Assistant Professor of Auto Body Repair Andy MacDonald has been named Waubonsee's Outstanding Faculty Member for 2015.
MacDonald measures his success by the success of his students, which has been impressive since he joined the college on a full-time basis in 2007. Over the years, MacDonald’s students have earned 17 top-three finishes in state-level SkillsUSA contests, along with five top-10 finishes at the national level, including two national champions.
“Placing in these contests provides students an opportunity to build a portfolio for employers, increase their self-confidence and receive another level of evaluation of their work,” MacDonald said.
Waubonsee auto body student Jose Martinez-Joya, who was the 2014 SkillsUSA National Champion and who will graduate this year, credits MacDonald for his success.
“[MacDonald] is a great, great person and very experienced,” Martinez-Joya said. “He really knows his stuff and can teach it to others.”
“My lesson plans and classroom instruction require students to become critical thinkers using logic to problem-solve, to work on projects alone and with a team, learn from their mistakes, and integrate soft skills with hard skills every day,” MacDonald said.
MacDonald routinely hosts Inter-Industry Conference on Auto Collision Repair (I-CAR) professional development courses in the Sugar Grove auto body shop, which offers him and his students a convenient way to keep up with the latest industry trends. Students graduate from Waubonsee’s program with several industry-recognized credentials, including an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) certificate, and an Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) safety and pollution certificate. They also have the opportunity to earn several Automotive Service Excellence (ASE) certifications.
In 2011, the program received accreditation from the National Automotive Technicians Education Foundation (NATEF).
MacDonald has spearheaded several improvements, including the introduction of a solvent recycler, the development of an inventory system, and the addition of a computer lab since technology skills have become a requirement of the field.
He was also instrumental in the college applying for and receiving a prestigious $50,000 Ultimate Collision Education Makeover grant from the Collision Repair Education Foundation in 2013. The grant dollars were used to install a new, modern automotive paint spray booth at the Sugar Grove shop.
“The shop is so important to instruction because for one semester each academic year, it operates like a business,” MacDonald said. “We take in cars for minor repairs, and the students do the work, learning how to manage time, estimate and job cost. In this way, students graduate having done real work on cars with real problems.”