Community College Project Interviews
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Community College Project Interviews
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Gary Allen earned a bachelors and master's degree in Communication, then began a long career at community colleges, first at Kaskaskia Community College, then Southeastern Illinois College in Harrisburg, Illinois. He taught and then chaired the communication department at Southeastern, and also served as a long time forensic coach. In fact, the college renamed the forensic area in his honor in 2000. In the early 2000s he also began serving as a school trustee.
Dr. Karen Anderson has spent her life working as a teacher and administrator at colleges throughout the Midwest, and since 1999 has worked at the Illinois Community College Board, where she became its Executive Director in 2014. She gives insights into the administration of Illinois's large and diverse system of community colleges, as well as its history.
Dr. Richard Anderson, director of the Center For the Study of Reading at the University of Illinois, reviews the role the Center has played in reading research and teacher training over the course of forty years since the passage of the 1985 Education Reform Act. Dr. Anderson addresses the Center’s growth since the Reform Act, and the creation of several reading and literacy related programs including Reading Improvement Grants-grades 1-6, Language Arts Learning Goals and Assessments, Professional Education Training, Writing Assessment, Prekindergarten At-Risk grants, and teacher training.
Wayne Arnold earned a bachelors and master's degree from Southern Illinois University, then joined the faculty of Mount Vernon High School, where he operated the school’s Community College program. When the campus was relocated and named Rend Lake College shortly after the passage of the Illinois Junior College Act of 1965, he joined the staff as a teacher in the Department of Health and Physical Education. In honor of his many years of service, the fitness center at Rend Lake College is now named after him. Wayne covers the transfer of the Junior College from Mount Vernon to Rend Lake in the interview.
Dave Bartlett began his many years at South Suburban Community College in 1967 when the school was named Thornton Junior College and was located in Harvey, in south suburban Chicago. During his many years with the institution, he moved with the campus to South Holland in 1972, and saw the school's name change in 1988 to South Suburban Community College. He recounts much of the school's history during this interview.
Dorothy Beck began her career in education at Blackhawk Community College in 1969, teaching English and Philosophy, the beginning of a long career. She eventually served as president of the Faculty Senate. Dorothy was selected to write a book on Blackhawk Community College as part of the school's 50th anniversary. Following her retirement she was elected as a School Trustee in 2011. Her interview covers the history of Moline Community College, which became Blackhawk College in 1961.
George Bickford became Manager of Fiscal Affairs for City Colleges of Chicago’s Overseas Program in 1974. The program served Military personnel at American overseas bases. Living outside Frankfurt, Germany over the next 21 years, he came to be the Executive Dean for the program. In 1995, he moved to Chicago to become Executive Director of City College’s military program. After the military program closed in the early 2000’s Mr. Bickford became Dean of Instruction at Harold Washington College.
Dale Bishop discusses his long involvement with Shawnee Community College, from its inception in 1969 to the end of the Twentieth Century. Prior to that he taught high school government and history at Unity High School in Mendon, Illinois and Egyptian High School in Tamms, Illinois, then moved to a new college-Shawnee Community College near Ullin, Illinois. From 1969 through 1999, he taught government and served as a Dean of Continuing Education and Academic Affairs at Shawnee Community College. After retirement, he served as an interim Dean for Student Services. At the time of the interview Dale was still active with Shawnee by serving on the Foundation Board.
Timuel Black's teaching career began in the Chicago Public schools before he moved to the City Colleges of Chicago in 1969, initially working as a dean at Wright College. He was vice president at Olive-Harvey from 1971-1973; head of communications from 1973-1979, and then taught anthropology, sociology, and history at Loop College until his retirement in 1989. He discusses the impact of civil right efforts on City Colleges of Chicago students and faculty. He also discusses the political involvement of City College students.
Terry Bruce has served as CEO for the Illinois Eastern Community College System for over seventeen years. As an Illinois legislator for many years, both in the Illinois House and as a U.S. Congressman from 1985 to 1993, he brought years of legislative experience to his role in a system that included four separate college locations.
Iris Bryan discusses the history of McHenry County College from several perspectives, including her involvement in a successful referendum of 1967, that of a former student in the late 1970s (earning her associates degree in 1980), then as a journalist covering trustee meetings. He account covers the school’s history from 1967 to 2013.
