South Metropolitan
Higher Education Consortium
South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium Quarterly Newsletter, Issue 5, April 1, 2019
A Message from the Executive Director
A little over one year ago, I was asked to create the first strategic plan for the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium to identify strengths, define goals, and implement strategies for advancement.
What I learned through this process is our Consortium is comprised of some of the most passionate and intelligent individuals I have had the privilege to work with. In October, I met with a group of 16 representatives representing the majority of our members and committees to begin the strategic planning process. During this meeting, we worked together to categorize the Consortium’ strengths and identify goals to advance SMHEC. As a result of this session, four goals and 16 objectives were created and reviewed by the SMHEC Presidents’ Council.

In March, a second group met to finalize the goals and objectives, based on the Presidents’ Council review and suggestions. The group was also tasked with creating action items to help us achieve our strategic goals. The resulting document was approved by the Presidents’ Council in March.
Over the next several months, as I meet with each committee, I will ask you each to work with me through a committee goal setting process to ensure we are meeting the strategic priorities set forth in our plan.
I want to take a moment to offer my sincerest thanks to the following individuals that participated in the various components of the strategic planning process:

  • John Avendano, President, Kankakee Community College
  • Marta Borys, Administrative Assistant, SMHEC
  • Pamela Haney, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Moraine Valley Community College
  • Janine Hicks, Sustainability Coordinator, University of St. Francis
  • Sylvia Jenkins, President, Moraine Valley Community College
  • Arvid Johnson, President, University of St. Francis
  • Ron Kawanna, Assoc. VP of Accreditation & Institutional Effectiveness, South Suburban College
  • Ray Kennelly, VP for Enrollment Management, Lewis University
  • Amy King, Group President, DeVry University
  • Daniel Klotzbach, Vice President for Finance and Administration/Chief Financial Officer, Saint Xavier University
  • David Livingston, President, Lewis University
  • Elaine Maimon, President, Governors State University
  • Judy Mitchell, President, Joliet Junior College
  • Patrick O'Connor, Chief of Police, Moraine Valley Community College
  • Frank Pascoe, Provost, University of St. Francis
  • Stephen Pepper, Asst. Director, Sustainability, Illinois Institute of Technology
  • Stephenie Presseller, Sustainability Manager, Moraine Valley Community College
  • Chuck Pustz, Chief Information Officer, Governors State University
  • Rich Soderquist, Director, Facilities and Campus Safety, Kankakee Community College
  • Lynette Stokes, President, South Suburban College
  • Tasha Williams, VP of Academic Services, South Suburban College
  • Terri Winfree, President, Prairie State College
  • Lisa Zeigler, Manager, Grant Services, Prairie State College
  • Tim Zorek, Group Dean of Academic Excellence, DeVry University/Keller

 Please view the 2019-2022 SMHEC Strategic Plan by clicking the button below.
I hope you enjoy reading this edition of SMHEC’s Electronic Newsletter and I look forward to seeing many of you at our upcoming committee meetings and special events.
Growing Sustainable Communities Together
Pictured above from left to right: Mayor John Ostenburg of Park Forest, Mayor Paul Braun of Flossmoor and Mayor Rick Reinbold of Richton Park

Pictured below: Edith Makra, Director of Environmental Initiatives for the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus
On Friday, February 8, the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium (SMHEC) presented Growing Sustainable Communities Together - a regional sustainability conference hosted by SMHEC Member Institution, Prairie State College.

When asked how the conference was received, Dave Ward, Superintendent of Golf at Coyote Run Golf Course said, “For me, inspirational is the best description.” He went on to say moving forward, the hard part will be to “leverage the enthusiasm into a long-term movement to improve sustainability and the lives of the residents of the Chicago Southland.”

Over 100 guests attended the conference to expand sustainability efforts in the south suburbs. In a letter received by SMHEC, Congresswoman Robin Kelly showed her support for this event, by stating, “our communities can develop their own unique partnerships to successfully work together to grow sustainable communities.”

