Through ripples of applause and a sea of smiling faces, five Eastern Iowa Community Colleges (EICC) employees were recognized with the college’s esteemed Emeritus Award on Monday, May 22, according to a news release.
The awards, presented at the Scott Community College Urban Campus, were given to retiring people who exemplified notable service to students and the community during their years employed at EICC.
Emeritus Award nominations are made by peers and supported by letters from colleagues, supervisors, students and community members. The nominations were reviewed by a selection committee that recommended recipients to the Chancellor with the final award bestowed by the EICC Board of Trustees.
Those recognized this year served EICC’s Scott and Clinton Community College campuses. The recipients include:
Paula Arends, director of continuing education and professional development
In 2006, Arends came to EICC as an employment and training counselor. Since then, she’s held various roles, including Special Needs Specialist, Assistant Director and Associate Director for the lowa@Work programs, Director of Workforce Innovation, and currently, the Director of Continuing Education and Professional Development. No matter the job title, she always lead with: “Will this decision be in the best interest of our students?” This philosophy has underpinned her every action and decision, leaving an unforgettable mark on the lives of countless students.
Arends’ influence is particularly notable in strengthening connections with manufacturers and expanding apprenticeship programs in the region. Her entrepreneurial spirit and expertise have been invaluable in the creation of many innovative programs and services. Arends consistently sought to bring value to local business and industry by forging strategic partnerships with the college and ensuring that its offerings align with their evolving needs. Her knowledge has been instrumental in driving forward-thinking workforce strategies that benefit both the college and the surrounding communities.
Jane Beinke, executive administrative assistant
For over two decades, Beinke served as the executive administrative assistant for Clinton Community College’s (CCC) Clinton Technology Center. As a CCC graduate herself, Beinke’s contributions to the college and local community has been nothing short of exceptional. She tirelessly coordinated and facilitated continuing education (CE) customized training for local companies, while also providing valuable support to credit students enrolled at the college.
In her role as administrative support for CE Business Solutions Consultants, Beinke excelled in preparing sales proposals, managing contracts, and liaising with businesses to schedule training dates. She also supported the CE manufacturing programs, where she efficiently organizes public and contract training manufacturing classes. Her high standards, collaborative spirit, and willingness to support others have established her as an informal mentor to students and colleagues alike.
Doris Swanson, executive assistant to the chancellor
Since starting her role as an Executive Assistant in 1997, Swanson has immaculately supported the work of four EICC Chancellors, including John Blong, Pat Keir, Don Doucette, and currently, Sonya Williams. Leading with the highest degrees of professionalism, competence, and compassion, she’s known as ‘the sunshine in the Chancellor’s office.’ With an extraordinary gift for customer service and an unparalleled ability to unravel even the most intricate questions and concerns, Swanson has been a valuable resource for many. As a result, she was instrumental in creating connections with internal and external partners of the college. In 2015, she was recognized for these efforts and received the prestigious Outstanding Support Staff Award from the Iowa Association of Community College Trustees (IACCT).
Beyond her professional achievements, Doris is a cherished colleague known for her genuine care and consideration for others. She consistently goes above and beyond to support colleagues during difficult times or personal milestones, truly exemplifying the college’s core value of “belonging.”
Dave Wallace, engineering technology professor
In his 40-year career with the college, Wallace played a pivotal role in the transformation of the original Electronics program into the Mechatronics program and, subsequently, the present Engineering Technology program. With each evolution, he meticulously developed new curricula, established requirements, and set high expectations for his students. He seamlessly adapted to new equipment and consistently incorporated industry-relevant skills, ensuring that his students would excel in their future careers.
In addition to his outstanding classroom instruction, Wallace fostered strong partnerships with local industries in Clinton and the surrounding communities. Companies knew graduates from his program were exceptionally well-trained and this talent pipeline resulted in countless equipment donations for his programs. Wallace will be remembered by many as a hard-working employee that approached his responsibilities with boundless enthusiasm, a strong sense of purpose, and an unwavering drive to achieve tangible results.
Elizabeth (Beth) Wood, mathematics professor
Over the course of her 31-year tenure, Wood continuously found ways to utilize technology to enhance learning experiences for her students. She played a pivotal role in adopting online mathematics courses through the Iowa Communication Network (ICN), landing her the Iowa Community College Online Consortium Faculty Member of the Year Award in 2014. Described as a ‘brilliant educator,’ Wood made sure that her students received in-depth instruction with relevant examples that made math relatable to various professions and daily life applications.
Beyond her instructional achievements, Wood actively contributed to Clinton Community College’s Paul B. Sharar Foundation Scholarship Committee, initiating scholarships that have provided life-changing opportunities for students in math, science, social work, and art. And, as an artist herself, she participated in the Fine Arts Committee and found joy in exhibiting her weavings in the college art gallery.
Further information, including past Emeritus recipient profiles, can be found here.