Dr. Norman Burdick, who taught English and Communication while at Carl Sandburg College from 1980 to 2013, talks at length about the school’s history, his teaching experiences in the English/Communication divisions and about the school’s unionization process. Dr. Brudick also served as a Union President and helped the Colleges’ Mentoring Program.
Don Cavallini was a longtime English and History teacher at Lexington High School in Illinois. He later became the Director of Outreach and Adjunct Faculty teacher for Heartland Community College. He now serves as archivist for the College, and has served as a school trustee at Heartland Community College for four years. This interview reviews how the community college was created by state legislation and how it has developed at its current Normal, Illinois sites.
Dr. Dale Chapman has served as Lewis and Clark Community College's president for over twenty years, and discusses the school's history, and recent explosion in growth, in detail. Dr. Chapman became the school's president in 1992; the school also has a unique relationship with Monticello College, a two-year woman’s college in Godfrey, Illinois until its sale to Lewis and Clark in 1970.
Darrell Clevidence joined the faculty of Carl Sandburg College in Galesburg, Illinois in 1969 when the college was just being launched, and taught math and science there for many years. He also served as a Division Chair and for five years he worked as the athletic department chair. Darrell retired from Carl Sandburg in 2010
Dr. Georgia Costello has served as the President at Southwestern Illinois College, a community college, since 2008. She earned her undergraduate degree at McKendree College, and her masters and Ph.D. at Southern Illinois University. During her career, she has served as a teacher, principal and superintendent at various school before being selected as Southwestern's first female President in 2008. Dr. Costello discusses the school's recent history and development.
Carl Cottingham joined the faculty of John Logan Community College in 1968, a brand new school at the time. He served there as Dean of Learning Resources from 1968 to 1998. He also did classroom instruction, and at the time of the interview still taught an educational Psychology class.
Dr. Clifford Crone is a career educator who began his career in the Freeport Illinois region. Dr. Crone discusses his role at Freeport Jr. College, the fore runner of Highland Community College. He examines the College's ties with the local High School and its evolution into a separate entity under the Jr. College Act of 1965.
For twenty years Dr. Amy Diaz has worked at Rock Valley College in Rockford, Illinois, serving first as a counselor, then as the Director of Counseling, and at the time of the interview, as the Vice President of Student Services. In the latter capacity, she was involved with student retention and academic performance. Dr. Diaz discusses how Rock Valley College works to improve student retention, academic performance, and school affordability. She also addresses Rock Valley’s ‘First ear Support Program’ and ‘Transformed First Year Experience Program.’
Jeri Dixon began working as the Dean of Adult Education at Waubonsee Community College (Aurora, Illinois) in 2009. In that capacity she oversees many state and federal grants, as well as programs involving adult basic education, GED students, literacy programs, youth services, and English as a Second Language learners. Over 1,600 students per semester are involved in these programs.
John Duffy discusses the recent history of Elgin Community College in Elgin, Illinois. Duffy began teaching at Larkin High School in Elgin, Illinois in 1965, teaching English and Latin for thirty-four years. In 1975 Mr. Larkin was elected to the Elgin Community College Board of Trustees. He still serves in that capacity and was elected three times as its chairman. Mr. Duffy also has served on the American Association of Community College Board, as an Association of Community College Trustee, and with the Illinois College Trustees Association.
Dr. John Erwin has held a variety of positions at Midwestern colleges in his career, and became President of Illinois Central College, a community college in East Peoria, Illinois in 2001. Dr. Erwin discusses the history of the college, originally founded in 1967.
Kris Howard has a long history with William Rainey Harper College in Palatine, Illinois as a Trustee (including Chairman Trustee twice), an Educational Foundation Director, and a referendum organizer. This interview covers the history of William Rainey Harper College from 1966-2013.
Representative Naomi Jakobsson earned an associates degree from Parkland College in the mid-1970s before going on to earn a bachelor's and master's degree from the University of Illinois. By 2002 she was representing the Champaign area in the Illinois House of Representatives, and soon served as chair of the House Higher Education Committee.
Dr. Jenkins began her teaching career in 1973 as a librarian at Virginia Union University. In 1986 she became a librarian at Moraine Valley Community College. At Moraine Valley, she quickly advanced, from a part time to full time librarian, to Assistant Dean, Dean, Vice President of Academic Affairs, and now President of the college. Dr. Jenkins explains two specific programs which were presented at the Higher Education Effective Practices Conference: a dual degree program and student centered environment. She also discusses her multi-faceted role as a college president at Moraine Valley Community College.
