Default Banner

News & Events

The hands-on learning and student-first mentality of the Waubonsee Community College Automotive Technology program has brought the college national recognition and produced scores of successful alumni who complete the program ready to lead in the field.

Waubonsee Featured Program and Faculty Drive Student Success

Automotive Technology faculty members: James Armitage, Kenneth Kunz and Guy Tiberio
Automotive Technology faculty members: James Armitage, Kenneth Kunz and Guy Tiberio

The hands-on learning and student-first mentality of the Waubonsee Community College Automotive Technology program has brought the college national recognition and produced scores of successful alumni who complete the program ready to lead in the field.

For more than 20 years, the program has been certified and accredited by the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation in eight Automotive Service Excellence categories. The faculty are committed to providing individualized learning and experiences for their students. For their long tradition of excellence and dedication to their students, Automotive Technology is this month’s Student Success: Featured Faculty and Program.

Under the leadership of faculty members James Armitage, Kenneth Kunz and Guy Tiberio, the program’s list of highlights is long. That’s due, in part, to their persistent efforts to stay current and to continue providing new opportunities for students. Over the years, the program’s students have earned 70 awards in state and national SkillsUSA competitions. Continuing that tradition of excellence, they have developed a new student organization (Waubonsee Auto Club), facilitated an ongoing summer internship program with Yellowstone National Park and created an alumni advisory board.

Tiberio said students come to the program to learn a specialized skill set that will make them employable.

“If we can put them in a situation that replicates what will be expected of them on the job, they will have a much better understanding of what they need to do to be successful,” he said. “It also helps get their foot in the door for increased opportunities once they have their education.”

Engaging alumni, employers and the community in the program has been one strategy that has benefitted students greatly. An advisory committee consisting of alumni, employers, business and industry leaders and faculty has led to numerous scholarships, internships and employment opportunities. Faculty also developed an Automotive Recycling Program through the Illinois Green Economy Network Federal Grant and hold Auto Open Houses and Before Service Events that invite the community to bring their cars in, providing hands-on experiences for students.

“When we have our advisory meetings and see that a big chunk of the advisory members are former students, that tells us that we are doing something right and helping these students achieve their dreams,” Tiberio said. “The fact that the community comes to us looking for technicians tells us that they are satisfied with the students we are putting out there and they want more of them. This is the best feedback we can get as instructors.”

Kunz said that the program philosophy is to provide students with as many avenues as possible for employment and personal and professional growth.

“We have achieved this through the experiences we provide our students in the classroom, shop, field trips and other avenues that help promote growth and vision for their chosen career,” he said, adding that more than 20 former students are now educators in automotive programs throughout the state and country, and others are working in the field in more than 14 different states.

“I am lucky that my students share their life and what Waubonsee has done for them after they leave us,” Kunz said. “This is the greatest measurement of success of our program.”