Category Archives: Learning Support

It Only Matters How You Finish!

Parkland College Student Trustee Crystal Bates (above, third from right) details below her determined journey to get to, and succeed at, Parkland College.

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Life threw me a couple of curve balls long before I had ever chosen to take swing at bat:

I was recruited by the US Navy at age 17 and spent two years doing secure communications in a foreign land. I had joined because my options were to go to college, join the military, or enter the workforce with zero training or experience.

I came back home and the years slipped away from me; I was busy trying to have fun with the least amount of responsibility possible. I worked retail for almost 10 years before retail took a big hit because of the tight economics. The job was not fulfilling, and each day I dreamed of how I could escape this tedious work that made me feel so mundane. Soon, I was laid off from my job and so worked various short-term jobs to pay the bills and take care of my daughter.

Next thing I knew, four more years had passed, and I was pregnant with twins! This was a shock; I believe that most of that pregnancy I really thought the doctors were kidding. After 34 weeks in, we found out that one of the twins was in distress and had to be delivered immediately. Realization set in when I was holding two healthy, and happy babies. Now I was a mother of three. This was my title, my work. But all the while, I’m dreaming of a better life for my children and me. How was I ever going to accomplish anything with three small children? With passion and unbridled determination.

I had a fire burning inside me, and the only way to put it out was to invest in myself for the benefit of my children, myself, and others. Dreams that I was in school, receiving an education that no one would ever be able to take away from me, drew me to Parkland College, where I knew they held the keys to my dreams.

Application for admission, assessments, orientation, student ID—before long, I was officially a Cobra! Upon meeting with a counselor, she revealed the degree of my dreams: Associates of Arts in Psychology. I signed up for fall classes immediately. Was I nervous? Super nervous.

As a matter of fact, I would come early just so I could find friends to keep the panic attacks at bay. The circle of friends I have made have been some of the best friends a person could ask for! We help each other with assignments and are there for each other for social and emotional support. These connections with students and our professors has kept me at Parkland for my (now) fifth year, as a nontraditional student.

I have had to take longer than most, but I graduate in the spring of 2017. Has it taken me longer than that of traditional students? Sure it has, but I have a 3.2 overall GPA, all because I took considerable time on assignments and made sure that my grades were a high priority. Also, because I have determination and passion, I have held two offices in Student Government. I started out as a student senator and have currently been voted and sworn in as student trustee.

My time at Parkland is coming to an end, and I am so sad. This is such a great institution with amazing professionals who make it their personal goal to see each and every student succeed. I have been so fortunate to have built such amazing social connections because Parkland feels like an educational “family”. Besides fantastic professors, the Center for Academic Success has assisted me in ensuring that my GPA is as solid as it is. CAS is an amazing tool that each and every student has access to. I cannot speak highly enough about our tutors and our Writing Lab! Use these free tools that help make each one of us better students and extremely qualified professionals in our chosen field of study.

Has it been hard to go to school with little kids? Of course. It is a balancing act, just the same as daily life is. But I decided to tip the scales in my favor and invest in my personal academic path. Do I plan to transfer? Absolutely. I am not done yet. I have developed an addiction to learning as much as I can, as long as I can. The end result will be a mater’s degree in clinical psychology. Being a veteran, I feel I have a duty to help my brothers and sisters in their struggles to maintain normalcy, and this is whom I hope to work with, for the most part.

Parkland, U of Cinti Sign Int’l Transfer Accord

The start of another academic year at Parkland College brings a new crop of international students arriving from all over the globe to begin or continue their studies in the United States. New for fall 2016, Parkland has recently concluded a transfer partnership agreement with the University of Cincinnati specifically for international students.

The UC International Transfer Degree program gives international students the opportunity to begin working towards a bachelor’s degree from the University of Cincinnati as soon as they arrive at Parkland College, with the guarantee of future admission and scholarships.

So how does the transfer partnership work?  Any international Parkland student can sign up for the partnership at any point during their studies and receive information about fulfilling the transfer requirements. Although the UC College of Engineering and the Art and Design programs are excluded from the direct-transfer partnership, students can seek transfer into more than 300 different UC academic programs. Once interest is indicated, the student(s) will be contacted by a transfer advisor from the University of Cincinnati, who will advise them in required coursework, regularly check in on students’ progress, and even facilitate a campus visit to UC!

