T: Where did your interests outside of Parkland take you?
K: I finished the motorsport classes, and it was a year ago, almost to the day, that I made the decision to open my own business. I do have a passion for working on cars and making them go faster, and working on FRIENDS’ cars especially is what has led me to this! Last October, I moved to a shop in Champaign, at 4102 Colleen Drive off of Staley Road.

T: Did your Industrial Technology training come together with the auto training?
K: It all kind of pieced the puzzle together. You might have previous car experience or have a relationship with someone who taught you about cars, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I had it too; I was already into cars and I had a fast vehicle, but there were a lot of gaps. I would be in class with Jon going over wheels and tires or brakes and suspension or something, and I would think I knew it, but by the end of class, I’d be like, “I didn’t know ANYTHING about that!” Parkland’s instruction bridges a lot of gaps for people who haven’t been taught in a structured manner like a classroom environment. You aren’t going to get that know-how by working on one specific vehicle. Here, you’re taught that this is how they all work and the situation dictates which one you can use it on.

T: You get a good, broad understanding of why this works, and that can help you diagnose whatever rolls into your shop?
K: Exactly. You need to crawl before you can walk. A lot of times, I ran before I even walked! I went right into it and did it. I got lucky and made it work, but if someone asked me a generic question about it, I might know the answer. Now, I try to be more able to find you a basic answer.

T: Was your Marine Corps training related to mechanics at all?
K: In no way, shape or form! I was an infantry marine.

T: You were a ground pounder?
K: I did infantry and security work. I had an option to become a police officer when I got out, but I really didn’t want to do it. I wanted to do something I was really passionate about.

T: You’ve started Bemount Performance, and from that the race car came about?
K: I actually bought that car when I was still stationed in Okinawa. I had my mom go to Missouri and pick it up. I had it for months before I even saw it! I had it all through industrial tech school, all through my motorsport classes.

T: What car are we talking about here?
K: It’s a 2000 Trans Am with a WS6. It has undergone multiple surgeries to become what it is now! Every winter, it gets some new “go fast” parts. It’s a 4-way LS motor with a Garrett 5594 turbo. It’s a pretty quick car. It’s been as fast as 8.35 in the quarter mile, at 168 miles an hour.

T: Is it a pro stock drag car? What classification is it?
K: It drives on the road more than it is on the track, so it’s a street class.

T: What advice would you give someone interested in chasing the dream of opening their own business?
K: To be honest with you, it was totally terrifying. I went from having a 40-hour-a-week job that makes decent money and was very secure and we had a certain living standard, and we realized that it was all about to change. I had a good feeling about it and I had backing from a couple of friends, so I didn’t have that concern.

T: What do you think about a nontraditional student coming back to Parkland? What sort of advice would you give that person?
K: You can always come back to Parkland. I’ve wanted to come back and do the upholstery class. It’s not really a part of what I do, I consider myself a go-fast guy, but nevertheless it’s a part of the world that I know zero about and that bothers me. You’re never too good to come back and learn. Technology evolves. I’m always wanting to learn.

T: Where did you go to high school?
K: I went to Rantoul. I had a fantastic shop teacher named Bill Wiley. Mr. Wiley actually made me interested in automotive. He was hands down the best shop teacher ever. He was very straightforward, but not by the book at all. He helped me out a ton.

T: Do you to build race cars for other people?
K: I do turbo kits, exhaust work, plumbing work, brake kits, and brake lines. I do almost anything, even build motors. My business is almost 100 percent building race cars. When I was starting out, I was as nervous as I could be and I took in jobs that had nothing to do with performance, just because I had to pay bills. Now, I don’t take in a job that doesn’t at least spark my interest or is a specialty of mine in the performance world. I very much try to stay to my field. I don’t want someone bringing their hundred-thousand-dollar race car into my shop and seeing a minivan on one of my racks.

T: What you would like to add?
K: I can’t emphasize taking classes enough. I love helping people out. This past fall, we took nine students to the track for the first time and after they had run down the track, they were grinning from ear to ear. To bring nine new guys into the thing you love is big to me. I want to show students that this is the right way to do it. That’s the big payoff.

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[To get started finishing your degree, contact Tony Hooker with the Parkland College Adult Re-entry Center at ahooker@parkland.edu or 217/351-2462.]

Applied Technology Student/Parent Information Night

Parkland College’s state-of-the-art technical training programs lead to high-tech careers! Some programs even guarantee 100% job placement for successful graduates.

Want to learn more about these cutting-edge programs and the careers available?

Attend our Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies Student/Parent Information Night on Wednesday, February 8 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the Parkhill Applied Technology Center (T building).

This event is free to attend and open to high school juniors and seniors. Bring your families to check out our hands-on instructional labs, meet our faculty and area employers, and learn how you can begin a well-paying career you love with just two years (or less!) of training. Featured career areas include:

  • agriculture
  • collision repair
  • diesel power
  • HVAC
  • precision agriculture
  • land surveying
  • automotive technology
  • construction
  • horticulture
  • electrical control systems
  • industrial technology

Ready to sign up? Visit the Ag/EST SPIN website. Contact Aimee Densmore at agest@parkland.edu or 217/373-3838 with questions.

[Aimee Densmore is program manager for Parkland’s Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies department.]

Why Parkland Land Surveying is Top Trainer

If you’re looking for one of the nation’s top land surveying educators, look no further than Parkland College. We recently earned the 2016 NCEES Surveying Education Award from the National Council of Examiners for Engineering and Surveying. Just 10 universities or technical institutes across the country won this inaugural award, and Parkland was the sole Illinois school earning the distinction.

So what makes our Construction Design Management: Land Surveying program an important choice for those pursuing professional licensure in surveying? I asked 2014 program graduate and Army veteran Jim Harpole, now project manager at JLH Land Surveying Inc. in Plainfield, to share his perspective on that. Here’s what Jim had to say.

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Strong foundation, ideal environment. The Land Surveying AAS program gave me the strong foundation I needed to succeed in my surveying career. Thanks to the wide range of topics and challenging curriculum, I was given an opportunity to experience different survey applications and an insight into the possibilities that a career in land surveying offers. The Parkland College campus is well-suited for the application and practice of land surveying.

Parkland Land Surveying students work on equipment.
Parkland Land Surveying students work on equipment.

Real-world experience. I especially benefited from the many off-campus projects that the program undertakes, projects like creating topographic surveys for the Monticello Railway Museum and establishing the photogrammetric control network for Champaign and Piatt counties. We even did the property boundaries for a few Habitat for Humanity projects in Monticello.

Students in the program also work with various types of software platforms and surveying equipment in current use. The experience that Parkland graduates possess greatly improves their marketability and brings recruiters from all over the Great Lakes region.

Reaching out, giving back. With the average age of licensed surveyors somewhere in the upper 50s, the land surveying profession is currently facing a large age gap, due to both the increase in educational requirements and a lack of public outreach to bring in more young people. The Parkland College Land Surveying program continues to play a vital and leading role in Illinois and the surrounding area by reaching out to high school programs; supporting the Boy Scouts of America by hosting a surveying merit badge; and assisting with logistics and judging for Illinois FFA sectional and state agricultural mechanics competitions, hosted annually on the Parkland campus.

Parkland also works with the University of Illinois’ Engineering program, which accepts CIT 255 Engineering Surveying course credit from Parkland as junior/senior engineering credit.

Helpful faculty and staff. I had such a great experience while at Parkland. Every instructor I had during the two years I spent on campus was always approachable and willing to set aside their time to assist me in understanding the coursework. As a student veteran, I was especially pleased with the service I received from the Financial Aid and Veteran Services office.

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***For more about the Construction Design and Management: Land Surveying AAS degree and certificates visit parkland.edu/academics/departments/est/construction.aspx***

[Todd Horton is program director for the Construction Design and Management programs at Parkland College.]

HS Students Invited to Try Ag/Engineering/Tech Jobs

Regional high school juniors and seniors will soon compete in pit crew contests, spark plug challenges, carpentry contests, and other hands-on events introducing future career options in agriculture, engineering, and related technologies.

The annual Parkland College Agriculture/Engineering Science and Technologies Open House is happening Friday, October 14.

Parkland’s state-of-the-art lab spaces will host the day’s events. The Parkhill Applied Technology Center, the Tony Noel Agricultural Technology Applications Center, and the Construction Education Alliance (Parkland on Mattis) simulate on-the-job conditions using industry-recognized equipment.

Students will choose two innovative sessions from automotive; collision repair; diesel power; electrical power; industrial technology and welding; construction management; engineering science; and agriculture, precision ag, and horticulture. Each session will last 40 minutes and provide a hands-on, career-exploration activity.

High schools are encouraged to bring groups of interested students. However, parents/guardians are also invited to bring their high schooler to the event should the local high school choose not to participate. Every participant will receive a free T-shirt and lunch.

Please visit www.parkland.edu/agestopenhouse for more information and to register. Registration is required by September 28.

A Snazzy New Room

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I am incredibly excited to be teaching this semester in one of our new Innovative Learning Labs. Funded by Title III, these rooms were designed by faculty to be modern, collaborative, versatile, and awesome.

I am teaching in the larger of the two, with high ceilings and natural light. Six Apple TVs line the walls with another on a mobile cart, and the professor or the students can share their computer screens with one or all of the TVs. Versatile seating and tables can be rearranged in a million different ways. Color on the walls and in the upholstered furniture departs from the usual institutional classroom feel. Note the lack of a large board for lectures, and really, the lack of any natural front of the room.

