Community College Faculty Reach Beyond the Classroom

Much is said about the affordability and accessibility of community colleges, and sometimes that conversation overlooks the world class research and work of community college faculty.  Committed to student success and excellence in teaching, the dedication, talent and passion of community college faculty are amazing and inspirational. 

At Waubonsee Community College, on any given day, we can find our faculty members creating and contributing to knowledge about their subject areas and sharing their expertise across the country and world.  The recent months have served as a good reminder of this, as several of our faculty members have received recognition for their service to their profession. 

Dani DuCharme, Associate Professor of Biology, was named our college’s 2016 Outstanding Faculty Member, and more recently named a recipient of a National Institute for Staff and Organizational (NISOD) Excellence Award. NISOD is a membership organization dedicated to promoting excellence in teaching, learning and leadership at technical and community colleges. DuCharme has earned a reputation as an expert in her field and an advocate for innovative teaching in science, biology and related fields. The 1998 Illinois Math and Science Academy graduate also demonstrates her passion for these studies through her leadership and involvement in many professional and community organizations dedicated to science education.

Professor of Mathematics Bill Trunkhill recently completed a research project and thesis titled, “The Solution of Large Linear Systems via Stationary and Non-stationary Iterative Methods.” As part of his research, Trunkhill explored the real-world applications. In addition to examples commonly found in mathematics, engineering and the sciences, Trunkhill explains the mathematics behind the Google search engine which is used by millions of people every day.  Trunkhill has shared his research with Waubonsee faculty, is updating the curricula of several Waubonsee mathematics courses and plans to incorporate his research into student Honors projects. 

David Voorhees, Associate Professor of Earth Science/Geology recently participated in a National Science Foundation (NSF) review of programs. The NSF Geosciences Directorate Committee of Visitors on Education and Diversity and Polar Special Initiatives took place at the NSF headquarters in Arlington, VA. Committees of Visitors review the management of selected NSF programs and make recommendations to ensure continued high standards. Voorhees was one of eight invited participants and the only participant from a two-year college. 

And for the third consecutive year, Waubonsee Physics Instructor Dr. Pratima Jindal was awarded a United States Compact Muon Solenoid Teacher Fellowship Grant from the National Science Foundation, in partnership with the University of Notre Dame and Fermi Lab. The grant will be used to offer a two-day workshop for area high school physics teachers, where they will study quark physics and other high-level research.

These examples represent a small fraction of the dedicated and talented community college faculty who combine their love of teaching with a passion for contributing to student and community success through their knowledge and research.  We are proud to have these outstanding faculty as part of our Waubonsee Community College team.