South Metropolitan
Higher Education Consortium
South Metropolitan Higher Education Consortium Quarterly Newsletter, Issue 3, October 1, 2018
A Message from the Executive Director
In my short time as Executive Director with SMHEC, what stands out to me the most is the passion, dedication and commitment you each show to your work, your institution and your colleagues. It has been a pleasure getting to know you all and working with you on a number of projects this year, and I look forward to our continued work together.

Since January, as a Consortium, we have had a number of truly fantastic accomplishments and I am thrilled to be able to share these with each of you in our Quarterly Newsletter. I recognize and appreciate the work you have done this year. To date, a few of SMHEC’s accomplishments include:

  • The release of a joint RFP to identify the feasibility of installing on-site solar at seven of our institutions, with at least three institutions moving forward in 2019.
  • A dispatcher training workshop, offered by the SMHEC Crisis Management Committee, to ensure preparedness in case the SMHEC Mutual Aid Plan is executed in response to an emergency.
  • The development of IT Peer Networking Workshops to address emerging trends in IT, where IT professionals can share resources, identify new products, and explore options for implementing best practices at each campus.
  • The development and offering of professional faculty and staff development opportunities to our institutions such as the Regional Transitional Math Summit, the Mental Health in The Classroom: Writing As Therapy workshop, and the upcoming faculty development conference - Collaborating For Student Success: Now And Into The Future scheduled for October 12.
We have a number of new initiatives to be implemented in 2019, including the release of SMHEC’s Strategic Plan. In addition, I am committed to listening to your ideas and input as we continue to expand the efforts of the Consortium.
In these next few weeks, I will be preparing for maternity leave with a plan of returning full-time in January. I will remain behind-the-scenes, checking email, and supporting your work between now and then.
Thank you all once again for giving me the opportunity to work with you. I look forward to reconnecting after the Holidays.

Allessandra A. Kummelehne
SMHEC is a finalist  for the 2018 Illinois Sustainability Award.
The Sustainability Committee will be formally recognized at an Award Ceremony on October 23 in Chicago for their sustainability work with students, specifically through the Student Sustainability Summit!!
Congratulations to the Sustainability Committee for all of their hard work over the years. It is their passion, dedication and determination coupled with our Presidential leadership that has enabled SMHEC to expose more than 400 students to new ideas and opportunities to create sustainable change.

More details about the Ceremony can be found at
Regional Transitional Math Summit
Hosted at: South Suburban College
On September 7, SMHEC hosted a Transitional Math Summit at South Suburban College to review and discuss the Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness (PWR) Act. The summit consisted of two sessions and saw 80 attendees.
The morning session was facilitated by Sam Nelson and Kim Korando of the Illinois Student Assistance Corps (ISAC). This session targeted High School and College administrators and counselors. The morning session covered the PWR Act broadly and PaCE.
The afternoon session was facilitated by Kathleen Almy, Illinois Director for Transitional Math, from the Northern Illinois University Center for P-20 Engagement. This session included the morning attendees as well as math faculty at both the High Schools and Colleges. In this session, attendees learned about the most recent state-level updates and MOUs, while having facilitated planning time to work within their High School-College teams.
Mental Health In The Classroom: Writing As Therapy
The Writing Across the Institutions (WAI) sub-committee hosted their first workshop of the 2018-19 academic year, “ Mental Health in The Classroom: Writing as Therapy,” at Governors State University on September 21. Twelve faculty members participated in this workshop.
This session featured Gia Washington, Community Development Manager of the Sertoma Centre. Ms. Washington discussed how the arts are a way for individuals to express and process the emotions they are feeling and how a simple writing assignment may be a prompt for a student to reveal internal struggles.
The workshop explored indicators that a student may be experiencing a mental health challenge and provided strategies for how educators can provide support.
Linda Bathgate, Counselor at South Suburban College also presented to the group and talked about her experiences with students and mental illness, and specifically addressed “the signs” faculty can look for in the classroom or writing assignments that many times are overlooked, but are often a cry for help.
SMHEC Sustainability Committee Members (from left to right) John Lerczak (Lewis University), Maria Anna Rafac (Joliet Junior College) and Janine Hicks (University of St. Francis) have been an integral part in the planning and execution of the initiatives occurring in Will County.
GreenTown Preview Party
A SMHEC Link and Leverage Initiative
On September 13, the GreenTown Core Team hosted a preview party at Heroes West Sports Grill to promote the upcoming GreenTown Will County Conference that will be hosted by Joliet Junior College on October 26.

Maria Anna Rafac, sustainability coordinator and Professor at Joliet Junior College took a few minutes at the event to talk about the work SMHEC has done in Joliet and Will County and the newly created network, the Will County Regional Sustainability Network (WCRSN) that will be launched at the upcoming conference.

To register for the GreenTown Will County Conference, visit .
SMHEC's Strategic Planning
To better define priorities and continue to meet the changing needs of Member Institutions, SMHEC is going through the strategic planning process.

On September 24, select committee members met at Prairie State College for an intense, one-day planning session to define three year goals and objectives for SMHEC.

The group defined five goals which will be presented to the Presidents' Council on October 3.