The day began with Edith Makra, Director of Environmental Initiatives for the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus, as she discussed the Greenest Region Compact (GRC) and its impact in the south suburbs. Ms. Makra stated, “as of Tuesday evening, 109 municipalities have adopted the GRC.”

Following her keynote presentation, Ms. Makra facilitated a panel of local Mayors, including Mayor John Ostenburg of Park Forest, Mayor Paul Braun of Flossmoor and Mayor Rick Reinbold of Richton Park as they shared their community success stories as a result of adopting the GRC.

The day continued with breakout sessions on a variety of topics that fit within the GRC framework, including The Native Landscape, Building the Case for Sustainability: Zoning, Policy and the Built Environment, Urban Agriculture in the South Suburbs and Funding Opportunities. The conference featured speakers from organizations such as Cook County, Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning, Forest Preserve District of Will County, F.U.T.U.R.E. Foundation, Homewood-Flossmoor Park District, Metropolitan Planning Council, Morton Arboretum, Oak Lawn Park District, Prairie State College, University of Illinois Extension and 360 Energy Group.

According to Allessandra Kummelehne, Executive Director for SMHEC, “The results of this conference are the essence of SMHECs link and leverage initiative - connecting people, communities and resources to make lasting improvements to South Cook County’s economy, ecology and social equity.” She continued saying, “I am honored to be a part of this initiative and I look forward to watching it grow as we work to improve the sustainability of our communities.”

The event was catered by Wiley’s Grill, a notable, local restaurant who brought in green alternatives such as
compostable plates and cutlery to make the event more sustainable. The afternoon craft beer hour was sponsored by Vice District. Additional sponsors were ComEd, Midwest Energy Efficiency Alliance, Nania Energy, Village of Park Forest, and Wight and Co.

For more information about SMHEC or Link and Leverage, please contact Allessandra Kummelehne at .
SMHEC's Chief Academic Officers: Who They Are
SMHEC's Chief Academic Officers Council is comprised of the Provosts and Vice Presidents of Academic Affairs at each of our Member Istitutions. This group establishes and guides all of our academic-related activities. Those efforts include  Writing Across the Institutions College and Career Readiness Healthcare Initiatives , Regional Faculty Development and work with the National Student Clearinghouse.

Members of the Chief Academic Officers Council
  • Dr. Michael Boyd, Vice President of Instructional and Student Success, Kankakee Community College
  • Dr. Beth Cada, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Governors State University
  • Dr. Michael Dufresne, Tinley Park Campus, Assistant Dean of Academic Excellence, DeVry University
  • Dr. Randy Fletcher,Vice President of Academic Affairs, Joliet Junior College
  • Dr. Pamela Haney, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Moraine Valley Community College
  • Dr. Marie Hansel, Vice President of Academic Affairs, Prairie State College
  • Dr. James MacLaren, Provost, Saint Xavier University
  • Dr. Frank Pascoe, Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, University of St. Francis
  • Dr. Chris Sindt, Provost of Academic Affairs, Lewis University
  • Dr. Tasha Williams, Vice President of Academic Services, South Suburban College
  • Dr. Tim Zorek, Group Dean of Academic Excellence, DeVry University/Keller Graduate School

Getting To Know The Team
In this issue of SMHEC Today!, M arta Borys, SHMEC Administrative Assistant, interviewed Dr. Marie Hansel, Vice President of Academic Affairs at Prairie State College and Dr. Frank Pascoe, Provost at the University of St. Francis.

The focus of the interview was to learn how belonging to SMHEC positively influences their position within their institution .
Dr. Marie Hansel

Dr. Marie Hansel started working for Prairie State College (PSC) in 2005 teaching Nursing. In 2010 she became Dean of Industrial Technology, and in 2014 she took her current position as Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean of Faculty.

When asked about advantages that belonging to SMHEC brings, she stated that when she first joined the Chief Academic Officers Council, it became a support group to her and to many other Vice Presidents who were also new in their jobs at the time.

Belonging to SMHEC gives Dr. Hansel direct access to sharing ideas with colleagues from private institutions, 4-year universities and other community colleges; gives her a new perspective in her every day activities; it enriches her view of the community, student body and faculty and it helps her in finding and developing new talent. The Faculty Development Conferences, for example, are a great source of exchanging ideas on curriculum, programs, and implementations of improvements.

