Tag Archives: adult learning

Metalwork and Jewelry: Explore a Fascinating Art Form

While many Parkland students were finishing up the semester with papers and final exams, students in the metalworking/jewelry class were completing their final projects and discussing their work in an end-of-semester critique. Students who take ART 185/186, Metalwork and Jewelry I and II, work in a variety of different materials, processes, and designs as they learn technical skills including riveting, annealing, silver soldering, patinas (a chemical and/or heat reaction to the metal that produces color changes color), and texturizing.

One assignment was stone setting, where students learned to set a cabochon stone. They selected their own stone and each inspired a different kind of creativity. Here are some of the Metalwork and Jewelry I student projects:

circular pendant necklace
circular pendant necklace
Family heirloom stone set pendant (front)
Family heirloom stone set pendant (front)
Family Heirloom stone set pendant (back)
Family Heirloom stone set pendant (back)
Beveled stone set ring
Beveled stone set ring
Deer antler ring with pink camo stone
Deer antler ring with pink camo stone
Shield ring with stone setting
Shield ring with stone setting
Architectural Bracelet
Architectural Bracelet
Architectural Bracelet (knit)
Architectural Bracelet (knit)

This class is an elective, and is open to art and design majors and non-majors alike. This semester’s students included a sculpture major, someone preparing to transfer into fashion design at a four-year college, a retired engineer, a graphic designer, a homemaker, and a construction technology major. We welcome the new insights and fresh perspectives these students bring.

Another assignment for advanced students was to create reliquaries involving personal meaning and reflection along with technical challenges and instruction. Brooches were also explored for their historical meaning as well as the concept of a series through incorporating design elements. Here are some of those pieces:

Silver Fibula brooch with stone
Silver Fibula brooch with stone

Historic Fibula Design

Stick Pin Brooch series
Stick Pin Brooch series
Rabbit and the Hare Reliquary
Rabbit and the Hare Reliquary
Bird Skull Reliquary
Bird Skull Reliquary

Metalwork and Jewelry I (ART 185) and Metalwork and Jewelry II (ART 186) are both offered on Tuesdays/Thursdays from 9-11:45am OR Mondays/Wednesdays from 5:30-8:45pm**. Class sizes are limited but a few seats are still available for spring 2016. Current students may register at my.parkland.edu; new students should go to parkland.edu/getstarted.

**The Monday/Wednesday sessions are now available as a LATE-START option, starting Feb. 1. Last date to register (new degree-seeking students) is Jan. 26.

 

 

Take a Deep Breath, Get a Great Job!

Are you thinking of pursuing a health-related career? Sit back, take a deep breath, and consider respiratory care.

Local starting salaries are upwards of $35,000, and jobs are abundant in our area and nationwide. You can earn your Associate in Applied Science degree in two years; Parkland graduates have achieved 100% job placement. This is a great career for returning adult students; classes and labs offered in a hybrid format means you are only on campus one full day per week.

respiratory2a

Why is respiratory care important? Breathing is so fundamental that most of us do not give it a second thought. Breathing just happens; the magic of the chemistry in our brains takes over, and we breathe. But for the 24 million people in the United States and the 52 million worldwide who live with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD), taking a breath can be a struggle. It requires work. Activity often demands planning to accommodate for the time required to “let me catch my breath.”

Respiratory therapists are critical members of the interdisciplinary care team for patients experiencing difficulty breathing. Providing diagnostic testing, treatment, and patient and family education, the respiratory therapist has the knowledge and skills to help patients with chronic lung disease enjoy an improved quality of life. Respiratory therapists provide pulmonary function testing, oxygen and specialty gas therapies, inhaled medications, airway clearance, and mechanical ventilation. In a resuscitation or CPR situation, a respiratory therapist is at the head, providing an airway and breathing for the patient. Respiratory therapists also see patients in neonatal intensive care units that arrive too soon, too small, or too sick to survive without a little help breathing; the chronically ill with complicating acute illnesses; and the critically sick and injured of all ages.

Most respiratory therapists work in acute care hospitals, but therapists are also needed in home care, in out-patient diagnostics, in pulmonary rehabilitation programs, long-term ventilation facilities, and in medical equipment sales and support. 

Applications for fall 2016 admission to the Parkland College Respiratory Care program are due by March 1, 2016. For more information email mseim@parkland.edu or visit http://www.parkland.edu/academics/departments/health/rtt/.

 

[Parkland’s Respiratory Care program is accredited by the Commission on Accreditation for Respiratory Care and prepares you to become an expert in assessing, treating, and educating patients who have acute and/or chronic lung disease.]

What Do You Want to Be? Try Free Info Sessions

Have you started down a career path, looked around, and decided you might have been better off taking another route? This happens a lot to people, for various reasons:

  • Wrong initial career choice
    Family pressure, economic necessity, or other factors can push individuals into an unfulfilling career.
  • Fading interest
    Many people begin a career they think they will like and as life evolves, they realize the work no longer interests them and they hunger for something more.
  • Changes in personal situations
    Some people shift careers due to life events such as moving back home to care for aging parents or the birth of a child.
  • Advances in technology
    As advances in technology increase, some positions are reduced or made obsolete, requiring individuals to move into new positions or change careers altogether.

Parkland’s Business Training provides free information sessions for career-readiness and pre-license  programs to aid you in answering, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” If you like to help people, are detail-oriented, and are a team player, then register for these wonderful opportunities that might answer that elusive question.

On January 12, 2016, from 6-8 p.m., learn about the rewarding careers of Pharmacy Technician, Medical Coder, and Veterinary Assistant:

Professional Pharmacy Technician Training
Seeking compassionate, strong work ethic, patient, service-oriented, multi-tasking team players to join the growing and in-demand field.

Medical Coding Professional Training
Welcoming students to train in this field who are detail-oriented, analytical, high accuracy in typing, and who poses a high level of patience.

Veterinary Assistant Training
Take interest in the care and welfare of animals, with compassion, detail, and effective communication.

On January 11, 2016, from 6-7 p.m. , learn about career opportunities in Real Estate:

Real Estate Broker Training
Looking for curious, future focused, self-directed, tech-savvy and action-oriented individuals to embark on this rewarding field.

These FREE information sessions are available for you to meet the instructors, ask questions, and gain valuable insight into a new career.

Go ahead, Dream!

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.]

No Panic Necessary for Lack in Computer Skills

You’re a fairly computer savvy thirty-something. The phone rings. It’s your mother, and it’s the same panic again:

“IthoughtIsavedtheletterI’dwrittenbutnowit’sgoneandIcan’tfinditanywhere.WhatdidIdowrong?
Can you help? Please?!”

Can you help her? Yes, you can. You can recommend classes that will make her feel more confident and competent and that will allow her to enjoy working with the computer. Panic controlled.

Parkland College Community Education offers computer courses for skill building at three levels. Jane Bateman, our experienced and patient instructor, leads participants step by step toward an easier connection with the technology and its advantages.

  • Beginner, Beginner Computers starts with the basics. Learn efficient use of the mouse and important terminology.
  • Beginner Computers is for those who have a nodding acquaintance with a computer. Learn skills to increase your comfort level.
  • Intermediate Computers goes beyond computer basics. Learn how to navigate using various computer programs and the benefits of all they can do.
  • Computer File Management shows there are very efficient ways to format and organize computer files. Learn the best practices, and start getting information and documents in order for quick and easy access.
  • You’ve Got Mail: An Introduction to Using Email and the Internet gets you comfortable with the ins and outs of managing email and shows you how to search for information on the Internet and download pictures (intermediate-level computing skills required).

Former students have gained useful information from these classes, and our instructor always gets good grades. In fact, many of our older students rave about Jane’s warm and helpful manner:

“Great instructor.”
“Helpful and willing to work with all levels of ability.”
“…personable and helpful.”
“Keep Jane!”

Perhaps neither age nor experience is the issue; maybe work and life haven’t required a computer or only minimal work with one. Maybe an employer had a system that was new in 1992 and now, with plenty of time on your hands, you would like to upgrade to 2015-2016 and beyond. These classes will boost your skills, too.

Begin at the appropriate level. Figure out what else you need to know, and we can most likely find a way to teach you.

And… after these five classes, you can call your mother, just to chat.

 

[John Eby is program manager for Parkland Community Education.]

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.

7 Fun Facts about Bridge

Bridge is stiil one of the most popular card games in the world, so there must be some FUN to it! Speaking of fun, here are seven fun facts you may not know:

  • The card game of bridge evolved from previous trick-taking games dating back to the 16th century. The worldwide game had a surge in popularity in the United States in the 1930s.
  • Strategic game play keeps memory active, the brain alert, and the body healthier: A study in 2000 at the University of California-Berkeley found strong evidence that an area in the brain used in playing bridge stimulates the immune system.
  • Bridge enhances social life and nurtures partnerships – keys to healthy aging.
  • Bridge. Beats. Boredom. You can play it online, with a few friends at home, or via a club or tournament.
  • The average age of today’s competitive U.S. bridge player is 71.
  • Business magnate, investor, and philanthropist Warren Buffett plays it: “Bridge is such a sensational game that I wouldn’t mind being in jail if I had three cellmates who were decent players and who were willing to keep the game going 24 hours a day.”
  • And… at 96 years old, it’s never too late to be Athlete of the Week.

Learn the game of bridge from scratch or enhance your skills, with FUN classes from Community Education.

Coloring? For adults?

Ready to relax, use your imagination, and revisit your inner child? Then spend a few hours coloring! Parkland College Community Education is offering a unique and creative outlet over three evenings this September.

You’ll have fun and explore the basics of visual art when you register for “Coloring for Adults.” When you do, you’ll join a current trend happening across the country–check out this article about adult coloring released just this past week.

During your first class, on Tuesday, September 1, visual artist Ella van Wyk will help you explore the materials, mark-making techniques, and basic color theory behind this experience. By week two, you will find your coloring abilities have reached a whole new level after a guided work session with the instructor.

