Posted on: April 7, 2020 Posted by: Glacier Staff Comments: 0

By Christian Sandoval

JRN 111 Student

“The best ability is availability.” That’s the motto Dean Chet Shaw has always tried to live by. As dean of student services, Shaw strives to be available to all students at Moraine Valley.

Despite the many demands on his time, Shaw is always willing to take time out of his day to listen to students one-on-one as they talk about how they feel with their day-to-day lives.

“Chet Shaw is someone I aspire to be,” says Angelo Greene, a former Moraine Valley student who now works in the Academic Advising department. “He is a student-first type of person. He understands that his goal is to assist students with being the best possible version of themselves.”

But who is Chet Shaw? “I’m a person of integrity, good heart, a humble man and a family man,” he says.

Shaw grew up with two strong parents who did their very best raising him. An average student, his interest was always sports. The environment Shaw grew up in was filled with a lot of gangs and gang violence. His father didn’t like how the neighborhood was getting more dangerous by the day, so he insisted on getting his son into sports.

Shaw will always have a drive to success. In high school, he had a bond with his teachers that would motivate him to continue his education, even though he often heard from others, “You are not college material.”

While at a certain point being financially unstable, he had to take out student loans and had to learn to pay the way to success. He eventually became the first in his family to receive his doctorate, and he wants to inspire other students to continue going forward with their education and help communities to inspire others.

“After graduating Illinois State with my bachelor’s, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I ended up applying for a job at Waubonsee Community College,” Shaw says. “Unfortunately I didn’t get the job, but the college offered me another position as Transfer Center manager, assisting community college students to four-year institutions.”

While he was at Waubonsee, Moraine Valley would come by for different events. With a great network around him, Shaw then ended up at Moraine Valley Community College where he is today as dean of student services.

While balancing work and independent thinking, Shaw always has high expectations for students or for anyone. Shaw has a picture of Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan in his office. Looking at the picture, he describes how both men were very close and good friends. He believes it’s important in life to always have a good team and good help, and with that you will win championships.

Shaw says he depends on the team around him, especially his secretary, Nancy Hennigan, to help him manage all the different aspects of his job, including being available for students.

“I’m grateful to have a great secretary to help me prioritize my work,” he says, “For me it’s about being neat in my office. It’s always about planning and being organized for anything.”

Time management and balance are the keys to success, according to Shaw.

“You have day to day tasks, but what is important is family,” he says. “Sometimes I’m at work till late at night but I always get home and take care of my family and after I do that, I work on some projects for tomorrow.”

Since COVID-19 (Coronavirus) has impacted our world, Shaw’s motto still lives on as he has been working day and night to help the more than 6000 students that attend Moraine Valley.

“We have a great team here at Moraine Valley,” Shaw says. “We had to act quick and gather our ideas and figure out what’s best for our students.”

He says many departments across the college have been working to get in contact with students to help them further their education.

 “We are going to grow and learn from this situation,” Shaw said. 

Whatever the challenge, Chet Shaw always will be there for his students, working to be a positive role model throughout the entire campus of Moraine Valley Community College.

“I love the student population and the diversity of this great campus,” Shaw says. “I love to learn about many students that are international, but also the support of our great leadership whether it’s from our president of the college to the executive leadership team and the Board of Trustees.”

Christian Sandoval can be reached at