South Metropolitan
Higher Education Consortium
South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium Quarterly Newsletter, Issue 4, January 1, 2019
A Message from the Executive Director
2018 was an exciting year as we welcomed new faces and new programs to the Consortium. What made this year particularly exceptional was your dedication and support of SMHEC. On behalf of our staff and committee chairs, thank you for this.

Throughout this year, we shared many happy moments together, some of which include:
  • The Sustainability Committee receiving the Illinois Sustainability Award for their sustainability work with students in the SMHEC region;
  • Hosting the following conferences: the 8th Annual Student Sustainability Summit (South Suburban College), the Ellucian IL Conference (Moraine Valley Community College), the Regional Transitional Math Summit (South Suburban College), the 1st Annual Faculty Development Conference (South Suburban College) and GreenTown Will County (Joliet Junior College); and
  • Welcoming Dr. Lynette Stokes as President of South Suburban College, Dr. Tasha Williams as Vice President of Academic Services at South Suburban College and Dr. Beth Cada as Provost at Governors State University.

As we transition into the new year, we do so with a feeling of excitement and anticipation. 2019 will see SMHEC implementing many initiatives to improve the standard and quality of excellence in all areas of our operations: the new SMHEC strategic plan; new partnerships; improved communications; enhanced opportunities for convening and collaborating– these and many more initiatives are coming this year.

In closing, I would like to thank you for your continued support, expertise and commitment to SMHEC. I wish everyone a Happy New Year and look forward to seeing what 2019 brings for our Consortium.


Allessandra A. Kummelehne
Meet Our Staff
Marta Borys
Administrative Assistant

Marta Borys graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design.

She worked as a Graphic Designer and later as an Art Director for various publishing companies and advertising agencies in Chicago.

Before starting work as an Administrative Assistant for SMHEC, she served as a Program Specialist for Prairie State College (PSC), an Accounting Clerk for Orca Water Technologies in Mokena and an Insurance Producer for Cornerstone Insurance Agency in Orland Park.

At PSC, Marta worked as a Program Specialist at Matteson Area Center. She identified opportunities and coordinated the development of programs and services that provide educational training for the region. She worked on the research and writing of an Environmental Education Grant, provided coordination, consultation, and program development within related services in continuing education and workforce development. She planned programs with instructional staff, college staff, and community members; coordinated curricular resources; evaluated effectiveness of programs; monitored program budgets; and prepared reports. Marta also organized timeline and content for delivery of training programs and provided specialized assistance and information concerning non-credit programs, services, and overall college offerings to students, parents, staff, and community agencies.

Marta has volunteered extensively for Food Pantry of Frankfort and for Friends of the Library in Mokena, serving as a Membership Chairperson.

In her spare time, she tends to her organic garden and enjoys long walks with her family.
Jackie Knox
Sustainability and Outreach Specialist

Jacquelin (Jackie) Knox, a Hammond, Indiana native, graduated from Purdue University Northwest in Hammond on December 8th, 2018 with a B.S. in Biology, focusing in Environmental Ecology and Science.

She started working with SMHEC in October 2018 as a volunteer through an AmeriCorps grant program administered by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus. The Greenest Region Corps, is a program designed to enhance sustainability initiatives and make Chicagoland the greenest, most resilient region. The program is set to continue to August 2019, during which time Jackie aims to strengthen the relationships already established through the Link and Leverage initiative. In addition to promoting Link and Leverage initiatives, she is working on creating resource guides to allow SMHEC members a platform for finding and sharing information.

Her long term goals are to make an impact in the well being of others through protecting and enhancing Earth’s ecology. She hopes to obtain a Master’s in Sustainability Management or a related field. In her free time she enjoys going to concerts, working out, and riding her bicycle.
The Greenest Region Corps
The Greenest Region Corps (pictured here) is a brand-new AmeriCorps program that supports municipal sustainability initiatives aligned with Greenest Region Compact, a sustainability guide created by the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus. This team of eight talented college graduates will be serving for nearly a year in their assigned communities, including the City of Evanston, Village of Grayslake (and Libertyville), City of Highland Park, Village of Hoffman Estates, Village of Park Forest, Village of Round Lake Beach, Village of South Barrington and the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium.