At the end of your last class, you get to choose from a selection of original coloring pages by van Wyk to use as your final project and celebrate everyone’s finished pieces, with an informal critique of pictures and process.

Give yourself permission to enjoy this age-old method of stress relief. The fee for “Coloring for Adults” is $59, which includes all supplies for the class. To register, please contact Parkland College Community Education at 217/353-2055 or visit us at 1315 N. Mattis Ave. in Champaign.

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

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.

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

 

Adults: Get It Started at Parkland Open House

natasha
Natasha, a Parkland student, was the first adult student we served in the Adult Re-entry Center’s new office space in the Student Union.

Do you or someone you know have college credits that are figuratively collecting dust — not being put to use?

Have you thought about starting or completing your degree, but aren’t sure how to pay for it? Does your work schedule only allow for online courses, but you’re not sure how those things work? Are you not sure what sort of jobs are out there for Parkland College grads? Have you wondered how far a Parkland degree can take you?

For the answer to these and many other questions, you should come out to Parkland’s spring Open House on Friday, March 13. You will find an array of information sessions dedicated to these topics, among others.

Scheduled speakers include:
• Tim Wendt, Parkland’s director of Financial Aid and Veteran Services; Tim will share his wealth of knowledge about “adult-centric” ways to finance a college education.
• Tony Hooker (yours truly) will show you how to put your existing credits to work, earning a Parkland credential while moving toward a bachelor’s degree.
• Lori Wendt from Parkland’s Distance and Virtual Learning office will be on hand to discuss online course delivery. I’ll also share a bit about what’s available online.
• Sandy Spencer, director of Parkland’s Career Center, will speak about what’s hot and trending with regards to careers.
• Jay Downey, a proud Parkland alumnus and managing director of The Downey Group, will speak about the impact Parkland has had on his life.

The time is now for you to make a move toward your academic goals, and Parkland’s spring Open House is the best first step! The event takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the new Student Union. See you there!

Persistence, Paying Off.

ARC_image

It takes persistence to complete a college degree; Sharon Nava can attest to this fact more than most. A published poet in addition to a returning student, Sharon has a story (below) that mirrors many others here at Parkland’s Adult Re-entry Center.  She is on course to complete a degree in May 2016, a date that corresponds with another milestone date in her life.

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I first came to Parkland in 1990 after the company I worked for shut down. The Job Training Partnership Act (JTPA) folks came in and gave us a choice: They could help find us another job or send us to school to retrain for a new one. I’ve always loved learning, so I scanned the Parkland catalog and found a program that they would agree to send me to. I graduated with my certificate as a Pharmacy Technician in 1991, on the 25th anniversary of my high school graduation!

I continued to take classes off and on, but I had to stop when my husband became terminally ill. By now, I had retired, and I spent many hours praying for help in determining where I needed my life to go. One morning, I received a message that I needed to pursue what makes me happy, and since then I’ve been back here at Parkland taking classes.

I plan to attend my graduation, earning my associate’s degree in General Studies in May 2016—the 50th anniversary of my high school graduation!

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You’re never too old to improve yourself; you just have to stick with it. The Adult Re-entry Center can help you write the next chapter of your life’s story, just as we’re helping Sharon.  Call or e-mail me to discuss your options: Call 217/351-2462 or email me at finishyourdegree@parkland.edu. You can also stop by Room U233 to set up a visit.

She’s doing it. So can you.

deannaFear and its BFF, Doubt, are the two main reasons adult learners cite when asked about returning to school to seek a college education.

Meet Deanna Cannon, a first-semester student at Parkland who has had to overcome many doubts and fears along the way to becoming a college student. Deanna graciously agreed to take a moment to answer some of my questions about her early experiences here.

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Tony:  What are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced as a returning student?
Deanna:  Time management–I’ve had to learn how to balance school and work.

Tony:  What’s been most surprising about returning to school?
Deanna: That I’ve done as well as I have, to be honest. I think that as an adult learner, I don’t have any test anxiety. I’m more self-confident. Life experience has taught me how I learn best.

Tony: Tell me what you see as an advantage of being an adult learner.
Deanna: As an adult learner, I don’t worry about the social aspects of school. I’m focusing on the books, not the party!

Tony: What advice would you give to other adults as they’re beginning?
Deanna: Don’t discount yourself because of your age. I don’t have one particular thing that I’m focused on. Don’t limit yourself to possibilities. You don’t HAVE to finish a two-year program in two years, and this opens up other potential pathways.

Tony: Is there anything else that you would like to add in closing?
Deanna: As an adult, I’m not afraid to use resources that are available. I’m no longer worried about being labeled ‘stupid’ if I ask for help. I know that I don’t have to do this by myself.
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You don’t have to go it alone, either. Parkland’s Adult Re-entry Center can help you find the courage and resources you need to take a powerful step in your career and life journey. Call or e-mail me to discuss your options: 217/351-2462  or  finishyourdegree@parkland.edu. Or just stop by U233 and say hi.