By Farrah Turenne
Dr. Sylvia Jenkins, former vice president of Academic Affairs at Moraine Valley Community College, recently became the fifth president of Moraine Valley. She succeeded Dr. Vernon O. Crawley, who retired June 30 after 21 years as college president.
“We are extremely pleased we could find an outstanding candidate at the college who we believe best suits the academic, administrative and funding challenges that we face in the future. We are confident that Dr. Jenkins will build on the many successes at Moraine Valley and lead the college to new heights in the future,” says Joseph Murphy, chairman of the Board of Trustees.
“I am thrilled! I’m excited! I look forward to continuing the outstanding work of Dr. Crawley and leading Moraine Valley into the future,” exclaimed President Jenkins, who brings more than 30 years of experience as an educator to the chief executive office of the college.
“I had the opportunity to work with Dr. Crawley for his entire 21 years, and it has afforded me the experiences of working in the areas of strategic planning, continuous improvement, accreditation, classroom instruction, faculty development, and the development and execution of grants.
“I also have had the opportunity to work with national, state and local community college leaders. Those experiences will help me lead Moraine Valley as we look forward to helping more of our students succeed.
“Working at a very diverse institution where we appreciate our differences and value the input and expertise that all of our faculty and staff bring has been rewarding.”
Good Group Of Finalists
“We had four excellent finalists, and I want to thank them for their deep interest in us and for what they wanted to bring to the institution,” Murphy said. “This was a difficult decision, and each of the finalists had strengths that would have kept Moraine Valley on the leading edge of community colleges nationwide.
“What we found in Dr. Jenkins were the attributes that we felt were the best fit for the college – experience as an educator and a curriculum leader in both transfer and career programs. We know she has the respect of our faculty and staff – first as a member of the faculty and then as an administrator at various levels. She has earned their respect,” Murphy said.
“We look forward to working with her and know she will provide the outstanding leadership that has been the trademark of Moraine Valley,” he said.
During her tenure as vice president of Academic Affairs, Dr. Jenkins has done some reorganization of her division especially in the work-force development area.
“We want to look for more ways to work with our corporate and civic leaders to develop even more connections to benefit the 26 communities we serve. We also want to enrich our development education programs to help even more students who don’t come to college as prepared as they need to be,” she said.
Dr. Jenkins began her career as a librarian at Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia. Her service began at Moraine Valley in 1986 as an adjunct librarian in the Public Services area of the college’s Learning Resource Center.
In 1988, she was hired as a full-time faculty librarian at Moraine Valley. In 1995, she was appointed library coordinator and subsequently, department chair of the Library.
As a faculty member, she served on many committees, including the Faculty Development Committee, the Faculty Evaluation team, the Vanguard Learning College team, and as a member of the Faculty Association Executive Committee.
In 2001, Dr. Jenkins was selected to serve as the assistant dean, Center for Teaching and Learning and Director of the Library. In 2003, she was appointed dean, Academic Development and Learning Resources. During that time, Dr. Jenkins successfully established the award-winning Center for Teaching and Learning, and led the library staff and faculty in the redesign of the college’s library.
“We are extremely pleased we could find an outstanding candidate at the college who we believe best suits the academic, administrative and funding challenges that we face in the future. We are confident that Dr. Jenkins will build on the many successes at Moraine Valley and lead the college to new heights in the future.”
A Master Teacher
She was named Master Teacher of the Year at Moraine Valley twice for incorporating technology in teaching and learning and has received the Innovator of the Year Award and the Vernon O. Crawley Leadership Award from the college. She serves as the college’s representative to the League for Innovation in the Community College.
Dr. Jenkins has served the college on a number of task groups as chair, including the college’s re-accreditation Systems Portfolio team, the Strategic Technology Planning team, as a member of the Diversity and Leadership task groups, and the college’s strategic planning team.
She took part in the Executive Leadership Institute, coordinated by the League for Innovation, the National Institute for Leadership Development and Kaleidoscope, a national leadership development program for women of color.
She served on the Board of Directors, Metropolitan Library System, NILRC, a consortium of community colleges in Illinois, and on the founding board of the Consortium of Academic and Research Libraries in Illinois, as a representative from community colleges.
Dr. Jenkins speaks at local, statewide and national conferences in the areas of leadership in community colleges, faculty development and the use of technology in the classroom.
She earned her Bachelor of Education degree from Grambling State University, her Master of Library and Information Science degree from the State University of New York at Albany and her Ph.D. in Education and Human Resource Studies with a specialization in Community College Leadership from Colorado State University-Fort Collins, Colorado.
Dr. Jenkins is a member of the Moraine Valley Rotary and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Chicago Alumnae Chapter.
She and her husband Craig have four daughters, Carmen, Courtney, Christine, and Carol, and five grandchildren.
Moraine Valley Community College in Palos Hills, Illinois, serves 26 communities about 25 miles southwest of Chicago and about 20,000 students.
It is the second largest community college in Illinois, ranking in the top 3 percent of the 2,839 public and private two-and four-year institutions nationwide that confer associate degrees.
Moraine Valley also ranks third in the nation in associate degrees conferred in science transfer programs. This past academic year, the college awarded 2,644 degrees and certificates.