A group of diversity-based strategies and a scholarly repository at Parkland College recently won national awards as exemplary initiatives.
The National Council of Instructional Administrators (NCIA) selected Parkland’s “Diversifying the Full-time Faculty” effort and its Scholarship at Parkland (SPARK) online repository as winners in the 2011-2012 Exemplary Initiatives Competition. The competition recognizes outstanding programs that improve the quality of higher education provided at two-year institutions in the U.S.
A national panel of community college educators judged this year’s “best practice” submissions under four broad areas: Professional and Organizational Development; Curriculum and Program Innovation; Community and Workforce Needs and Partnerships; and Access, Persistence and Completion. Nine initiatives went on to earn NCIA awards. Parkland College’s “Diversifying the Full-time Faculty” submission won the Professional and Organizational Development category, while the SPARK repository was a co-winner for Curriculum and Program Innovation.
Parkland’s award-winning initiatives will be recognized April 11 at the International Conference on College Teaching and Learning in Jacksonville, Florida, and will be featured in a presentation during the conference.
“Diversifying the Full-time Faculty” efforts at Parkland include two programs established by faculty and administrators: the Professors of the Future (PROF) program and the Diversity Faculty Intern program (now called the Faculty Fellowship program), as well as a Diversifying Faculty Task Force (DFTF) established in 2010. The two programs contributed to an increase in minority faculty, from 11% in 1998 to 14% in 2002 through 2009, while the task force established a college-wide definition of diversity and recommended significant changes to the college’s faculty search process. The DFTF’s implemented recommendations also led to increases in minority hires; of the eight full-time faculty searches conducted for the 2010-11 academic year, four of the individuals hired met their department’s definition of diversity, a significant increase from years prior to the DFTF.
“Promoting, Preserving and Showcasing Scholarship at Parkland” was the title submitted to the NCIA to describe SPARK, now in its second year. The open-access digital repository was initiated through the efforts of the college’s library and Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning. It works to promote, showcase, and facilitate global online discovery of scholarly and creative works at Parkland, searchable by department, unit, or program as well as by documented student work. SPARK offers a wide range of materials that anyone in the college or community can examine.
“I am very happy that Parkland, and in particular, academic services, is being recognized for our work,” said Kris Young, Parkland’s vice president for academic services. “The issues surrounding diversity and scholarship at community colleges are complex and challenging to address. I was already proud of all the Parkland faculty and staff who boldly suggested and implemented creative solutions to these challenges; I am delighted that the effectiveness of these solutions is being recognized at a national level.”
Headquartered at the University of Nebraska—Lincoln, the National Council of Instructional Administrators is a professional organization affiliated with the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC).