South Central College
Dr. Annette Parker was born and raised in Michigan where she worked for General Motors and met and married Jeffrey, her husband of 40 years, with whom she shares three children. She and Jeffrey enjoyed successful careers at GM, until a decline in the auto industry led the family to make a decision that would forever change their lives. At age 28, Parker would start in the two-year drafting program at Lansing Community College, while Jeffrey continued to work and help care for their children.
While at LCC, she became a lab assistant and discovered her passion for teaching and making a difference in the lives of her students. She then completed her bachelor’s and master’s degrees and became a full-time instructor and administrator. During this time, she continued to be active in the community and was a Girl Scout Leader. After 17 years at LCC, she accepted a leadership position with the Kentucky Community and Technical College System where she served for six years and completed her doctoral degree.
In 2013, she became the first woman and the first person of color to serve as President of South Central College, where her industry knowledge and broad higher education experience have helped build capacity to serve the college’s students and the community. She has also served on a number of community, state, and national boards, including the local chambers in the communities served by the two South Central College campuses – Faribault and North Mankato – and is active in the United Way in both communities.
Under her leadership, South Central College developed a Civic Engagement Action Plan, which included prioritization for the 2020 Census and Voter Registration. SCC also successfully hosted a Campus Compact Americorps Vista from 2017-2019; instituted a food pantry on both campuses; and collaborated with LeadMN to post a mobile Election Center on the SCC Student Life App. SCC has also hosted three Civic Discussions (Voting, Gun Rights, and Global Warming) that were well attended by student leaders.
Parker has served on the board of Minnesota Campus Compact since July 2016 and has served as the chair of that board since 2019. She recently pledged to continue her service to the mission of Campus Compact by serving as board chair for 2021-2022. She has been instrumental to the success of the Iowa & Minnesota Campus Compact Strategic Alliance since its inception in 2019. Her next year as board chair will lead the two organizations towards a merger that will strengthen the work in each state. Additionally, she has led board collaboration and outreach with National Campus Compact and has been a champion of growth and innovation in the network. She has also provided her expertise as a community college president to local and national efforts to better connect with that sector and has been a champion of equity and inclusion efforts.
Parker also serves on the NASEM Roundtable on Systemic Change in Undergraduate STEM Education, National Academy of Science Symposium on Imaging the Future of Undergraduate Stem Education (Co-Chair), the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Work of the Future Task Force Advisory Board, Council for Adult and Experiential Learning Advisory Council (Chair), Center for Occupational Research & Development (CORD) Board of Directors (Vice Chair), Greater Mankato Growth (GMG) Chamber and Regional Economic Development Board of Directors, and YWCA Mankato Board of Directors. These organizations bring another level of connection to the South Central College community. While actively providing real-world knowledge of application of ideas in a higher education setting to the boards she serves, she is also able to bring back new innovations and best practices from peers around the country. Because South Central College is part of the Minnesota State system of 30 colleges and seven state universities, the impact is far greater than one college.
Throughout her career, Parker has served as a civic-minded inspiration, particularly for minority and non-traditional students, demonstrating in her words and actions that education, combined with resiliency, can have a positive impact on the community as a whole.