What? A math class with no front board? Yes, that is exactly what I’m doing.

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I hope for this room to affect my class from two aspects:

  1. Super cool technology that I can harness in all kinds of creative ways
  2. An open, casual room that just feels different and has a subtle influence on the way students feel and collaborate

I must confess that I feel completely unqualified to harness the potential of this room, but I’m enthusiastic and willing to brainstorm with others. With the help of our instructional designer and other creative colleagues, I hope to use this opportunity to infuse my class with engaging activities and digital materials that enhance my students’ learning in meaningful ways.

And with the sound-muffling baffles, it sort of looks like the inside of the old Tardis. And that’s just cool.

[Erin Wilding-Martin teaches mathematics  at Parkland College. The article above is a repost from her Developmental Math Redesign blog.]

Drones for Business: Big Option in Small Package

If you use drones (or have thought of using them) for your business, you may not be aware of recently established federal regulations, known as Part 107, that could benefit you. These FAA UAS rules allow businesses to operate drones for commercial purposes.

What does Part 107 mean for you and your drone?

  • Drone operators must be certified under the new UAS Operator certification.
  • Drone operators no longer need to file a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM)
  • All aircraft must weigh less than 55 lbs.
  • Flight is allowed under 400 feet above ground level. If flying within 400 feet of a structure, flight can be up to 400 feet above the height of that structure.
  • Flight must take place within visual line of sight of the operator.
  • Approval is required from specific airports to fly within their airspace boundary.
  • Flight must only take place during daytime and twilight hours: flight is allowed 30 minutes before sunrise and 30 minutes after sunset.
  • Single-person operations are now allowed; a visual observer is no longer needed.
  • Drones must be registered with the FAA, a process that can be done online in about five minutes
  • Drones can carry an external load and transport property for compensation, allowing for package delivery.

To help residents comply with the new standards, Parkland College Business Training and Community Education is pleased to bring the UAS Certification Exam Prep to our area September 15–16.

Discover what commercial drone/UAS operators will need to know in order to pass the certification test.  Learn pertinent information regarding regulations, airspace, weather, and more with Mandy Briggs, Certified Flight Instructor at the Institute of Aviation at Parkland College.

The UAS Certification Exam, available directly after the second day of class, is being handled by the Parkland College Assessment Center.  Testing will occur on a first come, first served basis at the center.  The certification exam is $150.  Click here for all testing and registration information.

[Jessie McClusky-Gilbert is a program manager with Parkland Business Training and Community Education.]

 

Pantry Produce Plot: More than Honors Work

To complete an A with Honors project for her Hospitality degree, Parkland College sophomore Del Jacobs has been working with Parkland Horticulture faculty this summer to plant a garden for the Wesley Food Pantry at Parkland.  She shares the process and her progress below. As a student, Del’s exemplary efforts in sustainability and feeding the hungry are well documented; the garden project is a continuation of her drive to serve. Parkland is proud to train those with a heart to help.

 

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I approached Theresa mid-spring about getting help from the Horticulture students to plan and plant a garden to feed 30 families. The Wesley Food Pantry at Parkland feeds an average of 30 families at each distribution.

Theresa’s class ran the numbers and figured out what to plant and how much to plant. In May, before my trip to Morocco, I helped Theresa and her staff plant the garden. Unfortunately, I was unable to monitor the garden for the first six weeks, and the weeds got very large and deep. Therefore, the garden doesn’t look pretty, which is why there are no pictures of it.

I began to coordinate volunteers to help me weed. We began by meeting every Saturday from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. to pull weeds. We weren’t making much progress, so I added another day. We now also meet on Tuesdays from 4:45 to 5:45 p.m.  So far, I have had nine volunteers; most have joined me once. My most faithful volunteer is Thor Peterson, sustainability coordinator at Parkland.

In spite of the problems, I have been able to harvest approximately 450 pounds of produce!

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I am also providing recipes to the pantry clients. I try to furnish recipes that use more than one vegetable from the garden along with nonperishable
items available at the pantry.

As the season moves on and the summer vegetables are harvested, we will be planting vegetables to harvest in the fall.

Lastly, I began working with Dawn Longfellow, Wesley Food Pantry’s operations manager, on a name and graphic for the garden. Dawn is still working on the graphic, but we have decided on the name: “Parkland’s Pantry Produce Plot.” I’m hoping this project will continue for many years, and I plan to be involved past the end of my A w/Honors project.

[Theresa  Meers is an associate professor of ag/horticulture at Parkland.]

 

You CAN DO Home Repair, and Parkland Can Help

For all you women out there (and perhaps a few men) who feel you can’t perform DIY home repair outside of changing a lightbulb, I want to encourage you: You CAN DO it.

I took a plumbing course at Parkland College in 2006 and have saved hundreds of dollars in potential (read: unnecessary) plumbing repairs ever since. It wasn’t easy being the only female (or 40+ year old) in that two-hour evening class. I surely earned the “Most Worn Out” award from cutting, reaming, and soldering pipe after a full day’s work! But I hung in there, learned a lot, and smiled all the way to my A grade. In the end, it was worth it, because that one class has made all the difference in my confidence about home repair.

Ruthie1Since taking the class, I have not only changed supply lines and valves on my home toilets myself, but I’ve also been able to confidently say “no thanks” to plumbers who’ve suggested that I replace entire faucet units when all that was needed to fix the leak was a new washer or packing. Yes, I said plumbers; this has happened more than once over the decade. Such triumphs encouraged me to buy a really good home repair book. I have since fixed non-plumbing-related areas of my home, too, including replacing the springs and cables on my garage door, buying and installing new insulation, and laying flooring.

Now, that’s pretty good savings from a one-semester, affordable class with a schedule that was flexible enough for a young working mother of two.

Look, ladies, if I could do this—someone who doesn’t do physical labor, nature, or bugs all that well—you certainly can. Sign up for Plumbing (CIT 114) or other Building Construction and Repair certificate courses at Parkland, and you won’t be disappointed. If you can’t take a Parkland class, then at least buy yourself (and read) a good home repair guide. You’ll be surprised at just how handy you really are.

Hmm…now that my kids are officially grown-ups, I think it’s time to get more Parkland construction classes under my belt. Perhaps I’ll take Construction Materials (CIT 111) or Rough Carpentry (CIT 115) next.

I bet my husband’s nervous just reading this. He should be. 😉

[Ruthie Counter is a full-time staff writer and part-time communication instructor at Parkland College.]

“Try Online!” Series: Introduction to Finance

Don’t let them fool you: online classes can be some of the most engaging, rigorous, and interactive college courses out there. In this short series of posts, “Try Online!”, Parkland faculty briefly introduce you to some of the most popular online courses we teach, available now in our summer/fall 2016 lineup. Below, check out  BUS 264 , Introduction to Finance, taught by instructor Bob Meyer.

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Introduction to Finance (BUS 264)
 transfers to the University of Illinois as FIN 221, Corporate Finance. I have worked for years to make sure that this course is equivalent to what is taught at most major universities.

But rather than sitting in a lecture hall with several hundred students, Parkland College students in BUS 264 enjoy much smaller class sizes, where they learn about investing, the time value of money, and how to evaluate whether a project is economically feasible.

What to Expect
This course is spread over 13 weeks to give you plenty of time to learn the material. You’ll have many assignments including an Aplia homework manager, but the course offers flexibility on due dates. Some of the work will be group or team work, and the groups typically interact over the Internet. Typically, half of the class comprises out-of-state students, and a tenth of the class lives out of the country.

BUS 264 includes two tests and a stock project. You may take your tests at Parkland or at approved proctor sites.

About the instructor: Bob Meyer has taught five sections of BUS 264 each year for the past 25 years. He has also taught at the University of Illinois’ Finance department, in both its undergraduate and graduate finance programs. He has owned a business and has been an insurance agent and a stock securities agent. He enjoys finance as well as teaching this course.

***BUS 264: Offered June 13–Aug 4 and Sep 12–Dec 9. Register online today for either section (but these sections fill fast!).***

 

[Derrick Baker is director of the Professional Development and Instructional Technology unit at Parkland College.]

Why Try a Job Fair? For More Reasons than One

You’ve seen the posters around campus, the emails, the notices on Parkland’s website.  But you still think: “Job fair? me?  Uh-uh. I’m already working” or “I’m going on for my bachelor’s” or “I still have a year until graduation” or “I get too nervous” or “I’m just not ready yet.”

But the answer should be “YES!” because there’s more than one way to utilize a job fair.  Think about it, wouldn’t it be great to make connections with employers you think you might want to work for?  They don’t know you’re out there unless you let them know. Are you working in the field you want to end up in?  There could be opportunity to find a “real” job (even part-time) or internship opportunity before you complete your bachelor’s degree in your field of study.

You know you want to go into business, but that’s so broad.  A job fair allows you to get out and talk with a variety of companies  in the industry to find out in what direction you want to focus when you’re done with school.  Not sure how to start conversations with employers? Go through the fair, observe, and make sure to approach just one or two employers, just to practice presenting yourself.

Need help with your resume? elevator pitch? LinkedIn account?  As a Parkland student, you can plan ahead and schedule a FREE  appointment with the Career Center so that you are ready to go on the day of the job fair.

***We will hold our final job fair of the 2016 spring semester Monday, April 11, from 10 am to 1:30 pm in the Student Union Atrium.  This fair will focus on careers in Computer Science, Information Technology, and Business.

