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Staff Achievements 2013

Message from the president

Dear Colleagues,

Each of you is a source of pride for Moraine Valley Community College, which is why it is my pleasure to acknowledge all you have accomplished. What you do on campus and in our communities reflects positively on Moraine Valley, and these actions have made us a shining example of how to be the best.

Education in one form or another is at the core of what so many of you have accomplished. You are either in school continuing your own studies or you are teaching others—directly or indirectly—by sharing your expertise, time and talents. This is a tremendous testament to your character and commitment.

On behalf of the Board of Trustees, students, faculty and staff, I congratulate you on your accomplishments, and I wish you continued success for this new school year.

Sylvia M. Jenkins, Ph.D.

“Intelligence plus character—that is the goal of true education.”
Martin Luther King Jr.

Staff Awards

Dr. Margaret Lehner
Vernon O. Crawley Leadership Award

The Vernon O. Crawley Leadership Award was established to recognize a supervisory employee who exhibits strong leadership characteristics and personifies the president’s Eight Expectations, as well as the college’s core values of integrity, responsibility, respect, fairness, and diversity.

Dr. Margaret Lehner, vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive assistant to the president, was selected for this award because she is the “embodiment of the Eight Expectations,” something her nominators said are “so ingrained in her behaviors, attitudes and actions.” Dr. Lehner defines receiving this award as a crowning moment in her career. “As all who have come before me, I will dedicate the rest of my career to being worthy of this recognition given to me so graciously by my colleagues.” In her 40-plus-year tenure at the college, Dr. Lehner has served as a faculty member in the Communications/Literature/Languages Department, and in administrative positions that include being dean of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and vice president of Academic Affairs. She established a number of programs and initiatives, including leading the successful referendum effort to build the Fine and Performing Arts Center and is a driving force behind the Agree to Degree college completion initiative.

Dr. Jeannine Christensen
Professor of the Year Award

The Professor of the Year Award recognizes excellence in teaching, contributions to the recipient’s department, and his or her positive impact on the college and community. This year’s winner is Dr. Jeannine Christensen, associate professor of Chemistry.

Dr. Christensen was selected because of the positive learning environment she provides students that motivates them to reach beyond the required material and think outside the classroom. One of her students wrote that she has never had a teacher as phenomenal as Professor Christiansen and how she is always willing and able to help students who are struggling. While at Moraine Valley, Dr. Christensen has served on committees that promote innovation, was involved with the science education articulation with participating four-year colleges, and created the college’s first online chemistry course.

“It is truly a humbling moment to have been nominated by my students for Professor of the Year, and it means so much to me to have been selected by my colleagues for the award. I feel very fortunate to be teaching at Moraine Valley. Being Professor of the Year is a dream come true.”

Michael McGuire
Master Teacher of the Year Award

The Master Teacher Award is given to faculty members who have developed a unique program or teaching technique that benefits the Moraine Valley community. This year, we honor Michael McGuire, associate professor of Communications/Literature.

Mike’s creative initiative in the classroom turned out to be a win-win for his students and the community. Because of his incorporation of service-learning and volunteerism, Mike was able to get his students actively involved to help provide nearly 15,000 meals along with a dozen 40-gallon barrels filled with gently used shoes.

“I am honored to have been selected as the Master Teacher and thrilled my colleagues and Moraine Valley support me in my efforts to bring innovative, challenging learning experiences to my students,” he said.

Dawn Wrobel
Adjunct Professor of the Year Award

The Adjunct Professor of the Year Award acknowledges the valuable contributions of our part-time instructors in our students’ education, instructors like Dawn Wrobel, who has been teaching geography classes at Moraine Valley for 10 years.

In addition to teaching, Dawn developed the honors curriculum for geography, improved the curriculum for basic geography classes, developed online geography classes and created the Geography Bee at the college. Dawn’s accomplishments also include her students, many of whom have been recognized at conferences, presented at seminars and won awards. “My goal is to have my students leave my classroom continuing to ask questions about the world around them,” she said.

Dawn believes the award is validation for the work she has done inside the classroom as well as outside. “More importantly, this award speaks to the tremendous support I’ve received over the last 10 years from my department chairs, librarians, and support staff in the Center for Teaching and Learning,” she said.

Helen Agresti
Robert E. Turner Service Award

The Robert E. Turner Service Award, named in honor of Moraine Valley’s founding president, is given to a full-time support staff member who demonstrates excellent work habits, dedication to our mission, a service orientation to all members of the Moraine Valley community, and a positive outlook.

