JJC Professor Joseph Sullivan Ranked in Top 10 Percent of Cisco Instructors Worldwide

Joseph Sullivan, Cisco Networking Academy Program Coordinator, Netacad Success Lead, and Central Point of Contact for the new partnership with Amazon Web Service Educate at Joliet Junior College, has been recognized by Cisco Networking Academy with an Expert Level Instructor Excellence Award for the fourth year in a row.

The Expert Level Instructor Excellence Award recognizes instructors for their dedication and passion in the field of information and communications technology as well as their contributions and instructional excellence.

In the past five years, Sullivan has received the Expert Level Instructor Excellence Award four times and the Advanced Award one time, which placed him in the top 25 percent of instructors globally. The Expert Level Instructor Award places him among the top 10 percent of all Cisco Networking Academy instructors worldwide.

“It’s truly an honor to receive the recognition,” Sullivan said. “This award exemplifies the fact that JJC has the resources to provide an outstanding education to today’s student population. Our administration truly cares about our students. They support and recognize the importance of this program as a cutting-edge field of study.”

Prior to Joliet Junior College, Sullivan worked as a System Architect Senior Engineer for Motorola, Inc. During that time, Sullivan designed authentication systems for KDDI, the Japanese cellular company, E911 public safety access point number portability, and enhanced push-to-talk services. His engineering expertise enabled him to be the principal innovator of two international patents in the area.

Although he was a successful engineer at Motorola, Sullivan had little knowledge of network engineering. That is when he decided to take a Cisco class at JJC.

“My baccalaureate studies did not require the need for any computer networking courses; however, soon thereafter, it was apparent that computer science was a fast-growing and profitable field of study,” he said. “My decision to re-attend college and develop a new skill-set has turned out to be a great decision. When I realized that everything was moving towards a networking infrastructure, I decided to take classes and learn about security, storage area networks, cloud infrastructure, e-commerce and mobile networks.”

While working as a full-time engineer, Sullivan took his first course with the Cisco Networking Academy at the JJC Romeoville Campus, about fourteen years ago. He said it was challenging at first, but rewarding.

“It was a tough balance between working full-time, family life, and going back to school, but I stuck through it,” he said. “In my first class, CNT 101, I learned so much about networking. From that point, I knew that technological advancements rely on networking infrastructure, which is the fundamental basis of working in the field of IT. I knew going back to school was the right decision.”

Since then, Sullivan was hired at JJC and has been a coordinator for the Cisco Networking Academy. Over the past decade, he has educated hundreds of JJC students.

In addition to his busy teaching schedule, Sullivan pursues industry certifications to advance his knowledge and introduce new technologies into the classroom. Sullivan points students to fast growing fields of social media development and cloud infrastructure as pathways to great careers. Currently he is working on additional cloud certifications which will be introduced as a new course to JJC’s Computer Information and Office Systems (CIOS) degree programs. He notes that JJC’s web design and social media technologies associate degree is also a fast-growing career pathway and an integral part of corporate presence.

“When I teach about domain registration, I recommended a domain name www.joesclassrules.com, as a joke, but one day one of my students actually purchased the site and now we use it every semester! There are links to my YouTube Channel, where I make instructional videos on Cisco security, routing, switching and telephony. Current students and graduates of the program remember the domain name and are able to reference videos regarding course topics we covered in class.”

A native of Oak Lawn, Sullivan earned his bachelor’s degree in Economics from Illinois State University in 1995 and his master’s of Computer Science degree in 1999. He has received numerous certifications during his career, including Cisco Certified Network Professional, Palo Alto Accredited Configuration Engineer, Cisco Certified Network Associate Video, Cisco Certified Network Associate Collaboration, Cisco Certified Network Associate Voice, Cisco Certified Network Associate Security, Certified Wireless Technology Specialist, Cisco Certified Academy Instructor, Express Collaboration Systems Engineer Representative v2, Hurricane Electric IPv6 Sage, Cloud Essentials, Rackspace CloudU, Linux Essentials, Cisco Video Network Specialist and Cisco Video Network Representative.

When asked about his teaching experience, Sullivan said: “Teaching at JJC has been such an important part of my life. The students are amazing and I’m truly grateful for this opportunity. Our program is unique in that it doesn’t require any experience to start– zero! Everything is taught from the ground-up.  This recognition by Cisco for instructor excellence reflects our students’ commitment in driving their career outcomes.  Many students know that the Cisco certifications are recognized globally and it allows them incredible workforce portability with rewarding salaries.  Many of our students are seeking new careers or otherwise transitioning into the field.  One of the great joys in my role as an educator is seeing students achieve their goals and successfully transition into a growing career or transfer to a four-year institution.”

For more information about the Cisco Networking Academy Program, visit www.jjc.edu/cisco or contact Professor Joe Sullivan at 815-280-7720 or jsulliva@jjc.edu.



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