Stop by the Career Center in U238, follow us on Twitter and Pinterest, and check out our website. Call us at 217/351-2536. Our hours are Monday–Friday, 8 am–5 pm. ***

[Carrie Harris is a career counselor in Parkland’s Career Center.]

“Try Online!” Series: Intro to Summer, Fall Courses

Don’t let them fool you: online classes can be some of the most engaging, rigorous, and interactive college courses out there. In this short series of posts, “Try Online!”, Parkland faculty briefly introduce you to some of the most popular online courses we teach, available now in our summer/fall 2016 lineup. Below, check out MKT 101 , Introduction to Marketing, from instructor Bob Meyer.

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When people think of marketing, they often mistakenly think of advertising. After taking this class, you won’t be one of them.

Students taking Introduction to Marketing, or MKT 101, learn about the 4 P’s of the marketing endeavor: Product, Price, Place, and Promotion. Yet in many ways, this online class is a blend of entrepreneurship and marketing; you will actually write a marketing plan about a potential “new” business for Champaign County. Think that’s an exercise in futility? Actually, it’s just the opposite.

In fact, over 100 businesses in Champaign have been opened after a marketing plan was written in this class. Some were opened by my students. Other businesses were opened by people who used the student’s marketing plan. To name a few, Potbelly Sandwich Shop, a former Apple iStore, and Chipotle were among local businesses that opened 2–3 years after my students wrote marketing plans for them. Some of my former students have even presented their MKT 101 projects on a local business-related radio show.

What to Expect
Course work for MKT 101 includes five tests and five video reports. About 1/3 of the grade is writing a marketing plan and giving feedback to classmates on their marketing plans. So not only will you learn how to write a marketing plan, you will also learn how to evaluate the proposals of others. That makes this a great class for students, even if they do not pursue marketing professionally.

About the instructor. Bob Meyer was one of the first teachers at Parkland to teach online classes. He has taught over 100 online sections, including over 50 online classes of MKT 101.  He uses his background in investments and marketing to evaluate students’ marketing plans and give them suggestions on the feasibility of their plans.

***MKT 101: Offered June 13-Aug 4 and Aug 22-Dec 9. Register online today for either section (fall semester classes open to the public April 11).***

 

[Derrick Baker is director of Professional Development and Instructional Technology at Parkland College.]

Mapping the Future: Careers in Transition

It is never easy trying to plan for the unknown. This is especially true in the uncertain times our community and state are currently facing. Will there be funding? Will I have a job? If I change jobs, how long until that position is affected?

Positioning yourself for the next chapter in life can be overwhelming; where do you even start? A road map for success would be helpful, especially during times of unwanted career transitions (i.e. downsizing, layoffs, closings, etc).

Your Future Ahead Road Sign

Looking for a job—a really good job you actually want—will take time and a lot of effort. Changing careers is challenging because rarely will you meet ALL the must-have requirements, but there are things you can do and anticipate in your search that will help you shine.

We welcome you to learn from Rick Galbreath, SPHR, who is a nationally published author, public speaker, trainer, consultant and founder of Performance Growth Partners Inc. with over 25 years of experience. Rick will be at Parkland College Business Training from 8am to noon March 29, 30 and 31, presenting on “Mapping the Future: Career Transition Workshops.”

The Job Search: What I Want Next
Tue Mar 29     8am-noon

The Resume: Showcasing Your Talents
Wed Mar 30     8am-noon

The Interview: Landing the Job
Thu Mar 31     8am-noon

For more information, contact Business Training at 217/351-2235 or businesstraining@parkland.edu.
[Jessie McClusky-Gilbert, CPP, is program manager for Parkland College Business Training.]

Words that Work

Today’s guest writer is Mary Shores, president and CEO of Midstate Collection Solutions, Inc. based in Champaign and creator of the “Words that Work” principle of customer service.

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If you think your customer-service scenarios are bad, let me tell you about mine: I own and operate a collection agency! Any situation involving stressed-out people and their money can be a nightmare, but once you add in the stereotypes and the fact that collections is one of the most reviled industries in the world, you’ve got a recipe for disastrous outcomes. Let’s face it, people hate us more than they hate going to the dentist!

What I have found, however, is that a collection agency is the perfect testing ground for refining customer-service skills. “Words that Work” is a customer-service philosophy I developed in the lab of my own company and have used with success. So, if I can make these customers happy and obtain positive results in my industry, think of what Words that Work can do for you! (After all, do you want a soldier who has only experienced boot camp or one who has been battle-tested?)

Consider this: A happy customer is a walking billboard for your company. Take Harley Davidson as an example. They call their customers “disciples” for a reason. Harley Davidson customers wear their logo, put it on their other vehicles, even tattoo it on their bodies. Heck, I know people who do this who don’t even own a Harley! I want to help you get on the path to creating your own disciples.

Words that Work:

  • Improves customer service outcomes.
  • Effectively diffuses angry or upset customers.
  • Builds trust and rapport.
  • Empowers your staff.
  • Creates consistency.

My philosophy features a three-step manifesto:

  1. Stop Staying Negative Words
    Negative words like “no”, “can’t”, and “unfortunately” reinforce a negative outcome for customers and incite them to do battle with your company. I will teach you what words to stop saying and why they can impact a customer so strongly.
  1. Start Using Words that Work
    Using language that supports the solution rather than the problem is the way to greatly improve the outcomes for your customers and your company. I will teach you what words to use, how to respond in different situations, and how to build consistent results.
  1. Always Say What You Can Do, Not What You Can’t Do
    Build trust and confidence while you create effective solutions for your customers.

Starting in January 2016 at Parkland College Business Training, I will teach you how to never say no and how to create solutions and have them in place to readily resolve customer-service issues. To hold your seat for my session, register here now!

***Words that Work has transformed my business and has changed my life and the lives of my employees and workshop attendees. When I saw the need for this kind of teaching and its applications, not only in business but in personal life, I wanted to reach as many people as possible. I started writing the book Words that Work this year, and it will be published through Hay House Publishing in 2017. If you’d like to follow my progress and receive my monthly newsletter packed with coaching exercises, sign up at www.MaryShores.com.***

 

Collision Repair Q & A

The Collision Repair program at Parkland College received a lot of attention when they moved into the beautiful, state-of-the-art Parkhill Applied Technology Center facilities, but I hadn’t been back into that space much in the last two years.

I visited with instructor Chris Stephens about the programs being offered there, and was intrigued to learn more about the discipline and opportunities.

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Collision Repair instructors Dan Swann, left, and Chris Stephens, right

Q: What classes make up the Collision Repair curriculum?

A: Students enrolling can expect to take career-specific classes in the first semester. Those include dent repair, estimating, and glass trim and hardware. Those are prerequisites to other classes like automotive refinishing, structural repair, custom refinishing (using the airbrush), and custom upholstery. Students also take core classes in math, English, and speech.

Q: What is the job outlook like for Collision Repair students?

A: The students who want to work can almost guarantee themselves a job. Shops and insurance companies call us all the time for our best students. When bad weather hits, shops need help due to fender-benders and other damage as a result of the weather, and insurance companies need estimators. Most students don’t realize they might start as an estimator making $30-45,000 with the possibility to grow to $80,000. In a collision repair shop, they may start out at $10 per hour prepping parts, but as their skill level increases, they can make well over $20 per hour.

Q: What kind of student does well in Collision Repair?

A: People who do the best are those who know how to use tools or have the drive to finish something they start. They have a good work ethic and good eye-hand coordination. We often see people who are stuck in a “filler job,” working at something they don’t want to do long term. Collision repair is a great career choice, and many take classes while they work part or even full time to pay the bills.

Q: Talk about the Collision Repair facilities.

A: We have a state-of-the-art space in the Parkhill Applied Technology Center here at Parkland. We train students for the workplace setting, so we have top-notch paint booths and frame machines. Our measuring systems use computer-guided technology, one with an articulating arm and the other with lasers for precise measurements. We purchased the same type of equipment used in local shops so when students are employed they will already be familiar with these types of systems. Our bumper repair includes a nitrogen plastic welder, which is newer technology that insurance companies are requiring of shops to stay up to date.

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A vehicle awaits its paint job.

Q: What is the most popular aspect of the program among students?

A: Students are always anxious to start refinishing in the paint booth. That’s a fun part of the curriculum for many.

Q: How does someone get started in Collision Repair?

A: We have a new program starting in the spring semester, so students don’t have to wait to get started on a new career path. Visit our website and contact our program manager, David Anderson at est@parkland.edu.

HRT 116 Wows Vets with Memorial Garden Designs

 

On Veterans Day, my Introduction to Landscape Design (HRT 116) class impressed their client, 1st Sgt. Michael Freed of the Illinois Army National Guard,  with their designs for a soldier memorial garden to be built in Roberts, Illinois.

When he approached me this summer about the project, Sgt. Freed wanted me to help create the design, having heard about my work with the WTC Memorial Project, St. Jude Children’s Hope Garden, and the Urbana Labyrinth.  I accepted but wanted to share this once-in-a-lifetime experience with my design students.

So three teams presented on Nov. 11: Fox Trot Platoon, The American Phoenix, and Brody’s Bunch, the latter group named after one of the team members. Sgt. Freed as well as some of the students presenting were nearly moved to tears by this incredible opportunity to recognize and memorialize the first 19 soldiers killed in the line of duty from December 2008 to September 2009.