SMHEC’s goal in this program is to promote cross-links of information to foster a sustainable future across its three Link and Leverage group boundaries. Jackie Knox, Sustainability and Outreach Specialist, will act as liaison between these groups as well as between SMHEC and the other Greenest Region Corps members.

Learn more about the program by visiting Mayors Caucus Greenest Region Corps.
GreenTown Will County
On October 26, the GreenTown Will County Conference was buzzing with a diverse group of people excited to celebrate the launch of the collaborative effort of The Will County Regional Sustainability Network (WCRSN).

Over 50 speakers with varying expertise attended the GreenTown Will County Conference to share their knowledge. Keynote speaker, Dr. Debra Rowe, President of the U.S. Partnership for Education for Sustainable Development, set the tone stating that, “Sustainability, as its core, is the care for not just you and your close friends and relatives, but for the future of all humans.”

Topics such as water, energy, health, and waste were discussed as they pertain to the sustainability of Will County’s future. Highlighting just a few, Danielle Gallet, a manager at the Metropolitan Planning Council, inspired audiences on pressing water issues, exclaiming that “Water is the liquid bedrock for life." Gallet presented Drinking Water 1-2-3 as a guide for local officials and community leaders to assess issues and provide starting points of action. David McEllis, a Government Affairs Representative for the Environmental Law and Policy Center, shared some of the many new and exciting programs in Illinois for solar energy with the Future Energy Jobs Act (FEJA) now in place.

To view these presentations, as well as additional information from the conference, visit the GreenTown Conference .
GreenTown Will County was a direct result of SMHECs Link and Leverage Initiative, which was created to connect the SMHECs 10 higher education institutions with their surrounding communities and to leverage resources and assets within to create the greenest most resilient region.

Through this initiative three distinct regional subgroups were created and SMHEC is proud that the Will County region has taken their Link and Leverage experiences to develop the WCRSN. The network’s mission is to connect people, communities, and resources across disciplines to make lasting improvements to Will County’s economy, ecology, and equity.
Pictured from left to right: John Harris (from A5), Keynote Speaker, Dr. Debra Rowe (Oakland Community College), and Gary Cuneen (Seven Generations Ahead).
GreenTown Will County's Elected Officials Breakfast at Saveur in Downtown Joliet.
GreenTown strives to be a zero waste event. Thanks to Joliet Junior College Renaissance Center and Maria Anna Rafac (pictured here) for arranging to use the anaerobic digester and providing a tour of how the digester turns organic waste into energy!
Collaborating For Student Success
Now And Into The Future
Hosted at: South Suburban College
On October 12, South Suburban College hosted a shared faculty development conference entitled “ Collaborating For Student Success - Now And Into The Future.
More than 45 faculty from the following institutions attended the conference: Governors State University, Joliet Junior College, Kankakee Community College, Lewis University, Moraine Valley Community College, Prairie State College and South Suburban College .

Dr. Stephanie Whalen, Professor of English at Harper College was the Key Note speaker. Dr. Whalen's presentation addressed: the design think process, implementing ideas from professional development sessions, creating a supportive culture among faculty, and cultural competency in the classroom.

Faculty also had the opportunity to attend a variety of breakout sessions addressing topics such as Best Practices for Underprepared Students, Different Forms Of Instruction/Student Learning, Department Chair Best Practices, Online Teaching, High School Curriculum Alignment, Student Engagement/Tech/Motivation, Anti-plagiarism Techniques, and
Adapting Teaching Pedagogy To Cultural Diversity In The Classroom.

This was the first conference of its kind hosted by SMHEC, and we plan to host a second conference in the fall. If you are interested in serving on the planning committee, please contact Marta Borys .
Pictured above: Faculty members, Dr. Michael Cherry (left) and Robert Bergman (right) from Lewis University thank Keynote Speaker, Dr. Stephanie Whalen (center) from Harper College.
What Our Committees Are Doing

You're invited to the South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium’s
Growing Sustainable Communities Together Conference
February 8, 2019, 8:30 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Prairie State College

As an initiative of the Chicago Southland Link and Leverage effort, this is one conference you don't want to miss!
Attendees will learn about the  Metropolitan Mayors Caucus ' Greenest Region Compact (GRC) and its impact on the South Suburbs. To frame the day, a panel of local mayoral signatories will share their community success stories as a result of signing the GRC. A variety of breakout sessions, focused on the GRC Framework, will also be offered throughout the day.
There will be plenty of time for networking and socializing and of course, you’ll want to stick around to the end for our Craft Beer hour sponsored by   Vice District Brewing !
For more information, please contact Jackie Knox at .
27 Illinois Organizations Honored for Achievements in Sustainability
Twenty-seven Illinois companies and organizations, including SMHEC, were honored for their significant achievements in protecting the environment, helping sustain the future, and improving the economy.