This year’s recipient is Helen Agresti, secretary II in Academic Assessment/Academic Services, who also has served as president of the Support Staff Association during her 20-year tenure at the college.
As secretary, she helps full-time and adjunct faculty daily and ensures the office is properly staffed, coming early and staying late to see that everything runs smoothly. Helen also helps coordinate the adjunct faculty evening in-service programs.

“I was totally surprised, shocked and astounded upon receiving word that I won the Robert E. Turner Award. Having been on the committee in the past that selects the winner, I know there are many worthy candidates. I am truly honored to be this year’s winner,” Helen said.

John Wagrowski
Nancy Blane Guerra Service Award

The Nancy Blane Guerra Service Award recognizes an Administrative and Professional staff member who demonstrates loyalty and dedication to the college’s mission and provides excellence in his or her work. We honor John Wagrowski, network engineer, Information Technology, for representing what every supervisor searches for in an ideal employee and for his dedication that goes far beyond expectations.

John takes the initiative to learn new technologies as they evolve and shares that knowledge with his colleagues and interns in the Information Security and Network Operations Department. His nominator said he is a valuable resource, an independent thinker and a Moraine Valley treasure.

“I am truly grateful for being selected to win this award. Working at the college for all these years has been a wonderful experience and an important part of both my personal life and professional career,” John said.

Mary Monahan
Part-Time Employee Service Award

The Part-Time Employee Service Award recognizes the exemplary efforts of an employee who works in a part-time capacity but exhibits the same dedication to the college’s mission as full-time staff. This year, the college honors Mary Monahan, departmental assistant in the Office of International Student Affairs.

Mary started working at Moraine Valley in a temporary clerical position that was supposed to last six weeks. Eighteen years later, she’s still here and working with hundreds of students who come to Moraine Valley from countries around the world.

“It is a pleasure to accept this award. It has been wonderful to be in Moraine Valley’s International Office for the past 18 years. Helping students from all over the world has been an especially rewarding and enriching experience,” says Mary.

Emmanuel Santoyo
Student Employee of the Year

The Student Employee of the Year Award recognizes the contributions our student aides make to Moraine Valley. This year’s recipient is Emmanuel Santoyo, a student employee in the Student Life Office.

Reasons were many for selecting Emi, as he is known on campus, and at the top of the list was his commitment. Emi was considered the “go-to employee” who trained and led other student employees in Student Life. Among his many accomplishments were the implementation of large-scale college activities, such as Fall and Spring Fests, all of which he helped from the planning stages through the day of the events. As a past student trustee, Emi knew how to effectively communicate with students, administrators and faculty.

“I’m just doing what I love to do, and to win an award for that is just amazing. I like seeing the students smile and making my co-workers happy. Being in Student Life where you can be yourself makes the job much easier and enjoyable,” Emi said.

Dana Campbell
Pamela Goodman
Dr. Lisa Kelsay
Dave Sarther Teamwork Award
The Teamwork Award was established to commend a group of at least three employees or committee members who work together for the enhancement of their work area and the college. This year it was presented to Dana Campbell, Chemistry Department chair and assistant Chemistry professor; Pamela Goodman, Physical Sciences adjunct instructor; and Dr. Lisa Kelsay, assistant dean of Liberal Arts, for their work in planning and hosting the 2012 Illinois Skyway Collegiate Conference Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Education poster competition.

Dana, Pamela and Lisa were charged with organizing the competition and hosting 34 teams composed of 82 students. They also managed 27 volunteers from the college community, engaged five Moraine Valley faculty members in providing workshops, and coordinated 12 judges.

“I was lucky to be on a planning team with dedicated and talented science faculty members. The skill set brought by each individual member is what made our team work so well together. To be selected for the Teamwork Award is amazing. This event would not have been made possible without so many people on campus who volunteered their time on the day of the event,” Lisa said. Dana echoed her sentiments. He said, “I am very happy to be recognized for working with Dr. Lisa Kelsay and Professor Pamela Goodman. Teamwork is the glue that holds all of us together and make progress possible.”

Academic Advising Syllabus
Innovation of the Year Award

The Innovation of the Year Award was created to recognize faculty members or administrators who successfully implement an innovative project or idea. This year’s Innovation of the Year Award recipients are Debby Blatzer, director of Academic Advising Programs and Services; and academic advisors Lissette Alvarado, Kim Golk and Sumeet Singh.

The use of this syllabus in advising is unique as it is used as a lesson plan each semester for students to track their progress and stay on track to degree completion, helping students take ownership in their plan and be more engaged in their learning.

“We’re very grateful and appreciate being recognized for this honor. This award reflects the whole advising department. We all worked on this and, it shows our ability to innovate,” said Kim.

