In the 50 years since Lewis and Clark Community College was founded, few have left their mark on the institution like Professor of Accounting Margie Sinclair-Parish, who has been a faculty member for 38 years.
Sinclair-Parish began her journey with L&C as a student, earning an Associate in Arts in 1975. After achieving her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration in 1977 and a Master of Business Administration in 1984, both from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, she began teaching part time at L&C in 1982, gaining a full-time position in 1986.
“I was very fortunate – my career found me,” Sinclair-Parish said. “I was asked to take over for someone else in Small Business Accounting four weeks into the semester during Spring 1982. I discovered I loved the classroom.”
Her accomplishments while working at L&C include the Alumnus Award, the 1996 Illinois Community College Trustees Association’s Outstanding Faculty Member Award and the 2001 Emerson Electric Award for Teaching Excellence.
Prior to working at L&C, Sinclair-Parish worked in the accounting department of a financial institution and had taught dance since she was a teenager. Her experience as a dance teacher served her well in the classroom.
“It is one thing to know how to do something,” Sinclair-Parish said. “It is something different to know how to teach people.”
Sinclair-Parish believes listening to students and having empathy for their situations are among her strengths. She uses a learn-by-doing approach in the classroom.
“My classes are interactive – to learn accounting, you need to do it,” she said. “If I can design my class for students to do the work, they will be able to learn the content. It’s rewarding to share their joy when they succeed and reach their goals.”
Sinclair-Parish refers to accounting as “the language of business” and believes a degree in accounting will make you employable, even if you don’t intend to go into the field.
“Working with students and helping them learn the value of understanding accounting is important,” Sinclair-Parish said. “I feel a basic knowledge of accounting is helpful in any career field.”
Building a relationship with students and helping them learn the value of an education is what Sinclair-Parish likes most about her job. She credits her mentor, former Business Professor Edwin Schriefer, for inspiring her work at L&C, and she continues to inspire others around her.
“Margie is always there to help, whether it is students, adjunct instructors, or a stranger walking down the hall,” said Business Program Coordinator Doug Schneiderheinze. “She has set up tutoring sessions for not only her students but also students from other classes. She shares her knowledge and experience with other instructors and has set up one-on-one sessions with new instructors to help them with Blackboard and Connect. She always has a hello and a smile in the morning and usually a good story. The Business Department runs a lot smoother because of her and I have really enjoyed working with her for the last nine years.”
Beyond the classroom, Sinclair-Parish is proud of her participation in the campus community, which includes the L&C Ambassadors, 50th Anniversary Committee and Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning Committees (CETL).
L&C Faculty Association President Debbie Witsken, who is also the college’s Occupational Therapy Assistant program coordinator and works closely with Sinclair-Parish on CETL, describes her as a positive beacon for students.
“She is kind and compassionate and is willing to do whatever it takes to help students succeed,” Witsken said. “She always puts 110 percent into everything she does. Her genuine care and concern for others shows in everything she does.”
Sinclair-Parish’s teaching skills are not limited to business. She has studied Tai Chi for 18 years and earned her teaching certificate in 2017. When the campus is open, she teaches non-credit courses in Tai Chi for Health.
For more information on L&C’s Accounting program or non-credit Tai Chi classes, contact Sinclair-Parish at (618) 468-4512 or firstname.lastname@example.org.