Upon successful completion of the Parkland associate’s degree, the student will then be guaranteed admission to the University of Cincinnati, main campus. What is more, those students will automatically be eligible for a scholarship between $5,000 and $15,000, renewable for three years!

Transfer students from Parkland are also eligible to participate in UC’s Cooperative Education Program, ranked among the best in the nation by U.S. News and World Report. As a part of this program, students have the opportunity to take a paid job for a year as part of their academic program, gaining valuable experience while expanding and completing their education. In addition to positions in Cincinnati and all around the United States, the Cooperative Education Program places students in jobs around the world, including India, Germany, and Chile!

About the UC
Ranking among the top 150 National Universities by U.S. News and World Report, the University of Cincinnati has made clear strides, under Jon Weller, towards increasing its value among international students. More than 3,000 international students from 110 different countries around the globe call UC home.

Cincinnati itself possesses unique international flavor and celebrates a strong German heritage. Restaurants and nightlife drawing inspiration from all around the world are found in downtown, near campus, and along the Ohio River. Major international companies such as Procter & Gamble, General Electric Aviation, and Macy’s are also headquartered around the city.

Be on the lookout for upcoming events for international Parkland College students with the University of Cincinnati!

For more information about events or the UC International Transfer Degree, contact Chris Jackson (cjackson@parkland.edu) or visit the International Admissions Office, U234.

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.]

Joining Forces: Business Training, Community Education

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Have you heard? Effective July 1, Parkland College Business Training and Parkland College Community Education will join forces, with the united goal of providing opportunities to transform lives through personal and professional development.

Parkland College Business Training and Community Education is positioned to be a “one-stop” for the community’s various demographics, interests, and needs. Through an array of high-quality, customer-driven programs, the department will provide professional growth, career-enhancing training, workshops, social and travel outings, and personal enrichment opportunities.

Services include workshops for individuals who want to upgrade their job skills or train for a new career; corporate and customized training and consulting for area employers; special programs for the underemployed and unemployed, including the Highway Construction Careers Training Program; the Traffic Safety Program; and enrichment classes for all ages, such as College for Kids, computer skills, health and wellness, home and garden, recreation and leisure, and travel classes.

By joining forces, the new department is positioning itself to be self-sustaining, expanding its team and services, and following best practices for the continuing education industry.  The department’s solid core values allow for collaboration, professionalism, diversity, progress, and excellence in all aspects of day-to-day operations and in the opportunities provided to the community.

If you want to learn specific skills to be more productive in your job, we offer workshops just for you!

Popular business training programs of Interest:

For a full list of workshops for your personal and professional interest, check out www.parkland.edu/businesstraining or call 217/351-2235.

Pride, Honor at 2016 GED Reception

Last Tuesday (June 7), six students participated in a reception honoring our 2016 GED graduates, held in Parkland’s student union cafeteria lounge.

Hosted by Parkland College Adult Education, the reception offered us a chance to celebrate the accomplishments of students who have passed General Education Development, the high school equivalency program, since last June at the Parkland campus.

Each GED recipient wore a cap and gown as they walked across the union’s stage, the action symbolizing the next step in their academic development. They were deservedly proud of their achievements and, in like manner, we were proud of them. Getting a GED is no small feat; a post about last year’s reception can attest to this. Reaching this moment was exciting, as it marked their transition to college or new career opportunities.

The GED reception concluded with refreshments and time to receive personal acknowledgements from friends, family, and Parkland administrators, including President Tom Ramage and Vice Presidents Pamela Lau and Seamus Reilly. The presence of our administrators emphasized the significance of this moment.

Parkland College congratulates our 2016 GED recipients and gives its best wishes for their successful futures.

Brooke Jean, Daniel Carnell, Brittany Coleman, Isabelle Seamon, Shannon Stoeckert, and Amanda Wyatt were honored at the 2016 GED Reception.
Brooke Jean, Daniel Carnell, Brittany Coleman, Isabelle Seamon, Shannon Stoeckert, and Amanda Wyatt were honored at the 2016 GED Reception.

***Interested in obtaining YOUR GED? Our free GED Preparation classes help qualified individuals learn the reading, math, and other skills necessary to pass the GED exam and are tailored to the individual’s level of readiness. Find out more at our web pages or call 217/351-2580 to schedule an appointment.***

[Tawanna Nickens is dean of adult basic education and workforce development at Parkland.]