John Nash and Carey Millsap-Spears
Embracing Diversity Award

This year’s Embracing Diversity Award was presented to John Nash, associate professor of Speech/Communications, and Carey Millsap-Spears, assistant professor of Communications, in recognition of their leadership in the Safe Zone Program, which trains faculty and staff members to be advocates for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender (GLBT) people.

John and Carey have been Safe Zone allies since 2006 when John introduced the program at Moraine Valley. They lead trainings, which help promote equal rights for all individuals, including using inclusive language, minimizing stereotyping and providing resources for those in need. Allies post signs in their workplace to alert GLBT people it is an area where they can be themselves without fear of hatred or criticism.

“Winning this award is an honor. I am thankful for the opportunity to help raise awareness and serve as an ally for GLBT students, faculty and staff,” Carey said. John said that as a safe zone educator, he feels he empowers faculty and staff to be supportive of diverse students in need. “This award is a sign to me that all students will one day feel safe while receiving an education at Moraine Valley,” John said.

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College Honors

An apple a day
The American Heart Association recognized Moraine Valley as a Fit Friendly Worksite for creating a culture of physical health and activity within the workplace.

Different ships, same boat
Moraine Valley is among 48 U.S. colleges and universities that received the first Higher Education Excellence in Diversity award from “INSIGHT into Diversity” magazine, the oldest and largest diversity-focused publication in higher education. The college was selected for its “outstanding commitment to diversity and inclusion” in all aspects of diversity—gender, race, ethnicity, veterans, people with disabilities, and members of the LGBT community.

And the winner is…
Marketing and Creative Services earned 10 awards from the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations district competition, three awards from Educational Advertising Awards competition, and an award of distinction from the Videographer Award International competition.

Just a click away
The college was recognized as one of the top 10 large community colleges advancing services to students through new technologies, according to the results of the annual Digital Community Colleges survey. The community colleges were cited for expanding online classes and online student services, as well as for using social networking sites.

Celebrating our students’ success
The college’s chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the international honor society for two-year and junior colleges, received Five-Star Status, which is the highest level that can be attained. The chapter also received an Outstanding Chapter Award, Honors in Action Project Award, Outstanding Chapter Office Team Award, Spirit Award, Leader of Distinction Award, Hall of Honor Officer Award, Hall of Honor Advisor Award, Horizon Advisor Award, Outstanding Advisor Award, All Illinois Advisor Team Award, and won first place in the Illinois Region Yearbook competition.

We are the champions
Our Forensics Team won the gold medal at the Phi Rho Pi National Speech and Debate Tournament in California. The team, coached by John Nash, associate professor of Speech/Communications, also earned 10 individual medals.

Spectacular seasons
The volleyball team went 35-0 during the regular season earning Skyway Collegiate Conference and NJCAA Region IV championships. Men’s basketball earned conference and regional championships, and went on to earn the runner-up spot in nationals. Men’s tennis finished third in conference and regionals—earning a berth to the national tournaments, and the golf team for the second consecutive year had a national qualifier.

Staff Honors

Academic advisors Lissette Alvarado, Kimberly Golk and Sumeet Singh, and Debby Blatzer, director of Academic Advising Programs and Services, presented “There is a ‘US’ in Syllabus” at the Illinois Academic Advisor Association Regional Conference. The group and their project also were highlighted during the keynote speaker’s address.

Michelle August, department chair and professor of Information Management Systems, was showcased as the IBM Systems Magazine Snapshot feature. She served as executive director for the COMMON Education Foundation Board of Directors and on the IBM Advisory Council called COMMON Americas. In addition, Michelle serves on the COMMON Leadership and Advocacy committee, the IBM Academic Initiative taskforce, the nominating committee for the board of directors, and the Young IBMi Professionals taskforce, and was a reviewer and test bank author for the “Computer Literacy for IC3” textbook.

Delores Brooks, director of Marketing and Creative Services, gave the keynote presentation entitled, “Marketing in the Era of College Completion” at the Texas Association of Community College Marketers Association’s summer conference in Austin. Plus, Delores presented with Dr. Margaret Lehner, vice president of Institutional Advancement and executive assistant to the president, at roundtable presentations on marketing Moraine Valley’s Agree to Degree college completion initiative at the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations’ (NCMPR) national conference. At the request of NCMPR, Delores authored an article entitled “Marketing in the Era of College Completion,” which was published in the Community College Times online.

Terry Chambers, director of TRIO/Student Support Services, completed his tenure as president of the Illinois Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel, and now serves as an executive board member for the group.

William Droel, Philosophy instructor, published a booklet, “Public Friendship,” which offers advice on skills needed to organize community groups and maintain public friendships.

