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Trustee Barbara D. Oilschlager receives national leadership award

by Public Relations and Marketing | Published Aug 14, 2018

Barbara D. Oilschlager, member and secretary of the College of Lake County’s Board of Trustees, has received the 2018 M. Dale Ensign Trustee Leadership Award from the Association of Community College Trustees.

The award is based on several criteria, including developing innovative programs, influencing legislation, providing leadership to help solve challenges and participating in community life, according to the ACCT’s website.

“I am truly humbled and honored to be recognized by my peers with this most Photo of Barbara D. Oilschlagerprestigious national award,” said Oilschlager (right). “I've been blessed to be able to serve with some of the finest people on the planet—my colleagues in the community college system—and I thank each and every one of them for their continued support over the last three decades.”

Richard A. Anderson, board chair, said, “I’m pleased to hear that Barbara has received the M. Dale Ensign Trustee Leadership Award. Her vision and ability to analyze complex higher educational issues have been invaluable in making CLC one of Illinois’ premier community colleges.”

Oilschlager has been serving community colleges at the local, state and national levels for nearly 30 years. First elected to the CLC board in 1989, she has served eight times as chair and vice chair.

At the state level, she was president of the Illinois Community College Trustees Association in 2009-10. When many community colleges struggled to operate because of declining payments from the state, Oilschlager spearheaded an effort to help community colleges develop a short-term fiscal plan. Additionally, she worked with legislators in increasing funding for community colleges in Illinois, improving the state's 48 colleges' recruitment and retention rates and addressing legislation impacting community colleges. In addition, Oilschlager helped build awareness of community colleges' quality programs and the important role the institutions play in the Illinois economy. In 2015, the ICCTA recognized her with the Ray Hartstein Trustee Achievement Award for exemplary service. She also is a member of the governor's Illinois Workforce Investment Board and past co-chair of the State of Illinois Education-to-Careers Steering Committee.

Additionally, Oilschlager has served on a funding formula task force within the Illinois Community College Board. She was effective in the lobbying efforts to amend the community college ethics legislation to clarify that community college districts are units of local government. She also has worked to protect Monetary Award Program and Pell Grant funding for community college students. Furthermore, she sought support for legislation that helps students manage the cost of textbooks. This resulted in starting a pilot program at CLC that allows students to rent textbooks.

Nationally, Oilschlager is the Association for Community College Trustees state coordinator for Illinois. In addition, she has presented at national conferences, on topics ranging from educational partnerships that support student success to building career pathways leading from high school to health professions. She also has served on the ACCT’s nominating, public policy, governing/bylaws and communication committees.

Outside the U.S., Oilschlager has played a key role in promoting international education. She was part of a team of U.S. State Department-sponsored national education leaders and community college presidents who met with Ukrainian governmental and educational leaders. The U.S. delegation communicated the successes, impact and structure of American community colleges. Oilschlager also participated in conferences in Australia and New Zealand and worked with their business partners to initiate long-distance learning opportunities. Her efforts resulted in teacher/student classroom interactions in CLC business programs.

Oilschlager is retired as an administrator for secondary vocational education programs for the Lake County Area Vocational System/Lake County High Schools Technology Campus. She is past president of the Illinois Association for Career and Technical Education and a member of the Statewide System Director's Leadership Council. In 2008, Oilschlager received the IACTE Carl D. Perkins Humanitarian Award for her outstanding contributions to career and technical education programs and Arch of Fame Award. The association consists of approximately 1,500 teachers, counselors and administrators in the K-12 and postsecondary systems from across Illinois.

Locally, Oilschlager is a past member of the board of directors of the Lake County Community Action Project, the Lake/McHenry County YWCA, the Lake County Chamber of Commerce and the Lake County Area Planning Council for Adult Education. She also is a charter member and past president of the Rotary Club of Grayslake.

Oilschlager holds a Bachelor of Behavioral Science degree from National Louis University and a Master of Educational Administration degree from the University of Illinois.