Dr. Hansel sees SMHEC's role as a catalyst in putting people and institutions together, crossing barriers, whether social, financial, or geographical. She says that as the enrollment drops, competing for students is one of the main challenges colleges face today, so working to regionalize resources is a great solution to this issue.

Funding and maintaining science labs, clinicals or nursing faculty, for example, are among issues all institutions struggle with, so coming together and sharing these resource is a way to help each other.

SMHEC creates the kind of regionalized platform, Dr. Hansel believes, to share and exchange ideas with people who face similar challenges. It gives her new opportunities to connect, socialize, and discuss problems with people who learn from each other.
Dr. Frank Pascoe
Dr. Frank Pascoe has been the Provost and Vice President of Academic Affairs, as well as CAO Member of SMHEC, for the past 11 years.

When asked about the biggest challenges that his position faces, he emphasizes the quality of education, but especially how the quality of education is being affected by limited financial resources that pretty much every educational institution struggles with today.

Dr. Pascoe says that one of the main benefits of belonging to SMHEC is the way we find ways to share resources, negotiate lower rates, reduce expenses, and help each other find solutions. He gives example of Sustainability Committee as a showcase of how institutions can work together without feeling competitive.

Belonging to SMHEC makes him aware of the broader higher education community and the issues they face. In fact, he adds, it makes him feel better to hear that other institutions struggle with the same problems so he is not the only one. SMHEC meetings give him a chance to share ideas, help find innovations and solutions to common problems.

In current constrained financial environment, Dr. Pascoe believes, any ideas and solutions on improving teaching methods and implementing better program development to benefit students, are very important to everyone. Writing Across the Institutions Sub-Committee is a good example, in his opinion, of a shared platform that benefits everyone and brings very positive results on a daily basis.
What Our Committees Are Doing
The Will County Regional Sustainability Network, a SMHEC Link and Leverage Initiative, is meeting regularly to plan and host events in the Will County Region.

On March 20, A Clean Energy Future: The energy transition is now! hosted an educational networking event for attendees to learn about current initiatives in the Will County region. Att endees discovered what school districts, universities, private companies and local governments are doing to make the transition to a clean energy future. The topics covered energy conservation, electric vehicles, renewable energy, and a systematic approach to reducing our carbon footprint.
The next event, The Greenest Region Compact: Stories in Will County, will be hosted by Joliet Junior College on April 5, in partnership with the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus. This event will highlight the communities in Will County that have adopted the Greenest Region Compact (GRC) and encourage others to do the same.

This event is free to attend, but advance registration is required.
Alsip Link and Leverage
In partnership with the Alsip Chamber of Commerce, the Alsip Link and Leverage group hosted a Craft Fair and Recycling event took place at Prairie Junior High on Saturday, March 9.

Over 30 vendors and exhibitors were present, including Kai’s Cookies and Health on Earth. Crafters were selling items such as jewelry, homemade treats, and clothes.

SMHEC’s very own AmeriCorps volunteer, Jacquelin Knox, works closely on the Link and Leverage Initiative for the Alsip region and could be found volunteering at the event with Becky Smith’s Beautification Committee booth.

AmVets, Shred Authority, and EverLights helped make recycling possible at this event.
23 Televisions were dropped off for recycling and raised a total of $413 dollars. The event also filled an entire dump truck with small electronics to be taken to Shred Authority for recycling. Am-Vets collected clothing items and there was consistent traffic for paper shredding on site.

When asked about the successes of the event, Michael Fraider of Alsip Streets and Sanitation said, “Everyone that came through was so appreciative and happy that we were doing this, even my staff had a good time!”
Writing Across the Institutions
The Writing Across the Institutions (WAI) sub-committee hosted their second workshop of the 2018-19 academic year, “Other Englishes,” at Governors State University on March 1. Fourteen faculty members participated in this workshop.

