Dr. Joan Ferrell's Remarks as the 2002 Recipient
of ICCTA's Outstanding Faculty Member Award

June 14, 2002
Springfield, Illinois

I am amazed and extremely honored to have been granted this award, and I want to thank the Illinois Community College Trustees Association for having chosen me for it. When I think back over my career, I realize that anything I have been able to do has been primarily because I have taught a community college, which I had not even heard of when I began college. I did a little research and found out that Joliet was the first Junior college, established in 1901, and my own school, Southeastern Illinois College, was founded in 1960, but it was the Junior College Act, passed in 1965, which was the foundation for today's system of community colleges in Illinois. And community colleges are unique. We are not only colleges for our communities; we are a community of colleges.

I feel I have been privileged to teach in a community college. When I was in college in the 60's, there were really only two choices for someone planning a teaching career: public school or the four-year university. But after I received my Master's degree from SIUC, I heard about a community college in Carterville, John A. Logan College. I applied, was hired in 1969, and had the words "Charter Teacher" on my first community college contract.

I taught there two years, teaching French and English and sponsoring the student newspaper, and then moved to Southeastern where I have been ever since. Had I gone to a four-year college, I would have had to have been a specialist in a very small area of literature, but at Southeastern I have been able to have so many different experiences that would never have been possible elsewhere. We have a world class speech and forensics department. I can brag about them because I have absolutely nothing to do with teaching speech or forensics, (and as someone just mentioned, Southern Illinois does not get enough recognition). We were 2nd in the nation last year, 3rd the year before and have been first in the nation twice in the last 10 years. And I feel privileged to have been in a play last September with four of the girls who played a large role in winning all those trophies. I was Miss Clairee in "Steel Magnolias" and I can tell you that it was wonderful being in a cast with students with such awesome talent-and it was so much fun, too.

Teaching at a community college has also allowed me to teach many different English and French classes. I had the opportunity to be the men's golf coach for five years and enjoyed it tremendously. Many of the coaches in the district helped me when I first began the program-Greg Thom of Parkland, Ron Marshall of Illinois Central College, Dave Smith of Rend Lake, and John Sala and the coaches at John A. Logan College. I have had the privilege to work with ICISP (the Illinois Consortium for Internation Studies and Programs) for the past nine years and was the statewide coordinator for ICISP's teacher/administrator exchange program for four years. This is such an important program and offers so many international opportunities for students, teachers and administrators throughout the Illinois community college system. Through ICISP, thousands of students have studied in England, Holland and Austria and over 500 teachers and administrators have gone on two-week exchanges in England, Scotland, Holland, and Finland. I have been privileged to work with ICISP reps from all over the state-Zinta Konrad from Dupage, Linda Korbel from Oakton, Bob Kerr from the College of Lake County, Bill Elliott from Lakeland, and Gayle Pesavento from John A. Logan, among many others. These people all work very hard in this program for very little and sometimes no compensation.

I have also just begun an annual trip to Europe for students and members of the community. This year we had a group of 23 from not only our community, but also from Texas, St. Louis, and Florida. We just returned June 4th from our first trip to Paris and the wine country of the Alsace-Lorraine area. It was an absolutely dream trip and I have already begun planning next year's trip to Italy.

I have had all these opportunities-working with ICISP, traveling, teaching, golf coaching, acting and directing in plays-and continue to have them just because I work in a community college. It is a wonderful institution. I would also like to thank especially our president, Dr. Mary Jo Oldham, for all her support for me both personally and professionally.
I would like to conclude this evening by sharing with you something I found in the Canterbury Cathedral in Canterbury, England, three years ago when I was there after having driven two of our participants in the ICISP exchange program down from London-one was from Kaskaskia College and one from Southeastern. This was a great thrill for me (and probably for them since I believe I scared them to death driving on the wrong side of the road). Heaven knows I am no nun, but this prayer speaks to me, especially as a teacher and as a rather inherently bossy person, and I hope it speaks to you as well:

Lord, thou knowest better than I know myself that I am growing older
And will someday be old.
Keep me from the fatal habit of thinking I must say something on every subject
And on every occasion.
Release me from craving to straighten out everybody's affairs.
Make me thoughtful but not moody; helpful but not bossy.
With my vast store of wisdom, it seems a pity not to use it all, but Thou knowest
Lord that I do want a few friends at the end.
Keep my mind free from the recital of endless details;
Give me wings to get to the point.
Seal my lips on my aches and pains. They are increasing and love of rehearsing
Them is becoming sweeter as the years go by.
I dare not ask for grace enough to enjoy the tales of other's pains, but help me to
Endure them with patience.
I dare not ask for improved memory, but for a growing humility and a lessening
Cocksureness when my memory seems to clash with the memories of
Teach me the glorious lesson that occasionally I may be mistaken.
Keep me reasonably sweet; I do not want to be a Saint-some of them are so hard
To live with-but a sour old person is one of the crowning works of the
Give me the ability to see good things in unexpected places, and talents in
Unexpected people
And give me, O lord, the grace to tell them so. AMEN.

For additional information on ICCTA's Outstanding Faculty Member Award, please contact Kim Villanueva at 217-528-2858, ext. 1.

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Illinois Community College Trustees Association
401 E. Capitol Ave., Suite 200
Springfield, IL 62701-1711
217-528-2858 (phone)
217-528-8662 (fax)
ICCTA@communitycolleges.org (e-mail)

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