“Illinois’ success as an economic and cultural leader depends upon our responsible management of natural resources, as well as sustainable development,” said Kevin OBrien, director of the Illinois Sustainable Technology Center, which administers the awards program. Every year, a group of champions represents the highest models of sustainable commerce, resource use, and governance – the winners of the Illinois Sustainability Awards.

Since 1987, ISTC has presented Sustainability Awards to organizations in Illinois that have demonstrated a commitment to environmental excellence through outstanding and innovative sustainability practices. Any Illinois public or private organization is eligible to apply for the award. Winners are selected through a rigorous process of review and examination by ISTC technical assistance experts.
Maria Anna Rafac from Joliet Junior College (left) and Stephenie Presseller from Moraine Valley Community College (right) accepted the Illinois Sustainability Award on behalf of SMHEC and the Sustainability Committee at an awards ceremony in Chicago on October 23.
Alsip's Link and Leverage
Since its formation, Alsip’s Link & Leverage continues to play a vital role in the inspiration and planning of successful community collaborations, the largest so far having been Alsip’s Illinois Bicentennial Celebration this past summer. In late 2017, prompted by the state’s upcoming anniversary date, an Alsip-Merrionette Park Public Library District trustee suggested a village-wide event to mark the occasion, and so began an enthusiastic group effort to host a memorable gathering. 
The library, Village of Alsip, Alsip Fire and Police Departments, Alsip Park District, school districts, as well as many local businesses, individuals and community groups coordinated the free festivities. Hundreds of attendees enjoyed live musical performances, large-scale historical reenactments, food trucks, a photo booth, the Jesse White Tumblers, and visiting with local politicians, not least among them Abraham Lincoln himself!
Pictured from left to right: Alsip Mayor John Ryan, Cook County Commissioner Donna Miller, Honest Abe, State Rep Fran Hurley, State Rep Justin Slaughter.
Upcoming Events
7 WCRSN Board Meeting
14 Ellucian/CIO Committee Meeting
16 WCRSN Energy Meeting
18 Sustainability Committee Meeting
25 WCRSN GRC Recognition Event

1 Strategic Plan Committee Meeting
5 WCRSN Board Meeting
7 Marketing Committee Meeting
8 Growing Sustainable Communities Together Conference
8 WAI Other Englishes
11 Ellucian/CIO Committee Meeting
21 Chief Academic Officer Meeting
22 Sustainability Committee Meeting

5 WCRSN Board Meeting
9 WCRSN Quarterly Forum - Energy
11 Ellucian/CIO Committee Meeting
13 WCRSN Energy Meeting
14 Presidents' Council
Members In The News
Moraine Valley Community College Wins Regional Equity Award

Moraine Valley Community College has been named the recipient of the Association of Community College Trustees 2018 Central Region Equity Award and is now a contender for the national-level recognition to be selected from the four regional equity ...

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USF VP Damon Sloan Recognized by NASPA

December 10, 2018 | Joliet, Ill. Damon Sloan, Vice President of Student & Alumni Affairs at the University of St. Francis (USF) in Joliet, has been named the recipient of the Region IV-East Scott Goodnight Award for Outstanding Performance as a...

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Electrochemical Society Honors Lewis Student Chapter

The Lewis University Student Chapter of the Electrochemical Society was awarded the "Chapter of Excellence" award for the 2018 year. The ECS Outstanding...

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Professor Brings Home Silver Medals from Culinary World Cup

A Joliet Junior College professor has helped his American Culinary Federation (ACF) team return home with two silver medals from the Culinary World Cup.

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Institutional Updates
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SMHEC Professional Development Opportunities
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