Once the plan in approved, the group will meet once again to define action items and a timeline for each objective. The plan will be reviewed at least annually by an assessment committee to ensure SMHEC remains on track during this three year period.
Several committee members categorize ideas given by the group.
A special thank you to all those who helped SMHEC define their goals and objectives during this session.
Presidents’ Council
Dr. David Livingston, Lewis University
Amy King, DeVry University
Dr. Terri Winfree, Prairie State College
Chief Academic Officers
Dr. Pamela Haney, Moraine Valley Community College
Dr. Ron Kawanna, South Suburban College
Dr. Frank Pascoe, University St Francis
Dr. Tasha Williams, South Suburban College
Tim Zorick, DeVry University
Chief Information Officers
Chuck Putz, Governors State University

Crisis Management
Pat O’Connor, Moraine Valley Community College
Rich Soderquist, Kankakee Community College
Grant Committee
Liza Ziegler, Prairie State College
TJ Urbanski, Lewis University
Sustainability Committee
Stephen Pepper, Illinois Tech
Janine Hicks, University St Francis
Stephenie Presseller, Moraine Valley Community College
What Our Committees Are Doing
Crisis Management Hosts All Member Dispatcher Training Session
On August 30, the Crisis Management Committee hosted a Dispatcher Training Session at Moraine Valley Community College to review SMHEC’s Mutual Aid Agreement and procedures for activating a “Request for Resources.”
With 21 attendees present, the group updated existing forms and procedures to more adequately capture the information needed during a potential emergency. During the meeting, dispatchers requested the forms be converted to fillable, electronic forms that can be updated in real-time.
These suggestions were well received by the Committee Chairs, and the forms have been modified and placed on Google drive to allow for real-time data entry.
The session results were overwhelmingly positive and the Committee has decided to offer additional dispatcher training sessions at least once per year.
Shared Faculty Development Conference: October 2018
On October 12, South Suburban College will be hosting a shared faculty development conference entitled “ Collaborating For Student Success - Now And Into The Future.

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

In addition to a number of breakout sessions, the closing session will be a discipline-specific round-table discussion where faculty will have the opportunity to speak with their peers about best practices, trends and challenges they face in their field. 

Greenest Region Corps Member
To expand SMHEC’s link and leverage efforts, the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus invited SMHEC to become a partner on a grant through the Corporation for National and Community Service and Serve Illinois. We have been notified the proposal was accepted, and as a result, SMHEC along with seven other communities in the Chicago-metro area will host an AmeriCorps volunteer ( Greenest Region Corps Member or GRCorps Member) for one year.
The GRCorps member will:
  • Complete regional asset mapping to provide information about the strengths and resources of our region and help uncover solutions to challenges,
  • Develop a searchable directory of contacts,
  • Provide day-to-day marketing and outreach for the region, including promoting sustainability-focused initiatives and events for SMHEC, its members and municipalities located within the SMHEC region,
  • Actively participate in each sub-region’s Link and Leverage initiatives, and
  • Strengthen the partnerships between SMHEC members, their communities, and the Metropolitan Mayors Caucus.
In 2014, SMHEC launched a regional effort to “link” and “leverage” community resources to make the Chicago Southland the “greenest region.” Communities within SMHEC’s boundaries began meeting regularly to share success, identify areas of opportunities and leverage resources.

The Prairie State Region is hosting the Growing Sustainable Communities Together conference to create their own network of like-minded individuals working to improve southern Cook County’s economy, ecology and social equity.

View the full agenda here. Registration will open in December. Stay tuned for details.
Upcoming Events
3 Presidents' Council Meeting
11 Council of Chief Academic Officers
12 Collaborating For Student Success Conference
26 GreenTown Will County

5 WCRSN Annual Business Meeting
9 Writing Across The Institutions Committee Meeting
19 WCRSN Annual Membership Meeting

14 CIO/Ellucian Committee Meeting
Members In The News
PSC professor completes internship on Gulf of Mexico...

There's no doubt being an intern on a ship in the Gulf of Mexico in the heat of summer counting and weighing fish was hard work, but it came with great rewards for Prairie State College Professor Angela Hung.

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USF Rises in U.S. News "Best Colleges" Rankings

September 10, 2018 | Joliet, Ill. U.S. News & World Report released its "2019 Best Colleges" rankings today, and the University of St. Francis in Joliet continues to earn recognition as a top Midwestern university. USF's "2019 Regional...

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GSU Named Among "Best" for Military Veterans

Contact: Kevin Smith Governors State University Email: 708-235-2223 For Immediate Release University Park, IL-For the fourth consecutive year, U.S. Veterans Magazine has ranked Governors State University among the 84 best...

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Lewis University Rises to Top 20 in U.S. News Rankings

Lewis University has achieved its highest ranking in U.S. News & World Report moving up three places to become a Top 20 Regional University - Midwest. ...

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Interior Design Program Recognized by Kitchen and Bath...

The interior design program at Joliet Junior College is among a select number of schools recognized by the National Kitchen & Bath Association (NKBA). JJC earned one of six Excellence in Education honors out of nearly 300 entries. A single school ...

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Moraine Valley's John Nash Faculty Wins National Award

John Nash, associate professor of Speech/Communications and director of Forensics at Moraine Valley Community College, has been named the 2018 recipient of the Michael and Suzanne Osborn Community College Outstanding Educator Award. The National...

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