Dr. Sylvia M. Jenkins, president of Moraine Valley Community College, received the 2021 Advocacy Award from the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) at its annual conference last month. The ICCTA Executive Committee created this special award in 2006 to honor individuals who have demonstrated outstanding leadership in advocating for the needs of students and the Illinois community college system.
Jenkins has served in dual leadership roles this year: as president of Moraine Valley and as chair of the Illinois Council of Community College Presidents. Despite the limitations of Zoom-based meetings, she guided the council through a difficult but productive year. She also helped set the agenda for systemwide discussions on federal stimulus funding, and expanded MAP grants for short-term certificates and community college baccalaureate degrees.
“Sylvia has kept us informed, networked with allies and adversaries, and constantly reminded of why we are part of a unified community college movement,” said Jon Looney, ICCTA president. “We look forward to continuing our work together in the future.”
A past recipient of Moraine Valley’s Vernon O. Crawley Leadership Award, her ability to lead during a crisis was especially evident this past year when Illinois community colleges were forced to adapt overnight to a virtual working and learning environment. As higher education inches closer to pre-pandemic operations, Jenkins continues to coordinate with the Illinois Community College Board to communicate safe-campus protocols and return-to-campus guidance.
“I am grateful for the recognition especially because the award highlights the great partnership of presidents and trustees working toward the same goal of advocating on behalf of our students and the communities we serve,” Jenkins said.