This session featured Akiko Ota, PhD, Chris Greiner, MFA, and Rashidah Jaami` Muhammad, Ph.D. who spoke about the academic struggles facing international and second language students in the context of academic writing.

The presentations were well received and resulted in an engaging and thoughtful conversation.
Crisis Management Task Force Completes Mutual Aid Test
The Crisis Management Committee completed its annual Mutual Aid Test in February. The Mutual Aid Test took place over three days to allow each dispatch center (Joliet Junior College, Moraine Valley Community College, and Saint Xavier University) an opportunity to complete the drill.

The 2019 scenario involved a gas explosion two weeks prior to mid-terms and required a variety of resources to be requested. Resources requested included space; staff from IT, police, counselors, maintenance; and food service.

This was the first year in which everything was completed electronically in real-time via Google. Overall, the tests were successful with only minor setbacks reported.
Upcoming Events
1 WCRSN Steering Committee Meeting
4 Marketing Committee Meeting
5 Greenest Region Compact Event:
Stories in Will County
12 Student Sustainability Summit Sustaining Your
Future: Balance. Passion. Action.
12 Writing Across the Institutions Meeting
18 CAO Council Meeting
19 Sustainability Committee Meeting

2 Growing Sustainable Communities Together
Speaker Series: The Calumet Collaborative
3 Sustainability Committee Meeting
6 WCRSN Steering Committee Meeting
17 Library Committee Meeting
17 A Clean Energy Future: The energy transition is
now! Portfolio Management

3 WCRSN Steering Committee Meeting
6 Marketing Committee Meeting
10 Presidents' Council Meeting
13 Sustainability Committee Meeting
20 CAO Council Meeting

Members In The News
USF Receives Federal S-STEM Grant Worth Nearly $650,000

Jan. 3, 2019 | Joliet, Ill. The University of St. Francis (USF) was recently awarded a grant worth nearly $650,000 from the National Science Foundation's (NSF) Scholarships in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (S-STEM) Program....

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Once disinterested, higher education becomes his calling

As incredible as it might seem, Kankakee Community College President John Avendano had no intention of going to college after his high school graduation. His father, Juan, who immigrated to Aurora, from Mexico in the early 1940s, had other ideas. ...

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Dana Trunnell Awarded Tenure at Prairie State College

Prairie State College (PSC) announced at a recent Board of Trustees meeting that one faculty had met the college's expectations for tenure, including a commitment to student success, collaboration with their peers and dedication to the college's...

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Joliet Junior College to Increase Sustainable Solutions...

Joliet Junior College is adding a solar array at its Main Campus that will save on energy costs, increase sustainability efforts, and encourage future academic opportunities. The JJC Board of Trustees on Dec. 12 approved a contract whereby Pivot...

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New Accreditation at Moraine Valley Means More Opportunities

Moraine Valley Community College has received a new accreditation that opens the doors for additional career and monetary opportunities for students pursuing careers in early childhood education. The Family Child Care credential approves Moraine...

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GSU Scholars Discover They are a National Model

In scholarship, peer review may be the ultimate test of quality, and good models are frequently imitated. That's why GSU British literature expert, Associate Provost Dr. Rosemary Johnsen, was pleased when she made a surprising discovery while...

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New Book Released by USF Art Professor Chester...

March 15, 2019 | Joliet, Ill. The idea behind University of St. Francis (USF) Art & Design professor Chester Alamo-Costello's third book, "Somewhere In-Between Chicago," has been "percolating" for some time, according to Alamo-Costello. He has...

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DeVry University Holds Grand Opening for New...

MERRILLVILLE, Ind. - Jan. 10, 2018 - DeVry University and its Keller Graduate School of Management are proud to announce the opening of their new Merrillville Center at 8488 Georgia St. in Merrillville, Ind. A ribbon cutting ceremony will be held ...

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2019 Chicago Women's Conference & Expo - Leading the Way ...

SOUTH HOLLAND, IL- South Suburban College (SSC) announces its 2019 Chicago Women's Conference on Friday, March 15, from 7:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m., located at the college's Main Campus in South Holland, Illinois. This year's theme "Leading the Way...

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