Sgt. Freed and I found so many great design aspects in each design that I will be incorporating the best of each into one final cohesive design. Early in spring 2016, I will create a final design for the project, and my students and I, as a part of my Landscape Construction and Maintenance (HRT 119) class, will actually build part of the design.

To unveil this soldier tribute, we’re expecting a ribbon-cutting ceremony with the governor and others on Memorial Day 2016. Stay tuned.

 

 

Parkland Auto Takes on Vegas at SEMA Show

Parkland College Automotive students got to travel earlier this month to Las Vegas, Nevada, where they participated in the student education program at the world-renowned Specialty Equipment Market Association’s (SEMA) Show.

SEMA Show at Las Vegas Convention Center
SEMA Show at Las Vegas Convention Center

Six students and two faculty from Parkland’s Automotive Technology program participated in the five-day, celebrity-filled event. Student sessions took place Nov. 2 at the Las Vegas Convention Center, with a special lunch session for faculty members Nov. 3.

While there were not any technical hands-on activities, students were immersed in the skills required for professional interaction with companies trying to market their parts and services. The highlight for most any instructor is to be able to see students using what they have been exposed to and learned in the classroom in real life.

Parkland students at the SEMA Show (l. to r.): Brad Nelson, AJ Ross, Jeff Havener, Dan Goode, Thomas McClellan, and Jon Snelling
Parkland students at the SEMA Show (l. to r.): Brad Nelson, AJ Ross, Jeff Havener, Dan Goode, Thomas McClellan, and Jon Snelling

At first, students seemed overwhelmed by the experience! One student had never flown before and several students had never seen the Rocky Mountains. Only one had seen the lights of Las Vegas before. We exposed them to more than one million square feet of automotive products and services!

By the end of each day, however, it was amazing to listen to what our students were learning about the companies. Each of them provided examples of how they interacted with different companies and how they were able to adapt their approach and strategy in each experience based on what they were learning back home. As I walked the show floor looking for my own educational experience, several vendors recognized our Parkland Motorsport shirts and would say, “Your students were by here earlier—very impressive.” This is just another example of interaction you cannot get in the classroom.

Celebrities.  After current SEMA president Doug Evans addressed the more than 500 students in attendance Monday, TV personality, metal fabricator, and painter Jessi Combs also spoke. Jessi talked about how her passion for the industry has led to so many different and amazing experiences. She was also a part of the “Gear Up Girl’ event held later that day targeted specifically to women in the automotive industry. Later, there was Q&A with Doug and Jessi about SEMA and careers in the aftermarket industry. During the Tuesday luncheon, Doug addressed the faculty group along with Matt Crawford, author of the best-selling book Shop Class as Soul Craft.  About 100 school faculty and administrators were present.

Our students’ comments about SEMA:
“I had no idea there were so many different companies selling parts.”
“It’s so cool that these companies are interested in us even though we are just automotive students.” 

“I’m pretty sure I would have a job with this company if I moved to Texas.”
“I am having so much fun, I feel like I must be doing something wrong!”
“I can’t believe there were companies that knew about our drag car and training program.” 
“They said they remembered being at our school on the [Hot Rod Magazine] Power Tour stop.” 
“We get to come back next year, right?”

While our focus from this experience was on developing career paths for motorsport students, the option to participate was open to any students who could pay their portion of the trip (airfare, meals and boarding), which came to about $400. Plus, students had to be in good academic standing so they could miss other classes. Most had to take off work to participate over the five days.

…. And yes, we plan to go again in the future.

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Feeding the Hungry on Campus, Sustainably

According to the Natural Resources Defense Council, 40 percent of food in the United States goes uneaten, including 52 percent of all fruits and vegetables and half of all seafood. Meanwhile, the Eastern Illinois Foodbank reports that one in four children in our region struggles with hunger.

Parkland Hospitality Program student Del Jacobs saw direct opportunity to connect the food waste and hunger dots when she enrolled in cooking classes and observed the amount of food ending up in the trash.

“I have been interested in sustainability for several years,” Del says, “and I decided to create a system at Parkland to reduce food waste while helping the hungry in our community.”

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Student Del Jacobs with baked goods for Parkland’s Wesley Food Pantry

Del worked with Hospitality, Horticulture, the Wesley Food Pantry and Chartwells (the contractor running Parkland’s cafeteria food service) to develop these food-security strategies:

  • Three times this semester, Hospitality’s baking class will bake goods to supply the food pantry. “The pantry’s clients love the food,” says Del, “and the students have the satisfaction of knowing their baked goods are reducing hunger in the community.”
  • Next spring, Horticulture students plan to plant a garden outside the pantry food to supply 30 families with fresh seasonal produce.
  • Chartwells agreed to divert vegetable scraps from its waste stream to create compost to enrich the soil in Horticulture’s garden.

In addition, Del is working with the Wesley Food Pantry to raise awareness among Parkland’s student body that the pantry can supplement their food needs.

“Parkland’s Hospitality Club will also focus its efforts on sustainability and community outreach,” says Del.

Student-led initiatives like Del’s show the power of sustainability and systems thinking: waste is often a resource that happens to find itself in the wrong place at the wrong time. Creating connections between people and programs can capture these neglected resources and not only put them to productive use, but also help weave together more resilient and humane communities.

[Thor Peterson is the Sustainability coordinator at Parkland College.]

Inside the classroom: Fuel and Emissions

IMG_5130previous blog entry about the Volkswagen emissions controversy tied in with some of the elements we teach in class, so I thought I’d provide a glance for automotive enthusiasts about some of our classroom activities. 

Yesterday in our Fuel and Emissions class (AFD 231), instructor Adam Karch worked with students to understand how onboard emission monitors are actually completed on a running and driving vehicle. Students used a chassis dynamometer, an exhaust gas analyzer, and scan tool to monitor when and how the vehicle’s emission system checked each of the required emission monitoring systems.

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The screen above shows the emission monitors that are being checked on a scan tool that is communicating with the vehicle’s onboard computer. The vehicle must be driven under different conditions that are programmed into the vehicle computer. The student has to drive the vehicle under different loaded conditions to get the vehicle’s onboard computer to check each of the required emission systems. The dynamometer displays a colored line on its display screen that is based on a program in the dynamometer that follows the proper drive cycle for emission testing.

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The above image shows the line that must be followed on the dynamometer screen. The student increases or decreases vehicle speed and load to follow the requirements of the test. The drive cycle test is very specific in vehicle speed and load conditions. It often takes multiple attempts to drive a vehicle on public roads to get a vehicle to complete all the required tests. Slowing down to avoid traffic or obey posted speed limits will interrupt the test. It is much safer and easier to complete a drive cycle on the chassis dynamometer.

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The chassis dynamometer also allows the instructor to be with the student in the learning environment to answer questions while the test is being competed. The student can then focus on learning and properly complete the test rather than traffic and general driving.

This learning activity also helps reinforce the importance of test-driving a customer’s car after a repair attempt has been made. If a technician determines an EGR valve has failed and replaces the valve, but does not test drive the vehicle under the correct conditions, the technician really does not know if the repair attempt has fixed the customer’s complaint. Driving the vehicle under the conditions that allow the onboard computer to complete a self-check is the only way to know definitively that the vehicle has been repaired.

This is only one example of many tests that your vehicle is continuously attempting to complete. Other tests might require the vehicle to sit unoperated for several hours or to be under a specific load and speed for several minutes.        

If you are interested in checking out our automotive technology programs or scheduling a tour of our facility, please email est@parkland.edu or call 217/351-2481. IMG_5132 IMG_5133

Bringing Energy and Passion to the Workplace

Gallup reports that 70% of U.S. workers are not engaged at work, costing an estimated $450 billion to $550 billion annually from loss of productivity, safety, and quality.[1]

Surely, most people would prefer to be engaged in their work, so it seems in the best interest of both employees and employers to do something about this staggering number.

So how do we get more engaged? Famed business leader and Harvard Business School Professor Bill George said “missions motivate, dollars don’t.” Real engagement comes when your interests and values are aligned with your employer’s vision and mission, so that the work becomes personally meaningful. It might involve making a difference in the world, helping other people, connecting with others, or creating something new. People whose jobs align with their values and interests are the ones who say, “I can’t believe they pay me to do this job.”

For employees, getting this type of synergy requires an ongoing process of inner contemplation about your interests and values, and creative brainstorming about how they can be better met at work. You may need to have difficult conversations about how to refocus or redefine your work, or even pursue a new job. Or it might just require a simple shift in mindset to notice and focus on what’s right about your job rather than on what’s wrong.

For employers, this synergy requires creating work environments in which each person’s contribution is understood and appreciated. It involves getting to know your employees personally, providing opportunities for them to understand their interests and values, and then working creatively to align them with your mission and vision. And when problems happen, it means trying to understand where the misalignment is happening and creatively redirecting rather than blaming.

When people see opportunities to contribute to an exciting vision that aligns with their personal values and interests, magic happens. As Goethe says, “The moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help that would never otherwise have occurred… Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it.”

Want to learn how to bring energy and passion to YOUR work? Check out our new workshop, here.

[1] State of the American Workplace, Gallup, Inc., 2013.

[Jessie McClusky-Gilbert, CPP, is Program Manager for Parkland College Business Training.]

Emissions insights from Parkland’s automotive program

With car manufacturers and emissions taking the headlines this past week, I asked Parkland Automotive Program Director Jon Ross a few questions related to emissions.

