COD Physics Professor Honored with Prestigious Dale P. Parnell Faculty Distinction Recognition

By: Angela Mennecke

Tom Carter in the classroom

College of DuPage Physics Professor Tom Carter has been recognized by the American Association of Community Colleges (AACC) with the esteemed Dale P. Parnell Faculty of Distinction AwardNamed in honor of former AACC President and CEO Dale P. Parnell, the designation recognizes Carter for his willingness to support students inside and outside of the classroom, participate in college committees, and go above and beyond what is required to ensure students are successful in their academic endeavors.

Carter is one of 58 instructors from across the nation to receive the award, each nominated in various academic disciplines by members of the AACC, the primary advocacy organization for the nation’s community colleges.

College of DuPage President Dr. Brian Caputo said the honor is well-deserved. 

“Dr. Tom Carter never fails to raise the bar in the classroom and to broaden his students’ outlook on their futures,” he said. “His commitment to his craft and our students is undeniable and COD is proud to count him among our faculty as he helps to transform students’ lives through his immense talent and dedication.”

College of DuPage Provost Mark Curtis-Chávez praised Carter for his commitment to student success.

“Dr. Tom Carter exemplifies the important work being done at College of DuPage and he is a testament to the role education plays in improving students’ lives,” he said.

Carter, who has taught at the College since 2000, was named COD’s College-Wide Outstanding Full-Time Faculty Member for 2017-2018. He has worked closely with his students, promoting and arranging summer internships with national laboratories and research universities. He has helped sponsor and support on-campus initiatives such as the COD Robotics Team, the COD chapter of the Society of Women Engineers and STEMCON, the annual celebration of science, technology, engineering and math that brings thousands to campus. Carter also was a member of the team that founded the Engineering Pathways program that gives COD engineering students an opportunity to seamlessly transfer to the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

“Teaching has certainly been more demanding than I expected, but it has more than lived up to my initial expectations,” Carter said. “What I hope is that I make a positive impact on someone’s life through teaching.”

Outside of COD, Carter is the lead scientist for the QuarkNet science program for high school students at Fermilab and is a member of Fermilab’s science public lecture committee. He has served as a member of the Illinois Articulation Initiative physics panel and has been a member and chair of the national Committee on Physics at Two-Year Colleges for the American Association of Physics Teachers.