Kim Golk, academic advisor and Phi Theta Kappa co-advisor, was honored by the Phi Theta Kappa national honor society with the Hall of Honor Advisor Award and the Horizon Advisor Award.

Allison Grippe, assistor director of Resource Development, was elected secretary of the Illinois Community College Resource Development group.

Annette Herbert, coordinator of Learning for the Children’s Learning Center, is serving as treasurer of the South Suburban Association for the Education of Young Children, and as chair of the association’s membership and scholarship committee. She also completed training through the Illinois Network of Child Care Resources and Referral Agencies, and renewed her credentials to be a professional development advisor. In addition, she presented an abstract on “Retention Strategies in the Early Childhood Field” at Lewis University’s annual Celebration of Scholarship.

Darren Howard, manager of grants, accounting and compliance in Finance, was selected by the National Council of College and University Research Administrators to serve as a mentor to the new university grants administrator at South East Missouri State University. The program matches seasoned grants administrators with new professionals in the field. Darren has mentored administrators at the University of Indianapolis and Morehouse University in Atlanta.

Dr. Lisa Kelsey, assistant dean of Liberal Arts and director of Academic Arts, was elected American College Personnel Association Assembly (ACPA) coordinator of Commissions-Elect, and received the ACPA Commission for Student Development in the Two-Year College Service to the Profession award.

Dr. Margaret Lehner, vice president for Institutional Advancement and executive assistant to the President, presented with Delores Brooks, director of Marketing and Creative Services, at the National Council for Marketing and Public Relations national conference in Chicago, on “Agree to Degree: Marketing the Completion Challenge.” Dr. Lehner serves as a member of the Board of Trustees for Saint Augustine College and as chair of the Development committee.

Kathryn Lelo, Financial Aid expeditor, received her Master of Business Administration degree from Western Governors University in Salt Lake City, Utah.

Jim McIntyre, assistant professor of History, was appointed editor of the Journal of the Seven Seas War Association Chapter and contributed to several pieces, including “Nathanael Greene Soldier—Statesman of the War of Independence in South Carolina” and “General Nathanael Greene and the American Revolution in the South.” Jim’s guest lectures included “Victory at Sea: The Second World War in the Pacific, 1941-1945” for Naval War College’s Strategy and War Seminar at the United States Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland; and “World War II: Victory in Europe” for the Naval War College’s Strategy and War Seminar at the Great Lakes Naval Air Station. In addition, Jim presented “Freemen of a Priekorps? Light Horse Harry Lee and His Legion, American Partisans;” “Wedded to my Sword: Light Horse Harry Lee Symposium;” and “The Delaware River Campaign of 1777: An Examination of an 18th Century Joint Operation” at the Missouri Valley History conference.

Keith Nabb, associate professor of Mathematics, completed his Ph.D. in mathematics education at the Illinois Institute of Technology.

Dr. Ryen Nagle, dean of Science, Business and Computer Technology, earned a Doctor of Education in higher education from the Community College Executive Leadership Program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He also was awarded an inaugural Illinois Community College System Leadership scholarship to fund research aimed at understanding similarities and differences of the teaching behaviors of full-time, part-time and dual-credit faculty.

Theresa O’Carroll, controller, has been appointed to the Community College Business Officers Board of Directors. This organization provides educational and professional support, networking opportunities and other resources to business officers representing community colleges in the U.S. and Canada.

Stephenie Presseller, Sustainability manager, received her Master of Public Administration—Environmental Policy from American Public University. She also was presented the “Green Mind” award from the U.S. Green Building Council—Illinois for her dedication to sustainability education and awareness initiatives.

Demetrius Robinson, manager of Student Life, won a Distinguished Advisor Award from Phi Theta Kappa. He was recognized for his significant contribution to the growth of members and his service as the chapter’s advocate on campus.

Dr. Troy Swanson, Library department chair, published the book, “Managing Social Media in Libraries: Finding Collaboration, Coordination and Focus” through Chandos Publishing, Oxford, England. He also was appointed a member of the task force for the Association of College and Research Libraries’ Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education.

Dawn Wrobel, adjunct Geography instructor and the 2013 Adjunct Professor of the Year, presented a workshop titled "Healing Communication with the Animals" at the 21st Annual Women of Wisdom Conference: Women Leading the Evolutionary Shift Midwifing the New Paradigm, hosted by North Seattle Community College, and was interviewed on the Voices of Women program about the workshop. Dawn also presented a paper titled "Flipping the Classroom: Student Directed Cultural Geography" at the 74th Annual Illinois Geographical Society annual meeting in Peoria, Ill.

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