Q: How are emissions created in cars?

A: Emissions are the by-products of combustion from the internal combustion engine, which usually operate on carbon based fuels like gasoline and diesel. Emissions are also created by gasoline evaporation.

Q: Where/how are emissions tested?

A: In central Illinois we do not have government required emission testing, however, if the “Service Engine Soon” light is on in your car or truck, your emission control systems “thinks” it is producing more emission than are allowed by law for the model year of your vehicle.  Since 1996 light duty cars and trucks have been required to report/record the operating status of emission monitoring systems–things like your catalytic converter or oxygen sensors. If these monitors detect an error, the service light will be turned on. These errors are based on numerical values in computer code–basically a bunch of “if ___then ___” sequences.

Q: So what are the car companies in question alleged to have done to the cars in more technical terms?

A: Vehicles are allowed to produce a certain amount of emissions based on federal law. Then the vehicle computer system must monitor the emission control system for the life of the vehicle. The asuumption is – if the vehicle monitoring systems are ok – then the vehicle must still be in compliance with the legal amount of emissions allowed.  When and how these monitors run is all based on computer code. From the reports I’ve seen, it appears that the details on when (run time, engine tempreature, rpm etc. )  the emissions monitors should run is in question.

jonRoss

Q: Do Parkland students learn about emissions systems?

We study the required emission components of gasoline engines. These emission systems impact how a vehicle performs. Poor performance could be related to an emission system malfunction.  Emission components or control systems basically fall into three groups – evaporative emissions (stored fuel evaporation), fuel adaptation (changes to fuel delivery while running), and catalytic converters (after combustion treatment). There are many specific emission componets, but they will always have something to do with the emmissions created by either storing fuel or burning it.

Q: To what diagnostics systems and facilities do Parkland automotive students have access?

A: The automotive lab in our Parkhill Applied Technology Center contains 28,000 square feet of workspace designed to reflect the workflow of a modern dealership. In addition to work benches, tools and equipment from the industry’s to vendors, we have 15 lift work stations  (three fitted with Hunter’s HawkEye® alignment systems); flat work stations with room for 10 additional cars; Chassis and Engine Dynos for engine testing and tuning training–the only educational dynos in a 100-mile radius of Champaign–Mustang DM110SE Chassis Dynamometer & Stuska Track Master Water Brake Dynamometer.

Q: The Parkland Motorsports program is quite unique for automotive training. What is it?

A:The Parkland Motorsports program was started to enhance learning, develop additional skills, and provide networking opportunities for students in the Parkland College automotive program. The program offers a unique oppurtunity for students to learn beyond the classroom and take pride in their program and school. Right now, for example, students are preparing for the Champaign County Sports Car Club autocross race on Sunday in Rantoul. Several student drivers will be competing with Parkland’s Civic and Mustang.

 

 

New Technology at Parkland: Part 3

Below, Parkland Library Administrative Assistant Sarah Meilike shares how faculty, staff, and students have been using Parkland’s MakerBot Replicator 2, with its 3D modeling and printing technology, for practical applications on campus. Sarah also demonstrates the new system in an upcoming video to be shown during the Pygmalion Tech Fest.
**Parkland is a presenting partner of the Pygmalion Festival, September 23-27, which includes a Tech Festival on Friday, Sept., 25 at Krannert Center in Urbana. The Tech Festival is FREE for all Parkland students with a valid ID.**

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What the MakerBot Replicator 2 Is and What It Does
We purchased our 3D printer, a MakerBot Replicator 2, in December 2013. Since then, we have been working with faculty and staff to promote it and engage students. In particular, Assistant Professor Derek Dallas, who teaches compter graphics, has been a wonderful resource for this goal. He incorporated the 3D printer into his 3D Animation class curriculum during the fall 2014 semester. This project brought his students into the library and exposed them to the technology; many of them have returned for personal projects.

We have provided demonstrations of the 3D printer to classes that request them. Kari Couch and Dave Wilson of Computer Science and Information Technology have both brought several classes in each semester to see the printer in action, learn about the software associated with it, and discuss its impact on the evolution of technology.

What We Can Do with The Technology
One of the most practical applications we’ve seen is Derek Dallas working with Natural Sciences Department Chair Scott Siechen to create an anesthetization box for flies. Anesthetizing flies is something Scott’s classes do regularly, but the cost of the boxes are fairly high. Derek was able to design a working box at a much lower cost.

 

Sweet Emotion (or Not-So-Sweet) at Work

Remember the first line from Aerosmith’s Sweet Emotion? “You talk about things that nobody cares…”

Aerosmith

We’ve heard the same sentiments about  Addressing Emotions at Work: “I don’t need to talk about emotions; that’s foo-foo stuff.” “I don’t have feelings, I just go to work and do my job.” At one point, I would have agreed with these statements, but not anymore.

Have you ever met your day with more than one thing not going right? The kids were running late, you hit every red light on the way to work and spilled coffee on your clothes, and at the office, the files you requested from your colleague couldn’t be pulled by your 8:30 a.m. deadline. Now, at this point, you have an (unsweet) emotion: frustration. What do you do with it?

What you are about to do with it, and how you are able to address others’ emotions in the workplace, will lay the foundation for how effectively you and your team function. You can either make a snippy comment to your colleague: “Are you serious? I should have just done it myself.” Or, you can choose to stop, reflect, and decide on what the better reaction could be:  “Thanks, Jane. I appreciate the heads up. How do you think we could still meet the deadline?”

Once strong emotions leave our control, our personal productivity and the productivity of others suffer. Think about how productive your colleague would have been if you chose to snap at her. Those in tune with their emotional reactions and who help others to do the same will have a positive impact on productivity, relationships, and the overall workplace environment.

Emotions are a part of every workplace—and everyone who cares should talk about them!  Addressing Emotions at Work is just one  of many workshops in Parkland College Business Training’s Leadership Certificate Series; sign up for a session today and bring “sweet emotion” to your workplace.

Five Common Banking Misconceptions

Banking and banks have been around for centuries, yet most of us know very little about how banking works. Check out these five common fallacies about today’s banking system from Jim Smith, a local bank manager and one of Business and Agri-Industries’ newest part-time instructors.

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Here are five common misconceptions about banking:

  1. Banks are insured by the federal government.

While bank deposits are insured by FDIC, which stands for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, some banks are not. Banks pay a premium to be insured by the FDIC, just like any other insured entity.

  1. Banks lend out customer deposits.

Banking hasn’t worked this way for a long time. Banks make adjustments to balance sheets, assets, and liabilities, essentially lending out money from the very loans they issue.

  1. Banks have lots of cash in their vaults.

The total physical US currency supply is about 1.2 trillion dollars, and only about a third of that is in the US. Most banks keep relatively little cash on hand and prefer to handle physical currency as little as possible.

  1. Central banks are all powerful.

The Federal Reserve Act does give central banks some impressive powers, but they have no power over credit rating agencies. Many hedge fund and wealth funds that act as banks are also not under Federal Reserve authority, neither are many international banks.

  1. Banks alone control interest rates.

Credit rating agencies have as much if not more influence over interest rates than banks; their ratings determine the cost of loans.

So were you surprised? The way banking works has changed over the centuries, and other countries with different financial systems have different banking procedures. Whether you are a consumer who uses banks every day or a financial executive who interacts with our banking system, you will benefit by knowing how the system works.

Join us for Parkland’s new course, BUS 171 – Principles of Banking, and get your banking education underway!

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An introduction to banking and financial services, BUS 171 will focus on bank terminology, financial performance, managing risk and sources of funds, and lending policies and procedures. Course instructor is Jim Smith, and the course textbook is Bank Management and Financial Services by Peter Rose and Sylvia Hudgins, Richard Irwin Publishing.

Parkland will offer BUS 171 beginning this fall semester, Aug. 24–Dec. 16. Class will meet on Wednesdays, 6–8:45 p.m. in Room B134. The course is 3 credit hours, has no prerequisite, and may be applied toward our Business Management AAS degree.

Sign up now; registration for the course ends Aug. 18!

[Bruce Henrikson is chair of the Business and Agri-Industries department at Parkland.]

Why Don’t Our Employees Show Up On Time?

We’ve heard it from manufacturers to health care to education: Every industry is affected by the lazy employee rolling in 5, 10, or even 30 minutes late. HOLD UP! Is it really the employee’s fault? That’s right, could it be partially the employer or supervisor’s fault?

Soft skills, essential skills, common sense–whatever you want to call it–isn’t pre-programmed into us. We humans as a whole learn by hearing, doing, and seeing behaviors performed (some good and some bad). If we weren’t shown, we haven’t practiced, and no one took the time to explain to us why something is so important, why would we know how and when to do it?

Here’s some food for thought:

  • Are the supervisors modeling the appropriate behaviors?
  • Are the supervisors properly trained (performance management, constructive feedback, conflict management, etc.)?
  • Is the environment toxic (hostile, workplace gossip, safety concerns, etc.)?
  • Is the workplace invested in cultivating its employees vs. terminating the employee?
  • Are the employees effectively trained and oriented to the company culture and expectations?

Don’t give up on the “lazy” employee or the employee who isn’t producing or functioning at the level you desire. Instead, SHOW them, TRAIN them, and give them the TOOLS to SUCCEED.  Learn how through these popular classes from Parkland Business Training:

Time Mastery: Maximize Your Time
Making Teams Work

The bees are hungry!

