Prairie State Welcomes Interim President Brownell

Chicago Heights, IL–(ENEWSPF)– At the first Prairie State College board meeting since the departure of President Paul McCarthy, Interim President David A. Brownell expressed to the board his mission while at Prairie State College and what he sees as the role of the Trustees.

“I have the greatest respect for trustees. They are heroes in my book. Many are not compensated and are frequently criticized. For my part in working with the board, I will treat all trustees equally.” Brownell, who hails from California where board members are compensated, hinted that the State of Illinois should provide similar benefits to the trustees. Brownell ensured the board that he would seek solutions for any problems that PSC may face. Of the PSC staff, he said, “My responsibility will be to assist you in providing the best possible programs for the students.”

Brownell was named interim president following the resignation of former President Paul McCarthy. McCarthy left PSC after the board failed to renew his contract, which was not going top be extended beyond 2008. Student, faculty and staff fought to keep McCarthy at the helm of PSC. But when it was clear that the board was not swayed by the appeals, McCarthy accepted the position of President of El Centro College, near Dallas, Texas.

The January 29th board meeting also revisited the issue of campus security. In a previous meeting, Board Member Peg Donohue spoke out on her concerns about campus security and the time it has taken to start training PSC security to become official police personnel. J.R Dempsey, Vice President of Business and Information Services, updated the board on the progress of installing a police force at PSC. “Our expectation is that it will take approximately three years from the initial creation of the department to complete the implementation and have it fully staffed and functioning.” Currently, PSC has a total of 18 security officers. Under the new plan, there will be a total of 13 security officers and 9 police officers.

Other PSC Board News

Four PSC professors were granted tenure after working hard to promote the best learning environment for students, as well as enhancing student knowledge and building trust and confidence. They are Susan Ecsi, Lee Anne Burrough, Marie Hansel and Michele Thoele.

Linda Uzureau, Vice President of Academic Affairs, introduced the candidates for tenure and described the tenure process. “We have a portfolio tenure process at PSC, and as a part of that, faculty members who are candidates for tenure are evaluated over a three year period by their peers, colleagues, and Deans, as well as through student evaluations. At the conclusion of the three year process, if they have met the standards of excellence, we recommend them for tenure”

Dr. Craig Mulling, Associates Dean of Arts and Sciences, had kind words to say about Susan Ecsi, Assistant Professor of Mathematics. “Sue has made incredible contributions to the math department and the college as a whole for the last three years. She has been a member of the Title III steering committee serving as the mass curriculum specialist and has brought some of her expertise and experience from Purdue University Calumet. She has also benefited from the tenure process. She has learned from her colleagues, and has led her colleagues at times.” Mulling continued by adding feedback from the students, who have called her patient, kind, encouraging and a builder of confidence.

Another faculty member recommended for tenure was Lee Anne Burrough, Assistant Professor of Earth Science. Dr. Susan Solberg, Dean of Arts and Sciences, highlighted Burrough’s accomplishments saying, “Since coming to the college she has completely revamped the curriculum and has created a research-based curriculum. She has set up her laboratory so that students are able to infer basic scientific experiences rather than having them present it in lecture.” According to Solberg, Burrough has a process that makes students think like scientists by incorporating information presented in graphs and other formats that are geared to help students to analyze and think critically.

Also approved for tenure was Marie Hansel, Assistant Professor of Nursing. Gwen Dean, Director of Nursing said of Hansel, “Marie has been active at the departmental level. She has served as recording secretary of the faculty meetings. She is currently working with other faculty members on a new course that will be offered as an elective in the summer called Seminars in Nursing Practice.”

The final board recommendation for tenure was Michele Thoele, Assistant Professor of Mathematics. Dr Craig Mulling spoke again, this time giving support to Thoele for her hard work, dedication, and achievements. “She has made incredible contributions to the college and the math department. She is currently serving on the Faculty Senate, and is a part of the Faculty Development Committee, and is co-chair of the Teaching Effectiveness Community of Practice.” In addition, he said, Thoele “has made outstanding contributions to our Title III project, serving as a math curriculum specialist, bringing to our campus a merit program, which is a supplementary workshop that helps our upper level math students succeed.”

All of the candidates were presented with a plaque and thanked the board and their supporters.