Bob Johnson, a trained engineer and farmer from north central Illinois, has served for many years as a trustee at Kishwaukee College, a community college near DeKalb, Illinois. He served as the trustee's chairman at the time of this interview, and also is the president of the Illinois Community College Association. This interview covers the history of Kishwaukee College from its formation in 1967 to the current period.
Cathy Kloss began working at Prairie State College in Chicago Heights, Illinois in 1996, and since that time has served in a variety of capacities, most recently as Director of Development and Special Projects. Kloss discusses the history of Prairie State College since its inception in 1967, as well as the school’s relationship with the south-side community of Chicago Heights.
Ed Krolak already had many years of experience as a classroom teacher when he joined the faculty of the recently established Illinois Valley Community College in 1969. He continued teaching there until 1994. This interview covers the relation of LaSalle-Peru Township High School and LaSalle-Peru-Oglesby Junior College. It also covers almost thirty years of the history of Illinois Valley Community College.
Matt Landrus, born and raised in Mattoon, Illinois, has taught English at Lake Land College, a community college in Mattoon, since 1996. He discusses the school's history and development. One of his duties while at Lake Land has been to help develop the school’s “Living Archives.”
Kay Langston, a twenty two year employee of Triton College in River Grove, Illinois, discusses the history of Triton College, a community college, since the institution's founding in 1964. She served in a variety of roles at Triton from 1984 through 2006, including Coordinator of Library Services, Dean of the Learning Resource Center and Associate Vice President of Learning and Academic Support.
Dr. Margaret Lee came to Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, Illinois as Academic Vice President in 1985. In 1993 she became president of the college, and still served in that capacity at the time of this interview in 2013. She discusses the college's history and development during her long tenure. Dr. Lee is on the Executive Board of the Community College Presidents as Past President. She also has served as visiting lecturer, State Department Diplomatic Delegator, and as a delegate to the Hands of Peace Organization, a position that led to work in India, Netherlands, Thailand, Israel, and Palestine.
Dr. Margaret Lehner has worked at Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Illinois since the school was established in 1967. While at Moraine Valley, she has served as a Professor of Communications and Literature, Director of the Center for Faculty and Program Excellence, Director of Education Programs, Executive Dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and Vice President of Academic Affairs. She is also the Secretary of the Moraine Valley Community College Foundation Board. Dr. Lehner has published numerous articles and chaired state level committees.
Robert Maher served as a Legislative Assistant to Governor Otto Kerner when the landmark Junior College Act of 1965 was passed. He later served as Legal Council for the Community College Trustees Association (1970-1998). This interview covers that period plus his own experiences as a Junior College student at Alton Grand Rapids and Wilbur Wright College in Chicago.
Terry Martin served on the staff at Kishwaukee College, the local community college near DeKalb, Illinois, for many years, and after his retirement continued to teach in an adjunct capacity. Terry has authored Anatomy and Physiology lab manuals and books and is now involved in the writing of the educational section of "Acres of Change: A History of DeKalb County, Illinois 1963-2012." This interview covers the history of Kishwaukee College over a 40 year period.
Dr. George Mihel became the President at Sauk Valley Community College in Dixon, Illinois in 2005. He discusses the history of that institution in detail, and also relates his own experiences at Lyons Junior College (now College of DuPage in suburban Chicago) as well as community colleges outside of Illinois.
Mike Monaghan served as the Executive Director of Illinois's Community College Trustees Association at the time of the interview. He discusses the early formation of the state's community college system, the creation of boundaries for each of the community college regions, and the establishment of funding sources for the colleges. The interview covers the period from 1965 to 2012.
Linda Nevlin taught for the Alton School District and for Monticello College in Godfrey, Illinois before its closure in 1971. The college was founded by Benjamin Godfrey in 1835, and served as a two year college for female students. In 1971, the school buildings were taken over by a new community college – Lewis and Clark College. Nevlin discusses Monticello College's late history, and the relationship between the two colleges.
Jim O'Connell of Oak Park, Illinois spent many years working as a sports reporter for the 'Suburban Life' newspaper before becoming the coordinator of Public Information at Morton College in 2001, as well as interim Student Activities Director and Student Development Liaison. This interview covers the life of Illinois’s second oldest Community College, founded in 1924, and also covers the transition at the college from Morton High School, District #201 in 1967.
Dr. Jim Paul began working at Kankakee Community College in 1972, teaching History and later Philosophy. During that time, he was a keen observer of the school and watched its development and evolution until his retirement in 2006. He has stayed active with the college community since that time. Dr. Paul served as President of the Faculty Union and the IFT Regional Presidents. He has served on many state-level committees, including the Higher Education History Committee.
Dr. Leon Perley began working at Illinois Central College in 1967, when the East Peoria-based community college was first established. He served as its president from 1976 to 1988 when he retired. Dr. Perley discusses the college's history during these crucial early years of its existence.
Laurence Pernot serves as the Executive Vice Chairman of the City Colleges of Chicago (CCC), a collection of seven community colleges and six satellite sites throughout Chicago, the largest city-based community college system in the nation. In this capacity, he helps drive efficiency and accountability across the Seven College District. This includes the areas of enrollment, support services, graduation and retention rates, career pathways, performance outcomes, and the system's Capital Plan.
David Pierce tells the story of the Community College System as a math teacher, College Dean, College president, Executive Director of the Illinois Community College Board, Chancellor of the Virginia System, and President of the 50 State Association of Community Colleges. He highlights some of the unique aspects of Illinois’s Community College system due to the influences of local control.
Henry Pillard worked at Joliet Junior College from 1965 to 1988 as a Dean for student services and as a wrestling coach. He discusses Joliet Junior College's transition from being part of the high school district to being its own school with a 368-acre site. His interview covers how Joliet Junior College dealt with the changes due to the Vietnam War, the Civil Rights Movement, and student unrest. Pillard also discusses some of the unique aspects of Joliet Junior College, including its students, trustees, the culinary arts, nursing, the EMT/Fire service program, law enforcement, and transfer success.
Dr. Robert Poorman served as the first president for Lincoln Land Community College in Springfield, Illinois, beginning in 1976 until he stepped down from that post in 1988. Dr. Poorman highlights the challenges faced at Lincoln Land Community College during its earliest years, and its growth over an eleven county area, and later stretching to fifteen counties.
Jim Rapp has served for many years as the attorney for the John Wood Community College in Quincy, Illinois. He has written numerous journal articles and has published a seven volume Educator Law Guide, and is a frequent public speaker on various school matters. This interview chronicles the history of John Wood Community College from 1974-2013, and explores its unique formation, its experiment with ‘School Without Walls’, and its transition to an extension campus serving western Illinois.
Marilyn Statterwhite began her teaching career in 1964, and joined the faculty of the Danville Area Community College in 1965 during the school's transition period. She discusses the history of the school from 1966 to 2013, from the perspective of a life-long teacher and administrator.
Dr. Gayle Saunders has spent her career working at several colleges and universities in the Midwest before beginning her service as the President of Richland Community College in 2001. During her tenure there, Dr. Saunders has been involved in building construction project, a board referendum, and in new programs involving Energy Renewal and Carbon Capture. She discusses the college's history since 1971.
Del Scheider, a life-long farmer from northwestern Illinois, was an original Board of Trustee member for Highland Community College, formerly Freeport Junior College. He served as a trustee until 1978. His interview covers the origins of Highland Community College and its development over a fifty year period. He also discusses the Highland Community College Foundation, one of the first foundations serving a community college in the United States.
In October 1966, Rachel Schroeder became one of the first employees of the newly opened Parkland College in Champaign, Illinois. The college served portions of Champaign and surrounding counties. Schroeder worked initially as the secretary to the Parkland College President and Board of Trustees. She served in that capacity until her retirement in 2000. At the time of the interview she was still active with Parkland College as well as a Foundation Board member.
Don Sevener discusses his involvement with Illinois’s many community colleges from the perspective as a journalist, an adjunct teacher, and also as a member of the Illinois Board of Higher Education, where he specialized on communications and legislative issues. He has studied the subject thoroughly in the process of writing a book on Illinois’s community college history.
Dr. Christine Sobek has spent her career as an educator and administrator in Illinois's community college system, including eleven years at College of Lake County and the rest at Waubonsee College. She has held several administrative roles, including Provost, Executive Vice President for Educational Affairs, Assistant Vice President for Instruction, Assistant Vice President for Student Development, and Dean of Student Involvement. In 2001 she became the fourth President of Waubonsee College, which serves 30,000 students and 1200 Faculty Staff. She is currently President of Waubonsee Community College.