Our pursuit of manicured weed-free lawns and ever expanding agricultural development has created a hostile environment for bees and other pollinators like the monarch butterfly, the Illinois state insect. Beautiful green lawns and cornfields with no violets, clover, or dandelions are virtual food deserts for insect pollinators.

The good news is, we’ve realized our bees and butterflies are in trouble, and we’re doing something about it! It’s in our best interest to do sowe need our pollinators to thrive if we want to continue to eat the food we enjoy today. No pollinators—no food—no exaggeration!

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The White House recently released a blog post  announcing the publication of a Strategy to Promote the Health of Honey Bees and Other Pollinators. The strategy has three main goals:

  1. Reduce honey bee colony losses to economically sustainable levels;
  2. Increase monarch butterfly numbers to protect the annual migration; and
  3. Restore or enhance millions of acres of land for pollinators through combined public and private action.

Here’s more good newsyou don’t have to be a scientist or an expert gardener to get involved: this plan calls for all citizens to step up and help save our bees and butterflies. If you’re interested in protecting pollinators, here are two resources you can explore:

  1. Download a plan for a small garden called a “pollinator pocket” at the University of Illinois Extension website here, along with other tips for making your yard into a healthy pollinator habitat.
  2. Learn about bees and beekeeping through Parkland College Community Education from expert beekeeper and owner of Second Nature Honey, Maggie Wachter.

And don’t fear bees—you’re more likely to get hit by lightning than stung by a bee!

Food Service Sanitation Training Q&A

Business Training receives daily phone calls about registering for the in-demand Food Service Sanitation course.  Here are some of the frequently asked questions and answers as well as important information.

  • How long is the class?
    In July 2014, the course became an 8-hour class with exam.
  • How do I re-certify?
    Effective July 1, 2014, food handlers must take an 8-hour Food Service Sanitation course and exam every five years for re-certification.
  • How much does the class cost?
    $149 + $49 for the required book and test.
  • In which languages are the exams available?
    The exam is available in English, Spanish, Simplified Chinese, Korean and Burmese.
  • How do I get my results/certificate?
    If you provided a valid email address on your answer sheet, you’ll receive an email notice when your results are available. Click the link in the email to view your results, complete the required information to create a ServSafe.com User ID, and you can view your results. You can print your certificate by selecting the “Print My Certificate” option under the Student section of www.servsafe.com/ss/foodhandler. Parkland College Business Training will also mail you your results and certificate upon successful completion.  If you do not pass, you will also receive notification via mail.
  • Does my certificate expire?
    Yes. ServSafe Food Handler Certificates expire 3 years after the date of the Assessment was successfully passed.
  • Are their qualifications to take the course?  What will I get after the assessment?
    This course has no official prerequisite and may be completed by any individual that seeks knowledge of basic safe food handling procedures. The ServSafe Food Handler Assessment is designed to gauge the knowledge that has been delivered through the ServSafe Food Handler Course or comparable program. Individuals who receive a ServSafe Food Handler Certificate have successfully completed a Food Handler Course and have basic knowledge of the topics covered in the course.
  • When will my results be available?
    Results are typically available within two weeks after the National Restaurant Association receives the completed Exam Information Form and Answer Sheets sent from your instructor.
  • How do I take the exam if it’s not in my native language?
    If the exam is not available in your native language, you can utilize a native language-to-English dictionary during the exam.
  • When does Parkland College Business Training offer Food Service Sanitation courses?
    Click here to see our most current course offerings or call 217/351-2235.

How to Know You’re an ‘Extraordinary’ Leader

I hate to break it to you, but not everyone is a great leader. We might strive to be, we might even think we are… but our thoughts can vary from reality.

Some leaders have been placed in the position as figureheads, some leaders have taken the role by force, and still others have earned the position, the title, and sometimes the prestige of leader.

Leader-Leadership-Abraham-Lincoln

So, what distinguishes an extraordinary leader from a good or average one? How do we know when we are an extraordinary leader? Of course, we all have opinions about who is a great leader, but several key factors can put you on the path of extraordinaryship (yes, it’s a made-up word, but I think it’s appropriate):

  • Character: integrity and honesty— ethical standards, etc.
  • Personal Capability: the intellectual, emotional, and skill make-up of a leader
  • Focus on Results: ability to have a positive impact on an organization
  • Interpersonal Skills: being able to communicate, inspire, build relationships, develop others, and collaborate
  • Leading Organizational Change: ability to have a strategic perspective, champion change, and connect

Learn how to become an extraordinary leader here or call 217/351-2235!

It’s Plant Sale Week at Parkland

The end of the spring semester brings chaos for many, but it also brings the classroom to the community in many ways. Last weekend’s Motorsports Car Show, the Hospitality department’s Cinco de Mayo lunch, and this week’s Greenhouse Plant Sale showcase how our students engage with the community, and show the community the type of work our students have been doing.

JosephJessee-student

I stopped at the Greenhouse to buy a few things, and had a nice conversation with one of the students working there. Joseph Jessee is excited to be transferring to the University of Illinois soon to continue his studies in crop science.  He had high praise for our instructor, Theresa Meers, who coordinates the popular annual Greenhouse Plant Sale.  I asked Theresa a few questions to find out more about the sale.

Q: What is the difference between the Parkland Plant Sale and a local nursery selling plants?

A: The students have been involved in the planning, seeding, growing, and now the sale of the plants, so it’s been a learning experience from the beginning. We have a very small selection of plants compared to the local nurseries, so we are not competing with them. Some of the plants we tried did not even make it to the point of being able to sell, which is a learning experience in itself.

The funds go into the Ag Club account to help pay for student activities throughout the year, and for student competitions.

Q: What role do students play in the plant sale?

A: Students have been involved from the planning phase, specifically through [the courses] HRT 270, AGB191, and AGB 291. Selling the plants is the reward of all their hard work. They will act as salespeople and answer customer questions. 

Q: What kinds of plants are available for sale?

A: Because the students choose which plants to grow, each year is different. This year we have lots of hanging baskets and annuals, plus some veggies and tropical plants. There is a limited selection of perennials this year.

Q: What are your most popular plants?

A: Garden vegetables are in high demand this year. With the cooler than usual weather this spring, many people haven’t planted their gardens yet and are looking for veggies. But last year it was a warm spring and we had trouble selling all our veggies. So that varies from year to year, too.

Q: What new initiatives are you planning for this growing season?

A: We are hoping to get a planting in the land lab to supplement the sweet corn that has already been planted on campus. In the red  barn (near S building), we are working towards a produce stand for items grown in the land lab.

Fast, Furious & Fantastic

The Fast & Furious movie franchise may have the world cruising to movie theaters, but locally, car buffs journey to Parkland College  this time every year for the Parkland Motorsports Car Show.

The car show, now in its 16th year, has grown not only in participation, but also in scope, thanks to the hard work and passion of our MotorSports faculty and students.  Previously a one-day event, the car show expanded to two days in 2014 and in 2015 encompasses three days:

Saturday, May 2nd — CAR SHOW

  • People interested in showing their cars may register at the show for $15 (10:30 am–noon). The show and judging takes place from noon–3 pm and is free for the general public to come out to campus and look at the cars as well as the Parkhill Applied Technology Center facility.
  • Autocross is run by the Champaign County Sports Car Club and provides fun spectating for visitors. Watching the cars zip through the traffic-cone course is a highlight for my kids.
  • Swap Meet — W2 parking lot
  • RC Car Fest Demonstration — Another fun event for kids of all ages.

Sunday, May 3rd — More autocross in the parking lots and dynomometer demonstrations in the Parkhill Applied Technology Center.

Monday, May 4th, NEW! Automotive Career Showcase with Hot Rod Magazine — This event is brand new and intended to give students and others a forum to connect with our local automotive industry partners. It’s a great opportunity to learn about the skills employers need and see Parkland’s facilities.  In addition to employers, Troy Gudgel will be sharing custom car fabrication techniques and Hall Brothers Racing will have a monster truck on display.

PLUS! Jeff Dahlin, publisher of Hot Rod Magazine, will be on hand to make an announcement about the popular Hot Rod Power Tour.

With this huge weekend of events, I asked Automotive Program Director Jon Ross a few questions:

Q: What do you hope the Car Show weekend shows the community?

A: I hope people come to campus and notice a few things:

  • The diversity of the careers available in the automotive industry
  • Learning opportunities that go beyond the classroom.
  • The training options Parkland College offers for these careers (Dual credit/ECCA for high school students, one-class completions, certificates, degree programs, transfer articulation for SIUC Automotive program)
  • The facility used for training
  • The equipment that students are trained to use
  • The funding needed to support student activities that go beyond the classroom
  • The development of the non-technical skills needed by employers in the automotive industry.

Q: What is the biggest surprise for first-time visitors when they attend the Car Show?

A:  I think most people are surprised by the number of participants in our event and the diversity of cars. Our event is the largest in the area. It is also generally the first of season. I am amazed each year that we have community members who have never been on campus to see our facility and programs. It is not uncommon to have very unique and rare vehicles displayed at our show right next to cars that are driven daily.

Q: Are Parkland students involved with the Car Show?

A: Students play an active role in preparing for the show. They are eager to serve our guests and to show off our program, facility, and the projects they have worked on. Students help recruit partners for the show, collect door prizes, and staff the event. Words cannot describe the amount students learn when they’re put in active roles. When all the work is done, they get to play… er, drive the cars they have worked so hard to prepare for our racing program.

