Harold Washington College Professor Earns National Faculty Award


Shanina M. Thomas, adjunct professor of African American studies and history at Harold Washington College, recently received the American Association of Community Colleges’ (AACC) Dale P. Parnell Faculty Distinction Recognition for 2023.

Named in honor of former AACC President and CEO Dale P. Parnell, the designation was established to recognize individuals making a difference in the college classroom.

Professor Thomas is a proud graduate of City Colleges of Chicago, having earned her associate degree in African American studies from Olive-Harvey College. Later, she attended Chicago State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in African American studies and a master’s in history, graduating with honors.

“Since I was a child, I’ve been fascinated by African American history,” said Professor Thomas. “Sharing my passion with students is a dream come true. As an educator, I feel a great responsibility to help my students continue on their path of life-long learning.”

This is not the first time Professor Thomas has been recognized for her commitment to student success. She was nominated last year by the Illinois Community College Trustees Association (ICCTA) for the 2022 Outstanding Adjunct Faculty Member Award. Thomas was also a finalist for the 2022 Influential Women in Education award from the North West Indiana Women of Influence Association (NWIIWA) and the winner of a Chicago Defender 2021 Women of Excellence Award.