Tag Archives: SPARK

Do You Write Well? Submit Your Essay and Win $500!

Want to improve your writing skills, while having a chance at winning $500? Consider entering the Diana McDonald Award for Outstanding Achievement in Creative Nonfiction!

This semester, we have redesigned the Writer’s Challenge: We seek essays from any student enrolled in a Humanities Department course (English, Critical Comprehension Skills, English as a Second Language, Liberal Arts and Sciences, Literature, Philosophy, Humanities, Religion, Spanish, German, French, Japanese). Ideally, we are looking for an essay that connects your personal experiences, insights, and observations to larger ongoing conversations in our world—about politics, philosophy, science, media, justice, family, race, happiness, the environment, or whatever else you are interested in.

You may revise and submit an essay that you have written for a course or you may write an essay specifically for this contest.

To give some background: Several years ago, a retired Parkland English faculty member, Diana McDonald, began The Writer’s Challenge. Diana feels passionately about good writing and has fond memories of working with students who were eager to work hard to polish their writing. So she began this award as a way to give students some extra incentive to polish their essays. Her hope has been that her award will generate, among students, enthusiasm for writing well.

Do you have an essay of which you’re particularly proud? Or do you have something you are particularly interested in writing about? Please see these two attachments—the Writer’s Challenge information and our Writer’s  Challenge application form—to get started.

By the way, we will post the winning essay on Parkland’s open access repository, SPARK. If you would like to read the essay that Diana McDonald awarded last fall semester, you can go to: http://spark.parkland.edu/mcdonald_award/ and click on the little PDF icon on the left.

[Seth Mendelowitz is a full-time faculty member in Parkland’s Humanities department.]

SPARK Celebrates Five Years!

Where can you find the best work of Parkland College students? Check out SPARK, Parkland’s award-winning, open access institutional repository!

This month, SPARK, which stand for Scholarship at Parkland, celebrates its fifth year showcasing the best scholarly and creative works of Parkland students. Each year, SPARK adds papers and projects by students participating in the A with Honors program, selected posters from the Natural Sciences Poster Session, podcasts from Anthropology 103’s Ethnographies of Parkland Student Life project, and prints, product designs, and digital media from the Graphic Design Student Exhibition.

Operating on the Digital Commons platform created by BePress, the collection now holds nearly 1,400 entries from over 450 student, faculty, and staff authors, and has seen over 100,000 downloads from around the globe. Take a look at this readership activity map to see how far SPARK reaches:

SPARK Readership Map link
Click on the SPARK Readership Map to connect to the web page.

Parkland was among the first community colleges in the country to recognize the value of establishing a digital collection of academic and creative student work, and SPARK has proven to benefit students in a variety of ways:

  • Students whose work is included in the repository are able to share their work with not only future transfer institutions or employers, but also with  a larger, more global academic community.
  • Current students are able to use SPARK to model their work after the successful work of others.
  • Students get real-world application of skills as they prepare their projects for publication.

Five years ago, SPARK began with a mission to highlight Parkland’s commitment to excellence in learning. As we look to the future of SPARK, that mission remains unchanged, and we are excited to welcome not only new student work but also to begin using SPARK as a platform for sharing educational resources created by Parkland faculty.

[Cheri Cameron is the archivist at the Parkland College Library.]

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.