Q: There is a lot going on outside. What will be happening inside the Parkhill Applied Technology Center?

A: The automotive lab will serve as registration headquarters. The building will be open and people can look around to see all of the cool things we get to work with every day. On Sunday, it will also be open and we’ll focus on demonstrating our engine and chassis dynamometers.

Q: Monday’s Automotive Career Showcase is new. What is your goal with that event?

A: Parkland has hosted career and job fairs many times, but this is the first time we are hosting a career fair specific to the careers and businesses in the automotive industry. We are excited about the companies that will be present and the connections that we can facilitate for the students and community. The industry is much bigger than most people realize.

 

Culinary students celebrate Cinco de Mayo

Swaying pinatas, Mariachi music, lime margaritas, guacamole, crispy tacos stuffed with meat and cheese… who doesn’t love Mexican food and fun?

With roots in the Mexican army’s victory over French forces in the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, Cinco de Mayo has become a joyous annual worldwide celebration of tasty and colorful Mexican traditions.

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Students in Parkland’s culinary arts program learn that food preparation is so much more than the art of slicing and dicing. Parkland staff and students enjoy meals prepared and served by culinary students several times during the school year, often around holidays. Throughout their coursework at Parkland, culinary students gain hands-on experience in practical aspects of food preparation, from menu planning to budgeting to serving and cleanup.  They carry their own ideas out into a full catering experience just as it would be in the workplace. But perhaps the most important lesson they gain is about connections: shared meals connect us all in many ways, from family and friendship to culture and tradition.

Today, May 1, staff and students can enjoy an early celebration of Cinco de Mayo with a Mexican-inspired fiesta of tacos and toppings from 11am to 12:30pm (or until food runs out), in room X118, prepared by HPI 239 Catering students.

For more information on Parkland’s Hospitality program, visit our web page or comment below.

 

 

Teach Them to Fish (So You Can Have a Break!)

man-fishTired of the constant line of employees knocking on your door? Can’t seem to do your own work? I get it!

When you are the leader of, well, anything, you are called on numerous times. Sometimes is it warranted, and sometimes you think to yourself, “You’ve got to be kidding me; I pay you for what, now?” Okay, so maybe that is a bit extreme (but you know it’s not).

The part of being a leader that isn’t always explained when you agree to take the corner office with the big desk and hefty paycheck is that you are now responsible for the cultivation (yes, cultivation) of your employees. They don’t always come fully equipped to do what we need them to do (What? You’ve never experienced this, EVER? Stop reading this now and call me, 217/351-2235. Seriously, I need your secrets!).

Cultivation means development, especially through education and training, per Dictionary.com (yes, I looked it up). In order for you to have more time, you need to cultivate your employees—essentially be their Miracle Gro—and help them grow into what YOU need, so that you can be successful and so your team, department, company, etc., can be the best.

Now, let’s go back to the title of this blog, Teach Them to Fish (So You Can Have a Break): Instilling confidence and assuring your employees that they have the ability to make decisions and solve problems on their own are keys to getting that much deserved break… and being left alone on your next vacation.

Learn how to cultivate your employees through our Leadership Series classes here or call 217/351-2235.

***

[Jessie McClusky-Gilbert, CPP, is Program Manager for Parkland College Business Training.]

 

Early College & Career Academy Coming Fall 2015

Do you know an area high school student who wants a head start on a new career? Education for Employment System #330, along with Parkland College, is happy to announce the launch of its Early College and Career Academy, or ECCA, beginning fall 2015.

The new academy will allow high school juniors and seniors to enroll in dual credit classes at the Parkland campus. Six programs will be offered in its debut:  automotive technology, computer networking, criminal justice, certified nursing assistant, emergency medical services, and manufacturing.

Of course, Parkland has offered dual credit classes for some time now. However, ECCA students will not only receive dual credit; they will learn valuable hands-on skills to prepare them for the workforce. Several programs are even aligned with Parkland certificates and/or state licenses.

Transportation to and from Parkland, as well as funding provided for the program, will be determined by the students’ home high schools. This is a great opportunity for students in our area to experience higher education while still in high school and get a head start on their career goals.

Students who are interested should contact their high school guidance counselor. Information is also available at www.parkland.edu/ecca. The EFE #330/ECCA office can be reached at 217/355-1382.

 

[Renae Kirkton is the special projects coordinator for EFE System #330.]

A with Honors Projects: Create, Achieve, Succeed!

Parkland students, I’m going to tell you about a great way to expand your special academic ability or creative interest while you’re here with us—and gain recognition (and even money) for it through a little extra effort.

Completing an “A with Honors” project in your Parkland class this semester can both challenge and encourage you. Students do not need to be a member of the Honors Program to complete an A with Honors project.

Those who complete an A with Honors project can receive a $100 scholarship,* and students who complete three Honors projects, have a GPA of 3.5, and participate in the Honors Symposium (spring semester) are awarded a $500 graduation scholarship.

You can see some of our projects on the award-winning SPARK (http://spark.parkland.edu/).

A with Honors Project Proposals for full semester classes are due by Friday, March 13.  Thirteen-week class Project Proposals are due no later than April 3.  You can find the Proposal Form at my.parkland.edu (look under Student Services>>Academics>>Honors Program>>Forms tab).

As you can see above, it is highly beneficial to join the Parkland College Honors Program if you are eligible. You may join the Honors Program with a GPA of 3.0, acceptable credentials from your high school or another college, or a unique academic ability or creative interest. Membership in the Honors Program and completion of Honors Projects expand student horizons, challenge students academically, and provide students with recognition on transcripts and resumes.

In addition, students who graduate from the Honors Program are eligible to participate in Honors at the University of Illinois (most of its colleges) and at other universities and colleges around the state.

Finally, I want to encourage you all to participate in Parkland Scholars, a student organization that fosters academic excellence and success. Parkland Scholars works in conjunction with the Honors Program to sponsor campus-wide events and participate in service learning projects and activities.

If you are interested in joining Parkland Scholars or the Honors Program, please contact me: mjones@parkland.edu.

*must also be in the Honors Program.

Computer Science, IT Jobs, Internships Are Waiting

Parkland students: Did you know that in the past year, we have had 65 businesses contact us directly to advertise positions in Information Technology (IT) on our job board?

In fact, in January 2015 alone we had 9 new job postings!

Computer and IT-related industries are continually seeking Parkland College students for internship possibilities, as well as full-time and part-time jobs.

Some of these employers have included Human Kinetics, University of Illinois, Amdocs, Wolfram, and Carle.

What do you need to do to find out about these opportunities?

1)  Go to our online Job Board.  Also make sure to check your Parkland email periodically for mailings regarding job openings.

2) Browse the online posts for positions that may be a good fit for you.  Don’t get discouraged if you don’t see a position that interests you the first time, as we are adding jobs all the time.

3) Find out how the employer prefers to receive your information, and submit your qualifications!

Computer science and IT opportunities for training are out there, waiting for you. What a great way to gain experience as you are continuing your education in the IT field! Don’t let them pass you by!

****

[Cyndia Hinton is program manager for Parkland’s Computer Science and Information Technology department. She can be reached at  217/353-2414.]

What is Parkland Pathway to Illinois?

The first time I walked into Parkland College was in 1994. I remember parking in what I now know to be the B wing and attempting to find the Admissions office (which resulted in me visiting the X wing and, somehow, the L wing). As a December ’93 graduate of Champaign Central High School, I knew that I wanted to transfer to a university, but I didn’t want to jump into that university life right away. Thank goodness for Parkland College.

While I made lots of wrong turns trying to find classes (signage is so much better now!), I never made a wrong turn in my course selection due to fantastic Parkland advising,  and I was able to transfer and successfully complete my bachelor’s degree.

UI-PC-roadsign

Parkland Pathway to Illinois Program
Parkland College has been a partner with the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign for almost 50 years and has successfully transferred thousands of students. Seven years ago, the two institutions came together to create a new initiative, the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program. This program offers a selective group of students the opportunity to be enrolled at Parkland full time and also take a course at the University of Illinois every semester. Students receive individualized counseling at Parkland and at Illinois and can live in University housing.

Other benefits include guaranteed admission to the University of Illinois and paying a discounted tuition rate based on Parkland College tuition. The Parkland Pathway to Illinois program does not replace the traditional transfer programs that Parkland College offers, but it aims to enrich opportunities and open the door to the University of Illinois to more students.

How to Apply
Two separate groups of steps let a student apply to the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program. The first is for high school seniors to first apply to Parkland College in a transfer program (they will have to reapply even if they took dual credit courses in high school). They can apply by clicking here and can find a list of transfer degree programs here. Once they are admitted to Parkland College, students then schedule an assessment test. This test, used for Parkland course scheduling purposes, must be completed by April 1.

The second group of steps begins February 15, which is the day that the University of Illinois Parkland Pathway to Illinois application opens. High school seniors would create their myillini.illinois.edu account and apply to the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program. To apply, students must have the following:

  • Access to their high school courses and grades
  • ACT and/or ACT scores sent electronically to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
  • 300-word (max.) essay related to their interest in the major they wish to study at the University of Illinois (a full list of undergraduate majors is available here)
  • Any other items required.

Once all parts of the University of Illinois application have been received, Pathway applicants will be reviewed for admission.