After Lori Sundberg earned a doctorate, she was hired at Sandburg College, initially conducting research and involved in data collection. She later became a Dean, involved with marketing, human resources, as well as negotiations and administrative/academic affairs. Dr. Sundberg became the President of Carl Sandburg College in 2011. She discusses her own experiences at Carl , including as a student at the college, a longtime Galesburg resident, President of Carl Sandburg, the school's relationship with Western Illinois University, and the community’s relationship with the college.
In 2002 Steve Thompson joined Rock Valley College as a liaison to the Friends of Estelle M. Black Library staff. He taught library classes, provided reference assistance, developed the library collections to 5 academic areas, and served as a staff liaison archivist. In this interview he covers Rock Valley’s growth, to include the 50th year anniversary of the College which was formed October 10, 1964 as Winnebago-Boone County Junior College.
James Underwood has been in Community College education for forty-three years, including Central Community College, University of Arkansas at Fort Smith, Arkansas, Richland Community College, Northeast Community College (Nebraska), and at Kaskaskia College in Centralia, Illinois. His experiences include teaching business/economics classes, Vice President of Administrative Services, Vice President of Finance/Administration, Vice President for Instruction, and College President at Kaskaskia College. Dr. Underwood discusses his experience of community College operations in Nebraska, Arkansas, and Illinois, along with the history of Kaskaskia Community College.
Virginia Vasen began her college education in 1959 at the brand new Canton Junior College in Canton, Illinois, while also working on the school's staff. She stayed with the school until her retirement in 1994, having seen the school renamed to Spoon River College in 1968. Virginia had various responsibilities while at Spoon River College, including as Registrar, Treasurer, and Trustee Recording Secretary. She also helped prepare material for the College’s 50th Anniversary. She discussed how the College moved to Class I status, overcoming problems related to geographic square miles, enrollment, and tax basis.
In 1971, after serving in Vietnam, Fred Visel joined the faculty of Carl Sandburg College, a new community college located in Galesburg, Illinois. Visel taught history and government at Carl Sandburg, and also served as Dean of the Library for fifteen years. Upon his retirement in 1999, Fred returned to teaching as a part-time instructor of history. Visel discusses the history of Carl Sandburg College from 1971 to 2013, and how history and government were taught during his tenure at the school.
In 1969, Richard Wagner joined the Illinois Board of Higher Education, where he served in a variety of capacities, including as deputy director of the Fiscal Department, and then its director. In 1980 he became the executive director of the Board of Higher Education until his retirement in 1998. Dr. Wagner discusses the growth of the state's community college movement from 1965-1998 and its relationship to the overall Higher Education Plan for Illinois.
Lin Warfel grew up on a farm in east central Illinois. He went to Wabash College before transferring to the University of Illinois to study Agriculture and then had a stint in the air force, before he returned to farming. He later became a trustee for Parkland College, a Community College in Champaign, Illinois. He has served on his local Unit 7 School Board, was active in the CHIEF initiative (Change How Illinois Education is Funded) and in a movement to advocate for a one percent sales tax. In 1991, he was elected to the Board of Trustees of Parkland College. At the time of the interview he still continued to serve as a trustee.
Robert Watson has practiced law since 1973, and has served as a Trustee of Lewis and Clark Community College in Godfrey, Illinois for over 30 years. The role of a college trustee, and the growth of the college and its unique programs are discussed in detail.
Dr. Ben Whisenhunt began teaching at the College of DuPage in 1992, and in 1997 he became a fulltime professor at the college, specializing in Russian history. This interview covers the history of the College of DuPage from 1966-2006 based on Dr. Whisenhunts’ research of the College and his own teaching there from 1992-2013. His story includes the early beginnings and the influence of Roy DeShane and Lyons Township High School.
Mr. Whitaker has a unique perspective on the history of Joliet Junior College, being a student at Joliet Township High School when it operated the college, then later as a full time/part time student at the college and as a Trustee when the College operated as an independent body. This interview covers those years and covers the evolution of Joliet Junior College from 1965-1970 when several critical issues were being considered.
Walter Zaida began working at Joliet Junior College in 1961, and retired in 1986 after serving in a variety of positions at the college, including Vice President for Academic Affairs and as interim President. During the interview, he discusses the history of Joliet Jr. College from 1901 through 1986, highlighting its educational evolution, the impact of world wars and Vietnam had on the institution, and the important role that the Junior College Act of 1965 had on Illinois' community college system. Joliet Jr. College was the first public Jr. College in the United States.