The Parkland Pathway to Illinois program is not the only way to transfer to the University of Illinois, but it is a way to slowly get used to the university environment while enjoying the benefits of the award-winning faculty, small class sizes, and personalized resources of Parkland College.

***Learn more at the Pathway to Illinois Informational Open House, Feb. 15 from 1 to 3 p.m. in the Parkland College Student Union***

Questions about the Parkland Pathway to Illinois program can be directed to Beth Chepan, Parkland College Admissions and Records, 217/351-2887 or Holly Herrera, University of Illinois, holly10@illinois.edu

Eek! It’s a MOS!

This time of the semester, you’ll hear a lot of talk about MOS among students in the Office Professional program. For some students, MOS is something they’d just as soon run away from. For others, it is viewed as a valuable opportunity to hone their skills and prove their expertise.

What’s a MOS?

So what is a MOS, anyway, and why can it be so scary?

MOS is an industry certification. It stands for Microsoft Office Specialist, and attaining MOS certification means you have demonstrated a certain level of expertise in an Office application. The certification is gaining recognition among employers who are looking for staff who not only know applications, but know them well.

There is a different MOS exam for each major Microsoft Office application. For Word and Excel, there are two levels of certification: Core (which requires passing one exam) and Expert (which comes in two parts, or two exams).

MOS exams are challenging. It’s not enough just to know how to use the software; you have to know how to use it to solve problems without being given step-by-step instructions. Sometimes they even test on skills not covered in class. As noted above, this is an industry certification, which means your Parkland instructors have no control over how it is created or scored. And though many of us are MOS-certified in one or more applications, we don’t even know exactly what’s on them. And if we did, we couldn’t tell you.

Here are a few more details regarding MOS exams:

  • MOS exams are project-based. The test candidate is presented a project to complete and some specific instructions regarding how to complete it.
  • Practice exams are available.
  • Taking a MOS exam requires agreeing to a non-disclosure agreement. This means that test-takers agree not to tell anyone the details of what’s on the exam.
  • Test results are given in the form of categories and percentages. We never know exactly which questions we got right, and which we got wrong.
  • Passing a MOS exam results in an immediate sense of accomplishment, which almost always translates to a big smile, happy feet, and perhaps even a spontaneous “Woohoo!”

How can you take a MOS exam?

MOS exams are administered at approved Certiport testing facilities, and you have a couple of options for taking them:

  • Purchase a voucher through Certiport, where the cost ranges from $100-$150, depending upon retake and study material options. Then, arrange a time with the testing facility of your choice, present your voucher and photo ID, and take the test.
  • Take an applications class through the CSIT Department at Parkland. Students who successfully complete CIS 131 (PowerPoint), CIS 134 (Excel), CIS 135 (Word), CIS 138 (Access) or CTC 119 (Outlook) are offered the opportunity to take the MOS exam for that application. Students who complete the courses via the equivalent CTC sequences are also eligible. For some courses, the MOS exam is required. For others, it is optional. In either case, work with your instructor to arrange an exam time at no additional cost to you.

What about multiple MOS certifications?

Some students take full advantage of the opportunity to get certified and take as many MOS exams as their program (or budget) allows. A few things can happen here:

  • They might earn Parkland’s Microsoft Application Specialist Certificate, which requires 14 hours of coursework (five courses, four applications) and passing at least three MOS exams.
  • They might become certified as a MOS Master.
  • They might advance professionally by their documented deep knowledge of software applications.

So, the next time you hear someone fretting about a MOS here on campus, there’s no need to glance nervously around the floor or jump onto the nearest chair. This is only a test.

University of Illinois Students Take Classes at Parkland College

I will bet that most University of Illinois students are not aware of how many of their fellow students are taking courses at Parkland College while attending Illinois. The numbers might surprise you, because so many are taking our online courses; thus, they are almost in “stealth” mode.

In fact, about 400 Illinois students will take one or more Parkland College classes this spring. It is not unusual to see that number swell to around 2,000 Illinois students during the summer term.

The online course format allows students to complete their Parkland courses around Illinois classes, work schedules, and social activities; this is the most popular mode for taking our classes. Students who prefer the traditional course format take classes at our campus in the afternoon, late afternoon, and evening so they will fit in with their busy schedules.

Some Parkland courses traditionally have a significant number of Illinois students enrolled. Examples include online Physics 121 and 122 (the equivalent of Illinois’s PHYS 101 and 102) and basic general education courses like Psychology 101 (equivalent to PSYC 100) and History 105 (equivalent to HIST 172)—a nice choice to meet the Illinois Cultural Studies: Western/Comparative and Humanities and the Arts: Historical and Philosophical Perspectives requirements.

Of course, in order to enroll in any courses, you’ll need to complete some basic tasks. You can begin the process of applying to Parkland as a Course Enrollee (a person not working toward a degree or certificate at Parkland) online by going to http://www.parkland.edu/getStarted. As a current Illinois student, you would be considered a “concurrent enrollment” student at Parkland.

You can find procedures and forms for domestic students at the University of Illinois website, at http://provost.illinois.edu/programs/advising/Concurrent_Enrollment_domestic.pdf. Procedures and forms for international students are available at http://provost.illinois.edu/programs/advising/Concurrent_Enrollment_international.pdf. Please note the instructions very carefully. You must meet Parkland’s prerequisites for the courses and must verify this by bringing with you your Academic History from Illinois Student Self-Service.

If you are wondering how Parkland courses transfer to Illinois, check out the transfer course matrix at http://online.parkland.edu/transferpatterns/index.cfm.

So, if you are looking to squeeze in one more course or maybe looking for a different time or a format that you are unable to get  at Illinois, taking a class at Parkland College might just be for you. We would love to have you!

Parkland College is open until Dec. 23 to take your registrations.

Please note that all Parkland College transfer classes are freshman and sophomore level. For additional enrollment information, contact Parkland’s Office of Admissions.

John Sheahan
Director, Counseling and Advising Center

Black Friday

Black Friday: Dreaded by some, revered by others.

Today, I was reading over an article published in the News-Gazette on Black Friday and how to survive it, and it amazed me how many suggestions had to do with “technology.” Here are five of my favorites:

One: Plan ahead….. scope WEBSITES out ahead of time. Use price comparison sites such as BradsDeals.com and PriceGrabber.com.

Two: Shop ONLINE. Some stores offer special deals online only.

Three: Use SOCIAL MEDIA. Sign up for Twitter feeds from your favorite stores. “Like” official Facebook pages of favorite stores. Shop on Amazon.com’s Instagram feed!

Four: Bring the ads with you. Having the physical ad with you will ensure you get the advertised price. Hey, no technology here! Amazing!

Five: Use new store apps or website features. Target uses Point Inside technology that pins the location of sought-after items like doorbuster deals onto interactive store maps. Toys R Us is using a new app to find what you are looking for down to the shelf it’s located on…and they also push deals to your smartphone WHILE YOU’RE IN THE STORE!

Makes you wonder how our parents ever found anything at Christmas time!?  Also, just makes you wonder!  🙂

Did you know we have classes here at Parkland that teach you how to develop mobile apps and create the databases that places like Facebook and Instagram use to store all those millions of posts? Check out CSC 212 – Mobile Application Development; CSC220 – Data Structures; CSC192 – Database Administration; and CIS231 – Systems Analysis, Design, and Administration. And if you haven’t done so already,  ENROLL TODAY for spring 2015 classes—the deadline for registration and payment (to avoid course drops) is December 16!

The Parkland Shed

Completed sheds in the lab
Completed sheds in the lab

I moved into a new house last year, and it quickly became apparent that I could use a shed.  After asking around about where to get a shed, I decided to purchase one from Parkland College.  Everyone had nothing but good things to say about them.

The sheds are built as part of the CIT 115 course with Greg Walburg. The course is part of Construction Design and Management, Construction Design and Management: Contracting, and the Building Construction and Repair programs.

Sheds under construction
Sheds under construction
For sale sign on Mattis
For sale sign on Mattis
Parkland Shed Installed
Parkland Shed Installed

CIT Instructor: Dustin Stuart graduated with honors from Parkland in May 2014 with a degree in Construction Design and Management: Contracting. He is currently working for a remodeling contractor here in CU and is also a Teacher’s Assistant at Parkland for CIT 115.  I asked him about his experience in the course and if he had any advice for students thinking about going into one of the Construction programs at Parkland College.  This is what he told me:

“It was two years ago this semester that I started my program and CIT 115 was my favorite class that semester. I had previous knowledge of contracting work, but this class helped greatly in turning me into a professional. The most valuable lessons I learned from this class was how to read and interpret construction plans, teamwork, and project management.

In CIT 115, you get to experience home building basics in a comfortable lab environment with plenty of tools at your disposal. This is a dream vacation in comparison to getting your education on the roof of a house on a 90 degree day in July. In addition to the excellent lab space you have experienced teachers and students to help guide you along.

The only advice I could offer new students considering this degree is to just do it! Todd Horton and Greg Walburg are excellent teachers that care a lot about their students and their success. Every time I walked into one of their offices to ask about homework, a project, or even personal advice they always took the time to speak with me. You meet a lot of excellent students as well in this program. I still keep in touch both personally and professionally with most of my class mates. In addition to being a great program, Parkland is an excellent school. They have so many programs in place to help you succeed and a staff and faculty that are top notch.”

Learn about enrolling at Parkland College during the College Open House Friday, November 7.

If you’re interested in getting a shed for your yard, contact Greg Walburg at 373-3784 or gwalburg@parkland.edu.